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Top 10 Summer Reading List - 2019

December 17, 2019

We hope you find a shady peaceful spot and throw down a blanket  “to get lost in a great book” over the summer break. Did you know… research suggests that some of the benefits to reading fiction is simply that it provides enjoyment and pleasure, provides an escape from boredom or stress, and helps keep our brains sharp, expand our world views and grow as individuals? (Green, as cited in DiGiulio, 2018.) Oatley, further suggests that reading stories about other people may teach us to be the type of person we want to be… and reading makes us think and feel in new and different ways (as cited in DiGiulio, 2018). If you want to keep one step ahead in the game, please choose a recently published novel for reading pleasure from our Top Ten Recommended Summer Reading List for 2019, available for loan from our incredibly well resourced Bond Library:

The Forgotten Letters of Esther Durrant
by Kayte Nunn 2019

1951. Esther Durrant, a young mother, is committed to an isolated mental asylum by her husband. Run by a pioneering psychiatrist, the hospital is at first Esther's prison but soon becomes her refuge. 2018. Free-spirited marine scientist Rachel Parker embarks on a research posting in the Isles of Scilly, off the Cornish coast. When a violent storm forces her to take shelter on a far-flung island, she discovers a collection of hidden love letters. Captivated by their passion and tenderness, Rachel determines to track down the intended recipient. Meanwhile, in London, Eve is helping her grandmother, a renowned mountaineer, write her memoirs. When she is contacted by Rachel, it sets in motion a chain of events that threatens to reveal secrets kept buried for more than sixty years.

Hell has Harbour Views
by Richard Beasley 2019

Sydney, 2001: Hugh Walker has it all. He's a successful young lawyer with a beautiful girlfriend and a million dollar office view... So why does he identify more with his resident cockroach than Atticus Finch, his childhood hero? Once upon a time he was the defender of the abused, the voice of the oppressed. But now he's turning a blind eye to suspect time sheets, championing the powerful against the powerless, and not being entirely honest with his girlfriend. Has his good side deserted him? Is there a way back? A bitingly satirical novel about one man's search for his soul ... in the most soulless of places.

Star-crossed
by Minnie Darke 2019

In this sparkling romantic comedy, a young journalist tampers with her magazine's horoscopes to win her friend's heart - and sets in motion an unpredictable and often hilarious ripple effect. . . Sometimes destiny needs a nudge in the right direction . . . When Justine Carmichael (Sagittarius, aspiring journalist and sceptic) bumps into her old friend Nick Jordan (Aquarius, struggling actor and true believer) it could be by chance. Or it could be written in the stars. Justine works at the Alexandria Park Star - and Nick, she now learns, relies on the magazine's astrology column to guide him in life. Looking for a way to get Nick's attention, Justine has the idea of making a few small alterations to 'Aquarius' before it goes to print. It's only a horoscope, after all. What harm could it possibly do?

The Clockmaker’s Daughter
by Kate Morton 2018

My real name, no one remembers. The truth about that summer, no one else knows. In the summer of 1862, a group of young artists led by the passionate and talented Edward Radcliffe descends upon Birchwood Manor on the banks of the Upper Thames. Their plan: to spend a secluded summer month in a haze of inspiration and creativity. But by the time their stay is over, one woman has been shot dead while another has disappeared; a priceless heirloom is missing; and Edward Radcliffe's life is in ruins. Over one hundred and fifty years later, Elodie Winslow, a young archivist in London, uncovers a leather satchel containing two seemingly unrelated items: a sepia photograph of an arresting-looking woman in Victorian clothing, and an artist's sketchbook containing the drawing of a twin-gabled house on the bend of a river. Why does Birchwood Manor feel so familiar to Elodie? And who is the beautiful woman in the photograph? Will she ever give up her secrets? Told by multiple voices across time, The Clockmaker's Daughter is a story of murder, mystery and thievery, of art, love and loss. And flowing through its pages like a river, is the voice of a woman who stands outside time, whose name has been forgotten by history, but who has watched it all unfold: Birdie Bell, the clockmaker's daughter.

One Good Deed
by David Baldacci  2019

In 1949, Aloysius Archer arrives in the dusty Southern town of Poca City. He has nothing but a handful of dollars, the clothes he's wearing and an appointment with his new parole officer. After his wartime experiences in Italy and a prison sentence for a crime he didn't commit, Archer is looking for a fresh start and a peaceful life. On his first night of freedom, Archer meets local business tycoon Hank Pittleman, who promises Archer handsome compensation to work as his debt collector. Yet Archer takes on more than he bargains for, as he becomes embroiled in a long-running feud between the drought-struck town's most dangerous residents. When one of them dies, the authorities label Archer as their number one suspect. A bloody game is being played above and below the law. Everybody playing has a deeply buried secret, and Archer must uncover them all - if he's to avoid going back behind bars.

