His attractive wife and their children turned away from him in horror. Friends dropped away. At the peak of his power, surrounded by bootlickers, West faced a hate-filled nation — and the terrible loneliness of his life. Was John West a real figure? After a national uproar which rocked the very foundations of the Commonwealth, Frank Hardy was acquitted.
This is the novel which provoked such intense uproar and debate across the nation. The questions it poses remain unanswered…. Get your copy of Power Without Glory here. The Newby women are murdered and Jimmie flees, pursued by police and vigilantes. The hunt intensifies as further murders are committed, and concludes with tragic results.
Get your copy of The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith here. Helen has little idea what lies ahead when she offers her spare room to an old friend of fifteen years. Nicola has arrived in the city for treatment for cancer. Sceptical of the medical establishment, placing all her faith in an alternative health centre, Nicola is determined to find her own way to deal with her illness, regardless of the advice that Helen can offer.
Get your copy of The Spare Room here. The clever and highly imaginative Laura has difficulty fitting in with her wealthy classmates and begins to compromise her ideals in her search for popularity and acceptance. Get your copy of The Getting of Wisdom here. To Peekay, a seven-year-old boy who dreams of being the welterweight champion of the world, this is a piece of advice that he will carry with him throughout his life. Born in a South Africa divided by racism and hatred, this one small boy will come to lead all the tribes of Africa.
And in a final conflict with his childhood enemy, the Judge, Peekay will fight to the death for justice. Get your copy of The Power of One here. On a country property a man named Holland lives with his daughter Ellen. Over the years, as she grows into a beautiful young woman, he plants hundreds of different gum trees on his land. When Ellen is nineteen her father announces his decision: she will marry the man who can name all his species of eucalypt, down to the last tree. Suitors emerge from all corners, including the formidable, straight-backed Mr Cave, world expert on the varieties of eucalypt.
It is both a modern fairy tale and an unpredictable love story played out against the spearing light and broken shadows of country Australia. Get your copy of Eucalyptus here. In True History of the Kelly Gang , the legendary Ned Kelly speaks for himself, scribbling his narrative on errant scraps of paper in semi-literate but magically descriptive prose as he flees from the police.
To his pursuers, Kelly is nothing but a monstrous criminal, a thief and a murderer. To his own people, the lowly class of ordinary Australians, the bushranger is a hero, defying the authority of the English to direct their lives. Indentured by his bootlegger mother to a famous horse thief who was also her lover , Ned saw his first prison cell at 15 and by the age of 26 had become the most wanted man in the wild colony of Victoria, taking over whole towns and defying the law until he was finally captured and hanged.
Get your copy of the True History of the Kelly Gang here. Joe Cashin was different once. He moved easily then; was surer and less thoughtful. For Cashin, they included a posting away from the world of Homicide to the quiet place on the coast where he grew up. Now all he has to do is play the country cop and walk the dogs. And sometimes think about how he was before. Then prominent local Charles Bourgoyne is bashed and left for dead. Everything seems to point to three boys from the nearby Aboriginal community; everyone seems to want it to.
But Cashin is unconvinced. And as tragedy unfolds relentlessly into tragedy, he finds himself holding onto something that might be better let go. It is a work as moving as it is gripping, and one that defies the boundaries of genre. Get your copy of The Broken Shore here. In Jeannie Gunn, a Melbourne schoolteacher, went with her new husband to live on the remote Elsey cattle station near the Roper River in the Northern Territory. Though she spent little more than a year there, her experiences in the outback and her contact with the local Aborigines impressed her deeply, and on her return to Melbourne she set down her recollections in two books, We of the Never Never and the Little Black Princess.
These books have become classics of Australian literature, beloved by generations. Get your copy of We of the Never Never here. Set among the surf and sandhills of the Australian beach — and the tidal changes of three generations of the Lang family — this bestselling collection of short stories is an Australian classic. The Bodysurfers vividly evokes the beach, with the scent of the suntan oil, the sting of the sun and a lazy sensuality, all the while hinting at a deep undercurrent of suburban malaise.
