#TBT: The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough

Screen Shot 2014-12-09 at 8.15.17 PMOh, boy — this one’s an oldie. First published in 1977, The Thorn Birds tells the story of the Clearys, a poor family who move from New Zealand to work on a sheep station in the Australian Outback. It has about fifteen main characters, but primarily focuses on Meggie, a young girl who falls in love with a priest (gasp! quite the scandal in 1915).

When I read old bestsellers like this, I always like to imagine how much trouble the author would have querying them today. I mean, can you imagine the query for this one? Dear Modern Agent — I have written a sweeping family saga that spans fifty years, has about fifteen or twenty main characters, and is written in third-person omniscient POV. Oh, and by the way, it’s 280,000 words — and no, I won’t cut that number down. Sincerely, Colleen.

I mean, maybe her fabulous writing would’ve been enough for agents to get past that 280,000 word thing, but even still — it’s a very old-fashioned sort of book.

Nevertheless, it became an international bestseller for a reason — the writing is completely phenomenal. And every character – literally every last one – is memorable and unique. If you want a lesson in how to make your characters distinct, definitely give this a read. Colleen McCullough is also the queen of beautiful descriptions — I lived in Australia for some time, and all of the descriptions, the thoughtful little details…they put me right back there again. So good!

So, if you have a few days off this Christmas, and want a quick 280,000 word read (ha)… I definitely recommend The Thorn Birds.

Happy reading!

xo Elizabeth

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WRITING WEDNESDAY: The Writer’s Holiday Wish List

After reading Ava Jae’s lovely holiday book recommendation list over on Writability (and putting a significant dent in my credit card buying most of them), I thought it would be fun to do the same! But, since most of the books I read this year have titles likeΒ Dubin’s Rapid Interpretation of ECGs or Principles and Practices of Infectious Diseases, I’ve had to branch out a little from only books. Instead, I’ve created a sort of holiday wish list for writers — awesome gifts that you can get your favourite writer friend πŸ™‚

1. “WRITER” Bookends! So adorable, from Knob Creek Metal Arts.

2. Writing posters These are hundreds of these out there, but I especially love the one on the left, for some reason… πŸ˜‰

3. Writing Dishware! Okay, I know that people probably won’t buy/use this. But it’s so adorable, I had to include it.

4. Moleskine Notebooks Does anyone else just sort of collect Moleskine notebooks, even though they do all their writing on a computer? No? Just me? Mmk.

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5. THIS T-SHIRT! Hahahah okay I know it’s kind of ugly, but come on. It’s hilarious.

6. Books! (duh) Here are just a few of my favorites.

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A light, fun read with a quirky male protagonist.

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An all-time fave!

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Everything Shane Koyczan does is AMAZING ❀

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A great read for the holidays, if you have several work-free days to fill πŸ™‚

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I know everyone in the universe has already read this… but I hadn’t until last week, and it’s fantastic.

Hushed by Kelley York – a NA LGTB thriller. So creepy and awesome!!!