February Picks

Roz’s been reading:

Nicholls, David (2009) One Day. Hodder & Stoughton.  On the 15th July 1988 Emma and Dexter meet for the first time, on the night of their graduation. Tomorrow they must go their separate ways. So where will they be on this one day next year? And the year after that? And every year that follows? Twenty years, two people, one day.  Clever.  Rating: 8/10

Debbie’s been reading:

de Montalembert, Hugues (2010) Invisible. Simon & Schuster.  One summer night in 1978, Hugues de Montalembert returned home to his New York City apartment to find two men robbing him. In a violent struggle, one of the assailants threw paint thinner in his face. Within a few hours, he was completely blind. Without a trace of self-pity, Hugues describes his transition from an up-and-coming painter to a blind man  Rating: 10/10

Keating, Barbara & Stephanie (2010) In borrowed light. Random. The final book in the Langani trilogy (previous books Blood Sisters and A Durable Fire).  Fourteen years after independence, the enduring childhood friendship of three women has carried them through times of violence and loss in Kenya, their chosen homeland.  Great read.  Need to read previous books. Rating: 8/10

Deaver, Jeffery (2010) Edge. Hachette.  Detective Kessler is a Washington cop, sidelined to routine investigations. So it’s a surprise when he’s targeted by a ‘lifter’, a person who ‘lifts’ information from people by whatever means necessary. And this lifter is one of the most terrifying: he prefers to get an ‘edge’ on his target by kidnapping or endangering their family.  The task of safeguarding the cop, his wife and daughter, falls to an expert in personal security, Corte. What ensues is a deadly contest between Corte and the lifter. Full of suspense.  Enjoyable.  Rating 8/10

Lynne’s been reading:

Russo, Richard (2004) Nobody’s fool. Random. In a small town it is Thanksgiving and Sully, Miss Beryl’s ne’er-do-well lodger, has problems; his knee is acting up, his ex-wife is finally cracking up, his mistress is giving him the cold shoulder, and he still hasn’t come to terms with the memory of his violent, emotional father. When his smug, college-educated son returns with his own problems, matters don’t improve. Russo’s 2001 novel Empire Falls won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, and is a must-read if you enjoy this book. Great story about the human nature and relationships.  Rating: 9/10

Jan’s been reading:

Miller, Alex (2009).  Lovesong. Allen & Unwin.   Ken, a writer, is on the verge of retirement; his storytelling days seemingly over.  He meets John who tells him the story of his marriage to the exotic  Sabiha and their life at Café Chez Dom in the Tunisian quarter of Paris.   A marriage overshadowed by Sabiha’s obsession with having a child, and how lives can become undone by desire.  Ken listens with the ear of a writer.  Wonderfully evoked contemporary settings of Paris and Melbourne, woven with memories of Tunisian family life, culture and music. Rating: 8/10

Jones, Lloyd (2010) Hand Me Down World.  Penguin.  A tale of a mother’s quest to be united with her child. The story of a nameless African woman whose baby is taken away from her after giving birth. Her journey to find him relies on the barest of resources as she tracks him across continents, from the shoreline of Tunisia to Berlin.  Her journey is told in fragments by the people she meets, and gradually she accumulates a history, a personality and a name. Unsympathetic character. Disappointing. Rating: 7/10

Jenny’s been reading:

Boyd, William (2010) Ordinary thunderstorms. Bloomsbury. One May evening in London, as a result of a chance encounter and a split-second decision, young climatologist Adam Kindred loses everything – home, job, reputation, passport, credit cards, money. With the police and a hit man in merciless pursuit, Adam has no choice but to go underground, joining the ranks of the disappeared, struggling to understand how his life has unravelled so spectacularly. His journey of discovery will take him along the Thames from Chelsea to the sink estates of the East End.  Very good. Full of intrigue,  Rating: 8.5/10

Carol’s been reading:

Wong, Alison (2009) As the earth turns silver. Penguin. Set in Wellington in the early twentieth century. Haining Street is allegedly full of opium dens, gambling and strange Chinese practices. Katherine is a widow struggling to support her children and Yung is a young Chinese man who runs a vegetable shop. It is the setting for an unlikely love story. Well written.  Rating: 9/10

Cath’s been reading:

Jacobson, Howard (2010) The Finkler question. Bloomsbury. Julian Treslove, a  former BBC radio producer, and Sam Finkler, a  Jewish philosopher, writer and television personality, are old school friends. Despite a prickly relationship and very different lives, they have never quite lost touch with each other – or with their former teacher, Libor Sevcik.  They all dine at Libor’s grand, central London apartment.  A story of friendship and loss, exclusion and belonging, and of the wisdom and humanity of maturity.  Winner of the 2010 Man Booker Prize. Challenging read, may need to get past a certain stage.  Not rated.

MOTAT (2010) 100 years of flight in New Zealand. Viking.  From the earliest beginnings of powered flight, aviation has played a vital role in the developement of New Zealand and its interactions with the rest of the world. This book tells that story in stunning photographs. Fascinating.

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2 thoughts on “February Picks”

  1. Lloyd Jones – Hand Me Down World. I didn’t find the main character Ines unsympathetic. To me her resilience in the face of enormous odds was a stronger feature. Yes, she did do some things to survive that would be far from socially acceptable in normal circumstances but she also was ‘done to’ poorly by others who had less reason to be cruel, eg the guy who duped her into having his child in the first place (for his own benefit). I think she finally behaved honorably in relation to her child – yes she could have kidnapped him in Berlin but knew that this would not be in his best interest as she could never provide as good a home for him. Ann

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