Non Fiction – Cooking, Silk Road
A food writer travels the Silk Road, immersing herself in a moveable feast of foods and cultures and discovering some surprising truths about commitment, independence, and love. Feasting her way through an Italian honeymoon, Jen Lin-Liu was struck by culinary echoes of the delicacies she ate and cooked back in China, where she’d lived for more than a decade. “Who really invented the noodle?” she wondered, like many before her. But also: How had food and culture moved along the Silk Road, the ancient trade route linking Asia to Europe and what could still be felt of those long-ago migrations? With her new husband’s blessing, she set out to discover the connections, both historical and personal, eating a path through western China and on into Central Asia, Iran, Turkey, and across the Mediterranean. Continue reading
What do Librarians do at lunch, you ask? We discuss books of course!
Find out what our Staff Book Club think of their monthly reads.
We are…………………. Librarians with Bite!
Deeper Water is a real coming of age story focussed very much on the relationship of the three female characters – Mema, her wild friend Anja and Mema’s mother. One day, after a downfall, Mema saves a man from a creek near their home. This man, Hamish, is the catalyst to an emotional upheaval that unsettles the family unit.
The settings and descriptions are very good. It makes you want to spend time in northern NSW and you get the feeling the nvoel is a touch autobiographical. Mema is a fantastic character, particularly in the way that she relates to her mother – she feels very loving towards her, despite their relative isolation.
It this novel, everyone accepts who they are and seem very content. This in particular resonates in the character of Mema who has a disability that is barely acknowledged in the book. It is nice that the story isn’t at all focussed on that. The friendship between Anja and Mema is a bit unresolved, but overall is definitely a worthwhile read from a new Australian talent.
The Wedding Gift by Marlene Suyapa Bodden
The Wedding Gift is set in 1852 and is a story about slavery. Sarah is a slave on a cotton plantation and is given as a wedding gift to her half-sister (same father, different mother). Clarissa, her half-sister, has been raised as a proper Southern belle, but wishes she had more choice in her life, and in particular who she loves.
With alternating viewpoints, The Wedding Gift is a real page turner. The language and writing style is quite simplistic with clear perspective, but the story is well worth reading, especially if you enjoyed titles like The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd and The Color Purple by Alice Walker.
The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
The Rosie Project is about Don Tillman, a professor of genetics who has a few social ‘quirks’. He decides it is time he found a wife and comes up with a lengthy questionnaire to filter out those who aren’t suitable. Then he meets Rosie Jarman who possesses none of those ‘suitable’ qualities.
The Rosie Project contains brilliant observations about life and those things we take for granted. It proves that we shouldn’t categorise people because of the stigma attached to being different and being judged in that way.
There was some debate that perhaps Rosie as a character was a bit clichéd and didn’t have enough depth, but overall, the book was a fantastic read. It does have elements of romance but it was generally agreed that it was more of a general fiction title.
Can definitely see it being made into a movie!
War. It is 1939, Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still. By her brother’s graveside, Liesel Meminger’s life is changed when she picks up a single object, partially hidden in the snow. It is “The Gravedigger’s Handbook”, left there by accident, and it is her first act of book thievery. So begins a love affair with books and words, as Liesel, with the help of her foster father, learns to read. Soon, she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor’s wife’s library, wherever there are books to be found. But these are dangerous times. When Liesel’s foster family hides a Jew in their basement, Liesel’s world is both opened up, and closed down. “The Book Thief” is a story about the power of words and the ability of books to feed the soul. In superbly crafted writing that burns with intensity, award-winning author, Markus Zusak has given us one of the most enduring stories of our time.
Written by Death, one reader liked his character- compassionate, witty and not utterly bleak.
Very impressive – so well written that I couldn’t put it down – very rich in texture. Continue reading
Sarah Thornhill is the youngest child of William Thornhill, convict-turned-landowner on the Hawkesbury River. She grows up in the fine house her father is so proud of, a strong-willed young woman who’s certain where her future lies. She’s known Jack Langland since she was a child, and always loved him. But the past is waiting in ambush with its dark legacy. There’s a secret in Sarah’s family, a piece of the past kept hidden from the world and from her. A secret Jack can’t live with…
Most of the group enjoyed the book. Some thought that the characters ‘did not speak to them’.
Many, who had read ‘The Secret River’, did not find this book as good. The first book was well researched and well written.
Sarah Thornhill reminded one reader of Mary in ‘The Potato Factory’. But having read ‘Sarah Thornhill’ before ‘The Secret River’ this may have influenced her.
The book brought out the alienation, dispossession, prejudice and the lack of empathy towards indigenous people. The themes of guilt and regret and the family rifts that were caused well portrayed. Some understood that the evil of William Thornhill could not ever be forgiven by his son, Dick. Continue reading