Monday, 19 December 2011

Angels of vengeance by John Birmingham

Being the third book of this series, I expected a bit more of an "impact" in the opening chapters, but I found the beginning of this book a little slow. The author also presumes the reader has read (or re-read) the previous 2 books, but that being said, this is the only down point to a continuation of another of John Birmingham's "alternate reality" series of books.

This book focuses on the three main female characters that survived the "Disappearance" in the first of the books, and their journeys across a changed world to seek vengeance on the people responsible for violence and sorrow aimed against them, attacked and murdered her family (Sophia), attempted to kidnap and hold for ransom her husband and daughter (Caitlin) and to find and stop the person who put a contract on her life (Jules).

Typically of John Birmingham's latest books, the story is fast paced, quite graphic with the action scenes, and his imagination running rampant with the alternate world people and places. He is also not adverse to killing off main characters to the story.

I have enjoyed this series of books (Without Warning, After America) but not as much as his other trilogy, the alternate world of 1942 and World War 2 (Weapons of choice, Designated targets and Final impact), but I would recommend this book (and the series) as an escape from now and a thought of "what if".........


Friday, 16 December 2011

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

The staff at Greater Dandenong Libraries would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a happy and safe New Year.

The libraries will be open over the Christmas-New Year break for the following hours:

Friday 23rd December 9-9pm
Saturday 24th December 10-5pm
Sunday 25th December Closed
Monday 26th December Closed
Tuesday 27th December Closed
Wednesday 28th December 9-6pm
Thursday 29th December 9-6pm
Friday 30th December 9-6pm
Saturday 31st December 10-5pm
Sunday 1st January 2012 Closed
Monday 2nd January 2012 Closed
Normal hours resume from Tuesday 3rd January 2012.

Happy reading!

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Paris noire by Francine Thomas Howard

A light-hearted, entertaining and poignant tale reflecting life for coloured ‘emigrates’ to Paris in 1944

Not a novel I would normally read other than seeing a good review. It wasn’t long before I couldn’t put the book down, drawn into the developing characterisations so well presented by Howard.

I like the French flavour that permeates throughout the novel and it is easy to relate to the thinking of Marie-Therese, a middle-aged single mother who has migrated from Martinque to Paris, and the contrast of approach to life post war by her two young adult children, Colette and Christophe.

Throughout the narrative the racial aspect of black French is cleverly embedded in the story. Francine Howard is very delicate with the subject reflecting the personal knowledge and research used as a base for the novel.

Set against the historical events of the period this is also a star crossed romantic romp with a good touch of humour mixed with a dose of suspense right to the end.


Next Always (Inn BoonsBoro Trilogy #1) by Nora Roberts

Beckett Montgomery leads a pretty happy and satisfied life. He enjoys his job as an architect and loves that he, his brothers Ryder & Owen and their mom run a successful construction firm. There's one thing that's missing from his life and that's a chance to get to know Clare Brewster, whom he has had a crush on since high school. Clare has returned home to Boonsboro after her husband was killed in the war and she now runs her own bookstore in town. With three young sons, Clare doesn't have the time to date and is happy with the life she has built for them. Despite being busy and not interested in romance, Clare becomes intrigued by Beckett's transformation of the old inn. Will the Inn help transform Beckett and Clare’s friendship into their “happy ever after”?

I enjoy reading Nora Roberts. Yes, her books can get a little formulaic after a while, but considering how many she has written, she can be forgiven. She always seems to find ways to keep the stories and characters feeling fresh. In this trilogy she has cleverly interwoven her real life home-town of Boonsboro, and the businesses owned by family members, within the plot. Out of curiosity I googled the town and discovered the Inn BoonsBoro has been restored, and is now run, by Nora. The “Turn the Page” bookshop is actually owned by her husband, and stocked with Nora’s books, and her son owns “Vesta Pizza”. So I guess if you are a real fan you can sleep in Nora’s Inn, buy one of her books in her bookshop and grab a bite to eat in her restaurant….

I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to escape, for a moment, the hustle and bustle of Christmas. Make a cup of tea, put your feet up, relax and enjoy a very light hearted, easy going read.


Monday, 12 December 2011

Men and dogs by Katie Crouch

If you are looking for a good read that is easy and entertaining this may well be it. I read it cover to cover very quickly. It was funny, light and also had that epiphany that you'd hope your protagonist will have when going through a life-change.

The story is about Hannah whose marriage is falling apart. She is excellent at sabotaging herself! She is also obsessed with the disappearance of her father when she was a child, convinced he is alive and somewhere out there. When she falls and injures herself, she goes back to her childhood home to rest up, and seek answers. The characters in this book are well developed and flawed, but also mostly likable.

