Author Mary-Anne O’Connor Reminds us that The Oldest Cure for Boredom is in the Book

Author Mary-Anne O’Connor Reminds us that The Oldest Cure for Boredom is in the Book

Authors are used to being in isolation – their work often demands it and their natures often crave it. Our current circumstances with the coronavirus are new to us all. Over the coming week, we’ll have some of your favourite authors sending through messages and tips, and generally reaching out. While we might be isolated, together we can do this.

Mary-Anne O’Connor shares some of her favourite reads

Having to self-isolate is confronting. Not only are we told to bunker down under forts made of toilet paper and baked beans and be self-sufficient re food and supplies, we are also being challenged to wait it out.

Waiting. It seems to be a lost art, although we were rather adept it at before the days of being constantly plugged in and having our world dictated by screens. These days, once you’ve dropped your phone on your forehead a few times, dozing off from online monotony, waiting is trickier. There’s only so many social media feeds, same-old news stories and Netflix marathons you can occupy yourself with, right?

Enter that wondrous, magic cure for boredom that captivated so many of us in our youth: reading.

The oldest cure in the book IS the book, for what can be more deliciously escapist than falling into hours of imagery and emotion, sparked by the joining of two imaginative worlds: your own and the authors?

So, with no further ado, I present to you six books I have fallen in love with over the years – both classic and modern, stories that made me want to become an author myself, and worlds I have never quite left. Enjoy your time with them – all that isolation can be rather wonderfully wasted with the simplest cure to boredom of all:

A couch, a cuppa and a good old book.

THREE ALL-TIME CLASSIC READS:

Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte
Often claimed to be the first ever feminist novel, this is one of the most moving if melodramatic stories I have ever read. Young girl that I was, I’d clench my fist with Jane with tears in my eyes as she fought for her rights in a world where so few were afforded her. I read it again as a grown woman and felt the same way. Outrageous, windswept and sublime – perfect Autumn reading.

Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott
Another childhood favourite and must re-read! The character of Josephine March so engrossed me as a girl, it actually inspired me to be a writer, so it’s little wonder I like to go back and visit with her up in her attic as she scribbles away at masterpieces. It will make you long, it will make you laugh and it will make you cry so hard you’ll need to use some of that precious toilet paper stash.

Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen

Well, Miss Austen ruined us all for men for decades, didn’t she? How dare she make our dream man a pompous, contrary character like Mr Darcy…and yet. Oh, let’s face it, we all fall in love with him in the end – and how we laugh along the way! Brilliant storytelling and deceptively light with unforgettable characters throughout. Love, love, love.

THREE MODERN MUST READS:

Gravity is the Thing, by Jaclyn Moriarty

This is an unusual and whimsical tale that I drifted into and could not put down. Original and unlike anything I have read before, Moriarty leads you on a journey that is almost dreamlike yet set in modern reality. I had no idea where she was taking me but I didn’t care, happy to drift along. Many wonderful local references for an Aussie girl too. Five stars – so good.

Bridget Jones’s Diary, by Helen Fielding
If I didn’t know better, I would suspect that Fielding studied me under hidden cameras when penning this character – so relatable, and so laugh-out-loud funny because of it, Bridget Jones is deservedly a much-loved modern classic. It’s somewhat of a shame that many people have relied on the movie for this much larger story – the book really is better than the film, as much as I love them both. Just don’t read it in public. People will think you’ve had four wines today.

Jasper Jones, by Craig Silvey
I read the first page of this book three times, not because I couldn’t decide if I could sink my teeth in, but because I was so in awe of the writing I could barely stand to leave the page. Jasper Jones is the tale of a teenage boy called Charlie Bucktin who lives in a country town in Australia in 1965. He’s geeky, smart and completely hilarious, and I became so heavily invested in him that I completely forgot that I was a middle-aged woman for a while. It’s an incredibly moving story with both tragedy and injustice entwined, but it’s also laugh-out-loud funny too. Simply wonderful Australian storytelling.

Check out Mary-Anne O’Connor’s book In a Great Southern Land here.

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                    Synopsis

                    From the soft green hills of Ireland to the wild Shipwreck Coast of southern Victoria, the rich farm lands of New South Wales to the sudden battlefields of Ballarat, this is an epic story of the cost of freedom and the value of love in a far-flung corner of the world where a new nation struggles to be born.1851: After the death of her father, young Eve Richards is destitute. Her struggle to survive sees her deported in chains to the colony of New South Wales, penniless and alone. But here in this strange new world fortune smiles on the spirited, clever Eve in the shape of a respectable job offer that will lead to a quiet, secure life. Then the fiery and charismatic Irishman Kieran Clancy crosses her path...For Kieran Clancy, the kindest man on earth, and his brother Liam, the promise of free passage and land in this brave new world is a chance to leave the grief and starvation of County Clare behind. But while Liam works to farm their land, Kieran has the fire of gold-fever upon him and is drawn to the goldfields of Ballarat. As tensions grow on the goldfields, and with the blood of an Irish rebel still beating through his heart, Kieran finds himself caught up in the cataclysmic events at the Eureka Stockade and faces the decision of a lifetime: whether or not, when it comes to love, blood will remain thicker than water...
                    Mary-Anne O'Connor
                    About the author

                    Mary-Anne O'Connor

                    Bestselling author Mary-Anne O'Connor has a combined arts education degree with specialties in environment, music and literature. After a successful marketing career she now focuses on writing fiction and non-fiction as well as public speaking.Mary-Anne lives in a house overlooking her beloved bushland in northern Sydney with her husband Anthony, their two sons Jimmy and Jack, and their very spoilt dog Saxon. Her previous novels are Gallipoli Street (2015), Worth Fighting For (2016), War Flower (2017) and In a Great Southern Land (2019).

                    Books by Mary-Anne O'Connor

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                    1. helen morgan says:

                      I have read all of these and enjoyed them immensely