What Library Staff are Reading – December/January

 Find some holiday inspiration in what Library staff have been reading recently.

Dark Emu by Bruce Pascoe – Pascoe details many ways in which agricultural methods, such as land management and domestication of plants, were employed by indigenous Australians long before the arrival of Europeans. 4/5 stars

Into the Water by Paula Hawkins – whilst enjoyable, I found this book was a bit more Midsomer Murders than psychological, gripping thriller. 3/5 stars

American gods by Neil Gaiman – excellent writing style that kept me captivated, however, the book is quite quirky and ‘out there’. I’d rate it 3/5 stars

I started watching the TV series (History channel) DVD 930.1 ANC  Ancient impossible – it’s a fascinating documentary series reviewing the amazing achievements of the early civilisations like the Romans, Greeks and Egyptians, demonstrating very advanced technical and engineering skills. I’d rate this series so far as 4.5/5 Stars

Flesh Wounds by Richard Glover –  I really liked it / One of the best books I’ve read this year / I’m glad I read it. Almost made my family look normal. But only almost. 4/5 stars

And I’ve just started Philip Pullman’s La Belle Sauvage. I’m really enjoying the return to his Dark Materials world, but it’s still early days. Big book and I’m only a few chapters in so too soon to have a real opinion on it.

The Dress by Kate Kerrigan – Fun, fun, fun read.  How to step back in time and weave a story into the present day – done very well.  Plus great characters.  3/5 stars

http://katekerrigan.ie/?portfolio=the-dress-2

The Anti-Cool Girl by Rosie Waterland – I loved Rosie’s “Bachelor” Recaps.  I thought she was hilarious.  Little did I know that she had come from such a dark place.  If you enjoy reading biographies of lives that are nowhere close to yours then this is the book for you.  My broad minded view of the world was challenged.  I could not put this book down but it is not for everyone.  4/5 stars

https://rosiewaterland.com/books/

Terra Nullius by Claire G. Coleman – A compelling debut from WA Indigenous writer, the story draws you in along familiar lines, but not quite familiar somehow…? Very thought provoking, horrifying and hopeful. 4/5 stars

Third Witch by Jackie French – I’ve been enjoying checking out these Shakespeare inspired books for young people by Jackie French. This is Macbeth from the point of view of a young Lady-in-waiting to Lady Macbeth, a fascinating flight of historically researched alternative trajectory to Shakespeare’s tale. 3/5 stars

Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch – I’ve always liked the look of the covers of these books and haven’t got around to reading them until now. It was worth getting around to it. Aaronovitch creates a believable cast of characters, and comedy, in present day London – with a twist. I found the ending unnecessarily over the top but am currently enjoying the second book of the series perhaps even a little more. 3/5 stars

What do our scores mean?

1 star – I hated it / Don’t bother / It felt more like homework than reading for pleasure
2 stars – I didn’t like it / Not for me but worth trying / This book needed something different to make me like it
3 stars – I liked it / Recommended / This book was good. It wasn’t great but it wasn’t bad.
4 stars – I really liked it / One of the best books I’ve read this year / I’m glad I read it
5 stars – I loved it / One of the best books I’ve ever read / I will probably read it again

 

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Librarian’s Choice – December/January

1. Hangman by Jack Heath

Meet Timothy Blake, codename Hangman. Blake is a genius, known for solving impossible cases. He’s also a psychopath with a dark secret, and the FBI’s last resort.

A 14-year-old boy vanishes on his way home from school. His frantic mother receives a terrifying ransom call. It’s only hours before the deadline, and the police have no leads. Hangman is a mesmerising dissection of the criminal mind and a bulletproof thriller.

and the runners up are:

2. The Sisters’ song by Louise Allan
3. Cake at midnight by Jessie L. Star
4. When in Rome by CJ Duggan
5. Anatomy of a scandal by Sarah Vaughan
6. The Chalk man by C.J. Tudor
7. If I die before I wake by Emily Koch
8. White chrysanthemum by Mary Lynn Bracht
9. The woman in the Window by A. J. Finn
10. Year One by Nora Roberts

source: Librarian’s Choice

 

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Carolyn’s Books of the Month – December/January

Best Read: Birdcage Walk by Helen Dunmore

It is 1792 and Europe is seized by political turmoil and violence.

