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As recommended by you: Great spring reads

Juliana Mare

Thu Oct 31 2013

reading_anne adrian

WE asked five Meld readers what books they were enraptured with at the moment. Juliana Mare brings you their recommendations.

Don’t fret if your bookshelf hasn’t seen a new paperback in a while because we’ve got some must-read books to keep you busy over the coming months.

As the weather slowly begins to warm up, why not grab one (or all!) of these great books and head out for some fresh air and outdoor reading?

Fault in our Stars

1. The Fault in our Stars

Author: John Green
Get it from: for $10.68
Recommended by: Nicole Mileto, 21.

Plot: Hazel Grace Lancaster’s life is a constant loop of medicine, hospitals, support groups and overbearing parents. During her struggle to be a normal teenager while battling terminal cancer, Hazel meets the gorgeous and intriguing cancer survivor, Augustus Waters. We follow the duo through their relationship, the ups and downs they face individually and together.

It’s not all dire and bleak though. The author has been commended by many a critic for his wit and humour and his ability to portray something tragic in a moving, philosophical way. Author of My Sister’s Keeper Jodi Picuolt says the novel is: “an electric portrait of young people who learn to live life with one foot in the grave.”

Nicole’s verdict: It’s an insightful and heart wrenching tale of two teens navigating terminal illnesses, relapses, drug treatments and much to Hazel’s apprehension, a budding romance.

John Green takes you on a roller coaster of emotions with this novel, so get your tissues and a warm cup of tea ready before embarking on this journey. It’s a perspective-altering novel and an absolute must read.


2. Gone Girl

Author: Gillian Flynn
Get it for $8.90
Recommended by: Marisa Cesario, 24

Plot: Published in 2012, this psychological, suspenseful and thrilling novel is the story of Nick Dunne and his wife Amy who, on their fifth wedding anniversary, goes missing. In an unusual narrative style, the first half of the book is told in the switching first-person perspectives of Nick and Amy. The second half of the book reveals the secrets and falsehoods originally given by the untrustworthy protagonists, unravelling an ingenious tale of lies, deception and mystery.

This novel, which sat on the top position of the New York Times bestseller list for eight weeks is definitely one to add to your must-read list.

Marisa’s verdict: This is one of those increasingly rare ‘read-on-your-lunch-break’, ‘read-at-3am’, ‘read-while-you’re-brushing-your teeth’ page-turners. The narration shifts throughout to give the reader more than one side to the story. On the day of Nick and Amy’s fifth wedding anniversary, Amy goes missing and Nick becomes a prime suspect.

How reliable their narration is the crux of this story, which is too ingenious to give away. Read it for yourself before David Fincher’s film adaptation hits screens in late 2014.

the fry chronicles

3. The Fry Chronicles: An Autobiography

Author: Stephen Fry
Get it from: for 13.54
Recommended by: Jacob Lewis, 29.

Plot: A follow up from his first autobiography, Stephen Fry returns with The Fry Chronicles, a colourful journey of his time at Cambridge University and his first steps in what would become a long, livid career in the entertainment industry.

Fans of the British screen icon can expect brutally honest, humble and endearing accounts of Fry’s meetings with various accomplished actors including Hugh Laurie and Rowan Atkinson alongside tales of his many television appearances and journalistic endeavours.

For anyone who wants a break from the fiction universe, there’s no better way to jump into the autobiography genre than with one of Britain’s most accomplished and revered stars.

Jacob’s verdict: Steven recounts his years through colourful and witty anecdotes, often meandering off-topic to deliver his thoughts on a related subject before wandering back to the matter at hand.This style of writing is undoubtedly one of the highlights of the book. His observations, thoughts and memories are delivered in his trademark raconteur prose without ever veering into the verbose.

Steven’s humble and self-deprecating honesty, told with humour and humility that gives this book its appeal, and the reader cannot help but be charmed by the intelligent yet flawed man Steven reveals within its pages.


4. Perdido Street Station

Author: China Mieville
Get it from: for $8.17
Recommended by: Casey Blundell, 22.

Plot: Set in a futuristic, dystopian landscape called New Crobuzon, Perdido Street Station is the first of three novels set in the fictional world called Bas-Lag where elements of steampunk, magic and all manner of bizarre mythical creatures exist.

The novel follows an odd scientist Isaac Dan der Grimnebulin who, upon commission to mend the broken wings of a member of a flying species, happens upon a drug called “dreamshit”. What transgresses is the unwitting snowballing of events, which ultimately lead to the release of a dark enemy upon the city.

For fans of sci-fi, magic and all things fantastical, the unique, new world China Mieville has created should definitely impress.

Casey’s verdict:Perdido Street Station is a chunky text with plenty of fantastical detail for sci-fi or fantasy readers. Characters are crafted well and in detail, some believably so while others are impossibly strange. The setting is Orwellian in some elements and it is simple for the reader to fall into the world that China has created.

But, the text itself might be overwhelming for a first-timer unused to classic sagas such as Lord of the Rings or The Wheel of Time, as it is quite heavy. For fans of these series however, this is a good stand-alone read.


5. Written in Red

Author: Anne Bishop
Get it from: for $7.11
Recommended by: Jessica Richards, 24.

Plot: Set in a world where all manner of fantastical creatures known as the Others exist, this book follows the story of Meg Corbyn, an outcast among a world of outcasts because she’s a blood prophet, that is, she can see the future whenever her skin is cut.

On the run from her captors, Meg finds an unlikely ally in the mysterious shifter Simon Wolfgard, who has to decide whether a potential war against humans and the Others is worth the risk of safeguarding one girl. If this wasn’t enough to deal with, there’s also the problem of Simon being the very man Meg saw in a vision of her own death.

New York Times bestselling author Anne Bishop has been applauded for her construction of this urban fantasy landscape. Fans are clearly enthralled with this unique world as the sequel novel, Murder of Crows is due for release in 2014.

Jessica’s verdict: As always Anne creates a vivid world where you can’t help but fall in love with the characters. You get so sucked in you can’t put the book down until you have read just one more chapter.

I’ve read this book eight times since it’s release in March and I can’t get enough of it. I’m holding my breath until its squeal, Murder of Crows comes out.

What books are on your to-read list for spring? Let us know in the comment section below.