What Library Staff are Reading – June 2013

44504_424723074261828_855347491_nAs it starts to get chill it might be time to start practising librocubicularism.

Here’s what’s been keeping your favourite library staff busy :

  • The people smuggler : the true story of Ali Al Jenabi, the Oskar Schindler of Asia by Robin de Crespigny – very powerful ; a real eye opener ; a must read for everyone.
  • Popcorn: Hollywood Stories by Julia Cameron – short fiction stories by Cameron, author of cult non-fiction book, The Artist’s Way. I’m not always in the mood for short stories, or anything to do with Hollywood, but these bite-sized portraits of making it in the ‘biz’ are well-honed and addictive.
  • Hotel Heaven: Confessions of a Luxury Hotel Addict by Matthew Brace – I’m not a luxury hotel addict, but I would be one if I could. This book is an indulgent look at the history of luxury accommodation, and how ludicrously spoilt some members of society have been (and continue to be). A good book for the armchair traveller.
  • Cat’s Table by Michael  Ondaatje –  As always this author writes beautifully, an interesting account of a key group of passengers who travel from Colombo to England.
  •  A Few Right Thinking Men by Sulari Gentill  – I enjoyed the Australian history background of 1920’s that ran through this crime novel.
  • Bonjour Tristesse by Francoise Sagan – really a novella, very superificial ravings of a French teenage girl.
  • The Art of the Engine Driver by Steve Caroll   – a novel set in a backward Victorian town which I found depressing.
  • A Dance with Dragons by George R. R. Martin – still continuing the Game of Thrones saga.  I didn’t think it would hold my interest but it really has. http://www.georgerrmartin.com/grrm_book/a-dance-with-dragons/  
  • The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe – a touching story of mother and son and the books they managed to cram in and discuss while she was undergoing treatment for cancer.  http://theendofyourlifebookclub.com/about-the-book/ (there’s a nice video in there)
  •  The Cove by Ron Rash – a book group read set in the mountains of North Carolina and which sounded very much like our own Blue Mountains.  I enjoyed this immensely.
  • I enjoyed Life After Life by Kate Atkinson.
  • I’m currently reading Ragtime by EL Doctorow for my other book group (BG2). We read this for BG1 a couple of years ago but until yesterday lunch time I would have said I must’ve missed it then I came to a couple of chapters, just two, that I recognised but was then thrown back into the unknown???
  • Sin City, Volumes 1 – 6 by Frank Miller – Classic noir from the legendary author. The stories were fantastic and so full of what may seem like clichéd noir fiction tales but told to perfection. Very nice black and white artwork. Instantly one of my all time favourite graphic novel series.
  • Batman Confidential, Vol. 1: Rules of Engagement by Andy Diggle
  • Dotter of her Father’s Eyes by Mary M Talbot
  • V for Vendetta by Alan Moore
  • Star Trek (New series), Volume 1 – 4 by Mike Johnson
  • The Walking Dead, Volumes 15 & 16 by Robert Kirkman
  • Back To Brooklyn,  Jennifer Blood, Volumes 1 – 3, True Faith,  Chronicles of Wormwood and The Pro by Garth Ennis 
  • Skrull Kill Krew,  Vimanarama and We3 by Grant Morrison
  • I’ve just finished Georgia Blain’s Too close to home and thoroughly enjoyed it.  I had read Candelo and Closed for winter some years ago and loved her writing style.  Too close to home is a confronting look into the lives and values of a group of the arty middle class living set with the backdrop of the Australian political  leadership challenge of 2010.
  • Now… I am looking forward to reading her autobiographical non-fiction : Births, deaths, marriages: true stories.
  • Cultivating your creative life : exercises, activities & inspiration for finding balance, beauty & success as an artist by Alena Hennessey
  • Shift by Hugh Howey
  • A week at the airport: a Heathrow diary by Alain de Botton
  • Lovesong by Alex Miller
  • The fault in our stars by John Green
  • I recently finished Island of Wings by Karin Altenberg –  This book touched on several of my interests: the stark life of the St Kildans on Hirta and the other islands of St Kilda (west of the Hebrides); the impact of the Christian evangelical and missionary movements in the 19th century, particularly on peoples living in ‘remote’ and ‘exotic’ places (from the European viewpoint); male and female relationships in a patriarchal culture; and the interaction of personal spirituality or faith and community religion.
  • I am now reading short stories set in another island, or written by authors from there : Deep south : stories from Tasmania edited by Ralph Crane and Danielle Wood –  I am looking forward to reading all the short stories as the ones I have read so far have been so very original and intriguing.
  • I’ve just read a great little book called Grow Your Own Food: A Wartime Guide by Doreen Wallace. Written in 1940 for the benefit of novice gardeners in the UK, it has a lot of dry but warm humour – the author’s instructional technique is to invent a clueless family of city-bred evacuees who are befriended by a didactic and terminally helpful country-woman. Obviously not 100% practical for here and now, but some useful tips (including how to kill a chicken) and an insight into the relative deprivations of the time.
  • Tales of terror from The Black Ship by Chris Priestley (Junior Fiction) – a fantastic set of short stories (horror – author influenced by Edgar Alan Poe) told by an one of the main protagonists. I was scared – great fun!
  • The call of the wild, white fang and other stories by Jack London – The writing is beautiful and the subject material really interesting (the journey from suburban/domesticated dog to wild animal).
  • The twenty-seventh annual African hippopotamus race by Morris Laurie (Junior Fiction) – I loved this as a child when my primary school teacher librarian read it to us with her English accent. It was great to revisit it again.
  • The golden door by Emily Rodda (Junior fiction)
  • I’m currently reading a biography on Marlon Brando called Somebody : the reckless life and remarkable career of Marlon Brando by Stefan Kanfer – A very Interesting look at actors in the 30’s,40’s and early 50’s and how production were made from stage to film and also the direction of certain directors in particular Elias Kazan and how he directed actors to be unafraid and give it all they’ve got as in Brando’s acting in the infamous movie Street car named desire and On the waterfront and they were outstanding performances especially for a young 23 yr old inexperienced actor.
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