The longer days of summer provide the perfect opportunity to give yourself permission to indulge in some relaxing reading time. Many staff members at the library are currently engrossed in some good books and have shared a bit about them.
What Adrienne is reading:
The Magician’s Land by Lev Grossman
The book that I am currently reading is the fantasy The Magician’s land, by American author Lev Grossman. It is the third book in a trilogy (following The Magicians and The Magician King). The initial novel focuses on a group of undergraduates attending a university teaching magical pedagogy in upstate New York. I started reading this series as these novels use themes familiar to readers of the Harry Potter and Narnia books. However, I soon discovered that Lev Grossman reinterprets them for an adult audience in a more realistic world with which we can identify. The novels are sometimes dark, but also funny and intriguing. There are no real heroes and the characters are imperfect. There is sex, violence, swearing, and the evil character is truly disturbing. Moreover, the principal character discovers that life, and going out into the real world after study, can be disillusioning. So, maybe that is why the novels are strangely addictive!
What David is reading:
Fractured Times: Culture and Society in the 20th Century by Eric Hobsbawm
Together with Australia’s own Peter Stanley, Hobsbawm is my favourite historian to read. Both of them construct historical narratives that combine literary flair with penetrative insights and flawless logic.
I am hoping a copy of Interned: Torrens Island 1914-15, by Peter Monteath, Mandy Paul and Rebecca Martin appears in my Christmas stocking. My original honours thesis was to be on this somewhat dark chapter of South Australian history, however sources were too scarce to justify subject. Since then my erstwhile academic supervisor Associate Professor Peter Monteath, together with Mandy Paul and Rebecca Martin, has found the diaries of some of the camp inmates. Knowing half the story already, I am excited to read what should be a very timely and cautionary tale about how we, as a nation, overreacted to often paranoid accusations of “enemies within” by brutalising and radicalising otherwise loyal citizens.
What Symon is reading:
British Lorries since 1945 by Mike Forbes and David Hayward
I read a lot of non-fiction these days and as an avid classic and vintage vehicle fan, this is right up my alley. Because Australia has never had much of a truck manufacturing industry, many of our trucks (especially in the 50s and 60s) were sourced from the UK- so many of those that this book describes can be found on Aussie roads.
What Helen is reading – in picture format…..we can count eight in this big pile…
What Penny is reading:
Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
A classic piece of literature, written by the great Russian author Dostoyevsky and published in 1866. There’s an immense number of characters and long-winded names but the story progresses quickly. It centres on the poverty-stricken student Raskolnikov, who is living in squalor in St Petersburg. His downtrodden circumstances and lack of lust for life gradually take his mind to dark places and he seeks bloody revenge against those he perceives to be responsible. He murders people to test his hypothesis that some people are naturally capable of such things and are perfectly justified in their means to do so. Several times throughout the novel, Raskolnikov justifies his actions by comparing himself with Napoleon, believing the murders are OK because they are in pursuit of a higher purpose. I have found it interesting to discover I often feel deeply sympathetic towards Raskolnikov, empathising with his reasons for murder.
What books are YOU reading this summer?