Nick Cave: Mercy on Me Graphic Novel

Reinhard Kleist     Recommended by    

“Reinhard Kleist, master graphic novelist and myth-maker has – yet again – blown apart the conventions of the graphic novel by concocting a terrifying conflation of Cave songs, biographical half-truths and complete fabulations and creating a complex, chilling and completely bizarre journey into Cave World. Closer to the truth than any biography, that’s for sure! But for the record, I never killed Elisa Day.” — Nick Cave

Employing a cast of characters drawn from Cave’s music and writing, Reinhard Kleist’s graphic novel, Nick Cave: Mercy On Me, paints an expressive and enthralling portrait of a formidable artist and influencer. Kleist captures Cave’s childhood in Australia; his early years fronting The Birthday Party; the sublime highs of his success with The Bad Seeds; and the struggles he encountered along the way to self expression. Nick Cave: Mercy on Me, like Cave’s songs, is by turns electrifying, sentimental, morbid and comic – but always engrossing.


Saga Land

Richard Fidler & Kari Gislason     Recommended by    

Broadcaster Richard Fidler and author Kári Gíslason are good friends. They share a deep attachment to the sagas of Iceland – the true stories of the first Viking families who settled on that remote island in the Middle Ages.These are tales of blood feuds, of dangerous women, and people who are compelled to kill the ones they love the most. The sagas are among the greatest stories ever written, but the identity of their authors is largely unknown.

Together, Richard and Kári travel across Iceland, to the places where the sagas unfolded a thousand years ago. They cross fields, streams and fjords to immerse themselves in the folklore of this fiercely beautiful island. And there is another mission: to resolve a longstanding family mystery – a gift from Kari’s Icelandic father that might connect him to the greatest of the saga authors.

trauma cleaner

The Trauma Cleaner: One Woman’s Extraordinary Life in Death, Decay & Disaster

Sarah Krasnostein     Recommended by    

Before she was a trauma cleaner, Sandra Pankhurst was many things: husband and father, drag queen, gender reassignment patient, sex worker, small businesswoman, trophy wife…

But as a little boy, raised in violence and excluded from the family home, she just wanted to belong. Now she believes her clients deserve no less.

A woman who sleeps among garbage she has not put out for forty years. A man who bled quietly to death in his loungeroom. A woman who lives with rats, random debris and terrified delusion. The still life of a home vacated by accidental overdose.

Sarah Krasnostein has watched the extraordinary Sandra Pankhurst bring order and care to these, the living and the dead—and the book she has written is equally extraordinary. Not just the compelling story of a fascinating life among lives of desperation, but an affirmation that, as isolated as we may feel, we are all in this together.


Norwegian Wood

Haruki Murakami     Recommended by Sharon    

When he hears her favourite Beatles song, Toru Watanabe recalls his first love Naoko, the girlfriend of his best friend Kizuki. Immediately he is transported back almost twenty years to his student days in Tokyo, adrift in a world of uneasy friendships, casual sex, passion, loss and desire – to a time when an impetuous young woman called Midori marches into his life and he has to choose between the future and the past.

A poignant story of one college student’s romantic coming-of-age, Norwegian Wood takes us to that distant place of a young man’s first, hopeless, and heroic love.



R. J. Palacio     Recommended by Sharon    

Auggie wants to be an ordinary ten-year-old. He does ordinary things – eating ice cream, playing on his Xbox. He feels ordinary – inside. But ordinary kids don’t make other ordinary kids run away screaming in playgrounds. Ordinary kids aren’t stared at wherever they go.

Born with a terrible facial abnormality, Auggie has been home-schooled by his parents his whole life. Now, for the first time, he’s being sent to a real school – and he’s dreading it. All he wants is to be accepted – but can he convince his new classmates that he’s just like them, underneath it all?

WONDER is a funny, frank, astonishingly moving debut to read in one sitting, pass on to others, and remember long after the final page.


The Children of Men

P.D. James     Recommended by Luke    

The year is 2021. No child has been born for twenty-five years. The human race faces extinction.

