Category Archives: Fiction

Posts about novels and other fiction titles

Time to load your e-reader for the holidays

Summer has well and truly arrived here in Melbourne and with the festive season done and dusted it’s time to load your e-reader full of books to enjoy while spending your days on the beach, in a hammock or beside the pool. 

We rounded up the top selling books of the year in December (you can have a read of that blog post here ) and you can find the eBook versions of them on Booko, too, by clicking eBook in the drop down menu of your search. 

We are a household that uses both Kindles and Kobos to read books on the go. We have Kobos for our children as they allow them to read their library books in an electronic version (via the amazing libby app). We love this functionality as it allows them to bring their library books on holiday without the fear of ever losing one! 

Here are our top downloads for you to enjoy. Let us know what you’re spending your summer reading in the comments below. 

Good Girl, Bad Girl by Michael Robotham

Six years ago, Evie Cormac was discovered, filthy and half-starved, hiding in a secret room in the aftermath of a shocking crime. Now approaching adulthood, Evie is damaged, self-destructive and has never revealed her true identity.

Forensic psychologist Cyrus Haven, a man haunted by his own past, is investigating the death of champion figure-skater Jodie Sheehan. When Cyrus is called upon to assess Evie, she threatens to disrupt the case and destroy his ordered life. Because Evie has a unique and dangerous gift – she knows when someone is lying. And nobody is telling the truth.

Cilka’s Journey by Heather Morris

Based on the heart-breaking true story of Cilka Klein, Cilka’s Journey is the sequel to the internationally No.1 bestselling phenomenon, The Tattooist of Auschwitz. In 1942 Cilka Klein is just sixteen years old when she is taken to Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp. The Commandant at Birkenau, Schwarzhuber, notices her long beautiful hair, and forces her separation from the other women prisoners. Cilka learns quickly that power, even unwillingly given, equals survival.

After liberation, Cilka is charged as a collaborator by the Russians and sent to a desolate, brutal prison camp in Siberia known as Vorkuta, inside the Arctic Circle. Innocent, imprisoned once again, Cilka faces challenges both new and horribly familiar, each day a battle for survival. Cilka befriends a woman doctor, and learns to nurse the ill in the camp, struggling to care for them under unimaginable conditions. And when she tends to a man called Alexandr, Cilka finds that despite everything, there is room in her heart for love.

Cilka’s Journey is a powerful testament to the triumph of the human will. It will move you to tears, but it will also leave you astonished and uplifted by one woman’s fierce determination to survive, against all odds.

Dark Emu by Bruce Pascoe

Dark Emu puts forward an argument for a reconsideration of the hunter-gatherer tag for pre-colonial Aboriginal Australians. The evidence insists that Aboriginal people right across the continent were using domesticated plants, sowing, harvesting, irrigating, and storing; behaviours inconsistent with the hunter-gatherer tag. Gerritsen and Gammage in their latest books support this premise but Pascoe takes this further and challenges the hunter-gatherer tag as a convenient lie. Almost all the evidence in Dark Emu comes from the records and diaries of the Australian explorers, impeccable sources. Dark Emu is a must read for anyone who wants to understand what Australia once was, or what it might yet be if we heed the lessons of long and sophisticated human occupation.

The Strangers We Know by Pip Drysdale 

This is the eagerly awaited new thriller from the bestselling author of The Sunday Girl. Imagine seeing your loving husband on a dating app. Now imagine that’s the best thing to happen to you all week. When Charlie sees a man who is the spitting image of her husband Oliver on a dating app, her heart stops. Her first desperate instinct is to tell herself she must be mistaken, after all, she only caught a glimpse from a distance as her friends were laughingly swiping through the men on offer. But no matter how much she tries to push her fears aside, she can’t because she took that photo. On their honeymoon. She just can’t let it go. Suddenly other signs of betrayal begin to add up and so Charlie does the only thing she can think of to defend her position, she signs up to the app to catch Oliver in the act. But Charlie soon discovers that infidelity is the least of her problems. Nothing is as it seems and nobody is who she thinks they are. 

The Girl Who Lived Twice by David Lagercrantz

This is the next episode in David Lagercrantz’s acclaimed continuation of Stieg Larsson’s Dragon Tattoo series is a thrilling ride that scales the heights of Everest and plunges the depths of Russia’s criminal underworld. In a climax of shattering violence, Lisbeth Salander will face her nemesis.

