What we’re reading: Barker, Brokken & Ginzburg

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.


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Teen Advisory Board Member Aurelia Orr is reading Waking Romeo by Kathryn Barker

I finished Waking Romeo by Kathryn Barker last night and it was SO GOOD. I loved every minute of it and devoured it in two days (stayed up to 3am first night, 1.30am the next). Easily a 5 star read for me. It’s an addictive retelling that questions whether one’s life is predetermined by fate or if we can take charge to choose our own destinies.

An all-nighter that will never leave you bored.


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Mark Rubbo is reading The Just by Jan Brokken

I’m reading The Just by Jan Brokken. It’s the story of how the manager of Philips electrical goods in Lithuania during World War Two with the help of the Japanese and Dutch consuls saved the lives of thousands of Lithuanian Jews. It’s inspiring and beautifully written.


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Tye Cattanch is reading The Dry Heart by Natalia Ginzburg

I am sure I am not alone in lamenting that there seem to be far too many books that I want to read, and just not enough time to actually read them all. My TBR pile currently resembles an actual skyscraper and I do fear if it falls over while I am near it, it will actually kill me. This did nothing to stop me from purchasing and immediately reading Natalia Ginzburg’s classic novel - The Dry Heart. (Shelving is a wonderful way to discover unread gems.)

Originally published in 1947 and translated to english in 1952, The Dry Heart is as relevant and hard hitting now as it was then. It begins with possibly one of the most compelling opening paragraphs I have ever read, a wife matter of factly stating that she has just shot her husband between the eyes. Ginzburg then begins to calmly share her backstory of the events that led her here. And calmly is the key word. Our protagonists suffers through terrible events, horrible, life changing things happen to her throughout this slender little novel and yet her matter of fact, almost serene demeanour never changes.

Overall, one gets the impression that here is a woman who can endure almost anything, until it becomes too much. The proverbial straw that breaks the camel’s back is a very real factor here. What I loved most about her is that you never once get the impression that she is a victim. Somewhat resigned to her fate at times, but never a victim of her circumstances. It is a truly skilled writer who can compress such an enormous story into 88 pages and The Dry Heart makes for an intensely satisfying lunch time read. Highly recommended!

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Waking Romeo

Waking Romeo

Kathryn Barker

$19.99Buy now

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