Another month has ended, so it’s time for my monthly reading roundup. I managed only 12 books in April, but there were some beauties in that 12.
Books for Children
- Backyard Bugs, by Helen Milroy (Fremantle Press, 2021). This little picture book offering is lovely, and my two year old granddaughter seemed to agree. After I read her the simple rhyming text, she sat for a long time flipping through the pages and ‘reading’, emulating the lyrical feel and the names of the different minibeasts. The illustrations are sumptuous.
2. Redback Mansion, by Lorraine Marwood (Five Islands Press, 2002). It’s been fifteen years since I reviewed this collection of poetry on Aussiereviews, but love to dip in and out of it, as well as others of Marwood’s collections. This is the first time in a long while that I have read it cover to cover, and it didn’t disappoint. It’s a shame it is no longer in print for a new generation of readers, but luckily Marwood continues to produce new work, so there is still plenty out there to read.
3. Nobody’s Boy, by Dianne Bates (Celapene Press, 2012). Another one I had read before. I love to revisit verse novels, because not only are they my favourite form, but reading them is about really experiencing the characters’ perspectives. This is the story of Ron, who has been in foster care most of his life and craves a chance to live with his dad.
4. Fish Kid and the Turtle Torpedo, by Kylie Howarth (Walker Books, 2021). This is the third book in excellent series for young readers, especially those who love marine life, swimming and adventure. Fish Kid (Bodhi) has a love of the ocean and has special powers which let him swim like a fish and even communicate with sea life. In this instalment he and his friend Emely rescue a sick turtle and even swim with dolphins. Along the way readers learn lots of animal fact and conservation messages, but the story is foremost.
Books for Young Adults
- All Our Hidden Gifts, by Caroline O’Donoghue (Walker Books, 2021). This was sent to be by Walker Books, and took me a little while to get into, probably more because it was the first book I read for the month, and was busy, than because of the book itself. Maeve finds a set of tarot cards, discovers she has a knack for reading them, and then, to her horror, that she seems to have the power to make her former best friend disappear. What it might cost to get her back is too much. With magic and the occult, as well as explorations of gender diversity, religion and more, there is a lot going on here, which makes for an intriguing read.
- I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou (Audible Edition, 2014). I am so glad I chose to listen to this book, because it is read by Angelou herself, which adds so much to the reading experience. This is the autobiography of her childhood, characterised by hardship, displacement, violence and racism – but is also a story filled with strength and the beauty of Angelou’s writing. I cried but I also smiled. I’ve put it here in the young adult section because it is suitable for young adults, but will equally appeal to adult readers.
- Peta Lyre’s Rating Normal, by Anna Whatley (Allen & Unwin, 2020). I loved this own voices novel about a gutsy girl who tries hard to act ‘normal’ by following the rules drummed into her by therapists, parents and teachers over her lifetime, but with the laugh of her aunt and new friends learns not just to like herself but also to see her strengths and expect others to, too. So glad this is is on the CBCA Children’s Book of the Year shortlist.
Books for Adult Readers
- Everyday Madness, by Susan Midalia (Fremantle Press, 2021). Susan recently guest blogged over at my review site, Aussiereviews, about her writing life and the story behind this book. I enjoyed the weaving of the different stories – that of Bernard, newly unemployed, his wife Gloria, whose breakdown and caused a huge shift in their marriage, their daughter on law Meg, struggling to raise her daughter, study full time and navigate supporting the in laws her ex-husband seems to not take responsibility for, and her daughter Ella.
- The Cuckoo’s Cry, by Caroline Overington (Audible, 2020). Set in Bondi during the first Covid 19 lockdown, this novella was an interesting free read, part family drama, part mystery.
- Life After Truth, by Cerdiwen Dovey (Audible, 2019). You can tell how much time I have spent int he car in any month by the number of Audible reads, especially the free reads. This was again part mystery (the US president’s son is murdered) and part soul-searching drama. The characters did have me interested, but I must admit I spent most of the book just gobsmacked at the utter privilege of the Harvard world (the book is set during a 15 year reunion, on campus). It really just seems like another world.
- The Last Bookshop, by Emma Young (Fremantle Press, 2021). Any book set in a bookshop is likely to engage me. Put that bookshop in Hay Street, Perth, and I am hooked. What I didn’t expect was to blubber helplessly while reading this. Loved it! Emma Young also guest blogged over on my Aussiereviews site here.
- An Island Solution: Rottnest reveals our colonial secrets, by Eversley Ruth Mortlock (Gwelup Creative Life Writing Press, 20219). I picked this up in the Rottnest store when I was visiting Rottnest/Wadjemup earlier this year. An insight into a chapter of Western Australian history which must be redressed: the incarceration, and inhumane treatment, of Aboriginal men from around the state on Rottnest Island. Not an easy read, because of its subject matter, but important for that reason.
These 12 books bring my total to 61 books read for the year to date., roughly one book every two days, if my maths is correct. What have you been reading lately?