Parra Pods
Episode 32 - From All the Lands on Earth

Episode 32 - From All the Lands on Earth

March 23, 2020

Episode 32: From all the lands on earth

Belonging, respect and inclusiveness are core messages of Harmony Week - a time that highlights multicultural Australia, celebrating the fact that while there are so many of us with vastly different stories, there is so much more that brings us together.

Join Katherine, Nisa and Antonia as they discuss books they have recently read:

Brave not perfect / Reshma Saujani. Harper Collins, Feb 2019

New kings of the world: dispatches from Bollywood, Dizi and K-pop / Fatima Bhutto. Columbia Global Reports, Oct 2019

Born a crime / Trevor Noah. Spiegel & Grau, Nov 2016

Arab of the future: a childhood in the Middle East: 1984-1992 / Riad Sattouf. Metropolitan Books, Nov 2019

Episode 31 - #Eachforequal - Gender Equality

Episode 31 - #Eachforequal - Gender Equality

March 10, 2020

Bias and inequality are concepts that generate a great deal of debate. While they may often be popularly associated with one gender having power over another or one colour of skin being afforded more privileges, there is now an emerging body of literature on some of the more complex arguments to come out of the struggle e.g. what happens when race and gender collide, who gets to decide the ‘appropriate’ way to fight bias and how to break the pattern of inequality that is generational.

This International Women’s Day Katherine, Nisa and Antonia look at some books from perspectives that haven’t always been heard. Books discussed include:

A woman is no man / Etaf Rum. Harper Collins, Mar 2019

The seven necessary sins for women and girls / Mona Eltahawy. Hardie Grant, Oct 2019

White tears, brown scars / Ruby Hamad. Melbourne University Press, Sep 2019

Episode 30 - What is a Romance Novel?

Episode 30 - What is a Romance Novel?

February 25, 2020

Episode 30 - What is a Romance Novel?

Stories of love - romantic love - have been entertaining people for thousands of years. Shared through the written medium, stories within the romance genre have been one of the biggest publishing phenomena of the last century.

Join Katherine and Nisa as they discuss this vast and unwieldy category of books, home to a variety of sub-genres ranging from paranormal romance, fantasy romance and historical romance to contemporary romance,  (possibly) chick lit, erotic romance and religious/Christian romance novels. 

Books discussed include:


Pride and Prejudice / Jane Austen. T. Egerton, 1813


Love in the time of cholera / Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Alfred A Knopf, 1988 [originally publisher in Spanish in 1985]


Pride, prejudice and other flavours / Sonali Dev. Harper Collins, May 2019


Outlander / Diana Gabaldon. Delacorte Books, 1991.

Episode 27 - Fiction Reads for Summer

Episode 27 - Fiction Reads for Summer

February 24, 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 29 - Chatting with Rachel Givney

Episode 29 - Chatting with Rachel Givney

February 13, 2020


Episode 29 - Chatting with Rachel Givney

We have a special new episode of Parra Pods for you to listen to:

'Chatting with Rachel Givney'. Rachel is the debut author of Jane in Love, a modern day romance featuring a time travelling Jane Austen. The story poses the question - if Jane Austen had to choose between the heart and the pen, what would she do? We were lucky enough to receive an advance copy and engaged in good natured fights over who got to read it and record the podcast. End result; Katherine & Suzanne won and were lucky enough to enjoy a morning chat with Rachel!


We hope you enjoy the podcast and make sure you reserve your copy of 'Jane in Love'.


If you are interested in reading an extract of 'Jane in Love' then check out this post by Better Reading.






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 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.