The year is 2059 in Scion London and Paige Mahoney is Dream-walker. Paige works for an underground syndicate in London, that specializes in mime-crime, a type of spiritual warfare used by ‘Unnaturals’ or ‘Clairvoyants’. Unnaturals are a group of people on the fringe, abhorred and feared for their ‘second sight’ abilities and there are two options for people like them; work for Scion hunting your own kind, or spend your life running.
Just as the books that we read in childhood help frame the way that we see the world, so too do the stories that we consume in our teenage years refine our ways of thinking. Inside these books, whole worlds appear and disappear with the opening and closing of chapters and it is in these worlds that we are able to fight battles and travel across continents and find friends and endure an endless supply of challenges.
China Miéville’s October is a timely reminder of the revolutions in Russia in 1917. Miéville does not hide his sympathy for either Lenin’s Bolsheviks or the broader idea of the revolutionary struggle of workers to overthrow capitalism. Indeed his partisan perspective, encapsulated in the title of his work, is crucial to the book’s focus and direction. Though the revolutionary year began in February, it is October that proved decisive. Nonetheless, his account is no mere hagiography glorifying either the inevitability or perfection of the realised power of the Bolsheviks. October is as much the story of the confusion and dead ends of this revolutionary contestation, as much as its stunning initial successes.
It was a cold winter afternoon when Yaba Badoe’s novel was placed in my eagerly waiting hands. “At last!” I thought, “something entirely different.” A Jigsaw of Fire and Stars tells the story of Sante, a baby orphan castaway, who is washed ashore and brought into the life of Mama Rose. Raised in Mama Rose’s tribe of lost children, Sante and her adopted family are a traveling performance troupe, each with strange talents — though Sante’s is the most mysterious of all. Though Sante is always on the move from one town to the next, her mysterious past begins to catch up with her and it’s not long before a bamboo flute, jeweled dagger and her faithful bird begin to change the course of her life.
“He found himself wondering at times, especially in the autumn, about the wild lands, and strange visions of mountains that he had never seen came into his dreams.”
-J RR Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
As the nights turn cooler and the day’s light fades quicker than before, we turn inward to the worlds that lie between the covers of our books.
There is something wonderfully atmospheric at this time of year, as the leaves yellow and fall away from their branches and the skeletal arms of the tree become stark.
As nature changes we often search for books that compliment transformation of season, and while there are many to choose from, today we are going to share a few of our favourite cosy reads with you.
Unicorns, narwhals, rainbows and ice cream, Jessie Sima’s new book ‘Not quite Narwhal’ is the best Friday afternoon find we’ve had in awhile!
Check out the trailer below!
Jessie Sima grew up unaware that she was an author-illustrator. Once she figured it out, she told her family and friends. They took it quite well. Not Quite Narwhal is her very first book.
Things we love about Polska (in equal measure):
- The food
- The front cover
- The author’s fabulous name!
It is a beautiful moment indeed when, browsing along the bookshelves, I come across an unfamiliar novel, when an intriguing cover draws me in and I find within a story that matches it perfectly. Though we are all aware of the proverb ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’, it is an inevitably unconscious act for many people and often as good a basis as any for selecting which book, out of millions, is going to be the next world that we enter.
Princesses in children’s literature are a fraught topic. There has been a strong backlash against the glittery, pink-washed stories of passive princesses who wait in towers — objects to be won by daring knights. Yet many children are drawn to princess stories, and who wants to stop children from reading anything they are excited about?
Most of us were raised on stories about princesses. From the darkness of the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Anderson fairytales, to the gentler Disney versions, these stories are an inescapable part of our culture. Fortunately, there are now many fantastic picture books that challenge the conventional roles of princesses in stories, creating characters that are like us and that inspire us to dare and dream. Listed below are some of my favourites. They are sure to appeal to princess-loving children and their princessed-out parents alike! Continue reading
Book review: Talking to My Country, by Stan Grant, published in 2016 by HarperCollins AU
I first encountered Stan Grant earlier this year when his speech from the IQ2 debate on the Australian dream, presented by the Ethics Centre, came into the spotlight. Grant’s speech focussed on the deep roots of racism in Australia and its detrimental impact on the potential to achieve the Australian dream. ‘The Australian dream’ has come to stand for the chance to achieve prosperity, to be given a ‘fair go’ and to become part of the broader cultural and social life of the country. However Grant showed how this dream has always been — and remains — out of reach for Aboriginal Australians. Grant challenged some of Australia’s national myths, contrasting them with historical perspectives from Indigenous peoples and contemporary experiences of racism, reminding us of those historical events that Australia wishes to forget.
Grant’s book Talking to my country is an extension of this discussion, a call to account and a demand for understanding and recognition.