Monday, 24 August 2015

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

This week's potential reading list is a little ridiculous in it's scope, size and eclecticism!
I have no excuse, except it seemed like a good idea at the time.

Last week at work was dominated by the Children's Book Council Awards - with congratulations going to Freya Blackwood, in particular, for winning the award for three different books in three different categories.

The 2015 winners are:

Older Readers - The Protected by Claire Zorn
Younger Readers - The Cleo Stories by Libby Gleeson and Freya Blackwood
Early Childhood - Go to Sleep Jessie by Libby Gleeson and Freya Blackwood
Picture Book - My Two Blankets by Freya Blackwood (author Irena Kobald)
Eve Pownall Info Book - A-Z of Convicts in Van Diemen's Land by Simon Barnard
Crichton Award for New Illustrator - One Minute's Silence by Michael Camilleri (author David Metzenthen).

On the blogging front, I was excited to see the Classics Club announce their latest Spin.
I always love how a Spin encourages me to dust off my classics challenge list and re-engage with a fabulous community of classics readers.

Next weekend I will be attending the Honouring Randolph Stow event at the NSW Library. In preparation, I plan to read Moving Among Strangers by Gabrielle Carey (she of Puberty Blues fame):
As her mother Joan lies dying, Gabrielle Carey writes a letter to Joan’s childhood friend, the reclusive novelist Randolph Stow. This letter sets in motion a literary pilgrimage that reveals long-buried family secrets.
Like her mother, Stow had grown up in Western Australia. After early literary success and a Miles Franklin Award in 1958 for his novel To the Islands, he left for England and a life of self-imposed exile. Living most of her life on the east coast, Gabrielle was also estranged from her family’s west Australian roots but never questioned why.
A devoted fan of Stow’s writing, she became fascinated by his connection with her extended family, but before she can meet him he dies. With only a few pieces of correspondence to guide her, Gabrielle embarks on a journey from the red-dirt landscape of Western Australia to the English seaside town of Harwich in a quest to understand her family’s past and Stow’s place in it.
Moving Among Strangers is a celebration of one of Australia’s most enigmatic and visionary writers.
I recently picked up a copy If This Is a Woman: Inside Ravensbruck - Hitler's Concentration Camp for Women by Sarah Helm. I seem to have this almost compulsive lifelong urge to understand the Holocaust and man's inhumanity to man. Or in this case, man's inhumanity against women.
The compelling story of the only concentration camp for women by the acclaimed author of A Life in Secrets.

On a sunny morning in May 1939 a phalanx of 800 women - housewives, doctors, opera singers, politicians, prostitutes - were marched through the woods fifty miles north of Berlin, driven on past a shining lake, then herded through giant gates. Whipping and kicking them were scores of German women guards.

Their destination was Ravensbrück, a concentration camp designed specifically for women by Heinrich Himmler, prime architect of the Nazi genocide.

For decades the story of Ravensbrück was hidden behind the Iron Curtain and today is still little known. Using testimony unearthed since the end of the Cold War, and interviews with survivors who have never spoken before, Helm has ventured into the heart of the camp, demonstrating for the reader in riveting detail how easily and quickly the unthinkable horror evolved
This is a chunkster of a book. The horrific topic also means that I can only read a little bit at a time. But hopefully I will finish it in time for Non-Fiction November.

The Dust that Falls from Dreams by Louis de Berniere:
In the brief golden years of King Edward VII’s reign, Rosie McCosh and her three sisters are growing up in an idyllic and eccentric household in Kent, with their ‘pals’ the Pitt boys on one side of the fence and the Pendennis boys on the other. But their days of childhood innocence and adventure are destined to be followed by the apocalypse that will overwhelm their world as they come to adulthood.

For Rosie, the path ahead is full of challenges: torn between her love for two young men, her sense of duty and her will to live her life to the full, she has to navigate her way through extraordinary times. Can she, and her sisters, build new lives out of the opportunities and devastations that follow the Great War?

Louis de Bernières’ magnificent and moving novel follows the lives of an unforgettable cast of characters as the Edwardian age disintegrates into the Great War, and they strike out to seek what happiness can be salvaged from the ruins of the old world

The Days of Abandonment by Elena Ferrante:
A national bestseller for almost an entire year, The Days of Abandonment shocked and captivated its Italian public when first published.
It is the gripping story of a woman's descent into devastating emptiness after being abandoned by her husband with two young children to care for. When she finds herself literally trapped within the four walls of their high-rise apartment, she is forced to confront her ghosts, the potential loss of her own identity, and the possibility that life may never return to normal.

What will you be reading this week?


  1. If This is a Woman sounds like a harrowing read.

    Wishing you a good reading week
    Shelleyrae @ Book'd Out

  2. Anonymous25/8/15

    I like your selection for this week's reading. I will have to check out If This Is a Woman; it sounds terrible and intriguing.

  3. Anonymous25/8/15

    I read Ravenbrück by Germaine Tillion.
    She was a member of French resistance who was imprisoned there. (see blog)
    I can only sum up the book in one word: nightmare.
    I have no idea if this is a translation of the original in French (1958).
    I hope after you read the can glance at my review. I would love to hear your comments.
    1. Just finished 'Memorable Days" (letters of James Salter) as a short introduction before I start his books.
    2. Today I'm starting GWTW!
    3. The Art of Racing in the Rain to read a 'dog's' point-of-view!

    1. Helm's book is a new work on Ravenbruck, so I will check out your review as her research led her to interview as many of the surviving women as possible.

      I've been meaning to read Salter for a few years now, but....well, you know how it is.
      And yay! for GWTW. I hope you enjoy it.

  4. I think The Days of Abandonment would be my pick of those ones - I look forward to hearing what you think of it!

    1. It's pretty harrowing and upsetting stuff so far. Watching a woman fall a part when her husband leaves her for another woman is not a pretty sight!

  5. That Ferrante sure seems to have some bleak sounding books eh?

    1. This is my first Ferrante - amazing insights into character and emotional states so far, but bleak is a pretty apt tag!

  6. You're quite right Brona there just seems to be so many great books about at the moment. I have too many in the stacks, and have been adding to them (daily) it seems in recent weeks. I'm hoping to get my way through a few more CBCA winners and shorlisters in the coming weeks- we'll see.


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