Blog

WWWR? (What Would Woden Read)

Our well-read Woden team have spilled the beans on what they've been reading in this week's Spotlight on QBD!

Tell The Truth, Shame The Devil by Melina Marchetta:

Melina Marchetta holds a very special place in the hearts of Australians, her books dealing with coming of age in a multicultural Australia are considered de rigueur for a generation of young adult readers. Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil is her first foray into adult fiction and she doesn't disappoint.

Chief Inspector Bish Ortley of the London Met receives a call that his daughter has been caught up in a bomb attack at a camp ground in France. As he races to her side his past is about to catch up with him because on site is Violet LeBrac, daughter of the infamous Noor LeBrac, the terrorist he helped put away 13 years ago. As the Police investigate the bomb attack and their attention turns to Violet, Bish will be dragged back into the web of LeBrac family history.

Thus begins a great read, a thrilling crime novel, a story of family ties, and, with Melina's signature style, a story of growing up in truly tumultuous times. - Rachel

Girt: The Unauthorised History of Australia by David Hunt:

History’s role is to inform. But what it informs us depends on the person writing it. What we usually don’t learn about are the murkier things, the oddities and the nonsense items. Yet it is amidst these that David Hunt, in Girt, has penned a satirical, tongue-in-cheek, very funny yet strangely informative account of the history of the Australian continent up until the demise of Governor Macquarie.

Take for example the matter of Joseph Banks, esteemed botanist, discoverer of a multitude of forms of flora and fauna on James Cook’s first southern voyage and eventual President of the influential Royal Society. He was also a womaniser, boozer and spoiled brat, although that did not seem to make it into my secondary school Australian History. Banks successfully lobbied for command of a second voyage down south. But he also demanded rebuilding of an entire ship’s deck to better house he and his mates. The changes so overbalanced the ship that Cook refused to sail it. Banks had a dummy spit and quit the voyage - although he forgot to tell the woman travelling under her own means to Madeira, dressed as a man - expecting to meet Banks when Cook’s second voyage finally arrived. This is typical of the fun in Hunt’s writing.

Hunt’s second book in the series, True Girt, was short-listed for the 2017 Russell Prize for Humour Writing and Girt is easily up to the same, delightful standard. - Ross

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline:

Ready Player One is a rare breed of book. It seems that rather than creating the plot and the way that the characters fit into it, the author decided to create a list of numerous 80's references and built the plot around these references. As a result those that enjoyed geek pop culture from the 80's are in for a very strong nostalgia trip. However, do not let this deter younger readers as the book still has themes relating to millenials. Virtual reality, climate change, economic stagnation and fear of the future are the novels larger themes. The plot revolves around the main character Wade Watts who escapes real life by playing Oasis, a ubiquitous MMORPG in which anything can happen and to which almost the whole world is addicted.

The creator of the Oasis (James Halliday, not the wine guy) has since passed away leaving his immense fortune behind to whoever completes his challenges and finds the keys to his "Easter Egg" in Oasis. Whoever finds the Easter egg will acquire Halliday's immense fortune and control of the Oasis. So begins Wade's quest to complete all the challenges before the other competitors and to control Halliday's fortune.- Alex

Commonwealth by Ann Patchett:

We are often told not to judge a book by its cover, but in this case I ignored that and I do not regret it one bit.

Patchett is well known for her earlier imaginative novels Bel Canto and State of Wonderbut this new novel is quite a new departure and clearly autobiographical. As she knows her subject matter better than anything else in the world, she brings all her considerable skills to the creation of the blended Keating and Cousins family.

In the 60s in Los Angeles, at a Christening party for baby Franny Keating, Bert Cousins, an assistant DA, arrives with a bottle of gin and leaves with the heart of the baby's mother Beverly. Thus begins the blending (or commonwealth) of their 6 children as they leave California to settle in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The long set-piece chapter on the christening party would make a fine short story on its own, and the later stories of the children's lives as kids and as adults refer back to it often.

All the children and adults have chapters seen from their point of view: a meeting with a novelist who steals their story, accidental arson, a meditation retreat in Switzerland and more. But central to the story is a death. An event only hinted at initially, then developed image by image until the truth is revealed. There is a gun, but why is it there?

The beautiful mother whose actions set this story in motion catches the eye but is almost silent throughout the book. Her voice is passed on in the chapters devoted to the main character Franny, who was the babe in arms when her mother and Bert Cousins first kiss (dirty nappy and all).

