This years winner of the Stella Prize has been announced.
And the winner is THE STRAYS BY EMILY BITTO
In The Strays, Evan Trentham is the wild child of the Melbourne art world of the 1930s. He and his captivating wife, Helena, attempt to carve out their own small niche, to escape the stifling conservatism they see around them, by gathering together other like-minded artists. They create a utopian circle within their family home, offering these young artists a place to live and work, and the mixed benefits of being associated with the infamous Evan. At the periphery of this circle is Lily Struthers, the best friend of Evan and Helena’s daughter Eva. Lily is infatuated by the world she bears witness to, and longs to be part of this enthralling makeshift family. As Lily observes years later, looking back on events that she still carries painfully within her, the story of this groundbreaking circle involved the same themes as Evan Trentham’s art: Faustian bargains and terrible recompense; spectacular fortunes and falls from grace. Yet it was not Evan, nor the other artists he gathered around him, but his own daughters, who paid the debt that was owing.
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The Rosie Project – Graeme Simsion
Don Tillman, professor of genetics, has never been on a second date. Then a chance encounter gives him an idea. He will design a questionnaire-a sixteen-page, scientifically researched document-to find the perfect partner. She will most definitely not be a barmaid, a smoker, a drinker or a late-arriver. Rosie Jarman is all these things. She is strangely beguiling, fiery and intelligent. And she is also on a quest of her own. She’s looking for her biological father, a search that a certain DNA expert might just be able to help her with-even if he does wear quick-dry clothes and eat lobster every single Tuesday night.
We absolutely loved it! It is beautifully written and gives a great insight into the autism spectrum by allowing the reader to see the world through the eyes of a man with Asperger’s. We can relate to the characters.. we all have a little bit of Don in us. Don reminded us of Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory! It’s a bit like Forest Gump meets Sheldon.
The characters were very likeable and the non-conventional love story will tug at your heart strings. The plots within the story will make you laugh out loud.
We also liked the unexpected twist at the end.
Overall, a wonderful book! We are looking forward to reading the next installment.
Rating – 10/10
Read by – Cultcha Club Book Club
Sapphire Skies – Belinda Alexandra
2000: The wreckage of a downed WWII fighter plane is discovered in the forests near Russia’s Ukrainian border. The aircraft belonged to Natalya Azarova, ace pilot and pin-up girl for Soviet propaganda, but the question of her fate remains unanswered. Was she a German spy who faked her own death, as the Kremlin claims? Her lover, Valentin Orlov, now a highly-decorated general, refuses to believe it. Lily, a young Australian woman, has moved to Moscow to escape from tragedy. She becomes fascinated by the story of Natalya, and when she meets an elderly woman who claims to know the truth behind the rumours, Lily is drawn deeper into the mystery. From the pomp and purges of Stalin’s Russia through the horrors of war and beyond – secrets and lies, enduring love and terrible betrayal, sacrifice and redemption all combine in this sweeping saga.
One reader found the Russian history very interesting but didn’t find the writing style was good. The book was an easy read and different aspects of the dual storyline and the topics raised, eg. Moscow Metro, animal rescues. This book was recommended by the BBC Book Club in 2014 and it was an easy book to read. One reader found the enduring love of Valentin for Natalya touching and sweet. The trauma of life under the various political regimes was very clearly depicted.
Read by – The Second Tuesday Evening Book Group.
When talking about reading diversity, the International IMPAC Dublin Award truly reflects the fiction works from world literature for the past 20 years. Nominated by public libraries around the world, the IMPAC Award is presented annually for a fiction work written in English or translated into English. The Award is an initiative of Dublin City Council the municipal government of Dublin which now retains full ownership of the award. The Award aims to promote excellence in world literature.