The Westsider encourages reading and writing and we’d love to include your book reading recommendations. If you have any great reading suggestions for young or older, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org
Wifedom: Mrs Orwell’s Invisible Life
By Anna Funder
Quite a few recent books have focussed on overlooked women. Wifedom is like no other. The writer, Anna Funder, presents a creative and carefully constructed portrait of Eileen O’Shaughnessy (née Blair) and her intense marriage to George Orwell. Virtually uncredited and unnamed by both Orwell and his clutch of biographers, Funder gives life and visibility to Eileen’s inner workings and her significant uncredited work. It is Eileen who ceaselessly saves Orwell’s bacon and provides him with grist for the mill in his masterpieces. Funder is an admirer of Orwell’s writing, but is clear that the patriarchal system – both then and now – enables men such as Orwell to conduct themselves in abominable ways, rendering those who support them invisible and neglected.
A Disappearance in Fiji
By Nilima Rao
It is 1914 and Sergeant Akal Singh of the Fijian Constabulary, Suva, is a fairly recent arrival in Fiji after being pushed out of his previous post in Hong Kong following a grave misjudgment. Singh buckles down in his new role despite the comic pomposity of his superiors and the casual and not-so-casual discrimination he faces on a daily basis in this racially stratified colonial society.
When word arrives that one of the ‘Coolies’, the indentured Indian labourers who keep the sugarcane industry alive, has gone missing, Singh ventures forth to investigate in his own indomitable, quietly charismatic way. In doing so he uncovers a much bigger story of abuse, deception and murder.
I want to call this ‘cosy crime’ although the charming main character and gentle storytelling belies the harshness of the backdrop of the brutal lives lived by the long-suffering Indians at the hands of their colonial overlords. Yet I enjoyed every word of this evocative, colourful and rather unusual story and emerged with a greater understanding of a piece of history that is probably not given the attention it deserves.
At the Younger Sun there are always new worlds for the younger people in our lives to explore.
By Tristan Bancks e
Will and the Carpenter twins spend a day exploring an old house. An old house that has been inaccessible for years. What they find there sets them on a path of secrecy and adventure. Wills’ dad was the local policeman but went missing almost 7 years ago. What does the discovery in the walls of the house have to do with him? When local thugs get wind of their find, it becomes a race to get the answers and maybe even stay alive. A great adventure for 11 plus. This middle-years book is by the Australian author of Two Wolves, The Fall, Detention and Cop & Robber. We highly recommend Tristan Bancks and his thrilling stories.
By Wenda Shurety and Juliana Oakley
Pocket Treasure is a beautiful new Australian hardcover picture book perfect for sharing with little people. Allira is a preschooler with a favourite dress, a dress with very big pockets. Pockets for crayons and feathers and shells and hairclips even with room for a teddy. During Allira’s day at preschool, she helps all her friends with the many treasures from her big pockets. When Allira needs to decorate a cake for her teacher, she finds her pockets are empty. What to do? All of her friends empty their own pockets and the day is saved. This is a very sweet tale about sharing, friendship and kindness. Beautifully illustrated Pocket Treasure is a lovely book to read aloud.