Commonwealth is not a novel of events or of finding a solution, it ends in the way that family life does: by not ever ending. It is a masterful novel, that is perfectly controlled and in which not all questions are or can be answered.

This is my novel of the year so far. - David

The Boy Who Saw by Simon Toyne:

The Boy Who Saw is the second in a truly unique new series, a fast paced thriller with a good dose of mysticism. Following on from the first book Solomon Creed, we find Solomon, still with amnesia, again drawn to a person who he believes he must save, but from what or whom?

When a tailor in Cordes in southern France is killed in a horrific manner a conspiracy spanning decades and dating back to WWII will be uncovered but what is Solomon's part in the past and will he come any closer to learning his identity?

This sequel continues the same great characterization and exciting plot line. Simply a must have for any fans of Dan Brown or David Baldacci. - Rachel

The Rag Tag Fleet by Ian W. Shaw:

Kokoda and the New Guinea campaign in World War II are part of the Australian psyche. But it couldn’t have happened as it did without supplies – bullets, bombs, food, fuel etc. But the New Guinea coastal area is largely shallow and ridden with reefs ready to rip the hull out of ships. There were insufficient airfields capable of carrying larger aircraft loaded down with the necessaries. So how did all those crucial supplies get delivered to make the Kokoda victory possible?

Enter the Small Ships Section. This was a fleet of small vessels capable of delivering to those problem areas. Harassed by Japanese fighter planes while barely armed themselves and battling the elements as well as the treacherous coast, the ships and crews achieved what the rest of the naval and air forces had been unable to do. While nominally sailing under the US Navy, these were mainly Australians, either too young or too old for regular service. However, it was a great disappointment to realise just how reluctant Australian authorities were for decades to recognise that service.

Ian W Shaw has continued his usual theme of researching Australians at war, unearthing the little-told stories. And, also as usual, as much as possible of it is told through the eyes and words of the participants, bringing a more human touch to his narrative. - Ross

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

New Life for a Beloved Classic

When Margaret Atwood's dystopian novel The Handmaid's Tale was released in 1985, it was an immediate and visceral success. Thirty-two years later, the novel is even more terrifying and socially relevant today.

Set in the Republic of Gilead, a totalitarian theocracy that has overthrown the United States government, The Handmaid's Tale follows the story of Offred - a woman that is prized for her fertility in the same way horsebreeders value a winning horse. Offred is a Handmaid, a woman in indentured servitude to the Commander. She has one purpose only - to bear his healthy children (not as easy as one may think in this near future dystopia) and then to be assigned to her next household. But Offred is not a horse. she is a woman; she can remember a time before Gilead, her husband and young daughter, and perhaps more dangerously...she remembers her own name.

The Handmaid's Tale is a story of survival in the face of oppression, and the strength of the human condition despite all attempts to break it down. Readers today will no doubt identify just as strongly with Offred's plight as they did when the novel was first published. This is a must-read for any fan of thrilling dystopia, or someone just looking to remind themselves why our lives today are so precariously wonderful.

The Handmaid's Tale has just been adapted into a critically acclaimed HBO television series, but as always, there's nothing better than the book!

Robina’s Really Rad Reviews!

 

Our Robina team have hand-picked some really rad reads for a great day at the beach! (or relaxing in your pyjamas!)

 

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson:

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck is a fantastic book if you want a down-to-earth, no punches pulled approach to leading a good life. Mark Manson has written a hilarious and insightful book into the BS people tell themselves to get by in life and how in our materialistic world we care too much for inconsequential people and things instead of prioritising the things that matter. Manson also writes about how we need to stop deluding ourselves into believing our lives should be happy all day, every day instead of accepting the terrible situations we find ourselves in and taking responsibility for our own choices. This book was a great laugh but also made me realise that I can't stand in front of a mirror and tell myself that I am happy. I have to persevere through the hard times and discover true happiness when those hard times are dealt with instead of ignoring them or blaming others. Read this if you want a great motivational book without all the fluff! - Chelsea

The Book Seat:

I've bought two Book Seats so far as presents. One was for my Dad to use after an abdominal operation made reading uncomfortable. Never thought I'd see a sixty-something man willing to use it, but now he wouldn't read without it! The other was for my teenage daughter who fell in love with the new range of colours we recently received. Finally she could get her own to match her room's decor! And I'm a happy Mum knowing she's using it not only to read her favourite books but also for using with her iPad and tablet. - Angela
This product is only available in store. Please see your local store for available colours.

