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Carolyn’s Books of the Month – June 2017

carolyns-books-of-the-monthCarolyn reads a variety of genres so you’re bound to find something that resonates.

Best Read :  The Obsession by Nora Roberts

Crime :  My Sister’s Secret by Tracy Buchanan

Australian Author : Fearless by Fiona Higgins

General Fiction :  Homegoing by Yaa  Gyasi

Thrillers : Marked for Life by Emelie Schepp  and Good Me, Bad Me by Ali Land

Saga/Romance : Ruby Flynn by Nadine Dorries

 

The pearl that broke its shell by Nadia Hashimi

index (1)The pearl that broke its shell by Nadia Hashimi

Found on the Adult Fiction shelves at HASHIMI

Plot Summary : A luminous and unforgettable tale of two women, destiny, and identity in Afghanistan

Kabul, 2007: The Taliban rules the streets. With a drug-addicted father and no brothers, Rahima and her sisters can rarely leave the house or attend school. Their only hope lies in the ancient Afghan custom of bacha posh, which allows young Rahima to dress and be treated as a son until she is of marriageable age. As a boy, she has the kind of freedom that was previously unimaginable . . . freedom that will transform her forever.

But Rahima is not the first in her family to adopt this unusual custom. A century earlier, her great-great-grandmother Shekiba, left orphaned by an epidemic, saved herself and built a new life in the same way-the change took her on a journey from the deprivation of life in a rural village to the opulence of a king’s palace in the bustling metropolis of Kabul.

Crisscrossing in time, The Pearl That Broke Its Shell interweaves the stories of these two remarkable women who are separated by a century but share the same courage and dreams. What will happen once Rahima is old enough to marry?  How long can Shekiba pass as a man and if Rahima cannot adapt to life as a bride, how will she survive?  (Source: Harper Collins Publishers Australia)

Review : Something very different from what I usually read but absolutely loved it. It was Nadia Hashimi’s literary debut novel in 2014 and it was very powerful and fascinating to read. Hashimi has had three more books published, so lots of books to follow, if you enjoy this story.

Reviewed by : Carolyn

 

What Library Staff are Reading – March 2017

Roof Weather Wet Water Rain Gutter Storm

Here are some suggestions for what to read when it’s too wet to go outside:

