A Street Cat Named Bob by James Bowen, UK, 2012

A Street Cat Named Bob by James Bowen, UK, 2012

This is a heart-warming, true story about Bob, a ginger cat, and his soul mate, James Bowen. After a difficult growing-up period split between two countries – England and Australia – James returns to England in the hope of getting his life together. This, however, does not happen, and he slides into heroin addiction and …

+ Read More

This is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay, UK, 2017

This is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay, UK, 2017

Told as a series of diary excerpts, this is the story of Kay’s six-year period, working for the NHS, as Junior House Officer, Senior House Officer, Registrar and Senior Registrar. He is well on his way to becoming a Consultant, but before this happens he leaves the medical profession. There is probably no one reason …

+ Read More

Towards Zero by Agatha Christie, UK, 1944

Towards Zero by Agatha Christie, UK, 1944

This beautifully constructed and presented tale is in true Agatha Christie style. A group of disparate characters is collected in one place – a small seaside village in the south of England – where the murders take place. The reader is presented with numerous possibilities as to who might have been behind such an abominable …

+ Read More

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro, UK, 2005

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro, UK, 2005

Beautifully written by the winner of the 2017 Nobel Prize in Literature, Never Let Me Go is sad, confronting, horrific and, at all times, thought-provoking. Superficially about a children’s home, as seen through the eyes of Kathy, one of the children (now an adult), the book dances around images of creative activities and the relationships …

+ Read More

The Dark Side by Jane Mayer, USA, 2008

The Dark Side by Jane Mayer, USA, 2008

Well researched and intelligently written, Mayer’s book about the Bush Administration’s response to 9/11, comprising more than 300 pages, is not entertaining reading – anything but. It is, however, a book that should be read. 9/11 horrified the world, but what happened afterwards dragged the US into the despicable netherworld of torture and ruined America’s …

+ Read More

Hägring 38 (The Wednesday Club) by Kjell Westö, Finland, 2013

Hägring 38 (The Wednesday Club) by Kjell Westö, Finland, 2013

I loved this book, which is beautifully written, sad, thought-provoking, intelligent and, at all times immediate. At times I felt that the Finnish/Swedish-speaking Westö must have ‘been there’ and that he must have experienced everything about which he was writing, but the book, set in 1938, was actually written in 2013.   The central ‘character’ …

+ Read More

Saga Land by Richard Fidler and Kári Gíslason, Australia, 2017

Saga Land by Richard Fidler and Kári Gíslason, Australia, 2017

This is a delightful book that combines a bit of everything: historical fact, personal biography and fantastic sagas or stories. Richard Fidler is an Australian radio commentator with the ABC while Kári Gíslason, who is part Icelandic, is a lecturer and a writer based in Brisbane, Australia. The two met when Richard interviewed Kári about …

+ Read More

See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt, Australia, 2017

See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt, Australia, 2017

Lizzie Borden took an axe And gave her mother forty whacks. When she saw what she had done, She gave her father forty-one.   See What I Have Done is yet another story about the gruesome murders of Andrew and Abby Borden in Massachusetts in 1892. Andrew’s daughter Lizzie was charged and gaoled but was …

+ Read More

The Reader on the 6.27 by Jean-Paul Didierlaurent, France, 2014

The Reader on the 6.27 by Jean-Paul Didierlaurent, France, 2014

At barely 200 pages, this delightful book is more like a novella than a novel. The main character, Guylain Vignolles, whose name, unfortunately, can be easily linked to Vilain Guignol (ugly puppet), works at a recycling factory. His job is to manage the monstrous machine that beats, cuts and drowns second-hand books (and even new …

+ Read More

Fearless by Fiona Higgins, Australia, 2016

Fearless by Fiona Higgins, Australia, 2016

Fearless, set in Bali, is an exciting story held together by many interesting pieces of information about Indonesia – an exotic and, at times, unusual background against which the characters, a mixture of Indonesians, Javanese, Australians, Europeans and one American, play out their designated parts.   Fearless itself is the name of a course run …

+ Read More