Wednesday, March 4, 2015

reading on the train

So I am on the train to work 3 mornings a week which gives me some time for reading - just small snatches but really that's all that I can manage anyway with the transition to working again and the thinking time it's taking up in my head!

Here are 3 very different books I've completed in the last 3 weeks:

After Darkness by Christine Piper.

I knew from the first sentence of this book it was going to be beautifully written. The novel won the Vogel's literary award and it is well deserved. The novel opens in Australia 1942 in an internment camp for Japanese immigrants and Australians of Japanese descent. Essentially this is not a war novel it is a novel about a man coming to terms with who he is, how his past has shaped him and ultimately how he has run from things and how he can redeem his failings. The novel flashes back and forwards through Ibaraki's life. It moves convincingly and with grace between it's Japanese and Australian landscapes. It is moving and thought provoking and it pushes the questions of how we choose to respond in the face of opposition and cultural expectations. This book is one to read and talk about with others - I think it would be perfect for a book group of thoughtful people.

Details - Allen and Unwin, Jan 2015 RRP $19.99

RALF, How a Giant Schnauzer brought hope, happiness and healing to sick children by Anne Crawford.

Not being much of a pet person I wanted to read this to challenge myself and to learn about how animals can make a difference to people in therapy situations. The book follows Ralf's life, the situations which lead him to land with the Lovick family and the journey that lead them to dog therapy. For me the hero of the book was Caroline Lovick the mother/owner of Ralf's family and the hours and hours she has given and continues to give for no credit to those who are sick. The book is a joyful, feel-good read that also presents a case for the use of animals in therapy and paints a picture of a very special dog who seems to have a temperament that could not be more perfect for his role. If you love animals and stories about people who invest extraordinarily on behalf of others you will love this book. This is the kind of book I can also imagine reading aloud and sharing with my own boys - although the pet pestering would become relentless!

Details - Allen and Unwin, Feb 2015 RRP $29.99, also available as an ebook.

The Secret Life of Luke Livingstone by Charity Norman.

A novel about a man who has it all a beautiful marriage, adult children, adored grand-babies, a successful career, financial stability... all of it and none of it. This novel is an easy read, it took me a couple of days, but it is also one of those wonderful opportunities that stories give us, to walk a mile in another person's shoes. Luke has gender dysphoria, which means he is, feels he is, believes he is a woman and he has spent a life time of self-loathing and denial until in his 50s he decides he cannot go on any longer. What follows is the fallout for him, his marriage, their children... all of it. I enjoyed this novel it's not explicit or even sexual, it's a novel about love and courage and understanding. It gave me a lot to think about and I think that that can only be a really good thing. I would recommend this to anyone who likes reading chic lit (which I do) but who also likes books that stray from the obvious path and offer a bit more (which I do).
Details - Allen and Unwin, Feb 2015 RRP $29.99, also available as an ebook.

it was my pleasure to receive these lovely books from Allen and Unwin - reviews entirely my own opinions, it is my policy not to review any book I would not recommend to others

love you more than a book that extends your perceptions xxx