Tales of my Uncle Bob by Chris Robinson
Recommended Reads: May

Each month the TWC publishes four recommended reads on our website. Three of the recommendations are recent releases by a local Tasmanian writer, an Australian writer and a children’s writer. The fourth is a Tasmanian classic that you may not have got round to reading, or that you may not have read for a long time. If you can’t get your hands on a copy of the recommended Tasmanian classic, please feel free to pop into the library at the Tasmanian Writers’ Centre and borrow a copy from us.

We would love to hear what you think of our picks – let us know on Twitter or Facebook.

This month we also have a great competition for you. We have copies of Losing Streak by James Boyce, See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt, and Tales of My Uncle Bob by Chris Robinson to give away.

Drop our Community Engagement officer Ruth an email on ruth@taswriters.org with ‘May Reading Competition’ in the subject line, and let her know which book or books you’d like to be in the running for. Winners will be selected at random and notified by email.

Tasmanian recent release: Losing Streak by James Boyce (Black Inc, March 2017)

Losing Streak by Award winning historian James Boyce, has been described as “a meticulous, compelling case study in Governance failure, which has implications for pokies reform throughout Australia.” It tells the shocking story of how a single company came to own every poker machine in Tasmania.

Sadly, Tasmania’s recent history has become engulfed with tragic stories around the gambling industry. These include families losing houses to crippling debt, marriage breakdowns and suicides. This important read provides much needed transparency for Tasmanians as well as the rest of Australia as to how Tasmania’s gambling problem became so disastrously out of hand. Boyce covers political inside information through to David Walsh, the eccentric Tasmanian icon and creator of MONA, to provide a compelling account into the corruption surrounding gambling industry and the fundamental weaknesses of humanity.

Sarah Schmidt See what i have done

Australian recent releaseSee What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt (Hachette, March 2017)

See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt is a chilling, page-turning thrill ride that delves into the murder of Andrew and Abbey Borden in America, 1892, and the beguiling character of Lizzie, their daughter, who is suspected as the murderess. Described by Paula Hawkins, author of ‘The Girl on the Train” as “Eerie and compelling, Sarah Schmidt breathes such life into the terrible, twisted tale of Lizzie Borden and her family, she makes it impossible to look away,”

See What I Have Done will not disappoint lovers of literary intrigue and suspense. Schmidt’s prose is sparse yet full of detail. It is fast paced, constantly moving towards another tantalizing bit of evidence.

Tales of my Uncle Bob by Chris Robinson

Children’s recent release: Tales of my Uncle Bob by Chris Robinson (Xlibris, March 2017)

This delightful collection by Chris Robinson tells fifteen tales of Uncle Bob, a stranger Chris met in the Australian Outback and who he has spent more than ten years sharing his often hilarious stories with Tasmanian School children. Robinson’s language is simple yet very descriptive, and there is never a wasted word.

These stories, while aimed at the Primary School level have nonetheless given pleasure to secondary school students, who according to Chris, often ask him for more! And so he has in this little book, which we can’t recommend enough.

In ‘The Wind Blew’ Uncle Bob battles with a fierce and stubborn wind to make his way outside and up the hill to breakfast. This story about the importance of clear thinking and perseverance in times of anger or distress for problem solving is a wonderful example of Robinson’s engaging narrative style.

Uncle Bob, be he real or imagined is a solid, wise and courageous character who encompasses all the qualities we try to instil in our children; kindness, generosity, cleverness, and looking out for others. Uncle Bob’s “mousetrap mind” is full of wisdom; with one his best lines being

“Never let the big in life smother your own smallness. Just use it to grow.”

 Cover of Alkymia

Tasmanian classicAlkymia’s Child by Mariangela Parrodi (Palmer Higgs, December 2013)

 Alkymia’s Child by Mariangela Parrodi is a courageous and heart-warming story about the endless love of a mother for her child. A Chilean-Italian who now lives in Hobart, Tasmania, Mariangela’s book tells the story of her son who suffered extreme allergies as well as other health issues, learning difficulties and behavioural problems. Mariangela herself also struggled with postnatal depression, emotional isolation and a crippling guilt surrounding her initial inability to help her child. Mother and son journey back to South America where Mariangela worked with Peruvian, Bolivian and Chilean shamans who helped heal her fractured past and repair her connection with her boy.

Mariangela now runs Alkymia sanctuary where she helps others through spiritual healing and naturopathic remedies, and shares the knowledge she gained from her incredible journey, showing others how they may also reconnect with their true selves and find joy again in life. Alkymia’s Child is a liberating and joyous read that will leave you with an optimistic glow and confidence to start afresh.