Under the despotic rule of Xan Lyppiat, the Warden of England, the old are despairing and the young cruel. Theo Faren, a cousin of the Warden, lives a solitary life in this ominous atmosphere. That is until a chance encounter with a young woman leads him into contact with a group of dissenters. Suddenly his life is changed irrevocably, as he faces agonising choices, which could affect the future of mankind.
Thrilling in it’s bleak dystopian realism, The Children of Men is a well-paced and thought provoking look at a world who’s human population is slowly dwindling due to mass infertility. The novel begins in an innocent tone which gives way to a more sinister and suspenseful read as it progresses. Highly recommended!

The North Water

Ian McGuire     Recommended by Sharon    

A ship sets sail with a killer on board . . .
1859. A man joins a whaling ship bound for the Arctic Circle. Having left the British Army with his reputation in tatters, Patrick Sumner has little option but to accept the position of ship’s surgeon on this ill-fated voyage. But when, deep into the journey, a cabin boy is discovered brutally killed, Sumner finds himself forced to act. Soon he will face an evil even greater than he had encountered at the siege of Delhi, in the shape of Henry Drax: harpooner, murderer, monster . . .

Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2016



Museum of Modern Love

Heather Rose     Recommended by Sharon    

Arky Levin is a film composer in New York separated from his wife, who has asked him to keep one devastating promise. One day he finds his way to The Atrium at MOMA and sees Marina Abramovic in The Artist is Present. The performance continues for seventy-five days and, as it unfolds, so does Arky. As he watches and meets other people drawn to the exhibit, he slowly starts to understand what might be missing in his life and what he must do.

Winner of the 2017 Stella Prize. A mesmerising literary novel about a lost man in search of connection – a meditation on love, art and commitment.


The Essex Serpent

Sarah Perry     Recommended by Sharon    

Set in Victorian London and an Essex village in the 1890’s, and enlivened by the debates on scientific and medical discovery which defined the era, The Essex Serpent has at its heart the story of two extraordinary people who fall for each other, but not in the usual way.

They are Cora Seaborne and Will Ransome. Cora is a well-to-do London widow who moves to the Essex parish of Aldwinter, and Will is the local vicar. They meet as their village is engulfed by rumours that the mythical Essex Serpent, once said to roam the marshes claiming human lives, has returned. Cora, a keen amateur naturalist is enthralled, convinced the beast may be a real undiscovered species. But Will sees his parishioners’ agitation as a moral panic, a deviation from true faith. Although they can agree on absolutely nothing, as the seasons turn around them in this quiet corner of England, they find themselves inexorably drawn together and torn apart.

Told with exquisite grace and intelligence, this novel is most of all a celebration of love, and the many different guises it can take.

good people

The Good People

Hannah Kent     Recommended by Sharon    

Hannah Kent’s remarkable new novel, The Good People, is set in an isolated valley in the west of Ireland early in the 19th-century.

Nóra Leahy has lost her daughter and her husband in the same year, and is now burdened with the care of her four-year-old grandson, Micheál. The boy cannot walk, or speak, and Nora, mistrustful of the tongues of gossips, has kept the child hidden from those who might see in his deformity evidence of otherworldly interference.

Unable to care for the child alone, Nóra hires a fourteen-year-old servant girl, Mary, who soon hears the whispers in the valley about the blasted creature causing grief to fall upon the widow’s house.

Alone, hedged in by rumour, Mary and her mistress seek out the only person in the valley who might be able to help Micheál. For although her neighbours are wary of her, it is said that old Nance Roche has the knowledge. That she consorts with Them, the Good People. And that only she can return those whom they have taken …

Hannah Kent’s first novel, Burial Rites, was acclaimed worldwide and it went on to be shortlisted for numerous awards, including the Stella Prize and the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction. There are echoes of Burial Rites in The Good People. Both are historical novels in which human tragedy plays out against the rhythms of the natural world, and once again Kent displays an amazing ability to immerse herself in an unfamiliar landscape and to give that landscape life and voice.  In The Good People the central characters wonderfully complex allowing the reader to feel both repulsed and intensely empathetic all at the same time.

I adored this novel.

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