Educated by Tara Westover, USA, 2018

Educated by Tara Westover, USA, 2018

In this book, Tara Westover describes her very dysfunctional family and her path to getting an education. Although the Westovers are Mormons, Tara goes to lengths at the beginning of the book to explain that her book is not about Mormonism: ‘This story is not about Mormonism.’ she writes ‘Neither is it about any other …

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The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, Canada, 1985

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, Canada, 1985

Beautifully written, this horrifying glimpse of what the future could hold is a definite page turner. Nothing in the book is impossible; everything that happens has already been experienced, to some degree, somewhere around the world, and it is this that makes the book so frightening. Atwood’s Gilead is not fantasy, it is simply taking …

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Good-bye, Dracula! by Traian Nicola, USA, 2012

Good-bye, Dracula! by Traian Nicola, USA, 2012

This is definitely no literary masterpiece, but it is an important historical document. Nicola, who was born in Romania at the end of the 1940s, writes about what it was like growing up, and eventually entering the workforce, in a communist country. After tertiary studies he worked for the Romanian Intelligence Service, hoping that it …

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The Collector by John Fowles, UK, 1963

The Collector by John Fowles, UK, 1963

This novel is about a man called Frederick Clegg, who takes his butterfly-collecting hobby to the next level. Lonely, uneducated, and somewhat strange, Clegg becomes fascinated by a middle-class art student, Miranda, and as though she is some rare butterfly he decides he wants to collect her. A large win on the pools gives Clegg …

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No Friend But The Mountains by Behrouz Boochani, Australia, 2018

No Friend But The Mountains by Behrouz Boochani, Australia, 2018

This is a beautifully written book by a man who has spent more than five years on Manus Island, in Australia’s offshore processing centre – a centre that has nothing to do with processing and everything to do with punishment, humiliation, and the annihilation of the spirit. Arriving on Christmas Island, only days after the …

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THE RÚIN by Dervla McTiernan, Australia, 2018

THE RÚIN by Dervla McTiernan, Australia, 2018

This novel ticks most of the boxes within the crime genre. Apart from dead bodies, there are suspects, convoluted background stories, some love interest and a detective – Cormac Reilly – around whom the story evolves. It is easy to read, with sufficient twists and turns to keep the reader interested from the beginning to …

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The Dyehouse by Mena Calthorpe, Australia, 1961

The Dyehouse by Mena Calthorpe, Australia, 1961

The story is set in a dye factory in inner Sydney in the late 1950s. It is about ordinary people facing the beginning of what turned out to be a tumultuous upheaval brought about by the time-and-motion addicts – an upheaval that unfortunately propelled everyone into an age where profit is the only goal and …

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Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People about Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge, UK, 2017

Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People about Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge, UK, 2017

This is a book that should be read by everyone: white, black, yellow. . . and it should be read at least twice. I say this because there is so much in the book, it is impossible to absorb everything with only one reading. Eddo-Lodge manages to alter perspectives a few degrees, so that even …

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The Book of Mirrors E O Chirovici, UK, 2017

The Book of Mirrors E O Chirovici, UK, 2017

A murder mystery with a number of twists, The Book of Mirrors is divided into three separate parts; each part being told in the first person from the perspective of a different person. It is, I feel, this particular stylistic feature that gives the book its strength. The first part is has Richard Flynn at …

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