Good Reading Magazine – October 2018

The October issue of Good Reading magazine is ready for you to enjoy through Blue Mountains Library!

In this month’s edition:

  • Beauty from Chaos: Swedish-Australian writer Kristina Olsson on Shell, her striking novel about 1960s Australia, conscription, and the construction of the Sydney Opera House.
  • Moriarty’s Return: Liane Moriarty interrogates the new religion of mindfulness in her highly anticipated new novel Nine Perfect Strangers.
  • Singer-songwriter Holly Throsby on the unsolved Aussie mystery that haunts her new novel Cedar Valley.
  • Jodi Picoult on conducting over 150 interviews for her new novel A Spark of Light.
  • Kate Morton tells us about her mother, the antiques dealer and her new book The Clockmaker’s Daughter.
  • Celebrate the connections between trees in a new illustrated edition of The Hidden Life of Trees.

Latest podcast:

EPISODE #11: As ABC political correspondent Laura Tingle put the finishing touches on her latest Quarterly Essay, Follow the Leader: Democracy and the rise of the strongman, Canberra descended into chaos. Dutton challenged, Turnbull fell, Morrison won. After some lightning-fast edits, the updated essay came out in the wake of the turmoil, and it examines Australian politics and the leaders of Germany, America, and China in order to answer the question in the minds of many: What the hell is going on?

Listen and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.

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

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Alison’s Picks – October

The Summer Without Men by Siri Hustvedt. It’s bracing to read a novel that deals with the lives of women respectfully, intelligently, and with compassion and sly humour. Nothing cosy or PC about her observations, either. Several narrative strands run concurrently in this one, beginning with the sudden departure of Mia’s husband Boris, who needs a ‘pause’ in their marriage. There is the summer writing class Mia runs for teenage girls, yielding surprising results. There is her ageing mother with her friends, her book club, her deep recognition of the ‘bitterness’ of ageing. There is Lola next door, a jeweller whose work waits to be valued. Other strands too… but what I am left with as a reader is the beautiful prospect of a clever writer unpicking the experiences we human beings are heir to, and chuckling quietly over it all. Hustvedt’s range of exploration is broad: philosophy, neuroscience, literature and psychology are some of her playgrounds, and she deplores the alleged rift between arts and sciences, knowing that rift is man-made and simplistic.

The Life to Come  by Michelle de Kretser. The author has won the 2018 Miles Franklin prize for this one. The prose is seemingly effortless: picturesque, dense and gritty; and often, often funny. I always notice language first. This language has the subtlety and texture of poetry. But the book provides very little narrative drive.  Which I almost don’t mind. You must be prepared to inhabit the universes the author provides, at the time she provides them. The novel plaits together the lives of Pippa, a writer: Celeste with her married lover; and Ash whose Sri Lankan childhood guaranteed him a complex and difficult later life. Over halfway through the book at present, I still wonder where de Kretser is taking me. The jury is out, on narrative.


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Carolyn’s Books of the Month – October

Best Read: A Fall of Marigolds by Susan Meissner 

A beautiful scarf, passed down through the generations, connects two women who learn that the weight of the world is made bearable by the love we give away…. September 1911. On Ellis Island in New York Harbor, nurse Clara Wood cannot face returning to Manhattan, where the man she loved fell to his death in the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire.

Crime: The Escape by C.L.Taylor 

Australian Author: The Love that I Have by James Moloney

General: A Stranger in the House  by Shari Lapena 

Thriller: The Visitors by Catherine Burns

Thriller: Look for Me by Lisa Gardner 

Saga/Romance: The Sapphire Widow by Dinah Jefferies

eAudio Books:

The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart by Holly Ringland 

Nine-year-old Alice Hart grows up in an isolated, idyllic home between sugar cane fields and the sea, where her mother’s enchanting flowers and their hidden messages shelter her from the dark moods of her father. When tragedy irrevocably changes her life, Alice goes to live with the grandmother she never knew existed, on an Australian native flower farm that gives refuge to women who, like Alice, are lost or broken. In the Victorian tradition, every flower has a meaning and, as she settles into her new life, Alice uses this language of native flowers to say the things that are too hard to speak.

As she grows older, family secrecy, a devastating betrayal and a man who’s not all he seems combine to make Alice realise there are some stories that flowers alone cannot tell. If she is to have the freedom she craves, she must find the courage to possess the most powerful story she knows: her own.

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Librarians’ Choice – October

1. Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak

Bridge of Clay is about a boy who is caught in the current – of destroying everything he has, to become all he needs to be. He builds a bridge to save his family, but also to save himself. It’s an attempt to transcend humanness, to make a single, glorious moment: A miracle and nothing less.

2. Any Ordinary Day by Leigh Sales
3. Shell by Kristina Olsson
4. The Arsonist by Chloe Hooper
5. Lost without you by Rachael Johns
6. Cedar Valley by Holly Throsby
7. Boys will be boys by Clementine Ford
8. Lenny’s book of everything (junior fiction) by Karen Foxlee
9. You daughters of freedom by Claire Wright
10. The Valley by Steve Hawke

source: Librarian’s Choice




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Expert Advice for Writers….

Motivational and inspiring – two key feedback messages from our August writing workshop with Julian Leatherdale – a published author giving an insider’s insights. Our next is on Saturday 22 September at Katoomba Library…book soon at any branch as there are only a few places left. (10am to 3pm | $25 | Age 16+).

