Post Script: Imagine – John Lennon, Illustrated by Jean Jullien

Imagine

Imagine

John Lennon

Illustrated by Jean Jullien

Allen and Unwin Australia

Frances Lincoln Children’s Books In Assoc with Amnesty International UK

ISBN: 9781847808967

 

Description:

Imagine all the people living life in peace.

You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.

I hope some day you’ll join us, and the world will be as one.

 

Join one little pigeon as she sets out on a journey to spread a message of tolerance around the world. Featuring the lyrics of John Lennon’s iconic song and illustrations by the award-winning artist Jean Jullien, this poignant and timely picture book dares to imagine a world at peace. Imagine will be published in partnership with human rights organization, Amnesty International.

 

 

My View:

5 big stars for this beautifully imagined and illustrated book – this really is art with heart!  Call me sentimental, I will agree with you that I am, this book just strikes so many chords with me. A book for those who can remember John Lennon’s important song of love and peace (and for those who still sing his inspiring relevant message even if just in their own heads) and for the next generation – who will love the prose, the illustrations and the optimism.

 

Buy this for someone you love – young or old.

 

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Post Script: The Child Finder – Rene Denfeld

The Child Finder

The Child Finder

Rene Denfeld

Hachette Australia

W & N

ISBN: 9781474605540

 

Description:

Naomi Cottle finds missing children. When the police have given up their search and an investigation stalls, families call her. She possesses a rare, intuitive sense, born out of her own harrowing experience that allows her to succeed when others have failed.

 

Young Madison Culver has been missing for three years. She vanished on a family trip to the mountainous forests of Oregon, where they’d gone to cut down a tree for Christmas. Soon after she disappeared, blizzards swept the region and the authorities presumed she died from exposure.

 

But Naomi knows that Madison isn’t dead. Can she find the child – and also find out why this particular case is stirring the shadows of her own memories? Could her future be bound to this girl in a way she doesn’t understand?

 

 

My View:

A refreshing approach to this genre – where less is more, no gore, no sensationalism, just an intelligently written narrative with empathetic characters painted in many shades of black and white.

 

Denfeld successfully creates scenarios that are chilling and simultaneously heart breaking. The snow girl’s perspective is compelling reading, her voice innocent yet so world wise.

 

The writing is enchanting, haunting, lyrical, mesmerising, optimistic, I certainly will be reading more of this authors work in the future – and what an interesting life Rene Denfeld leads, a life that certainly colours the narratives she writes with empathy and thoughtfulness.

 

 

**  Rene Denfeld is a death penalty investigator and the author of the novel The Enchanted, as well as three non-fiction books, including the international bestseller, The New Victorians. She has written for numerous publications, including the New York Times Magazine. She lives in Portland, Oregon, with her three children, all adopted from foster care. In addition to working with death row, clients, Ms. Denfeld volunteers with at-risk youth and in foster adoption advocacy.”

http://renedenfeld.com/

 

https://www.hachette.com.au/rene-denfeld/the-child-finder

Post Script: Her – Garry Disher

Her

Her

Garry Disher

Hachette Australia

ISBN: 9780733638541

 

Description:

Out in that country the sun smeared the sky and nothing ever altered, except that one day a scrap man came by . . .

 

Her name is scarcely known or remembered. All in all, she is worth less than the nine shillings and sixpence counted into her father’s hand. She bides her time. She does her work.

 

Way back in the corner of her mind is a thought she is almost too frightened to shine a light on: one day she will run away.

 

A dark and unsettling tale from the turn of the twentieth century by a master of Australian literature.

 

 

My View:

This is a very quick, very dark, very disturbing read, written with skill and flair. Underpinning the bleak narrative are themes of resilience, the importance of family – in its varied forms, of solidarity and of the female bonds that sustain life and offer hope in desperate situations.

 

Disher skilfully captures the essence of the times and the Australian locations succinctly – early 1900’s, rural backdrops, you can hear those banjos strumming “Deliverance” style in your head as you turn the pages, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uzae_SqbmDE  the poverty, the gloom, the desperation, the harsh conditions; the landscape ruling with a mean and spiteful fist, its fingers tightly clamped, strangling hope.

 

This is not what I would call an enjoyable read. This is however a remarkable, memorable, poignant and haunting read that I dare you to forget.

 

Post Script: Tell The Truth Shame The Devil – Melina Marchetta

This is one book that you can believe all the hype about it!

tell-the-truth-shame-the-devil

Tell the Truth Shame the Devil

Melina Marchetta

Viking

Penguin Random House Australia

ISBN: 9780670079100

 

Description:

Chief Inspector Bish Ortley of the London Met, divorced and still grieving the death of his son, has been drowning his anger in Scotch. Something has to give, and he’s no sooner suspended from the force than a busload of British students is subject to a deadly bomb attack across the Channel. Bish’s daughter is one of those on board.

