June Picks





Jan’s been reading:

Walker, Martin (2010) Bruno, Chief of Police. Vintage.   Bruno cooks, hunts, builds his own house, grows his own food and is a pillar of the local tennis and rugby clubs.  He is the town’s most eligible bachelor.  He organizes  parades, festivities and fireworks displays, registers births and deaths, enforces the parking regulations, maintains a sophisticated intelligence network to outwit the interfering bureaucrats of the EU, and generally keeps order in his fictional home town of St Denis, in the Perigord.  In the midst of an idyllic and gentle depiction of French country life a brutal murder occurs, and we are exposed to the spectre of war, retribution, and politics.  Charming and satisfying. Rating: 9/10

Carol’s been reading:

Speeches that Changed the World, with an introduction by Simon Sebag Montefiore (2005).  Cambridge Educational Partnership.  This book contains over 50 momentous and thought provoking speeches from a wide range of historical eras and nations, including Mohammed, Elizabeth I, George Washington, Napoleon, Emmeline Pankhurst, Winston Churchill, Adolf Hitler, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and Nelson Mandela.  Significant speeches that give a greater understanding of the events of the time.  Inspiring.

Debbie’s been reading:

Courtenay, Bryce (2009)  The Story of Danny Dunn. Penguin.  In the aftermath of the Great Depression eighteen year old Danny Dunn has a good deal going for him: brains, looks, sporting ability – and an easy charm. His parents run The Hero, a favourite neighbourhood pub, and Danny is a local hero.  His luck changes when he signs up to go to war. He returns home a physically broken man, to a life that has changed for ever. Set against a backdrop of Australian pubs and politics, this family saga spans three generations. Light and predictable.  Rating: 6/10

Roz’s been reading:

Xinran, Xue (2002) The Good Women of China: Hidden Voices. Random.  Primarily composed of interviews Xinran conducted during her time as a radio broadcaster in China in the 1980s. However, she also details some of her own experiences as a woman in China. The interviews usually focus on the embedded cultural perceptions in China about women’s rights, roles, and suffering. Many of these interviews were drawn from the call-in portion of Xinran’ widely popular radio programme.  The last story “The Women of Shouting Hill” grabbed Roz  the most with its focus on the status of women as breeding machines for sons.  Rating: 9/10

Ann’s been reading:

Hansen, Jeremy, Salmond, Jeremy (2009) Villa: from heritage to contemporary, photography by Patrick Reynolds.  Godwit.   The villa is considered to be New Zealand’s most distinctive housing type. This tribute has documented the villa’s past and varied and expressive present, including stories from people who live in them. Beautifully produced with a strong human element.  Rating: 9/10

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