Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Shadow of the Wind

Author: Carlos Ruiz Zafon Publication Date: 2005 Who'll want to read it? Anyone who loves to live in a world of books, who is interested in Spanish culture and anyone who loves a story they can curl up and get completely lost in. What's it all about?
Daniel Sempre works in his father's bookshop in Barcelona, as a young boy he dreams of being a writer and of owning the fountain pen that belonged to Victor Hugo. One morning he wakes up to realise he cannot remember his mother's face, she is gone and he cannot remember her. This is the day he goes to the Cemetary of Forgotten books, the day his life is changed forever. Here he discovers a book named 'The shadow of the wind' by Julian Carax and after reading it Daniel seems to become drawn further and further into the world of the author, the story of the book and the many mysteries and dangers that this world presents.
This was such an amazing book! If I could have spent all day and night reading I would have, there were times when I just wished I could disappear inside the pages and join them in this world full of darkness, mystery and culture. It is a beautiful story and I'm glad to have made it's acquaintance. Publisher: Penguin Books

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Lost Book of Salem

Author: Katherine Howe Publication Date: 2009 Category: Fiction Who'll want to read it? Those interested in witches and history, particularly American Colonial history. Point of no return: When the two parts of the story link up for the first time on pages 63 and 64. A key falls out of an old bible, and it has a tiny piece of paper rolled inside it: "On it, in a watery ink barely legible in the flickering light, were written the words Deliverance Dane." What's it all about? Connie Goodwin is a PhD student at Harvard, spending the summer cleaning out her grandmother's old house near Salem, which leads to researching Deliverance Dane for her dissertation topic. Deliverance is a cunning-woman, a witch, in the 1690s, at the time of the infamous Salem witch trials. The past and the present seem interwoven as Connie continues her research, and she starts to develop the rather novel idea that for some, witchcraft is just a part of everyday life. Publisher: Penguin

Miniature Schnauzers : everything about purchase, care, nutrition, breeding, behaviour, and training

Author: Karla S. Rugh, with illustrations by Michele Earl-Bridges

Publication Date: 1997

Category: Non-fiction - pet ownership

Who'll want to read it? The Schnauzer owner who is contemplating leaving this book on the floor in reach of their Schnauzer.

Point of no return: Who could resist the front cover? (obviously not my little Edith Piaf).

Classic line: pg 16 "Why did my Miniature Schnauzer do that?"

pg 28 "You'd be amazed at the things your puppy will taste or chew up!"

What's it all about? It's a must-read for anyone contemplating buying one of these little darlings. Try and read it before your dog eats it. Luckily I bought my own copy, so I don't owe the library a new one.

Publisher: Barrons

Does my little Edith Piaf look like butter wouldn't melt in her mouth? Looks can be so deceiving.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

The Slap

Author: Christos Tsiolkas Publication Date: 2008 Category: Contemporary adult fiction, Australian. Who'll want to read it? Everyone! Especially people in book clubs - there is so much controversy to discuss. Point of no return: The writing draws you in from the very first page. Classic line: I don't recall a standout line - it is all fabulous. What's it all about? It's a brilliant story set in the multicultural middle class suburbia of Melbourne. The central event of the story takes place during a game of backyard cricket at barbeque. A very very naughty and exceedingly irritating little boy is slapped by a man who is neither his parent or a relative. As the book explores the fallout of this incident you realise it's not just about the "slap". Each chapter features a different character and different facets of the incident. Each intracately drawn character has their own distinct voice, their own politics, perspectives, prejudices and lifestyles. None of the characters are one dimensional, and EVERYONE is flawed - which makes it all the more realistic.
What I enjoyed most about this book was how my opinions on each person changed so dramatically with each new chapter. One minute I loathed one of the characters - minutes later I was completely sympathetic to their situation. Then later, I sometimes found myself returning to my first opinion. I felt so manipulated, and because of that, felt I was implicated in the action - I really felt I could have walked into the book at any time.
Christos Tsiolkas deserves every prize he gets for this book!
Publisher: Allen & Unwin - see the publisher's web-site for reading group guides.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

The Shiralee

Author: D'Arcy Niland Publication Date: 1955 Category: Classic fiction Who'll want to read it? People who have seen one of the movies and never read the book; people interested in Australian bush culture in the 50s, who aren't afraid to accept the attitudes of the day. Point of no return: Page 1: "He had two swags, one of them with legs and a cabbage-tree hat, and that one was the main difference between him and others who take to the road, following the sun for their bread and butter." Classic line: Page 135: "'I'll walk along the road, and all the roads, and keep going on the roads 'cos I know you always walk on the roads and I'd find you.'" - Buster What's it all about? Macauley is an itinerant worker, who has burdened himself with his four year old daughter, Buster. Macauley walks the roads of outback New South Wales, searching for the next job. Buster becomes more and more of a burden, as job sites prove unsuitable, and Macauley finds it difficult to stay out of trouble.
Publisher: Angus & Robertson