When Dog Cry by Markus Zusak is one of the books on our top ten books for teenage boys. It is on the list at the insistence of one of my daughter’s who read it a long time ago. I’ve just read it, and I can tell you it is a terrific book. The main character is Cameron Wolfe and he has two older brothers, Steven and Ruben. He is in awe of both of them, and is trying to find his place in the world, but is having trouble convincing himself he is worthwhile. With the help of his family, and one of Ruben’s discarded girlfriends, he learns that it is OK to be himself. If all young men could learn from the tenderness, both between the family members and the new girl on the scene, we could all be very happy. Highly recommended. $14.95. Heather
PS. It is on our list for boys, but girls will enjoy this just as much.
Romance is not on the cards for sixteen-yr-old Nora Grey. That would be more Vee, her best friend’s, department. That is, until Patch starts at their school, and she is drawn to him like no one before. His smile makes her shiver and promises a lot of things, all of them trouble.
While Nora instinctively trusts Patch, the weirdness that ensues, the being followed, watched and even attacked, makes her wonder who she can trust. As Vee becomes convinced that Patch is bad news, Nora becomes more confident that he isn’t. As Vee’s new love interest Jules, and his friend Elliot, reveal their shady pasts, the girls have to rely on Patch to save them, perhaps even be their guardian angel.
Hush, Hush (PB $25) by Becca Fitzpatrick is another novel for the Twilight lovers. Is falling for a fallen angel really such a good idea?
The sequel, Crescendo, is forthcoming.
An Aussie author, Craig Silvey’s lastest novel Jasper Jones won the Indie Award earlier this year. A great, entertaining read about some very loveable young boys. Great for any reader who loves being taken away with great characters and a captivating story. Trade paperback, $30.
For the reluctant reading teenager with time to kill, Anna Godbersen has written The Luxe Series. Fans of Gossip Girl or The O.C. will be sucked in by this somewhat bitchy but brilliant turn-of-the-century drama about girls with very big dresses and even bigger secrets. Number four Splendour is out now, along with Luxe, Envy and Rumours. And no, they’re not about vampires! Paperback, $19.95
The recently re-jacket Chunky Cookbooks by Murdoch are a range to suit every taste in the kitchen. From Cool Food, perfect for an Australian summer, to the nifty Bowl Food, these books are a great addition to any kitchen at a even better price. Paperback, $19.95
These books are perfect for kids in those in-between, or tween, years. Not quite kids but not yet teenagers either, it can be difficult to find books 11 to 14 yr olds want to read that parents don’t think are inappropriate. Hopefully these titles will bridge the gap and keep everyone happy!
The Billionaire’s Curse by Richard Newsome
Holes by Louis Sachar
The Youngest Templar by Michael P. Spradlin
The Zoo of Magical and Mythological Creatures by Sam Bowring
Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
Juggling with Mandarins by V.M. Jones
The Slightly True Story of Cedar B. Hartley by Martine Murray
Matilda by Roald Dahl
Toby Alone by Timothee de Fombelle
To the Boy in Berlin by Elizabeth Honey
The Mind and Times of Reg Mombassa
by Murray Waldren
This impressive book reveals Christopher O’Doherty, aka Reg Mombassa. He has been part of our culture for more than thirty years with a unique view of our world – and of his. His wit and mischievous energy came out in the songs and performances of Mental As Anything, whose music was so important to a whole generation. His sometimes absurd and idealistic art influenced a few more generations with his quirky and distinctive designs for the original Mambo label.
The book has intriguing insights into the pop culture of recent decades wonderfully illustrated with photos of the times and Reg Mombassa’s art.
This is History, Art and Pop Culture in one excellent book that makes a great gift or just for yourself over the Christmas.
The best kind of science fiction is where just one impossible or inexplicable situation is presented and everything else is normal. This exactly what happens in Under the Dome.
Well not exactly ‘normal’ but within the bounds of possibility. Suddenly, one day, an apparently sleepy town in New England, USA is surrounded by a mysterious and frightening ‘Dome’ – an invisible fence all round, over and under the town, cuts it off from the rest of the world!
The authorities are dumbfounded, the inhabitants alarmed and many people are thinking ” what’s in it for me?” The Dome causes some pain and suffering as it appears with animals and people coming to grief on this invisible but unyeilding barrier that extends more than 10,000 metres into the air. That is nothing compared to what happens later.
