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Sandy Thorne p1

Readersvoice.com aims to collect a few interesting reading tips. Not long ago, I came across Sandy Thorne’s excellent collection of her favorite bush stories and gags, with the occasional ballad, Laugh Yer Guts Out!. Writer Sandy Thorne has written other books, on various topics, and toured Australia and the U.S. performing classic bush yarns and ballads. She has worked as a jillaroo, horse-breaker, builder’s labourer and deckhand. I asked Ms Thorne about her writing and reading.

To see more of Sandy Thorne’s books visit sandythorne.com.au.

READERSVOICE.COM: Your book Laugh Yer Guts Out! was packed with yarns and bush gags. How long did it take you to collect all these and can you describe situations where you heard particular ones?

SANDY THORNE: Laugh Yer Guts Out was commissioned by the owner/founder of Bookworld, Terry Herbert, who heard me performing at a Brisbane festival (he sponsored my fee) and asked me to put together a book of what I do on stage. As I said earlier, I have a computer like mind for yarns, jokes and poems, so it was easy. Many yarns and jokes were gathered in pubs or from people I worked with on stations etc.

RV: What’s the premise of your forthcoming Allen and Unwin book Oldtimers, and where did you get the material for it?

ST: Old-Timers is a collection of “mini” life stories of elderly Aussies who have led very interesting and/or unusual lives, and have achieved a great deal. I travelled a lot to talk to them face to face.

RV: What would be some of your favorite books of all time and could you say a bit about why you liked them?

ST: As a child I not only loved but lived, the Billabong books by Mary Grant Bruce. They were set on a station – the life I would love to have lived as a child.
Later, my favourite author was Gerald Durrell, who wrote often-hilarious accounts of his adventures collecting animals, and all creatures really. He was a British eccentric and I loved his style of humour, and wonderful descriptions of the animals and creatures he encountered.
As I became busier and busier, I found I have less time to read so do not spend the small amount of reading time I get, reading fiction. I read biographies of great people like the Cattle King Sir Sidney Kidman, the Birdsville track mailman Tom Kruse, outback road builder Len Beadell, the great explorer Henry Stanley etc and any interesting stories about Australia, namely Kings in Grass Castles, Heartbreak Corner (the story of the Tullys, who were related to the Duracks), and the piece de resistance, The Territory by Ernestine Hill – a must-read for all Australians.

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-copyright Simon Sandall.