Amazing Mondays, Amazing Reads, 30th January

Angela, the library's Outreach and Collection Services Coordinator, shares her latest top ten Amazing Reads.

1. Wolf Hall / Hilary Mantel.
Well written, insightful historical novel set in the times of Henry V111. The author presents an interesting depiction of Thomas Cromwell, a key personality of the Tudor period. Along with Cromwell’s relationships with other characters of the period, the author delves into the politics and society of this much written about period of history.

2. A dog's purpose / W. Bruce Cameron.
A good story written through the eyes of a dog who is searching for his purpose in life over the course of several doggy lives.

3. The help / Kathryn Stockett
Somewhat superficial fictional insight into the lives of black maids and their white employers in Southern USA in the 1960s. By superficial, I mean that the some of the really serious issues are secondary to the characters. A mix of humour and heartache. The character construction make this a 4 star read.

4. No country for old men
I like the writing of this author Cormac McCarthy. He uses words sparingly to describe images and characters. This book begins with a drug deal gone wrong. A chance find of a bag of drug cartel cash by a struggling Vietnam veteran is followed by a storm of ensuing violence as the dug cartel hit men try to recover the cash. Then, there is the dead eyed psychopath Anton Chigurh, one of the most memorable baddies that I have ever encountered in a fiction book. The story is narrated by the ageing Sherrif Ed Tom Bell who battles with the increasing violence and wonders about his ability to deal with this new type of brutal criminality. A five star read for me. The Coen brothers film of this book is one of my top pick films. Javier Bardem as Anton was a highlight.

5. The slap / Christos Tsiolkas
A child is slapped at a family barbecue by an adult who is not a parent. This Australian author examines some of the universal themes of the dynamics of family life, relationships, child rearing practices, acceptable behaviour and other dilemmas through a multicultural Australian family. Very readable, provocative, with some unlovely characters.

6. Breath / Tim Winton
Set in a fictional town in the 1970s, this Australian book examines a young man’s coming of age and explores addiction, risk taking and consequences of actions. A surfing environment provides the backdrop for an older surfer with issues of his own to encourage the young man and his friend to take greater risks forcing the 2 young men to take very different paths. Well written, some confronting issues with a slightly abrupt ending.

7. People of the book / Geraldine Brooks
The story of an Australian rare book expert who is offered the job of the analysis and conservation of the famous Sarajavo Haggadad, a priceless illustrated Jewish book rescued from Serbian shelling during the Bosnian War. Through a series of tiny clues she traces the history of the book.

8.The girl with the dragon tattoo / Stieg Larsson ; translated from the Swedish by Reg Keeland.
The Millennium Trilogy - This book is the first book of the trilogy. When disgraced journalist Mikael Blomqvist is hired by Henrik Vanger to investigate the disappearance of his great niece Harriett many years ago, he discovers events linked to a series of gory murders. He then crosses paths with Lisbeth Salader an antisocial computer hacker with a difficult past and a desire for revenge.Well written with many gory parts trilogy of thrillers.

9. We need to talk about Kevin : a novel/Lionel Shriver
A novel about a high school massacre told through a series of letters between the teenage killers mother and his estranged father. Eva the reluctant mother faces herfear that her dislike of her difficult son helped to create the killer. Nature vs nurture.

10. The strain / Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan
This is the first book in The Strain trilogy. A plane makes a perfect landing but nearly all the passengers are dead. A vampire tale written by movie producer Guillermo del Toro, of Pans Labyrinth fame and Chuck Hogan. Vampires have been somewhat romanticised by Twilight but the vampires in this book are dark, ancient and terrifying. This book is somewhat predicable however an engaging read for those who like this genre. I have finished the trilogy and was disappointed with the ending.

Bonus read:
11. The street sweeper : a novel / Elliot Perlman
A well researched book by an Australian author/lawyer. This book is a blend of historical factual events and fiction. This story takes the reader from current day New York and Melbourne back through two of the critical periods in world history.

Photo credit: Flickr user: shawnzrossi -"Girl reading by window book"