Monthly Archives: September 2013

What Library Staff are Reading – September 2013

  • Necessary as Blood by Deborah Crombie – a Duncan Kincaid / Gemma James mystery. I enjoy this series, a mixture of detective and family stories.
  • Burial Rites by Hannah Kent.
  • The Australian Moment by George Megalogenis – a socio-economic history of Australia from the Whitlam government through to the Gillard government. Megalogenis outlines the economic reforms undertaken by each government which cumulatively enabled the nation to weather the GFC, and along the way he describes political personalities and enmities, and changes in Australian attitudes to issues such as immigration and our place in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond.
  • For a change of pace I followed this up with a thriller –  Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. It certainly swept me along, and I really enjoyed the clever trick the author played – but it didn’t end the way I wanted it to!
  • I also enjoyed a Pride and Prejudice binge – read the book, watched the 1940 movie, then the 1995 mini-series, then the 2005 movie, and then read the Marvel Comic version – phew.
  • The crane wife – by Patrick Ness – quite a nice little story.
  • Annotated Brothers Grimm – a follow on from the previous month’s read (The Wilde Girl). I decided it would be nice to read the fairy tales that had been mentioned in the book and to revisit some of the fairy tales I loved as a child.  Golly, I didn’t realise how gruesome fairy tales were – this book is the adult/ original  version of all those loved childhood fairy tales – enough to give a grown person nightmares!
  • Stories and Sketches – Charles Dickens – another follow on from the previous month.  After watching the DVD about Charles Dickens’ life last month, I thought it would be good to read my way through his works.  3 weeks later, I am still ploughing my way through the first book on my Charles Dickens list . . .
  • God, No!: Signs You May Already Be an Atheist and Other Magical Tales by Penn Jillette – I don’t usually read humorous books but I felt like I needed a laugh and I have really enjoyed Penn’s recent TV programs. This book is a collection of stories from his life told with his usual foul mouth and based around the idea that religion is unnecessary to lead a moral life. There were a number of laugh out loud moments and a few interesting stories of atheist converts. He seems to be a magnet for them. I liked it.
  • Star Trek: Countdown to Darkness, Star Trek: Ongoing, Vol. 5 by Mike Johnson
  • Asterios Polyp by David Mazzucchelli
  • Kick-Ass 2, Hit-Girl, Wanted, Nemesis, Chosen, Supercrooks by Mark Millar
  • Too Cool to Be Forgotten, Tricked by Alex Robinson
  • Saga, Volume 1 & 2 by Brian K. Vaughan
  • DMZ Vol. 8 – 12 by Brian Wood
  • No Hero by Warren Ellis
  • Before Watchmen: Comedian/Rorschach by Brian Azzarello
  • Before Watchmen: Nite Owl/Dr. Manhattan by Michael J. Straczynski
  • Before Watchmen: Minutemen/Silk Spectre by Darwyn Cooke
  • Before Watchmen: Ozymandias/Crimson Corsair by Len Wein
  • The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey
  • The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett
  • The Midnight Dress by Karen Foxlee
  • Cosmo Cosmolino by Helen Garner
  • Bit of a Blur by Alex James – continuing with my rock biography theme, I tackled the beginnings of the Brit pop group, Blur.  From very humble beginnings to superstardom, this is an interesting read on the excesses of rock stars :
  • Perry Angel’s Suitcase by Glenda Millard – I loved Glenda’s first book, The Naming of Tishkin Silk so was delighted to learn there were more books in the Silk Family series.  Glenda deals with issues of blended families, death, foster children and love in a beautiful and sensitive and very normal way.  I highly recommend these books to primary aged children.  I am reserving the rest in the series : and
  • Layla, Queen of Hearts by Glenda Millard – the next in the series based on how Layla became part of the Silk Family as an honourary member.
  • All the Colours of Paradise by Glenda Millard – the next in the series which explores how to express feelings by art.
  • A Small Free Kiss in the Dark by Glenda Millard – this was on talking book and is targeted at a YA audience.  Homelessness, war, disconnection from family – all good themes to explore with a teenager.  Beautiful and sad story (not part of the Silk Family series) : and
  • The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson – started off really funny but became a bit tedious.
  • Dark Paradise – Norfolk Island – Isolation, savagery, mystery and murder by Robert Macklin – this one started off with the most amazing anti-British rant I’ve ever read and the man just kept going; Macklin does not appear to have a good opinion of any of the characters who appear in the history of Norfolk Island and if you are planning a trip there, you might be put off after reading this (sorry Judy).  It was a fascinating read though.
  • Rereading Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel – I got the talking book out but, with most of my trips being just the 6 km between work and home, I wasn’t getting through it very quickly so I’ve reverted to print for my third reading. Lapping it up in big gulps.
  • Trying to read Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston – laawdy me, ahm fahnding this here book based in the deeup sowth hawd to read. It’s a book group read and I may have to retaliate with some language of my own, say Tam O’Shanter (  explained here’_Shanter_(poem)) . . .  oh wait, I did that already with Kieron Smith, Boy! ($002f$002fSD_ILS$002f60$002fSD_ILS:60359/one?qu=kieron+smith+boy&te=ILS)
  • Just finished Levels of Life by Julian Barnes.
  • About to begin Wide Saragossa Sea by Jean Rhys
  • Thumbing through Extraordinary Clouds: Skies of the Unexpected from Bizarre to Beautiful by Richard Hamblyn
  • White Light: a collection of short stories by Mark O’Flynn. This Blue Mountains-based writer produces prose, poetry and drama, and I sense he moves easily between them. See my review of White Light here
  • Instructions for a Heatwave, by Maggie O’Farrell. I liked this one very much. It’s her sixth novel and she knows what she’s about. The prose is strong, vivid, economical, and at times I can hear an Irish accent coming through clear as day. Briefly, an ageing Robert Riordan wanders down the street to buy a newspaper – and doesn’t return. Panic: the family gathers, to be useful, to comment, to quarrel, to sort things out, to do what families do.
  • Burial Rites, by Hannah Kent. Who can resist reading a novel set in the frigid north of Iceland? It’s based on an actual event in 1829, and covers the last months in the life of Agnes Magnusdottir, accused of the murder of two men. As the book cover says, the central issue is personal freedom, rescuing oneself from the prejudices of others. Kent’s respect for the punishing northern landscape is evident, as is her desire to paint human truths unflinchingly.
  • Life After Life, by Kate Atkinson. Would you like to keep re-doing your life until you got it ‘right’? Well, that’s the idea that underpins the theory of reincarnation, and it’s the trope Atkinson uses in this intriguing novel. Great storytelling, clever structuring.
  • The Happiness Project, by Gretchen Rubin. The writer knew that objectively her life looked good – loved husband, two kids, apartment in New York, good job – but she wasn’t as fully engaged with it all, or as appreciative, as she thought she should be. So she began a year-long project with the aim of becoming happier. A little hokey, you say? But she has some great ideas here – and there are many ways to live a life. I enjoyed treading that exploratory path with her.