  • I haven’t read any books by Neil Gaiman and The ocean at the end of the lane was recommended to me as a good starting point. I enjoyed the quirky world that slowly came in to focus, and then went out of focus again! 3/5
  • I was a bit nervous about reading LaRose by Louise Erdrich as I know that her novels can take you on grim journeys through difficult lives, but she writes so deeply and well about the effects of colonisation and dispossession in America that I knew I would want to go on whatever journey LaRose would take. This is actually a surprisingly gentle and positive story, even though people go through great tragedies, and again her writing is so strong that I was drawn in to the lives that are so skilfully portrayed here. 4/5
  • I loved reading Hag-seed: The Tempest retold by Margaret Atwood. It was a clever retelling of the Shakespeare, bringing both the play and its plot in to the current day. The story of producing Shakespeare in a prison environment was compelling and I even got to like the main character more as the story unfolded. 4/5
  • I also read Murder at Myall Creek: the trial that defined a nation. This is a biography of John Hubert Plunkett, the Attorney General of NSW and the prosecutor of the 11 men who were tried for the murder of 28 Aboriginal children, women and men in 1838. It was almost unknown for whites to be tried for killing Aboriginal people at this time and Plunkett stuck to his belief in ‘equality before the law’ against most of the population of the young state. 3/5
  • I wanted to recommend The Hawley Book of The Dead by Chrysler Szarlan.  I give it 4 Stars, really enjoyed it. A creepy read on a stormy night.
  • I have read all four books in Alison Croggon’s Pellinor series – a huge dose of fantasy fiction which I just devoured, some of them I read twice – 5/5
  • I’m currently reading Graeme Simsion’s  The Rosie Project this is for book group and although I haven’t finished it I would recommend it – 4/5
  • The mapmaker’s children : a novel by Sarah McCoy – based on the true life story of the famous abolitionist John Brown and his family – mostly his daughter Sarah.  4/5
  • The Last Painting of Sara de Vos by Dominic Smith. The action takes place in three ‘theatres’ – Amsterdam, early 1600s: New York 1958: and Sydney 2000. Sara de Vos and her husband Barent are painters during what later becomes known as the Golden Age of Dutch painting. Their beloved only child is taken by the Plague. To assuage her grief, Sara paints something that is now reverberating down the centuries in surprising ways. Riveting read, totally recommended.
  • Nutshell by Ian MacEwan. Imagine an unborn baby boy, upside down in his mother’s birth canal because D-Day is near, listening to all that goes on in the outside world, which shortly he will enter, and not liking what he hears. His mother and her lover plotting to do away with his father! This baby is seriously displeased. He thinks in majestic prose, with Shakespearean flair. The humour is dark, but this is finest example of MacEwan’s linguistic bravura I’ve ever seen.
  • The Good Guy by Susan Beale. Here’s another novel with a baby close to its epicentre, in a more roundabout way. Ted needs to be admired, so when wife Abigail doesn’t provide enough of this he finds his way to Penny, who does. Ted tries to live two lives in parallel, with more lies than you can poke a stick at. Beale manages this subject well, by situating herself at a slightly ironic distance from the characters. I liked this one a lot. It’s her first published novel.
  • The Fields by Kevin Maher – there were parts of this book that I really enjoyed, parts that made me think, parts that needed to be shared and then parts that were utterly absurd.  If you enjoy the Irish fiction genre, it covers all those bases but be prepared to go where you have never been before. 3 stars
    A Few of the Girls by Maeve Binchy – I keep picking this one up and putting it down after reading only 1 or 2 stories – only because I want to savour them and not rush them.  Each short story in this collection is a gem. 5 stars.
  • A Hundred Pieces of Me by Lucy Dillon. This book has inspired me to look at what is important – what would I keep?  And to take it one step further (as it did in the book) and capture my 100 moments of 2017. 4 stars
  • Bittersweet by Colleen McCulloch – I love a good saga, spanning several decades and involving sisters.  Great read and set in the Depression era of Australia.  4 stars
  • The Promise by Jamie Zimmerman.  I listened to this one on Talking Book – not sure if I could have read it.  It really went there with the background to being in the army and the toll it takes on those around you.  Jamie is an Australian Commando and outlines Australia’s involvement in the middle east. Worth reading if you want to know. 4 stars
  • The Fabulously Fashionable Life of Isabelle Bookbinder by Holly McQueen – If you love chicklit, a hopeless heroine, great characters and a story that works out in the end, then this is for you. 3 stars
  • The Travelling bag by Susan Hill – this is a collection of ghostly short stories. Susan Hill is great at creating a creepy atmosphere and is somewhat Dickensian in her telling. 3 ½ stars
  • Ring of Bright Water by Gavin Maxwell – Maxwell’s tale of a short year with otter, Mijbil, on a secluded property on the west coast of Scotland is just glorious and had me laughing and weeping by turns. Maxwell was a tortured soul and the next two books in the trilogy demonstrate that clearly. This first one scores 5 stars for me though.
  • Line of Fire by Ian Townsend – Townsend explores the little known story of Australian ex-pats caught in Rabaul , New Britain in Papua New Guinea as the Japanese army advances in 1942. Among those who surrender to the Japanese after hiding out in the hills for several months are 11 year old Dickie Manson, his mother Marjorie, his step-father Ted Harvey and his uncle.  Unbelievably, Dickie and his family are executed for spying – I’m not spoiling the plot here, it’s all there right from the start. 4 stars
  • Tulip by Celine Marchbank – a beautiful book of photographs taken by Celine Marchbank in the last year of her mother’s life. 4 stars

Carolyn’s Books of the Month – March 2017

carolyns-books-of-the-monthCarolyn reads a variety of genres so you’re bound to find something that resonates.

Best Read : The Last Painting of Sara De Vos by Dominic Smith

Crime : Home by Harlan Coben

Australian Author : Blame by Nicole Trope

General Fiction : Leave Me by Gayle Forman

Thrillers : The Couple Next Door by Shari Larpena  and The Watcher in the Wall by Owen Laukkanen

Saga/Romance : The Sound Of Glass by Karen White

Carolyns books display

Carolyn’s Books of the Month – February 2017

carolyns-books-of-the-monthSome recommended cool reading for these hot days by Carolyn.

Best Read : The Toy Maker by Liam Pieper

Crime : The Perfect Neighbors by Sarah Pekkanen

Australian Author : A Kiss from Mr Fitzgerald by Natasha Lester

General  Fiction : Before We Met by Luci Whitehouse

Thrillers : The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware and You Sent me a Letter by Lucy Dawson

Saga/Romance : The War Bride by Pamela Hart

carolyns-books-display

The Dry by Jane Harper

dryThe Dry by Jane Harper

Found on the Adult Fiction shelves under HARPER or as a Talking Book shelves under HAR TB

Plot Summary :  A story of desperation, resolution and small-town prejudice played out against the blistering extremes of life on the land.

Amid the worst drought to ravage Australia in a century, a farmer turns his gun on his family and then himself. As questions mount and suspicion casts a long shadow over the parched town, specialist investigator Aaron Falk is forced to confront the community that rejected him 20 years earlier. (Source: Fantastic Fiction)

In 2015 The Dry was given the Victorian Premier’s Award for an unpublished manuscript.  It has now been sold to 20 publishers worldwide and Reece Witherspoon’s company has optioned it as a film.

Review : I just loved it from the beginning with its crime and mystery, Australian countryside setting, beautiful language and pace.

This is a story about heroism, the sins of the past, and the struggle to atone.

Reviewed by : Carolyn

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