This post is part of a blog collaboration with others in the Pip Lincolne Alumni, and an interesting recap of all the books we have read to date.
A book is a dream that you hold in your hand. Neil Gaiman
Here’s my list to so far. The majority of books I have reviewed, and you can click on links if you are interested in finding out more about them. For those books I haven’t reviewed, I’ve provided a brief synopsis.
Emma by Jane Austen and Emma by Alexander McCall-Smith
Emma was Austen’s fourth published novel, and the last to appear before her death in 1815. And like all Austen novels, Emma is a novel of courtship and social manners, and focuses on the question of marriage: who will marry whom and for what reasons they will marry: for love, practicality, or necessity?
This was background reading for Alexander McCall-Smith’s Emma whose novel presents the reader with a 21st century Emma Woodhouse. Just like her 18th century predecessor, the modern Emma is noted for beauty and cleverness. She still lives with her widowed father at their estate, Hartfield. Again like her 18th century counterpart, this Emma takes great delight in match-making. I found this a delightful book but others in my book club were not quite so enarmoured with McCall-Smith’s reinterpretation.
I am a bit of an Austin aficionado (some might say freak) so I have attached Rolling With The Homies Part I and Rolling With The Homies Part II to provide further background. If you can take or leave Jane, it might be best not to click on these links.
I’ll Drink To That – New York’s Legendary Personal Shopper And Her Life In Style – With A Twist by Betty Halbreich with Rebecca Paley
I adored this memoir – it is both entertaining and educative. Betty Halbreich, a woman from a different era, who was born into a wealthy Chicago family and raised with the intention of her parents “not to have to work a day in her life” but she found solace in working, and continues to do so although she is more than half-way through her 80s. Want to know more, click on I’ll Drink To That – New York’s Legendary Personal Shopper And Her Life In Style – With A Twist. .
Eat Clean, Green and Vegetarian by Lee Holmes.
Lee is a certified holistic health and wellness coach and a qualified wholefoods chef with a certificate in food and nutrition, who believes that people should think about optimum health rather than weight loss, and our bodies will respond naturally.
To Name Those Lost by Rohan Wilson
The second novel from Rohan Wilson, who won the 2014 Vogel prize for his debut novel, The Roving Party, and is again set in Tasmania. The year is 1874 and the story is set in Launceston – a city which aspires to be respectable, a place of commerce and industry, and one of self-government – but there is a deep class division between its citizens. There were those that lived in neat white-limed houses with plum trees in ceramic pots by the door in Brisbane Street, and those who lived in shacks, with a great many of the city’s children living rough on the street. Want to know more, click on To Name Those Lost .
Only the Animals by Ceridwen Dovey.
The book contains ten stories, all of which feature an animal that meets its death as a result of human conflict. A wide knowledge of literature is needed to understand the nuances and subtexts of the stories. Somewhere Along The Line The Pearl Would Be Handed To Me is narrated by a mussel in the Jack Kerouac-esque stream of consciousness style. Want to know more, click on Only the Animals .
Burial Rites by Hannah Kent
A Rotary Exchange to Iceland at the end of Year 12, resulted in a ten-year obsession with Agnes Magnúsdóttir, the last woman to be executed in Iceland for Hannah Kent. Burial Rites, her gothic-style novel, is a tribute to Agnes Magnúsdóttir. Want to know more, click on Burial Rites .
The Truth About Frenchwomen by Marie-Morgane Le Moel
Freelance journalist, Marie-Morgane Le Moel undertook a two-year project to try and pinpoint where the idealised French woman stereotype, as the slim, designer-clad, sexually sophisticated free spirit originated, and whether or not this archetype is, in fact, true. Want to know more, click on The Truth About Frenchwomen.
One Life: My Mother’s Story by Kate Grenville
Kate Grenville’s loving memoir to her mother, Nancy (Nance). Born in 1912 to the narrow confines of country working-class life, Nance grew up “riding every wave of opportunity” that came her way – and luckily quite a few did. Want to know more, click on One Life: My Mother’s Story .
Sentenced To Life by Clive James
A published collection of 37 poems, all composed over the last four years after Clive James was diagnosed with terminal illnesses – leukemia, emphysema and kidney failure. This volume of poetry reflects on Clive James’ life, and what it feels like to expire. Want to know more, click on Sentenced To Life .
Style Is Eternal by Nicole Jenkins
I collect fashion books and this a valuable addition to my collection. Melbourne vintage Queen and costume designer, Nicole Jenkins shares her experience as a fashion buyer and stylist to navigate the essential additions to your wardrobe without breaking the bank, use accessories to create new outfits, convert your fashion faux pas into chic statements and travel with only hand luggage and still look classy. Want to know more, click on Style Is Eternal .
The Children Act by Ian McEwan
This novel might be short on pages (it is only 213 pages) but it examines the very large issues of what happens when an individual is given with the power to decide whether a child should live or die. In Western civilisation, these life or death decisions are given to the judiciary to decide. The reader meets respected High Court Judge, Fiona Maye, whose area of expertise is in family court matters involves children and divorce, and makes judgements that can and do alter lives irrevocably. Want to know more, click on The Children Act .
Craft For The Soul – Pip Lincolne
This books needs no introduction for most but for those not familiar with it can click on Craft For The Soul .
The Strays by Emily Bitto
The Strays is not a historical novel but it is inspired by a group of artists who were known as the Heide Circle and included Sam Atyeo and his wife Moya Dyring, Albert Tucker, Sidney Nolan, Joy Hester, and John Perceval, who worked and (sometimes lived) at Heide, the residence of art patrons, John and Sunday Reed. Want to know more, click on The Strays .
Killing Monica by Candace Bushnell
I am biased, I love Candace Bushnell. There are obvious parallels between Ms Bushnell’s own life and the novel, Killing Monica. It’s about a best-selling author, PJ Wallis, who is plagued by the success of her most popular character, Monica: an idealised, shoe-obsessed, girl-about-town, made famous on-screen by an actress called SondraBeth Schnowzer. Want to know more, click on Killing Monica .
The Fishermen by Chigozie Obioma
This novel is part love letter and part lament to both Chigozie Obioma’s family and his country, Nigeria. The story is set in a small town in Nigeria and is narrated by Ben (Benjamin), an observant but not excessively precocious nine-year-old and the youngest of four brothers, whose ages range between nine and 15. When the boys’ father, Mr Agwu, is transferred to a bank in a nearby town, the boys use his absence to go fishing at a forbidden local river.
The brothers encounter Abulu, the local madman, who prophesies that Ikenna, the eldest, will be killed by one of the other brothers. From this point onwards, the strong family bond is broken and a tragic chain of events ensues. Want to know more, click on The Fishermen .
That’s it for now but it’s not the end of the year yet!