October School Holiday Activities @ Blaxland Library

4 Minecraft Blax

Book Week Art Competition Awards

Display of entries (including winners) at Springwood Library

Winners with their prize packs

Last week we held our award ceremony for the winners of the Book Week Art Competition, giving out prizes to the keen young artists. Attended by the winners and their family and friends, it was a wonderful afternoon. Library Manager Vicki Edmunds announced the winners, and our competition judge (Illustrator Louis Shea) awarded the winners their prize packs. All competition entries have been on display at Springwood Library for the last week, including the Winner’s Wall. You can see every entry here, and also on our Facebook page here.

Happy winner (left) with Louis Shea (centre)

The names of the winners are below (to see winning artworks close-up, please check out our blog post here):

Junior (Ages 5-7):

Darth Vader, by Rupert Begg (age 6)

Peter Rabbit, by Emma Flack (age 6)

The Avengers, by Perry Moore (age 6)

Intermediate (Ages 8-10):

Yu-Gi-Oh! Blue Eyes White Dragon, by Teo Lieu (age 8)

Chain of Charms, by Lucy Hughes (age 8)

Deltora Quest, by Nicholas Robinson (age 8)

Senior (Ages 11-12):

The Little Mermaid, by Grace Westley (age 11)

Bard (from The Hobbit), by Oscar Lee (age 11)

Anne of Green Gables, by Maisy Costa (age 11)

Congratulations again to all entrants, you helped make this Book Week a wonderful and creative celebration of reading!

Display of entries at Springwood LibraryDisplay of entries at Springwood Library

Sandy Bröcking Author Talk @ Katoomba Library


On Saturday 26 October, at 2pm, Sandy Bröcking will be joining us at Katoomba Library to share about her book, Think Smart & Lose Weight. This is not just another diet book. It is part memoir and motivating guide, and part individual health plan to empower you to live a healthier life, free from common diseases and excess weight.

Sandy is a health nurse and has overcome her own struggle with obesity, so her advice is both practical and personal. Her methods have been reviewed and promoted by the Natural Health Society. Sandy’s advice is to “Stop wasting money on expensive diet regimes. Successful weight loss is about motivation, knowledge and lifestyle improvement.”

Come along to Katoomba Library to hear more at this FREE event. There will be afternoon tea provided. Sandy will have copies of her book available to purchase on the day.

To register, call 4780 5750 or see staff at any Library branch.

October School Holiday Activities @ Springwood Library

3 Rock Band Art Spwd

Domini Stuart Author Talk @ Blaxland Library

poor me

Blaxland Library is pleased to be hosting local author, Domini Stuart, on Thursday, October 17, 2013 at 2pm. Domini will be sharing about her latest book, Poor Me!: How I stuffed up by getting into debt so you don’t have to. This book, co-written by Domini and her son, is aimed at young adults, as well as their parents or caregivers. Poor Me! is a helpful guide for people of all ages who are finding themselves with spiralling debts. It is also a cautionary tale for young adults looking at getting a credit card, buying their first car or needing to rein in their spending. This book includes all the things we really wish we had known before things got out of control; and for anyone who has already made mistakes, there’s some great help with getting back on track.

This is a FREE event, with afternoon tea provided. Copies of Poor Me! will be available for purchase on the day.
For more information or to book your place, call Blaxland Library on 4739 4284.

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