A tale of clashing cultures in 19th century Australia proved a page turner for Indigo mayor Jenny O'Connor.
Salt Creek, the 2015 debut novel by Australian writer Lucy Treloar, describes the struggles of the Finch family when they move from Adelaide to an isolated farm in the Coorong in the 1850s.
Eldest daughter Hester finds herself taking on extra responsibility as her mother flounders in the unfamiliar environment thrust on them all by their husband and father, a failed entrepreneur.
"It talks about a very challenging time in Australian history when the settlers first arrived and the hardships they faced but of course the terrible impact it had on the local Aboriginal people," Cr O'Connor said.
"It's quite a confronting book but it's beautifully written.
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"It's not just based on historic events, it's also a good fictional story of bringing the characters to life."
A book club member for a decade, Cr O'Connor appreciates sampling books she wouldn't normally choose and also the relationships developed through the group.
"I have to say in truth we don't always discuss the book," she said.
The mayor reads on her Kindle for ease of access, "but at my heart I still love hard copy books and I love the stores and I love browsing in them".
These days she also likes listening to audio books while doing other things, like knitting, tapestry, handicraft, gardening, walking the dog or driving the car.
"It's a great way of switching off from the kind of world we're living in at the moment, which I find pretty challenging and concerning," she said.
"It's like being a little child again and someone reading you a story, it's really comforting in some ways, you get immersed in it."
In this manner, Cr O'Connor has been revisiting the classics of Austen, Bronte and Dickins and, naturally, the choice of audio book narrator makes a difference.
"Having them read to you by often actors or people with beautiful voices, that really brings it to life," she said.
An avid reader since childhood, Cr O'Connor was encouraged by her parents.
"I see it as a really important thing for children to read because it does take you into other places and worlds and imagination, different to what you get from screen time," she said.
But the mayor won't persevere with a book she's not enjoying.
"Life's too short to waste time doing something that you don't get anything out of," she said.
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