Howling Books is a second hand bookshop, with a collection of books for people to leave letters in. Rachel comes back to town and starts working there, with the boy she used to love. This is young adult fiction, with an Australian setting, references to so many books, sweet and complicated relationships, and not too much teenage angst. It’s about loss, connection and the power of books. There’s a lot to like.
It turns out that I can enjoy a book like this, if it is set in a book shop, in the Cotswolds. Emilia’s father has died, leaving her a book shop that isn’t doing very well. As she decides whether to keep it going or not, a cast of her customers also find themselves at crossroads. It’s heartwarming, comfortably predictable and sweet, without being cloying. I couldn’t read only this sort of book, but it was an entertaining interlude.
A charming Australian story about female friendship. Sybil decides to start a book club which leads to 5 women developing the strong bonds of friendship, bonds that will stand up against the bad and the good times. The setting of this book is a remote cattle station in the Northern Territory, which adds extra dimensions to the story, as well as being set in the late 70s. It was quite nostalgic going over some of the major world events for that time period which Sophie has included in her story and how much communication has changed (who remembers the telephone party line?). I was worried that the story was going to end all neatly wrapped up with everyone blissfully happy, but it wasn’t. Sophie has left room at the end of the story for the reader to continue the characters’ stories themselves – a great tool to let the story remain with you after reading the story.
Andrew Relph was born after a tragedy in his family. The event left his parents unable to respond to him, emotionally, as they should have. Though he, himself, had great difficulty reading, his mother read to him, and in books he found the connection, relationship, conversation and emotion that he was missing. There is a fair bit about psychotherapy in this book, the author became a psychotherapist, and perhaps because the particular books he has written about, are not ones I have loved, I didn’t connect with this book so much. It is about the immense power of reading, but I found How Proust can Change Your Life , by Alain de Botton, a far more engaging book on the subject.
An Unnecessary woman is the story of an aged, divorced, childless woman, living in a flat in Beirut. With almost no connections, she spends her days translating books into Arabic. It’s a quiet book, mostly the thoughts of a single woman, but it is also an interesting look at a life in Beirut, at purpose in life and the importance of books.
I love hearing about what people are reading; why they are enjoying books, or not, and what impact they have. Stuff I’ve Been Reading is a column Nick Hornby wrote for an American magazine, and his voice very entertaining. He is funny, reads thoughtfully, and loves Charles Dickens, which does tend to win me over (a reference to C.S. Lewis does that most quickly). I think I might need to read some more of his novels……
I weep for Charlotte, how relentlessly sad her life was! This is an engaging and thorough biography, opening up the lives of Charlotte, Emily and Anne; giving great insights into their novels. Harman has given a rounded picture of an extraordinary, intelligent, spirited and flawed woman whose faith sustained her through terrible trials, and who, together with her sisters, wrote some of the world’s most beloved, revolutionary novels.
Evelyn Waugh, such a fascinating, complicated man living in extraordinary times. Paula Byrne has brought to life his wit, passion, faith, irreverence and loyalty, largely through his long relationship with the Lygon family, who inspired the Marchmains of Brideshead Revisited. This biography is funny, tender, sad and often shocking, full of real life characters that are familiar and many that are recognisable from Waugh’s novels – enjoyably engrossing.
They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, however that’s exactly what I did when I saw ‘The Collected Works Of A.J. Fikry’ by Gabrielle Zevin in a book store in Manly. I loved the cover and knew that I just had to read the book.
Without giving too much away AJ is left to run a struggling book store by himself after his wife is tragically killed. His prized book of Poe poems has also been stolen. AJ’s life is going from bad to worse, until one day a special package arrives on his door step. His whole life is transformed from that day on. Continue reading
I knew I recognised this writer’s style even though I have never read a book by Angela Banks. Here is why… this is the first book by friends Heather Rose and Danielle Wood and Danielle wrote Mothers Grimm which I enjoyed due to the writer’s skill. Interesting fact – Heather and Rose chose the pseudonym, Angelica Banks, so their Tuesday McGillycuddy Adventure series for kids will be shelved at the beginning of the alphabet in book shops and libraries where people will see them. Their own books are shelved at the end of the alphabet… at knee height. If you are an aspiring writer you will relate to this book as Tuesday looks for her missing mother, the famous author Serendipity Smith. Continue reading