For a break from more challenging reads I found this a real joy.


Monday, 5 December 2011

The Ballroom: The Melbourne Punk and Post-Punk Seaview Ballroom by Dolores San Miguel

The Ballroom is a brutally frank memoir of what has become known as one of the most pivotal, fascinating and influential periods of Australian musical and cultural history. The story is illustrated with original flyers and candid photos, some never before seen or published.

The scene: St. Kilda, Melbourne in the late 70s. It was here amongst the prostitutes, drunks and junkies that a music venue was born, a venue that would soon become the pulse of punk and new wave music in Australia. Melbourne’s most famous and infamous musicians, artists, filmmakers and fashion designers such as Nick Cave, Hunters and Collectors, Richard Lowenstein, Sam Sejavka, Howard Arkley and Alannah Hill gathered on a weekly basis during their formative years. Internationally acclaimed acts such as Iggy Pop, The Cure, INXS and Johnny Rotten also performed there.

Although the flow of the story feels a little disjointed in places, jumping between the bands, band members, venues, I thoroughly enjoyed the book, reliving memories of bands, musicians (both living and sadly passed) and a music scene past. I'd recommend this autobiography to anyone that lived through the Melbourne punk and post punk scene, those that are interested in the fantastic array of bands and live venues in Melbourne, and to those looking for a trip down a hazy memory lane, complete with sticky carpet underfoot.


Monday, 28 November 2011

New fiction titles for December

Treasury Maeve Binchy
Backstreet child Harry Bowling
Farrans of Fellmonger Street Harry Bowling
Death benefit Robin Cook
Crescent dawn: a Dirk Pitt novel Clive Cussler
Fall of giants Ken Follett
Scottish prisoner Diana Gabaldon
Blood counter Robert Goddard
V is for vengeance Sue Grafton
Down the darkest road Tami Hoag
Shadow story Jennifer Johnston
Blood games Faye Kellerman
77 Shadow Street Dean Koontz
Forever Rumpole John Mortimer
Spider goddess Tara Moss
Sunday books Mervyn Peake
Christmas with Miss Read Miss Read

To reserve your copy of one of these new titles click the link below:


Monday, 21 November 2011

Carte blanche by Jeffery Deaver

A thoroughly enjoyable read. I have been a fan of James Bond for many years and love the sheer entertainment of the movies.

This latest novel from the much renowned Jeffery Deaver is fast moving with lots of turns and weaving. What I also liked was the high standard of writing without the need for the reader to be subjected to swearing and bad language. This proves an author can write a good story with excellent dialogue.

It was a bold move to invite Jeffrey Deaver to write another James Bond novel after he declared his childhood love of Fleming. It was at the 2004 Crime Writers’ Association Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award that Deaver won that Ian Fleming Publications approached him to see if he would be interested in writing the next Bond book.

The plot returns James Bond in a contemporary thriller. 'The face of war is changing. The other side doesn't play by the rules much anymore. There's thinking, in some circles, that we need to play by a different set of rules too...' Fresh from Afghanistan, James Bond has been recruited to a new agency. Conceived in the post-9/11 world, it operates independent of Five, Six and the MoD, its very existence deniable. Its aim: to protect the Realm, by any means necessary. The Night Action alert calls Bond from dinner with a beautiful woman. GCHQ has decrypted an electronic whisper about an attack scheduled for later in the week: casualties estimated in the thousands, British interests adversely affected. And 007 has been given carte blanche to do whatever it takes to fulfill his mission.

I found myself intrigued right from the start and if you like fast moving plots with good writing then you will certainly enjoy this.


Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Clipper Audiobooks now available to download

Downloadable Clipper eAudiobooks are now available free online via the library catalogue “search & renew & eAudio books” web page. There are over 600 bestselling current and classic titles in the Clipper DL Collection, including many selections for children. Available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, borrowers can download unabridged audio books in the comfort of their own home. All that is required is a PC with internet access. A significant number of titles available in the Clipper DL catalogue are iPod compatible, so users can transfer their favourite book to their personal media player and listen wherever they are. Just download and go!

Here are some key points about Clipper DL:

• You only need to register for access once, then
• Simply Sign In via the Clipper button to start your search
• 5 new titles are added to the collection each month
• Each title offers unlimited availability and simultaneous access for all borrowers, so every library user can download all the latest bestsellers at the same time, making waiting lists a thing of the past.
• You can have up to 10 active titles at any given time
• Borrowing is for a maximum of 21 days – the file then becomes inactive after this period due to Digital Rights Management, but the title can be downloaded again
• Some titles are only Windows Media Player compatible but this is clearly indicated on the audiobook record

Ask our friendly staff for assistance or access directly online by clicking on the Clipper DL link on this blog. We have also posted a first time user registration guide as well as a general Clipper DL user guide online to help you get started.