From first publication, these poignant and seductive stories marked a major change in Australian literature. Get your copy of The Bodysurfers here. Liza used to say that she saw her past life as a string of roughly-graded balls, and so did Hilda have a linear conception of hers, thinking of it as a track with detours.
But for some years now I have likened mine to a globe suspended in my head, and ever since the shocking realisation that waste is irretrievalbe, I have been careful not to let this globe spin to expose the nether side on which my marriage has left its multitude of images. Nora Porteous has spent most of her life waiting to escape. Fleeing from her small-town family and then from her stifling marriage to a mean-spirited husband, Nora arrives finally in London where she creates a new life for herself as a successful dressmaker.
But Nora has been away a long time, and the people and events of her past are not at all like she remembered them. Get your copy of Tirra Lirra by the River here. Everyone has their cross to bear — their swag, their shiralee — and for Macauley, walking across New South Wales in search of work, it is his young daughter who has to suffer his resentment at having her in tow. But then, he discovers that the ties that bind can be as much a comfort as a burden, and what he thought of as his Shiralee could be the one thing that will save him from himself.
This classic Australian novel perfectly captures the spirit of the bush and the tough, resilient people of the outback. Get your copy of The Shiralee here.
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This astonishing range is topped and tailed by accounts of the uneasy reunion of a young Vietnamese writer in America with his ex-soldier father, and by the title story — the escape of a group of exhausted refugees from the Vietcong in a wallowing boat. But this criminally talented year-old can do that as well. Get your copy of The Boat here. In William Thornhill, a man of quick temper and deep feelings, is transported from the slums of London to New South Wales for the term of his natural life.
With his wife Sal and their children he arrives in a harsh land he cannot understand. But the colony can turn a convict into a free man. Eight years later Thornhill sails up the Hawkesbury to claim a hundred acres for himself. Aboriginal people already live on that river. And other recent arrivals—Thomas Blackwood, Smasher Sullivan and Mrs Herring—are finding their own ways to respond to them. Thornhill, a man neither better nor worse than most, soon has to make the most difficult choice of his life.
Inspired by research into her own family history, Kate Grenville vividly creates the reality of settler life, its longings, dangers and dilemmas. The Secret River is a brilliantly written book, a ground-breaking story about identity, belonging and ownership.
Get your copy of The Secret River here.
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Treasured by readers around the world, this is the sweeping saga of three generations of the Cleary family. Stoic matriarch Fee, her devoted husband, Paddy, and their headstrong daughter, Meggie, experience joy, sadness and magnificent triumph in the cruel Australian outback. For Meggie loves Father Ralph de Bricassart, a man who wields enormous power within the Catholic church ….
As powerful, moving and unforgettable as when it originally appeared, The Thorn Birds remains a novel to be read … and read again. Get your copy of The Thorn Birds here. Arriving in Sydney just before WWII, Shannon, a dreamer and idealist takes on the world of politics, business, religion and men. At a remote ice station in Antarctica, a team of US scientists has made an amazing discovery. They have found something buried deep within a million-year-old layer of ice. Led by the enigmatic Lieutenant Shane Schofield, a team of crack United States Marines is sent to the station to secure this discovery for their country.
They are a tight unit, tough and fearless. They would follow their leader into hell. They just did. Get your copy of Ice Station here. As Voss is tested by hardship, mutiny, and betrayal during his crossing of the brutal Australian desert, Laura awaits his return in Sydney, where she endures their months of separation as if her life were a dream and Voss the only reality. Marrying a sensitive rendering of hidden love with a stark adventure narrative, Voss is a novel of extraordinary power and virtuosity from a twentieth-century master.
Get your copy of Voss here. The occasion is a piano lesson, the first of many…. Get your copy of Maestro here. Once upon a time that was called , before all fishes in the sea and all living things on the land were destroyed, there was a man named William Buelow Gould, a white convict who fell in love with a black woman and discovered too late that to love is not safe. Silly Billy Gould, invader of Australia, liar, murderer and forger, was condemned to the most feared penal colony in the British Empire and there ordered to paint a book of fish.
