Staff's Favourite Reads October 2021

Our lovely team are back with some more reviews and recommendations! Here’s what kept them all engrossed throughout the month of October.

Click here to see September’s list

The Anthropocene Reviewed by John Green

Chosen by Amy, Customer Experience Officer

Released in mid-2021, this non-fiction book is actually a collection of short essays that focus on life on a human-centered planet. It is a deeply moving book that includes pieces that have been quite eye-opening, but in a format that is funny, complex and rich with detail. The short-form of essays included meant I have enjoyed reading the book whilst waiting for appointments, before bed and whilst filling in time between Zoom meetings.

Overall, the book reviews various aspects of the human experience in a story-telling format, with John green giving each aspect a rating out of five stars at the end of each short essay. Basically, he just reviews parts of our lives that you may have not thought about so deeply before. I haven’t had so much enjoyment learning about trivial things that are not really trivial before!

I highly recommend this book for anyone who is wanting to still be pushed to think deeply, but still in a light-hearted, entertaining and educational way.


The Swap by Robyn Harding

Chosen by Jess, Customer Experience Officer

Awkward and anti-social teen Low Morrison doesn’t feel as if she fits into the rest of society on the small island in which she lives, that is until she comes across new island local Freya. Freya is the opposite of Low, a beautiful socialite with a gorgeous husband and a house worth envying. The two quickly become friends and Low thinks she has finally found a kindred spirit in Freya and hopes they can be together forever. Everything is going great for Low until Freya forms a bond with Jaime, another new island local.Low’s hopes and dreams of having Freya all to herself are shattered and things take a darker turn.

Being a book by Robyn Harding you can expect themes of betrayal, secrets, lies and mystery and will enjoy the twists and turns in the story plot. I’m a big fan of Robyn Harding novels and I have to say this one has probably been my favorite yet! I devoured each page in this book and was left wanting more! A great storyline and lots of surprises that I didn’t see coming. If you are a fan of mystery and drama I highly recommend this one.

Deadly Anniversaries edited by Marcia Muller and Bill Pronzini

Chosen by Michelle, Information Services Coordinator

Deadly Anniversaries is a collection of short stories from crime fiction authors who have either been President of, or have been honoured by, the Mystery Writer’s of America organisation, on their 75th anniversary.

Deadly Anniversaries is a compilation of a wide range of mystery stories on the common theme of anniversaries and include great short insights from well known authors including Lee Child, Jeffrey Deaver, Sue Grafton, Peter Lovesey, Laurie R King and Laura Lippman.

Although more of a fan of the long form of mystery stories, I was intrigued by having the chance to both “try out” authors I had not read before, as well as discover what authors I know and love could do with the short form. I was not disappointed.

The stories were all engaging, intriguing, with their twists and turns and surprises. The only real thing missing was character development – everything else was included in each story, even in the short form.
If you are looking for some new mystery authors to try out, or just want to read everything you can find by a favourite mystery author, (or even both!) I really recommend Deadly Anniversararies.

Empress of Forever by Max Gladstone

Chosen by Emma, Customer Experience Officer

Vivian Liao is an innovative tech genius female version of Elon Musk, whose goal is to outrun, outwit, outplay anyone who tries to steal her success and will stop at nothing to ensure that she is recognised for her radical and quick-thinking decisions. One night Vivian, is suddenly thrown into the chaos of the space-time continuum and lands herself in a distant future that is governed by fear. Vivian finds herself in the middle of a brutal space war and meets a ruthless Empress who can destroy civilisations with just a mere thought. It is up to Vivian and her allies to disempower the Empress and save the universe, all while trying to work her way back to the time and place she was so suddenly whisked away from.

I would recommend this book because it was a fun comfortable read. There’s something familiar about the story, like an old favourite TV series that leaves you wanting to know what happens next. How will Viv save her allies and herself?

If you enjoy galaxy savings stories like Star Wars and Guardians of the Galaxy or even just adventure stories with a female lead, Empress of Forever will be a great addition to your reading list.

Fury by Kathryn Heyman

Chosen by Sandra, Branch Manager

This is a brave memoir about growing up in Australia in the 70s and 80s. It’s not a depressing memoir even though it does address themes of patriarchy, sexual assault and misogyny through the treatment of women in society and the legal system.

Despite the themes, this is an ultimately uplifting story of how Kathryn was able to overcome adversity and trauma and heal through a positive lived experience. Hitch-hiking and travelling up the west coast and then across to Darwin she lands on a all male fishing trawler where her mistrust of men is tested and she ends up being respected and valued. As a result of the experience, her healing journey can begin.

Along the way she observes the usual suspects that are all running from something in the Northern territory. Truck drivers, deck hands, skippers.
The book is written in a very resigned manner, the writer knows the wrongs and rights but also the injustices but chooses to move on and live positively. It addresses issues of class and what it is like to grow up female. A roadtrip of healing and transformation.

One Of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

Chosen by Mia, Library Assistant

One Of Us Is Lying is the first of two books in a mysterious, young adult series. The book follows four high school students who walk into detention and witness the death of Simon Kelleher, the creator of the school’s very own gossip app, ‘All About That.’

All four students have things they’re intent on keeping a secret from the students at the school, and even just the general community, so they quickly become prime suspects when they were found to be with Simon at the time of his death.

This book is one of few where I had thought that the character’s stories had seemed interesting and actually well-planned. It covers topics such as mental health and the toll it takes on a person as well as the impacts of being part of the LGBTQIA+ community can have on teenagers who already have to deal with the toxicity in their high school environment. The book is engaging and focuses on each character’s story in depth and is a great mystery book that is commonly read by young adults however it can be read by anyone.

Sweet Jimmy by Bryan Brown

Chosen by Sue, Team Leader

Popular Australian actor, Bryan Brown has written a collection of short crime stories. I listened to them as an e-audiobook on the Libby app and enjoyed hearing them read by the author in his distinctive Australian voice. There are scams and drug deals, kidnappings and murders set in multicultural Sydney. Brown displays a gritty sense of humour in this interesting mix of stories from the underbelly of seemingly ordinary suburbs.

For fans of Aussie crime fiction.

The Hush by Sara Foster

Chosen by Janine, Customer Experience Officer

The Hush is set in London 7 years post COVID. Emma is a single mum with 17yo daughter Lainey. Emma is a midwife at the local hospital where disturbing things are happening. Quite randomly some babies are appearing stillborn, and no one knows why. At the same time young pregnant girls are disappearing with their families. This is now an era where everyone has to wear tracking watches and there are rules and regulations from the Government as to where you can and can’t go. It seems most people can live within these rules but then the unthinkable happens, Lainey becomes pregnant!

What a fast-paced thriller this was from start to finish, and I was totally invested in the story and the characters. Does make you wonder what our lives post-COVID may be, and I applaud the author for setting this book in the 7 years after COVID with such imagination that I hope will not come true! 5 stars from me.