50 Books You Must Own – Books Alive

THIS BLOG POST IS NO LONGER UPDATED. PLEASE VISIT www.booksalive.com.au for the latest details about the Books Alive campaign

The Books Alive campaign is a great idea. The 2006 list is below (® = I’ve already read this title)

How long has it been since you’ve read a great book—one that you just couldn’t put down? One you had to take on the train with you and pick up again at lunchtime? How long since you’ve read a book that kept you awake well into the night, saying ‘just one more chapter before I turn out the light’?

Enjoying a good book is the perfect way to relax, unwind and escape. Enjoying a great book is an unforgettable experience! Every time we read a book we want that unforgettable experience. But for most of us, finding that book every time is the hard part… until now.

The Books Alive Great Read Guide is full of great books and unforgettable experiences. It is a guide to 50 of today’s most remarkable books, ranging across general fiction, crime, romance, cooking, history, biographies, war and books for children of all ages, including the very young.

Hundreds of books were carefully reviewed by a panel of Australian book industry experts to arrive at this fantastic selection. The diverse interests, tastes and attitudes of the panel ensure there is a great read in here for every Australian. All the books are available right now at participating booksellers.


The 2006 list is below (® = I’ve already read this title)


  • Malicious Intent, Kathryn Fox
  • The Lincoln Lawyer, Michael Connelly
  • The Lighthouse, P.D. James
  • The Broken Shore, Peter Temple


  • Lost, Michael Robotham
  • One Shot, Lee Childs


  • A Long Way Down, Nick Hornby®
  • Weapons of Choice, John Birmingham
  • The Omega Scroll, Adrian d’Hagé
  • Labyrinth, Kate Mosse
  • Heritage, Judy Nunn
  • Past Secrets, Cathy Kelly
  • What Price Love?, Stephanie Laurens
  • Girls Night In, Various

CHILDREN – Picture Books

  • I Will Not Ever, Never, Eat a Tomato, Lauren Child
  • Pete the Sheep, Jackie French
  • Where is the Green Sheep?, Mem Fox & Judy Horacek
  • Share Said the Rooster, Pamela Allen
  • In the Bush, Roland Harvey
  • When I Was Little, Like You, Mary Malbunka

CHILDREN – Junior Fiction

  • Boyz Rule! Park Soccer, Felice Arena & Phil Kettle
  • Charlotte’s Web, E.B. White®

CHILDREN – Middle Fiction

  • The Book of Lies, James Moloney
  • Dragonkeeper, Carole Wilkinson
  • Judy Moody, Megan McDonald
  • Kid’s Night In 2, Various Authors

CHILDREN – Teen Fiction

  • The Recruit, Robert Muchamore
  • Does My Head Look Big In This?, Randa Abdel-Fattah
  • Operation Red Jericho, Joshua Mowll


  • Odalisque, Fiona McIntosh


  • Grace, Robert Drewe
  • Sixty Lights, Gail Jones
  • Rhubarb, Craig Silvey
  • The Book Thief, Markus Zusak
  • The Historian, Elizabeth Kostova
  • The Secret River, Kate Grenville


  • A Bastard of a Place, Peter Brune
  • A Short History of the 20th Century, Geoffrey Blainey


  • The Bookseller of Kabul, Åsne Seierstad
  • Don’t Tell Mum I Work on the Rigs, She Thinks I’m a Piano Player in a Whore House, Paul Carter
  • A Man’s Got to Have a Hobby, William McInnes
  • In My Skin, Kate Holden
  • Hoi Polloi, Craig Sherborne
  • Running with Scissors, Augusten Burroughs
  • Margaret Olley, Far From a Still Life, Meg Stewart


  • Collapse, Jared Diamond
  • The Weather Makers, Tim Flannery
  • Dis Information and Other Wikkid Myths, Dr Karl Kruszelnicki


