February’s Book Picnic Recommendations

This month there is a good variety of books being recommended by our volunteers and staff. From novels based on a murder trial in Iceland to an informative approach to climate change by Mary Robinson, there is something bound to interest everyone.

book cover with dark red header and footer, includes image of pakistani child

 

The Breadwinner Trilogy by Deborah Ellis: recommended by Elaine

This collection of three stories entails the life of 11 year old Parvana who pretends to be a boy in order to provide for her family. The third instalment leads into the life of her friend Shauzia living in a widow’s compound, dreaming of moving to France. The book is a young adult story, set in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and gives a good outlook on the reality of war in Afghanistan. Elaine described it as rather thought-provoking and she enjoyed reading it due to the good characterisation.

 

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The Good People by Hannah Kent: recommended by Pauline

Based around true events during 19th century Ireland, The Good People tells the journey of three women, attempting to rescue a child from a superstitious community. Nora, a woman who was suddenly shook by the death of her daughter and husband, now has to take care of her disabled grandson who cannot walk nor talk. Mary, a handmaid, arrives to warm Nora about the rumours that her grandson brings bad luck to the valley. The help of elderly wanderer, Nance, is also procured to help banish the evil. Although Pauline thought it was excellent, she however said it wasn’t a bedtime read!

 

book cover with blue background with an image in the shape of a feather and the title of the book in a white fontBurial Rites by Hannah Kent: recommended by Pauline

Burial Rites tells the story of Agnes, a servant in northern Iceland who was condemned to death after the murder of two men, one of whom was her former master, and on an isolated farm, and who became the last woman put to death in Iceland in 1829. Pauline said that it amazed her how well the Irish landscape is described in the novel, since Hannah Kent (the author) is from Australia.

 

 

 

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Climate Justice by Mary Robinson: recommended by Gabrielle

One of the most important voices in the fight against climate change shares inspirational stories and offers crucial lessons for the coming future. For Mary Robinson it was the birth of her son which made her realise what sort of a world he was born into. The huge threat of climate change had suddenly become very personal. She had a mission that lead her all around the world, interviewing ordinary people whose innovation and resilience has already brought an extraordinary change to the world we live in. Gabrielle has only just started the book, but she can tell it’s going to be good.

 

 

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Octavia’s Brood by Walidah Imarisha: recommended by Mattie

Octavia’s Brood is a collection of short stories dedicated to science fiction writer Octavia Butler and seeks to draw connections between social justice and speculative fiction. In a collection of “visionary fiction” the contributors explore current social issues such as capitalism, climate change, gentrification, immigration, and others through the lens of science fiction and with the goal of social change. The theme of the short stories create a relation between activists and science fiction writers in a way that they both imagine a future with different human rights.

 

 

book cover with light blue background with white font  and a picture of a soy sauce fishConvenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata: recommended by Maisie

Convenience Store Woman, follows the life of 36-year-old Keiko, a social outcast. Having worked in the same convenience store for 18 years, her family and friends are rather appalled by the fact she is wasting her life without good education. She has known since childhood that she was different, and throughout the book we observe Keiko in an attempt to become normal. I thoroughly enjoyed the subtle humour and the simple yet so interesting characters in the story.

 

 

Most of these books are available to borrow from our library, so if you like the look of our recommendations, feel free to check them out!

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