 

Also on the bus is Violette LeBrac. Raised in Australia, Violette has a troubled background. Thirteen years ago her grandfather bombed a London supermarket, killing dozens of people. Her mother, Noor, is serving a life sentence in connection with the incident. But before Violette’s part in the French tragedy can be established, she disappears.

 

Bish, who was involved in Noor LeBrac’s arrest, is now compelled to question everything that happened back then. And the more he delves into the lives of the family he helped put away, the more he realises that truth wears many colours.

 

 

My View:

This is one book that you can believe all the hype about it!

Deftly created empathetic characters; a strong female cast, women supporting women, family – in all shapes and sizes is a major element in this mystery. Complex – so many contemporary issues are addressed in this novel yet it is not verbose or pretentious or patronising. Heart felt scenarios – I dare you not to have a tear in your eye as you encounter the last few pages of the book – not tears of sadness but of relief, thankfulness, gratitude…tears for the potential you can visualise.

 

Don’t mistake my commendations as a sign this is a “chick lit” style book – it isn’t! This is an incredibly well written contemporary mystery/thriller with such well-developed characters you feel like you know them! Redemption, forgiveness, hope…its all here. I can’t praise this read highly enough. Add this to your book buying list now!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Post Script: Songs Of A War Boy – Deng Thiak Adut with Ben Mckelvey

Such self awareness and an inspirational life story!

songs-of-a-war-boy

Songs Of A War Boy

Deng Thiak Adut with

 Ben Mckelvey

Hachette Australia

ISBN: 9780733636523

 

Description:

The true story of Deng Adut – Sudanese child soldier, refugee, man of hope.

 

Deng Adut’s family were farmers in South Sudan when a brutal civil war altered his life forever. At six years old, his mother was told she had to give him up to fight. At the age most Australian children are starting school, Deng was conscripted into the Sudan People’s Liberation Army. He began a harsh, relentless military training that saw this young boy trained to use an AK-47 and sent into battle. He lost the right to be a child. He lost the right to learn.

 

The things Deng saw over those years will stay with him forever. He suffered from cholera, malaria and numerous other debilitating illnesses but still he had to fight. A child soldier is expected to kill or be killed and Deng almost died a number of times. He survived being shot in the back. The desperation and loneliness was overwhelming. He thought he was all alone.

 

But Deng was rescued from war by his brother John. Hidden in the back of a truck, he was smuggled out of Sudan and into Kenya. Here he lived in refugee camps until he was befriended by an Australian couple. With their help and the support of the UN, Deng Adut came to Australia as a refugee.

 

Despite physical injuries and mental trauma he grabbed the chance to make a new life. He worked in a local service station and learnt English watching The Wiggles. He taught himself to read and started studying at TAFE.  In 2005 he enrolled in a Bachelor of Law at Western Sydney University. He became the first person in his family to graduate from university.

 

This is an inspiring story of a man who has overcome deadly adversity to become a lawyer and committed worker for the disenfranchised, helping refugees in Western Sydney. It is an important reminder of the power of compassion and the benefit to us all when we open our doors and our hearts to fleeing war, persecution and trauma.

 

 

My View:

An incredible poignant and inspirational story – how this boy soldier survived and then went on to do great things (**more on this later) is nothing short of amazing and inspiring.

 

This narrative begins by stating the importance of Songs to the Dinka people; “They’re our avatars, and our biographies. They precede us, introduce us and live on after we die. They are also how our deeds escape our villages, and they pass on our code of morality, culture and law.

 

When I was a boy I dreamed of having my own songs, but now I am a man, I have no songs. It’s likely I never will, in the traditional sense. For the Dinka, these songs are only for men. In the eyes of my culture, I am still a boy.

 

When I should have been going through the rituals of manhood, I was caught in a vicious war. By the time I was returned to my people I was very much a westerner.”  (Prologue – Deng Adut)

 

And so begins the poignant and remarkable story of a childhood interrupted by adults’ politics and greed. Somehow this child soldier survived. Read this story and you will be amazed how anyone, let alone a child could endure such trauma – and endure Deng Adut has – Deng Adut’s adult life is testimony to how one man can make a difference (his brother John Mac in the first instance)  and many other’s later in his life’s journey.  This is Deng Adut’s story but it is many peoples story – listen and feel.

 

This personal narrative has much to offer; hope, inspiration, an honest cultural exchange…proof that education changes lives.

What I find remarkable about this man can be summed up in his own words; “I know I am whole, though. Yes, I have had a difficult life. I’m proud pf some things I have done, and ashamed of others, but I own all of it, and I’ve reconciled with all of it. That’s why I am whole.”