Lisbeth Salander’s mentor and protector Holger Palmgren is dead, and she has been gone from Stockholm since his funeral. All summer, Mikael Blomkvist has been plagued by the fear that Salander’s enemies will come after her.

He should, perhaps, be more concerned for himself.

In the pocket of an unidentified homeless man, who died with the name of a Swedish government minister on his lips, the police find a list of telephone numbers. Among them, the contact for Millennium magazine and the investigative journalist Mikael Blomkvist. Following the scorched trail of her twin sister Camilla to Moscow, Salander nevertheless continues to watch over her old friend. Soon Blomkvist will need her help. But first, she has an old score to settle; and fresh outrage to avenge.

Agent Running in the Field by John le Carre 

Nat, a 47 year-old veteran of Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service, believes his years as an agent runner are over. He is back in London with his wife, the long-suffering Prue. But with the growing threat from Moscow Centre, the office has one more job for him. Nat is to take over The Haven, a defunct substation of London General with a rag-tag band of spies. The only bright light on the team is young Florence, who has her eye on Russia Department and a Ukrainian oligarch with a finger in the Russia pie.

Nat is not only a spy, he is a passionate badminton player. His regular Monday evening opponent is half his age: the introspective and solitary Ed. Ed hates Brexit, hates Trump and hates his job at some soulless media agency. And it is Ed, of all unlikely people, who will take Prue, Florence and Nat himself down the path of political anger that will ensnare them all. Agent Running in the Field is a chilling portrait of our time, now heartbreaking, now darkly humorous, told to us with unflagging tension by the greatest chronicler of our age.

Enjoy!

The Best Books of 2019

Wowsers, 2019 has flown by… it feels like it was just yesterday that we were ringing in the New Year! 2019 has been a year full of fabulous books and we have thoroughly enjoyed immersing ourselves into stories of mystery, coming of age, crime, drama and heart ache, alongside challenging ourselves with self help, crafting, professional development, memoirs and decluttering titles.

We have rounded up some of the year’s best sellers but we’d love to hear what you’ve enjoyed reading too. Jump over to our social media channels (facebook, instagram and pinterest) and join in the conversation. Also, keep an eye out for our newsletter where we will be sharing our top tips for clever online shopping, exclusive discount codes with your favourite online stores, free printables and even interviews with some of our favourite authors. Make sure you login to your Booko account and hit subscribe. 

So, pop the kettle on, make yourself a cup of tea and get ready to make a list of your next bedtime reads. 

The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

This was the 2019 Booker Prize Winner and hands down one of the most anticipated books of the year after the Handmaid’s Tale’s huge popularity on television. When the van door slammed on Offred’s future at the end of The Handmaid’s Tale, readers had no way of telling what lay ahead for her – freedom, prison or death. With The Testaments, the wait is over. Margaret Atwood’s sequel picks up the story 15 years after Offred stepped into the unknown, with the explosive testaments of three female narrators from Gilead.

Educated by Tara Westover

Tara Westover grew up preparing for the End of Days, watching for the sun to darken, for the moon to drip as if with blood. She spent her summers bottling peaches and her winters rotating emergency supplies, hoping that when the World of Men failed, her family would continue on, unaffected. She hadn’t been registered for a birth certificate. She had no school records because she’d never set foot in a classroom, and no medical records because her father didn’t believe in doctors or hospitals. According to the state and federal government, she didn’t exist. As she grew older, her father became more radical, and her brother, more violent. At sixteen Tara decided to educate herself. Her struggle for knowledge would take her far from her Idaho mountains, over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge. Only then would she wonder if she’d travelled too far. If there was still a way home. Educated is an account of the struggle for self-invention. It is a tale of fierce family loyalty, and of the grief that comes with the severing of the closest of ties. With the acute insight that distinguishes all great writers, from her singular experience Westover has crafted a universal coming-of-age story that gets to the heart of what an education is and what it offers- the perspective to see one’s life through new eyes, and the will to change it.

