Scrublands by Chris Hammer

amy-scrublands.jpgScrublands is Australian rural noir, set in a fictional town in the Riverina. A year ago, a priest shot a number of men dead, and was then shot himself by the local policeman. A journalist, with his own demons, arrives to write a piece about how the town is coping, only to uncover, and become entangled, in layers of secrets. There is a great sense of place; the oppressive heat and bleak landscape mirroring the tension between the townspeople, the police and the news people. The mystery is deep and complex, the characters compelling, and the plight of the small country town in drought, utterly believable.

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On the beach by Nevil Shute

amy-on-the-beach.jpgWhat would you do if you knew the world was to end in just a few months? After a short, nuclear war in the northern hemisphere, the only people left alive are down south, but radiation sickness is slowly heading towards them. Less technical than many Shute novels, this is a fascinating look at what could have happened if war broke out in the sixties, and how people might have dealt with impending death. It’s thoughtful, sweet, amusingly old-fashioned (the female characters!), and ultimately moving.

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Bluebottle by Belinda Castles

Amy BluebottleBluebottle is a quiet, leisurely paced book about the lasting power of family ties and secrets. Charlie is a difficult man to live with; his wife and children must tiptoe around his swinging moods. Something happens one Christmas that is still affecting them twenty years later. Set on Sydney’s northern beaches, the heat, ocean and rain are palpable, as is the tension in the siblings.

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The shepherd’s hut by Tim Winton

amy the shepherd's hutJaxie Clackton is a teenaged boy in a small town in Western Australia. His mother died, and his father beats him badly, until one day something happens, and Jaxie finds himself on the run in the most inhospitable country, with only hope to keep him going. The Shepherd’s Hut is about survival, love, hatred, strength, kindness and meaning. It’s harsh, raw, bleak, and confronting, but beautiful and deeply moving, with the strong sense of place you expect from Tim Winton, and a character whose voice will linger long after the book has been closed.

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Bridge burning & other hobbies by Kitty Flanagan

tracey kittyIf you are a fan of Kitty Flanagan as I am, you will love her new book! It is a collection of easy to read “true stories and ill-informed opinions” written in her distinctive relaxed and familiar style that make you laugh out loud and be very annoying to your partner trying to read a serious book alongside you in bed at night!
Chapters include Yoga Guantanamo, which is about attending a yoga ashram in order to avoid going to Easter mass, The Wishbone Chicken Shop where her love of cooking definitely did NOT come from her grandmother and The Vardy Party about children’s birthday parties in the good old days when parents used to dump their kids and run.
If you want something that is light, bright and humorous to lift your spirits then this is the book for you!

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