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This is definitely no literary masterpiece, but it is an important historical document.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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The Husband’s Secret Liane Moriarty Australia, 2013

The Husband’s Secret Liane Moriarty Australia, 2013

Cecilia discovers a letter that her husband had written years previously and which is to be opened only in the event of his death. However, she finds herself forced to open it, even though he is not dead, and as her life swirls completely out of control she probably wishes that she had never found …

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The Weather Makers by Tim Flannery, Australia, 2005

The Weather Makers by Tim Flannery, Australia, 2005

Not necessarily an easy read (the book is packed with information), The Weather Makers is a book that should be read by everyone, irrespective what one thinks about climate change. In his book Tim Flannery systematically sets out all the reasons that have caused us to be where we are just now, and he paints …

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The Shepherd’s Hut by Tim Winton, Australia, 2018

The Shepherd’s Hut by Tim Winton, Australia, 2018

This would have to be one of the best books I read in 2018; the writing is magnificent. Set in Western Australia, the descriptions of the bush are so realistic that you can hear the birds, smell the vegetation and feel the insects. The characterization is beautiful – both main characters in the novel are …

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