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

This beautiful, illuminating tale of hope and courage is based on interviews that were conducted with Holocaust survivor and Auschwitz-Birkenau tattooist Ludwig (Lale) Sokolov—an unforgettable love story in the midst of atrocity. In April 1942, Lale Sokolov, a Slovakian Jew, is forcibly transported to the concentration camps at Auschwitz-Birkenau. When his captors discover that he speaks several languages, he is put to work as a Tätowierer (the German word for tattooist), tasked with permanently marking his fellow prisoners. Imprisoned for over two and a half years, Lale witnesses horrific atrocities and barbarism, but also incredible acts of bravery and compassion. Risking his own life, he uses his privileged position to exchange jewels and money from murdered Jews for food to keep his fellow prisoners alive. One day in July 1942, Lale, prisoner 32407, comforts a trembling young woman waiting in line to have the number 34902 tattooed onto her arm. Her name is Gita, and in that first encounter, Lale vows to somehow survive the camp and marry her.

A vivid, harrowing, and ultimately hopeful re-creation of Lale Sokolov’s experiences as the man who tattooed the arms of thousands of prisoners with what would become one of the most potent symbols of the Holocaust, The Tattooist of Auschwitz is also a testament to the endurance of love and humanity under the darkest possible conditions.

Becoming by Michelle Obama

*Technically* this book is a 2018 release but it was late in the year when released and by the time we got our hands on a copy it was January so we’re including it in this year’s roundup.

In a life filled with meaning and accomplishment, Michelle Obama has emerged as one of the most iconic and compelling women of our era. As First Lady of the United States of America-the first African-American to serve in that role-she helped create the most welcoming and inclusive White House in history, while also establishing herself as a powerful advocate for women and girls in the U.S. and around the world, dramatically changing the ways that families pursue healthier and more active lives, and standing with her husband as he led America through some of its most harrowing moments. Along the way, she showed us a few dance moves, crushed Carpool Karaoke, and raised two down-to-earth daughters under an unforgiving media glare. In her memoir, a work of deep reflection and mesmerizing storytelling, Michelle Obama invites readers into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her-from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her time spent at the world’s most famous address. With unerring honesty and lively wit, she describes her triumphs and her disappointments, both public and private, telling her full story as she has lived it-in her own words and on her own terms. Warm, wise, and revelatory, Becoming is the deeply personal reckoning of a woman of soul and substance who has steadily defied expectations-and whose story inspires us to do the same.

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

For years, rumours of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life–until the unthinkable happens. Perfect for fans of Barbara Kingsolver and Karen Russell, Where the Crawdads Sing is at once an exquisite ode to the natural world, a heartbreaking coming-of-age story, and a surprising tale of possible murder. Owens reminds us that we are forever shaped by the children we once were, and that we are all subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps.

Girl, Stop Apologising by Rachel Hollis

Rachel Hollis has seen it too often: women being afraid of their own goals. They’re afraid of embarrassment, of falling short of perfection, of not being enough. But the biggest fear of all is of being judged for having ambition at all.

Having been taught to define themselves in light of other people, whether as wife, mother, daughter, friend, or team member, many women have forgotten who they are and what they were meant to be. In Girl, Stop Apologising, entrepreneur and online personality (TheChicSite.com) Rachel Hollis encourages women to own their hopes, desires, and goals and reminds them they don’t need permission to want more. With a call to women everywhere to stop talking themselves out of their dreams, Hollis identifies the excuses to let go of, the behaviours to adopt, and the skills to acquire on the path to growth, confidence, and the biggest possible version of their lives.

Enjoy!

The Best of the Black Friday Sales

The countdown to Christmas is definitely on with only a little over 4 weeks to go. Thankfully, Black Friday is tomorrow and stores have jumped on board early and have already started discounting their products. We have had a little poke around the internet and have found a bunch of great books and DVDs that we think offer a great saving. 

One store that is going over and above is Amazon Australia, they are now offering free shipping on over 300 books from their range, you can check out the titles included here

So get your Christmas lists at the ready and prepare to bag a bargain. 

Some People Think I am a Shoe by Stan Smith

An internationally celebrated and highly coveted icon in the world of sneaker design, the Stan Smith tennis sneaker has achieved cult status since its debut in the early 1970s. This is the first book to celebrate the global cultural impact of the ubiquitous sneaker named after former world No. 1 tennis player Stan Smith. Over the last five decades, the Stan Smith has remained the perennial icon of minimalist cool sneaker design and Smith has collaborated with ground-breaking artists, designers, and fashion brands including Colette, Yohji Yamamoto, Raf Simons, and Pharrell. This all-access volume demonstrates that the personality of the shoe has everything to do with Stan the Man. Chapters are enhanced by recollections from Stan Smith along with anecdotes from style influencers, designers, sports legends, and fervent sneaker fans. Showcasing street-style photography of Stan Smith sworn globally, to pop-culture references of the sneaker in rap lyrics to Bollywood movies this book is an absolute collector’s item for readers interested in sneaker culture, sports, street style, design, and pop culture.

