What we’ve been reading September 2021

The inclusion of banned books in our reading themes for 2021 was certainly a good pick. It was the push I needed to finally read, ‘The Great Gatsby’ by F. Scott Fitzgerald. While I am yet to finish reading, I am finding it to be the perfect book to relax with just before bed; also totally love the language.

Some of the other great books I read included, ‘Apples Never Fall’ Liane Moriarty’s latest book; ‘We Were Never Here’ by Andrea Bartz and ‘The Bluffs’ by Kyle Perry.  

Apples Never Fall’ was released in September and I admit to being super excited to read this one, although I was worried I might be put off by the tennis theme, not being a fan myself. Luckily I found this made no difference what-so-ever and while it wasn’t a book that kept me glued to the pages, I did enjoy reading it. The way in which Liane Moriarty weaves the story and characters together is truly skilful and the family dynamics as always is believable.

We Were Never Here’ by Andrea Bartz, is a must for fans of psychological thrillers. While I didn’t particularly like either of the two main characters, Andrea Bartz skill at weaving the story together, kept me wanting to know how their story would conclude.

The Bluff’s’ by Kyle Perry was one of those books I have been wanting to read since its release in 2020. ‘The Bluff’s’ ended up being my favourite read for September. I sat down and didn’t move until I finished the whole book. Kyle Perry masterfully uses the landscape to create an atmosphere and anticipation that had me holding my breath. Needless to say I can’t wait to read Kyle Perry’s latest book, ‘The Deep’ and then watch his interview about it.

Books my colleagues read this month included….

Continue reading

August Reading Wrap-up

Welcome to our monthly reading wrap-up fellow readers!

Books, books & more books.

Finding ourselves still in lockdown here in Sydney being able to enjoy the odd book or two is one thing we look forward to in our downtime. Enjoying every opportunity to share what we are reading our City of Parramatta reading community is one of our highlights.

With our reading theme for August being, ‘Big, Bang Books’, I decided to re-read ‘And the mountains echoed’ by Khaled Hosseini. While ‘And the mountains echoed’ isn’t my favourite Khaled Hosseini book, it was still a beautiful, emotional read that stayed with me for days after I finished the book. The next time I’m looking to have my heart squeezed, I think I might re-read, ‘The kite runner’ & ‘A thousand splendid suns’.

‘Banned Books’ is our reading theme for September and one that offers up a great chance to pick up one of those classics you have been considering for years. We have highlighted some titles you might like to explore for your reading or listening pleasure.

For those of you who are more interested in exploring what we have been reading, you will find a list below.

Whatever book you choose to read over the next month or so, we hope you enjoy it.

Happy reading,

Jody

Some of the fabulous books we’ve been reading

The distant hours by Kate Morton – eBook, eAudiobook

The Henna artist by Alka Joshi – eBook, eAudiobook

Still life by Sarah Winman – eBook

The truth about her by Jacqueline Maley – eBook, eAudiobook

Leave me alone: A memoir of me, myself and Trish by Christian Hall – eBook

The truth & Addy Loest by Kim Kelly – eAudiobook

Olive, again by Elizabeth Strout – eBook, eAudiobook

One hundred days by Alice Pung – eBook

Your second life begins when you realize you only have one by Raphaelle Giordano

The electric hotel by Dominic Smith – eBook, eAudiobook

So much life left over by Louis de Berniere – eAudiobook

The bluffs by Kyle Perry – eBook, eAudiobook

Thorn by Intisar Khanani – eBook, eAudiobook

And the mountains echoed by Khaled Hosseini – eBook, eAudiobook

Hamilton and Peggy! A revolutionary friendship by L.M. Elliott – eAudiobook A doctor in Africa by Dr Andew Browning – eBook, eAudiobook

Banned books

All the titles listed were at some point banned in Countries around the world or people were asking for them to be banned. How many have your read?

Continue reading

Book Club Book Reviews August 2021

Napoleon’s Last Island by Thomas Keneally

Summary

In October 1815, after his defeat at the Battle of Waterloo, Napoleon Bonaparte was sent to live the remainder of his life in exile on the remote Southern Atlantic island of St. Helena. There, on what he called “the cursed rock,” with no chance of escape, he found an unexpected ally: a spirited British teenager named Betsy Balcombe who lived on the island with her family. While Napoleon waited for his own accommodations to be made livable, the Balcombe family played host to the infamous exile, a decision that would have far-reaching consequences for them all.

Comments

We generally did not enjoy this book although most of us researched the characters after finishing it. We were not engaged with the story and felt that modern ideas and opinions were to too prominent in the narrative. We would have been more interested in reading about the central characters’ life in NSW as a result of their time and experiences on the island.

Read by MJ Readers

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Summary

For years, rumours of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life – until the unthinkable happens.

Comments

Starting in the 1950s, set in North Carolina, Where the Crawdads Sing follows the story of Kya, who grows up alone after being abandoned by her family.  She learns her life lessons from the wildlife around her.  Learning how to hide from the truant officer and hunting skills to catch food.

We absolutely, unanimously loved this book!  Loved, loved, LOVED IT!  Beautifully written; we felt like we were in the shack, or hiding in the marshes, or on the boat exploring the water ways of the swamp.  We enjoyed the way the story alternated between Kya’s childhood and, her present day.  This book kept us guessing to the very end.  To an ending none of us picked and loved all the same.   We loved Kya, her quiet strength and determination.  And the wonderful characters that surrounded her (Jumpin & Mabel) and the relationships she had with all of them.  Even the not so likeable ones. They were real, and people we could relate to.  The book covered a whole range of issues, loss and abandonment, racial prejudice, social injustice, and love.  We cannot recommend this book enough.

Read by Cultcha Club – Rating 9.5/10

August Author Talks

City of Parramatta Libraries have once again teamed up with Public Libraries NSW to offer our communities the chance to attend FREE online author talks over the coming months. Each ‘in conversation’ style talk will be with a range of best-selling authors and a librarian from the hosting library.
There are two author talks for the month of August that you can attend from the comfort of home – Kyle Perry and Larissa Behrendt.

Kyle Perry Presents The Deep
Thursday 5 August 6.30pm

Kyle Perry will be in conversation with Catherine du Peloux Menage from Bad Sydney Crime Writers’ Festival speaking about his new book, The Deep.
From the bestselling breakout author of The Bluffs comes a heart-stopping new thriller set on the rugged coast of Tasmania about modern-day pirates, family bonds and betrayals, and the hidden dangers that lurk in the deep…
To register book online – parra.city/perry21

Larissa Behrendt Presents After Story
Thursday 19 August 6.30pm

Larissa Behrendt will be in conversation with Kiesha Mealey-Haroa from City of Parramatta Libraries, discussing her moving new novel, After Story.
When Indigenous lawyer Jasmine decides to take her mother Della on a tour of England’s most revered literary sites, Jasmine hopes it will bring them closer together and help them reconcile the past. Ambitious and engrossing, After Story celebrates the extraordinary power of words and the quiet spaces between.
To register book online – parra.city/behrendt21

All About Books Winter 2021

Welcome to the Winter 2021 edition of All About Books. Once again there is a wonderful range of fiction and non fiction books being published for adults and teens from best selling and debut authors. The always popular Staff Picks make an appearance and news of our upcoming author talks are on page 43. Many of the titles are available as ebooks while those that aren’t can be added to your to be borrowed pile when we re-open. Happy Reading!