The resulting confusion brings the local Townsman, bully, thief and criminal, Big Jim Rennie, in conflict with more law-abiding elements and an unlikely hero in the cook at the local diner. The local police figure strongly as do the clerics but it’s the ordinary people that come centre stage.
The story is compelling, with a huge cast of characters, and shows the best and the worst in people as the strange reality sets in. The source of the Dome is the main question but what it makes people do is even more amazing. The ending is dramatic, a bit weird as the origin of the dome is revealed and not entirely happy. It works well as a fitting climax to an excellent thriller.
Under The Dome is Stephen King at his epic best and will capture a brand new readership as well as thrilling his existing fans.
In Chandler Burr’s debut novel You or Someone Like You he plays on the common joke that people in Hollywood don’t read. Burr’s main character, Anne Rosenbaum is the reserved wife of Howard Rosenbaum, a film studio heavyweight. Weilding a Columbia literature PhD, by accident Anne becomes Hollywood’s latest craze, hosting a book group for the who’s who of Hollywood from screenwriters to producers. Through her book group she addresses the big issues from love and parenting to religion, politics and class. Reading it you will also add to your reading list as she assigns book after book to her groups.
However, as Anne is getting a personal assistant and a photo shoot and article in Vanity Fair, her family life is crumbling in the background. This is a story of the power of literature, and the strength of love in the face of adversity. The manner in which You or Someone Like You is written is at first strange but as you get to know Anne, you get to know her manner and it seems to make sense.
“I am saying that as far as a god would be concerned, all of us are human. I am saying what James Joyce said: A nation is the same people living in the same place. Or else living in different places. And if we choose to be—if we choose—we are the same people.
They sat back. They said this was just beautiful. They nodded to each other, and they nodded to me. They did not understand, of course they never prescribe to themselves what they prescribe to everyone else. But they loved what they thought I was saying.”
- Anne Rosenbaum from You or Someone Like You, also post title.
A controversial novel that pokes fun at Hollywood and blows holes in the foundations of Orthodox Judaism, this one has bite. Don’t judge this book by its cover because it was not at all what I was expecting when I picked it up, it turned into a worthwhile, thought provoking read. Perfect for anyone who loves books, especially those interested in sociology or religion, and a good one for book groups. Paperback, $28.00
For more information check out Anne’s fictional-turned-real website here.
Compiled by the Fairfield Books staff, these are our top ten books for junior readers aged 8-11. See instore for a nifty brochure!
The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken
Tensy Farlow by Jen Storer
Super Fudge by Judy Blume
How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell
The Worst Witch by Jill Murphy
45 & 47 Stella Street and Everything That Happened by Elizabeth Honey
Black Beauty by Anna Sewell
The BFG by Roald Dahl
I Am Jack by Susanne Gervay
The Cabbage Patch Fib by Paul Jennings
Last night, with a few other booksellers, I was treated to a preview of the movie of The girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson. I hadn’t really thought about it before I went, and although I knew it was being made in Sweden, I was still surprised at how Swedish it is. Well, duh, you might say, but I’m not a frequenter of sub-titled arty films, and so the lack of Hollywoodness was a change. It is in Swedish, with subtitles, and it has been pared down from the book, but the story is all there. The actors, unknown to me, all do a great job, and it not being Hollywood, the hero, Mikael, is a little soft around the middle, and there is no botox evident. All those brows with lines in them, I’d almost forgotten what they looked like in a movie. And you know what, it’s OK. I survived the experience of watching real people up on the screen. It isn’t for general release until March next year I think, but if you’ve enjoyed the book, it’s worth a look. The Swedish landscape and architecture is gorgeous too. Stone or brightly painted wooden cottages surrounded by snow, with a lake lapping outside anyone??? Lovely. Heather.
Following the success of their spoof travel guide on the non existent Molvania, the funny guys at Working Dog have come up with the perfect Christmas gift – Traditional Molvanian Baby Names (PB $9.95). Filled with ridiculous and often unpronounceable names and their mythical meanings, this guide is filled with laughs. Our favourites are Sfugdisko, dejected at a disco and Sfygvdisko, ejected from a disco – stocking filler brilliance!