1666- Plague, War and Hellfire by Rebecca Rideal:

England would never be the same after the years 1665-66. Terror and fear came to the island; ongoing war with the Dutch, the Black Death (which killed 68,596 in London alone), and the huge conflagration that destroyed much of the medieval city. Superstition, prejudice, fear of foreigners and invasion reigned. An eloquently written account and anyone interested in British history should read this book. I learnt a lot from it and thoroughly enjoyed it. - Maxine

Blood Meridian by Cormack McCarthy:

Cormack McCarthy's Blood Meridian depicts a more real, less romanticised view of the American west in the 1850s. It is a world with no room for heroes; only men and women who do what they have to do to get by in a world so bankrupt of any morality. The plot follows the Glanton Gang who collect scalps from native americans for bounty and sometimes for pleasure. The amount of sheer violence and lechery of the Glanton Gang can sometimes become a bit too morbid but the narration is written so masterfully it creates a compulsion to continue exploring the juxtaposition of heinous imagery never before told with such beautiful prose. This is the perfect book for anybody who is sick and tired of stories with fake cowboy mythology and camp western tropes. - Elliott

The Wind-up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami:

I can never forget this book, and in Murakami style, it leaves you feeling wonderfully eerie long after you have put it down. This story is about Toru, who welcomes you to delve into his embarrassing and honest thoughts, dreams and strange conversation with all the new people he meets. There are also many interesting parallels and paradoxes he finds himself in, in fact, you will find that Toru himself is both a very ordinary and extraordinary man. I hope the pinnacle moments he shares make you feel something--if it may either be the fright of the unknown or the inspiration to do something others may perceive as completely insane. The thing I hope the most, though, is that you find yourself in that insanity, the way Toru has. - Dana

The Messenger by Markus Zusak:

Written in such a compelling and capturing sense, The Messenger by Markus Zusak will leave readers on the edge of their seat as it follows Ed Kennedy, a card-playing, 19 year old under-age cab driver trying to make a living. Might seem pretty ordinary right? Just a teenager trying to survive the big world. After Ed stops a bank heist in which he is a held hostage in, Ed life turns completely upside down. Playing cards are delivered to his house with dangerous yet society aiding tasks in which he must complete. With the help of his friends, Ed plays with the law in order to complete these tasks successfully and without getting caught. Readers will enjoy the fast paced mystery of; Who is creating the tasks?, Why are the tasks being created? And Why is Ed Kennedy the one receiving these tasks?. Zusak his written this novel in such a way that cannot be put down, it leaves readers wanting answers and reason to these questions. Even if you are fanatic fantasy reader or a dedicated biography reader, The Messenger is sure to keep you captivated and reading for hours on end. - Jade

Falling Into Place by Amy Zhang:

A novel written about a girl, Liz Emerson, who's life was supposed to be perfect, but of course, was only perfect in everyone else eyes. She was seen as your typical popular high school teen who was 'loved' but at the same time envied by every student. She partied every week, had a boyfriend everyone wanted and was spoiled. Till one day she decided to test the laws of motion she had learnt in physics class by purposefully driving her car off the road, but why would she do it? After all her life was perfect, right? This story delves into how Liz Emerson truly felt about the way her life was and how she wish it were to be. But it doesn't stop there, after her accident a mystery narrator is thrown into the plot as he's someone who was watching from afar and never really talked to Liz, but may have been the only one who really understood her. Throughout the novel you get to understand her friends and family characters and how the accident impacted them as well as flashing back to all the little things that lead Liz to this decision. Amy Zhang has you rethinking all of your life decisions all the while tears and frustration are evident on your face throughout the read. - Kate

Each week a new store goes under our QBD Spotlight!
Keep an eye out for your favourite QBD team!

QBD Cairns’ Warming Winter Reads

 

These hot titles, hand selected by QBD Cairns, are perfect to keep you warm on a cold winter's night!

 

IT by Stephen King:

"Beware Balloons! While your at "IT" run from Clowns, truly if you see one. Run, run away."
This is what I remember from Stephen Kings brilliant horror book IT many years ago.
Now reading IT once more in preparation for the upcoming movie release all the terror and chills have come swarming back.

