100 books like Coonardoo

By Katharine Susannah Prichard,

Here are 100 books that Coonardoo fans have personally recommended if you like Coonardoo. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Heart of Darkness

S.J. Butler Author Of Last Orders

From my list on stories of human adventures written in a captivating style.

Who am I?

Having written in the genre of psychological/crime thriller fiction for some years, I am always drawn to original voices, particularly those who are prepared to go that extra mile to produce something fresh or a concept that hasn’t been touched on before. With this kind of writing, it is quite easy to get pigeonholed, and the author has to be as meticulously authentic as they possibly can. Thinking and then using the absurd in writing is probably the best endorsement for any book; the stranger, the better. In this modern, media-fueled world, you always have to go to different places and ignite new ideas and narratives. 

S.J.'s book list on stories of human adventures written in a captivating style

S.J. Butler Why did S.J. love this book?

Joseph Conrad is the grand master of storytelling! A captivating read for those who love this genre of writing, it's totally addictive from beginning to end. It's a story that you never tire of returning to (I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve read it).

If you are interested in humanity and, in particular, man’s inhumanity to man, you will love this novel. Being that the film Apocalypse Now was based on this story shows its importance.

It's a delightful, must-read, a great start for any reader indulging in Conrad for the first time. I’m a real fan. He is someone who has definitely influenced me as a writer.

By Joseph Conrad,

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked Heart of Darkness as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Although Polish by birth, Joseph Conrad (1857–1924) is regarded as one of the greatest writers in English, and Heart of Darkness, first published in 1902, is considered by many his "most famous, finest, and most enigmatic story." — Encyclopaedia Britannica. The tale concerns the journey of the narrator (Marlow) up the Congo River on behalf of a Belgian trading company. Far upriver, he encounters the mysterious Kurtz, an ivory trader who exercises an almost godlike sway over the inhabitants of the region. Both repelled and fascinated by the man, Marlow is brought face to face with the corruption and despair…


Book cover of The History of Mary Prince, a West Indian Slave, Related by Herself

Angela Woollacott Author Of Gender and Empire

From my list on how gender helped empires to rule the world.

Who am I?

I’ve been teaching university courses on gender and colonialism for about thirty years. I find students engage with the stories of the daily lived reality of women and men in the past. The books on my list are ones I have assigned at universities in two different countries. It’s so powerful to read someone’s own story from centuries ago, in their own words, like that of Mary Prince. While I love to recommend fiction to history students, I’ve always been fussy about only assigning novels set in a time period and context that the author knew first-hand. It makes these stories—like Heart of Darkness, Burmese Days, and Coonardoo—truly historical evidence. 

Angela's book list on how gender helped empires to rule the world

Angela Woollacott Why did Angela love this book?

We all know that slavery was practised by many empires through world history, but it is rare to find the voice and life experience of someone who was enslaved. Literary scholar Moira Ferguson has edited and republished the memoir of Mary Prince, who was born into slavery in Bermuda but escaped in 1828 when her owners took her to London. Mary Prince found refuge with anti-slavery reformers, who wrote down and published her account of her life. I find it a searing account of how enslaved people were torn from their own families and loved ones, and the brutality of their lives in the Caribbean. Be warned: the sexual assault, violence, and cruelty are shocking. But if you want to know about slavery, this book will tell you.

By Mary Prince,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The History of Mary Prince, a West Indian Slave, Related by Herself as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Mary Prince was the first black British woman to escape from slavery and publish a record of her experiences. In this unique document, Mary Prince vividly recalls her life as a slave in Bermuda, Turks Island, and Antigua, her rebellion against physical and psychological degradation, and her eventual escape to London in 1828.

First published in London and Edinburgh in 1831, and well into its third edition that year, The History of Mary Prince inflamed public opinion and created political havoc. Never before had the sufferings and indignities of enslavement been seen through the eyes of a woman-a woman struggling…


Book cover of Burmese Days

Ron Emmons Author Of Teak Lord

From my list on exploring colonialism in Southeast Asia.

Who am I?

During 30 years living in Chiang Mai, Thailand, I have developed a deep appreciation of Northern Thai culture and a fascination with its 700-year history. Though the region escaped being colonised as were nearby Laos (by the French) and Burma (by the Brits), a teak boom in the late 19th century came close to pulling it under the colonial yoke as Western trading companies muscled in. Teak Lord explores the frequently fragile relationships between circumspect Asians and adventurous Westerners, against a background of shifting borders and impenetrable jungle.

