Dunedin Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute

Books Archive

Month: June 2020

False Value (March 2020)

By Ben Aaronovitch

June 9, 2020

Peter Grant is facing fatherhood, and an uncertain future, with equal amounts of panic and enthusiasm.

Leaving his old police life behind, he takes a job with Silicon Valley tech genius Terrence Skinner’s new London start-up: the Serious Cybernetics Corporation.

Drawn into the orbit of Old Street’s famous ‘silicon roundabout’, Peter must learn how to blend in with people who are both civilians and geekier than he is.  Compared to his last job, Peter thinks it should be a doddle.  But magic is not finished with the Met’s first trainee wizard in fifty years…

Because a secret is hiding somewhere in the building.  A technology that stretches back to Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage, and forward to the future of artificial intelligence.  A secret that is just as magical as it is technological – and twice as dangerous.

Husna’s Story (March 2020)

By Farid Ahmed

June 9, 2020

Husna Ahmed was a victim of the Christchurch mosque terrorist attack on 15 March 2019.  She was shot while looking for her husband, who was in a wheelchair.

The couple had been praying when a gunman burst into the mosque.  He shot and killed 51 people that day and injured many others.  In this book Husna’s husband, Farid Ahmed, tells Husna’s story, including the day of the attack.

Farid describes the selflessness and bravery with which Husna lived her life.  As well as looking after her daughter and paraplegic husband, Husna was an important member of the community, helping women and running classes for children.

Her last selfless act was going back into the mosque to look for her husband on that fateful day, after she had already led other women and children to safety.

Husna’s husband, quite remarkably, forgives the alleged killer.  Farid’s philosophy of forgiveness, peace and love is an example of how faith and humanity can be tools for navigating even the most horrific of tragedies.

The Operator (March 2020)

By Gretchen Berg

June 9, 2020

Be careful what you wish for…

It’s 1952.  The switchboard operators in Wooster, Ohio love nothing more than to eavesdrop on their neighbours’ conversations, and gossip about what they learn.  Vivian Dalton is no different (despite her teenage daughter’s disapproval), and always longs to hear something scandalous.  But on the night of December 15th, she wishes she hadn’t .  The secret that’s shared by a stranger on the line threatens to rip the rug of Vivian’s life from under her.

Vivian may be mortified, but she’s not going to take this lying down.  She wants the truth, no matter how painful it may be.  But one secret tends to lead to another…

This moving, heart-felt and ultimately uplifting novel brilliantly weaves together an irresistible portrayal of a town buzzing with scandal, and an unforgettable story of marriage, motherhood and the unbreakable ties of family.

The Two Lives of Lydia Bird (March 2020)

By Josie Silver

June 9, 2020

Lydia and Freddie, Freddie and Lydia.  They’ve been together for almost a decade, and Lydia thinks their love is indestructible.

But she’s wrong.  Because on her twenty-seventh birthday, Freddie dies in a car accident.

So now it’s just Lydia, and all she wants to do is hide indoors and sob till her eyes fall out.  But Lydia knows that Freddie would want her to live her life well.  So, enlisting the help of his best friend and her sister Elle, she takes her first tentative steps into the world and starts to live – perhaps even to love – again.

Then something unbelievable happens, and Lydia gets another chance at her old life with Freddie.  But what if there’s someone in her new life who wants her to stay?

The Boy From the Woods (March 2020)

By Harlan Coben

June 9, 2020

Lies are dangerous.  But the truth could kill him.

His name is Wilde.

Thirty years ago he was found in the New Jersey backwoods with no idea of how he’d got there or what had happened to his family.

Now a decorated former soldier, he still prefers to live outdoors, alone.

But when a local girl goes missing, Wilde is asked to use his unique skills to find her.

To do so he must return to a community where he has never fitted in, where the powerful are protected even when they are keeping secrets.

Dangerous secrets that can kill.

And which Wilde must expose before it’s too late…

Girl, Woman, Other (March 2020) Athenaeum Book Club selection 2020

By Bernardine Evaristo

June 9, 2020

This is Britain as you’ve never read it.

This is Britain as it has never been told.

From the top of the country to the bottom, across more than a century of change and growth and struggle and life, Girl, Woman, Other follows twelve very different characters on an entwined journey of discovery.

It is future, it is past.  It is fiction, it is history.

It is a novel about who we are now.

Miss Austen (March 2020)

By Gill Hornby

June 9, 2020

Based on a literary mystery that has long puzzled Jane Austen fans.


Twenty-three years after the death of her famous sister Jane, Cassandra Austen returns to the village of Kintbury.

She knows that, in some dusty corner of the sprawling vicarage, there is a cache of family letters containing secrets that must not be revealed.

As Cassandra recalls her youth and her relationship with her brilliant yet complex sister, she pieces together buried truths about Jane’s history, and her own.

And she fears a stark choice: should she act to protect Jane’s reputation?  Or leave the contents of the letters to go unguarded into posterity…

The Good Turn (March 2020)

By Dervla McTiernan

June 9, 2020

Some lines should never be crossed

Police corruption, an investigation that ends in tragedy and the mystery of a little girl’s silence – three unconnected events that will prove to be linked by one small town.

While Detective Cormac Reilly faces enemies at work and trouble in his personal life, Garda Peter Fisher is relocated out of Galway with the threat of prosecution hanging over his head.  But even that is not as terrible as having to work for his overbearing father, the local copper for the pretty seaside town of Roundstone.

For some, like Anna and her young daughter, Tilly, Roundstone is a refuge from trauma.  But even this village on the edge of the sea isn’t far enough to escape from the shadows of evil men.

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