Not drowning, reading by Andrew Relph

Amy not drowning, readingAndrew 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.

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Jane Eyre

Amy Jane Eyre(The 1983 version with Timothy Dalton and Zelah Clarke). The library owns seven film/miniseries adaptations of Jane Eyre (someone kept all the 2006 versions!), and this is one of my favourites. It was made in the early 80s, so the film quality isn’t great, sometimes it’s unintentionally funny, and Jane is too old, but that goes for most of the versions. Timothy Dalton plays a great Mr Rochester and the dialogue is often straight from the book; it’s a very faithful version. Everyone should watch it because it’s Jane Eyre, and men will especially love it because James Bond is in it

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Philomena

Helen PhilomenaA young teenage girl, Philomena, becomes pregnant out of wedlock in 1952 and was sent to a convent to have her baby. When her baby, Anthony, was a toddler the nuns took the child away, putting him up for adoption in the United States. For the next 50 years Philomena searched for her son. When a former BBC journalist learns of her story they travel together in search for Anthony. Lots of twists and turns in this story. Also, have your tissues ready – a real tear jerker!

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Autumn by Ali Smith

Amy AutumnAutumn is a little hard to explain. It’s the first of four, seasonal, ‘state of the nation’ novels. It’s about Britain, after Brexit, and how the western world is closing itself off from kindness and sharing. It’s about strong friendship, the transformative power of love, and about art. It’s clever, thought provoking, moving and sent me to Google to learn about Pauline Boty (British pop artist).

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Girl runner by Carrie Snyder

Ali Girl runner“My name is Aganetha Smart and I am 104 years old. Do not imagine this is an advantage”

An aged Aganetha is confined to a wheelchair when two young siblings take her on a journey back to the family farm which stirs her memory. The reasons for this visit are revealed as Aggie’s story unfolds.

Aggie’s story is of a young girl raised in Ontario whose passion is running. She moves to the city at 16 and is brought into an athletic club through work which ultimately leads to her competing and winning gold in the 1928 Olympics – the first Olympics where women were allowed to compete in certain track and field events. Continue reading

Truly madly guilty by Liane Moriarty

Amy Truly Madly GuiltyLiane Moriarty is really great at writing about suburban Sydney-siders. There’s a strong sense of place, and the characters are real; frustrating, amusing, familiar. Truly, Madly Guilty is about three families who gather for a BBQ one afternoon and something terrible happens that has a negative impact on them all. The events of that afternoon are (very) slowly revealed over the book and the surprises are many. Though very good at pointing out people’s foibles, Moriarty is a hopeful writer, and this book is thought provoking, compelling and with a satisfying ending.

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Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Amy DeliriumI do enjoy racing through a dystopian young adult trilogy. Certainly the premise, in this case that love is a disease that must be cured, generally doesn’t stand up to serious thought, but the action, characters and relationships are compelling. I am not enjoying the setting as much as in other series, but I am definitely keen to find out what happens next (it pays to read these series once they are completed) so will move straight on to Pandemonium.

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See what I have done by Sarah Schmidt

Penny See What I Have DoneSee what I have done is a must read for lovers of murder mysteries and historical fiction.

Lizzie Borden’s parents Andrew and Abbey are found brutally murdered in their Massachusetts home. The novel takes the reader back to events leading up to that fateful day in 1892.

Lizzie becomes an immediate suspect in this crime and is send to trial for the murders. The question is did the daughter Lizzie take and axe and butcher her parents or not?

Sarah Schmidt is an Australian author and this is her first novel.

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Golden earrings by Belinda Alexandra

Cynthia Golden EarringsThis was an intereting historical novel, covering historical events that I did not know about beforehand. I did get a little lost in the politics of the Spanish Civil War which lessened my enjoyment of the book and Belinda does not hide from the brutality of war adding to the novel’s setting. The characters were interesting and made me continue reading the story – showing the great storytelling ability of the author. Throw in the history of flamenco dancing, a bit of a mystery and a bit of romance and it became a worthwhile read.

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Case histories

Amy Case HistoriesCase Histories is the television adaptation of Kate Atkinson’s Jackson Brodie detective series. I really love the books, and I didn’t dislike the TV series, but I didn’t love it. Jason Isaacs (Lucius Malfoy!) plays Jackson Brodie, a private detective in beautiful Edinburgh. He tends to stumble across mysteries that are old, with current implications. The scenery is great, there are lots of reconcilable British actors, but sometimes I wasn’t sure I could actually follow what was going on. Back to the books….

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