Happy listening!


Friday, 11 November 2011

Language of flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

This was recommended by a friend as a ‘cannot put it down’ read. I have thoroughly enjoyed the book right from the start. The storyline is gritty and the clever narrative uses a Victorian era dictionary of flower language to link and convey the emotions and communications of the key character, Victoria Jones.

Victoria Jones was an abandoned child evicted from many group homes but through one of these experiences and a relationship with Rosemary her foster mother at the time she learns this floral language, and upon her emancipation at age 18, eventually finds a job with a caring florist. A chance meeting at a flower market forces her to confront her past and learn to love and trust again. Diffenbaugh's extraordinary debut brings forth in elegant prose the emotions of anger and mistrust, love and loss, and the possibilities for a second chance at happiness.”

Mesmerizing, moving, and elegantly written this will stay with me as one of my favourite books.


Wednesday, 9 November 2011

New fiction titles for November

Zero day David Baldacci
Angels of vengeance John Birmingham
Drop Michael Connelly
Red mist Patricia Cornwell
Micro Michael Crichton
Prague cemetery Umberto Eco
Song of the Quarkbeast Jasper Fforde
Kill shot Vince Flynn
Litigators John Grisham
Silence Rodney Hall
Winding road Cynthia Harrod-Eagles
Dovekeepers Alice Hoffman
Beloved of Isis Christian Jacq
Trader’s wife Anna Jacobs
Guardian Sherrilyn Kenyon
Prague fatale Philip Kerr
11/22/63 Stephen King
Daniel Henning Mankell
Foal’s bread Gillian Mears
Cold light Frank Moorhouse
Opal desert Di Morrissey
Tiger men Judy Nunn
Snuff Terry Pratchett
Next always Nora Roberts

To reserve your copy of one of these new titles click the link below:

Monday, 7 November 2011

Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

The Night Circus is a tale of two young magicians, Celia and Marco, bound by their very different instructors to participate in a battle of skill and creativity using their own unique methods. A richly beautiful night circus called Le Cirque des RĂªves (The Circus of Dreams) is created as the venue for their challenge, where only one can be the victor. Consequences may be inevitable as their competition doesn't only impact them, but their fellow circus performers and associates as well. The delicate tight-knit web depends on Celia and Marco more and more but as time passes by are they able to handle the heavy burden that grows as long as the game goes on?

I loved this book. It captivated me from the first page and continued to keep me under its spell until the very last page. It is beautifully written and the descriptions are so wonderfully vivid that I could easily imagine myself wandering around the circus. Erin Morgenstern has an amazing imagination and, as this her debut novel, I look forward to reading more of her books in the future. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who wants to be swept away into a colourful and fascinating world.


Monday, 31 October 2011

Die for you by Lisa Unger

I have never read a title by Lisa Unger before but was encouraged to try this author by a work colleague who finds her thrilling with her nail biting suspense and vocabulary that is tense and excellent. I also couldn't put it down. Unger builds and maintains tension and expertly weaves the backgrounds of her characters into the novel.

Isabel Raine thought she had everything–a successful career, a supportive family, and a happy marriage to the man she loved. Then one ordinary morning, her husband, Marcus, picks up his briefcase, kisses her good-bye, and simply vanishes. As phone message go to voicemail and no-one knows anything – the only thing Isabel knows for sure is that her husband of five years is gone. Where is he and who is he are questions no one seems able to answer. But Isabel will not rest until she discovers the truth about the man she loves, even if it means risking everything–including her own life.

Die for you is a very good story of family deceptions, finding out that people you love aren't always what they seem. It's also about forgiveness and moving on.

Unger is a master of psychological suspense and her writing is beautiful. I can't wait to read the rest of her work!


Thursday, 27 October 2011

The Inky Awards 2011

There is no other award in Australia that reflects what teenagers want to read. The Inkys are international awards for teenage literature, voted for online by the readers of There are three awards: the Golden Inky for an Australian book, the Silver Inky for an international book, and the Creative Reading Prize, won by a young person for a creative response to a book they love, in any format they choose.

