Dear readers,

Welcome to Booklore, our weekly collection of books worth reading; films and television shows worth watching; art worth feasting your eyes on; and podcasts and albums worth your ear time.

James, manager at Harry Hartog Woden, is reading (and dreaming) “One,” by Andrew Hutchinson; watching the American version of “The Office”; and listening to Deutsche Welle News Hour, a German podcast with well- researched, unbiased stories and a host with a soothing voice that “provides a nice comfort from the harsh realities of everyday life.

This wonderful book is almost impossible to describe without giving anything away. All throughout I felt as though I was inside a dream, floating and being swept away by the creative flow of the text. The pace of the narrative is ever-changing: one moment you are rushing through at breakneck speed, and the next you come crashing to a halt and continue to float away as though in a dream. This pacing perfectly marries up with what is being read --  I was certain I knew where each chapter was taking me, and every time I was proven wrong. I read this book in one sitting on a rickety train from Canberra to Sydney. If you have the chance, read this book while on the move (car, bus, train or treadmill) and I guarantee it will add to the overall experience. If this book doesn’t win heaps of awards I will eat my hat.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Josh, manager at Harry Hartog Green Hills, is enraptured by Madeline Miller’s “The Song of Achilles”; and spell-bound by David Attenborrough’s “Natural Curiosities,” a Netflix documentary series recounting what Sir Attenborrough finds most fascinating about the natural world.

Madeline Miller’s background in Latin and Ancient Greek has left her in good stead to tackle the subject of this novel, the heroes originally captured in Homer’s epic poem, The Iliad. Patroclus has never been the ideal son to his father. While not sickly, he is a prince that does not embody the ideals that are so lauded among the royalty of ancient Greece. So, when he makes a mistake so bad as to demand retribution from a rival family, he is exiled to the lands of King Peleus and his perfect son, Achilles. Despite the differences between Patroclus and Achilles, they form a beautiful friendship that only develops into something deeper as they mature into young men. Then war erupts between Greece and the kingdom of Troy and Achilles is sent to fulfil the destiny that has seemed to surround him from boyhood. Patroclus follows, torn between love and fear for Achilles, not knowing that the brutal trials of the years ahead will challenge them both to breaking point. Miller’s account of Patroclus’ life and the battle of Troy is beautifully written, full of phrases that walk the line of beauty and brutality, capturing the world of Ancient Greece perfectly. I often find myself amazed, pausing over one line or another that so beautifully captures a piece of the action, it seems wrong that it describes something so deadly or so serious.

This is a read that holds a dear place on my bookshelf, and one that I am not afraid to admit has been bought in several editions. For any reader who treasures the stories of the ancient world or even someone who is just setting foot on the sandy beaches of Troy for the first time, this is a must read.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Taylor, bookseller at Harry Hartog Miranda, is enchanted by Kelly Barnhill’s young adult novel, “The Witch Boy.”

This is a darkly enchanting tale; full of redemption, bravery, friendship and magic. And although aimed at a younger audience, Kelly Barnhill’s writing transcends age and will appeal to young and mature readers alike, as it reads very similar to traditional fantasies of the past. The sons of a witch, Ned and Tam, are identical twins from a small village that borders an ominous forest. Whilst building a raft to journey to the sea, the brothers fall into the cursed river and only Ned survives. Ned grows up troubled by the death of his twin, until the day the Bandit King threatens to steal his mother’s magic. Despite all odds, Ned retaliates against the Bandit King and decides to prove his worth by enlisting the help of a mysterious and courageous girl who he happens upon in the forest. This novel explores the grey area that exists between good and evil, and the importance of believing in and being yourself. If you love the classic and whimsical nature of films like; ‘Brave’, ‘The Dark Crystal’, ‘or ‘Princess Mononoke,’ then this book is definitely for you!

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Pip, bookseller at Harry Hartog Miranda, is reading the “Illuminae Files 01” by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman; and listening to “Harry Potter and the Sacred Text,” a podcast dedicated to the dissection of each Harry Potter book: “Two Harry Potter lovers analyse the Harry Potter books chapter by chapter through a particular lens -- forgiveness, generosity, loneliness. Treating the Harry Potter books as a religious text, it utilises the sacred analytical practices of other religions to provoke both serious and fandom-related discussion of Potter and Rowling’s world.”

A mind-blowing trilogy by two awesome Australian authors, the Illuminae Files is a story of epic proportions, featuring a kick-butt ensemble of young adults who are just trying to live their lives, and save their galaxy. Humorous and action-packed, don’t be intimidated by its size as it’s written entirely in message text, diagrams, video analysis and features journal illustrations from author Marie Lu. You will devour each book in one sitting.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Ashton, new bookseller at Harry Hartog Miranda (Welcome, Ashton!) is taken by “The Book of Dust,” by Phillip Pullman.

When I first read Phillip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy, I was hooked: it was fantastical, infinitely charming, and accessible, yet dealt with issues of great weight and consequence.  A decade later and The Book Dust, a prequel to the original trilogy, although I have not yet finished reading it, promises not to disappoint.  Pullman writes with clarity and warmth and his world is sharply defined: ever so similar to our own, and yet seized of a strangeness that turns on subtle differences and exudes intrigue and wonder. The Book of Dust’s protagonist, 11-year-old Malcolm Polmstead, is inquisitive, precocious, and likable; through Malcolm, Pullman assures the reader that he or she will be in very fine company for this particular journey, touted as an exploration into the marvel of consciousness. With Malcolm as my skipper on his boat, La Belle Sauvage, I’m eager to weather the journey with him.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Megan, manager at Harry Hartog Narellan, is being transported by “The Diabolic,” by SJ Kincaid:

This book was an accidental pick-up: I don’t usually read stories set in space, but I am intensely glad I did. From the moment I read the first chapter all the way till I was up at 3 am on the same day finishing it, I was captured. This story deals with so many moral and ethical issues surrounding what it means to be human, but is subtle enough that you don’t notice until you finish the book and sit there with a stunned mullet expression on your face. The character development is amazing, and the twists and turns are a slap in your face. The protagonist, Nemesis – who is created to protect one person, and kill others if they try to harm her - tells the story in such a tone, you start to think like the ‘Diabolic’ – there’s no feeling in it. Suspicions of everyone are high, and there is so much questioning: “Am I really non-human?”  “If I feel emotions, doesn’t that mean I’m the same as everyone else?” Humanity is what she’s after and that’s one thing everyone says she was built without.

This space odyssey stayed with my days after I read it, and I’m truly passionate about recommending it to teens and adults alike.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Kirsten, assistant manager at Harry Hartog Narellan, is loving “A Garden of Lillies” by Judith Rossell (“For Parents who want subtly tell their child that there are consequences for their actions, this is a must. 

Told with heart, it’s a cautionary tale from A to Z”); and “Heart Forger” by Rin Chupeco (“The second in the Bone Witch series, this is an enchanting tale of death and vengeance, and the consequences of crossing the protagonist in war.”).