Ron's book list on exploring colonialism in Southeast Asia

Ron Emmons Why did Ron love this book?

A lifelong hero of mine, George Orwell is best known for his political allegories Animal Farm and 1984, but his first published novel, written after a five-year stint as a policeman in Burma, gave an indication of his direction as a writer, with a vicious swipe at colonial attitudes and manners. The main character, John Flory, is a jaded teak merchant who detests the colonial “lie that we’re here to uplift our Black brothers instead of to rob them”. He has no friends at the local colonial club, is unlucky in love and meets a tragic end—all part of Orwell’s drive to “tell it like it is.”

By George Orwell,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Burmese Days as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Honest and evocative, George Orwell's first novel is an examination of the debasing effect of empire on occupied and occupier.

Burmese Days focuses on a handful of Englishmen who meet at the European Club to drink whisky and to alleviate the acute and unspoken loneliness of life in 1920s Burma-where Orwell himself served as an imperial policeman-during the waning days of British imperialism.

One of the men, James Flory, a timber merchant, has grown soft, clearly comprehending the futility of England's rule. However, he lacks the fortitude to stand up for his Indian friend, Dr. Veraswami, for admittance into the…


Book cover of Black Skin, White Masks

Ilan Kapoor Author Of Global Libidinal Economy

From my list on psychoanalysis and politics.

Who am I?

I am a scholar of global politics, and I am drawn to psychoanalysis because it studies the unseen in politics, or rather, those things that are often in plain sight but remain unacknowledged. For example, why is it that, especially in this information economy, we are well aware of the inequality and environmental destruction that our current capitalist system is based on, but we still continue to invest in it (through shopping, taking out loans, using credit cards, etc.)? Psychoanalysis says that it's because we are unconsciously seduced by capitalism—we love shopping despite knowing about the socioeconomic and environmental dangers of doing it. I’m fascinated by that process of disavowal.

Ilan's book list on psychoanalysis and politics

Ilan Kapoor Why did Ilan love this book?

This is one of the first books that “blew my mind” when I was a young university student: it remains the one I constantly return to because it seeks to understand the psychoanalytic foundations of racism under French colonialism.

Fanon was only 27 when his book was first published in 1952, but his reflections provide a stunningly passionate and layered view on how anti-Black racism (de)forms the subjectivity of both white and Black people, locking them into constructions of whiteness/blackness that require constant questioning.

His arguments on the psychoanalytic and political underpinnings of racism remain as relevant today as they were in his time.

By Frantz Fanon, Richard Philcox (translator),

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Black Skin, White Masks as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Few modern voices have had as profound an impact on the black identity and critical race theory as Frantz Fanon, and Black Skin, White Masks  represents some of his most important work. Fanon’s masterwork is now available in a new translation that updates its language for a new generation of readers.
A major influence on civil rights, anti-colonial, and black consciousness movements around the world, Black Skin, White Masks is the unsurpassed study of the black psyche in a white world. Hailed for its scientific analysis and poetic grace when it was first published in 1952, the book remains a…


Book cover of Aboriginal People and Australian Football in the Nineteenth Century: They Did Not Come from Nowhere

Wray Vamplew Author Of Games People Played: A Global History of Sports

From my list on history books to find out why sport matters.

Who am I?

I love sport. I played my last game of cricket when I was 69 and, as I approach my eightieth year, I continue to play golf, confusing my partners by switching from right to left hand when chipping and putting. I like watching sport but prefer to spectate via television rather than being there. I confess I do not fully understand American sports: I cannot fathom why a hit over the fence in baseball can score 1, 2, 3, or 4 rather than the undisputed 6 of cricket; and, while I admire the strategies of American football, I wonder why a ‘touchdown’ does not actually involve touching down.

Wray's book list on history books to find out why sport matters

Wray Vamplew Why did Wray love this book?

Indigenous populations too have had a raw deal: from settlers who took their land and from those who felt they knew what was best for them. Although among the lesser sinners, sports historians have disregarded their traditional sports and focussed on their participation in sports imposed on them by invading powers. In contrast, Australian Aborigines feature in Roy Hay’s book as sportspersons in their own right. Hay shows that they were human beings who performed a constructive role in Australia’s sporting history. He does this not as a woke, bleeding heart academic but as a historian determined to unearth the ‘true’ story of Aboriginal participation in Australian Rules Football. As an Australian citizen I wanted to read this story.

