Amazing Mondays, Amazing Reads 16th January

Are you looking for your next amazing read? Here are ten books to try, suggested by Sutherland Library Service Corporate Librarian, Kelly Wilson.
Don't forget to fill in an entry form for your chance to win some great prizes in the Summer Reading Club promotion.

1. Oscar and Lucinda / Peter Carey
A sumptuously written novel about the chance meeting of two eccentric gamblers, Oscar and Lucinda. Oscar is a socially awkward Anglican minister and Lucinda owns a glassworks. Carey’s descriptions of the explosion of glass curiosity known as a Prince Rupert’s Drop and the glass church the pair create for a bet are images that are burnt in my mind forever.
2. Water for Elephants / Sara Gruen
Although this book is being sold as a romance (especially since it has been made into a film), it is the history of the train circuses during the Great Depression that I found most fascinating aspect of this story. The humans and animals were all quite desperate often leading to disastrous consequences. Regardless of the cruelty and misery in this book I found it compelling.
3. The Corrections / Jonathan Franzen
While the family patriarch, Alfred Lambert increasingly struggles with Parkinson’s Disease and dementia his wife Enid hopes for one last family Christmas with her three grown children. The black humour Franzen uses to describe this dysfunctional family and their tortured interrelationships goes some way to lighten his very accurate portrayal of the way people behave.
4. Dirt Music / Tim Winton
Georgie Jutland is married to Jim Buckridge, a successful fisherman in the small West Australian town of White Point. She falls for a troubled poacher and former musician, Luther Fox. Tim Winton uses evocative language to describe the Australian landscape which in turn helps to progress the story.
5. The Great Gatsby / F.Scott Fitzgerald
Sure to be popular again once the new movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio is released The Great Gatsby is a classic that readers can revisit and still be amazed. It paints a fabulous picture of life in the “roaring twenties” in America but does not fail to expose the reality behind the glamorous facade.
6. 44 Scotland Street / Alexander McCall Smith
This is the first book in a charming series about the residents of an Edinburgh apartment building. It was originally serialised in “The Scotsman” newspaper and therefore is an entertaining read that it divided into satisfying chunks making it easy to put down and pick up again. The characters include Pat, a 20-year-old student on her second gap year, a narcissistic surveyor, Bruce, widow Domenica, artist Angus and his dog Cyril and my favourite character 5-year-old Bertie whose ambitious and overbearing mother Irene micromanages his education when all he wants is to be a normal child.
7. Tales of the City / Armistead Maupin
Tales of the City is another serialised newspaper column this time for the San Fransisco Chronicle converted into a novel. It focuses on the residents of an apartment house in Barbury Lane. Mary Ann Singleton is naive young woman from Cleveland who befriends Michael “Mouse” Tolliver, a homosexual and so begins a very funny novel that captures the spirit of San Fransisco in the 1970s and in later novels, the 1980s.
8. Open: an autobiography / Andre Agassi
I am not an avid tennis fan but I found this biography to be very surprising revelation of how Andre Agassi became a champion. Agassi repeatedly states throughout the book that he hated tennis and admits that he and his wife former tennis star Steffi Graf do not have a tennis court at their home.
9. A Thousand Splendid Suns / Khaled Hosseini
Although the author Khaled Hosseini is better known for his second novel The Kite Runner, I enjoyed A Thousand Splendid Suns more because it is told from a female point of view. The two main characters are Mariam a poor traditional woman and Laila a younger, more modern and educated female. Set in Afghanistan the story spans 40 years of conflict between warlords, Soviets, Mujahideen, Taliban and Americans and the consequent effects of life for all but particularly the women.
10. Jasper Jones / Craig Silvey
A remarkable story about life as an “outsider” in a mining town in Australia. The main character Charlie is drawn into hiding the body of girl by Jasper Jones, an Aboriginal boy who they assume would be blamed for her death. Charlie is also best friends with Jeffrey, a Vietnamese-Australian and their light-hearted banter gives some relief to the dark undertones of the book.