Harry Potter The Illustrated Collection (Books 1-3 Boxed Set) by J. K. Rowling

This beautifully produced boxed set is the perfect introduction to the Harry Potter series, and an impressive gift for new readers and lifelong fans alike. It contains the first three books in the series (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban) in large-scale editions, gorgeously illustrated in full color by award-winning artist Jim Kay. These editions are a pleasure to read, with generously sized pages, color on every page, and a ribbon bookmark in each volume. A full-color slipcase featuring red foiled lettering and Kay’s brilliant depiction of Diagon Alley completes the package, making this collection a luxurious gift for readers and Harry Potter fans of all ages.

Lagom: The Swedish Art of Balanced Living by Linnea Dunne

Saving up to a whopping 72% this is a bargain and a great gift for the interiors lover. 

Lagom (pronounced ‘lar-gom’) has no equivalent in the English language but is loosely translated as ‘not too little, not too much, just right’. It is widely believed that the word comes from the Viking term ‘laget om’, for when a mug of mead was passed around a circle and there was just enough for everyone to get a sip. But while the anecdote may hit the nail on the head, the true etymology of the word points to an old form of the word ‘lag’, which means ‘law’. Far from restrictive, lagom is a liberating concept, praising the idea that anything more that ‘just enough’ is a waste of time. Crucially it also comes with a selflessness and core belief of responsibility and common good. By living lagom you can live a happier and more balanced life, reduce your environmental impact, improve your work-life balance, free your home from clutter, enjoy good food the Swedish way, grow your own and learn to forage, and cherish the relationships with those you love.

Bluey: Volume 1 – Magic Xylophone and Other Stories

WIth a saving of nearly 30% this is one of the most in-demand Christmas gifts this year. Bluey has taken over our screens with children acting out the little blue dog’s wild imaginative games and parents taking a leaf out of her parents’ laid-back book. In a funny and honest look at modern family life, Bluey, her sister Bingo and her friends use gameplay to integrate the adult world into their own. It helps them to learn important lessons and deal with the emotional ups and downs of growing up.

In this collection Bluey and family play their favourite games including operating on Dad in Hospital, a high-stakes game of Keepy Uppy with Bluey’s last balloon, a magic xylophone that can freeze Dad in space and time and avoiding the crocodile infested grass in Shadowlands.

The Maths Book by DK

This little gem has a saving of over 88%! Take a journey through the fascinating story of fractions, numbers, patterns, and shapes in order to better understand the complex world we live in. Continuing the “Big Ideas” series’ trademark combination of authoritative, clear text and bold graphics to chart the development of maths through history, the book explores and explains some of the most complex and fascinating mathematical subjects. Delve into everything from the mathematical ideas and inventions of the ancient world such as the first number systems, magic squares, and the Chinese abacus, through to the developments in mathematics during medieval and Renaissance Europe, to the rise of group theory and cryptography more recently. This diverse and inclusive account of mathematics will have something for everybody- for those interested in the maths behind world economies, secret spies, modern technology and plenty more, taking readers around the world from Babylon to Bletchley Park. Tracing maths through the Scientific Revolution to its 21st-century use in computers, the internet, and AI, The Maths Book uses an innovative visual approach to make the subject accessible to everyone, casual readers and students alike.

Lifespan: The Revolutionary Science of Why We Age and Why We Don’t Have To by David Sinclair