By Roy Hay,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Aboriginal People and Australian Football in the Nineteenth Century as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book will revolutionise the history of Indigenous involvement in Australian football in the second half of the nineteenth century. It collects new evidence to show how Aboriginal people saw the cricket and football played by those who had taken their land and resources and forced their way into them in the missions and stations around the peripheries of Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia. They learned the game and brought their own skills to it, eventually winning local leagues and earning the respect of their contemporaries. They were prevented from reaching higher levels by the gatekeepers of the domestic…


Book cover of Red Dog

Sally Muir Author Of Rescue Dogs

From my list on dog heroes.

Who am I?

I love dogs and I love books, so the combination is always beguiling to me. I have recently published my third book of dog art Rescue Dogs, I asked people to send me photos of their rescues, and as I now realise, all rescues come with a story, so they came with an extraordinary collection of stories about where they came from, how they were found, character sketches and descriptions of their idiosyncrasies. I realised that some of my favourite books have dogs heroes, there are 5 here but there could have been many many more.

Sally's book list on dog heroes

Sally Muir Why did Sally love this book?

This is a briliant and unusual book by the writer of the highly successful Captain Correlli’s Mandolin.

It’s the true story of a wonderfully independent Red Kelpie, who hitches rides all over Western Australia, moving in with people for a while then moving on. He becomes a legend in the area, and there is a statue of him in his hometown.

It’s a timeless piece of modern folklore and a hymn to the wandering spirit of this extraordinary little dog, captured beautifully by de Bernieres.

By Louis de Bernieres,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Red Dog as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The enchanting story of a very remarkable dog from the author of the bestselling Captain Corelli's Mandolin.

'In early 1998 I went to Perth in Western Australia in order to attend the literature festival, and part of the arrangement was that I should go to Karratha to do their first ever literary dinner. Karratha is a mining town a long way further north. The landscape is extraordinary, being composed of vast heaps of dark red earth and rock poking out of the never-ending bush.

I imagine that Mars must have a similar feel to it. I went exploring and discovered…


Book cover of Amanda in Arabia

Sandra Bennett Author Of Secrets Hidden Below

From my list on for children that love to travel around the world.

Who am I?

I am an adventurous exploring soul who loves nature. Whether it’s simple short drives discovering little country towns in my region or travelling further afield, I am in my happy place. As a mother of three grown sons, two of which were reluctant readers, and as a former primary school teacher with a passion for literacy, I know the struggle parents face with teaching a love of reading to their children. Writing adventure stories in unique settings around the world combines my love for travel and early literacy. My adventures help to intrigue children and hook them into reading while fulfilling a fascination with unfamiliar places and developing their imagination with mystery and intrigue.

Sandra's book list on for children that love to travel around the world

Sandra Bennett Why did Sandra love this book?

Have you ever ridden a camel in the desert? I admit I have not been to Arabia, but I did ride a camel along the beach at sunset in Western Australia. I know the smell, the bumping from side to side, and the resulting aching bottom. That experience, while I did enjoy it, is not one I wish to repeat in a hurry. To read about it from a comfy chair at home is my preferred option. Amanda takes us on an unforgettable ride through history and culture, complete with intrigue, action, and drama for everyone. I tend to read adventure books with male protagonists because I have three sons and know they would prefer to read about boys, so to read a story with a female hero is delightfully refreshing. 

By Darlene Foster,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Amanda in Arabia as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Be prepared to learn a lot about the culture while you follow Amanda on her adventure.”—Laura Best, author, Bitter, Sweet

“What a great way for a young person to learn about a culture and to be inspired to experience other countries themselves."—Irene Butler, author, Trekking the Globe with Mostly Gentle Footsteps

Amanda Ross is an average twelve year old Canadian girl. So what is she doing thousands of kilometres from home in the United Arab Emirates? It's her own fault really, she wished for adventure and travel when she blew out those candles on her last birthday cake. Little did…


Book cover of Dirt Music

Olivia Levez Author Of The Island

From my list on to survive desert islands, life, and everything.

Who am I?

Both my books have a survival theme. Whether it’s foraging for mushrooms, wild camping, or trying to survive lockdown, I’ve always been interested in the relationship between endurance and creativity; what happens when humans are pushed to their limits. After teaching English in a secondary school for 25 years, I decided that I wanted to write a book of my own. I hid away in my caravan in West Wales, living off tomato soup and marshmallows, to write The IslandThe books on this list represent the full gamut of survival: stripping yourself raw, learning nature’s lore, healing, falling, getting back up again. Ultimately, to read is to escape into story. To read is to survive.

