Five Books To Make A Man – From L.A. Larkin

by |September 26, 2013

This September we’ve been running Operation GMR, Get Men Reading. To celebrate, we’ve asked some of our favourite Australian authors to give us Five Books Every Man Should Read.

Today’s guest is the one of Australia’s finest thriller writers, L.A. Larkin.

Thrillers are a hugely popular genre with both men and women, so I work hard to please both sexes, constantly asking myself: are these characters and themes engaging and credible? Would I follow this hero to hell and back? But, I’ve not been asked to consider a male only audience before. The title of this blog, How To Make A Man, implies there may be five books that can somehow make him, whoever he is, a better man. This reminds me of Rudyard Kipling’s poem If. I decided I was ill-equipped for such an enormous task.

Instead, I thought about the topic this way: which five books have moved me and stayed with me long after I finished reading them, and, most important of all, I have really enjoyed? Then I asked myself if they might equally satisfy a male reader, even if they may not be an obviously male choice. If the answer was yes, they made it to my somewhat eclectic list, and here it is:


To Kill A Mockingbird

by Harper Lee

Atticus said, ‘You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view … Until you climb into his skin and walk around in it’.

This stunning novel, published in 1960, taps into injustice, racism, growing up to be a well-rounded human being, standing up for what is right despite the opposition, how to be a good father, and so many other issues we still face today.

‘I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s knowing you’re licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do.’

Words to live by.  A beautiful, inspiring, challenging, profound book.

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Pride & Prejudice

by Jane Austen

Look past the cottage industry and Colin Firth obsessives to see one of the most sharply observed and perceptive works on relationships and marriage in the English language.

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Oryx & Crake

by Margaret Atwood

This speculative fiction novel is set in a post-apocalyptic world in which we have genetically engineered ourselves out of existence – bar one man, known as Snowman.

Ingenious, thought-provoking and funny, it asks some profound questions: when does science go too far and should man play God?

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The Bourne Identity

by Robert Ludlum

Forget the movie, which bears little resemblance to the novel. In my opinion Robert Ludlum is one of the greatest action/ conspiracy thriller authors of all time.

The novel has an unusual premise – an assassin doesn’t know who he is or what he has done and goes on a journey fraught with danger to discover his identity. He only knows that some powerful people want him dead, including an assassin, Carlos.

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A Game of Thrones

by George R.R. Martin

A Game of Thrones is the first novel in a series of high fantasy novels about warring kingdoms, packed full of treachery, ruthless ambition, betrayal, battles, murder and dragons.

If you don’t usually read novels but enjoy high-octane action/fantasy movies then this novel, that’s sold millions of copies around the world, could be for you.

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About the Contributor

Andrew Cattanach is a regular contributor to The Booktopia Blog. He has been shortlisted for The Age Short Story Prize and was named a finalist for the 2015 Young Bookseller of the Year Award. He enjoys reading, writing and sleeping, though finds it difficult to do them all at once.

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