Podcast Sydney Writers’ Festival

Parra Pods – Episode 12 Sydney Writer’s Festival

Join Katherine & Nisa as they discuss some amazing books and writers featured at this years Sydney Writers’ Festival.

All of the titles are the works of vibrant and diverse young voices. These works explore issues such as “black lives matter”, the experience of an elite athlete and addiction, the transgender experience set within re-imagined historical fiction, and the unique perspective of a member of a famous and tragic political family.

Happy Listening

 

Some of the books discussed Podcast include:

Godspeed: A Memoir by Casey Legler

Friday Black by Nana Kwame Adjei- Brenyah

Confessions of the Fox by Jordy Rosenberg

The Runaways by Fatima Bhutto

Book Review: Nine Perfect Strangers

Nine Perfect Strangers

Liane Moriarty

Summary

The retreat at health and wellness resort Tranquillum House promises total transformation. Nine stressed city dwellers are keen to drop their literal and mental baggage, and absorb the meditative ambience while enjoying their hot stone massages.

Watching over them is the resort’s director, a woman on a mission to reinvigorate their tired bodies and minds. 

These nine perfect strangers have no idea what is about to hit them.

With her wit, compassion and uncanny understanding of human behaviour, Liane Moriarty explores the depth of connection that can be formed when people are thrown together in… unconventional circumstances. 

Comments

While some of our readers liked this book, the majority felt this one fell a little flat unfortunately. 

We were looking forward to this read, considering we loved ‘Big Little Lies’ and ‘The Husband’s Secret’ amongst her others, but were left a little disappointed.

We found it a very slow start and a bit repetitive with some characters hard to engage. 

For those of us who did enjoy this book,  they likened it to a good holiday, on-the-beach read.

Read By

Cultcha Club 6/10

Book Review: Working Class Boy

Working Class Boy

Working Class Boy

Jimmy Barnes

Book Summary

The time I have spent writing this book has caused me a lot of pain. Sometimes because of what I have remembered about my childhood and sometimes because of what I couldn’t remember. It is funny how your mind blocks things out when those things can hurt you. There are a lot of things I wish I didn’t remember…

A household name, an Australian rock icon, the elder statesman of Ozrock – there isn’t an accolade or cliche that doesn’t apply to Jimmy Barnes. But long before Cold Chisel and Barnesy, long before the tall tales of success and excess, there was the true story of James Dixon Swan – a working class boy whose family made the journey from Scotland to Australia in search of a better life.

Working Class Boy is a powerful reflection on a traumatic and violent childhood, which fuelled the excess and recklessness that would define, but almost destroy, the rock’n’roll legend. This is the story of how James Swan became Jimmy Barnes. It is a memoir burning with the frustration and frenetic energy of teenage sex, drugs, violence and ambition for more than what you have.

Raw, gritty, compassionate, surprising and darkly funny – Jimmy Barnes’s childhood memoir is at once the story of migrant dreams fulfilled and dashed. Arriving in Australia in the Summer of 1962, things went from bad to worse for the Swan family – Dot, Jim and their six kids. The scramble to manage in the tough northern suburbs of Adelaide in the 60s would take its toll on the Swans as dwindling money, too much alcohol, and fraying tempers gave way to violence and despair. This is the story a family’s collapse, but also a young boy’s dream to escape the misery of the suburbs with a once-in-a-lifetime chance to join a rock’n’roll band and get out of town for good.

Comments

This Book gives the reader a warts and all insight into the lives of the poor and underprivileged in our country and the resilience of those like Jimmy Barnes who overcome their circumstances. This could be a depressing read but Jimmy’s sense of humour shines through.

After several attempts to document his early life as a ten pound Pom who arrived in Elizabeth in South Australia as a pre-schooler, until he left home at seventeen, he finally managed to tell his amazing story.

This is more than an autobiography; for Jimmy it was a therapeutic journey through very hard times. He has included several pages of contact details for help and support organisations to encourage those who may need help.

Shocking but realistic true portrait of growing up in Glasgow, amazing survival & black humour!

Read By

Dundas Readers – 6/10

2019 ABIA Shortlist

The Australian Book Industry Awards (ABIA) celebrate the achievements of authors and publishers in bringing Australian books to readers. The shortlist covers 12 categories and they are

Biography Book of the Year

Back, After the Break by Osher Günsberg (HarperCollins Publishers)

Challenge Accepted! by Celeste Barber (HarperCollins Publishers)

Eggshell Skull by Bri Lee (Allen & Unwin)

Johnathan Thurston: The Autobiography by Johnathan Thurston, with James Phelps (HarperCollins Publishers)

Teacher by Gabbie Stroud (Allen & Unwin)

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Book Review: Force of Nature by Jane Harper

Force of Nature by Jane Harper

Book Summary

Five women reluctantly pick up their backpacks and start walking along the muddy track. Only four come out the other side.

The hike through the rugged Giralang Ranges is meant to take the office colleagues out of their air-conditioned comfort zone and teach resilience and team building. At least that is what the corporate retreat website advertises.

Federal Police Agent Aaron Falk has a particularly keen interest in the whereabouts of the missing bushwalker. Alice Russell is the whistleblower in his latest case – and Alice knew secrets. About the company she worked for and the people she worked with.

Far from the hike encouraging teamwork, the women tell Falk a tale of suspicion, violence and disintegrating trust. And as he delves into the disappearance, it seems some dangers may run far deeper than anyone knew. 

Comments

A Library Book Club choice and a good one too. Federal Police, Aaron Falk and his offsider Carmen, are investigating a company fraud when their informant, Alice, who works for the company goes missing with four other employees on a team building exercise. The setting is dense forest in the Giralang Ranges in Victoria. The women lose their way and after a harrowing time only four of them emerge. What has happened?

This is a real page-turner. Jane Harper has complete control of the narrative throughout and she maintains the suspense while creating a cast of well-drawn and interesting characters.

Read by

Dundas Readers