Miles Franklin Shortlist, Our Picks!

Over the last month, myself and my colleague Sarah have been super busy reading!

What have we been reading? Well, as many books on the ‘Miles Franklin’ longlist that we could manage! Not to mention our leisure reading and book club titles. Luckily we both love books and reading; although Sarah is by far the superior reader. I am constantly in awe of her seemingly endless list of books she has finished.

Now back to the ‘Miles Franklin’ longlist. While we didn’t get through the whole longlist, we did manage to read six out of ten titles, which I think is not a bad effort.

We read:

The White Girl by Tony Birch, UQP, 2019. eBook – eAudiobook – This made me cry! In a good way. I was totally invested in Odette and Sissy’s story. If I am honest I would have read another two hundred pages. Jody

Room For A Stranger by Melanie Cheng, Text Publishing, 2019. eBook – eAudiobook – Meg is an elderly lady living alone in her childhood home. After a break-in she finds a student to share her house. This is Andy, an international student from Hong Kong. Although they are from different backgrounds they develop a friendship as they do have some things in common. Sarah

Islands by Peggy Frew, Allend & Unwin, 2019. eBook – eAudiobook – The many different layers/perspectives in this book did confuse me a times; enough so that I did find myself re-reading parts. However, overall I did enjoy the book and after finishing it, felt that on some level the way it was written perfectly matched the disjointed lives of the characters. Jody

Exploded View by Carrie Tiffany, Text Publishing, 2020. eBook – This book had the power to mess with my head! The narrator of this book is a teenage girl living with her mother, brother and a dangerous man. She uses her mechanical skill to fight back. I found this book quite disturbing. Sarah

The Yield by Tara June Winch, Hamish Hamilton, 2019. eBook – eAudiobook – Simply a perfect book! I enjoy reading books about Australian History, particularly Indigenous stories. ‘The Yield’ is complex and emotional book, with characters that will stay with you long after you finish reading their story. – Jody

The Weekend by Charlotte Wood, Allen & Unwin, 2019. eBook – eAudiobook – Four women in their 70s have been lifelong friends. After the death of one of the group the others spend a weekend at her beach house to clean it out. But there is conflict between the three ladies without the friend that held the group together. This novel looks at growing older and dealing with past regrets. – Sarah

We are crossing our fingers that our three favourite books, ‘The White Girl’ by Tony Birch, ‘The Yield’ by Tara June Winch and ‘Room for a Stranger’ by Melanie Cheng make it onto the 2020 ‘Miles Franklin Shortlist’.

Do you have a favourite? What will be your pick for the 2020 Winner?

Jody

June Picks! Parra Reads Online Book Club

It was really hard choosing this month’s titles. We have been reading along together now for three months and trying to pick something different that would appeal to the greater reading community was difficult. In the end we decided to go with two titles we all had been wanting to read, ‘Bruny‘ by Heather Rose and ‘The Beekeeper of Aleppo‘ by Christy Lefteri.

Heather Rose is the author of ‘The museum of modern love‘, one book which we have all read and enjoyed. Christy Lefteri’s book ‘The Beekeeper of Aleppo has continued to be a popular pick among readers since it’s release in 2019; not mention one of our ‘most wanted’ Book Club Kits!

Hopefully they will prove as appealing to everyone reading along with us as they were to us!

Happy Reading!

Jody

Bruny by Heather Rose (2019)

Available in eBook & eAudiobook from our rbDigital Library! Download the FREE rbDigital Library App from the App Store or Goggle Play and start ‘Reading Together’.

Allen & Unwin

Book Summary

Why is a massive bridge being built to connect the sleepy island of Bruny with the mainland of Tasmania? And why have terrorists blown it up?

When the Bruny bridge is bombed, UN troubleshooter Astrid Coleman agrees to return home to help her brother before an upcoming election. But this is no simple task. Her brother and sister are on either side of politics, the community is full of conspiracy theories, her mother is fading and her father is quoting Shakespeare. Only on Bruny does the world seem sane. Until Astrid discovers how far the government is willing to go.

Bruny is a searing, subversive novel about family, love, loyalty and the new world order. It is a gripping thriller with a jaw-dropping twist, a love story, a cry from the heart and a fiercely entertaining and crucial work of imagination that asks the burning question: what would you do to protect the place you love?

The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri, (2019)

Available in eBook & eAudiobook from our BorrowBox Library! Download the FREE BorrowBox Library App from the App Store or Goggle Play and start ‘Reading Together’.

Allen & Unwin

Book Summary

In the midst of war, he found love
In the midst of darkness, he found courage
In the midst of tragedy, he found hope

What will you find from his story?

Nuri is a beekeeper; his wife, Afra, an artist. They live a simple life, rich in family and friends, in the beautiful Syrian city of Aleppo – until the unthinkable happens. When all they care for is destroyed by war, they are forced to escape. But what Afra has seen is so terrible she has gone blind, and so they must embark on a perilous journey through Turkey and Greece towards an uncertain future in Britain. On the way, Nuri is sustained by the knowledge that waiting for them is Mustafa, his cousin and business partner, who has started an apiary and is teaching fellow refugees in Yorkshire to keep bees.

