What Library Staff are Reading – January 2013

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  • Shannon Bennett : 28 days in Provence – A great walk down memory lane and an enjoyable read for me as it was based in the Luberon region where I have holidayed. Shannon’s recipes are not bad either.
  • Olga Masters: The home girls, a short stories collection republished
  • Ramona Koval : By the book: a reader’s guide to life – I enjoyed this walk through the author’s literary mind
  • David Brooks : The conversation
  • Nicky Pellegrino : When in Rome
  • Chances  by Freya North – Great chick-lit.  Great characters and good storyline.  One of those books that was a pleasure to read
  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak – Beautifully written and nice perspective.  Want to learn more about the German people – the average Joe – and what they endured in the war?  A book I will re-read.
  • Veil of Roses by Laura Fitzgerald – An American’s idea of what it must be like to want to live in America if you are from Iran.  I read the second book first and really enjoyed it so wanted to learn more about the characters.  I shouldn’t have bothered.  Clumsy writing, poor character development and very rah, rah America.
  • Play to the End by Robert Goddard – A crime thriller set in Brighton.  Wonderful intrigue and lots of twists and turns.
  • The Perfect Lie by Emily Barr – What is Lucy running away from?  Wonderful settings and great characters.
  • Dick smith’s population crisis: the dangers of unsustainable growth for Australia by Dick Smith – Very concisely and logically written….it impressed others in my family too.
  • Telling the Truth about Aboriginal History by Bain Attwood – This is a book I have been wanting to read, though I did not know it existed until my son gave it to me for Christmas. It critiques the work of historians and authors in history of race relations and Aboriginal history in Australia, dealing very thoroughly with the “history wars’ phase, and gives well argued background to understanding the nature of telling stories, histories and myth-making in Aboriginal history.
  • Hard Times by Charles Dickens – I’m about three chapters in, and am going to sleep to it at night. I presume it will be as good as other Dickens’ novels.
  • I am about to start Val Webb’s Stepping out with the Divine
  • The unlikely pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce.
  • Another Duncan Kincaid/Gemma James mystery, Where memories lie by Deborah Crombie
  • Steal like an artist: 10 things nobody told you about being creative by Austin Kleon
  • Asterios polyp by David Mazzucchelli – I cannot praise this graphic novel highly enough. The images and story are brilliant, so soulfully and artfully executed.
  • The Picture of Dorian Grey (Graphic Novel) by Oscar Wilde – a chilling, illustrated version of the original story.  
  • The Odyssey  (Graphic Novel) by Homer – makes me want to revisit more Greek mythology, I forgot how fun they were to read!  
  • My Cool Shed: an Inspirational Guide to Stylish Hideaways and workspaces by Jane Field-Lewis – I noticed this on the recent returns shelf and was intrigued by the cover. It’s a beautiful book about personal hide-away spaces ranging from artist studios to workshop sheds. The photographs are inspiring, and there are also little stories on the owner of each ‘shed’ which are sometimes a fascinating insight. A lovely book to browse!
  • The Shifting Fog by Kate Morton – This is the first Kate Morton I’ve read (!) and I really enjoyed it. It was an easy, engaging read. I love books set around that time period.
  • The Cleansing of Mahommed by Chris McCourt – Set in Broken Hill, this is the story of Gool Mahommed and his struggle to fit in. This was an interesting topic (racial discrimination, and the conflict between social expectation and personal relationships), but I must say I didn’t love the way it was written. It felt like there was so much potential, but the story seemed to stay on a surface level rather than really digging deeper into these issues.
  • Escape from Camp 14 by Blaine Harden – A very heavy-going, but fascinating, examination of the life of a man who was born into a North Korean prison camp, and who eventually escaped. I’ve previously read Nothing to Envy by Barbara Demick, which also examines the lives of people who have escaped from North Korea, and I found both of these books so challenging because you realise how lucky you are to have been born into a safe, free country.
  • The People Smuggler by Robin de Crespigny – I wanted to read this one before the author talk  and I am so glad I did. What an amazing life! This is the true story of Ali Al Jenabi, a convicted people smuggler who escaped from Iraq. As with Escape from Camp 14 and Nothing to Envy, this book makes you realise how fortunate we are. Such a compassionate, eye-opening story.
  • The Amber Amulet by Craig Silvey – This was a lovely little read, with a feel-good message.
  • The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood – Thoroughly enjoyed this book. No wonder Margaret Atwood is so reknowned. I loved the story-within-a-story, the suspense, the characters, the settings. I look forward to reading more of her books!
  • My Family and other Animals by Gerald Durrell- Once again breaking my “I don’t read biographies” rule, but I was pressured into it! I have to admit it is pretty funny.
  • The Old School by PM Newton – ex-Sydney policewoman Pam Newton has a great protagonist in Nhu ‘Ned’ Kelly, female detective in 1980s Bankstown. Ned and her colleagues are called to a building site where the bodies of two women have been dug up. What have they to do with Ned and her parents who were killed in a shooting years before? Who can Ned trust? Great, gritty crime set in Sydney. Pam and her friend, Lenny Bartulin, will be doing an author talk at Springwood Library in April or May.
  • The Redbreast, Nemesis and The Devil’s Star by Jo Nesbo – Also known as the Oslo Trilogy, I downloaded these books in one go for next to nothing off Amazon and tried to cool off in Oslo but these are too hot – more great, gritty, Norwegian crime.
  • The Second Last Woman in England by Maggie Joel – I’ve wanted to read this since it came out a few years ago. Armed with a $25 book voucher I found it jumped out at me in the Turning Page and I wasn’t disappointed. Relates the year or so preceeding the murderg of wealthy shipping businessman, Cecil Wallis, by his wife. 
  • Now I’m reading The Girl from Snowy River by Jackie French – a recommendation by Annie at The Turning Page book shop as a Christmas gift for my 12 year old daughter. She’s in to horses. Intensely as they tend to be at that age. She’s not a big reader but it wasn’t long after Christmas that she slapped the book down on the kitchen bench and insisted I had to read it. I’m  currently 83 pages in and enjoying it very much. Not just a horsey story.
  • Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error by Kathryn Schulz – Why are we wrong, why can’t we stand to be wrong, why do we enjoy finding others wrong and what effects does all this wrongness have on our perception of everything are questions answered in this book. I found it fascinating and would recommend it to anyone that likes to read how and why the human brain does what it does.
  • Spook Country (Blue Ant, #2) by William Gibson
  • Zero History (Blue Ant, #3) by William Gibson
  • The Amber Amulet by Craig Silvey
  • Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art by Scott McCloud – An excellent introduction into the world of graphic novels. A basic history of graphic communication and a more in depth history of how the graphic storytelling art form has progressed in the last 100 years, I found particularly interesting the differences between the eastern and western styles.
  • The Fixer and Other Stories by Joe Sacco
  • Marvel Zombies by Robert Kirkman
  • Triumph: Unnecessarily Violent Tales of Science Adventure for the Simple and Unfortunate by Greg Broadmore
  • American Vampire, Vol. 1 by Scott Snyder & Stephen King
  • The Book of Mr. Natural by Robert Crumb
  • Empire State: A Love Story (Or Not) by Jason Shiga
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