Praise is an utterly frank and darkly humorous novel about being young in the Australia of the s. A time when the dole was easier to get than a job, when heroin was better known than ecstasy, and when ambition was the dirtiest of words. A time when, for two hopeless souls, sex and dependence were the only lifelines. Get your copy of Praise here. Abandoned in a big city at the onset of winter, a hungry four-year-old boy follows a stray dog to her lair. Weak and hairless, with his useless nose and blunt little teeth, Romochka is ashamed of what a poor dog he makes.
Fortunately—because one day Romochka will have to learn how to be a boy. The story of the child raised by beasts is timeless. But in Dog Boy Eva Hornung has created such a vivid and original telling, so viscerally convincing, that it becomes not just new but definitive:. Get your copy of Dog Boy here. From the sensuality of his early boyhood experiences, Porter travels ever-observantly through his Baimsdale school years to his first job as a cadet reporter.
I also wanted to shame the publishers for letting something this valuable, and loved, drop out of print. In a world struggling back from the brink of apocalypse, life is harsh. But for Elspeth Gordie, born with enhanced mental abilities that would see her sterilised or burned if discovered, it is also dangerous. There is only survival by secrecy, and so she determines never to use her forbidden powers. But it is as if they have their own imperative, and their use inevitably brings her to the attention of the totalitarian Council that rules the Land.
On the verge of her fourteenth birthday, Plum knows her life will change. But she has no idea how.
Over the coming weeks, her beautiful neighbour Maureen will show her how she might fly. Her adored older brothers will court catastrophe in worlds that she barely knows exist. And her friends — her worst enemies — will tease and test, smelling weakness. They will try to lead her on and take her down.
Get your copy of Butterfly here. He taught his son always to make up his mind, and then change it.
An impossible, brilliant, restless man, he just wanted the world to listen to him — and the trouble started when the world did. As a boy, Terry was the local sporting hero. Now that his father is dead, Jasper can try making some sense of his outrageous schemes to make the world a better place. Haunted by his own mysteriously missing mother and a strange recurring vision, Jasper has one abiding question: Is he doomed to become the lunatic who raised him, or a different kind of lunatic entirely?
Get your copy of A Fraction of the Whole here. The car is packed to capacity, and as midnight approaches, a family flees the city in a fit of panic and paranoid, conflicting emotions. The ensuing journey spans decades and offers a sharp-eyed perspective on a hardscrabble future, as a boy jettisons his family and all other ties in order to survive as a journeyman in an uncertain landscape. By turns led by love, larceny, and a new sexual order, he must avoid capture and imprisonment, starvation, pandemic, and some particularly bad weather.
Wresting his family from the easy living of nineteenth-century Sydney, Cornelius Laffey takes them to northern Queensland where thousands of hopefuls are digging for gold in the mud. They confront the horror of Aboriginal dispossession, and Cornelius is sacked for reporting the slaughter. White Gardenia sweeps across cultures and continents, from the glamorous nightclubs of Shanghai to the harshness of Cold War Soviet Russia in the s, from a desolate island in the Pacific Ocean to a new life in post-war Australia.
Both mother and daughter must make sacrifices, but is the price too high? Most importantly of all, will they ever find each other again? Rich in incident and historical detail, this is a compelling and beautifully written tale about yearning and forgiveness. Get your copy of White Gardenia here. In this exquisite gem of a novel, Achilles is maddened by grief at the death of his friend Patroclus. There must be a way, he thinks, of reclaiming the body — of pitting compromise against heroics, new ways against the old, and of forcing the hand of fate. Dressed simply and in a cart pulled by a mule, an old man sets off for the Greek camp ….
Get your copy of Ransom here. An outstanding literary achievement, meticulously researched and deeply felt, its portrait of the earliest days of the European settlement of Australia remains unrivalled. These were times of hardship, cruelty and danger. Above all, they were times of conflict between the Aborigines and the white settlers. Eleanor Dark brings alive those bitter years with moments of tenderness and conciliation amid the brutality and hostility.