The Gold Inky went to James Moloney for his novel Silvermay

Sixteen-year-old Silvermay Hawker feels drawn to the newcomer in her village - a young man of solemn good looks named Tamlyn. But only heartache can come of this, because Tamlyn is devoted to Nerigold and to little Lucien, her son.
So things seem, until the dark forces of Coyle Strongbow come in search of Nerigold′s baby and Silvermay is swept up in the young family′s escape. When Lucien is entrusted to her care, she discovers the startling horror of what he might become, and the truth about Tamlyn, too.
Can Lucien be spared his fate, or is he doomed to become like Coyle? And Tamlyn, can he be trusted, can he be loved and can he love in return? Silvermay′s heart will not give him up, but what happens when devotion becomes a weapon in the hands of the ruthless?

The Silver Inky was awarded to Cassandra Clare for Clockwork Angel

The Infernal Devices trilogy, a prequel to bestselling The Mortal Instruments trilogy, follows 16-year-old orphan Tessa Gray, whose quiet life is thrown into turmoil when her older brother Nathaniel suddenly vanishes, leaving her alone. Tessa's search for him leads her to England during the reign of Queen Victoria, into London's dangerous underworld, where warlocks throw masked balls for half-demon Downworlders and vampires and supernatural folk stalk the gaslit streets.
When the friendless and hunted Tessa discovers that she herself is a Downworlder, she must learn to trust her natural enemies, the demon-killing Shadowhunters, if she ever wants to learn to control her powers and find her brother. Drawn ever deeper into their world, she finds herself fascinated by – and torn between – two best friends; beautiful Will, a Shadowhunter hiding a deadly secret, and the devoted Jem, whose addiction to a demon drug is slowly destroying him. Tessa quickly realises that love may be the most dangerous magic of all and must draw on all her strength to save her brother and keep herself alive in this deadly new world

For more information about the Inky awards visit their website at inside a dog.


Wednesday, 26 October 2011

National Year of Reading 2012: Our Story

This summer, discover six wonderful books with a Victorian flavour, and help us choose the winning book!

The Victorian shortlist, which includes both fiction and non-fiction titles, are as follows:
The comfort of water by Maya Ward
Sold by Brendan Gullifer
Radical Melbourne by Jeff Sparrow
Unpolished gem by Alice Pung
Well done, those men by Barry Heard
Bearbrass by Robyn Annear

So get reading over the summer break, and vote for your favourite by 6 January, online or at a participating public library or bookshop. The winning book will represent Victoria in the national Our Story program in 2012. For details, visit Our story.

Our Story is part of the National Year of Reading 2012, and the Victorian program is coordinated by the State Library of Victoria in collaboration with the Public Libraries Victoria Network.


Tuesday, 25 October 2011

New fiction titles for October

Cloudburst / Andrews, V.C
Agatha Raisin: As the pig turns / Beaton, M.C
Lethal / Brown, Sandra
Infernals / Connolly, John
Silk Road / Falconer, Colin
Silent mercy / Fairstein, Linda
Ed King / Gutterson, David
Fear index / Harris, Robert
Lovesong for India / Jhabvala, Ruth Prawer
Nanjing requiem / Jin, Ha
Bonnie / Johansen, Iris
Alterant / Kenyon, Sherrilyn
Changes / Lackey, Mercedes
Promise / Lightfoot, Freda
Unusual uses for olive oil / McCall Smith, Alexander
Christmas wedding / Patterson, James
Lionheart / Penman, Sharon
Twilight fulfilled / Shayne, Maggie
Best of me / Sparks, Nicholas
Nurse Anna’s war / Staples, Mary Jane
Hotel Vendome / Steel, Danielle

To reserve your copy of one of these new titles click the link below:

Monday, 24 October 2011

The Hypnotist’s Love Story by Liane Moriarty

Ellen, a hypnotist, begins a new romance with Patrick, a widowed father who she meets on the internet. Patrick ticks all the right boxes, but comes with the added bonus of a stalker ex-girlfriend, Saskia.

The story, partly inspired by the author’s own experience, swings between Ellen and Saskia's points of view and examines the nature of love amid obsession and grief. There is a lot of intrigue, first as you try to work out which client is really Saskia, and then as you wonder how things are going to come to a head.

Unlike most chic lit which tells a story about a man and woman falling in love, The Hypnotist’s Love Story is more about staying in love and feeling secure within a relationship. The author provides insights into the impact of previous relationships and how these experiences can seep into current relationships. It's also about the murky areas between right and wrong, and the complexities of modern relationships. I found it to be a really enjoyable read.


Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Winner announced for the Man Booker 2011

British writer Julian Barnes was announced as this year’s winner of the prestigious Man Booker prize for his novel The sense of an ending. He has been nominated on three previous occasions for the award but this is his first win. As well as the honour of being a Booker prize winner, he also takes home $A78,000 in prize money.

