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Frog Music – Emma Donaghue


Not really sure about this one! A very adult book – definitely for mature senior readers.

I urlreally enjoyed the social history of San Fransisco – the development of the city; the segregation of immigrants; the French connection; the gender discussions and the development of the economy. However I was not that taken with the actual storyline and the use of lyrics.

This is the third Donaghue I have read – The sealed letter and The room being the others – all very different.

You can read the author’s comments here – Donaghue

 

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And the mountains echoed – Khaled Hosseini


I think that this is my favourite of Hosseini’s novels to date . While it still looks at an aspect of Afghani society that is alien to us in NZ – the selling of children – I think it is more accessible than his earlier novels.

Abu and his sister Pari live in an isolated village in Afghanistan in the 1950s.

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But Pari is sold by her stepfather to a couple who cannot have children. The novel follows the lives of these families over the next generation, through the years of war and from Europe to America and back to Afghanistan again.

While it deals with one of Hosseini’s recurring theme – redemption – the story itself makes compelling reading. And again he creates a very vivid image of a fascinating land – landscape and history.

Inside Out and Back Again – Thanhha Lai


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Told as a series of poems, Inside Out and Back Again tells the story of 10 year old Ha’s life growing up in Vietnam during the war. While a harsh life, her poems tell the story of a good life.However life changes when South Vietnam loses the war and Ha and her family are sponsored to go to America. Life becomes more of a struggle – from being top in the class, she is now the struggler. She struggles with the language, she struggles with the food, she struggles with the customs. Help from a new neighbour, gives Ha the confidence she needs to begin to integrate into American society.

The poems create a strong sense of the vibrancy and life of old Vietnam and Alabama of the 1970s.

The poetry is beautifully written and form a narrative that is very easy to follow.

The Lost Library – A M Dean


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If you like action and adventure, are a fan of Dan Brown’s da Vinci Code then this book will definitely appeal to you.

The lost library refers to the ancient library of Alexandria that ‘disappeared by 600 AD – millions of scrolls (books) simply vanished. There have been many ‘theories’ as to what happened.

Emily Weiss, history lecturer, inherits a series if mysterious clues from a dead professor and embarks on a journey around the world, in search of the answer to what happened to the ‘lost library’. However, like any good thriller, she is not the only one chasing the clues.

You can check out the website (which is quite cool) here ….

The calligrapher’s daughter – Eugenia Kim


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

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The calligrapher’s daughter  is a fascinating story, mainly because  it tells the story of life in Korea at the turn of the 20th century.

Najin Han, the main character, is the daughter of a calligrapher, whose work are renowned through out South East Asia. The Japanese annexation of Korea and subsequent ‘occupation’ sees the end of the traditional Korean way of life.

Najin Han’s father, a traditionalist, struggles to come to grips with this ‘new’ Korea and the status given to women. Japanese methods of colonisation were aimed at destroying the fabric of traditional Korean life and culture.

This is a densely written book detailed in it’s reflections of traditional Korean life at a time of unprecedented change.

Check out the author’s website here….