This reading list is a contribution to the sharing of books. All sorts of books make their way to my bedside table. Some are sent, some recommended, some given as gifts or lent by someone who has enjoyed reading them.
Others (let’s be frank – many) I see on a bookstore shelf, find irresistible and bring home. A few of these become family members who may not leave my bookshelf, but can be read by guests who stay. Some wander on to other homes and hearts.
If you have books you’d like to talk about contact me via the web contact form.
Harry Laing’s poetry and Anne Ryan’s illustrations marry perfectly in this collection, exuding energy and a delight in the wonders of the everyday. Indeed, the poet’s intent is to ‘normalise’ poetry, to make it an easy, accessible vehicle for ideas, observations and feelings.
Allen & Unwin, Australia, 2021 Cover design: Christa Moffitt Map: Mika Tabata
This book is a masterpiece of atmospheric evocation, a family tale exploring the need to acknowledge our pasts in order to be whole.
Greta and Joel, our central characters are complex individuals, a couple joined it seems by their need to constantly move on and a capacity to allow the other not to speak of things – until they return to Joel’s family home in the Northern Territory to renovate the property for a tourism project. It is then that the past itself takes on a character role and insists on disclosure. The revelation of Joel’s secrets ultimately leads to Greta’s unveiling as well.
This is a perfect book – for children a story of an adventurous trip by hot air balloon to the Arctic by a small boy and a crow, for adult readers an allegory equally as powerful and complex as Lewis, Baum and Grahame.
Hachette, Australia, 2021 Cover design by Christabelle Designs with photograph courtesy Idda van Munster – Aida Dapo Muharemovic
This book brings together a number of the author’s passions – France, World War 11 history, women of courage, fashion and art. It is set in Occupation Paris in the historical time frame and the Riviera, Australia and New York in 2015 for the contemporary.
The Banksia House Breakout deals with themes of domestic and elder abuse, of respect for the elderly and respect for women. Written like a road movie, and with all the visuals the form evokes, it tells the story of a group of aged care residents, three of whom take matters in their own hands when they meet obstacles to fulfil their life’s desires.
HQ Fiction an imprint of Harlequin Enterprises, a subsidiary of HarperCollins Publishers, Australia, 2021 Cover design by Catherine Armstrong
The history of the second half of the 20th century provides a backdrop for this novel, set in the south east of Tasmania, specifically the once booming apple growing regions of the Huon Valley, Wattle Grove and Cygnet.
Centre stage it’s the saga of two family dynasties, the Turners and the Pearsons, starting on 7 February, 1967, known now as Black Tuesday, when 110 separate bushfires ravaged southern Tasmania.
Internal illustrations by Julie Stapleton Self-published, Australia, first edition 2016, second edition 2019, third edition 2020
Deanna Copeland is a Canberra-based visual artist and writer. Reluctant Pioneer, the first of her two novels, is inspired by stories told to her by her mother, who came to Australia from England with her husband in 1948.
It is however a work of fiction, an Australian rural romance set in the recent past during the 1940s and 1950s.
Allen & Unwin, Australia, 2021 Written by Katherine Kovacic based on Ms Fisher’s Modern Murder Mysteries episode 1, written by Deb Cox
This novelisation of the TV series of the same name no doubt aims to broaden the following and woo audience for a project bound to be met with some resistance from traditional Phryne Fisher fans. And what a success this book is!
Contemporary crime write Katherine Kovacic brings all the required qualifications to this task and instantly engages us with the sixties era and character Peregrine Fisher, niece of the missing Phryne and heir to her not inconsiderable estate.
This happy picture book reminds us of the joy of simple childhood delights.
Told in the voice of a small boy, it recounts his day from wake up to nap time, observing the beauties of nature in his own backyard on a rainy day – the pond with its fish, droplets falling from a tree, puddles to splash in, the delightful sensation of mud between his toes, a conversation with a friendly frog, a rainbow, the colours of the plants in a sunshower.
I became an immediate fan of Tess Lunney’s work with her first novel April in Paris 1921 where we met heroine, glamorous spy Kiki Button. Tessa nails it again with this thrilling breathless sequel, a tale of espionage, power and politics in 1922 Paris.
As I sit down to write this, the ACT has just entered a seven-day COVID-19 lockdown, its first since early 2020, and I am reminded how very important books and words are to me, have always been to me. Books are a source of solace, information, mind expansion, vicarious experiences, armchair travel and joy.