This is a classic story about the growing pains of a close group of nerdy misfits. So IT should be a very moving tale, full of quirky misadventures etc. But then this is Stephen King's take on life in the small town of Derry. You will never look at clowns and balloons the same way ever, ever again. Read this one late at night with only a candle for light or better yet try reading IT at the Circus.

Clowns how I love them! - Steve

Weber's Barbecue Bible

This book's title totally encapsulates the essence of this cookbook. It truly is biblical in barbecue scope. If there is only 1 book I would recommend for novices or experts alike on the techniques on barbecuing, this would be it. Hands down. Not only does the author cover the expected topics, such as hamburgers, kebabs and the like, he includes more advanced (but very well described with accompanying pictures) meals. This really is a 1 stop shop for all things related to the barbecue from beginner to advanced. My highest recommendation. - Glen

Spice and Wolf Manga Vol.2 by Isuna Hasekura & Keito Koume & Paul Starr & Terri Delgado:

Spice and Wolf's graphic novel is actually the 3rd in a long line of adaptations for Isuna Hasekura's Spice and Wolf novella series. Each adaptation has been transformed on a new medium, from book to animated series to graphic novel. As this is the third time it's been adapted it does feel like elements of the story have been rushed due the fact that it almost recognizes that the audience has most likely seen or read the story and is buying this just for the novelty factor of it being in comic format. However that's not to say that it's not great, it still offers the same amazing story about two travelers delving into the life of a medieval era merchant gambling with economics. The fact that it's in manga format means that the twists of the story pop with a page turn in a way that a book or a TV series can't.

The manga series also has the advantage of being able to spend much more time on it's artwork compared to an animated series due to the fact that animated series have to
simplify the designs in order for it to be drawn efficiently for each frame. Volume Two also feels like it has come into it's own far better than the first and the story is less rushed.
Therefore I award Spice and Wolf Vol. 2 with a score of 3.5 stars. - Lachlan

Taco Loco! by Jonas Cramby:

You had me at Taco. Taco Loco! Is exactly as the title states, a book thats crazy about Taco's and all things Mexican. The vibrant pictures that Jonas Cramby has incorporated makes you feel like you're walking through the streets of Mexico, sampling the delicious food that is on display. Learn how to prepare margaritas, micheladas, churros and salsas... but watch out, they've got bite! - Nadine

Deliciously Ella Every Day by Ella Woodward:

Deliciously Ella Every Day is an excellent companion to Ella Woodward's first book Deliciously Ella, with more simple and delectable recipes to enjoy. This book is a wonderful resource in the kitchen for all food lovers, but is particularly helpful to those on a gluten-free or plant-based (dairy, egg & meat free) diet. Her recipes are rich and wholesome, and what I particularly enjoy about them is that they are created using simple, everyday ingredients, and are quick to prepare and cook. If you are looking for something healthy, wholesome, and delicious, you can't go past Deliciously Ella Every Day. Bon Appetit! - Kirstie

The Help by Kathryn Stockett:

The Help by Kathryn Stockett focuses on the injustices faced by African American's in the 60's. Set in Mississippi during times of immense change and embedded racial hatred, this novel throws the reader into a different world with first hand accounts of the fear and hate experienced during this time.
The novel follows the journey of an aspiring white woman who wants a career in journalism and two African-American maids who are ready for change! Thus a collaborative project form, and with the assistance of the 'coloured' help, they manage to publish a book that creates upheaval and lights the spark for change.
From the beginning to the end you are intrigued by the characters and their stories. You experience the acceptance and change that occurs as a result of people who stand up for what they believe in. A terrific book that ties in history and a great message- Stand up for what you believe in! - Selena

Into The Water by Paula Hawkins:

Impressive from the very first page, Paula Hawkins knows how to write a good mystery and her second novel Into The Water is nothing short of extraordinary. Mixing modern day drama with historical suspense, follow the residents of Beckford as they try to piece together their shattered community after two deaths in the local "Drowning Pool". While Katie was young and innocent, Nel was mature and provocative. So how did both of these women, with seemingly little in common, lose their lives in the Drowning Pool, and why? Why are their names now added to those of the Beckford Sister's, a name given to all the troublesome women who have met similar ends in this small community? - Erin (Store Manager)

Each week a new store is featured on the QBD Blog.
Keep your eye out for your local team!

