Here are the Library team’s top recommendations
The house in the cerulean sea by TJ Klune
A magical island. A dangerous task. A burning secret.
Linus Baker leads a quiet, solitary life. At forty, he lives in a tiny house with a devious cat and his old records. As a Case Worker at the Department in Charge Of Magical Youth, he spends his days overseeing the well-being of children in government-sanctioned orphanages.
When Linus is unexpectedly summoned by Extremely Upper Management he’s given a curious and highly classified assignment: travel to Marsyas Island Orphanage, where six dangerous children reside: a gnome, a sprite, a wyvern, an unidentifiable green blob, a were-Pomeranian, and the Antichrist. Linus must set aside his fears and determine whether or not they’re likely to bring about the end of days.
But the children aren’t the only secret the island keeps. Their caretaker is the charming and enigmatic Arthur Parnassus, who will do anything to keep his wards safe. As Arthur and Linus grow closer, long-held secrets are exposed, and Linus must make a choice: destroy a home or watch the world burn.
An enchanting story, masterfully told, The House in the Cerulean Sea is about the profound experience of discovering an unlikely family in an unexpected place—and realising that family is yours.
Library Call Number: FAN F KLUN
The Queen’s Gambit by Walter Trevis
In October 2020, The Queen’s Gambit debuted on Netflix. Since then more than 65 million households have watched the show.
Enquiries for chess sets are up more than 250 % on ebay and Google searches for “how to play chess” have hit an all time high.
The original novel is now a best seller and number one in many countries – 37 years after its initial release.
So what is this book/series all about I hear you ask….
When she is sent to an orphanage at the age of eight, Beth Harmon soon discovers two ways to escape her surroundings, albeit fleetingly: playing chess and taking the little green pills given to her and the other children to keep them subdued.
Beth was taught to play chess by the caretaker of the orphanage and quickly surpasses his skills.
Before long, it becomes apparent that hers is a prodigious talent, and as she progresses to the top of the US chess rankings she is able to forge a new life for herself.
But she can never quite overcome her urge to self-destruct.
For Beth, there’s more at stake than merely winning and losing.
Library Call Number: F TREV
The best Australian Science writing Edited by Sara Phillips
The annual collection – now in its tenth year – celebrating the finest voices in Australian science writing.
Can fish feel pain? Does it matter if a dingo is different from a dog? Is there life in a glob of subterranean snot? Science tackles some unexpected questions. At a time when the world is buffeted by the effects of a pandemic, climate change and accelerating technology, the fruits of scientific labour and enquiry have never been more in demand. Who better to navigate us through these unprecedented days than Australia’s best science writers.
This much-loved anthology selects the most riveting, entertaining, poignant and fascinating science stories and essays from Australian writers, poets and scientists. In their expert hands such ordinary objects as milk and sticky tape become imbued with new meaning, while the furthest reaches of our universe are made more familiar and comprehensible.
With a foreword from Nobel laureate and immunologist Peter C Doherty, this collection brings fresh perspective to the world you thought you knew.
Library Call number 808.066 THE
How to pronounce knife by Souvankham Thammavongsa
In the title story of Souvankham Thammavongsa’s debut collection, a young girl brings a book home from school and asks her father to help her pronounce a tricky word, a simple exchange with unforgettable consequences.
Thammavongsa is a master at homing in on moments like this — moments of exposure, dislocation, and messy feelings that push us right up against the limits of language.
The stories that make up How to Pronounce Knife focus on characters struggling to find their bearings in unfamiliar territory, or shuttling between idioms, cultures, and values. A failed boxer discovers what it truly means to be a champion when he starts painting nails at his sister’s salon. A young woman tries to discern the invisible but immutable social hierarchies at a chicken processing plant. A mother coaches her daughter in the challenging art of worm harvesting.
This wonderful book can be found in our short stories collection.
Library Call number SHO F THAM
Shuggie Bain – by Douglas Stuart
Shuggie Bain is the unforgettable story of young Hugh “Shuggie” Bain, a sweet and lonely boy who spends his 1980s childhood in run-down public housing in Glasgow, Scotland. Thatcher’s policies have put husbands and sons out of work, and the city’s notorious drugs epidemic is waiting in the wings. Shuggie’s mother Agnes walks a wayward path: she is Shuggie’s guiding light but a burden for him and his siblings.
She dreams of a house with its own front door while she flicks through the pages of the Freemans catalogue, ordering a little happiness on credit, anything to brighten up her grey life.
Married to a philandering taxi-driver husband, Agnes keeps her pride by looking good–her beehive, make-up, and pearly-white false teeth offer a glamorous image of a Glaswegian Elizabeth Taylor. But under the surface, Agnes finds increasing solace in drink.
Agnes’s older children find their own ways to get a safe distance from their mother, abandoning Shuggie to care for her as she swings between alcoholic binges and sobriety. Shuggie is meanwhile struggling to somehow become the normal boy he desperately longs to be, but everyone has realised that he is “not right,” a boy with a secret that all but him can see.
A heartbreaking story of addiction and love, Shuggie Bain is a must read.
Library Call number F STUA