Olivia's book list on to survive desert islands, life, and everything

Olivia Levez Why did Olivia love this book?

I just love this book. Again, it’s set against such an evocative landscape – this time in Western Australia. It tells the story of a tentative love affair between a reckless poacher and the wife of a wealthy landowner – and the inevitable fall-out. There’s even a soundtrack to go with it – Winton’s a musician too.

The writing’s so pitch-perfect that I had to keep stopping to scribble phrases down. It’s that good. Why is it about survival? As well as Luther Fox, the poacher, struggling to get over the tragedy of his past, the last third of the book focuses on his walkabout up north to Coronation Island, where he deliberately shipwrecks himself. Cue the wilderness: scavenging, hunting, sheltering. True, haunting, survival in its rawest sense as he battles to redemption.

By Tim Winton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Dirt Music as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Georgie Jutland is a mess. At forty, with her career in ruins, she finds herself stranded in White Point with a fisherman she doesn't love and two kids whose dead mother she can never replace. Her days have fallen into domestic tedium and social isolation. Her nights are a blur of vodka and pointless loitering in cyberspace. Leached of all confidence, Georgie has lost her way; she barely recognises herself.

One morning, in the boozy pre-dawn gloom, she looks up from the computer screen to see a shadow lurking on the beach below, and a dangerous new element enters her…


Book cover of The Boy from the Mish

Tobias Madden Author Of Anything But Fine

From my list on growing up gay in Australia.

Who am I?

As someone who grew up in Australia without any gay literary characters to relate to, I’m incredibly passionate about queer stories set in our beautiful country. We now have a wealth of brilliant books by LGBTQ+ authors, and I hope that by sharing my recommendations, our stories find even more of the readers they’re meant to find. I’ve focused on books featuring gay male protagonists, as that’s how I identify, and they’re the type of queer stories I relate to the most. Some of the books are fiction, others are memoir, some are written for teens and others are for adults, but all of them share an incredible level of authenticity.

Tobias' book list on growing up gay in Australia

Tobias Madden Why did Tobias love this book?

This is a heartwarming contemporary story about a gay Aboriginal teen exploring his sexuality and falling in love for the first time, set against the vivid backdrop of a fictional, rural Indigenous community. It’s evocative and heady and compelling. It’s one of those stories that makes you want to reach into the book and hug all the characters and tell them everything is going to be okay. Such an important story from a brilliant new voice in Australian YA.

By Gary Lonesborough,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Boy from the Mish as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

SHORTLISTED: 2022 CBCA Book of the Year, Older Readers

'I don't paint so much anymore,' I say, looking to my feet.

'Oh. Well, I got a boy who needs to do some art. You can help him out,' Aunty Pam says, like I have no say in the matter, like she didn't hear what I just said about not painting so much anymore. 'Jackson, this is Tomas. He's living with me for a little while.'

It's a hot summer, and life's going all right for Jackson and his family on the Mish. It's almost Christmas, school's out, and he's hanging…


Book cover of The Territory

Alison Booth Author Of The Philosopher's Daughters

From my list on historical women at the Australian frontier.

Who am I?

What makes me passionate about this topic is the racism I’ve witnessed, the books I’ve read, and my deep love of landscape. Australia is a nation built on immigration but it’s also a land with an ancient Indigenous culture, and this is reflected in the books on my list. Born in Melbourne, I grew up in Sydney, and then lived for some years in the UK. I hold a PhD from the London School of Economics and I’m a professor at the Australian National University. I do hope you enjoy the books on my list as much as I have.

Alison's book list on historical women at the Australian frontier

Alison Booth Why did Alison love this book?

Although The Territory was published in the 1940s, the book is as vivid as if it came out last year. Neither a novel nor a history, it is an evocative account of Ernestine Hill’s extensive travels around Northern Australia, the Aboriginal and white people she met, the stories she came across, and the joys and hardships she faced. I view it as essential reading for anyone planning to visit the Top End of Australia. I first read it while I was mapping out the plot of my own book, and was blown away by Ernestine Hill’s evocation of The Territory

By Ernestine Hill,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Territory as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Timeless because it is history, timelessly popular because it is so full of life, colour and adventure. This is the story of the first 100 years of white exploration, pioneering and settlement in Australian tropic north.


5 book lists we think you will like!

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