Book Chat Issue #55
Hello reading friends and a big warm welcome to new subscribers.
The nights have turned a little cooler here on the Central Coast, but the days are warm and sunny. Autumn is definitely my favourite time of the year; perfect for reading and eating.
What I’ve been reading
Do you ever resist reading a book because you know it might be challenging or confronting, but when you do read it, you’re glad you did?
I had that experience with Tracey Lien’s debut, All that’s left unsaid. I really didn’t want to read it, but it was fantastic. The cover blurb says it all…
A story of great grief and even greater love, this beautiful and powerful book will break you open and change you inside.
Alice Pung OAM
Set in 1996 in Cabramatta (a suburb of Sydney), All that’s left unsaid tells the story of a young Vietnamese-Australian woman who returns home to her family in the wake of her brother’s shocking murder, determined to discover what happened.
The local police are battling the worst heroin epidemic in Australian history and have neither the time nor the inclination to find out who murdered Denny Tran. They assume her much loved and brilliant brother has been caught up in a gangland shooting and consider the case more or less closed. Ky learns that despite her brother being murdered in a restaurant full of customers, no-one will come forward and say what really happened.
Ky decides to track down the witnesses herself and with each encounter she discovers more about herself, her family and her community, and how they have been shaped by trauma, colonialism and discrimination.
This is a beautifully written book that’s also a page-turner. I urge you to read it.
What I’ve been eating
Anzac Day is a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand that commemorates all Australians and New Zealanders who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations. On April 25th, many thousands of Australians attend services at their local cenotaph or watch the big Anzac parade on telly.
We also eat Anzac biscuits.
These are hard crunchy biscuits made with rolled oats, golden syrup and coconut that were sent to the troops in Gallipoli because they travel well.
This year (for something different), I made an Anzac cake which featured all the same flavours. It was quite nice, but I think the traditional biscuits go better with a cup of tea and are virtually foolproof. Here’s a recipe. Why not try it yourself?
Other good things
This week I want to give a shout out to another bookish newsletter published by Gayla Gray.
Gayla always has lots of excellent reading recommendations and her latest issue issue featured a link round-up (a collection of interesting things to read) which I enjoyed immensely.
In particular, I was thrilled to discover The Food Podcast presented by Lindsay Cameron Wilson. If you’re interested in food and love good story-telling, have a listen. I especially enjoyed this episode on how Lindsay develops her ideas into stories.
Why not sign up for Gayla’s newsletter as well? It’s good.
That’s all for this issue,
Warm wishes and happy reading!