In this paradigm-shifting book from acclaimed Harvard Medical School doctor and one of TIME magazine’s 100 most influential people on earth, Dr. David Sinclair reveals that everything we think we know about ageing is wrong, and shares the surprising, scientifically-proven methods that can help readers live younger, longer. For decades, the medical community has looked to a variety of reasons for why we age, and the consensus is that no one dies of old age; they die of age-related diseases. That’s because ageing is not a disease – it is inevitable. But what if everything you think you know about ageing is wrong? What if ageing is a disease? And that disease is curable. Dr. David Sinclair, one of the world’s foremost authorities on genetics and ageing, argues just that. He has dedicated his life’s work to chasing more than a longer lifespan – he wants to enable people to live longer, healthier, and disease-free well into our hundreds. In this book, he reveals a bold new theory of ageing, one that pinpoints a root cause of ageing that lies in an ancient genetic survival circuit. This genetic trick – a circuit designed to halt reproduction in order to repair damage to the genome – has enabled earth’s early microcosms to survive and evolve into more advanced organisms. But this same survival circuit is the reason we age: as genetic damage accumulates over our lifespans from UV rays, environmental toxins, and unhealthy diets, our genome is overwhelmed, causing gray hair, wrinkles, achy joints, heart issues, dementia, and, ultimately, death. But genes aren’t our destiny; we have more control over them than we’ve been taught to believe. We can’t change our DNA, but we can harness the power of the epigenome to realise the true potential of our genes. This is destined to be the biggest book on genes, biology, and longevity of this decade.

Enjoy!

The Creepiest and Spookiest Books on the Market

Do you like your Halloween cute and funny, or dark and scary? While I definitely prefer cute and funny – I’m such a scaredy cat that I cannot handle horror – I do have a weakness for fist-clenching, frantic-feeling crime thrillers. Whether it’s fast-paced and action-packed, or stealthy slow-burning, you won’t want to stop reading a well-written thriller. Here are some recently published thrillers that will give you a delicious chill this Halloween week.

It Should Have Been Me by Susan Wilkins

Fans of TV crime dramas will love Susan Wilkins’ writing style, developed over decades as a scriptwriter. Jo Biden was only a child when her older sister Sarah was brutally murdered at university. Sarah’s boyfriend, Nathan, was convicted of the killing.  Now, with his impending release, a documentary film-maker – and uni friend of both Sarah and Nathan – is ready to prove Nathan’s innocence.  Revisiting the case is pitting Jo’s professional life (as a rising police detective) against her personal life, where family loyalties and emotions encourage her to question the evidence.  It Should Have Been Me offers many flawed but believable characters – including the likeable protagonist Jo – and top-notch character development. It is a fast-paced, action-packed thriller, perfect for fans of Clare Mackintosh and Susie Steiner

The Secret by K L Slater

K L Slater has many bestsellers under her belt, and The Secret shows her in their prime.  The Secret revolves around two sisters, Alice and Louise.  Louise is elegant and successful, living a seemingly-perfect life; whereas Alice is a wreck, anxious and reclusive.   Louise and Alice were estranged until Louise started leaving her son, 8 year-old Archie, in Alice’s care while she works. What Louise doesn’t know – and what Alice is trying to discover – is that Archie has a secret.  One that he won’t tell because it could destroy his family… The Secret uses flashbacks and multiple narrators to give us rich characterisation, revealing why the two sisters have turned out so differently. K L Slater has also created a nice balance between the tension and the intrigue, and the growing connection between Alice and Archie.  The Secret promises to be a new favourite of fans of Girl on the Train and Gone Girl!

Whisper Network by Chandler Baker

Sloane, Ardie, Grace and Rosalita are four women who work for Truviv, an athleisure company.  They’re all struggling with work-life balance and with countering casual and institutional sexism in their workplace – something that even relative wealth and privilege doesn’t shield them from.  When their boss, the predatory Ames, looks likely to become the next CEO, these women decide that enough is enough.  They fight back by adding Ames’ name to a viral, online “BAD Men list”, and by filing a sexual harassment lawsuit against Ames and Truviv.  What happens next is tense, viciously funny… and will surprise you.  Whisper Network is a thriller of the #MeToo era, weaving themes of gender politics, power balances and office culture through its mystery / legal thriller plot. Chandler Baker, herself a lawyer with a young family, has recreated a setting that is highly recognisable.  Whisper Network is a highly addictive read endorsed by the Reese Witherspoon Book Club.

A Nearly Normal Family by M T Edvardsson

How far would you go to protect your child? This is the question Adam (a pastor) and Ulrika (a criminal lawyer) must face when their 17 year-old daughter is charged with a brutal murder. While they instinctively stand by Stella, this crime and its aftermath batter them with parental guilt, protectiveness, moral dilemmas, and doubt. A Nearly Normal Family is told in three parts, narrated in turn by Adam, Stella and Ulrika.  These three strands – which don’t always match up – challenge us to question their reliability and biases.  This is both a domestic drama and a courtroom thriller, particularly affecting because Stella’s family seems so ordinary.  A Nearly Normal Family is the first of M. T. Edvardsson’s works to be translated into English, and it definitely upholds the excellent reputation of Scandinavian crime fiction.

