Here are the Library team’s top recommendations
The storied life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
I had just finished a harrowing (but well written) book about a dysfunctional family involving domestic violence and The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry was just the antidote I needed to soothe my rattled soul.
A.J Fikry is a cranky bookstore owner slowly trying to drink himself to death since he lost his wife in a tragic car accident. He is abrasive to his customers, intolerant of the townspeople and has one friend, the local police officer. Just when A.J. thinks his life can’t get any worse, he loses his prized rare first edition book which was to be his retirement fund.
But his life changes the day he meets Maya, a toddler abandoned in his bookstore.
“Who the hell are you?” A.J. asks the baby.
For no apparent reason, she stops crying and smiles at him. “Maya,” she answers.
That was easy, A.J. thinks.
“How old are you?” he asks.
Maya holds up two fingers.
Maya smiles again and holds up her arms to him.”
A beautiful book that was on the New York Times bestseller list and a great holiday read.
Library Call Number: F ZAVI
The Bluffs by Kyle Perry
If you are a fan of Jane Harper and Christian White, then you will enjoy the pace and imagery of this Aussie bush noir crime novel set in contemporary Tasmania.
It’s the debut novel by youth worker and counsellor, Kyle Perry and is receiving rave reviews and high praise.
The Bluffs tells the story of a school group of teenage girls who go missing in the remote wilderness of Tasmania’s Great Western Tiers. The residents of Limestone Creek are immediately on alert as three decades earlier, five young girls disappeared in the area of those dangerous bluffs, and the legend of ‘the Hungry Man’ still haunts locals to this day.
Authorities can determine that the teacher, Eliza Ellis, was knocked unconscious, so someone on the mountain was up to foul play. Jordan Murphy, the local dealer and father of missing student Jasmine, instantly becomes the prime suspect. But Detective Con Badenhorst knows that in a town this size – with corrupt cops, small-town politics, and a teenage YouTube sensation – everyone is hiding something, and bluffing is second nature.
When a body is found, mauled, at the bottom of a cliff, suspicion turns to a wild animal – but that can’t explain why she was discovered barefoot, her shoes at the top of the cliff, laces neatly tied.
Has the mysterious “Hungry Man” re-appeared?
Library Call Number: CRI F PERR
The Unadoptables by Hana Tooke
Grab a stroopwafel and settle down for a wild adventure about five “unadoptable” orphans !
Aimed at the tween – early teen market, this adventure novel would be right up the (Diagon) alley of fans of The Rooftoppers and Nevermoor.
In all the years that Elinora Gassbeek has been matron of the Little Tulip Orphanage, not once have the Rules for Baby Abandonment been broken. That is until the autumn of 1886, when five babies are left in outrageous circumstances: one in a tin toolbox, one in a coal bucket, one in a picnic hamper, one in a wheat sack, and finally, one in a coffin-shaped basket.
Those babies were Lotta, Egg, Fenna, Sem and Milou; who were swiftly and firmly deemed ‘the unadoptables’. Twelve years on, the children still have each other – until the night a sinister gentleman appears and threatens to tear them apart. The gang decide to make a daring escape, fleeing the frozen canals of Amsterdam for an adventure packed with puppets and pirate ships, clock-makers and cruel villains – and with only a scrap of a clue to guide them to their mysterious new home . . .
Library Call Number: ACT F TOOK
The Personality Brokers by Merve Emre
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is the most popular personality test in the world. It is used regularly by Fortune 500 companies, universities, hospitals, churches, and the military. Its language of personality types–extraversion and introversion, sensing and intuiting, thinking and feeling, judging and perceiving–has inspired television shows, online dating platforms, and Buzzfeed quizzes.
Yet despite the test’s widespread adoption, experts in the field of psychometric testing, a $2 billion industry, have struggled to validate its results–no less account for its success.
How did Myers-Briggs, a homegrown multiple choice questionnaire, infiltrate our workplaces, our relationships, our Internet, our lives?
First conceived in the 1920s by the mother-daughter team of Katherine Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers, a pair of devoted homemakers, novelists, and amateur psychoanalysts, Myers-Briggs was designed to bring the gospel of Carl Jung to the masses. But it would take on a life entirely its own, reaching from the smoke-filled boardrooms of mid-century New York to Berkeley, California, where it was administered to some of the twentieth century’s greatest creative minds. It would travel across the world to London, Zurich, Cape Town, Melbourne, and Tokyo, until it could be found just as easily in elementary schools, nunneries, and wellness retreats as in shadowy political consultancies and on social networks.
Drawing from original reporting and never-before-published documents, The Personality Brokers takes a critical look at the personality indicator that became a cultural icon. Along the way it examines nothing less than the definition of the self–our attempts to grasp, categorise, and quantify our personalities. Surprising and absorbing, the book, like the test at its heart, considers the timeless question: What makes you, you?
Library Call Number 155.2 EMR
From boys to men – by Maggie Dent
Adolescence can be a confusing minefield for both boys and their parents who are often bewildered as to how to best guide their precious sons.
Many parents wake one day to find that their beautiful little boys have grown into silent, withdrawn, sometimes angry and often unmotivated tweens and teens (nods in agreement)
Well-known Australian author, parenting and resilience educator, and one of Australia’s favourite boy experts Maggie Dent, offers parents and guardians a compassionate and practical guidebook, packed with advice and ground-breaking techniques on how to stay calm and:
– Communicate effectively to defuse conflict
– ‘Unstick’ an unmotivated son
– Teach them to cope with loss and failure, and how to recover
– Help them foster healthy friendships and intimate relationships
– Navigate technology and the digital world.
From Boys to Men empowers parents with insights, tips and a common-sense approach to help all boys – and their families – thrive as they progress through adolescence, offering hope for a future of adventure, stability, engagement and connection.
Anything that can offer help and advice is worth the read I say.
Library Call number 649.DEN
Better Luck Next Time – by Kate Hilton
If we were judging a book by a cover alone then Better Luck Next Time would have been left on the shelf. But this reviewer is not “book shallow” and can look beyond the fluro pink teen chick-lit style cover and take a chance. It also helped that it is badged with a guarantee “read it, love it – or your money back”.
Better Luck Next Time tells the story a feminist icon and her less than perfect extended family. There’s children, cousins, in-laws and some supporting characters thrown into the mix who are dealing with mid-life crisis, aging parents, raging teenagers, divorce and new relationships. Just your average family in an average year really.
If you liked “Where’d you go Bernadette?” or enjoy Nora Ephron or Erma Bombeck, then you might just find this one a chuckle fest.
P.S. – I didn’t want my money back.
Library Call number F HILT