Spotlight on QBD Knox

Our Spotlight is shining on the QBD Knox team this week
and all their wonderful reading suggestions!

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss:

Patrick Rothfuss' The Name of the Wind is a MUST read for any fantasy fan. A magnificent start to one of the best fantasy series I have ever read! It tells the story of Kvothe, a man from humble beginnings who has become a legend in his own lifetime. From travelling with a troupe of musical performers to surviving as an orphan in a crime-riddled city to entering an esteemed school of magic, the story of Kvothe's adventures are filled with mystery, action, tragedy and romance. The story is presented in first person perspective as Kvothe, now living in hiding as 'Kote' who is retelling his life story to a travelling scribe. This gives you glimpses into the state of the world in the present which is intermingled with Kvothe's past , presenting an intricately layered story that keeps an air of mystery surrounding the overall plot. Quite a long read at over 700 pages, but this one had me getting to the end too quickly and wanting more! The second book The Wise Man's Fear is just as good and has me biting my fingernails while I wait for the final book in the trilogy to be released. Perfect for any fans of Robert Jordan or Brandon Sanderson! - Mitch

How To Tell If Your Cat is Plotting to Kill You by Matthew Inman:

This book answers the true question in life- “Is my cat plotting to kill me?”.
How To Tell If Your Cat is Plotting to Kill You perfectly captures the cynical and evil nature of cats and teaches us that your cat isn't just a fluffy hot water bottle you keep on your lap.
Matt Inman's humorous comics perfectly capture cats plans to obtain world domination.
Whilst they look cute, Inman artfully suggest that your favourite feline friend bringing home a dead animal isn't for trophy purposes, but as a warning of what's to come.
Similarly, getting litter all over the floor isn't just your cat being messy, but instead is a sign your cat is practicing to bury you.
These vibrant cartoons will make you question your cats every move and are very reminiscent of Garfield comics.
This book is a must read for all cat lovers, cat haters and cat enthusiasts at large. I would also highly suggest you buy a copy for your dog so he can learn how to combat the family cat.
- Maddie

A Rose For The Anzac Boys by Jackie French:

A Rose for the ANZAC Boys has made it's way into my Top 10!! Another thoroughly researched book from the amazing storyteller Jackie French.
Set in WW1 this story is about 3 siblings, desperate to sign up to see the world & dreaming of adventure. Little did they know of the dreadful outcome that their naive decisions would hold for them.
You are taken to the deep muddy trenches of France and Gallipoli and experience all the plights of what war really entailed through letters from Midge, Ethel, Anne and the ANZACS.
Great for Young Adults (& Old Adults) who would like an insight into what the men & woman had to cope with when their dreams of excitement turned out to be horrific nightmares.- Tracey

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld:

Uglies is a young adult book by one of my favourite authors. It's set in a world where beauty standards have become so warped that each person undergoes extensive plastic surgery at the age of sixteen, transitioning them from 'uglies' to 'pretties'. But there's something sinister behind all that beauty; those who undergo the transition seem to become different people altogether. When her strange friend runs away, Tally's world is turned upside down as she's sent to retrieve the girl if she ever wants to be 'pretty'.
Scott Westerfeld has created an amazing dystopian world which makes the reader question their own ideals of beauty and of the current world at large. Just how much people are willing to sacrifice to be pretty – and is it all really worth it?
I felt like the book had a great body positivity vibe and really enjoyed exploring the world further in its sequels. - Lana

Throne of Glass series by Sarah J Maas:

The Throne of glass series written by Sarah J Maas has quickly become one of my favorite series that I have read to date. It is packed full of twists and turns, each chapter leaving you not wanting...but needing more.
It is a young adult, fantasy read that follows the journey of Celaena Sardothien, a teenage assassin stuck in a corrupted kingdom. As her journey unfolds, we are introduduced to various characters, kingdoms, and supernatural worlds that all slowly begin to collide and pave the way for Celaena Sardothien to eventually embrace her fate.
Sarah J Maas is constantly leaving me in awe of her ability to write such a thrilling and engaging story, with the characters progessively developing; along with their relationships with one another. She is always planting little seeds that, at the time, seem irrelevant, but as the story continues and bombshell after bombshell is dropped, you find every little detail is crucial.
I highly recommend this series for readers who have as much spare time as possible, because you will need it. You cant put these books down. - Cassie

Each week our QBD Spotlight shines on another store.
Keep your eye out for your local team!