Favourite books

My favourite books

I recently caught half of the movie version of From the mixed up files of Mrs Basil E. Frankweiler on TV, and was reminded how I loved this book as a teenager. It was suggested to my mother by a librarian at Mosman Library when I was home sick and it struck a chord.

I decided to gather a list of the books that have been extra special to me. One category is books by family members as we have quite a few writers of all sorts (fiction and non-fiction) in both branches of my family.

This is a work in progress.

Kids books

Camel face by Emily Rodda

Each peach pear plum by Janet and Allen Ahlberg

From the mixed up files of Mrs Basil E. Frankweiler by EL Konigsberg

Famous Five series by Enid Blyton

Finders keepers by Emily Rodda

His dark materials trilogy by Phillip Pullman

‘I didn’t know judge that what I did was against the law/I just said what I saw/A hairy thing is coming this way/Coming closer day by day (Can’t remember the title or author, but can remember the chorus!)

Junior Poetry Workshop edited by N. Russell and H.J. Chatfield

I mainly read the Humour ones, by poets like Hilaire Belloc and Ogden Nash. Loved Mulga Bill’s Bicycle by AB Paterson, Hall and Knight by EV Rieu and The Vet by Guy Boas. Also The Wild Colonial Boy (anon), Sir Smasham Uppe by EV Rieu and, most of all, Mrs Malone by Eleanor Farjeon.

Magic faraway tree series by Enid Blyton

Outside over there by Morris Sendak, which starts:

“When Papa was away at sea/ And Mama in the arbor/ Ida played her wonder horn/ to rock the baby still/ but never watched.” The baby is stolen and replaced by a changeling made of ice.

Puffin quartet of poets by Eleanor Farjeon, EV Rieu, Ian Serraillier and James Reeves.

My heart went out to Mr Blob the moment that we meet/And the manner of his going is a thing that haunts me yet [on the drawing and rubbing out of a stick figure drawing]

Rhyme time [collected poems] edited by Barbara Ireson

Imagine by Alison Lester

Hop, Skip and Jump – a little kids’ book, I remember nothing much about it but it has stuck in my mind.


Jude the obscure by Thomas Hardy

Struggled through Return of the native when I studied it in high school, but have enjoyed many Thomas Hardy novels since then. And a poem feeling sorry for Amelia, who had been ‘ruined’, but was really doing rather well for herself.

A passage to India by EM Forster

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy


All by Robert Dessaix, including A mother’s disgrace

All by Helen Garner, including Joe Cinque’s consolation (which I often think about when I hear a court case with seemingly harsh or lenient sentencing),The spare room, and The last days of chez nous.

The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

Three Stories by Alan Bennett  especially ‘The clothes they stood up in’. Also his Monographs on TV.


Opera house: Act one by David Messent

I indexed this book. It is a wonderful tale of the building of the Opera House. I love the building, but it was clearly a challenge to many who were involved, including the engineer Ove Arup, who said it added years to his life.

Those women who go to hotels by Lucy Frost and Marion Halligan

I love this book, which is really just a memoir about hotels visited. Odd to think that it would be considered for publication. I, too, love the hotels I have stayed in, whether youth hostels, YWCAs, boutique hotels, or historic buildings (my favourite).


The Cambridge guide to English usage by Pam Peters – a descriptive, not prescriptive, look at the English language. Also helps you understand where words came from and how and why they change.

A short history of everything by Bill Bryson – the most wonderful book that covers many scientific discoveries and shows the scientific process and personalities on the way. He shares his amazement at the vast size of the universe contrasted with minuscule microorganisms.

Official Rules of Card Games 58th edition

Origami: the art of paper-folding by Robert Harbin (Teach Yourself Books)

South Pacific Handbook by David Stanley [so many dreams. Have been to Fiji, New Caledonia and the Solomon Islands – still many left to visit]

Van Gogh by Charles Estienne [interesting that I loved Van Gogh as a child more than I do now]

By family

Alice M Browne (my father’s great-aunt)

An oath in heaven – available through Project Gutenberg.

That colony of God – available through Project Gutenberg.

Reviewed by PB Ince in the Occult Review y1924 v39 January p63. Its main theme was whether spiritualism (seances etc) was compatible with Christianity.

The rector of Amesty

I have written a brief history of three-volume novels (of which this is one) at http://webindexing.com.au/three-volume-novels-3-deckers/.

You and I: together love [collected letters]

Derrick Browne (my brother)

Benjamin Twos, and other books on bridge

Eben Eybers (my grandfather)

Youth in chains (about Nazi Germany)

There is a copy in the Australian War Memorial library.

Christopher Perowne (my paternal grandfather’s cousin)

a history of ??

Glenda Michelle Browne

The indexing companion, Cambridge University Press, 2007 (with Jon Jermey)

The indexing companion workbook: book indexing, 2009

Website indexing, Auslib Press, 2001 and 2004 (with Jon Jermey)

Wendy Browne (my mother)

Learn to relax

HOP: Healthy Older People

Worth Tuttle Hedden (my mother’s cousin)

Love is a wound – based on her parents’ relationship

The other room

Two and three make five – a memoir

Wives of high pasture – about the Perfectionist community in Oneida, New York

Jon Jermey

Gryphon Rising

The biggest morgue in the world

‘Golden Age of Detective Fiction wiki’ at http://gadetection.pbworks.com/w/page/7930628/FrontPage.

By friends

NSW Upper House practice manual by Lynn Lovelock and

I indexed this, and found it really interesting. I now have a much better idea of processes within parliaments.

Parramatta Heritage Centre exhibition catalogues by Gay Hendriksen including:

    • Drawn together
    • Governor Macquarie
    • Inside looking out
    • Memories of trees
    • Women transported

Mark Avery’s Ankh and She Must Have Been a Beautiful Babe (unpublished), plus his murder story board games. Also his website http://speakerscorner.org.au/.

Bill Browne’s HSC Extension 2 English project which was a masterly depiction of postmodern writing and an enjoyable read.

Cryptic Crosswords for Dummies (Wiley) by Denise Sutherland

My grandfather’s joke:

What’s the difference between a toilet roll and a silly Dutchman?
One’s a hollow cylinder and the other’s a silly Hollander.

About family

What’s your verdict…by Benjamin Bennett

My grandmother’s cousin was charged with murder, but a chapter in this book proclaims her innocence.

With indexers and indexing in

The accidental tourist by Anne Tyler

A reading from Anne Tyler’s novel The accidental tourist which perfectly  illustrates the dilemma of deciding how specific indexing terms should be.

Rose likes things organized in alphabetical order and her brothers were helping her unpack the shopping. Rose stood on a stepstool in front of a glass-fronted cupboard, accepting the groceries which her brothers, Charles and Porter, handed up to her. ‘Now I need the N’s – anything starting with N?’ she asked. ‘How about these noodles?’ Porter asked. ‘N for noodles or would that be P for pasta?’ ‘It’s E for elbow macaroni’, Rose retorted, ‘you might have passed those up earlier’.


Harry Potter series
Lord of the Rings series


Gruen Transfer/Gruen Sweat etc. Anything with Wil Anderson
Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries