>What Library staff are reading . . .


  • Once, Then and Now – three titles by Morris Gleitzman which tell the story of a holocaust survivor from childhood to old age. These children’s books are just beautifully written and I can’t wait to share them with my daughter
  • A Few Right Thinking Men and A Decline in Prophets by Sulari Gentill – Australian mystery series featuring Rowland Sinclair in 1930s Sydney. Great fun
  • The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest by Stieg Larsson – finally made it to the end of the Millenium trilogy
  • Summer Without Men by Suri Hustvedt – enjoyable read about a woman learning to survive after her husband calls for a ‘pause’ in their marriage. The ‘Pause’ is French . . .
  • Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen & Seth Grahame-Smith. Unusual and would appeal to those who love Jane Austen’s classic novel but with a new twist . . .
  • Monsieur Linh and His Child by Philippe Claudel. This review on the Internet says it all : “An old man is standing on the after-deck of a ship. In his arms he clasps a flimsy suitcase and a newborn baby, even lighter than the suitcase. The old man’s name is Monseiur Linh. He is the only person who knows this is his name because all those who once knew it are dead.” (p.1). So begins Monsieur Linh and His Child: bitter and sweet and wistful – the very notes on which the curtain closes, come the occasion – it is a Kafka-esque elegy of friendship which handily sustains the sense of uncomplicated beauty evidenced above over its abbreviated course. A 2005 novella, lately translated from the French by Euan Cameron, from Philippe Claudel, author of Brodeck’s Report and erstwhile director of the sublime foreign-language film I’ve Loved You So Long, at 100 small-format pages of oversized font, Monseiur Linh and His Child is in stature hardly more than a short story, but it has all the emotional impact of a gut-punch to the soul.” – I am telling everyone to read it. I can’t tell you too much as it would spoil the story
  • A Vision of Loveliness by Louise Levene – Great little snapshot of Sixties London, how girls may have thought at the time and the lengths people will go to for nice clothes and a lifestyle – not much has changed . . .
  • The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer – One that I had been resisting reading because everyone who read it loved it. Plus because it was written in the style of letters, I didn’t think I would enjoy the format. It took me about 50 pages to get into the rhythm of the novel but so glad I persevered. Really a rewarding, lovely story. I am sure most of you would have read it but for those who haven’t, the characters are great and I learnt about what happened to the Channel Islands during WWII
  • The Holy City by Patrick McCabe – Interesting read that helped me understand my Irish friends a little bit more . . . Good insight to a confused mind
  • I am re-reading my tattered copy of Foucault’s Pendulum by Umberto Eco – I think I bought this book with my first paycheck during my “gap year”, along with a mini Chupa Chup tree and silk singlet that is still going strong. I no longer have a craving for Chupa Chups, but so far I am enjoying the book all over again
  • The Dress Lodger by Sheri Holman – I’m on an 18th and 19th century London kick, so I thought I’d follow Librarything’s recommendation and try this book. And . . . I adore it. Part Emma Donoghue (‘Slammerkin’), part Patrick Suskind and something new altogether. Featuring body snatching, the cholera morbus and richly-painted characters, I can’t wait to get my hands on another title by this author!
  • Last Chance to See by Mark Carwardine and Stephen Fry
  • Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov – beautifully written
  • Lessons in Letting Go by Corrine Grant
  • The Inner World of Farm Animals by Amy Hatkoff – Yes, laugh all you like, but it has been proven that sheep can recognise at least 50 of their woolly friends, and that turkeys give great hugs! This book was surprisingly easy to read; not overloaded with technical explanations and the like, and filled with lovely pictures of contented farm animals (the smiling piggies were my favourite!)
  • The Elephant Whisperer : learning about life, loyalty and freedom from a remarkable herd of elephants by Lawrence Anthony – Does anything beat a story about a “troublesome” herd of South African elephants?
  • The Secret History by Donna Tartt – I’ve just started this for the second time. After reading it at school and having to extract every possible motif, I’m looking forward to some casual reading . . .
  • Indelible Ink by Fiona McGregor – an engaging novel set in Sydney, about a 59-year-old woman who suddenly falls in love with tattoos, after wandering into a tattoo parlour in the Cross. I loved this book and have reviewed it for Readers in the Mist.
  • The Female Brain by Lovann Brizendine – I found this discussion of what bio-chemical inputs influence female and male brains really interesting, until my feminist daughter said scathingly “That’s all been disproved, Mum, read this other one instead!” Oh, okay.
  • Murder on the Ballarat Train by Kerry Greenwood – Yes, another one of hers set in Victoria early in the 20th century
  • The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith by Thomas Keneally. I heard Keneally speak at Katoomba’s Writers Week – terrific speaker – and decided to read this book of his. Liking it a lot.
  • Blackbird House by Alice Hoffman: a collection of beautifully-written short stories focusing on the inhabitants of a farmhouse in Massachussetts.
  • Dead Europe by Christos Tsiolkas – on an iPad, my first that way. Not the Europe I know; lots of rent boys and drugs. Tsiolkas doesn’t give you an easy read but by gum he’s enthralling!
  • Lovesong by Alex Miller – no one else in my book group liked this but I did!
  • Batavia’s Graveyard by Mike Dash. This story of mutiny and murder off the West Australian coast in the 1600s has just been re-told by Peter FitzSimons.


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