What Library Staff are Reading – September 2013

  • Necessary as Blood by Deborah Crombie – a Duncan Kincaid / Gemma James mystery. I enjoy this series, a mixture of detective and family stories.
  • Burial Rites by Hannah Kent.
  • The Australian Moment by George Megalogenis – a socio-economic history of Australia from the Whitlam government through to the Gillard government. Megalogenis outlines the economic reforms undertaken by each government which cumulatively enabled the nation to weather the GFC, and along the way he describes political personalities and enmities, and changes in Australian attitudes to issues such as immigration and our place in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond.
  • For a change of pace I followed this up with a thriller –  Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. It certainly swept me along, and I really enjoyed the clever trick the author played – but it didn’t end the way I wanted it to!
  • I also enjoyed a Pride and Prejudice binge – read the book, watched the 1940 movie, then the 1995 mini-series, then the 2005 movie, and then read the Marvel Comic version – phew.
  • The crane wife – by Patrick Ness – quite a nice little story.
  • Annotated Brothers Grimm – a follow on from the previous month’s read (The Wilde Girl). I decided it would be nice to read the fairy tales that had been mentioned in the book and to revisit some of the fairy tales I loved as a child.  Golly, I didn’t realise how gruesome fairy tales were – this book is the adult/ original  version of all those loved childhood fairy tales – enough to give a grown person nightmares!
  • Stories and Sketches – Charles Dickens – another follow on from the previous month.  After watching the DVD about Charles Dickens’ life last month, I thought it would be good to read my way through his works.  3 weeks later, I am still ploughing my way through the first book on my Charles Dickens list . . .
  • God, No!: Signs You May Already Be an Atheist and Other Magical Tales by Penn Jillette – I don’t usually read humorous books but I felt like I needed a laugh and I have really enjoyed Penn’s recent TV programs. This book is a collection of stories from his life told with his usual foul mouth and based around the idea that religion is unnecessary to lead a moral life. There were a number of laugh out loud moments and a few interesting stories of atheist converts. He seems to be a magnet for them. I liked it.
  • Star Trek: Countdown to Darkness, Star Trek: Ongoing, Vol. 5 by Mike Johnson
  • Asterios Polyp by David Mazzucchelli
  • Kick-Ass 2, Hit-Girl, Wanted, Nemesis, Chosen, Supercrooks by Mark Millar
  • Too Cool to Be Forgotten, Tricked by Alex Robinson
  • Saga, Volume 1 & 2 by Brian K. Vaughan
  • DMZ Vol. 8 – 12 by Brian Wood
  • No Hero by Warren Ellis
  • Before Watchmen: Comedian/Rorschach by Brian Azzarello
  • Before Watchmen: Nite Owl/Dr. Manhattan by Michael J. Straczynski
  • Before Watchmen: Minutemen/Silk Spectre by Darwyn Cooke
  • Before Watchmen: Ozymandias/Crimson Corsair by Len Wein
  • The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey
  • The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett
  • The Midnight Dress by Karen Foxlee
  • Cosmo Cosmolino by Helen Garner
  • Bit of a Blur by Alex James – continuing with my rock biography theme, I tackled the beginnings of the Brit pop group, Blur.  From very humble beginnings to superstardom, this is an interesting read on the excesses of rock stars : http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1080554.Bit_of_a_Blur
  • Perry Angel’s Suitcase by Glenda Millard – I loved Glenda’s first book, The Naming of Tishkin Silk so was delighted to learn there were more books in the Silk Family series.  Glenda deals with issues of blended families, death, foster children and love in a beautiful and sensitive and very normal way.  I highly recommend these books to primary aged children.  I am reserving the rest in the series : http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6921799-perry-angel-s-suitcase and http://glendamillard.com/books
  • Layla, Queen of Hearts by Glenda Millard – the next in the series based on how Layla became part of the Silk Family as an honourary member.
  • All the Colours of Paradise by Glenda Millard – the next in the series which explores how to express feelings by art.
  • A Small Free Kiss in the Dark by Glenda Millard – this was on talking book and is targeted at a YA audience.  Homelessness, war, disconnection from family – all good themes to explore with a teenager.  Beautiful and sad story (not part of the Silk Family series) : http://www.allenandunwin.com/default.aspx?page=94&book=9781741756586 and http://glendamillard.com/reviews#a-small-free-kiss-in-the-dark
  • The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson – started off really funny but became a bit tedious.
  • Dark Paradise – Norfolk Island – Isolation, savagery, mystery and murder by Robert Macklin – this one started off with the most amazing anti-British rant I’ve ever read and the man just kept going; Macklin does not appear to have a good opinion of any of the characters who appear in the history of Norfolk Island and if you are planning a trip there, you might be put off after reading this (sorry Judy).  It was a fascinating read though.
  • Rereading Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel – I got the talking book out but, with most of my trips being just the 6 km between work and home, I wasn’t getting through it very quickly so I’ve reverted to print for my third reading. Lapping it up in big gulps.
  • Trying to read Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston – laawdy me, ahm fahnding this here book based in the deeup sowth hawd to read. It’s a book group read and I may have to retaliate with some language of my own, say Tam O’Shanter (http://www.robertburns.org/works/308.shtml  explained here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tam_o’_Shanter_(poem)) . . .  oh wait, I did that already with Kieron Smith, Boy! (http://bmcc.ent.sirsidynix.net.au/client/default/search/detailnonmodal/ent:$002f$002fSD_ILS$002f60$002fSD_ILS:60359/one?qu=kieron+smith+boy&te=ILS)
  • Just finished Levels of Life by Julian Barnes.
  • About to begin Wide Saragossa Sea by Jean Rhys
  • Thumbing through Extraordinary Clouds: Skies of the Unexpected from Bizarre to Beautiful by Richard Hamblyn
  • White Light: a collection of short stories by Mark O’Flynn. This Blue Mountains-based writer produces prose, poetry and drama, and I sense he moves easily between them. See my review of White Light here
  • Instructions for a Heatwave, by Maggie O’Farrell. I liked this one very much. It’s her sixth novel and she knows what she’s about. The prose is strong, vivid, economical, and at times I can hear an Irish accent coming through clear as day. Briefly, an ageing Robert Riordan wanders down the street to buy a newspaper – and doesn’t return. Panic: the family gathers, to be useful, to comment, to quarrel, to sort things out, to do what families do.
  • Burial Rites, by Hannah Kent. Who can resist reading a novel set in the frigid north of Iceland? It’s based on an actual event in 1829, and covers the last months in the life of Agnes Magnusdottir, accused of the murder of two men. As the book cover says, the central issue is personal freedom, rescuing oneself from the prejudices of others. Kent’s respect for the punishing northern landscape is evident, as is her desire to paint human truths unflinchingly.
  • Life After Life, by Kate Atkinson. Would you like to keep re-doing your life until you got it ‘right’? Well, that’s the idea that underpins the theory of reincarnation, and it’s the trope Atkinson uses in this intriguing novel. Great storytelling, clever structuring.
  • The Happiness Project, by Gretchen Rubin. The writer knew that objectively her life looked good – loved husband, two kids, apartment in New York, good job – but she wasn’t as fully engaged with it all, or as appreciative, as she thought she should be. So she began a year-long project with the aim of becoming happier. A little hokey, you say? But she has some great ideas here – and there are many ways to live a life. I enjoyed treading that exploratory path with her.
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