by GEMMA CROTTY
If you know someone who likes receiving novels over novelties, stories over socks or fiction over fragrances, here are some book suggestions that could bring joy to their Christmas.
After leaving her home in England to marry the charming American, Bennett Van Cleave, Alice discovers married life isn’t what she thought it would be. So, when the opportunity presents itself, she seeks refuge in the form of the Packhorse Librarians of Kentucky. Alongside other women, Alice slides right into to her new role, riding a horse through the mountains and delivering books to its inhabitants. Featuring a loveable female character, this book has a feminist tinge and is based on real events.
From Jaclyn Moriarty comes a story that, while touching, is as equally witty and humorous. Ever since the year her brother, Robert, vanished, Abigail Sorenson has been sent chapters of a self-help book from an anonymous source. Twenty years since the first chapter was sent, Abigail is invited on a trip away to learn the ‘truth’ about the book. She accepts – she’ll do anything to get to the bottom of her brother’s vanishing, even if it means participating in the strange antics that follow.
From a Booker Prize-winning novelist comes a story about Sydney-based architect, Anna. After her mother’s health begins to decline, Anna’s brother Tommy summons her back to her home state of Tasmania. Anna flies to be with her mother, and along with her other brother, Terzo, tries to keep their mother alive in spite of the inevitable. As the outside world falls into disarray, with fires raging through the country, Anna finds herself beginning to disappear. In this, Flanagan’s writing is rich with symbolism and is perfect for fans of magical realism.
This story features eight-year-old Willa Waters, who, after receiving a mysterious box and planting its contents in her garden, is able to travel in time to meet her thirty-three and ninety-three-year-old selves. The novel is told from the perspectives of the three Willas, all who prove to have loveable and distinct personalities over the course of the narrative. Overall, this is a charming book and, regardless of whether magical realism is your cup of tea, is a delight to read. We’ve all wondered what it would be like to meet our past or future selves, and this story addresses the complexity of such a situation.
Kait Whittier is a successful magazine columnist who has experienced two failed marriages. But with her career to keep her focused and the occasional visit from her adult children, she believes her life is sufficient. While at a friend’s party, however, she meets a television producer who encourages her to create a synopsis for a new show. When she agrees, little does she know she’s in for a world of temperamental actors, a new romance, and most importantly, a new family in the form of a television cast.
Gemma Crotty is a volunteer blog writer for Solaris Cancer Centre from her home in Melbourne. Currently studying a Graduate Diploma in Communication at La Trobe University, she is considering a career in communications or journalism. Gemma has a strong humanities research background from her Bachelor of Liberal Arts in Sydney. She has a keen passion for writing and likes to find new ways to hone her skills and connect to others through her words.