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  • Writer's pictureJulianne Negri

April 2020 Reading Roundup

Confrontation, classics and comfort– that was April. Not much reading because…well…the pandemic headspace was quite frazzled. The month started with reading a book I got from the library before lockdown restrictions and ended with a reread of a childhood favourite - which pretty much describes the transition of my mind over this time.

Olga Tokarczuk has won the Nobel Prize for Literature and International Man Booker so perhaps it is no surprise that this book is so brilliant. Cannot recommend this highly enough. I read it slowly, savouring each chapter. I reveled in everything this book offers and it is a book I am sure to reread.

The plot follows an older woman narrator in remote rural Poland uncovering dead bodies while riffing on dreams, nightmares, astrology, aging, loss and life; this was compelling, confronting and laugh out loud funny. Written with acerbic insight and originality of language and voice, it delves into the psyche like digging in the rotten forest undergrowth.

Persuasion by Jane Austen is simply a favourtie book that I needed this month to quieten my brain. The story is a delightful, deftly dancing a cast of characters through a dance swinging past wrongs to be righted with heart in mouth anticipation. Perfect in every way. I listened to the audio book read by Greta Scacchi as I crocheted like a Nanna and it was super lovely.

Playing Beatie Bow by Ruth Park is an Australian Children’s Literature classic I hadn’t read since my own childhood. It is a timeslip book where a modern teenage girl slips to Victorian times in Sydney. Her experiences there help her to grow up, develop empathy and understand her own family better. The historical elements really come to life with lovely details that don't weigh down the story and it is incredibly romantic. I had forgotten how petulant the main character was - or perhaps that shows a change in my perspective from child to adult!

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