Book Haul – 17 to 23 July 2020

Every so often a book will come into my life at exactly the right time. This week I’ve been reading Edith Eger’s The Choice and if ever there was a right book at the right time, it’s this one. I don’t even know how to process it all yet so, although it’s taking me a lot longer to read than I expected, I’m glad I don’t have to put words together in some sort of order about it yet.

In between wrapping my head around Edith’s story and her remarkable insight, I’ve been for a couple of walks on the beach. Today I was about to leave the shore but looked back one last time and saw three dolphins catching a wave! I also found the once upon a tree that I first saw in mid-June.

At the time it was gorgeous, covered with pelagic goose barnacles, but because it was beached they didn’t survive. Eventually the entire thing was covered by sand but it must have found its way to the surface again after last week’s big waves. It just goes to show how powerful the ocean is; the once upon a tree had moved much further along the beach than I thought possible.

American Horror Story is one of my current TV series binges. I’ve rewatched Murder House and Asylum so far, and have had Dominique on repeat in my head for days. Although I absolutely adore Asylum I was relieved to begin Coven last night to hopefully replace my Dominique earworm with some Stevie Nicks instead.

I’ve seen Stevie in concert a few times but being in the audience when she was accompanied by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra during her Gold Dust tour remains one of my all time concert highlights. I haven’t listened to music much recently but being reminded of how alive it makes me feel has me wanting to remedy that.

Word of the Week: Gléo-dreám. Dreám meant “joy” or “pleasure” in Old English. Gléo-dreám literally means “glee-joy,” but it specifically referred to the feeling of pleasure that comes from listening to music.

Bookish Highlight of the Week: I won a copy of The Lost Soul Atlas by Zana Fraillon in a competition hosted by Hachette Australia Children’s Books. There are so many book competitions I’m not eligible to enter because I don’t live in America so I tend to pounce on any I find that I can enter. I love book mail so much! I can’t wait for this one to arrive so I can read it. Very gently though, because it comes with a signed bookplate! 😊

This week I reviewed:

Until next time, happy reading!

Kindle Black Hole of Good Intentions

Consultant psychiatrist Dr Mark Cross knows a lot about anxiety. Many of his patients are sufferers, which is hardly surprising, given anxiety is the most common mental health condition in Australia, affecting up to one in four people at some point in their lives. But Mark also knows about anxiety from another perspective, because he too has suffered from anxiety all his life.

In this book, the well-known author of Changing Minds, who featured on the award-winning ABC TV series of the same name, demystifies this mental illness in his trademark warm and friendly style. He looks at causes, treatments, both medical and natural, anxiety in the workplace and more, sharing his own experiences as well as stories from others. 

Two Truths and a Lie. The girls played it all the time in their tiny cabin at Camp Nightingale. Vivian, Natalie, Allison, and first-time camper Emma Davis, the youngest of the group. The games ended when Emma sleepily watched the others sneak out of the cabin in the dead of night. The last she – or anyone – saw of them was Vivian closing the cabin door behind her, hushing Emma with a finger pressed to her lips.

Now a rising star in the New York art scene, Emma turns her past into paintings – massive canvases filled with dark leaves and gnarled branches that cover ghostly shapes in white dresses. The paintings catch the attention of Francesca Harris-White, the socialite and wealthy owner of Camp Nightingale. When Francesca implores her to return to the newly reopened camp as a painting instructor, Emma sees an opportunity to try to find out what really happened to her friends.

Yet it’s immediately clear that all is not right at Camp Nightingale. Already haunted by memories from fifteen years ago, Emma discovers a security camera pointed directly at her cabin, mounting mistrust from Francesca and, most disturbing of all, cryptic clues Vivian left behind about the camp’s twisted origins. As she digs deeper, Emma finds herself sorting through lies from the past while facing threats from both man and nature in the present.

And the closer she gets to the truth about Camp Nightingale, the more she realises it may come at a deadly price. 

There is a Wild Man who lives in the deep quiet of Greenhollow, and he listens to the wood. Tobias, tethered to the forest, does not dwell on his past life, but he lives a perfectly unremarkable existence with his cottage, his cat, and his dryads.

When Greenhollow Hall acquires a handsome, intensely curious new owner in Henry Silver, everything changes. Old secrets better left buried are dug up, and Tobias is forced to reckon with his troubled past – both the green magic of the woods, and the dark things that rest in its heart. 

In 1954, at the start of the Cold War, the Soviet military offered four political prisoners their freedom if they participated in an experiment requiring them to remain awake for fourteen days while under the influence of a powerful stimulant gas. The prisoners ultimately reverted to murder, self-mutilation, and madness. None survived.

In 2018, Dr. Roy Wallis, an esteemed psychology professor at UC Berkeley, is attempting to recreate the same experiment during the summer break in a soon-to-be demolished building on campus. He and two student assistants share an eight-hour rotational schedule to observe their young Australian test subjects around the clock.

What begins innocently enough, however, morphs into a nightmare beyond description that no one could have imagined – with, perhaps, the exception of Dr. Roy Wallis himself. 


The Nazis spared their lives because they were twins.

In the summer of 1944, Eva Mozes Kor and her family arrived at Auschwitz.

Within thirty minutes, they were separated. Her parents and two older sisters were taken to the gas chambers, while Eva and her twin, Miriam, were herded into the care of the man who became known as the Angel of Death: Dr. Josef Mengele. They were 10 years old.

While twins at Auschwitz were granted the ‘privileges’ of keeping their own clothes and hair, they were also subjected to Mengele’s sadistic medical experiments. They were forced to fight daily for their own survival and many died as a result of the experiments, or from the disease and hunger rife in the concentration camp.

In a narrative told simply, with emotion and astonishing restraint, The Twins of Auschwitz shares the inspirational story of a child’s endurance and survival in the face of truly extraordinary evil.

Also included is an epilogue on Eva’s incredible recovery and her remarkable decision to publicly forgive the Nazis. Through her museum and her lectures, she dedicated her life to giving testimony on the Holocaust, providing a message of hope for people who have suffered, and worked toward goals of forgiveness, peace, and the elimination of hatred and prejudice in the world.

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