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.