The cast of characters includes figures historical and fictional, black and white, convict and settler. Get your copy of The Timeless Land here. A young woman pushed through the hospital doors. Staff would later say they thought the woman was a new mother, returning to her child — and in a way, she was. She walked into the nursery, where a baby girl lay sleeping. There is CCTV footage of what happened next, and most Australians would have seen it, either on the internet or the news.
The woman walked out to the car park, towards an old Corolla. For a moment, she held the child gently against her breast and, with her eyes closed, she smelled her. Diamond Dove is a great fun read, a crime novel with a true larrikin spirit. That means it has real wit; dry, earthy and with no bullshit. Hyland has written the kind of book we need so much more of in this country. He quizzes the fraught, complex world of the outback with a critical eye but he also paints with rare clarity a picture of both black and white lives that is filled with compassion and affection.
Get your copy of Diamond Dove here. Disco Boy is a novel about putting things off. This is a laugh out loud funny, sweet and aware novel with poignant under tones. Everyone will identify to some degree with the lives of Paul, Zoe, Nige, Simon, Flea, Lucy well maybe not Lucy as they set out on their adult lives of discovering who they are supposed to be.
It is This Life in a book. Get your copy of Disco Boy here. The London season is in full fling at the end of the s, but the Honourable Phryne Fisher — she of the green-grey eyes, diamant garters and outfits that should not be sprung suddenly on those of nervous dispositions — is rapidly tiring of the tedium of arranging flowers, making polite conversations with retired colonels, and dancing with weak-chinned men. Instead, Phryne decides it might be rather amusing to try her hand at being a lady detective in Melbourne, Australia.
Almost immediately from the time she books into the Windsor Hotel, Phryne is embroiled in mystery: poisoned wives, cocaine smuggling rings, corrupt cops and communism — not to mention erotic encounters with the beautiful Russian dancer, Sasha de Lisse — until her adventure reaches its steamy end in the Turkish baths of Little Lonsdale Street. Those who are closest to him struggle to come to terms with their loss. Friendships are strained, marriages falter and loyalties are tested in a gripping and brilliantly crafted novel about loss, grief and desire. Told from the points of view of nine of the people who are mourning Rory, this riveting novel presents a vivid snapshot of contemporary suburban Australia and how we live now.
Marriage, friendship, family-all are dissected with great psychological insight as they start to unravel under the pressure of grief. The characters live on the page; their lives are unfolded and their dilemmas are as real as our own. Get your copy of Last Summer here. While still in his twenties, John Purcell opened a second-hand bookshop in Mosman, Sydney, in which he sat for ten years reading, ranting and writing. He lives in Sydney with his wife, two children, three dogs, five cats, unnumbered gold fish and his overlarge book collection.
Follow John: Twitter Website. Shit is reality TV. Lost… you get the drill. I edited that from the original post but forgot to edit it from the full fifty. After I wrote it I felt I was being shortsighted. So I cut it out. My bad. On the other hand, I am glad you found it. It tells me readers are not just skimming down the list. When I finished it I was convinced I would never read anything better.
I was wrong, of course. Watcher on the Cast Iron Balcony is ok. Quite obviously I have a different taste in literature than yourself Cheers Diane. OK list. These will be the biggest WA stories to hit the big screen, exciting stuff…. What about the merrygoround by the sea. A wonderful piece of literature. Any thoughts? I think Hal Porter snuck in because most considered that a novel.
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I love A Fortunate Life and believe everyone should read it. No Morris West book included? Shoes of the Fisherman has never been out of print and is still considered to be the pope of all papal fiction!! It would be interesting to do a tally of some kind to see how many historical, how many about the outback etc are featured.
I have a feeling Australian novelists have been accused of obsessing over human vs landscape as a theme. Which is interesting since most Australians live in cities. Echo the call for My Place. Just alerting any readers to my most recent novel which is set in Little Lon Is he writing the sequel because if it is half as good it will be brilliant. Surpising choices for Patrick White and Peter Malouf, but on the whole a great list.
How embarassing — I looked through the list again and saw that the getting of wisdom is included. Forgive my rashness! The media made it a bigger hit due to content and although the subject was a great choice, I felt the book was disappointing. Definitely not in the same league as other choices. I both loved and hated The Slap. Many acquaintances were reading it at the same time, and there was much passionate debate and argument about the issues that Tsiolkas raised, the characters attitudes and behaviours, their origins. A great work of art is one that challenges the reader, creates unease and discomfort and this certainly did that.
