The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling

As a child, I remember watching The Jungle Book as a movie. Not the disney cartoon version (although I remember watching that), but the film version. I remember watching it over and over again and really loving it. So when I saw The Jungle Book, the book, I was really excited to be able to buy it and read it.
What I didn't realise is that it isn't just the story of Mowgli the man cub, but is actually a collection of other stories in which all the main characters are animals (and Toomai, the elephant boy). This was actually a nice surprise. The majority of The Jungle Book deals with Mowgli's story and the rest of the book deals with shorter stories involving other characters.

The story of Mowgli was really good in writing. It was a different story to the one in the movie, there is no girl that Mowgli likes, and no treasure that Buldeo and his cronies go looking for. The 'true' story of Mowgli focuses on his being accepted in to the wolf pack, then expelled from it. He then enters the man pack and is eventually expelled and welcomed back into the Jungle after having killed his enemy, Shir Kan, the tiger. It's a lovely fable and Im glad I revisted the original stroy as an adult.

The other stories varied; there was one about a white seal who finds someone safe for his fellow seals to live away from the threat of man, one about Toomai the elephant boy who sees what no man has seen before, one about a pet mongoose who saves him human family from the evil cobras and another about animals being used during the war. I especially liked The White Seal, I thought it was really sweet that he spent so long focussed solely on protecting his fellow seals, and for little thanks.
I definitely recommend this as a great and fun read.


Star Rating

5 / 8

Good and worth reading if you have the opportunity, but there's no need to prioritise it.

Drowning Ruth by Christina Schwarz

I know that a lot of people will disagree with me, but I find that a book is included in Oprah's Book Club it is usually worth reading. So, it was Oprah's recommendation that lead me to this book. I wasn't disappointed.

Drowning Ruth is the story of Amanda and Mathilda, teo very different sisters. Whilst Mathilda, the youngest, marries young and begins a family (her child being Ruth), Amanda becomes a nurse and works in a hospital during the war. Amanda's heart is broken by the man she is seeing and she eventually is asked to leave the hospital as she slowly falls apart. So, she returns to the farm to Mathilda and Ruth, where eventually her secret becomes known and events begin to unfold out of Amanda's control.

I don't want to describe the plot of this book too much. I believe that the author intends us to never be quite sure what is coming next, so I will leave it to you to figure it out. I have to admit, I found the plot very predictable. I don't think that there was a single twist in the story that I didn't see coming. That's not to say I didn't enjoy reading the book, I did. I couldn't put it down. It was a wonderful read. You came to know the characters, especially Amanda and Ruth, even if you didn't really like them.

It had some interesting thoughts in it about family and the lengths people will go for family and love. At the time, it doesn't deny the inherent selfishness in human nature, and I think it was interesting how this human selfishness played out in the context of wanting to do the best for those that you love.

An Oprah's Book Club recommendation has never let me down, and this isn't an exception.

Star Rating

6 / 8


Really enjoyable and well written. I would recommend it.

The Pilot's Wife by Anita Shreve

I'm sure a lot of people will disagree with me on this, but I find that books that are part of Oprah's Book Club are often really good reads, and I have to admit that it was Oprah's recommendation that made me read this book, and I wasn't disappointed.

This book follows Kathryn, the wife of a busy pilot. She has an ordinary family life; a good job as a teacher, a teenage daughter Mattie who causes her all the difficulties you can expect from a teenage daughter, and then a husband whom she loves but has been growing slowly more distant from. Then, her and her daughter's lives are turned upside down when Kathryn receives a knock at her door stating her husband has been killed in a plane accident. The story first focuses on how Kathryn and Mattie deal with their grief following this loss and the media frenzy that surrounds it. There's then a change; Kathryn finds herself needing to know all the details associated with the plane accident. She begins to winder about some things that don't seem quite right in her husband's property, and eventually she finds herself following the trail of his deceptions across the world to England.

I thin kthe biggest point of this book is - how can you ever know that you really know someone? How well do we really know the people you love? How do you really know that you trust someone? People believe they know the people they love, they trust that person, that's part of the love. And I suppose its something that everyone asks themselves when they discover that those that they love have been deceiving them. Deception and trust are big themes in this book in that sense.

I enjoyed the book a lot. It was quick, it wasn't challenging and it was intriguing. At worst it was a little predictable, and I do think that the grief that Kathryn and Mattie display aren't very true to true human nature, even taking into account how different everyone would react to such news. This is particularly true for Kathryn's reaction I think. I still recommend that you have a read of this book, definitely worth while!


Star Rating

6 / 8


Really enjoyable and well written. I would recommend it.

My Career Goes Bung by Miles Franklin


You might remember that a couple of months ago I read and reviewed My Brilliant Career by Miles Franklin. My Career Goes Bung is not surprisingly the sequal to My Brilliant Career, and is just as good.

In this book, the true Sybylla Melvin is revealed. More specifically, it is revealed that the story contained in My Brilliant Career is actually a novel that Sybylla wrote as a young girl and My Career Goes Bung is the story of Sybylla as she writes the book, has it published and then rises to fame. After her book is published, the public tide her her town is against her. However, it gives the opportunity to launch herself if Sydney society, a chance that she relishes at first, but comes to find not nearly as satisfying as she expected. She has adventure, and tests out love and lust (in an old fashioned way of course!), but eventually finds herself returned to Possum Gully and back to her old life.

The Sybylla Melvin in My Career Goes Bung is very similar to the character in My Brilliant Career. I commented that I didn't entirely understand the Sybylla Melvin from My Brilliant Career, and now I think that perhaps that is because she was a work of fiction in a work of fiction itself (if that makes sense). The 'true' Sybylla Melvin in this sequel can at times be just as frustrating, but she is a lot easier to understand nonetheless. I still found her relationship with men rather frustrating, but perhaps I am not being open enough to the reality of how feminism must have played out in during the time within which this book is set.

I liked the image of old Sydney as it was portrayed in this book. You could picture Sydney as it is today, but less built up and more leafy.

I am sure that for more literary people would have more to say. I found the book interesting and original and I'm really glad I read the sequel, so many more things were explained and it was satisfying to read a sequel with such an original twist. I definitely recommend that you read the pair.


Star Rating

6 / 8



Really enjoyable and well written. I would recommend it.