As Nuri and Afra travel through a broken world, they must confront not only the pain of their own unspeakable loss, but dangers that would overwhelm the bravest of souls. Above all – and perhaps this is the hardest thing they face – they must journey to find each other again.

I’m Reading Again!

Earlier this month I shared my frustrations will you all regarding how difficult I was finding it lately to actually concentrate and finish a book. (If you missed the post you can catch up HERE).

It turns out all I needed was to pick up the right book, a book I had been wanting to read for a while; ‘The Nowhere Child‘ by Christian White.

I listed ‘The Nowhere Child’ on my wish list because since it’s publication by Affirm Press in 2018 continues to be a book everyone recommends as a ‘must read’. That, plus the fact Christian White is an Australian Author made it an automatic choice for me. Not to mention it was chosen as one of our May, Parra Reads Book Club Titles.

My verdict after finishing ‘The Nowhere Child’ is “I loved it!” I literally couldn’t put it down, and I am not just saying that. I picked it up one Saturday morning and didn’t stop until I finished it at 9.30pm that night. It wasn’t one of those book that you just have to keep reading because the suspense of finding out ‘what happens’ is just so intense. It was, more ‘I am invested in these characters and need to know how their story ends.’

I enjoyed Christian White’s writing style so much, I also read his second book ‘The Wife and the Widow’. Funny isn’t it, I went to reading nothing to reading two books in quick session. Just proves you can get out of your reading slump if you find the write book and author.

My tale doesn’t end there! Now I’m reading again I have renewed sense of wanting to talk about books.

Some of the books I have read and thoroughly enjoyed over the last few weeks are:

The White Girl by Tony Birch – This made me cry! In a good way. I was totally invested in Odette and Sissy’s story. If I am honest I would have read another two hundred pages.

The Maker’s Curse by Trudi Canavan – ‘The Maker’s Curse’ in the last book in Trudi Canavan’s ‘Millennium’s Rule Series’. The last time I was in a reading slump, my good friend and colleague Amanda recommended I try Trudi Canavan’s ‘Thief’s Magic’. She guaranteed me the book wouldn’t fail to get me reading again, and it worked! I read my way through all three books in the series then sat back and eagerly awaited the release of the fourth and final book ‘The Maker’s Curse’. If you enjoy reading fantasy novels with amazing world building you should read ‘The Millennium’s Rule Series‘.

The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi – I came across this title while browsing through the new eBook releases. An incredible story! With rich and colorful descriptions of the sights and sounds of India.

Until next time, I hope you enjoyed the post and find another couple of books to add to your TBR pile!

Happy Reading

Jody

Book Review – The Lost Man by Jane Harper

Jane Harper’s books continue to be popular among our City of Parramatta Libraries book clubs. With all three titles out each month. In February Cultcha Club book club read ‘The Lost Man’, and thoroughly enjoyed it! Which is great because they have waited very patiently for their turn.

Happy Reading!

A twisted tale that kept us guessing all the way through. Lots of twists and turns with a few red herrings that kept the pages turning. We absolutely loved it! Now the third book of Jane Harper’s that we have read and thoroughly enjoyed.

Harper knows how to sell the scene. A wonderful turns of phrase that makes the reader feel the environment as if they were living it. In ‘Force of Nature’, we could feel the closeness and density of the forest, and in ‘The Lost Man’, we could feel the heat and remoteness of the Queensland outback. The unrelenting heat and neighbours that are three hours way.

We loved the relationships between all the characters, and the way their secrets unfolded. How our opinions of each of them changed as they changed and grew throughout the book. In particular, we loved the story lines and relationship between Nathan and his son, Xander.

We loved this book! Highly recommended!

8.5/10

Cultcha Club

Available as eBook from our BorrowBox Library

Available as eAudiobook from our rbDigital Library

The Land Before Avocado, Book Review

THE LAND BEFORE AVOCADO BY RICHARD GLOVER

A funny and frank look at the way Australia used to be – and just how far we have come.

‘It was simpler time’. We had more fun back then’. ‘Everyone could afford a house’.

There’s plenty of nostalgia right now for the Australia of the past, but what was it really like?

In The Land Before Avocado, Richard Glover takes a journey to an almost unrecognisable Australia. It’s a vivid portrait of a quite peculiar land: a place that is scary and weird, dangerous and incomprehensible, and, now and then, surprisingly appealing.

It’s the Australia of his childhood. The Australia of the late ’60s and early ’70s.

Let’s break the news now: they didn’t have avocado.

It’s a place of funny clothing and food that was appalling, but amusingly so. It is also the land of staggeringly awful attitudes – often enshrined in law – towards anybody who didn’t fit in.

The Land Before Avocado will make you laugh and cry, feel angry and inspired. And leave you wondering how bizarre things were, not so long ago.

Most of all, it will make you realise how far we’ve come – and how much further we can go.

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