The Electric Hotel
by Dominic Smith 2019

For nearly half a century, Claude Ballard has been living at the Hollywood Knickerbocker Hotel. A French pioneer of silent films, who started out as a concession agent for the Lumiere brothers, the inventors of cinema, Claude now spends his days foraging mushrooms in the hills of Los Angeles and taking photographs of runaways and the striplings along Sunset Boulevard. But when a film-history student comes to interview Claude about The Electric Hotel--the lost masterpiece that bankrupted him and ended the career of his muse, Sabine Montrose--the past comes surging back. In his run-down hotel suite, the ravages of the past are waiting to be excavated: celluloid fragments and reels in desperate need of restoration, and Claude's memories of the woman who inspired and beguiled him, Sabine Montrose.

Half Moon Lake
by Kirsten Alexander 2019 – inspired by true story

Inspired by the true story of a missing child who when eventually found was claimed by two mothers, Half Moon Lake is a captivating novel about the parent-child bond, identity, and what it really means to be part of a family. In 1913, on a summer's day at Half Moon Lake, Louisiana, four-year-old Sonny Davenport walks into the woods and never returns. The boy's mysterious disappearance from the family's lake house makes front-page news in their home town of Opelousas. John Henry and Mary Davenport are wealthy and influential, and will do anything to find their son. For two years, the Davenports search across the South, offer increasingly large rewards and struggle not to give in to despair. Then, at the moment when all hope seems lost, the boy is found in the company of a tramp. But is he truly Sonny Davenport? The circumstances of his discovery raise more questions than answers. And when Grace Mill, an unwed farm worker, travels from Alabama to lay claim to the child, newspapers, townsfolk, even the Davenports' own friends, take sides. As the tramp's kidnapping trial begins, and two desperate mothers fight for ownership of the boy, the people of Opelousas discover that truth is more complicated than they'd ever dreamed.

The Ten Thousand Doors of January
by Alix E Harrow 2019

in the early 1900s, a young woman embarks on a fantastical journey of self-discovery after finding a mysterious book in this captivating and lyrical debut. In a sprawling mansion filled with peculiar treasures, January Scaller is a curiosity herself. As the ward of the wealthy Mr. Locke, she feels little different from the artifacts that decorate the halls: carefully maintained, largely ignored, and utterly out of place. Then she finds a strange book. A book that carries the scent of other worlds, and tells a tale of secret doors, of love, adventure and danger. Each page turn reveals impossible truths about the world and January discovers a story increasingly entwined with her own.

Boy Swallows Universe
by Trent Dalton 2018

Brisbane, 1983: A lost father, a mute brother, a mum in jail, a heroin dealer for a stepfather and a notorious crim for a babysitter. It's not as if Eli's life isn't complicated enough already. He's just trying to follow his heart, learning what it takes to be a good man, but life just keeps throwing obstacles in the way - not least of which is Tytus Broz, legendary Brisbane drug dealer. But Eli's life is about to get a whole lot more serious. He's about to fall in love. And, oh yeah, he has to break into Boggo Road Gaol on Christmas Day, to save his mum.

Once Upon a River
by Diane Setterfield 2018

As the novel opens, a small girl is rescued from a wintry river that winds through a village older than memory, a river that is central to the lives and imaginations of the people who live on its banks. Though initially thought dead, she miraculously begins to breathe again. What happened to her? Who is she? Everyone in this novel has a story, and the border between truth and fantasy, eternity and the now, is more porous than we would ever think and crossed as swiftly as the river itself.

References

Alexander, K. (2019). Half moon lake. North Sydney, NSW: Penguin Random House.
Baldacci, D. (2019). One good deed. S.l: MACMILLAN
Beasley, R. (2019). Hell has harbour views. Cammeray, NSW: Simon & Schuster Australia.
Dalton, T. (2018). Boy swallows universe. Sydney, NSW: Fourth Estate, an imprint of Harper Collins Publishers Australia.
Darke, M.  (2019). Star-crossed. North Sydney, NSW: Michael Joseph, an imprint of Penguin Books.
DiGiulio, S. (2018). Why 'getting lost' in a good book is the break your brain needs right now. Retrieved from https://www.nbcnews.com/better/pop-culture/why-getting-lost       bookso-good-you-according-science-ncna893256
Harrow, A. (2019). The ten thousand doors of January (First edition.). New York: Orbit, an imprint of Little, Brown Book Group.