Even though book lovers’ day has passed on August 9th, we are not yet ready to let go of the literary love fest and are unofficially declaring August book lovers month!

To honour the occasion, the Book Groups team shared their favourite books from our Dialogue catalogue and why they hold a special place in their hearts.

Alias Grace


Bill Collopy – Programs Manager

‘There are so many great books in the CAE catalogue to choose from. I will pick just one: Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood. This book was given to me as a birthday present. One Saturday morning I sat down to open it, just to see if it looked promising. I did not stop reading all day. I skipped lunch and kept reading into the evening. The book was literally un-put-down-able. My wife wanted to know if I was okay. I explained that I just had to keep reading. I finished about midnight. Next day, she picked it up to see what the fuss was about. She did the same as me and could not stop reading until late Sunday evening. A whole weekend devouring that one book. I highly recommend it.’


Alexandra Laki – CAE and Book Groups Content ProducerThe luminaries

‘As a book lover, my favourite book is usually the one I’ve just finished reading! For me this is The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton, winner of the 2013 Man Booker prize.

At 838 pages this book is daunting tome and I must admit that I put off starting it, concerned about the time I had to commit to reading it. But I needn’t have worried, I powered through The Luminaries at lightning speed, engrossed in the intricate plot and character arcs that Ms Catton has masterfully formulated. Set in the goldfields of New Zealand’s South Island in 1866, The Luminaries follows twelve main characters, each with their own motivations, secrets and convergences, as they congregate to discuss a series of local mysteries. This stunning tale that travels across land and time will have you hooked until the last page.’


Sharon Harris – Book Groups Program Support OfficerThe Great Gatsby (1)

‘Books invite their readers to experience a world beyond their present reality, they invite you into a different time and place. A book I studied at uni, The Great Gatsby, is brilliant in its fictional recreation of 1920s American consumer culture and the resultant greed borne from the economic boom, post World War I. At times throughout the narrative the geographical spaces in the story seem to become characters in their own right – the glittering city of Manhattan contrasted to the industrial wasteland of the Valley of Ashes. When reading, I am often very interested in what can be understood in terms of a social and political critique of the era in which the story is set. The Great Gatsby’s pessimistic examination of The American Dream reveals there are no winners, despite which end of the economic spectrum one inhabits. Jay Gatsby’s indefatigable striving and relentless climbing ever onwards to achieve his dreams is both valiant and foolish. The outcome of this story has stayed with me as a lesson: one should temper their wildest dreams with gratitude for what one already has achieved. Fitzgerald suggests there is madness in how “we beat on ceaselessly”, when perhaps there is a sense of joy to be found and appreciated in the present moment. I love the teaching moments that books offer, the reminders to live your best life.’


Do you have a favourite book from Dialogue? Let us know at bookgroups@cae.edu.au and your response may feature in an upcoming newsletter.