Here are the Library team’s top recommendations
The Gosling Girl by Jacqueline Roy
Monster? Murderer? Child? Victim?
Michelle Cameron’s name is associated with the most abhorrent of crimes. A child who lured a younger child away to her death, she is known as the black girl who murdered a little white girl; evil incarnate according to the media. She has done her time, and has been released as a young woman with a new identity to start her life again. But will society allow her to start over?
When another shocking death occurs, Michelle is taken to the police station to answer questions and it is only a matter of time until the press find out who she is now and where she lives and set about destroying her all over again.
Natalie Tyler is the officer brought in to investigate the murder. A black detective constable, she has been ostracised from her family and often feels she is in the wrong job. But when she meets Michelle, she feels a complicated need to protect her.
The Gosling Girl is a moving, powerful account of systemic, institutional and internalised racism, and of how the marginalised fight back. It delves into the psychological after-effects of a crime committed in childhood, exploring intersections between race and class as Michelle’s story is co-opted and controlled by those around her.
This is a raw and powerful novel that will stay with the reader long after they have turned the last page.
Library Call Number: CRI F ROY
Spies and Sparrows by Phillip Deery
Spies and Sparrows tells the untold stories of espionage in Australia
In the wake of the Second World War and the realisation that the Soviet Union had set up extensive espionage networks around the world, Australia responded by establishing its own spy-hunting agency- ASIO. By the 1950s its counterespionage activities were increasingly supplemented by attempts at countersubversion – identifying individuals and organisations suspected of activities that threatened national security. In doing so, it crossed the boundary from being a professional agency that collected, evaluated and transmitted intelligence, to a sometimes politicised but always shadowy presence, monitoring not just communists but also peace activists, scientists, academics, journalists and writers.
The human cost of ASIO’s monitoring of domestic dissenters is difficult to measure. It is only through recovering the hidden histories of personal damage inflicted by ASIO on both lawful protesters and, in some cases, its own agents, that the extent can be revealed. By interrogating the roles of eight individuals intimately involved in the conduct of the Cold War, and drawing on many years of research, Phillip Deery’s Spies and Sparrows- ASIO and the Cold War shines a powerful new light on the history of ASIO and raises important and enduring questions about the nature and impact of a state’s surveillance of its citizens.
Library Call Number: 327.120 DEE
To Paradise by Hanya Yanagihara
I am not sure whether it was the sheer size (704 pages) or the fact it was the same author who wrote A Little Life, that sent shivers down my spine when this novel was chosen as my bookclub’s February book.
But I rose to the challenge and discovered it was well worth it.
In an alternate version of 1893 America, New York is part of the Free States, where people may live and love whomever they please (or so it seems). The fragile young scion of a distinguished family resists betrothal to a worthy suitor, drawn to a charming music teacher of no means. In a 1993 Manhattan besieged by the AIDS epidemic, a young Hawaiian man lives with his much older, wealthier partner, hiding his troubled childhood and the fate of his father. And in 2093, in a world riven by plagues and governed by totalitarian rule, a powerful scientist’s damaged granddaughter tries to navigate life without him – and solve the mystery of her husband’s disappearances.
These three sections are linked with recurring themes including wealth and squalor; the weak and the strong; race; the definition of family, and of nationhood; the dangerous righteousness of the powerful, and of revolutionaries; the longing to find a place in paradise, and the gradual realisation that it can’t exist.
Library Call number F HANA
An answer for everything – Rob Orchard
What’s the secret to living past a hundred? What’s going on in China? Are we running out of sand? And how many chickens are there? What’s the most dangerous soap opera?
In An Answer to Everything, 200 of the world’s most mind-boggling questions are explained by way of brilliantly clever and addictive infographics. Some will make you giggle, others hit like a sucker punch, and then there are the slow burners, where you can geek out over a data set for hours.
Authored by the team behind Delayed Gratification, the world’s best slow journalism magazine, these deeply researched infographics are a compelling and darkly funny way to see the world around us with new eyes.
Library Call number 031.03 ORC
Cooper not out – by Justin Smith
In the Australian summer of 1984, in the small country town of Penguin Hill, Sergeant Roy Cooper is making a name for himself. He’s been batting for his local cricket club for decades — and he’s a statistical miracle. He’s overweight, he makes very few runs, he’s not pretty to watch, but he’s never been dismissed.
When local schoolgirl Cassie Midwinter discovers this feat, she decides to take the matter further. The remarkable story finds its way into the hands of Donna Garrett, a female sports columnist who’s forced to write under a male pseudonym to be taken seriously.
That summer, the West Indies are thrashing Australia, and the Australian people’s love of cricket has never been lower. But Donna’s columns on Roy Cooper capture the imagination of a nation, and soon there’s pressure to select him for the national team. This would see him playing at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, carrying the spirit of every small country town in Australia along with him. Could such a miracle actually happen?
This is sport, after all, and who doesn’t love a good story?
Cooper Not Out is a funny, heart-warming novel set within real events. It is a moving and highly original tale about friendship and belief, and the joy of discovering your greatest potential.
Library Call number F SMIT