(Deng Adut -Prologue)

 

Wise and humble, inspiring and honest, this life, this book asks just one thing of you – open your heart and see the world with compassion.

An outstanding read! An inspiration to all.

 

 

**DENG ADUT – 2017 NSW AUSTRALIAN OF THE YEAR

 

At an awards ceremony last night (Monday 7th November 2016) Deng Adut, Sudanese child soldier, refugee, man of hope, was announced as the 2017 NSW Australian of the Year. Deng’s incredible story is told in his book with Ben Mckelvey, Songs of a War Boy, which was released last week and is already captivating readers across Australia.

 

Deng’s is an inspiring story of a man who has overcome deadly adversity to become a lawyer and committed worker for the disenfranchised, helping refugees in Western Sydney, where he now has his own law practice with legal partner Joe Correy, the AC Law Group. His story is an important reminder of the power of compassion and the benefit to us all when we open our doors and our hearts to those fleeing war, persecution and trauma. Media Release Hachette Australia.

 

 

 

 

Post Script: Lily And The Octopus – Steven Rowley

Lily and the Octopus

Lily And The Octopus

Steven Rowley

Simon & Schuster Australia

ISBN: 9781471146640

 

Description:

Combining the emotional depth of The Art of Racing in the Rain with the magical spirit of The Life of Pi, Lily and the Octopus is an epic adventure of the heart.

 

When you sit down with Lily and the Octopus, you will be taken on an unforgettable ride.

 

The magic of this novel is in the read, and we don’t want to spoil it by giving away too many details. We can tell you that this is a story about that special someone: the one you trust, the one you can’t live without.

 

For Ted Flask, that someone special is his aging companion Lily, who happens to be a dog. Lily and the Octopus reminds us how it feels to love fiercely, how difficult it can be to let go, and how the fight for those we love is the greatest fight of all.

 

Remember the last book you told someone they had to read? Lily and the Octopus is the next one.

 

 

 

My View:

I laughed and laughed…then I cried and not just a little tear but torrents of sadness.

 

But don’t get me wrong this is largely an incredibly funny and intelligent read – the observations of life with dogs, searching for a soul mate, and Lily’s enthusiastic response to everything are sharp, hilarious, and often poignant; Lily and Ted do satire and sarcasm really well.

 

It is the banter, the dialogue between Lily and her human companion that is so engaging and cute; but there is a depth and wisdom in the conversations here. Scratch just below the surface (you don’t have to dig too far) and the cuteness is quickly revealed as a mask that tries to hide Ted’s loneliness, depression, his battle to come to terms with his best friends devastating diagnosis and the journey through grief to acceptance.

 

Does this sound like too much sharing and caring?  It actually isn’t – Lily is a bright foil to Ted’s darkness and despair (and a great device that enables the reader to understand Ted’s perspective on life).  The book is full of brilliant observations and it is a credit to the author that the reader cares so much for Lily and Ted.

 

The novel ends on a decidedly positive note, a great emotional read.  (Even the husband enjoyed it! High praise.)

Post Script: Second Chance Town – Karly Lane

Second Chance Town

Second Chance Town

Karly Lane

Allen &Unwin

Arena

ISBN: 9781760291815

 

Description:

The town of Bundah is dying, with many of its young people fleeing for jobs in the city. A desperate plan to revive Bundah’s fortunes—with generous incentives to attract new businesses—results in a flood of people coming to the town to set up shop.

 

As Bundah begins to come to life with the new arrivals a spate of teenage drug overdoses starts to divide the locals. Many are convinced the narcotics trade has been brought to town by one of the newcomers. It doesn’t help that the mysterious new owner of one of the local pubs has a dark past.

 

Lucy Parker is a single mother doing her best to support her teenage daughter, Belle, through her last year of high school. It’s long been Belle’s dream to go to university, so when she starts to turn wayward, hanging out with the wrong kids and experimenting with alcohol and possibly drugs, her mother is deeply troubled.

 

The very last thing Lucy needs is for a man like Hugh Thompson to mess with her heart and disrupt her life. However it seems fate has other ideas.

 

Suspenseful and packed with romance, Second Chance Town is sure to grow the fan base Karly Lane has established with her bestselling novels Poppy’s Dilemma and Gemma’s Bluff.

 

 

My View:

Australian women writers are awesome! This is another excellent example of a contemporary rural Australian novel/romantic suspense – emphasis on the suspense.  It will entertain, engage, thrill you and ultimately make you smile.  Along the way Ms Lane weaves in some very contemporary issues regarding drugs – effecting all parts of society, and the demise of small Australian rural towns and the efforts some communities make to breathe life back into the towns.

 

Had a trying day? Feeling weary, need to re charge your batteries?  Then this is the perfect read for you!