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The Weekend Australian - Review - - Books - Www.theaus­tralian.com.au/thearts

LET me guess, th­ese hol­i­days you are, at long last, go­ing to read Ulysses, Moby-Dick and War and Peace. Good for you, but do your­self a favour and pick just one. Alma Clas­sics has pub­lished a new edi­tion of James Joyce’s Ulysses, an­no­tated by Sam Slote of Trin­ity Col­lege, Dublin. So you can flick be­tween the text and notes to help you work out what it’s all about. A much eas­ier hol­i­day read, in time for Baz Luhrmann’s film adap­ta­tion, is F. Scott Fitzger­ald’s The Great Gatsby, one of the great­est books. Alma has pub­lished a new edi­tion of this, too, with one of the more beau­ti­ful cov­ers I have seen on a novel that in­spires beau­ti­ful cov­ers. And in his cen­te­nary year we must in­clude Pa­trick White, Aus­tra- lia’s only No­bel lau­re­ate in lit­er­a­ture. Start at the start, with the new Text Clas­sics edi­tion of his first novel, Happy Val­ley, with a fine in­tro­duc­tion by Peter Craven. SOME clas­sic op­por­tu­ni­ties here, in­clud­ing Edith Whar­ton’s Sum­mer, Shake­speare’s A Mid­sum­mer Night’s Dream, Ten­nessee Wil­liams’s Sud­denly, Last Sum­mer, JM Coet­zee’s Sum­mer­time — but the one I want to rec­om­mend is the sad and beau­ti­ful novella Love and Sum­mer by Ir­ish writer Wil­liam Trevor, who — at least un­til I read Alice Munro — is the great­est liv­ing short story writer. SETH Casteel’s Un­der­wa­ter Dogs is as ad­ver­tised: pho­to­graphs of dogs (briefly) un­der­wa­ter, chas­ing balls in swim­ming pools and the like. Hours of fun. So is Oc­to­ber Jones’s (not his real name) Texts from Dog, a com­pi­la­tion of text mes­sages be­tween an English bull­dog, Cooper, and his hu­man com­pan­ion. A warn­ing, though: it has adult themes, which I wish I’d no­ticed be­fore hand­ing over to the seven-yearold (though he loves it). Roddy Doyle’s funny lit­tle book Two Pints is a se­ries of con­ver­sa­tions be­tween two blokes in a Dublin pub, their sub­jects ripped for the head­lines. You can’t get more sum­mer than 101 Best Aus­tra- lian Beaches, edited by Andy Short and Brad Farmer, a glove­box-sized book that makes you want to jump in the car and drive some­where won­der­ful. And how can we end the year with­out men­tion­ing EL James’s erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey? Surely not even Alan Jones thinks 20 mil­lion women can be wrong. And while women have been the big buy­ers of this book, men should con­sider this: put a copy in her Christ­mas stock­ing and maybe later on she will show you her garters.

That’s it. Happy hol­i­day read­ing to all.

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