Parra Pods
Episode 28 - Non Fiction Reads for Summer

Episode 28 - Non Fiction Reads for Summer

January 26, 2020

Episode 28: Non-fiction Australian Reads for Summer

This summer has been a particularly challenging one for the Australian landscape and with Australia Day upon us, there are a number of great books that demonstrate just how vast this land is, how diverse and rich is its history.

Join Katherine and Nisa for the third and final episode of the ‘Summer’ series of podcasts.

Books mentioned in this episode include:

Buckley’s chance: the incredible true story of William Buckley and how he conquered a new world / Garry Linnell. Penguin Random House, October 2019.

Dark Emu: Aboriginal Australia and the birth of agriculture / Bruce Pascoe. Magabala Books, June 2018 [earlier published as Dark Emu:  Black Seeds: Agriculture or accident in 2014]

Young Dark Emu: a truer history / Bruce Pascoe. Magabala Books, June 2019

Tracks / Robyn Davidson. Bloomsbury, November 2019.

Macquarie Atlas of Indigenous Australia / Bill Arthur and Frances Morphy. ANU, ABS and Macquarie Dictionary, August 2019.

Episode 27 - Fiction Reads for Summer

Episode 27 - Fiction Reads for Summer

January 13, 2020

Episode 27 - Fiction Reads for Summer

Join Katherine and Nisa for the second of our ‘Summer’ episodes.

It has been a great year for fiction lovers, but here are a few of the  titles that resonated with Katherine and Nisa.

'Damascus' by Christos Tsiolkas an historical novel, but with a take on St Paul of the early Christian Church like no other. Visceral, transformative, brutal & beautiful.

To change the pace totally, we review Sally Rooney’s debut novel,  'Conversations with Friends' and her second novel, and twitter sensation, 'Normal People'. She brings her signature style, spare prose and insightful psychological acuity to  the exploration of the lives and loves of that  most intriguing of generations, the millennials.

Finally Ian Mc Ewan’s 'Machines like Me'?, this is speculative fiction of the top order,  its themes range from artificial intelligence, what constitutes consciousness and the formal demands of the haiku poem. Darkly humorous, its most compelling theme is “moral choice”

Fiction titles discussed include:

Damascus by Christos Tsiolkas, Allen & Unwin 2019.

Machines Like Me by Ian McEwan, Jonathan Cape/Vintage Publishing 2019.

Normal People by Sally Rooney, Faber and Faber 2018.

Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney, Faber and Faber 2017.

Episode 26 - Movies & BeamaFilms

Episode 26 - Movies & BeamaFilms

December 30, 2019

With multiple streaming services and digital downloads more ubiquitous than ever, discovering new television series, movies and documentaries has never been easier.

Beamafilm - City of Parramatta Libraries - Members - Stream 100's of great movies for free!

Join Katherine and Nisa for the first of our ‘Summer’ episodes. DVDs discussed include:


  • Booksmart / directed by Olivia Wilde [movie]


  •  Succession / Created by Jessie Armstrong [TV series]


  • Ophelia / directed by Claire McCarthy [movie]






Episode 25 - Media Companies & #metoo

Episode 25 - Media Companies & #metoo

December 16, 2019

In 2018, two publications shared the Putlitzer Prize for Public Service: The New York Times, for reporting led by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, and The New Yorker, for reporting by Ronan Farrow.

In episode 24, Katherine and Nisa chat about the books based on their respective reports. They are:

She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement / Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey. Bloomsbury, September 2019.

Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators / Ronan Farrow. Fleet (Little Brown), October 2019.

Episode 24 - Identity

Episode 24 - Identity

November 11, 2019

Episode 24 - Identity

Mass human migration in modern history has made identity such an interesting and complex thing, at least we think so!

In this episode join Katherine and Nisa as they discuss two Australian books that focus on 'Identity', with a sideways dip into the ‘On’ series of books published by Melbourne University Press.

Some of the books discussed include:

On Identity by Stan Grant, Melbourne University Press, May 2019.

Arab, Australian, Other: Stories on Race and Identity - Randa Abdel-Fattah and Sarah Saleh (eds), Picador, May 2019.

On Freedom by Tory Shepherd, Melbourne University Press, June 2019.

On Artists by Ashleigh Wilson, Melbourne University Press, May 2019.


Episode 23 Celebrity Pioneers & the Price of Fame

Episode 23 Celebrity Pioneers & the Price of Fame

October 28, 2019

In this Episode 23, Katherine and Nisa discuss two biographies set on opposite sides of the globe.

One, an actress of global fame, with nearly four decades of work behind her; another, a social media star who dabbled in acting and was the talk of her country for over four years. Both were pioneers and paid a heavy price for fame.


Some of the books discussed in this episode include:

Inside Out: a memoir by Demi Moore, Harper Collins, September 2019.

A Woman Like Her: the short life of Qandeel Baloch by Sanam Maher, Bloomsbury, July 2019.

Episode 22 - The Booker Prize 2019

Episode 22 - The Booker Prize 2019

October 14, 2019

In Episode 22 of Parra Pods, Katherine & Nisa discuss some of the great books that had made it on to the 2019 shortlist for the Booker Prize.

Join them as they discuss the books they liked, the books they loved and some they had mixed feelings about…


Books discussed in this episode include:

An Orchestra of Minorities by Obioma Chigozie

Girl, Woman, Other by Evaristo Bernardine

Quichotte by Salman Rushdie

10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World by Elif Shafak

Ducks, newburyport by Lucy Ellmann

The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

Episode 21 - HSC Resources

Episode 21 - HSC Resources

October 4, 2019

In Episode 21 of Parra Pods, regular hosts Katherine & Nisa continue their chat with Mohan Dhall our go to person for practical study advice!

Students don’t panic!

Mohan Dhall Educator and CEO of the Australian Tutoring Association, tells you where to find the best HSC resources for all your subjects and how to study effectively.


Katherine & Nisa

Episode 20 - HSC Hacks

Episode 20 - HSC Hacks

September 16, 2019

Episode 20 of Parra Pods HSC Hacks.

HSC is coming up fast!

Students and parents check out these tips and tricks to not just survive, but actually flourish during the HSC season.

All this delivered by the ultimate HSC guru Mohan Dhall, Text book author, CEO of Tutoring Australia and Leader of Potentia Tutoring.

To check out some of the amazing resources City of Parramatta Libraries has for HSC Students, click HERE.

We also have some helpful programs planned in October to support our hardworking students PROGRAMS.



Katherine & Nisa

Episode 19 - Technology & Us

Episode 19 - Technology & Us

August 10, 2019

In this episode of Parra Pods Katherine & Nisa discuss books about the relationship between humans and technology in this IT-saturated world. Join them while they talk about the future of AI, the impact of social media, the relationship between our private selves and our digital avatars and eroding trust in traditional institutions.


Some of the books discussed in this podcast include:


Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence by Max Tegmark. Penguin Random House, 2017.


Net loss: the inner life in the digital age by Sebastian Smee. Quarterly Essay No. 72, 2018


Who can you trust? How technology brought us together and why it might drive us apart by Rachel Botsman. Public Affairs, 2017