What We’re Reading

Each week we bring you a sample of the books we’re reading, the films we’re watching, the television shows we’re hooked on or the music we’re loving.

Angela is reading Esther’s Rainbow

esthers*Why are there so many books about rainbows, and what’s on the other side?*

Apologies to Kermit the Frog, but his immortal lines keep swimming round my head in anticipation of our event celebrating Kim Kane’s Esther’s Rainbow.

In this glorious new picture book, a young girl spies a rainbow under her chair and tries to find it again in the colours, tastes and smells of her surroundings. She can’t quite seem to complete her rainbow until the next time it rains, when suddenly rainbows can be seen everywhere. The language is evocative and sensual; the pictures are a delight. It is as near to perfect as a book can be.

Rainbows are often featured in children’s picture books. (Other rainbow books include the classic song Over the Rainbow as a picture book, Grug and the Rainbow and the Rainbow Magic fairy series, to name just a few.) It’s no surprise really, given the joy and wonder evoked by sighting a rainbow in the sky from even the most world-weary soul. Children, of course, are less familiar with the sight of rainbows and so are even more astounded at how such a magical thing can suddenly appear.

And we hope to capture some of that elusive rainbow magic together with Kim…

Come along to our St Kilda shop this Saturday 26 October at 10:30am for a colourful, fun-filled as Kim reads from Esther’s Rainbow, leads us in a rainbow song and gives away some rainbow cupcakes. Rainbows truly are magical!

You can read more about the event here.

Annie is reading We Need New Names

we-need-new-namesI’ve has the good fortune of reading two of the Booker short-listed novels recently. The first, The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri, has been loved by everyone who’s read it in the Hawthorn store.

It’s the story of two brothers born in India just after the Second World War and their close relationship. While the younger brother Udayan, becomes politicised when he realises the terrible conditions of poverty affecting their country, the older brother Subhash goes to America to pursue higher education, despite his brother’s pleas to stay. This is a beautiful novel – Lahiri’s writing is descriptive and poetic as she describes landscapes, and also the terrain of intergenerational loves and losses.

My other pick - NoViolet Bulawayo’s We Need New Names is told from the eyes of a ten-year-old girl, Darling, in Zimbabwe. It is the perfect perspective to describe trauma, poverty and hunger without judgement so that the reader makes his or her own realisations. The book is very physical – Darling and her friends are no longer able to attend school so they walk and play for hours trying to avoid their hunger and their parents’ helplessness. In the second half of the book Darling goes to live with her aunt in the USA. She is a teenager by now, and her observations of Detroit and American culture are just as astute.

This is a great novel to share with a book group as it asks pertinent questions about race, class and the so called ‘benefits’ of life in the Western world.

Chris is reading More Than This

more-nessI’ve started reading Patrick Ness’ More than This. I’m not far into it but already I want for more time to read - I need to know exactly what sort of world Ness has created… The first few chapters are sparsely written and describe how the main character Seth imagines hell to be - literally.

At this stage I’m still in two minds as to whether I will give it to my thirteen-year-old son to read. He loved The Knife of Never Letting Go trilogy, but this story line seems grimmer, and yet more realistic than his other fantastical stories. I’ll keep you posted.