What Library Staff are Reading – May 2013

kilted reader

Well, I didna get much reading done on ma holidays in Bonnie Scotland. Too many late nights and full days. It was braw!

  • I finished The Black House by Peter May, the first in a trilogy of detective stories set on the isle of Lewis in the Hebrides. Good Tartan Noir.
  • Three staff were/are reading The Cleaner of Chartres by Salley Vickers – the responses were varied:
  1. It was a book group book. I missed the meeting and I don’t know how the others went with it but so far I am finding it charming,
  2. Not as good as some of her other books
  3.  I really enjoyed it!
  • I read Fiona McIntosh The Scriveners Tale – a sequel to her earlier work Myrren’s Gift – This one is an equally good fantasy fiction read, I cried.
  • I’ve just started Debra Moggach The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.
  • I’m dipping into Cesar Milan Dog Whisperer – they aren’t going to beat me!
  • The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes
  • The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett
  • The Lonely Planet Book of Everything : a visual guide to travel and the world by Nigel Holmes
  • Preincarnate : a novella by Shaun Micallef
  • My Ideal Bookshelf by Jane Mount
  • Wool by Hugh Howey
  • Unforgotten by Tohby Riddle
  • Eragon by Christopher Paolini
  • The one hundred year old man who climbed out the window and went for a walk – by Jonas Jonasson – a really fun read.
  • A Feast of Crows by George R. R. Martin – still continuing the Game of Thrones saga. These are not stand alone books. They must be read in sequence and the author does assume prior knowledge of the characters. http://www.georgerrmartin.com/grrm_book/a-feast-for-crows-a-song-of-ice-and-fire-book-four/
  • Let’s Pretend this Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir) by Jenny Lawson – a laugh-out-loud account of growing up in a dysfunctional family that truly thinks what they do is normal. I could not put it down and laughed at all the inappropriate times…. http://thebloggess.com/lets-pretend-this-never-happened-a-mostly-true-memoir/
    This quote sums it up for me: “The Bloggess writes stuff that actually is laugh-out-loud, but you know that really you shouldn’t be laughing and probably you’ll go to hell for laughing, so maybe you shouldn’t read it. That would be safer and wiser.”-Neil Gaiman, author of The Sandman, Stardust, American Gods and Coraline.
  • Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now by Douglas Rushkoff – Only one non-graphic novel again this month. It would have been none except this book by one of my favourite authors arrived in the mail because I had pre-ordered it ages ago. Fantastic insights into the current state of technology and its addictiveness. With much focus on social media and mobile devices this book explains many of those reasons why we can’t understand that technology has not made our lives easier as promised but made them seemingly harder. Always switched on and contactable, always alert to the beep or vibration of a mobile device. Rushkoff argues that most people are so busy trying to keep up with the present that they end up living in the past and no one is looking towards the future anymore. Nothing I can say will give his words justice. As I expect from his books a great deal to think about. He also confirms some of my own personal beliefs about mobile devices and social media and technology in general. That is always nice.
  • Changing Ways, Volumes 1 & 2 by Justin Randall – A suspense style graphic novel set in the USA from an Australian author. Are they zombies, are they aliens, is it some kind of occult practice? I don’t care I just want the next volume to be published.
  • Preacher, Volumes 1-9 by Garth Ennis
  • Slaine: Treasures of Britain by Pat Mills
  • DMZ, Volumes 1-7 by Brian Wood
  • The Troublemakers by Gabriel Hernández
  • A History of Violence by John Wagner
  • Frank Miller’s Bad Boy by Frank Miller
  • Anne Frank: The Anne Frank House Authorized Graphic Biography by Sid Jacobson
  • Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey – Billed as a space opera, this novel is so far playing out as a police procedural set in the outer solar system. I am waiting for some space zombies or some such to spice things up a bit. If they don’t appear soon I may have to leave this one to the vast loneliness of space, where no one can hear you yawn.
  • Preincarnate by Shaun Micalle – You’ve seen him on ABC TV, that slightly hysterical left-field humour, that mostly works but sometimes doesn’t. The same playfulness is here in this novella, whose central character is Alexander Pruitt. I haven’t read much yet, but here’s an excerpt: Alexander’s father had done a good job with the kitchen. By a process of canny neglect, Charlie Pruitt had allowed the original 1940s décor and fittings to age into a sort of retro-chic deshabille. Charlie, who had undergone a comparable process but with a much less fashionable result, pottered about collecting the tea things and blathering away at a volume more attuned to his own malfunctioning hearing aid than the regular workings of a human ear. Fun, isn’t it?
  • The Beginner’s Goodbye by Anne Tyler – I’ve admired her work for quite a while. In this one Aaron Woolcot’s wife Dorothy has died: he’s disconsolate with grief, believing theirs was a relationship unparalleled, and he couldn’t bear the idea of a new partner. Then Dorothy (her ghost, presumably) begins to reappear occasionally, walking beside him, and mentioning past events. It becomes clear their marriage was not as perfect as he’d supposed. Nice social comedy.
  • Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner – This writer has the ability to build a complex, subtle human world that you absolutely believe. Wheelchair-bound Lyman Ward is writing a biography of his grandparents: Oliver Ward, a mining engineer whose work takes him to Colorado, California, Mexico, and Idaho: and Susan, his wife. Stegner shows that even where there is integrity, passion, intelligence and belief, life can skew sideways into disappointing, even tragic places. People can be tested to the limits of their endurance.
  • Harmless: a novella by Julienne Van Loon – This is a comparatively new writer on the Australian scene, who was interviewed at Varuna Writers Festival recently. She uses a setting east of Perth that she knows well. We first meet Amanda, who as the story opens is having to walk to the gaol to visit her inmate father, since the old Thai-born man Rattuwat’s car has broken down. Having read only 8 pages so far I’ll refrain from comment!
  • The Dangerous Old Woman: Myths and Stories of the Wise Woman Archetype by Clarissa Pinkola Estes – I love storytelling traditions, myths and folktales, so this was a winner with me. I especially love the focus on elder wisdom in this work.
  • This is How: Help for the Self by Augusten Burroughs – a refreshingly frank book about such topics as: How to feel like crap, How to ride an elevator, How to feel sorry for yourself, How to get the job, How to end your life, How to finish your drink, How to regret as little as possible…
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