An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

Jess is a young makeup artist struggling to make ends meet in New York City.  When she learns of a lucrative research study being done by a respected psychiatrist, she tricks her way into participating (the irony being that the study is about ethics and morality). As the study progresses, the supportive mentor/protege relationship between Jess and Dr Lydia Shields turns increasingly sinister, with directions to attempt increasingly personal, uncomfortable roleplaying tasks.  An Anonymous Girl is a novel of chilling suspense and obsession.  Readers quickly start sharing Jess’ sense of dread and desperation as she realises she is up against a master manipulator.  An Anonymous Girl is a worthy sophomore effort from the team behind the bestselling The Wife Between Us.

The Neighbour by Fiona Cummins

The Neighbour is a psychological thriller about a neighbourhood devastated by a serial killer.  The neighbourhood seems quiet and ordinary – but its inhabitants all have secrets to hide… and one of them is the killer.  For newcomers the Lockwood family, and for investigating detective Wildeve Stanton, the race is on to reveal the psychopath from behind his/her harmless mask.  The Neighbour has taken this classic premise and spun it into story full of horror, menace and trepidation. Fiona Cummins has created a memorable killer, who narrates part of the story in a highly unsettling way.  She also induces a creeping sense of claustrophobia by confining most of the action to one single street.  The Neighbour is a dark story, full of twists and turns, that will keep you guessing right to the end.

#tuesdaychat

There are so many books coming out later this year that we know will make a fab Christmas present. On the blog this Thursday we’ll share our favs with you…which book are you hoping to see under the tree this year?

The Best Books of 2019 picked by Team Booko

We are still pinching ourselves that it is somehow October already! Wow the year has whizzed by. With the end of the year looming and Christmas (ahem) just around the corner we thought we would round up the best books that the Booko Team has read this year. 

The team has a wide and mixed bunch of titles so find yourself somewhere comfy to sit and get ready to be inspired to sink yourself into some fabulous stories. 

From the Founders:

Riina’s Pick: Exit West by Mohsin Hamid

I have been meaning to read Exit West by Mohsin Hamid ever since it was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 2017, and finally managed to read it this year. Though the story takes place in an unnamed city, it bears much resemblance to the humanitarian crisis in Syria. I was firstly drawn to the book because of the refugee theme, but ended up finding much more than a refugee story: a thought-provoking story about belonging, prejudice, loyalty and love.

The story is of young lovers who are forced to leave the city of their birth due to escalating violence and civil war. They hear rumours of mysterious doorways that open up in random places and that take those who can pay the price to some far-flung place that is safer than the place they leave behind. The couple end up going through two more doorways in search of a place they can feel safe in. By inventing these “magic doorways” Hamid is removing the journey from the refugee story, instead focusing on the experiences of leaving and arriving, and how such events shape and change a person. This way the story is in some ways relatable to anyone who’s ever migrated for one reason or another.

As events unfold, Hamid pays homage to various humanitarian crises across history, showing the reader how easy it is for history to repeat itself; how close we are to losing our humanity. Fear, prejudice and “otherness” are never far below the surface.

Though the book was not a pleasant or easy read, it made it to one of my most favourite this year due to the thoughts it left me with for days after I had finished reading the story.

Dan’s Pick: Practical Object-Oriented Design by Sandi Metz

I first heard the name Sandi Metz at a programming conference I was attending in Sydney.  My friend had bought a ticket and flown from Melbourne to see her speak.  Sandi was the keynote and the subject was on persuasion.  My friend, the Sandi fan, convinced me to watch a few of her programming videos and on the strength of those, I bought her latest book, ‘Practical Object-Oriented Design

It’s a dry sounding subject, but I was hooked immediately. Like me, Sandi is a Ruby programmer and like me, she builds systems in Ruby. The strength of the book is the way it introduces and discusses problems in designs of systems.  Sandi identifies problems in design with straightforward examples.   There were many moments during the book, when a problem was introduced that I immediately recognised and had struggled with.  The main difference is that rather than move on to the next issue, Sandi reduces the problem to its kernel, then deftly brings a few tools or patterns to bear on the problem.  It’s like watching a tangled cord be unknotted.  

