A spotlight on our books of the month, October 2021
OUR FICTION BOOK OF THE MONTH
Bodies of Light by Jennifer Down
A quiet, small-town existence. An unexpected Facebook message, jolting her back to the past. A history she’s reluctant to revisit: dark memories and unspoken trauma, bruised thighs and warning knocks on bedroom walls, unfathomable loss. She became a new person a long time ago. What happens when buried stories are dragged into the light?
Our reviewer Bec Kavanagh describes the latest offering from staff favourite Jennifer Down as ‘bringing the sophistication and craft of her short stories together with her keen insight into the ways we all yearn for connection, and the things that keep us apart.’ You can read the full review here.
OUR CRIME BOOK OF THE MONTH
The Shadow House by Anna Downes
When single mother Alex flees her abusive relationship and moves with her teenage son and baby girl to a rural ecovillage, she thinks she’s made the best decision of her life. Pine Ridge is idyllic: the off-grid lifestyle and remote location are perfect, and the community is welcoming - mostly. Charmed by its magnetic founder, Kit, and the natural beauty of the former farmland, Alex settles easily into her new home.
But her arrival at Pine Ridge disturbs barely submerged secrets, and she’s shaken by a series of eerily familiar events that seem to be connected to the abandoned farmhouse on the hill. Alex realises that, in escaping her own shadowy past, she may have stumbled into someone else’s. And this time, there may be nowhere to run.
Our crime expert Fiona Hardy describes the novel as ‘truly unsettling domestic horror tale’ and commends how Downes effortlessly ‘grips readers right from the beginning’. You can read the full review here.
OUR NON-FICTION BOOK OF THE MONTH
Fulfillment by Alec MacGillis
We have, it seems, entered the age of one-click America - and as the coronavirus makes Americans more dependent on online shopping, its sway will only intensify. Alec MacGillis’s Fulfillment is not another inside account or exposé of our most conspicuously dominant company. Rather, it is a literary investigation of the America that falls within that company’s growing shadow. As MacGillis shows, Amazon’s sprawling network of delivery hubs, data centres, and corporate campuses epitomises a land where winner and loser cities and regions are drifting steadily apart, the civic fabric is unravelling, and work has become increasingly rudimentary and isolated.
Reviewer and head book buyer Alison Huber says of the work, ‘this book is absolutely essential reading for anyone with even a passing interest in the politics of work, the dynamics of corporate power, and late capitalism. It is also a crucial cautionary tale for us in Australia, where the true extent of an Amazon-dominated future has not yet been realised.’ You can read the full review here.
OUR CLASSICAL ALBUM OF THE MONTH
Hope by Daniel Hope & Zürcher Kammerorchester
In this album called Hope, created during lockdown, violinist Daniel Hope presents a highly personal, yet distinctive collection of timeless classics by Schubert, Elgar and Pärt, several beloved traditional songs in stunning new instrumental versions and a brand-new arrangement of the inspiring and spiritual Misa Criolla by Ariel Ramírez
Classical music expert Kate Rockstrom notes the perfect timing of this album saying, ‘the thing that truly got to me about this whole album was the gentleness of it. The music didn’t demand anything of me, instead it just wrapped me in an aural blanket and relaxed a little part of me that I didn’t even realise was tense.’ You can read the full review here.
OUR KIDS BOOK OF THE MONTH
Wandi by Favel Parrett
A young cub is snatched from his family and home by a giant eagle, then dropped, injured and alone, in a suburban garden. This is where he meets his first Human, and begins his long journey to becoming the most famous dingo in the world.
He will never see his mountain home again, or his family. But it is his destiny to save alpine dingoes from extinction, and he dreams of a time when all cubs like him can live in the wild in safety, instead of facing poison and bullets and hatred.
Our reviewer and online children’s and YA specialist says of the story, ‘written in simple but also poetic language, this is a heartwarming story for young animal lovers’. You can read the full review here.
OUR KIDS CLASSIC OF THE MONTH
Funnybones by Janet and Allan Ahlberg
This is the first book in the Funnybones series and introduces the skeletons - a big skeleton, a little skeleton and a dog skeleton.
They live in a dark dark cellar of a dark dark house on a dark dark hill and so the word repetition continues through this lighthearted story for early readers. The skeletons venture out of their cellar one night to find someone to scare, but everyone is in bed so they amuse themselves by scaring each other and playing with the skeleton animals that live in the zoo.
Staff reviewer Kim Gruschow recommends this story for 3+ and you can read her review here.
OUR YOUNG ADULT BOOK OF THE MONTH
Pony by R.J. Palacio
When Silas Bird wakes in the dead of night, he watches powerlessly as three strangers take his father away. Silas is left shaken, scared and alone, except for the presence of his companion, Mittenwool … who happens to be a ghost. But then a mysterious pony shows up at his door, and Silas knows what he has to do. So begins a perilous journey to find his father - a journey that will connect him with his past, his future, and the unknowable world around him.
Our reviewer Athina Clarke was completely enamoured by Pony saying, ‘I was compelled to devour this extraordinary adventure in one sitting and am desperate to read it again; such was its power over me.’ You can read the full review here.