We've got news for you.

Register on TimesLIVE at no cost to receive newsletters, read exclusive articles & more.
Register now

BOOK BITES | Kerri Maher, Christina Hunger, Diane Chamberlain

25 April 2022 - 10:17 By Tiah Beautement, JESSICA LEVITT and JENNIFER PLATT

This week: the true story of how James Joyce's Ulysses was published, how dogs can learn to talk, and a novel of what happened in small-town USA in 1965

by Kerri Maher.
The Paris Bookseller by Kerri Maher.
Image: Supplied

The Paris Bookseller ★★★
Kerri Maher

Kerri Maher’s latest historical novel delves into the amazing life of Sylvia Beach, a real-life hero who saved James Joyce’s Ulysses from obscurity. Ulysses was banned, even seized in the post. Thus, no publisher would touch it. Furious, the American-in-Paris bookseller did it. Her bookstore Shakespeare and Company was a haven for many literary greats, including Ernest Hemingway. It was a twin shop to the French bookshop run by her lover, Adrienne Monnier. Set between the two World Wars, before “the closet” was a thing in France, the couple lived openly and freely. A fascinating tale, but the storytelling is slightly stilted by the research. — Tiah Beautement @ms_tiahmarie




by Christina Hunger.
How Stella Learned to Talk by Christina Hunger.
Image: Supplied

How Stella Learned to Talk ★★★★★
Christina Hunger
Pan Macmillan

Some of you may think the title of this book is really just a ploy to get your wallet out because a talking dog is, well, impossible. Except it's not. There’s a way, it’s just not talking as we know it. Christina Hunger is a speech-language pathologist who works with toddlers who have delays in language development. She uses Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) at work and when she first came home with her puppy, Stella, she wondered if dogs could use the same tools to communicate. And, boy, did Stella shine. She has more than 30 words in her vocabulary and uses them regularly to tell her human mom that she wants to go to the park, now! This book is extra special in that it is not just the breakthrough journey Hunger and Stella had together, but also includes a how-to guide for pet lovers. In really simple tasks, you too can get your dog to communicate with you. — Jessica Levitt @jesslevitt


by Diane Chamberlain.
The Last House on the Street by Diane Chamberlain.
Image: Supplied

The Last House on the Street ★★★★
Diane Chamberlain

From the cover this looks to be another by-the-numbers domestic thriller, but it is so much more. The book is divided into two parts. The first is set in 2010 when Kayla, a widow, moves into a house in Round Hill, a small town in North Carolina. Horrible things start happening to her and her young daughter. It seems connected to what took place in the woods where the house now stands. The next storyline takes us back to 1965, where Ellie, who lives just across the street from the woods, decides to join SCOPE — the Summer Organization and Political Education project — which did indeed happen. The project sent more than 500 volunteers into rural areas with the aim of getting African American people to register to vote. In the narrative, Ellie’s family is against this. The Klan is growing in numbers, and Ellie’s life is changed forever by the choices she makes which the town folk vehemently disagree with. Chamberlain is an impressive storyteller. — Jennifer Platt @Jenniferdplatt