Love, Trudy: The books I love to recommend.
I am often asked for my recommendations for great books. While I can recommend many from what the publishers tell me, this is a bunch of my favourite books that I have read in full and loved and now recommend to you. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did! The books that I love include books for young children, junior fiction and some of my favourite fiction.
Anything by Alison Lester
We like to claim Alison Lester as a "local" and her books never fail to please. Our own children have a signed copy of Magic Beach that they cherish. We often have Alison Lester books available in Hardback, Paperback and Board Book formats to suit all shoppers' needs. Our best-sellers include Magic Beach, Imagine, Alsion Lester's ABC, My Farm, Noni the Pony, My Dog Bigsy, Tricky's Bad Day, and The Painted Ponies. I recommend them all.
Alison Lester books are great for toddlers and kinder kids, but she has some great novels for older kids such as The Quicksand Pony, The Snow Pony and Running with the Horses. As a former nurse at the Children's Hospital, I was super-excited when she collaborated with another favourite author Jane Godwin and the kids themselves to write The Silver Sea.
All Through the Year
Jane Godwin and Anna Walker
Speaking of Jane Godwin, this is our family favourite picture book. Our kids are a bit older now but their love for it remains. We love that this book is every bit as Victorian as we are. The story follows one family with three kids and a dog all through the year; month by month, season by season with references to the things we love like the Footy and the Royal Melbourne Show. It has beautiful illustrations and a rhyming text that makes this a wonderful read-out-loud story as well as a beautiful gift for friends from afar. This is a book I try never to sell out of and is a go-to suggestion for a gift book.
If you have a 10 year old or older and you haven't read wonder with them, then be sure to make it your next read! I say read it together for a few reasons, firstly it is actually a great book, but also, Wonder is one of those books that is full of moments worthy of discussion. At the heart of Wonder is kindness, my favourite quote from the book is “try to be Kinder than is necessary. Because it's not enough to be kind. One should be kinder than needed.” We gave our son a copy of Wonder when he was ten, he had read the first three chapters when I asked him if he was enjoying it. He said he was and I opened his book and read out loud to him the first three chapters (yes, he thought I was nuts). Then we talked about the book, what we thought would happen and what we liked so far. I then tucked him in and took his book out to the lounge room and continued reading. I was hooked! We read the book separately but together for the rest of the book, and talked about it all along. All three of our kids have loved it now, and then we saw the movie too. I think that if you have seen the movie before reading the book, it is still well worth reading, there are quotes you will remember forever that didn't make the Hollywood Cut, and so much more to the book than could be squeezed into a movie length version.
Scrublands is a rare treat of a book that I am happy to recommend to Blokes as much as women. Now I am not being stereotypical here, I just know that the books I love do not ordinarily appeal to my husband. This great tale has been read and thoroughly enjoyed by my Allen and Unwin account manager Mark, by my Mother, my Sister, my Husband and by me. I have recommended it to many customers who have also loved it. My husband has also read Chris Hammer's recent book Silver and loved it even more!
A Man Called Ove
Oh! I loved this book! I loved Ove too! He was such a grumpy old bugger that really endeared himself to me, the reader. I will say that Ove is said to be much younger in the book than I pictured him in the story, but once I decided he was older than the book said, I read on and it didn't affect the story, just made me feel better. The thing that I took away from this wonderful story is Community, and that the community is just as important to the elderly as the elderly is to the community. There is a certain quirkiness to this book that I love when I am reading and it is definitely something I search for in books now, I found that also in Eleanor Oliphant is Completely fine and The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared.
The Forest of Wool and Steel
There is something really wonderful about Japanese writing and the translation to English that I enjoy reading. This book is such a calm meditation to read and although you may say that the story is a simple one, that is to say not a complex plot, the way the story meanders along is what I loved most about it. It is the story of one man and his vocation, and the perseverance required to work through his own doubts about his abilities and aspirations to do the work to the standard of his more experienced colleagues. I found this book to be a lovely and calming read, which in this current day is perhaps more important than ever. I am now reading another book set in Japan, The Phone Box at the Edge of the World. Just as I found with The Forest of Wool and Steel, I am finding this to be a calm story.
I hope that you will enjoy some or all of these books, there are many more that I have read in full and loved and I may write more on these later. As a bookseller, my TBR pile grows to impossible heights and I will never read some of the greatest books of all time. I do listen to my customers though and many share with me their recommendations. In our store, I am always asked for recommendations and am happy to share mine and my customers favourite books. I speak to the publishers every month and we talk about each book that is coming through, in fact there are some books I can't wait to recommend that haven't even been published yet!