There are no huge surprises on the program, apart from a reduced Celebrities and Critics section, nicely repackaged and retitled as 'Reviewers' Views', and including, this year, Good Reading Magazine editor Alison Pressley and ABC books interviewer Ramona Koval. (I note however that there is a "Celebrities Reading Day" slotted in for Australia Day.) But first prize for most evocative contribution to the Reviewers' section definitely goes in my book to Claire Sutherland, books writer for the Herald Sun:
My teenage summer holidays always meant a banana lounge, sunglasses and an eventual book-shaped white patch on my torso. The white patch could have been left by anything from Stephen King's latest frightfest to a George Orwell novel (I devoured his entire canon in an Orwell orgy one Christmas holidays. Geek? Moi?).
Bless her boots, she also states a firm preference for the meaty, rather than the escapist, summer read, and has named Matt Condon's recent Snowy tract, Trout Opera, as her seasonal viand. (She could, of course, follow that up with Dorothy Porter's El Dorado from the list, if the brain is still feeling undernourished. What a pleasure to see a verse novel on a list like this.)
Along with the books (of course), the best new feature, in my opinion, is the introduction of author posts to the Summer Read blog, which augurs well for a continued increase in popularity in the application of this special new sunscreen called Victorian reading (as well as some respite from UV rays while people are online posting comments.)