What Library Staff are Reading – April

Blue Mountains Library wishes you all happy reading and listening in April.

How the Dead Speak by Val McDermid eAudio on RB Digital – the is number 11 in the Tony Hill and Carol Jordan series. (The eAudiobook of number 10 Insidious Intent is also available on RB Digital.) Fans of the classic Wire in the Blood television series will recognise the main characters of Clinical Psychologist Tony Hill and Detective Inspector Carol Jordan. Unfortunately if you are not familiar with these two characters, then number 11 may be a bewildering place to start. Excellent British crime fiction – 5 stars

Thinking About It Only Makes it Worse: and Other Lessons from Modern Life, by British comedian David Mitchell eAudio onBorrow Box, the  is a collection of grumpy newspaper columns written for The Observer and read by the author. One for the diehard fans, but naturally a bit dated and so only 3 stars.

Gotta Get Theroux This: My Life and Strange Times in Television by star documentary maker Louis Theroux eAudio On Borrow Box – this  is an entertaining memoir read by the author – 4 stars.

Snow White Must Die by Nele NeuhausOn eAudio on Borrow Box  – number 1 in the Bodenstein and Kirchhoff series. Moody German crime fiction – 4 stars

Seven Little Australians by Ethal Turner eAudio on BorrowBox – I’ve not lost my nostalgic love for this tale, but as an adult I’m somewhat appalled by the violence displayed by the Captain in disciplining his children. A hundred and twenty years ago, it was acceptable to whip one’s children. I am glad this is no longer so.

I only recently learned that a section was censored from Turner’s original tale, and was very glad to find it included in the audiobook edition I listened to. A woman ahead of her time, in many ways, including this passage where she refers to the indigenous Australian people as Koorie, a more sensitive and culturally appropriate term.

The book still prompts tears, decades after I first read it. Still a favourite.

Accidental Feminists by Jane Caro, read by Jane Caro – an excellent eAudiobook on RB Digital. Caro focuses on her own generation of Australian women aged 55 and over who weren’t necessarily brought up to be feminists but who have become so – however there is much here for other generations of women and men. 5+ stars out of 5

The Turn of the Screw by Henry James  eAudio on Borrowbox – I started listening to this, but the hold queue was getting long, so I returned it out of the goodness of my heart.

The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood eAudio on Borrowbox – I have read this before, which means it is ideal for listening to. I am not very good at paying full attention to audiobooks

the Weekend by Charlotte Wood eAudio on RB Digital4 stars – excellent narrator and a riveting story.

So Anyway …written and narrated by John Cheese – John Cleese has the ability to make even his autobiography funny and engaging (why am I surprised), as it covers the ups and downs of life. While I am listening to this story I keep getting strange looks from my family, as I keep laughing out loud.  It was definitely worth the wait to “get hold” of this eAudiobook. 5/5

Dead Man Switch by Tara Moss. I give this 4 out of 5 stars due to the excellent scene setting of 1946 Sydney – with fashion included!  It was like an episode of Underbelly!  Good holiday read.

https://www.goodreads.com/en/book/show/45455133-dead-man-switch

The last days of Henry VIII: conspiracies, treason and heresy at the court of the dying tyrant by Robert Hutchison.  This is a 2006 publication and so some of the history has since been updated and it can be a bit annoying now to read things that are no longer considered true.  I think the sub-title gives away what Robert Hutchison thinks. 3 stars

Anne Boleyn: 500 years of lies by Hayley Nolan. A more up-to-date retelling of Anne Boleyn’s rise and fall.  Again the author’s views are flagged in the sub-title.  Ms Nolan’s style was a bit too casual at times for my liking, with hashtag slogans and direct questions to the reader.  It read almost like a lecture being delivered, or as one reviewer on LibraryThing wrote “this sounded like someone defending their BFF from the Mean Girls.” 3 stars

Uncrowned queen: the fateful life of Margaret Beaufort, Tudor rebel by Nicola Tallis.  A biography of the mother of Henry VII, father of the tyrant above.  A fairly dense, academic text although with a lot of repetition, often within a few sentences. 3 stars

Westwind by Ian Rankin.  One of my favourite series is the Rebus series set in Edinburgh.  This isn’t a Rebus.  This is a novel written by Ian Rankin in the late 80s and revived now.  It’s not as good as his later work.  3 stars

The red notebook by Antoine Laurain.  This was a book group read, not chosen by me.  I read it as a light, short, kind of romantic story about a man who finds a handbag and tries to find its owner.  Not all members of my book group felt the same.  Some were horrified by the protagonist’s behaviour and saw it in the blackest of lights.  We had a fabulous discussion. My intention is to put it on the reading list for my other book group and see what happens there. I’d given it 4 stars in my head before our meeting, only 2 afterwards so I’ll give it 3 stars here.

Boy swallows universe by Trent Dalton.  This book group choice about a boy growing up in 1980s Brisbane did not resonate with me at all.  By the time I got to our meeting last Friday I’d only read 115 of the 460+ pages and wasn’t planning on going any further.  However, after hearing the enthusiasm of my friends, who assured me it was just about to get exciting, I spent most of the weekend tucked up with the cat and finished it on Sunday afternoon. An thoroughly enjoyed it.  It’s beautifully written and the characters are lovingly drawn.  It’s just a shame I had to work so hard to get to the good bits.  Anyway, 4 stars.

Girt by David Hunt – there is a distressing picture of Joseph Banks, flanked by 2 Big Bad Banksia Men, taking away a gumnut baby as a specimen. I may never recover from the horror.

What do our scores mean?

1 star – I hated it / Don’t bother / It felt more like homework than reading for pleasure
2 stars – I didn’t like it / Not for me but worth trying / This book needed something different to make me like it
3 stars – I liked it / Recommended / This book was good. It wasn’t great but it wasn’t bad.
4 stars – I really liked it / One of the best books I’ve read this year / I’m glad I read it
5 stars – I loved it / One of the best books I’ve ever read / I will probably read it again

 

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