On an entirely different note I was delighted to see Kylie Tennant included in the Great list. I have read eleven of the entries and have three more on my shelves waiting. I will keep this list for reference, thank you for doing all that works for us.
I agree, Gail Jones is fabulous. Hi Trish, I agree. I will be holding a new poll in the first days of January. Be sure to vote then. Thanks for your interest, John. Australian stories Tales From Oz. Diamond Dove — bright, breezy, dramatic and highly entertaining but surely not Top 50 material. Postage to the UK is expensive.
We cut it down to the bare minimum but we are not able to influence rates freight companies charge us. That day will come. Year of Wonders is one for example. Books by Australian writers were chosen. Australian writers have written wonderful books not set in Australia. I would not want to see them miss out being read because of that. We decided that only one book per author would be listed. Australian Contemporary Fiction - Underexposed! I have read 21 of these.
Now it is time to get a move on and try some of those I have missed. Thanks for the list. Shame on the publishers for dropping The Watcher on the Cast Iron Balcony, one of the best Australian books of all time. Great non-fiction book but novel! I have read Kal, Maralinga and Heritage. All books are a must read. If my mother had been more adventurous, I may have been an Aussie now. The Fatal Shore is missing on your list, which is a pity. You have to be kidding! Picnic at Hanging Rock as number two?
The Book Thief only at number three? I love it, but thought hardly anyone else knew it. However there is no mention that this is one that would get the Janet Evanovich fans into Australian fivtion…. Magnificent book. Also Captivity Captive by Rodney Hall? Beautiful writing. New Tim Winton novel due in October Rod Usher. All great novels. Please get him listed next time. A long time ago a read a novel about a rancher -based all on his development of his ranch and family dynasty. It covers before and after WW1. Would love to read it again. Its written in first person by the main character towards the end of his life from his hospital bed seeing all his family visitors and deciding who he should leave his property to- any suggestions?
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Derek spat into a napkin and rubbed his mouth hard. He glanced around to see who else had been watching. Matt leaned over and kissed her neck. He drew Josie to her feet and then turned to his friends. Zoe Patterson was wondering what it was like to kiss a guy who had braces. Not that it was a remote possibility for her anytime in the near future, but she figured that it was something she ought to consider before the moment actually caught her off guard. And honestly, was there any place better than a stupid math class to let your mind wander?
McCabe, who thought he was the Chris Rock of algebra, was doing his daily stand-up routine. As he turned to the board, Zoe looked up at the clock. She counted along with the second hand until it was on the dot and then popped out of her seat to hand Mr. McCabe a pass. Zoe hefted her backpack onto her shoulders and walked out of the classroom. She had to meet her mom in front of the school at — parking was killer, so it would be a drive-by pickup.
Mid-class, the halls were hollow and resonant; it felt like trudging through the belly of a whale. It was warm enough outside to unzip her jacket and tilt her face to the sky, thinking of summer and soccer camp and what it would be like when her palate expander was finally removed. Would they get stuck together like jammed gears and have to be taken to the Emergency room at the hospital, and how totally humiliating would that be? Zoe ran her tongue along the ragged metal fenceposts in her mouth. Maybe she should just temporarily join a convent. And just about then, something exploded. Patrick sat at a red light in his unmarked police car, waiting to turn onto the highway.
Beside him, on the passenger seat, was a paper bag with a brick of cocaine inside it. He fiddled with the volume button of the dispatch radio just in time to hear the fire department being sent to the high school for some kind of explosion. Probably the boiler; the school was old enough for its internal structure to be falling apart. The discharge of a gun in Sterling was rare enough to have him narrow his attention to the voice on the dispatch radio, waiting for an explanation.
Patrick wheeled the car in a U-turn and started toward the school with his lights flashing. Other voices began to transmit in static bursts: officers stating their positions in town; the on-duty supervisor trying to coordinate manpower and calling for mutual aid from Hanover and Lebanon.
