When Hitler stole pink rabbit by Judith Kerr (4/5) – This was recommended by one of my colleagues and I really enjoyed it. An autobiographical tale of Judith Kerr’s escape from Nazi Germany.
A grief observed by C.S. Lewis (3/5) – I enjoyed reading parts of this book and it was heartfelt. For me, there was too much religious reference, but I appreciate and respect that the death of his wife made him question his faith.
Stuffocation: living more with less by James Wallman (4/5) – Preaching to the converted with this one!
Sarah Thornhill by Kate Grenville (4/5) – This is the sequel to The secret river. A wonderful writer and an interesting tale, showcasing the bravery and passion of the female protagonist and the hardship of life in colonial Australia.
Blueback by Tim Winton (4/5) – A lovely tale of a boy, his friendship with a fish and his love of the sea and country where he grew up.
Robe of skulls by Vivian French (4/5) – A fantastic book and the first in the Tales from the five kingdoms series. Wonderful characters and a nice little adventure.
The 9 lives of Alexander Baddenfield by John Bemel Marciano (4/5) – A cautionary tale, macabre and very enjoyable.
Murder most unladylike and Arsenic for tea by Robin Stevens (4.5/5) – These were wonderful! Daisy and Hazel start a schoolgirl detective society to investigate the murders that occur at their boarding school and Daisy’s family home.
Run, Pip, run by J.C. Jones (3/5)
Darth Vader and Son by Jeffery Brown (3.5/5) – Very funny and if you like Star Wars, you should check this out.
Operation Bunny by Sally Gardner (4/5) – Emily Vole is adopted, but her new parents are mean and cruel. She befriends her neighbour, Mrs String and her cat called Fidget. Mrs String unfortunately dies and leaves Emily a mysterious inheritance of an old shop and a bunch of small golden keys. A great little detective story.
Nanny Piggins and the race to power by R.A. Spratt (4/5) – Another wonderful and giggle-some Nanny Piggins story.
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline 5/5
A great new science fiction author, I really enjoyed this book. If you watch or read a lot of scifi particularly Star Trek you would be aware of the cliché of having a character that is obsessed with 20th/21st Century pop culture. This book takes the cliché and builds the whole plot around it, and does it well. I imagine the author is about my age or a bit older because there were lots of references to 80s video games and music and films. Almost the whole bopok takes place inside a virtual world. Highly recommended.
Diet Cults: The Surprising Fallacy at the Core of Nutrition Fads and a Guide to Healthy Eating for the Rest of US by Matt Fitzgerald 4/5
Get the Truth: Former CIA Officers Teach You How to Persuade Anyone to Tell All by Philip Houston 5/5
Ascendance by John Birmingham 3/3
The final book in a trilogy. Not enjoying this series anywhere near as much as his previous ones. There are going to be more apparently and I am really not into this world at all.
The Mongoliad Book Three – Neal Stephensen et al. 3/3 A long drawn out ending to a trilogy. I think I enjoyed it but I was glad when it was over.
The peripheral – William Gibson 5/5
Great near future science fiction from Gibson. I thought all the themes he had in it were very well
Dust – Hugh Howey 5/5
Loved the whole trilogy, great finale.
For the reading challenge – a trilogy – Small World and Nice Work by David Lodge numbers 2 & 3 of the Small World trilogy – academic life in the 70s and 80s. Mildly humorous but not as funny as I expected – 3.5/5
A book with bad reviews! Go set a watchman – Harper Lee – not a patch on Mockingbird. Large sections of boring with snatches of lovely 3/5
A funny book – Mrs Harris goes to Paris and Mrs Harris goes to New York by Paul Gallico – saw this on a visit to Lawson Library and, as I will be visiting Paris in October, thought, “I’ll give that a go.” Charming stories about Char lady Mrs Harris who wins over all she meets. 4/5
Palace of Tears by Julian Leatherdale – set in the Blue Mountains and loosely based on Mark Foy and the Hydro Majestic this kept me turning the pages. It has some nice plot twists -there’s me thinking I knew what was coming . . . I look forward to him appearing at Katoomba Library later in the year – 4/5
The Port Fairy Murders by Robert Gott. A sequel to the Holiday Murders which I haven’t yet read, fine as a stand alone story. Detective and mystery set in 1940s Victoria 4/5
The End of the Affair by Graham Greene A book group read. Oh dear, not enjoyed by many in the group but by gum the discussion was lively! 2.5/5
A book with nonhuman characters – H is for Hawk by Helen MacDonald – a memoir of a year or more following her father’s death when Helen Macdonald retreated from the world and took on a goshawk called Mabel to train. (Mabel is the nonhuman character for the purposes of the reading challenge). Interspersed with Helen’s story is that of TH White who wrote, among other things, The Sword in the Stone. I just couldn’t feel any sympathy for Helen I’m afraid and got completely bored and irritated by her unrelenting grief and I found TH White’s story much more interesting. This was a book group read and I was in a definite minority, in fact I was the only one who didn’t like it. 2/5 for me but the group scored it 3/5 (without my low score that would have been higher).Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
The Eye of the Sheep by Sophie Laguna. This novel won the 2015 Miles Franklin Literary Award. Central character Jimmy Flick is a little boy on the spectrum somewhere. His mother adores and protects him, his father is an alcoholic who can’t manage being the father of such a child, can’t manage much at all really. By and by Jimmy is cast into the treacherous seas of non-belonging. Read this one for the gripping, authentic Jimmy-voice in which the story is told. Beautifully written and compelling.
Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf. The setting is Holt, Colorado. Addie Moore, long widowed and lonely as she ages, walks a block down the street to make a surprising proposal to a man she has known for years, Louis Waters, also a widower. The storytelling is mature and stately, a last statement from Haruf, who died at the close of 2014. A beautiful book, with the elements of joy and sorrow firmly plaited.
The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro. The setting is ancient England, when Britons and Saxons were at war with each other. The story concerns the journey of old Axl and Beatrice, searching for their son. They meet warriors, traitors and a bewitched boy. I presume the whole is an allegory, whose precise meaning I am not sure of. Is the buried giant the tide of forgetfulness that prevents us seeing the truth? The graceful storytelling rises and falls like poetry. A story with mythical components tells far more than it appears to.
The loveliest chocolate shop in Paris by Jenny Colgan – It took a while to get into but then I didn’t want it to end. It made me want to go to Paris to taste all their lovely chocolates! – 4/5
Villette by Charlotte Bronte – (from the reading challenge a book over 100 years old – the second I’ve read this year from this category) It was quite a difficult read as it was written in old-fashioned English (of course!) and it had lots of French conversation in it which I was not able to follow, but it was well worth the effort. 5/5
The love song of Miss Queenie Hennessey by Rachel Joyce – (not a reading challenge book) Loved it!!!!!!! 5/5
Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn – (not a reading challenge book) – Very, very clever 5/5
Book by John Agard – from the reading challenge a non-fiction book (my 3rd for this challenge) and a memoir – A children’s book about the birth of writing and books told by Book – it is after all a memoir of its life – a really fun read. 5/5
A book your mum loves:
Dance of the Seagull by Andrea Camilleri – This is an Inspector Montalbano mystery, a great crime thriller with a minimum of gore. Set in Sicily, there is lots of talk of delicious food and seaside atmosphere amid the mystery. Fun for both the armchair traveller, foodie and the crime lover. 3.5/5
A book with a love triangle:
The Flamethrowers by Rachel Kushner – set in the 1970s, this book follows a young female artist/motorcyclist trying to make her way in New York art world. She falls for an Italian motorcycle empire heir, and becomes caught up in political tensions, social unrest and terrorism in Italy. Unflinching and gritty, though beautifully written. 4.5/5
A book set somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit:
Mezza Italiana by Zoe Boccabella – The author resisted her Italian heritage during her youth, growing up in 1970s and 80s Australia. She just wanted to fit in with the other kids, but encountered racism every step of the way. But as she got older, she realised the significance of her heritage and family. She and her partner Richard decide to explore her ancestral homeland, Fossa in Abruzzo. What unfolds is a wonderful acceptance and embracing of her family’s history and legacy. 3.5/5
Barracuda by Christos Tsiolkas – loved it – highly readable and revolting characters that test your ethics. 4 stars
The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George – hard to read which was a shame as I thought it had all the elements I would normally enjoy. 2 stars
Heat and Light by Ellen Van Neerven. A collection of stories interwoven. An interesting slice of Australia. 3 stars
A book published this year:
Anzac Voices Gallipoli from those who were there – ABC Classics
Recorded between 1953 and 1990, the compelling and deeply emotional first-hand accounts drwn from the ABC Archives recall in graphic detail the circumstances and events of the Gallipoli campaign, from the innocence of enlistment to the horror of the landing and – for those who lived to tell their story – the bitter relief of homecoming. 3 stars
Dancing to the Flute by Manisha Jolie Amin – such a beautiful story about a boy, his flute and how it changed his life living on the streets of India. 4 stars
The Crossroad by Mark Donaldson VC. Worth reading just to know the level of involvement Australia had in Afghanistan. 4 stars
Noah Barleywater runs away by John Boyne (4/5) – A lovely story, I really enjoyed it (though it may make you cry). Noah Barleywater runs away from his home. He finds himself in a village and in front of a mysterious and magical toy shop. The toy maker tells Noah the story of his life and slowly, Noah reveals his own story and what it was that made him run away.
The Pause by John Larkin (3/5) –Suicide is a difficult theme and I really liked the beginning of this story and John Larkin’s bravery in tackling this topic. But the ending was disappointing and cliché.
Interview with the vampire by Anne Rice (3.5/5) – This was written wonderfully, but I just didn’t like the characters.
The ice dragon by George R.R. Martin and illustrated by Luis Royo (3.5/5) – A sweet little tale about a young girl born in the winter and her relationship with the ice dragon and her family.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Spineless Classics Australia does posters with the text of well-known books made into a picture – not very cheap but very classy.
I don’t mind which one you buy me . . . .HC:)Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Jenny and Maxine have been re-purposing books – make sure you go and see the real things at Blaxland and Springwood Libraries. A beautiful job ladies!Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Our latest podcast episode is up – can you believe we’re up to number 23?! This week, we have an interview with our own Marnie Thomas. With the Love2Read theme for October being ‘Explore’, Marnie reveals her favourite ‘Explore’ book, as well as her best bushwalk so far this year. Check it out!
You can listen to it here or subscribe to ‘Listeners in the Mist’ in iTunes.
If you would like to be a podcast guest, or suggest a guest, please let Naomi or John know. We’re after guests from all walks of life, but who are somehow related to books, reading or libraries.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Ex-staff member Jill Gurney was our podcast guest recently, talking about her passion for book conservation. This fascinating interview covers Jill’s work with saving books, embellishing books and documenting the laborious processes involved in her discipline. Click here to listen online (or search for ‘Listeners in the Mist’ in iTunes).Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
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