Monday, 21 February 2011

Manhood for Amateurs by Michael Chabon

This memoir by one of my favourite fiction writers is about being a son, father & husband. It is filled with beautiful, humorous and touching anecdotes from Michael Chabon's life. Many of the stories revel in Chabon's 'geekiness' and discuss comics and Dr Who and in particular how he shares these passions with his children. I found the chapters where he discussed his wife and his love for her particularly touching, whereas other chapters (such as his explanations about why men don't carry handbags) hilarious.

Reading this book was an absolute pleasure as Chambon seems such an interesting, likable person. It was great to spend time in his company and discover more about the writer of some of my favourite books.


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Friday, 11 February 2011

Distant Hours by Kate Morton

A long awaited new novel from Kate Morton the renowned Australian author of The Shifting Fog and The Forgotten Garden.

I have thoroughly enjoyed the experience of reading another of Kate Morton's wonderful novels. It is remarkable how an Australian author can write such an instinctive narrative taking place in another country and culture so vividly.

It started with a letter. A letter that had been lost a long time, waiting out half a century in a forgotten postal bag in the dim attic of a nondescript house in Bermondsey... Edie Burchill and her mother have never been close, but when a long-lost letter arrives one Sunday afternoon with the return address of Milderhurst Castle, Dent, printed on its envelope, Edie begins to suspect that her mother's emotional distance masks an old secret.

Evacuated from London as a thirteen-year-old girl, Edie's mother is chosen by the mysterious Juniper Blythe, and taken to live at Milderhurst Castle with the Blythe family: Juniper, her twin sisters and their father, Raymond, author of the 1918 children's classic The True History of the Mud Man. in the grand and glorious Milderhurst Castle, a new world opens up for Edie's mother. She discovers the joys of books and fantasy and writing, but also, ultimately, the dangers.

Fifty years later, as Edie chases the answers to her mother's riddle, she, too, is drawn to Milderhurst Castle and the eccentric Sisters Blythe. Old ladies now, the three still live together, the twins nursing Juniper, whose abandonment by her fiance in 1941 plunged her into madness. Inside the decaying castle, Edie begins to unravel her mother's past. But there are other secrets hidden in the stones of Milderhurst Castle, and Edie is about to learn more than she expected. The truth of what happened in the distant hours has been waiting a long time for someone to find it.

Morton weaves and develops the personalities and lives of her characters in an intriguing story which builds tension throughout. A book I could not put down and it was not until the very end that they mystery if fully understood.


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Monday, 7 February 2011

Library Lovers' Month

February is Library Lovers' Month and to celebrate we will be holding a morning tea at Dandenong library with romance writer Anne Gracie. She will talk about writing romance and about her books. Books will also be available for purchase and signining by the author.

Thursday 10 February 2011, 10.30 - 11.30 am. Dandenong Library

This event is free. To book click here.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

The Sixth Wave by James Bradfield Moody & Bianca Nogrady

ABC New Inventors Judge and CSIRO director of Innovation, James B Moody, has entered the foretelling business with this brave new book. According to the authors a study of innovation shows that progress occurs in long waves which disrupt our society, economy & technology beyond recognition. Over the last thirty years we all have been thrust into the Fifth wave - the Information Technology revolution. The development of personal computing and internet services has changed our work, our institutions and our economy. Think Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon - businesses which didn't exist 40 years ago and are now giants.

"The Sixth Wave", subtitled "how to succeed in a resource limited world" gives a clue to the central thesis of the book. The marriage of Internet and Sensing technology, placing of economic value on waste, pollution and essential ecological services (think trees) and the reality of resource limitation will lead to change on an equally massive scale as the recent IT change. This book is of big ideas and possibilities, as well as a fair amount of hope and thoughtful research. If the authors are correct we may be able to correct the serious environmental imbalances that are occurring all around us. If not, well then it may be unspeakable. Read at your leisure and think deeply.


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