book review

Where Am I Now (2016) | Mara Wilson

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In the year 2000, I watched a film called Matilda for the first time. I was eight years old and a bit of a loner/loser at school who preferred to spend her lunchtimes in the library reading. I’d read a few Roald Dahl books but Matilda hadn’t crossed my path yet in its original novel form; what instead happened was, on a trip to Blockbuster, I picked up a VHS copy of a movie about a young girl who loves books and discovers she has extraordinary powers.

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book review

Aurora (2015) | Kim Stanley Robinson

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I’ve mentioned before that Children of Time was my favourite novel of 2016 and Aurora was my favourite novel of 2015.

There’s not much I can say about this book that hasn’t already been said by more eloquent and experienced reviewers than I. Aurora is the story of a generational ship, launched from Saturn in 2545, consisting of twenty-four self-contained biomes and an average population of 2000 people. 160 years and seven generations later, the ship is beginning its approach to the Tau Ceti system to begin the ambitious dream of colonising a planet’s moon, similar to Earth, which has been named Aurora.

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book review

Jennifer Government (2004) | Max Barry

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This was a fun book.

In this hilarious and unnerving vision of the near future where the world is run by US corporations, people take their last names as the name of the companies they work for. It’s a globalised, neo-liberal free market utopia/dystopia, depending on your stance. Hack Nike signs a contract without reading it, thinking he’s landed himself a better job in marketing with better pay. Unfortunately for him, his new contract involves shooting teenagers to help Nike’s new shoe line rack up sales, and from there things quickly spiral out of control. Now the Police, the NRA, and Jennifer Government are involved, and Hack is in a lot of trouble.

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books

Favourite 15 Books

  • The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, by Haruki Murakami
  • The Woman in White, by Wilkie Collins
  • Aurora, by Kim Stanley Robinson
  • Children of Time, by Adrian Tchaikovksy
  • WOOL, by Hugh Howey
  • 1Q84, by Haruki Murakami
  • We Need To Talk About Kevin, by Lionel Shriver
  • The Dinner, by Herman Koch
  • Batavia, by Peter FitzSimons
  • Good Omens, by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
  • Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn
  • The Beach, by Alex Garland
  • The Hot Zone, by Richard Preston
  • The Three-Body Problem, by Cixin Liu
  • The Mistborn Trilogy, by Brandon Sanderson

There’s a bit of a surreal/gothic/sci-fi/fantasy theme going on here. I’m not very consistent when it comes to genres – sometimes I’ll be on a speculative fiction kick, sometimes psychological thriller/crime, sometimes non-fiction. But the one thing that all of these books have in common is that they’ve all left an impact; reading them changed me in some way. Hard-hitting, confronting, deeply unnerving – some of them are genre-changing, and all of them pack an emotional punch and make us questions things about ourselves and the world we live in.

I love hearing about other peoples’ favourite books – what are yours? Let me know in the comments!

book review

Dear Mr M (2016) | Herman Koch

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I might have gone on a bit of a reading spree while I was overseas.

Look, I liked Dear Mr M. It was good, but it wasn’t The Dinner good. It was good in the sense that misanthropic Dutch author Herman Koch, who writes nasty books for nasty readers about nasty people doing unpleasant things and thinking politically incorrect thoughts, continues to develop as an author. His writing is more poetic and flows well; he’s branching out from the single first-person narration to trying multiple points of views.

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book review

The Husband’s Secret (2013) | Liane Moriarty

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The Husband’s Secret is quintessentially Australian and a perfect holiday read. It isn’t literature, but it isn’t trashy either – not chick-lit, but not quite hitting the mark of the new female-led psychological crime-thriller genre that Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl kicked off.  It’s somewhere in between all of that.

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