Lizzie Fawkes has grown up in Radical circles where each step of the French Revolution is followed with eager idealism.

But she has recently married John Diner Tredevant, a property developer who is heavily invested in Bristol’s housing boom, and he has everything to lose from social upheaval and the prospect of war. Soon his plans for a magnificent terrace built above the two-hundred-foot drop of the Gorge come under threat.

Diner believes that Lizzie’s independent, questioning spirit must be coerced and subdued. She belongs to him: law and custom confirm it, and she must live as he wants.

In a tense drama of public and private violence, resistance and terror, Diner’s passion for Lizzie darkens until she finds herself dangerously alone.

Crime: Little Deaths by Emma Flint

It’s the summer of 1965, and the streets of Queens, New York shimmer in a heatwave. One July morning, Ruth Malone wakes to find a bedroom window wide open and her two young children missing. After a desperate search, the police make a horrifying discovery. It’s every mother’s worst nightmare. But Ruth Malone is not like other mothers.

Australian Author: Stars Across the Ocean  by Kimberly Freeman

 1874: Only days before she is to leave the foundling home where she grew up, Agnes Resolute discovers that, as a baby, she had been abandoned with a small token of her mother: a unicorn button.

General: Congo Dawn by Katherine Scholes

Anna Emerson’s life is turned upside down when a stranger hands her a plane ticket to the Congo. The newly independent country is in turmoil, Simba rebels are on the move – but the invitation holds a precious clue to the whereabouts of her estranged father.

Thriller: You Will Know Me  by Megan Abbott

The audacious new novel from bestselling author Megan Abbott, “one of the best living mystery writers” (Grantland).Katie and Eric Knox have dedicated their lives to their fifteen-year-old daughter Devon, a gymnastics prodigy and Olympic hopeful.

Thriller: Strangers by Paul Finch

As PC Lucy Clayburn is about to find out, going undercover is the most dangerous work there is. But, on the trail of a prolific female serial killer, there’s no other option, and these murders are as brutal as they come.Lucy must step into the line of fire, a stranger in a criminal underworld that butchers anyone who crosses the line.

Saga/Romance: The Dressmaker’s Secret by Charlotte Betts

Italy, 1819. Emilia and her mother Sarah live a nomadic existence, travelling from town to town as dressmakers. When they settle in the coastal town of Pesaro, Emilia hopes that, this time, they have found a permanent home. But when Sarah is brutally attacked by an unknown assailant, a deathbed confession turns Emilia’s world upside down.

 

Everything You Told Me

eAudio Book: Everything You told Me  by Lucy Dawson

You went to bed at home, just like every other night.
You woke up in the back of a taxi, over 250 miles away.
You have no idea how you got there and no memory of the last 10 hours.
You have no phone, no money; just a suicide note in your coat pocket, in your own writing.
You know you weren’t planning to kill yourself.
Your family and friends think you are lying.

Someone knows exactly what happened to you.
But they’re not telling …

Image result for borrowbox  eBooks & eAudio from Blue Mountains library

 

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Prime Minister’s Literary Awards 2017

This year marks 10 years since the first Prime Minister’s Literary Awards took place in 2008.

Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull and Minister for the Arts Mitch Fifield have announced the shortlist for the 2017 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards.

The 30 shortlisted books showcase the breadth and depth of Australia’s literary talent across six categories—fiction, non-fiction, Australian history, young adult fiction, children’s fiction and poetry.

If the fiction shortlist looks familiar it is because four out of five of the novels were also nominated for the Miles Franklin Award. Can Josephine Wilson’s Extinctions win again? Wilson also won the inaugural Dorothy Hewett award for unpublished manuscripts for Extinctions in 2015.

The fiction nominees are:

The Easy Way out by Steven Amsterdam

Book cover of The Easy Way Out by Steven Amsterdam

 

The Last Days of Ava Langdon by Mark O’Flynn

Book cover of The Last Days of Ava Langdon by Mark O'Flynn

 

Their Brilliant Careers by Ryan O’Neill

Book cover of Their Brilliant Careers by Ryan O'Neil

 

Waiting by Philip Salom

Bock cover of book Waiting by Philip Salom

 

Extinctions by Josephine Wilson

Book cover of Extinctions by Josephine Wilson

 

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Summer Reading Challenge 2017

Coming soon!

