What’s new in the AHL in November
Here are the Library team’s top recommendations
Honeybee by Craig Silvey
Out of the 50 + books this reviewer has read this year, Honeybee has nudged its way to the number one spot in her personal rankings list.
It’s been a long time between drinks since author Craig Silvey released his widely acclaimed Jasper Jones, but it was well worth the 11 year wait.
This contemporary Australian novel manages to deliver challenging topics with compassion, empathy, insight and tenderness.
At its core, Honeybee is about love, acceptance and redemption.
Sam Watson is the 14 year old narrator and protagonist. He is the son of a young single mother struggling with alcohol and drug addictions. He is used to fleeing his flat in the middle of the night because of unpaid rent, frequently changing schools and at times, living in a car.
Life goes further downhill for Sam when his mother hooks up with a local con-man who becomes Sam’s domineering and violent step dad.
There’s no easy way to explain the story without revealing a major spoiler so what I will tell you is Honeybee is a tender, profoundly moving novel, brimming with vivid, realistic characters who will stay with you.
It’s about two lives changed by a chance encounter — one offering hope, the other redemption. It’s about when to persevere, and when to be merciful, as Sam learns when to let go, and when to hold on.
Five out of five stars.
Library Call Number: F SILV
A repurposed life by Ronni Kahn
As the owner of a successful events company, throwing away huge volumes of leftover food at the end of the day came with the territory. But when Ronni Kahn hit midlife, she found herself no longer able to turn a blind eye to her food waste problem. Hand delivering the untouched food to homeless shelters around Sydney became her renegade solution. Little did she know that fixing her small problem at work would lead her to unlock a hidden purpose at the very core of her inner life.
Now founder and CEO of the food rescue organisation OzHarvest, Ronni leads hundreds of staff and thousands of volunteers with the goal to nourish Australia. She serves in an advisory capacity to the Government and is an instrumental leader in changing federal laws to improve social justice and environmental policies.
A Repurposed Life is the story of how Ronni found her voice, her heart and her deepest calling. From her early years growing up under the brutal system of apartheid South Africa, to a socialist commune in Israel, Ronni finally settled in Australia to discover a profound new way of living. Shared with the humour, warmth and energy that have made her an internationally renowned keynote speaker, this heartfelt exploration of the choices that define us will speak to anyone seeking a more passionate expression of being alive.
Library Call Number: BIO 338.092
The Left-handed booksellers of London by Garth Nix
From the bestselling author of Angel Mage, this new fantasy adventure set in 1980s London follows one girl’s quest to find her father, leading her to a secret society of magical fighting booksellers who police the mythical Old World when it disastrously intrudes into the modern world.
Eighteen-year-old art student Susan Arkshaw arrives in London in search of her father. But before she can question crime boss Frank Thringley he’s turned to dust by the prick of a silver hatpin in the hands of the outrageously attractive Merlin. Merlin is one of the youngest members of a secret society of booksellers with magical powers who police the mythic Old World wherever it impinges on the New World – in addition to running several bookshops, of course! Merlin also has a quest of his own: to find the Old World entity who arranged the murder of his mother.
Their investigations attract attention from enemies of the Old and New Worlds. Soon they become involved in an even more urgent task to recover the grail that is the source of the left-handed booksellers’ power before it is used to destroy the booksellers and rouse the hordes of the mythic past. As the search for the grail becomes strangely intertwined with both their quests, they start to wonder… Is Susan’s long-lost father a bookseller, or something altogether more mysterious?
Library Call Number: FAN F NIX
Untwisted by Paul Jennings
Honest, insightful, funny and sometimes raw- this brilliant memoir is about writing, teaching and life from one of Australia’s most loved children’s authors, Paul Jennings.
In the telling of his own tale, the children’s author and screenwriter demonstrates how seemingly small events can combine into a compelling drama. As if assembling the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, he puts together fragments, memories and anecdotes to reveal the portrait of a complex and weathered soul.
Untwisted is revealing, moving, sad and without question, very funny.
Paul Jennings has written more than one hundred stories and sold over ten million books. Since the publication of Unreal! in 1985, readers from all around the world have loved his stories. The first two series of the top-rating TV series Round the Twist were based on Paul’s popular short story collections. He was made a Member of the Order of Australia for services to children’s literature in 1995, was awarded the prestigious Dromkeen Medal in 2001 and was made a Fellow of Monash University in 2010. In 2019 he was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Children’s Book Council of Australia.
Library Call Number BIO 823 JEN
The Good Teacher – by Petronella McGovern
A good teacher can change lives…
Every evening, Allison watches her husband’s new house, desperate to find some answers. Every morning, she puts on a brave face to teach kindergarten. She’s a good teacher, everyone says so – this stalking is just a tiny crack in her usual self-control.
A late enrolment into her class brings little Gracie. Allison takes the sick girl under her wing, smothering Gracie with the love she can’t give her own son. When Gracie has a chance to go to the US for treatment, Allison whips up the community into a frenzied fundraising drive.
But as others start to question her judgement and the police arrive at her door, Allison wonders if she can trust herself. Has she crossed a line?
How far will the good teacher go to change a life? And whose life will that be?
An intriguing tale of our times about kindness and betrayal, and the danger of good deeds.
Library Call number CRIM F MCGO
Sheerwater – by Leah Swann
Ava and her two young sons, Max and Teddy, are driving to their new home in Sheerwater, hopeful of making a fresh start in a new town, although Ava can’t help but keep looking over her shoulder.
They’re almost at their destination when they witness a shocking accident – a light plane crashing in the field next to the road. Ava stops to help, but when she gets back to the car, she realises that somehow, among the smoke, fire and confusion, her sons have gone missing …
Sheerwater is tense and emotional. If you enjoyed Mark Brandi’s Wimmera and Stephanie Bishop’s The Other Side of the World, then you will love this unputdownable novel.
Library Call number F SWAN