Their voices knotted and tangled, blocking each other so that everything and nothing was being said at once. Once was in Maine, when a deadbeat dad had taken an officer hostage. Once was in Sterling, during a potential bank robbery that turned out to be a false alarm. Signal meant that everyone, immediately, was to get off the radio and free dispatch up for the emergency. It was a clear acknowledgment that what they were dealing with was not routine. Chaos was a constellation of students, running out of the school and trampling the injured.
Chaos was two girls, hugging each other and sobbing. Chaos was blood melting pink on the snow; it was the drip of parents that turned into a stream and then a raging river, screaming out the names of their missing children. Chaos was a TV camera in your face; not enough ambulances; not enough officers; and no plan for how to react when the world as you knew it went to pieces.
Patrick pulled halfway onto the sidewalk and grabbed his bulletproof vest from the back of the car. Already, adrenaline was pulsing through him, making the edges of his vision swim and his senses more acute. By the time the SWAT team got here, a hundred more shots might be fired; a kid might be killed. He drew his gun. Patrick pushed through the double doors, past students who were shoving each other in an effort to get outside.
Fire alarms blared, pulsing so loud that at first Patrick had to strain to hear the gunshots. He grabbed the coat of a boy streaking past him. The boy wrenched away from Patrick. Ceiling tiles had been shot off and a fine grey dust coated the broken bodies that lay twisted on the floor. Patrick ignored all of this, going against most of his training — running past doors that might hide a perp, disregarding rooms that should have been searched — instead driving toward the direction of the noise and the shrieks with his weapon drawn and his heart beating through every inch of his skin.
Turning a corner, Patrick slipped on blood and heard another gunshot — this one loud enough to ring in his ears like a nightmare. Gesturing to the two cops beside him, they swept into the open double doors of the gymnasium. Patrick scanned the space — the handful of sprawled bodies, the basketball cart overturned and the globes resting against the far wall — and no shooter.
Patrick spun around to the entrance again, to see if that was the case, and then heard another shot. It was a locker room, tiled white on the walls and the floor. He glanced down, saw the fanned spray of blood at his feet, and edged his gun around the corner wall.
Two bodies lay unmoving at one end of the locker room. At the other, closer to Patrick, a slight boy crouched beside a bank of lockers. He wore a t-shirt that read Have a Whale of a Time! He held a pistol up to his head with one shaking hand. A new rush of blood surged through Patrick.
Patrick let his forefinger brush gently against the trigger just as the boy opened his fingers wide as a starfish. The pistol fell to the floor, skittering across the tile. His head was spinning and his nose was running and his pulse was a military tattoo, but he could vaguely hear one of the other officers calling this in over the radio: Sterling, we have one in custody. Just as seamlessly as it had started, it was over — at least as much as something like this could be considered over, anytime soon.
He sank down to his knees, mostly because his legs simply gave out from underneath them, and pretended that this was intentional; that he wanted to check out the two bodies lying just feet away from the shooter. He was vaguely aware of the shooter being pushed out of the locker room by one of the officers, to a waiting cruiser downstairs.
A boy, dressed in a hockey jersey. There was a puddle of blood underneath his side, and a gunshot wound through his forehead. He turned the brim around in his hands, an imperfect circle. The girl lying next to him was face down, blood spreading out from beneath her temple. She was barefoot, and on her toenails was bright pink polish — just like the stuff Tara had put on Patrick.
It made his heart catch. This girl, just like his goddaughter and her brother and a million other kids in this country, had gotten up today and gone to school never imagining she would be in danger. She trusted all the grownups and teachers and principals to keep her safe. Stunned, Patrick knelt beside her. She touched her hand to her forehead, and when it came away oily with blood, she panicked. He should have stayed there, and waited for the medics to come get her.
He should have radioed for help. But should hardly seemed to apply anymore; and so Patrick lifted Josie into his arms. Have a roundtable discussion on the nonfiction aspects raised in the book, such as the role of defense attorneys, peer pressure and the quest for popularity, victimization and bullying, and how school shootings are portrayed in the media.
