The Rosie Project, Graeme Simsion, Australia, 2013

The Rosie Project, Graeme Simsion, Australia, 2013

Don Tillman, professor of genetics, makes the observation that “… ‘somewhere in a medical archive is a twenty-year-old file with my name and the words ‘depression, bipolar disorder? OCD?’ and ‘schizophrenia?’”. He feels that the question marks are important, seeing as no definite diagnosis was ever made. Nevertheless, he is obviously on the autism spectrum, …

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The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox, Maggie O’Farrell, UK, 2006

The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox, Maggie O’Farrell, UK, 2006

A book about the ease with which a woman could be committed to a psychiatric hospital in the early part of the twentieth century. If a father or husband was displeased with a daughter or a wife (for whatever reason), the female in question could find herself locked away for ever without any possibility of …

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Proof of Heaven, Eben Alexander M.D., USA, 2012

Proof of Heaven, Eben Alexander M.D., USA, 2012

In his book, neurosurgeon Alexander tells how, in November 2008, completely out of the blue, he contracted a type of meningitis that is related to E.coli bacteria. In spite of the best medical care available, he quickly slipped into a coma. The prognosis was that he would not survive and that if by some miracle …

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Prisoners of Geography by Tim Marshall, UK, 2015/2016

Prisoners of Geography by Tim Marshall, UK, 2015/2016

This is an amazing book; it takes everything we know – and everything we think we know – about the world, and the different countries that comprise it, and expands it in every conceivable direction. It is well written with clear, concise, objective and up-to-date information. As Nicholas Lezard writes: ‘One of the best books …

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Jag heter inte Miriam (My Name is not Miriam), Majgull Axelsson, Sweden, 2015

Jag heter inte Miriam (My Name is not Miriam), Majgull Axelsson, Sweden, 2015

On her 85th birthday, Miriam receives a beautiful bracelet from her family. It is handcrafted by gypsies and her name, Miriam, has been carefully engraved into the silver. However, she both amazes and disturbs her family when she announces that her name is not Miriam. Miriam’s thoughts revert to the 1940s, and we learn that …

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Agnes Grey by Anne Brontë, UK, 1847

Agnes Grey by Anne Brontë, UK, 1847

Agnes Grey, though fictional, is actually based on many of Anne Brontë’s own experiences as a governess in the 1840s, and if you consider children of today (i.e. twenty-first century) to be rude and undisciplined then this is definitely a book you should read. While Agnes Grey’s small charges are nothing short of horrendous, Brontë …

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Dead Right: How Neoliberalism Ate Itself and What Comes Next by Richard Denniss, Australia, 2018/2019

Dead Right: How Neoliberalism Ate Itself and What Comes Next by Richard Denniss, Australia, 2018/2019

As Denniss says in the beginning of his book: ‘The key question we must face is: what kind of country do we want to build? Do we want more coalmines, or more wind turbines? Better education and aged care, or lower taxes for high-income earners? Over to you.’ This book about neoliberalism (defined by the …

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Boy Swallows Universe by Trent Dalton, Australia, 2018

Boy Swallows Universe by Trent Dalton, Australia, 2018

This is an amazing, refreshing, perplexing, wonderful book where a thirteen-year-old boy, Eli, and his one-year-older brother, Gus (who has chosen not to speak), live in an outer-Brisbane suburb with a mother who is a drug addict, a step-father who is a drug dealer, a baby sitter who is a convicted murderer, and a father …

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Magician by Raymond E. Feist, USA, 1983

Magician by Raymond E. Feist, USA, 1983

Covering an overwhelming 841 pages, Magician – a fantasy – is a feat of imagination, planning, and realization. Feist’s management of the story, on many different levels and with a host of characters, is to be admired. Moreover, as Feist would have written it prior to the advent of the basic PC he would not …

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Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman, UK, 2017

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman, UK, 2017

On the cover, John Boyne writes ‘A masterful combination of humour and sadness’ – a statement that beautifully sums up the entire book. Eleanor Oliphant, thirty, lives alone. She has very little to do with the other people in the office where she works in accounts. She eats the same food every day, follows the …

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