Book review: The Girl on the Page by John Purcell

Monday, October 22, 2018 Permalink

I had no idea what to expect going into this book. I’d seen some reviews around but most really only touched on the fact that John Purcell (who’s well-known and heavily involved in the book / publishing industry here in Australia) had offered us an insider’s view into that world. Almost all reviews I’d seen though, were overwhelmingly positive.

As someone who tends to spurn Literary fiction (with a capital L) because I don’t usually understand what the f*ck I’m reading, I was intrigued about this book which kinda centres around the perception there are two extremes to publishing…. the sell-out prolific commercial fiction author who makes lots of money vs the Literary fiction author, who’s somewhat esoteric and learned, who wins literary prizes but makes no money.

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Book review: Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak

Tuesday, October 9, 2018 Permalink

I probably should start this review by confessing that I haven’t read the much-lauded The Book Thief (regular readers of my reviews will know how I feel about historical fiction!).  I did see the movie however and yes, know it’s not the same thing, though it did give me a sense of the book’s themes.

I was happy to receive an advance copy of Markus Zusak’s Bridge of Clay, but it wasn’t until I read this interview with him the weekend before its release that I REALLY wanted to read this book which was 13 years in the making.

And I was most certainly not disappointed.

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Book review: We See The Stars by Kate Van Hooft

Saturday, August 11, 2018 Permalink

This is a really hard review to write. For most of this book I was blown away by Kate Van Hooft’s writing and her metaphorical and bewilderingly beautiful prose.

I was waiting for the climax – which I knew was coming from the backcover blurb – but it was very late in eventuating. And then the book finished. And I have no f*cking idea what happened.

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Book review: Bluebottle by Belinda Castles

Wednesday, June 13, 2018 Permalink

Although I’ve read quite a few books lately by Australian authors – most set in outback or rural Oz – there was something quintessentially Australian about this novel by Belinda Castles. I suspect the sense of place she offers via the beachside setting combined with the purposely lazy and languid language has something to do with that.

The novel perhaps didn’t (ultimately) quite get to where I would have liked, but – for a range of reasons – resonated strongly.

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Book review: The Yellow House by Emily O’Grady

Sunday, June 10, 2018 Permalink

I’m not sure why it took me so long to get around to reading The Yellow House by Emily O’Grady. I’d only heard good things about it and of course it won the 2018 The Australian / Vogel’s Literary Award earlier this year.

So I shouldn’t have been surprised when I finally opened it and felt that sensation of knowing I was reading something special. I’ve had similar reactions to a number of books told from a child’s point of view: The Eye of the Sheep by Sophie Laguna (and her subsequent book, The Choke) and Past The Shallows by Favel Parrett and Room by Emma Donoghue come to mind. Not to mention To Kill A Mockingbird, of course.

It’s not an easy thing to nail the voice of a child in a way that’s both authentic and alluring, but O’Grady does just that. From the get-go.

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Book review: Little Gods by Jenny Ackland

Saturday, May 5, 2018 Permalink

Although Little Gods is – in many ways – a poignant tale of loss, much of book offers an idyllic insight into the lives of children and teens in the early 1980s.

I was certainly sent into many a reverie as our lead characters rode their bikes around town, stopping off at the pool to partake in the odd bomb dive, shared flavoured bubble gum with friends, read macabre books featuring obscure facts, were treated to cheezels while adults indulged in cabana and cheese on special occasions and computers were just becoming a thing. I chuckled also at the memory of having to use carbon paper and the accompanying messiness. 

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Book review: Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Saturday, October 7, 2017 Permalink

I didn’t read Celeste Ng’s Everything I Never Told You, but obviously heard great things about it. (And must read it at some point.) I’ve had a bit of a lull in the arrival of new books of late however, so when I saw this in an online catalogue, jumped at the chance to read it.

I’m a little worried however, exactly how I’ll describe the transfixing allure of this book and if I’ll do justice to it. But I shall try….

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Book review: The Choke by Sofie Laguna

Thursday, August 24, 2017 Permalink

For reasons unknown to man I didn’t read Sofie Laguna’s The Eye of the Sheep when it was released in 2014 but got to it the following year and fell in love. And… had to belatedly add it to my ‘Favourite books of 2014’ post.

Laguna’s voice and the beauty of her writing won me over. Naturally my expectations for her latest book, The Choke, were ridiculously and unachievably high. So it’s even more remarkable that I was not disappointed.

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Book review: The Way Back by Kylie Ladd

Saturday, July 29, 2017 Permalink

I read some quotes about Kylie Ladd’s other work before embarking on this book and they all centred around how well she portrayed families and their relationships. This is the first book I’ve read by Ladd and I wasn’t really sure what to expect but I very much enjoyed the complex yet relatable characters she’s developed and the way she brings a family to crisis… and back out again.

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