Book synopsis: Tony Webster and his clique first met Adrian Finn at school. Sex-hungry and book-hungry, they would navigate the girl-less sixth form together, trading in affectations, in-jokes, rumour and wit. Maybe Adrian was a little more serious than the others, certainly more intelligent, but they all swore to stay friends for life.
Now Tony is in middle age. He’s had a career and a single marriage, a calm divorce. He’s certainly never tried to hurt anybody. Memory, though, is imperfect. It can always throw up surprises, as a lawyer’s letter is about to prove.

The sense of an ending is the story of one man coming to terms with the mutable past.


Monday, 17 October 2011

One day by David Nicholls

One Day by David Nicholls is a story of male-female friendship, love, and career in the post-University years. Set across England in the 1980s and 90s, this is a tale of two unlikely friends that is told one day at a time, on the same day each year.

Dexter and Emma spend the night together following their graduation from Edinburgh University in 1988. Though they do not fall into a romantic relationship, they become friends. Over the subsequent years their lives take them in different directions, but they keep in contact with each other. The book revisits them on July 15th, each year, for twenty years.

I picked up this book after seeing it was one this year’s “50 books you can’t put down”. While I enjoyed the story and loved the idea of revisiting them on the same day of each year, I found the characters to be a little annoying and unlikeable. It was hard to see what drew them together and kept them together. Dexter was self-centered and obnoxious. Emma was insecure and self conscious. At times, they were both quite mean. Having said that, the book is very well written and I can see why it has a lot of fans. While this book wasn’t quite for me, I would still recommend it to anyone who enjoys a well written story.


Monday, 10 October 2011

A wild sheep chase by Haruki Murakami

A fun hybrid of mystery with mythology built in. I picked up A Wild sheep chase as a friend had recommended Murakami. Murakami is not your traditional author with his blend of humour and dialogue that defies immediate purpose. However his reputation has now been consolidated on the international scene.

The novel begins with a simple dialogue of a twenty-something advertising executive who receives a postcard from a friend, and casually appropriates the image for an insurance company’s advertisement. The picture used depicts a pastoral scene with a mutant sheep complete with a star on its back. What he hasn’t realised is the significance of the image used in this photo and has unwittingly captured the attention of a mysterious businessman who presents a menacing ultimatum: find the sheep or lose your business. Thus begins a surreal and elaborate quest that takes our hero together with one of his female friends across Japan, from the urban haunts of Tokyo to the remote and snowy mountains of northern Japan, where he confronts not only the mythological sheep, but the confines of tradition and the demons deep within himself.

This is definitely rather quirky but also full of expectancy. I found myself intrigued and compelled to read on.


Monday, 3 October 2011

If you were here by Jen Lancaster

If You Were Here follows Amish-zombie-teen-romance author Mia and her husband Mac (and their pets) through the frustrating, but hilarious, process of buying and renovating their first home in the Chicago suburbs that the John Hughes's movies of the 80’s made famous. Along their harrowing renovation journey, Mia and Mac get caught up in various wars with the homeowners' association, meet some less-than-friendly neighbours, and are joined by a hilarious cast of supporting characters, including a nightmare ex-landlady. As they struggle to adapt to their new surroundings and with a rapidly dwindling bank balance, Mia and Mac will discover if their marriage is strong enough to survive months of DIY renovations.

This book took me on a nostalgic trip down movie memory lane. I grew up with the John Hughes films in the 80’s so when the author referenced scenes and characters from his movies I could picture them immediately. I also couldn’t resist googling “Jake Ryan’s” house to remind myself exactly what it looks like. This book is hilarious and I would recommend it to anyone who loves 80’s movies, home renovation disasters and a good laugh.


Monday, 26 September 2011

Sidney Sheldon's nothing lasts forever [DVD]

I found this a really enjoyable DVD. Split into two parts both my husband and I were really gripped and couldn't wait to get into the second disk.

"This is a medical thriller that tells the story of three female doctors trying to prove themselves in a profession dominated by men set in San Francisco in the 1990s. Each of them has their own story, and each of their tales are well connected and intertwined with each other. But suddenly there is chaos, one dies, another is about to get the hospital shut down, and the third faces the death penalty for murder"

As the above summary relates the intertwined relationships and situations are well developed and fit into the real life scenarios that we can all relate to. A good way to spend an evening.


Monday, 19 September 2011

Red Dog by Louis de Bernieres

There is a bronze statue outside the town of Dampier, W.A., dedicated to Red Dog.
Louis de Bernieres (who wrote the best seller Corelli’s mandolin) saw the statue on a visit to Australia and was inspired to find out more.