View a timeline of worldwide school shootings since In , I had the opportunity to witness a leadership conference in Connecticut, where seventy-five high school students from the greater Hartford, CT area all came together to discuss Improving School Climates, using 19 Minutes as a springboard for discussion. It was an amazing event to witness - to see kids committed to being the change they want to see in the world.
Visit teenadvice. It is simple to use and can be implemented in a variety of settings to solicit thoughtful and reflective information. It is an especially effective tool to use with middle and high school aged students. Physical set-up: Arrange a circle of chairs in the center of the room. The number of chairs should range from approximately a minimum of eight to a maximum of fifteen. The chairs should be filled with those who will be in the discussion except for one empty chair. So, for example, if twelve individuals will be part of the discussion, then thirteen chairs should be arranged in the circle.
All of those not participating in the discussion surround the center circle either sitting or standing. An identified moderator teacher facilitates the conversation. The empty chair thus allows any number of individuals not placed in the center circle to join the discussion as the conversation proceeds.
It is important that those sitting in the empty chair only make statements and not ask questions. The reason for this is to insure that the evolving conversation is not redirected by asking the participants in the center circle a question that would change the essential content of the existing discussion. If the fish bowl model is going to be used during a class period lasting approximately an hour, in general, about four to five questions can be posed.
Thus, four to five different core groups of discussants can be accommodated, always allowing for the inclusion of other individuals from the audience as they wish to join, and then leave the center circle. She expected the teacher to talk about a time-out chair, or some retributive punishment that would be handed out if Peter was again taunted by the in crowd.
Lacy blinked at her. When his food gets knocked on the floor, he should reciprocate?
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I can tell you what you want to hear. I can say that Peter is a wonderful child, which he is. He was staring in a way that cut her to the quick. Josie shivered. Can high school ever break down the barriers so that each and every student feels a part of the school? Peter leaned against a floor mat that had been strung on the wall, like the inside of an insane asylum.
A rubber room, where all hell could break loose. I wonder if anyone works any harder at anything than kids do at being popular. So how do you crack that inner sanctum? Selena sat down with the principal of Sterling High in his modified elementary school office. He reminded Selena of one of those freaky talking bears that had come onto the market when she was a kid — Teddy Ruxpin — which made it all the more strange when he started answering her questions about anti-bullying policies at the high school. McAllister stood up and pulled a file out of a cabinet.
He began to leaf through it, and then stopped at a page. He was put into detention for fighting in the halls. Josie already knew the answer. You were safe only as long as you hid your trust — at any moment someone might make you the laughingstock, because then they knew no one was laughing at them. Patrick felt his hands curl into fists. He knew, from interviewing hundreds of kids, that Drew Girard had stuffed Peter Houghton into lockers; had tripped him while he was walking down the stairs; had thrown spitballs into his hair. None of that condoned what Peter had done…but still. There was a kid rotting in jail; there were ten people decomposing in graves; there were dozens in rehab and corrective surgery; there were hundreds — like Josie — who still could not get through the day without bursting into tears; there were parents — like Alex — who trusted Diana to get justices done on their behalf.
And this little asshole was lying through his teeth. Diana looked up from her notes and stared at Drew. Drew glanced at Patrick and swallowed. Then he opened his mouth and started to speak. Like that. I got creamed for being a tattletale. Lacy had known Josie as a newborn, but also as a little girl and as a playmate for Peter. Because of this, there had been a point where she had viscerally hated Josie in a way that even Peter never seemed to, for being cruel enough to leave her son behind.
Talk about any time you have been a witness to the teasing of others. How did you feel? What did you do? Being unpopular was a communicable disease. Josie could remember Peter in elementary school, fashioning the tinfoil from his lunch sandwich into a beanie with antennae, and wearing it around the playground to try to pick up radio transmissions from aliens.
He never had. She had a sudden flash of him standing in the cafeteria, a statue with his hands trying to cover his groin, his pants pooled around his ankles. What responsibility do you have to a student who has difficulty being integrated into the social fabric of the school? Does that student have a responsibility to try to fit in? The correctional officers were just like the teachers — their job was to keep everyone in place, to feed them, and to make sure nobody got seriously hurt. Beyond that, you were left to your own devices. And like school, jail was an artificial society, with its own hierarchy and rules.
