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Five shining summer reads

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By Rose Maurice & Emily Coper-Jones of Paperchain Bookstore.

Looking for the perfect beach read or something to inspire you for 2020?

We asked the staff of Manuka’s Paperchain Bookstore to give us their recommendations for the perfect sparkling summer read for our most recent HerCanberra Magazine: Shine.


Madeline Miller

Circe, daughter of the Sun-God Helios, is an outsider among the Greek Gods, Nymphs and other Celestial beings. After discovering her aptitude for witchcraft—and the ensuing havoc—she is banished to the small island of Aiaia.

It is during this banishment that Circe cultivates her prowess as a witch. Refining her skills in occult craft, spells, herbology and taming wild beasts, she soon becomes a force to be reckoned with.

Her story of self-discovery is intertwined with well-known Ancient Greek myths such as the Minotaur, Icarus, and—most of all—her part in Homer’s Odyssey.

Miller brings a wealth of insight and creativity to the illumination of this lesser known nymph. Shortlisted for this year’s Bailey’s Prize, Miller’s Circe is a powerful and unputdownable read.

On a Sunbeam

Tillie Walden

On A Sunbeam is adapted from a webcomic and transformed into this fantastic graphic novel. Mia is a student at a boarding school where she falls in love with the new student, Grace.

Years later, we find Mia with her newfound family and a team of construction workers restoring the ruins of long-abandoned buildings in the depths of space.

Tillie Walden tells a unique and moving story. With a cast made up entirely of women, and one non-binary character, she depicts queerness and queer love in a universe where it’s the norm.

The simple, clean illustrations with a muted colour palette are beautiful and full of character.

Striking the perfect balance between gravity and humour, and building a truly immersive world, On a Sunbeam is a deserving nominee in the 2019 Hugo Awards, and a great read.

Lights on Cotton Rock

David Litchfield

There is nothing in the world that Heather would like more than to go to Outer Space. One evening, she sneaks out of her home into the nearby woods, determined to make contact.

While sitting on a rock she flashes her torch upwards into the sky hoping to catch someone’s attention. When she succeeds, and a spaceship lands in front of her, Heather has a big decision to make: follow her dreams and be amongst the shining stars, or stay on earth with her family?

This is a marvellous story about seeking out wonder and returning home. With beautiful illustrations, Heather’s journey is colourful and enticing to readers of all ages. Lights on Cotton Rock shows that sometimes we have to travel through time and space to discover that what we are looking for might be closer than we think.

Lamps of Tiffany Studios

Margaret K. Hofer and Rebecca Klassen

Handmade by skilled craftsmen, Tiffany lamps are beautifully coloured masterpieces of glass and intricate metal work. Objects of the Art Nouveau movement in America of the late 19th-20th century, their popularity and longevity has continued into the 21st century.

Hofer and Klassen showcase 80 iconic lamps from the Tiffany studios. The high-quality photographs of each lamp illustrate the intricate detailing in the glass and metalwork and the overall beauty and craftsmanship.

The book also includes a fascinating overview of the history of the studio. Louis C. Tiffany’s artistic vision of glass, Clara Driscoll’s innovative designs using lead, and the craftsmen—predominately a female workforce—in the studios.

Cosmic Chronicles: A User’s Guide to the Universe

Fred Watson

Fred Watson is a world-renowned astronomer, and in this book he shows his knowledge and enthusiasm for all things space.

Grounded in pure science and up-to-date with current research, the reader is provided with an extensive “did you know” about space, including past and current fundamental problems in astronomy.

But have no fear of being lost in jargon or too-scientific explanations. While Watson is clearly an expert, the overall tone of the book is conversational.

Watson makes the information incredibly approachable and accessible using clear and concise language. He also brings up a lot of fun facts and anecdotes which make this an overall enjoyable and educational read.

A fantastic book about the universe for both the expert and the novice.

All titles available for purchase at Paperchain Bookstore in Manuka | paperchainbookstore.com.au

This article originally appeared in Magazine: Shine for Summer 2019/20, available for free while stocks last. Find out more about Magazine here.

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