I’m not sure I’d have been so engrossed in this book had I not, quite literally, struggled with the exact problems presented.  This book has improved me as a programmer and I would highly recommend it to any developer with a few years under their belt. 

From our youngest reviewers:

Niko’s Pick: Brotherband by John Flanagan

A series I recommend is Brotherband. It is by John Flanagan, and exists in the same world as his international bestselling series “Ranger’s Apprentice,” which is about the Rangers of Araluen, and Will, the ranger Halt’s apprentice. Brotherband’s events happened shortly after Ranger’s Apprentice, where Gilan is actually a character in both of the series.

Brotherband is set in Skandia, a land of sea wolves and democracy (as in they vote for their leader, the Oberjarl, instead of having a royal bloodline, like Araluen). The main characters are a Brotherband called the Herons (named after the bird) and they are led by Hal. They fight bad guys and do missions for the Oberjarl, Erak.

I recommend this book to anyone who likes Vikings and battles and action and many other things I forgot to name. This book is good for anyone older than 8, but really, it’s good for all ages as long as you can read. It’s that good.

Elora’s Pick: Smile by Raina Telgemeier

I made a book report for a Book called Smile. I recommend this book for 6+! This book was written by Raina Telgemeier. She also wrote some books called Sisters, Ghosts, Drama and Guts. Those are all the books by her that I know of. I thought it was a good Graphic Novel. The good things about it are: it actually happened, it’s funny and all other emotions including the sad emotion 😭 Sad😢. Her so called annoying sister named Amara says “You’re gonna be a METAL-MOUTH” when she gets braces from tripping over and losing 2 fully grown teeth! The dentist was nice so he gave her fake teeth to make her look normal and she ends up with a good life.

From the Marketing Team:

Cheekily, Marie has two favourites and because they are so different from each other we thought we’d let that slide and let her review two. 

Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It by Chris Voss

If you like to sink your teeth into fascinating stories and learn practical tips at the same time, then this book is for you. A great friend recommended this to me and I loved it (and have since recommended it to a number of other people).

After a stint policing the rough streets of Kansas City, Missouri, Chris Voss joined the FBI, where his career as a hostage negotiator brought him face-to-face with a range of criminals, including bank robbers and terrorists. Reaching the pinnacle of his profession, he became the FBI’s lead international kidnapping negotiator. in his chatty style, Voss takes you inside the world of high-stakes negotiations and into his head, revealing the skills that helped him and his colleagues succeed where it mattered most: saving lives. In addition to the unbelievable stories, this is a practical guide of tactics and strategies that you can use to become more persuasive in both your professional and personal life.

Educated by Tara Westover

I still think about this book regularly after finishing it a few months ago, I think it is haunting me. With three little girls of my own and being brought up in a home where education was highly valued, I was intrigued when hearing about this story. I couldn’t imagine a world more different from my own and was so moved by the account of Tara’s life as she gets to the heart of what an education is and what it has to offer. I’m putting the blurb for the book below as I couldn’t describe it any better. However, prepare yourself because it is an exceptionally sad tale. 

Tara Westover grew up preparing for the End of Days, watching for the sun to darken, for the moon to drip as if with blood. She spent her summers bottling peaches and her winters rotating emergency supplies, hoping that when the World of Men failed, her family would continue on, unaffected. She hadn’t been registered for a birth certificate. She had no school records because she’d never set foot in a classroom, and no medical records because her father didn’t believe in doctors or hospitals. According to the state and federal government, she didn’t exist. As she grew older, her father became more radical, and her brother, more violent. At sixteen Tara decided to educate herself. Her struggle for knowledge would take her far from her Idaho mountains, over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge. Only then would she wonder if she’d travelled too far. If there was still a way home. Educated is an account of the struggle for self-invention. It is a tale of fierce family loyalty, and of the grief that comes with the severing of the closest of ties.

Enjoy!

#tuesdaychat

The Giving Tree, The Paper Dolls, Harold and the Purple Crayon, Pippi Longstocking…there are so many great books that we enjoyed in childhood, which were your favourite?

Monday Inspo

Each year across Australia, the CBCA brings children and books together by celebrating CBCA Book Week. During this time schools, libraries, booksellers, authors, illustrators and children celebrate Australian children’s literature. Keep your eye out for Karen’s post this Thursday where she shares her learnings from attending library school and how it helped with raising her children to be readers.