And as with high school, the only way to get through jail was to stick it out and do your time. Students are free to make choices in school. What choices do you have to help peers who struggle? When I was little I used to pour salt on slugs. I like watching them dissolve before my eyes. Jordan glanced at the jury and let that statement sink in for a moment. He lit a pipe bomb in a car before going into the school, to serve as a diversion so that he could enter unimpeded with his guns.
He concealed weapons that were preloaded. He targeted areas in the school where he himself had been victimized. He probably thinks of killing himself. He escapes into a fantasy world, where he can call the shots. However, he starts retreating there so often that it gets harder and harder to separate that from reality. During the actual incidents of bullying, a child with PTSD might retreat into an altered state of consciousness — a dissociation from reality to keep him from feeling pain or humiliation while the incident occurs.
How does it feel to be hurt socially at school? Rejected, made fun of, laughed at or pushed around? He was sensitive. Adolescence is about fitting in, not standing out. But a big part of it, too, is the society that created both Peter and those bullies. What do these codes allow you to do? Your peers who do not fit in socially and stand out…Do you have any responsibility to them?
Is being mean or cruel the same thing as bullying? What difference does it make what it is called? How often and what do they do to manage it? I told him that he was amazing and compassionate and kind and smart, all the things we want adults to be. Is it enough for parents to tell their children to ignore the hurt and rejection? Does it make a difference? Do peers? Once, I helped some kids play a practical joke on a teacher by moving his car from the parking lot into the gym….
Every kid in this school played a role: jock, brain, beauty, freak. And I hated him. Some of us just do a better job of hiding it. Is your identity determined by whom you hang with? What impact is there socially for choosing to be with some peers over others? Toggle navigation. Read an excerpt. Nineteen Minutes Nineteen Minutes examines a school shooting in a riveting, poignant, and thought-provoking novel that asks a haunting question: Do we really ever know someone? The Story Behind 19 Minutes.
About Nineteen Minutes. Nineteen Minutes trailer. A conversation with Jodi about Nineteen Minutes. What drew you to the subject of school shootings for the premise of a novel?
Court TV's You Be the Judge by Patrick J. Sauer | Grand Central Publishing
How did you go about conducting research for Nineteen Minutes? Given the heart wrenching and emotional topic of the book, in what ways was the research process more challenging than for your previous novels? What facts did you uncover during your research that might surprise readers whose knowledge of school shootings comes solely from media coverage?
What appealed to you about bringing back two characters from previous novels: defense lawyer Jordan McAfee and detective Patrick DuCharme? Why the romantic resolution for Patrick this time? In Nineteen Minutes , Lewis Houghton is a college professor whose area of expertise is the economics of happiness. Does such a profession actually exist?
As the mother of three children, was the subject of popularity and the cruel ways in which children often treat one another a difficult one for you to address? Did you have the surprise ending in mind when you began writing Nineteen Minutes, or did it evolve later in the process? As with all my books, I knew the ending before I wrote the first word. As you write more and more books, is it harder to come up with ideas? How do you know when an idea is the right one?
Many of your books center on topics that are front and center in the headlines. Is it important for you to not only entertain readers with a riveting storyline but to challenge them to think about timely and often controversial topics? Why do you suppose you have gravitated toward this type of storytelling? Book club discussion questions for Nineteen Minutes. What significance is there to the fact that Alex is the first one to prevent Josie from being friends with Peter?
Alex often has trouble separating her roles as a judge and a mother. How does this affect her relationship with Josie? To which characters does this apply, and why? What is your view of Jordan? Peter was a victim of bullying for twelve years at the hands of certain classmates, many of whom repeatedly tormented him. But he also shot and killed students he had never met or who had never done anything wrong to him. What empathy, if any, did you have for Peter both before and after the shooting? Josie and Peter were friends until the sixth grade. Is it understandable that Josie decided not to hang out with Peter in favor of the popular crowd?
Why or why not?