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A friend like henry by Nuala Gardner – Book review

A true story of an autistic boy and the dog that unlocked his world. This book became a personal journey of reassurance and encouragement as I read through this empowering story.
Every parent waits with anticipation for the birth of their child and especially their first born. But what awaited Nuala and Jamie Gardner was ‘an unknown and harrowing journey’ for them and their cherished son Dale. ‘Every waking minute with him was a maelstrom of conflict as they plunged from one violent tantrum to the next.’
Read Heather Pfieffer’s review of this book filled with inspiration and hope.

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The Color* of Water – by James McBride – Book Review

This is the story of “Ruth”, the name she called herself, being born Ruchel Dwajra Zylska, an Orthodox Jew. She always thought she was different and lived this out all her life. Her family lived in a mixed-race community and owned a general store where Ruth worked. She was closely watched by her parents and to get some “away” time, she and her sister would sneak out at night and meet boys. When she discovered she was pregnant, her mother sent her to New York where her aunt arranged the …

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Marking Time – A Chronicle of Cancer by Valerie Volk– Book Review

Everybody is touched by cancer – be it family, friends, or acquaintances. Marking Time is a wonderful collection of verse that describes the first diagnosis through the stages to the hoped-for remission. Most beautifully written, it is deeply moving in sadness, patience, loneliness, and hope. The ‘Book Club in the Mallee’ has had some of its members read and then pick the poem that spoke to them the most. The following are some of their thoughts. Cancer Gardening As I sit here in the sun looking at my ‘sun-baked bricks’ …

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Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson – Book Review

Ernest Pettigrew is a retired, widowed army Major living in the small rural English village of Edgecombe St Mary. He leads a quiet, respectable, and predictable life with a small circle of friends and a slightly distant relationship with his only son, Roger, who is upwardly mobile and ever on the lookout for ways of advancing himself. A chance meeting with the village shopkeeper, Mrs Jasmina Ali, just moments after hearing of his younger brother Bertie’s death, turns the Major’s life upside down. The pair discover they have much in …

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GIRT: The Unauthorised History of Australia by David Hunt

Do you like a laugh? Then read Girt. Our National Anthem tells us that Australia is “girt by sea” but did you know that girt is an old-fashioned word for “encircled”? Hunt explains this with humorous overtones. Did history classes at school bore you because you had to learn about the Tudors and the Stuarts rather than about Australia? Then read Girt and learn about Macarthur, a couple of Wentworths, Flinders and others. Hunt informs us that Captain James Cook did not “discover” Botany Bay! He was a mere 40-year-old …

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People of the Book – by Geraldine Brooks

 “ . . . it’s amazing what you can learn about a book by studying the chemistry of a breadcrumb.” This statement in the opening chapter of this book sets the scene for the story. There are two streams of narrative – present-day from 1996 to 2002 – and historical components reaching back to from 1944 to 1480. Both streams are meticulously researched and intriguing. Australian book conservator, Hanna Heath, receives a commission from Sarajevo …

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles – Book Review

It is 1922 in post-revolutionary Russia as a Bolshevik tribunal finds an unrepentant Count Alexander Rostov guilty of treasonous writing and corruption. He is sentenced to indefinite house arrest in the Metropol, a grand hotel in Moscow near the Kremlin. Despite his cramped living conditions in a tiny attic room, he remains in good spirits and eventually finds fulfilling and creative ways to fill his time. Although the hotel, at first, seems an oasis at one remove from the grim realities and brutal political events of the outside world, the …

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The book 'All the Light We Cannot See" is pictured on timber table top.

All the Light We Cannot See – Book Review

Perhaps the biggest challenge for any author is to bring their story to full life, making the characters real and the scenes tangible. Most books do a decent job of this, expressing their story in a way that allows readers to sufficiently understand the story. Anthony Doerr, however, brings this to a new level as All the Light We Cannot See develops a surreal sense of empathy within you as the reader. All the Light We Cannot See places you in the perspectives of two children growing up during the …

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picture of the book Kitty My Rib by E. Jane Hall

Kitty, My Rib – an “oldie“ but a “goodie”

By E. Jane Mall I purchased this wonderful book some 50 years ago from the Lutheran Bookshop in Pirie Street, Adelaide. I read it with my fifteen-year-old eyes and felt such sympathy for the young child of nine who had been placed in the Nimbschen Convent. Even though her father’s sister, Magdalene, was a nun there and her mother’s sister was the Abbess, it still seemed to me that it was a cold way to be treated by her father and stepmother. Katherine remained at the convent to become an …

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