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Book Reviews


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DESIGN LIVES HERE Penny Craswell

Reviewed by BOOKBARN BERRIMA

A compelling snapshot of contemporary Australian design through the lens of materials, utility, site and place. It showcases the best of Australian residential architecture and interiors, paying homage to local designers and makers of furniture and lighting. Exceptional. (continued)
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Revenge, by Yoko Ogawa

Reviewed by Lilia - Berkelouw Paddington

This collection of short stories completely baffled me! How Ogawa seamlessly intertwined all of the stories together, I will never know. Wow! Just wow! (continued)
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There's No Such Thing as an Easy Job, by Tsumura, Kikuko

Reviewed by Lilia - Berkelouw Paddington

If there were ever a time to read this book, 2020 is it. In a year where the very notion of what a job is has been turned upside down, where we consider how working environments and colleagues can shape our overall experience of working, this is the book you need to read to ground yourself... (continued)
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Shiver, by Junji Ito

Reviewed by Lilia - Berkelouw Paddington

If you're looking for a collection of horror stories that is sure to make your skin crawl, Ito's 'Shiver' has got you covered. His illustrations are continually breathtaking both for their detail and horrifying depictions. I especially liked the Marionette family story, gave me... (continued)
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TROY

Reviewed by BOOKBARN BERRIMA

Following his bestselling books on Greek mythology, Mythos and Heros, Fry returns with an inimitable retelling of the siege of Troy. The pillars of the story are well known - the beauty of Helen, Aphrodite's bribing of Paris, the wooden horse ... but Fry's narrative, artfully humorous ... (continued)
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Pure Invention, by Matt Alt

Reviewed by Lilia - Berkelouw Paddington

For those who are missing travelling to Japan this year, or just love Japan this is an excellent readable history of the rise of pop culture in Japan.   Covering post-war Japan to present, Alt covers everything you could possibly want to know about Japanese Pop-culture; tin can ca... (continued)
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Earthlings, by Sayaka Murata

Reviewed by Lilia - Berkelouw Paddington

'How far would you go to be yourself?' I can’t say that I didn’t enjoy this book, because I did, I really did. Even with its onslaught of uncomfortable and quite frankly horrific moments smeared throughout its pages. Murata takes you to the edge of your comfort zone and... (continued)
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All Our Shimmering Skies, by Trent Dalton

Reviewed by Lilia - Berkelouw Paddington

As someone who really didn't like or enjoy 'Boy Swallows Universe' I was awestruck by how much I enjoyed 'All Our Shimmering Skies'. Its a books within which Daltons writing style has florished. In 'Shimmering Skies' Dalton's writing feels like a gentle pat... (continued)
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The Forest of Wood and Steel, by Natsu Miyashita

Reviewed by Lilia - Berkelouw Paddington

The Forest of Wool and Steel reads like a piano composition, with ebbs and flows that you sway along with, crescendo's and moments of stillness that capture your attention and an overall sense of awe that leaves you wondering just how the author achieved it.   If you're af... (continued)
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Kim Ji-Young: Born 1982, Cho Nam-ju

Reviewed by Lilia - Berkelouw Paddington

I am livid. Livid that this book was written so well, livid that whilst fiction... this book is based on fact, and most of all, I am livid that the things Kim Ji-young experienced still happen in our world today. On multiple occasions I wanted to throw this book across my room at the ... (continued)
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D, by Michel Faber

Reviewed by Lilia - Berkelouw Paddington

I really enjoyed this book with it’s whimsical and adventurous qualities. It borrows from a variety of book tropes, characters finding themselves through adventure, experiencing feelings of abandonment, a hero type figure that propels the story onwards... and yet Faber twists them and ma... (continued)
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THE LIVING SEA OF WAKING DREAMS

Reviewed by BOOKBARN BERRIMA

The pandemic has had a strange distorting effect on time and perspective. The modern condition - simultaneous connection and isolation through our devices - feels particulary acute. Flanagan hasn't just written about the space between living and dying; in writing about the things that are ... (continued)
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PANDEMICS/WALTNER-TOEWS

Reviewed by BOOKBARN BERRIMA

David Waltner-Toews is a renowned Canadian epidemiologist, veterinarian and specialist in food and waterborne diseases, zoonoses and ecosystem health. On Pandemics: Deadly Diseases from Bubonic Plague to Coronavirus examines the increasing impact of animal-borne diseases on our world and e... (continued)
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STALINGRAD/GROSSMAN

Reviewed by BOOKBARN BERRIMA

Stalingrad by Vasily Grossman  – the prequel to Life and Fate Stalingrad is a strange and complicated book. It is undoubtedly an amazing achievement of translation and scholarship. It’s lucid and readable, with moments of wonderfully evocative prose... (continued)
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'The Strangeworlds Travel Agency' by L. D. Lapinski

Reviewed by Lilia, Paddington

‘At the Strangeworlds Travel Agency, each suitcase transports you to a different world. All you have to do is step inside . .’ With so many fantastic children’s books being published at the moment it is easy to miss the little literary gems being released. ‘The Stra... (continued)
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'Writers & Lovers' by Lily King

Reviewed by Michela

A compulsively readable novel following the trials of the artist as a young woman.   We meet Casey Peabody as she arrives back in Massachusetts after the tragic death of her mother and tries to figure out what she's meant to do next. She spends her time alternating between wor... (continued)
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Elephants With Headlights by Bem Le Hunte

Reviewed by Monika Sheridan

Elephants With Headlights is a gripping book with good pace.  It brings two cultures together showing the good and bad of both.  The author Bem Le Hunte uses the most beautiful expressive language.  It was a joy to read. (continued)
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Crescent City: House of Earth and Blood, by Sarah J. Maas

Reviewed by Lilia, Paddington

Sarah J Maas drop your mic, pick it up and then drop it again! From an author loved by many for her young adult fiction, 'House of Earth and Blood' was an excellent entrance into a new market of readers. Don't let this book fool you either, its blurb may make it seem superfici... (continued)
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A Painted Landscape by Amber Creswell

Reviewed by Kylie

A comprehensive collection of current Australian artists as diverse as the landscape itself.  Each artist offers a unique insight and understanding into their deep connection to place, and how it inspires them and stirs their creativity.  Nature is the perfect subject matter to study... (continued)
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Children of Blood and Bone, by Tomi Adeyemi

Reviewed by Lilia & Rose, Berkelouw Paddington

This book is an epic! That word is seldom used in the book world and it is very fitting here.  Taking place in a fantasy world that is loosely based on Nigeria, Children of Blood and Bone follows Zelie on a journey to conquer an oppressive evil, gather strength and bring back magic whic... (continued)