Good Reading : February 2015
GOODREADINGMAGAZINE.COM.AU GOOD READING FEBRUARY 2015 72 READERS’ LIFE What You’re Reading My Story Julia Gillard Random House, $49.99 On Thursday 24 June 2010, Julia Gillard became Australia’s 27th and first female prime minister. My Story is Gillard’s record of three stressful and tumultuous years. To act as a guide for that turbulent time, criteria were written down at the urging of Alan Milburn, an advisor to Gillard and a former British cabinet minister. The list is included in the book. Two items resonated with me. One, education, was not just the key to a good job; it was also the foundation stone of a good life. And the other is that the world does not owe us a living, but there are some in our community who, because of illness, disability or age, cannot care for themselves, and to them we owe the best of our care and concern. Gillard earned my respect as education minister. I was impressed with the work she did as acting prime minister, but I was fearful when she agreed to join the coup against Kevin Rudd. I believed her when she said there’d be no carbon tax under a gover nment she would lead and was bitterly disappointed when she went back on her word. On 12 November 2012, Julia Gillard announced a Royal Commission on child sexual abuse.This was one of her most significant achievements. She mentions a mor ning tea held at Kirribilli House for advocates who fought so long for the commission and listened as survivors of sexual abuse told their stor ies. She and her staff spent the time in tears. Politics is a cut-throat, nasty business and My Story confir ms that. Rufus Greene, Brisbane Qld All the Light We Cannot See Anthony Doerr Fourth Estate, $29.99 Three years ago I made a trip to Saint-Malo in France. Little did I know when I arrived that this tranquil town had been the scene of one of the last stands of the German ar my during the waning days of the war, or that it was bombed heavily by Americans and devastated by fire as the local people cowered in their corsairs’ cellars. The author of this novel opened my eyes to another time when the world was at war. The two young protagonists, Werner and the blind Mar ie-Laure, are on opposing sides – one German, the other French. Both become casualties of a world gone mad. I liked the clever interweaving of the plot, in which each character endures their trials separately until they meet briefly near the end. The minor characters such as Papa, Etienne, Madame Manec and Volkheimer also play their parts convincingly. I couldn’t put it down. I cared, I wanted them to survive. During the occupation Marie-Laure and Werner yearn for their very different lives in Paris and Zollverein. The book reveals the horrors of war and how the lust for power and greed changed many lives. It’s also about love, hope, family and the resilience of the human spirit. The quality of the wr iting held me enthralled, such as the description of the bombing and its impact on the city with the ensuing firestorm. Not often do I come close to tears when reading a book, but with this book I was at times deeply touched by the words. Highly recommended. Anne Davy, Redhead NSW Tw o gr readers tell us about what they’ve been reading lately. All the Light We Fourth Estate, $29.99 Tin France. Little did I know when I arrived that this tranquil town had been the scene of one of three stressful and tumultuous years.
December January 2015