Thanks to everyone who sent through their reading recommendations last week. It’s great to see the variety of books people are reading and there is nothing better than a personal recommendation to help make a decision at the bookstore or library.

It seems I have a LOT of reading to do – how terrible for me 😉

I thought this week I’d pop them into a post so for anyone who wants a little reading inspiration to help them whittle away a few hours under a blanket, with a cup of tea.

Boy Swallows Universe by Trent Dalton

Brisbane, 1983: A lost father, a mute brother, a mum in jail, a heroin dealer for a stepfather and a notorious crim for a babysitter. It’s not as if Eli’s life isn’t complicated enough already. He’s just trying to follow his heart, learning what it takes to be a good man, but life just keeps throwing obstacles in the way – not least of which is Tytus Broz, legendary Brisbane drug dealer.

But Eli’s life is about to get a whole lot more serious. He’s about to fall in love. And, oh yeah, he has to break into Boggo Road Gaol on Christmas Day, to save his mum.

A story of brotherhood, true love and the most unlikely of friendships, Boy Swallows Universe will be the most heartbreaking, joyous and exhilarating novel you will read all year.

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

Yeongdo, Korea 1911. A club-footed, cleft-lipped man marries a fifteen-year-old girl. The couple have one child, their beloved daughter Sunja. When Sunja falls pregnant by a married yakuza, the family face ruin. But then a Christian minister offers a chance of salvation: a new life in Japan as his wife. Following a man she barely knows to a hostile country where she has no friends and no home, Sunja’s salvation is just the beginning of her story. 

The Pearl Thief by Fiona McIntosh

Severine Kassel is asked by the Louvre in 1963 to aid the British Museum with curating its antique jewellery, her specialty. Her London colleagues find her distant and mysterious, her cool beauty the topic of conversations around its quiet halls. No one could imagine that she is a desperately damaged woman, hiding her trauma behind her chic, French image.

It is only when some dramatic Byzantine pearls are loaned to the Museum that Severine’s poise is dashed and the tightly controlled life she’s built around herself is shattered. Her shocking revelation of their provenance sets off a frenzied hunt for Nazi Ruda Mayek.

Mossad’s interest is triggered and one of its most skilled agents comes out of retirement to join the hunt, while the one person who can help Severine – the solicitor handling the pearls – is bound by client confidentiality. As she follows Mayek’s trail, there is still one lifelong secret for her to reveal – and one for her to discover. 

From the snowy woodlands outside Prague to the Tuileries of Paris and the heather-covered moors of Yorkshire comes a confronting and heart-stopping novel that explores whether love and hope can ever overpower atrocity in a time of war and hate. 

Boys Will Be Boys by Clementine Ford

The incendiary new book about toxic masculinity and misogyny from Clementine Ford, author of the best-selling feminist manifesto, Fight Like A Girl.

‘Everyone’s afraid that their daughters might be hurt. No one seems to be scared that their sons might be the ones to do it … This book … is the culmination of many years of writing about power, abuse, privilege, male entitlement and rape culture. After all that, here’s what I’ve learned: we should be f*cking terrified.’Clementine Ford, from the introduction.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time by Mark Haddon

A truly remarkable novel about an autistic boy. ‘The dog was lying on the grass in the middle of the lawn in front of Mrs Shears’ house. It looked as if it was running on its side, the way dogs run when they think they are chasing a cat in a dream. But the dog was not running or asleep. The dog was dead. There was a garden fork sticking out of the dog.’ THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT- TIME is a murder mystery novel like no other. The detective, and narrator, is Christopher Boone. Christopher is fifteen and has Asperger’s, a form of autism. He knows a very great deal about maths and very little about human beings. He loves lists, patterns and the truth. He hates the colours yellow and brown and being touched. He has never gone further than the end of the road on his own, but when he finds a neighbour’s dog murdered he sets out on a terrifying journey which will turn his whole world upside down. Christopher is a brilliant creation, and Mark Haddon’s depiction of his world is deeply moving, very funny and utterly convincing. The novel is being published simultaneously for adults by Jonathan Cape and for children by David Fickling, publisher of Philip Pullman. We are convinced that both audiences will recognise it as one of those very rare books that change the way you see everything. 