It turns out Red Dog was a professional traveler who hitch hiked between far-flung towns in cars, buses and trains whose engine noises he cleverly memorized.

He charmed everyone he met. A group of miners made him an honorary union member and went as far as breaking the law to help Red Dog when he was in trouble. Of the ladies, he eventually won over Nancy who wanted to take his front seat on the bus, and Pat who wanted to stop him from lying in the doorway of the convenience store to take advantage of the air conditioning.
All wanted to adopt him but Red Dog only allowed one man to do so.

Red Dog was legendary for his huge appetite, often wolfing down the evidence of stolen steaks in record time and producing foul smelling wind to the regret of his chauffeurs.

I was enchanted by this funny, touching, endearing simple story of the canine equivalent of Crocodile Dundee. I haven’t seen the movie and I am hesitant to do so in case it disappoints.


Tuesday, 13 September 2011

The snowman by Jo Nesbo

There is no doubt in my mind that Jo Nesbo’s THE SNOWMAN has introduced me to another of the Scandanavian crime/thriller authors. This time a Norwegian. Being a fan of Larson, Keplar, Mankell and Fossum, it was time to expand my experiences. This is one of the Nesbo's series about Inspector Harry Hole of the Oslo police.
The novel is a very well-plotted, exciting story, initially about two women, both wives and mothers, who go missing - the start of a case with many complicated directions. But more than that, the protagonist (Harry) is an engaging character whose blend of tough vulnerability and funny subversions of authority make the reader strongly identify with him. As the novel opens, the reader is given some hints that the women's disappearances may be related to other events during the past 25 years, and that the appearance of a snowman is a common theme to these sinister happenings. Even without this information, Harry and his small team follow up the disappearances, and gradually reveal connections between the missing families, seeming to involve a plastic surgeon who runs a (too?) discreet clinic. The trail takes the team to one of the less salubrious hotels in Oslo, and from there to Bergen, where amid funny in-jokes about Bergen-Oslo relations, Harry tries to find out more about a cold case there involving several deaths and the disappearance of a renowned police detective.
THE SNOWMAN is a complex, intellectually satisfying plot with many twists and turns. Throughout Nesbo leaves clues or situations in the air prompting me to keeping reading to try and find the links. Not once, but time and again, I was forced to re-think what I thought was true.
This book is fantastic. It really is a must-read, not least putting to rest the unfair cliche that Scandinavian novels are all about doom and gloom - but mainly it's just a brilliant police procedural novel, whose plot and characterisation can't be beaten. Do yourself a favour and read it.


Thursday, 8 September 2011

Man Booker Prize for Fiction shortlist for 2011

The Man Booker Prize for Fiction 2011 shortlist was announced on Tuesday 6th September 2011.

The six books, selected from the longlist of 13, are:
The sense of ending by Jonathan Cape
Jamrach's menagerie by Carol Birch
The sisters brothers by Patrick deWitt
Half blood blues by Esi Edugyan
Pidgeon english by Stephen Kelman
Snowdrops by A D Miller

The Man Booker Prize promotes the finest in fiction by rewarding the very best book of the year. The prize is the world's most important literary award and has the power to transform the fortunes of authors and even publishers. The prize, which celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2008, aims to reward the best novel of the year written by a citizen of the Commonwealth or the Republic of Ireland.

The winner will be announced on Tuesday 18 October 2011.

For more infomation about the prize, or to read a small synopsis of each shortlisted title, visit their website at


Wednesday, 7 September 2011

2011 Victorian Premier's Literary Awards

The winners of the Victorian Premier's Literary Awards for 2011 were announced in Melbourne last night at a special dinner which was held in the Regent Plaza Ballroom. This year, the winners in each category received $25,000 in prize money, with Kim Scott taking out the overall award for an additional $100,000.

More information about the awards can be found at the Wheeler Centre website: click here.

The winners for each of the 5 categories were:
That Deadman Dance by Kim Scott
An Eye for Eternity: The Life Of Manning Clark by Mark McKenna
Young Adult
The Three Loves of Persimmon by Cassandra Golds
Do Not Go Gentle by Patricia Cornelius
The Taste of River Water by Cate Kennedy

And for the first time there was a People's Choice Award which went to:
Into the woods by Anna Krien

To reserve your copy of one of the winning titles, check our library catalogue at and click on the library link.


