BEST BOOK What's your favourite book, and why? 

Just ONE page on the Collecting Books and Magazines web site based in Australia.
Page finalised 9th October, 2010.

BEST BOOK What defines a BEST BOOK?
One you can read a second time immediately after coming to the last page?
Or maybe one which you wish would go on forever, it's just THAT good!
Whatever the reason, we're all interested in your 'best'.
CB&M Editor's best book from the 1960s..

MY BROTHER JACK by George Johnston
Published 1964 by Collins. 384 pages.
I came across a review (by E. D. O'Brien) of this book in the Illustrated London News, a publication not known for extravagant reviews of modern fiction. His comment: "I truly believe this to be one of the greatest books written this century." So I made an effort to find a copy, opening up dozens of cartons until it sprang into view, thanks mainly to that appropriate Sidney Nolan cover illustration. The story is largely autobiographical, the author having become a war correspondent for Time and later, a foreign correspondent for the Saturday Evening Post.

I was soon within the grip of a master storyteller and pretty much put all other reading tasks aside. I'm not going to give you a synopsis but suggest that if you're looking for a good read, find a copy. The setting is (largely) Melbourne, Australia; the time early 20th Century to WW2. Read and enjoy. - John, 1/2006


CB&M Editor's best book from the 1990s.
First published by Pan Macmillan, Sydney, 1990.
I bought this lengthy 556 page novel soon after it appeared. Why? I always enjoyed Evan Green as a commentator of the Bathurst 500 {later 1000) motor race. He had a way with words and a winning smile, which would elicit memorable comments from hard-pressed racing drivers who would basically tell other interviewers to go and get - ! One might believe that remaindered novels generally aren't worth reading. In this case I believe hardly anyone was left who would read such a lengthy novel by an Aussie writer better known on television than for his writing, outside of motoring magazines, on a subject which big in its day, had slipped from the public consciousness. Besides which, revheads aren't readers of novels!

The Redex Motor Reliability Trial was the stuff legends are made of. In the early 1950s, the age of the 'motor reliability trial' as it was called (nowadays, a motor rally), such events made the front page of both tabloids AND spreadsheet dailies. The most famous of entrants was 'Gelignite' Jack Murray, 'larrikin and cult hero'. Jack's nickname came from his habit of dropping sticks of explosive in and around outback sheds and 'dunnies' while travelling around at breakneck speed in the 'Grey Ghost', an old Canadian Ford of the early postwar period.

There were only three Redex trials but in this book the author brings to life a fourth, incorporating real life characters of the period, together with another legend, Jack Davey of radio fame. A running story of a big time American gambler sabotaging entrants, a fictional US entrant, a Sydney Morning Herald reporter (probably the author) and his girlfriend, a doctor, co-driving the two Jacks provides an unstoppable adventure.

I found myself totally engrossed in this novel. At the end of it, I felt as if I had really been there!

Note: A DVD of the Redex Trials is available. You will also find it faithfully recreated in NEWSFRONT, also available on DVD.

Any problems or questions? Email John at 

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