Located almost directly across the world from Maine, Oceania consists of Australia, Polynesia, Melanesia, and Micronesia. Take a virtual trip there with one of these books available either at the Walker or through Minerva.
The Lines We Cross, by Randa Abdel-Fattah
About: Michael’s parents are leaders of a new anti-immigrant political party called Aussie Values which is trying to halt the flood of refugees from the Middle East; Mina fled Afghanistan with her family ten years ago, and just wants to concentrate on fitting in and getting into college, but the mutual attraction they feel demands that they come to terms with their family’s concerns and decide where they stand in the anti-Muslim politics of the time.
The Thorn Birds, by Colleen McCullough
About: Powered by the dreams and struggles of three generations, The Thorn Birds is the epic saga of a family rooted in the Australian sheep country. At the story’s heart is the love of Meggie Cleary, who can never possess the man she desperately adores, and Ralph de Bricassart, who rises from parish priest to the inner circles of the Vatican…but whose passion for Meggie will follow him all the days of his life. (From GoodReads)
The Light Between Oceans, by M.L. Stedman
About: A novel set on a remote Australian island, where a childless couple live quietly running a lighthouse, until a boat carrying a baby washes ashore.
Moloka’i, by Alan Brennert
About: Seven-year-old Rachel is forcibly removed from her family’s 1890’s Honolulu home when she contracts leprosy and is placed in a settlement, where she loses a series of new friends before new medical discoveries enable her to reenter the world.
The Luminaries, by Eleanor Catton
Setting: New Zealand
About: Arriving in New Zealand in 1866, a weary Englishman, Walter Moody, lands in a gold-mining frontier town on the coast of New Zealand to make his fortune and forever leave behind his family’s shame. On arrival, he stumbles across a tense gathering of twelve local men who have met in secret to investigate what links three crimes that occurred on a single day, events in which each man finds himself implicated in some way. Moody finds himself drawn into a series of unsolved crimes and complex mysteries.
Order Through Minerva:
Shame and the Captives, by Thomas Keneally
About: Based on true events, this novel explores a World War II prison camp, where Japanese prisoners resolve to take drastic action to wipe away their shame of being captured.
Five Bells, by Gail Jones
About: Five Bells concerns four main characters who visit Circular Quay in Sydney on the same day: Ellie, a PhD student; James, a teacher; Catherine, an Irish woman mourning the loss of her brother; and Pei Xing, a Chinese woman. (From Wikipedia)
This is Paradise, by Kristiana Kahakauwila
About: For visitors from Oklahoma to Okinawa, the Hawaiian Islands are paradise, even if only for a little while. But for natives and locals, surrounded by tourists, tormented by a heritage they can no longer maintain, life on these lava rocks is anything but perfect.
Leaves of the Banyan Tree, by Alan Wendt
About: An epic spanning three generations, Leaves of the Banyan Tree tells the story of a family and community in Western Samoa, exploring on a grand scale such universal themes as greed, corruption, colonialism, exploitation, and revenge. (From Amazon)
The Whale Rider, by Witi Ihimaera
Setting: New Zealand
About: As her beloved grandfather, chief of the Maori tribe of Whangara, New Zealand, struggles to lead in difficult times and to find a male successor, young Kahu is developing a mysterious relationship with whales, particularly the ancient bull whale whose legendary rider was their ancestor.