Friday, 2 September 2011

Ned Kelly Awards 2011

The winners of this year’s Ned Kelly Awards for Australian Crime Writing were presented Wednesday night at a special Melbourne Writers Festival event, hosted by Jane Clifton. The event featured a performance by the band Acts of Violence and the inaugural Ned Kelly Lecture, delivered by author and journalist Andrew Rule.

The winners were:
Best fiction: Diggers Rest Hotel by Geoffrey McGreachin.
Best first fiction: Prime Cut by Alan Carter.
Best true crime: Abandoned: the sad death of Dianne Brimble by Geesche Jacobson.

Since coming to Melbourne in the year 2000, the Ned Kelly Awards have been associated with the Melbourne Writers Festival. The awards have brought recognition, and drawn national and International attention to Australian crime writers. To read more about the Ned Kelly awards or to see the other books that made the short list, visit their website at


Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Get Reading! 2011

The Get Reading! campaign for 2011 kicks off today and is bigger and better than ever. Running right through until September 30th, this is Australia’s largest annual celebration of books and reading. A nationwide program of events will run throughout September, with top authors and illustrators including: Anita Shreve, Lynda La Plante, Kasey Chambers, Liz Byrski, Emily Rodda, Maggie Stiefvater, Kate Grenville and Leigh Hobbs appearing at various locations, all over Australia.

To find a guaranteed great read pick up your free copy of 50 books you can't put down from the library or local bookshop. This year’s reading guide features 35 Australian titles, with 13 of the 50 titles being children’s/young adult books. Fiction titles dominate the list, with 38 fiction books and 12 nonfiction books. You can either ask our friendly staff to help you find your next great read or check our online catalogue.

For further information about the program, activities, give-a-ways and the full list of 50 books you can’t put down, visit

So get involved, get excited, join the fun and most of all, get reading!


Monday, 29 August 2011

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

I know this novel was first published in 2009 and recieved rave reviews, but sadly I wasn’t inspired to read it until I recently saw a preview for the movie interpretation. My loss. It is a terrific, captivating, inspiring read.
Set in the early 1960s in the deep south of Jackson, Mississippi, this story is told by three different women struggling to make sense of their world; one wonders where she truly fits, one thinks her life is pretty much over and the other character just knows there is ‘more’ to life, but attempts to repress these dangerous beliefs.
Ms Skeeter is a well-to-do white college graduate attempting to find out what has happened to the maid who raised her for most of her life. Aibileen is an calm, experienced maid who has raised many white children, but lives in a void while grieving the senseless loss of her only child. Minny is the most amazing character in my mind; she’s worked as a maid for many years, is raising a large family of her own whilst living with an abusive, alcoholic husband. Minny struggles to keep her opinions to herself in a time and place where her opinion means less than nothing, and in some instances could get her killed.
The story shines a light on the prejudices and hipocracies of this community and its residents, yet it is written in a thought provoking way. Stockett clearly depicts the evil and stupidity in some characters, then in contrast subtley highlights the kindness of others who feel shame in wanting a different community.
As often happens, I think I’ll gain more from the movie now that I’ve read the book with all of its wonderful nuances.


Friday, 26 August 2011

Age Book of the Year 2011

Congratulations to Fiona McGregor who was announced last night as both the fiction and overall winner of the Age Book of the Year award for her novel Indelible Ink. The Sydney author takes away $20,000 in award money and one of the biggest prizes on the Australian literary landscape.

The non-fiction award was awarded to Jim Davidson for his book A Three-Cornered Life: The Historian W.K. Hancock, while the poetry prize was won by John Tranter with Starlight: 150 Poems. Both writers took away $10,000 in prize money.

The winners of The Age Book of the Year awards will discuss their books at the Melbourne Writers Festival today at 2.30pm


Monday, 22 August 2011

The power of a woman by Barbara Taylor Bradford

My first experience reading Barbara Taylor Bradford was her work "A Woman of Substance" and I was hooked. Then I proceeded to read every book that she has written. Power of a Woman is well written with the predictable mixture of romance, corporate family conflicts with an emphasis on the power of women.

A moving novel about family secrets, betrayal, and redemption, Power of a Woman is the story of an innocent victim of a stranger's vengeance, who manages to triumph through her own inner power as a woman.

To me "A Woman of Substance" was the more powerful of Bradford’s novels but Bradford has shown that she is consistent and a great storyteller!


Friday, 19 August 2011

Melbourne Writers Festival 2011

This year, the Melbourne Writers Festival will present over 400 writers from around the world in a program of talks, debates, literary banquets, film screenings, gigs and workshops plus an entertaining schools' program. The festival runs from the 25th of August until the 4th of September 2011 at Federation Square and selected venues around Melbourne and Victoria.