  • When in Rome, Penelope Green
  • The City of Falling Angels, John Berendt

4 Replies to “50 Books You Must Own – Books Alive”

  1. The 2004 books alive list (in alphabetical order, by title) was:

    (R) = I’ve already read this title

    1. The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho(R)
    2. All the Pretty Horses, Cormac Mccarthy
    3. Almost French, Sarah Turnbull
    4. Battleaxe, Sara Douglas(R)
    5. Blind Assassin, Margaret Atwood
    6. Bridget Jones Diary, Helen Fielding
    7. Candy, Luke Davies
    8. Cold Mountain, Charles Frazier
    9. Constant Gardener, The John Le Carre(R)
    10. The Corrections, Jonathan Franzen(R)
    11. The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown(R)
    12. Dirt Music, Tim Winton
    13. Dune, Frank Herbert (R)
    14. Eat Me, Linda Jaivin
    15. Enduring Love, Ian Mcewan
    16. The Eyre Affair, Jasper Fforde
    17. Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury (R)
    18. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Hunter S. Thompson
    19. Fight Club, Chuck Palahniuk
    20. Girl with a Pearl Earring, Tracy Chevalier
    21. High Fidelity, Nick Hornby
    22. The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkein (R)
    23. The Hunt For Red October, Tom Clancy (R)
    24. Ice Station, Matthew Reilly (R)
    25. It, Stephen King
    26. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte (R)
    27. Life of Pi, Yann Martel
    28. The Lost Continent, Bill Bryson(R)
    29. The Lovely Bones, Alice Sebold
    30. Mosquito Coast, Paul Theroux (R)
    31. My Brilliant Career, Miles Franklin
    32. Oscar And Lucinda, Peter Carey
    33. Palace Walk, Naguib Mahfouz
    34. Perfect Match, Jodi Picoult
    35. Perfume, Patrick Suskind
    36. The Poet, Michael Connelly
    37. The Poisonwood Bible, Barbara Kingsolver
    38. Possession, As. Byatt
    39. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen(R)
    40. Secret History, Donna Tartt
    41. The Shipping News, Annie Proulx
    42. Sophie’s World Jostein Gaarder
    43. The Surgeon of Crowthorne, Simon Winchester(R)
    44. This Side Of Brightness, Colum Mccann
    45. Three Dog Night, Peter Goldsworthy
    46. Time To Kill, A John Grisham (R)
    47. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee (R)
    48. Tully, Paullina Simons
    49. The Vampire Lestat, Anne Rice
    50. Year Of Wonders, Geraldine Brooks
  2. The 2005 list is below (® = I’ve already read this title)


    Tara Road by Maeve Binchy
    My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult
    Three Wishes by Liane Moriarty
    The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay (chosen by Rove McManus)
    The Kite Runner by Kate Hosseini
    Rachel's Holiday by Marian Keyes
    Barra Creek by Di Morrissey
    Leaving Bondi by Robert G. Barrett
    The Girl in Times Square by Paullina Simons


    Cocaine Blues by Kerry Greenwood
    The Walker by Jane R. Goodall
    With No One As Witness by Elizabeth George
    The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith®


    The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
    I'm Not Scared by Niccolo Ammaniti
    Remembering Babylon by David Malouf
    The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon
    Atonement by Ian McEwan (chosen by Mark Ferguson)
    The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon®
    Dirt Music by Tim Winton (chosen by Liz Ellis)


    Mortem by Ben Elton
    Surrender by Sonya Hartnett


    Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
    Diary of a Wombat by Jackie French (illustrated by Bruce Whatley)
    The Day My Bum Went Psycho by Andy Griffiths
    The Keys to the Kingdom: Mister Monday by Garth Nix
    Tomorrow When the War Began by John Marsden®
    Specky Magee & the Great Footy Contest by Felice Arena & Garry Lyon
    Are We There Yet by Alison Lester (chosen by Rama Nicholson)
    How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff (chosen by Casey Lister)
    Eragon by Christopher Paolini®
    Lost Treasure of the Emerald Eye by Geronimo Stilton
    Stormbreaker by Anthony Horowitz
    The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants by Ann Brashares


    Across the Nightingale Floor by Lian Hearn
    Battle Axe by Sara Douglass®


    Marching Powder by Rusty Young
    Mao's Last Dancer by Li Cunxin
    Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence by Doris Pilkington & Nugi Garimara
    Joe Chinque's Consolation by Helen Garner
    Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris (chosen by Ian Ross)
    Between A Rock and a Hard Place by Aron Ralston


    Conversations With God by Neale Donald Walsch (chosen by Layne Beachley)


    Kokoda by Paul Ham
    Gallipoli by Les Carlyon
    Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond


    Eats Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss
    Molvania by Santo Cilauro, Tom Gleisner & Rob Sitch


    The Cook's Companion by Stephanie Alexander


    The Complete Book of Great Working Dog Stories by Angela Goode and Mike Hayes

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