3 x 3: Nicole Alexander

3 x 3 is a semi-regular column where we ask bookish people to share what is on their bookshelf.

The English Patient - Michael Ondaatje

What are three of your all time favourite books?

Gone with the wind – Margaret Mitchell’s epic. Slavery, war, survival, land and loss combined with a love story. Everyone likes a unique character and Gone with the Wind has Scarlett, a callously optimistic woman cast against the backdrop of the American Civil War with only one thing on her mind, survival. The old man and the sea – Ernest Hemingway’s classic tale of man versus nature. The English Patient – by Michael Ondaatje follows four people brought together at an Italian villa during the Italian Campaign of World War II – an unrecognisably burned man (the patient), his Canadian Army nurse, Sikh British Army sapper, and a Canadian thief.

And three books you’ve enjoyed recently?

The Actress – by Mann Booker Prize winner Anne Enright explores a mother-daughter relationship burdened by fame. Novelist Norah recalls the tumultuous life of her mother: Katherine O’Dell, the late, great star of stage and screen. Every moment of her life is a star turn, with young Norah standing in the wings. But with age, and dimming stardom, Katherine’s grip on reality fades. Maybe the horse will talk – by Eliot Perlman is a satirical take on the corporate world and sexual harassment set in Melbourne. Olive, again – by Elizabeth Strout. This sequel to the Pulitzer Prize winning Olive Kitteridge takes up from where we left the retired school-teacher. Olive struggles to understand not only her own life but also the lives of those around her in the town of Crosby, Maine.

What are you looking forward to reading?

A thousand moons – Sebastian Barry. The current laureate for Irish fiction delivers a tale of a young Lakota orphan adopted by former soldiers in 1870s Tennessee. Deep Time Dreaming – Billy Griffiths. The historian explores the reassertion of Aboriginal identity in the second half of the twentieth century and the uncovering of the traces of ancient Australia. On the trail of Genghis Khan: An epic journey through the nomads by adventurer Tim Cope. The author travels across the entire length of the Eurasian steppe, from Karakorum, the ancient capital of Mongolia, through Kazakhstan, Russia, Crimea and Ukraine to the Danube River in Hungary – three years and 10,000 kilometres on horseback.

Nicole Alexander

A fourth-generation grazier, Nicole returned to her family’s property in the early 1990s. She is currently the business manager there.

Nicole has a Master of Letters in creative writing and her novels, poetry, travel and genealogy articles have been published in Australia, Germany, America and Singapore.

Nicole is the author of nine novels: The Bark Cutters, A Changing Land, Absolution Creek, Sunset Ridge, The Great Plains, Wild Lands, River Run, An Uncommon Woman and Stone Country. Her latest work, The Cedar Tree, was published by Penguin Random House in March 2020.

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