Some of the high profile authors who are going to be there include Kate Grenville, Nick Earls, Peter Goldsworthy, Maggie Stiefvater, Kerry Greenwood, Christos Tsiolkas and Chris Womersley.

Click here to check their website for more details or to download a program.


Monday, 15 August 2011

Not my daughter by Barbara Delinsky

When Susan Tate finds out that her seventeen-year old daughter is pregnant, she is not happy, but when she finds out that two of her daughters’ closest friends are also pregnant, she is horrified. The girls had a pact, and all three pregnancies were planned. Criticism of the girls quickly becomes criticism of their mothers, especially of Susan, who holds a visible position in town. Susan's competency as the local high school principal is called into question when her detractors accuse her of being a lax mother and not worthy of the job of looking after impressionable students. As Susan struggles with the implications of her daughter's pregnancy, her job, financial independence, and long fought for dreams are all at risk. Set in a small Maine town that cherishes responsibility, Not My Daughter raises many issues, not the least of which is the age old question: What does it take to be a good mother?

I read this book in 2 days, because once I got started, I couldn't put it down.While this is a book about a teen pregnancy pact, it is at heart, a book about relationships, primarily between mother and child. It raises a lot of questions about who's to blame for teen pregnancy and just how much responsibility mums should take for their daughters' decisions. I thought it was an enjoyable, thought provoking novel.


Wednesday, 10 August 2011

The Age Book of the Year Awards Shortlist for 2011

The shortlisted works for the 2011 Age Book of the Year Awards have been released. The category lists are:

Like being a wife by Catherine Harris
Mary Smokes boys by Patrick Holland
Indelible ink by Fiona MacGregor
Bright and distant shores by Dominic Smith
Bereft by Chris Womersley

Sydney by Delia Falconer
A three-cornered life by Jim Davidson
When it rains by Maggie MacKellar
When horse became saw by Anthony Macris
The many worlds of R.H. Mathews by Martin Thomas

Sly Mongoose by Ken Bolton
Supermodernprayerbook by Susan Bradley Smith
This Floating World by Libby Hart
Porch Music by Cameron Lowe
Starlight: 150 Poems by John Tranter

The awards will be presented on August 25 during the Melbourne Writers Festival and the results will be posted on our blog.


Monday, 8 August 2011

Hiding from the light by Barbara Erskine

I have just discovered a great writer. The book is Hiding from the Light by Barbara Erskine. It would appeal to people who like historical fiction, or themes of the supernatural.
It tells the compelling tale of a young woman who has bought an old house in part of the English countryside, to discover it is haunted by ghosts of the past. A T.V crew are sent to film the haunted house as part of a documentary. The story traces the lead character's association with a woman accused of being a witch in the witch-trials of 1644 in England. It is fascinating to read between the modern day character relationships, and the past. It is written with fantastic storytelling skill. I am reading more by this author now as I am hooked!


Tuesday, 2 August 2011

The 1000 hour day by Chris Bray

This book was a recommendation from an industry leader in the Australian HR and Recruitment space and married the areas of human resilience and determination with true adventure which is of genuine interest to me. It tells of the endeavors of two Australian adventurers who set out to cross the northern artic Victoria Island. Narrated by Chris Bray, this book is a blow by blow diary account of the events that led up to and encompass not one but two expeditions to defeat the harrowing elements of Victoria Island.

Although at times I found the book a little slow for an “adventure” book, the level of perseverance and dedication to succeed demonstrated by both Chris and Clark, was truly inspiring. In challenging and overcoming obstacles themselves, these two early twenties aged adventurers showed that by applying these attributes, normal human beings can achieve whatever they set their minds to. A great read for anyone in business or any capacity that requires that unique spirit that The Cohen Brother call True Grit. Highly recommended.


Wednesday, 27 July 2011

The 2011 Australian book Industry awards

The 2011 Australian book industry award winners were announced on Monday 25th of July at a gala event hosted by comedian Alan Brough. The 20 awards honour and recognise authors, booksellers and publishers. The award winners were chosen by an academy of booksellers and publishers.

A selection of the winners were as follows:

Book of the Year was won by:
Anh Do for the Happiest Refugee
Anh also won the Newcomer of the year award and Biography of the year award for The Happiest Refugee.

Literary Fiction Book of the Year went to:
Bereft by Chris Womersley

General Non-Fiction Book of the Year was awarded to:
True Spirit by Jessica Watson

and General Fiction Book of the Year went to:
The Distant Hours by Kate Morton

For a full list of winners click here: click here

The library has a copy of each of the winning books which can be reserved by using the search catalogue feature on the right hand side of our blog.