The 100 Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson

After a long and eventful life Allan Karlsson is moved to a nursing home to await the inevitable. But his health refuses to fail and as his 100th birthday looms a huge party is planned. Allan wants no part of it and decides to climb out the window…

Charming and funny; a European publishing phenomenon.

Sitting quietly in his room in an old people’s home, Allan Karlsson is waiting for a party he doesn’t want to begin. His one-hundredth birthday party to be precise. The Mayor will be there. The press will be there. But, as it turns out, Allan will not . . .

Escaping (in his slippers) through his bedroom window, into the flowerbed, Allan makes his getaway. And so begins his picaresque and unlikely journey involving a suitcase full of cash, a few thugs, a very friendly hot-dog stand operator, a few deaths, an elephant and incompetent police. As his escapades unfold, Allan’s earlier life is revealed. A life in which – remarkably – he played a key role behind the scenes in some of the momentous events of the twentieth century. 

The One Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared is a charming, warm and funny novel, beautifully woven with history and politics. 

The Ancient Future by Traci Harding

The white light surrounded her, exuding from the ground within the circle. The mist rose towards the sky to form a billowing cloud. From within the largest stone a ball of blue light steadily made its way towards her.

Late one evening, a car accident leaves Tory – daughter of a prominent history professor – stranded near a ring of stones in the English countryside. She resolves to spend the night at the sacred site; a black belt in Tae-kwon-do, Tory holds little fear for her safety.

But across the vortex of time and space, she is being watched. The Merlin knows of the legend Tory is to become, and through the wisdom of the Old Ones, teleports her back to the Dark Age.

Prince Maelgwn of Gwynedd and his band of knights stumble across this mysterious woman dressd in jeans and leather jacket. Believing she is the witch of the stones, they threaten to kill her. Rising to her own defence, Tory challenges the Prince’s champion to unarmed combat. With her superior fighting skill she easily overwhelms the warrior, winning the admiration of the Prince, and changing the course of British history forever. 

Love Song by Sasha Wasley

The heart-warming new rural romance novel from the acclaimed author of Dear Banjo and True Blue.

There was something about Charlie. Something about the way he questioned and teased her, brought her outside of herself … the way he’d made her crash headlong into love just by singing to her. 

At age seventeen, Beth Paterson was determined to study medicine at university, despite the heartache of losing her mother. Tutoring Charlie Campbell worked well with her plan – but falling in love with him sure didn’t, and neither did getting her heart broken when he abruptly left town. 

Now Charlie is a big star on the alternative rock scene, while Beth is a respected doctor in her hometown. When Charlie comes back to fight for the tiny community where he was raised, neither one of them can ignore the resurgence of wild attraction they once shared.

Beth swore no man would ever hurt her again – least of all this man. But some love songs can never be forgotten, especially when they were written for you…

Books on my list at the moment

Motherling by Jen Hutchinson

Motherling : A Walk - Jen Hutchison

Motherling addresses every parent of an adult child’s nightmare. You’ve made it. Your child is grown up. He’s got a great job, living a full and happy life overseas. You don’t have to worry about him like you did when he was young. And then a call from half way across the world. Something terrible has happened …

Until now there ahas been no word for a mother who has lost her child. This is a story of finding and healing yourself after that unspeakable loss, healing through walking and taking what life throws at you, one step at a time.

Many Hearts, One Voice by Melinda Tognini

When WWII ended, the men who fought and died were not forgotten – but what of their wives and families? For the War Widows’ Guild the fight for rights and recognition had just begun. This is the story of a courageous group of women who made a difference to the lives of Australia’s war widows of yesterday and today. 

The Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells

In a corporate-dominated spacefaring future, planetary missions must be approved and supplied by the Company. Exploratory teams are accompanied by Company-supplied security androids, for their own safety.

On a distant planet, a team of scientists are conducting surface tests, shadowed by their Company-supplied ‘droid – a self-aware SecUnit that has hacked its own governor module, and refers to itself (though never out loud) as “Murderbot.” Scornful of humans, all it really wants is to be left alone long enough to figure out who it is.

But when a neighbouring mission goes dark, it’s up to the scientists and their Murderbot to get to the truth. 

Thank you to everyone who contributed to this list and I hope you get something back in return!

Happy reading 🙂

Suz