During the Summer School Holidays the Annual Summer Reading Challenge runs from December 1st to January 31st. The program is open to children and teenagers. There are 2 categories: 0-12 yrs and 13 – 16yrs.

We hope that the reading program introduces you to many new books and authors and that you have lots of fun reading! Visit any Blue Mountains branch library to register and pick up your reading log book. Get ready for a great adventure and read as many books as you can.

A Mayoral award is given to the Blue Mountains Best Junior Reader and Best Teen Reader.

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The Ice Princess by Camilla Lackberg

The Ice Princess by Camilla Lackberg, translated by Steven T Murray

The first book in the Patrik Hedstrom series

Plot Summary : The writer Erica Falck has returned to her home town on the death of her parents, but discovers the community in turmoil. A close childhood friend, Alex, has been found dead. Her wrists have been slashed, and her body is frozen solid in a bath that has turned to ice. Erica decides to write a memoir about the charismatic but withdrawn Alex, more as a means of overcoming her own writer’s block than solving the mystery of Alex’s death. But Erica finds that her interest in Alex is becoming almost obsessive. She begins to work with local detective Patrik Hedstrom, and the duo soon find that some unpleasant secrets are buried beneath the comfortable surface of the town. (Source: Fantastic Fiction)

Review: I was not impressed by this book.  Amateur night all the way.

There is so much is wrong with this book; I will put my most annoyed observations as dot points.

  • Firstly, there is the annoying internal dialogue in italics that is supposed to act like a red herring, we are supposed to think it is the killer talking while he looks at the dead and frozen body in the bathtub, but is actually Anders. Ugh. Spare me. Not only because the dialogue is so creepy and unnatural, but because I knew almost immediately it wasn’t the killer.
  • The device of using a writer to do detective work did not work.  So, we are supposed to believe that a grieving family asks an old friend and writer whom they haven’t seen in 20 years, on her first visit to them after Alex’s death, to write a book about her. Then this “writer” starts doing her own private eye work, like going to the victim’s home at night, looking around, and getting disturbed by another intruder. Wot? This is a possible crime scene! And what the hell? Would you go to someone’s home that had just died, at night, to look around?  Or, how about looking in Nelly’s wastepaper basket to discover a rumpled page of her will saying her money is going to Julia?  Could not suspend credibility that far. No. Just no. Doesn’t work.
  • Then there are the clues that Patrick or Erica find but never tell the reader. Supposed to heighten suspense? Irritating as all get out.
  • Appallingly, this female writer writes her female characters like cardboard stereotypes. Sexy and scheming, bitchy and controlling, domineering, bitter, overprotective, weak, abused, victim or victimizer. Ugh. What is the matter with this picture? There is not a complex woman in the book. Alex is the most interesting character and she’s dead. No, I take it back, she was pretty boring too.
  • Her men don’t come off much better.  The incompetent police chief, the smart, nice cop who actually solves the case, and then, three, count them, three psychopaths. Lucas, bully and wife beater. Then there are Nils and Jan; imagine, two psychopaths in one family!  All so cardboard and predictable. And Nelly, walking around protecting these sickos, her creepy boys, because she is a rich dowager and that’s what rich dowagers do?
  • And do I have to mention the love affair between Patrick and Erica. Stop, just stop.  Please stop. “Bingo phase”? “5 in a row”. Euuuwwwww.
  • The writing is so bad. Achingly bad.

So, two stars from me. Why? Because I love dead bodies found in baths under suspicious circumstances.

But I won’t be recommending it to anyone.

Reviewed by: Wendy

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Good Reading Magazine – November

The November issue of Good Reading magazine is ready for you to enjoy!

Veteran Aussie storyteller Judy Nunn joins us this month to tell us about her latest novel, Sanctuary, which follows a group of refugees who run aground on a barren island off the coast of WA.

We also chat to Christine Milne, leader of the Greens from 2012 to 2015, about her opinions on the current state of Australian politics and the importance of getting involved, as outlined in her memoir, An Activist Life.

Isabel Allende talks about migrants and refugees, writing without a compass and her urgent need to write while she still can.

 Dave Warner tells us about becoming a suspected serial killer in a string of murders in Perth that were unnervingly similar to those described in one of his crime novels.

You can borrow Good Reading from the library or access it right here, right now, with your library card.

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