• Comprehensive, motivating, inspiring (1)


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Alison’s Picks – September


A Long Way from Home by Peter Carey. In 1954 The Australian Redex Car Trials were conducted, over a dangerous and difficult route nick-named ‘the crystal highway’ (broken glass). In this, Peter Carey’s latest novel, diminutive car dealer Titch Bobbs, his wife Irene and their navigator Willie Bachhuber, decide to enter, driving a Holden and hoping a win will be good for business. Of course a huge and taxing journey like this is also a huge life journey, for all the people involved. Each of the three is changed utterly, especially Bachhuber, whose very identity – that person he thought he was – is washed away and re-written. And the black/white nexus is under the fiercest of spotlights. As is the male/female nexus. Having read most of what Carey has written, I’m calling this his tour de force.

 The Dry by Jane Harper.  I can see why this one has gripped readers everywhere. A husband, a wife and their child are found murdered in and near their property in rural Victoria. It’s looks like a murder/suicide, but is it? That’s the question for the local cop and a blow-in investigator from Town. As the investigation ramps up, so does the relentless summer heat. It is another character, with a decisive role to play. Harper’s portrayal of Australians, their lives and the way they speak, is beautifully convincing. It’s not simple ‘crime fiction’, it’s more than that.



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Carolyn’s Books of the Month – September

Best Read: The Woman in the Window by A.J.Finn

It isn’t paranoia if it’s really happening… Anna Fox lives alone – a recluse in her New York City home, drinking too much wine, watching old movies… and spying on her neighbors. Then the Russells move next door: a father, a mother, their teenaged son. The perfect family. But when Anna sees something she shouldn’t, her world begins to crumble – and its shocking secrets are laid bare. What is real? What is imagined? Who is in danger? Who is in control? In this gripping Hitchcockian thriller, no one and nothing are what they seem.

Crime: The Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan 

Anatomy of a Scandal centres on a high-profile marriage that begins to unravel when the husband is accused of a terrible crime. Sophie is sure her husband, James, is innocent and desperately hopes to protect her precious family from the lies which might ruin them. Kate is the barrister who will prosecute the case – she is equally certain that James is guilty and determined he will pay for his crimes.

Australian Author: The Baby Doctor by Fiona McArthur 

Sienna Wilson is living her dream in the city and#x2013; a rewarding obstetrics job in a leading hospital, an apartment with a view, and handsome Sergeant McCabe on call whenever she needs him. The last thing she wants is a posting to investigate a medical mystery in a remote outback town.

General: The White Chrysanthemum by Mary Lyn Bracht 

Hana and her little sister Emi are part of an island community of haenyeo, women who make their living from diving deep into the sea off the southernmost tip of Korea. One day Hana sees a Japanese soldier heading for where Emi is guarding the day’s catch on the beach. Her mother has told her again and again never to be caught alone with one. Terrified for her sister, Hana swims as hard as she can for the shore. So begins the story of two sisters suddenly and violently separated by war. Switch-backing between Hana in 1943 and Emi as an old woman today, White Chrysanthemum takes us into a dark and devastating corner of history. But pulling us back into the light are two women whose love for one another is strong enough to triumph over the evils of war.

Thriller: Her Every Fear by Peter Swanson 

Following a brutal attack by her ex-boyfriend, Kate Priddy makes an uncharacteristically bold decision after her cousin, Corbin Dell, suggests a temporary apartment swap – and she moves from London to Boston.

But soon after her arrival Kate makes a shocking discovery: Corbin’s next-door neighbour, a young woman named Audrey Marshall, has been murdered. When the police begin asking questions about Corbin’s relationship with Audrey, and his neighbours come forward with their own suspicions, a shaken Kate has few answers, and many questions of her own.

Jetlagged and emotionally unstable, her imagination playing out her every fear, Kate can barely trust herself. So how can she trust any of the strangers she’s just met?

Thriller: The Mayfly by James Hazel 

Charlie Priest, ex-detective inspector turned London lawyer, is hired by influential entrepreneur Kenneth Ellinder to investigate the murder of his son. But Priest is no ordinary lawyer. Brilliant yet flawed, this case will push him, and those closest to him, to the edge. Priest traces the evidence back to the desperate last days of the Second World War. Buried in the ashes of the Holocaust is a secret so deadly its poison threatens to destroy the very heart of the establishment. With more victims going missing, Priest realises that not everyone should be trusted. As he races to uncover the truth, can he prevent history from repeating itself?

Saga/Romance: After the Last Dance by Sarra Manning 

Two women separated by time, connected by fate. 1943, King’s Cross station: Rose arrives in London and swaps the drudgery of wartime for romance, glamour and jiving with GIs at Rainbow Corner, the famous dance hall in Piccadilly Circus. As the bombs drop, Rose loses her heart to a pilot, but never imagines that she has much more to lose.

eAudio Book:

Birthright by Fiona Lowe

Is an inheritance a privilege or a right? Does it show love? Margaret, the matriarch of the wealthy Jamieson family, has always been as tight-fisted with the family money as she is with her affection. Her eldest daughter, Sarah, is successful in her own right as a wife, mother and part owner of a gourmet food empire. But it’s not enough to impress her mother. Always in the shadow cast by the golden glow of her younger brother, Sarah feels compelled to meet Margaret’s every demand to earn her love.

Does it give security? After a poverty-stricken childhood, Anita has claimed the social status she’s worked so hard to achieve by marrying Cameron Jamieson. Although they have a comfortable life, she’s never able to fully relax, fearing everything could change in a heartbeat.

Or does it mean freedom? Ellie, the youngest, has lived a nomadic and – according to her siblings – a selfish life, leaving them to care for their ageing mother. For her, freedom means staying far away from the strings attached to her inheritance, but she needs to consider her young son’s future as well.

As their mother’s health deteriorates, will long-held secrets and childhood rivalries smash this family into pieces?

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