Good Reading : December January 2015
GOODREADINGMAGAZINE.COM.AU GOOD READING DECEMBER 2014 / JANUARY 2015 72 READERS’ LIFE What You’re Reading Celia and Nonna Victoria Lane Illustrated by Kayleen West Ford Street, $14.95 Celia and her grandmother, Nonna, have a special bond. Celia’s visits to Nonna’s house are filled with moments of magic and joy. Nonna’s home is full of delicious smells as they bake together. Celia has her own special cupboard at Nonna’s house, in which she keeps her favourite things. At bedtime Nonna reads to Celia, who is all curled up and snuggled in next to her grandmother. When Nonna’s memory starts to fail, she moves into a new home where she is safe and cared for, and people can help when she forgets things. The new room is bare and grey. It smells funny and has no stove. Celia can no longer stay with Nonna, as there is only one bed and there is no space for her special cupboard. As she pokes around she finds some paper and pencils and draws the garden at Nonna’s house. Through drawing, Celia finds peace and happiness as she illustrates all the beautiful moments she and Nonna have shared. At each weekly visit Celia draws a new picture, transforming the once bare, grey walls into an art collection filled with memories and colour. This new routine erases the strangeness of Nonna’s new place and re-establishes the magical bond between grandmother and granddaughter. Celia and Nonna is a charming book that will help many families to tackle the issues of memory loss and the transition of a grandparent into aged care. Robyn Donoghue, Bentleigh Vic How to Fight Islamist Terror from the Missionary Position Tabish Khair Constable & Robinson $24.99 It’s a catchy title for a book about three people sharing an apartment in Århus, Denmark. Ravi, from the Indian subcontinent, is in his early 30s. He’s handsome, clever and rich, and has a lively libido. He falls head over heels in love with Lena, a Danish university student. Karim, a graduate from Cairo University, is a devout Muslim with a full-flowing beard speckled with grey. He diligently reads the Koran and, according to our narrator, behaves bizarrely. The third protagonist is the narrator of the novel. He teaches at the local university and is reticent about giving his name. He meets a divorced mother of one, but still has feelings for his ex-wife. Our narrator hints at a looming crisis and mentions two recent tragedies still fresh in the minds of Århus residents: the publication in a Danish newspaper of cartoons considered by many to have insulted the prophet Muhammad, and the 2011 Norway attacks that claimed 77 lives when a Christian fundamentalist not only set off a bomb outside the office of the prime minister, but also went on a rampage and killed youngsters at a Labour Party summer camp. Throw into the mix the spasmodic visits from the pyjama-clad husband from the top-floor flat wanting a bed for the night and we have a quirky novel, full of misconceptions, humour and intrigue. This is a five-star read that would be great for reading groups. Rufus Greene, Brisbane Qld Tw o gr readers tell us about the books that have gripped them lately. Nonna, have a special bond. Celia’s visits an apartment in Århus, Denmark.