Two more Stella Sparks from our wonderful staff members, both of whom are sharing novels that fueled their love of reading at university.
Leaning Towards Infinity, Sue Woolfe
I was assigned Sue Woolfe’s Leaning Towards Infinity as a university student, and remember being less than enthused at the prospect of reading a book about mathematicians. Numbers have never been my friends. It was, then, a wonderful surprise to discover Wolfe’s ability to weave the language of mathematics into a thing beauty and mystery. I may never be able to solve an equation, but Sue Woolfe altered my view of mathematics from one of abject dread to one of awe. The fact that the book – which won a slew of awards when it was first released twenty years ago – is so difficult to come across now speaks volumes for the importance of programs like the Stella Sparks.
The Great Fire, Shirley Hazzard
Shirley Hazzard’s The Great Fire was introduced to me via an Australian Literature course at University. At first, I lamented – another book about the Second World War. The power of Hazzard’s prose, however, gripped me from the very start. It wasn’t the plot that hooked me, but the depth and creation of the characters. They move through a world rife with violence and despair, and yet find their humanity within each other, indulging in a love within which age has no bearing. Although the relationship between the thirty-two-year-old Aldred Leith and the teenage Helen Driscoll is a primary focus, The Great Fire is also a novel about civility, humanity, the world that we create for ourselves and the prisons within it that have no bars.