11 April 2014

Friday Fifteen: Elaine Fraser

Friday Fifteen: Elaine Fraser

  1. L.M. Montgomery with Anne of Green Gables
The Anne books gave me so much pleasure and helped me learn that even if you are a person who seems to get in trouble a lot, you can turn out to be a more understanding person as you get older. Visiting Prince Edward Island and walking along the paths Montgomery did, was one of the highlights of my life. I must admit, a few tears were shed.

  1. Jodi Picoult with My Sister’s Keeper
I love Picoult’s writing and have heard her speak a couple of times. I love the way she presents various pints of view about a moral dilemma and wraps it up in an absorbing story.

  1. Catherine Marshall with Christy
A beautiful story. As a teacher in a difficult, remote school I could relate to the story. Also, the idea of God giving us a ‘bundle’ in the form of a person to look after has stayed with me for a very long time.

  1. Louisa May Alcott with Little Women
Old-fashioned values and character never go out of style. I have read and re-read this book over my lifetime. Jo is one of those heroines I tried to be when I grew up!

  1. Tim Winton with Cloudstreet
I love Winton’s use of language and the way he creates a sense of place, time and soul. I saw the stage adaption and fell in love with it even more.

  1. William Shakespeare, especially Hamlet and Macbeth
I love a good tragedy. Both of these were on my high school reading list, and I subsequently taught them. So much wisdom and amazing language use.

  1. Harper Lee with To Kill A Mockingbird
My favourite book of all. I read it when I was sixteen and Atticus Finch became the sort of man I admired for his sort of justice and gentle ways. I also love the movie.

  1. Markus Zusak with The Book Thief
This book, by an Australian, is not only a wonderful story, it inspires me to be a better writer. Zusak’s ability to be profound and create beautiful images astounds me.

  1. Charlotte Bronte with Jane Eyre
As a brooding teenager, I visited Haworth and walked the Yorkshire moors. I loved the darkness of Jane Eyre and the complicated interplay of the characters. I’ve read this book many times and am drawn back into the brooding.

  1. George Orwell with Animal Farm
I also read this book as a teenager and was impacted by the history and political background to the text. I was studying Russian history at the time and it all seemed to work together. This book was part of my political education and an insight into the workings of power.

  1. John Steinbeck with The Grapes Of Wrath
I visited Monterey County and the Cannery Row a couple of years ago and loved seeing the landscape that inspired Steinbeck. This book was also part of my political education. I studied the Depression in History and this book rounded out my perspective of it.

  1. Aldous Huxley and Brave New World
For some reason I loved dystopian fiction as a teenager—similar the teens who love The Hunger Games today. I didn’t understand it fully until I was an adult. I must have been pretty innocent! However, the book stayed with me and, along with 1984, contributed to my suspicion of government control!

  1. William Golding’s Lord of the Flies
As a young Christian this impacted me as it showed me the power of unleashed sin. What happens when we don’t have any boundaries? When we are allowed to run free? I found it scary and it served as a warning to me.

  1. D.H. Lawrence and Sons and Lovers
My Dad’s family comes from Northern England mining background. This book gave me an insight into that life. When I finally got to visit the places my family came from, I already had a picture in my mind of the life my dad and his forbears lived. It also explained a lot of family politics and the relationship between my dad and his mother.

  1. Thomas Hardy and Tess of the d'Urbervilles
Another brooding book, but this one annoyed me. I felt Tess was stupid and allowed love to ruin her life—not always the accepted interpretation—but I really got angry with her. This book inspired me to be tough when it came to boys in my life. I was determined not to let a boy ruin my life. It’s funny how things influence you, isn’t it? 

About Elaine Fraser

After many years as an experienced and respected secondary school educator, Elaine began writing for young women. She sees the need to teach young people to have resilience, confidence and a strong sense of purpose.

Her husband, Steve is a photographer and they both spend significant time traveling the world gaining inspiration. Elaine also works for Transform Cambodia as an educational consultant. The role involves travel to Cambodia and the training of teachers.

Elaine has published two non-fiction books: Beautiful: beauty tips for the soul and Too Beautiful: more beauty tips for the soul. Her first young adult novel, Perfect Mercy, was released in 2012. You can find out more about Elaine at her website.

Would you like to contribute a Friday Fifteen? If so, email me via my contact page to set a date. Contributions are welcome from anyone—readers, reviewers and authors. It's an opportunity to share some of the authors (and books) which have influenced you, and to pick up some ideas for new authors to read.


  1. After reading the 'Anne' books I wanted to visit Prince Edward Island but wondered if I'd be disappointed with the reality. Glad to hear that you weren't.

  2. Great list Elaine - quite a few of those books I read for school - Animal Farm, Brave New World, Lord of the Flies, Macbeth. I may not have enjoyed reading as some other books but they were definitely important in forming my understanding of the world. Great choices :)