Author: Diane

The Last Painting of Sara de Vos by Dominic Smith, Australia, 2016

The Last Painting of Sara de Vos by Dominic Smith, Australia, 2016

Beautifully written, this book about a painting and a forgery is definitely worth reading. It moves seamlessly between three time periods: the seventeenth century, the late 1950s, and the present time, creating and retaining the suspense that holds the story together. While sketching the life of the fictional Dutch artist Sara de Vos and describing …

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Last Rituals by Yrsa Sigurdardottir, Iceland, 2005

Last Rituals by Yrsa Sigurdardottir, Iceland, 2005

A murder mystery set in Iceland and threaded through with stories of witchcraft and sorcery, Last Rituals is an easy-to-read page turner that is likely to have wide popular appeal. That said, the writing itself is nothing out of the ordinary, but whether this is due to Sigurdardottir’s writing style or to her translator is …

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Addition by Toni Jordan, Australia, 2008

Addition by Toni Jordan, Australia, 2008

Grace Lisa Vandenburg gets through her day by obsessively compulsively counting everything around her – the number of minutes it takes her to clean her teeth, the number of strokes to brush her hair, the number of steps between any two places, the number of sprouts on her sandwich. . . Everything must be divisible …

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A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles, USA, 2016

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles, USA, 2016

If you only have time to read one book this month or even this year, consider reading A Gentleman in Moscow. This would have to be one of the most beautiful, most perfect books, I have read. The book revolves around Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov, recipient of the Order of Saint Andrew, member of the …

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Agincourt by Bernard Cornwell, USA, 2009

Agincourt by Bernard Cornwell, USA, 2009

Bernard Cornwell’s account of what happened at Agincourt on the 25th October 1415 is overwhelming, to say the least. This is not a happy read: the descriptions of fighting, slaughter, and torture as well as the cold, the rain, the mud, and the hunger are all exceedingly graphic. Initially I felt that Cornwell was perhaps …

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The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris, Australia, 2018

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris, Australia, 2018

Promoted as The Sunday Times Bestseller, this book is a prime example of what the modern phenomenon of bestseller often implies – an extremely well marketed title and not necessarily a great book. The subject matter – yet another confronting story from the Holocaust – has sufficient ‘pull’ to grab people’s attention and suggest that …

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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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Diane’s Newsletter 18th June 2019

Diane’s Newsletter 18th June 2019

In the beginning we feared everything – animals, the weather, the trees, the night sky – everything except each other. Now we fear each other and almost nothing else.
Gregory David Roberts