Each month, we share what we’re reading – fiction or nonfiction. (And you can do the same – details at the end of this post.) Here’s what some of us at AWC have been reading in June:
Bec: Memories of Silk and Straw: A Self-Portrait of Small-Town Japan by Dr Junichi Saga
This book was voted Best Book of the Year by Japan's foreign press and it's a collection of short stories told by a small town doctor who interviewed all the elderly people in the village to get a feel for life in pre-war and post-war Japan. The stories follow people from all walks of life – gangsters (Yakuza), geishas, farmers, fishermen etc. It's a lovely and candid account of the lives of the Japanese people during the early 1900's.
Dean: Time and Time Again by Ben Elton
I’m a sucker for time travel stories, if only to mock their illogical premise. But with this one, Elton is less interested in the journey and more the destination. Our near-future protagonist is sent back to the distant past – 1914 in fact – to stop the event that triggered much of the horrors of the 20th century… the Sarajevo assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand (which triggered World War I) and instead kill the Kaiser in Berlin. This book is part classic Elton satire and part history lesson, and does both very well. A must-read for anyone who has just worked out why that band was called Franz Ferdinand.
Nicole: Cracked by Eliza Crewe
I can't recommend this series highly enough. I fell in love with the characters and the world the author created. All three novels in this series were “un-put-down-able” for me, keeping me up late at night because I couldn't sleep until I knew if the characters would make it through the next challenge. Meda, the main character, is stunningly created. Clever, incredibly funny, and possessing a delicious evil streak that hooked me from the first pages. That alone would have been enough to keep me reading, but the plot is wonderful, the other characters loveable (and hateable) in individual ways, and above all, the writing is engaging and beautiful.
Rah: The Paper House by Anna Spargo-Ryan.
I've followed her blog for a few years and love her writing style and the way she is an advocate for mental health acceptance. There have been great reviews about her first novel and I can't wait to get stuck into it this week! (To hear Anna speak about writing The Paper House, check out the interview in episode 110 of our podcast, So you want to be a writer.)
Sarah: The BFG by Roald Dahl
I'm re-reading this classic in great anticipation for the film adaptation later this month. The story hasn't lost any of the magic I felt when reading it as a child. In fact, I still adamantly believe in “the witching hour” and brace myself to see a lurking giant if I peer out into the darkness from my window. Dahl remains the master storyteller in my eyes. His suspenseful scenes, hilarious dialogue and conception of “Dream Country” are pure brilliance. Now, fingers crossed that Spielberg can do it justice.
Valerie: The Marmalade Files/The Mandarin Code by Steve Lewis and Chris Uhlmann
Since the mini-series Secret City started this month on TV (starring Jacki Weaver, Alan Dale and Alex Dimitriades), I became curious as to how this story came about. The series is based on the books The Marmalade Files and its sequel, The Mandarin Code, political thrillers based in Canberra. I was particularly intrigued because both books have been co-written by authors Steve Lewis and Chris Uhlmann, but the narrative has a strong single voice throughout. Compelling, tightly written – and even makes me want to visit Canberra! (For an insight into the co-writing process, check out my interview with Steve Lewis in episode 111 of the podcast So you want to be a writer.)
What are YOU reading this month? Email us at [email protected] with a paragraph about your thoughts and we may share it with our community!