Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Down to earth: a guide to simple living by Rhonda Hetzel

About four years ago, Rhonda Hetzel closed her successful technical writing business and chose to live a simple, frugal life on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast. She started a blog as a way of sharing stories and advice about living the simple life and has now converted her award-winning blog into a book.
Through the book she gently encourages readers to find the pleasure and meaning in a simpler life, sharing all the practical information she has gathered on her own journey. Whether you want to learn how to grow tomatoes, bake bread, make your own soap and preserve fruit, or just be inspired to slow down and live more sustainably, Down to Earth will be your guide.
This is a beautifully presented book, chock full of ideas and advice on how to cut back, slow down and simply enjoy life.


Monday, 27 February 2012

New fiction titles for March

Shada Douglas Adams
Power play Ben Bova
Waiting for sunrise William Boyd
Ragnarok A.S Byatt
Shadows in flight Orson Scott Card
Thief: a Isaac Bell novel Clive Cussler & Justin Scott
Next one to fall Hilary Davidson
Master and God Lindsey Davis
Love in a nutshell Janet Evanovich
Crown imperilled Raymond E Feist
Recipe for love Katie Fforde
Bedlam detective Stephen Gallagher
Gravity Tess Gerritsen
Patchwork marriage Jane Green
City of dragons Robin Hobb
Gun games Faye Kellerman
Victims Jonathan Kellerman
World divided Mercedes Lackey
Hunter John Lescroart
Boy who fell to earth Kathy Lette
Mirage Naguib Mahfouz
Lewis man Peter May
Deadline Fern Michaels
Between a mother and her child Elizabeth Noble
Mudwoman Joyce Carol Oates
Catching the sun Tony Parsons
11th hour James Patterson
Touchstone Melanie Rawn
Scarecrow returns Matthew Reilly
Limpopo Academy of Private Detection Alexander McCall Smith
Betrayal Danielle Steel
Hawke’s Tor E.V Thompson
D.C dead Stuart Woods

Place FREE holds through our library catalogue or ask Library staff about these new titles.


Friday, 24 February 2012

Library Survey

The City of Greater Dandenong Libraries is currently undertaking a survey to find out what users think of the Springvale and Dandenong Libraries.

The survey will be conducted from Friday 24th February to Friday the 16th March 2012.

Your valuable feedback will assist the City of Greater Dandenong with improving the library service.

To access the survey, please click here.

Your participation in the survey would be greatly appreciated.

City of Greater Dandenong Libraries.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

National Year of Reading 2012: Winning titles of the Our Story competition

The winners of the Our Story competition were announced at the launch of the National Year of Reading event on February 14th.

The winning titles were:
Smoke and Mirrors by Kel Robertson (ACT);
The Idea of Home by John Hughes (NSW);
Listening to Country by Ros Moriarty (NT);
The White Earth by Andrew McGahan (QLD);
Time’s Long Ruin by Stephen Orr (SA);
Wanting by Richard Flanagan (TAS);
Well Done, Those Men by Barry Heard (VIC) and
Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey (WA).

You can now take part in Australia's biggest book group, based on the Our Story collection, by registering as a member of Our Story and join in with the online discussions about the winning books. Just click on the “our story competition- winning titles” link on the right hand side of this blog and follow the prompts.

The library has bought copies of all 8 winning titles, so if you would like to see why they were chosen as the most popular, either place a hold on our online catalogue or ask staff for assistance.


Monday, 20 February 2012

A summer in Gascony by Martin Calder

This book would appeal to anyone who likes to read travel biographies and experience different lifestyles in different parts of the world.
I found it a great way to learn about a country through another person's eyes through their experience of actually having lived and worked in the area. In this book you learn about life in rural Peguilhan in Gascon, the very South of France which is a totally different lifestyle to the more known parts of France. You learn about the farm life and the business of running a restaurant and accommodation house and get to meet the family who own the farm, the town people and their way of life along with their fiercely proud independent heritage and strong beliefs, like their hatred for the Parisians.
You get an insight into the hardships of working in the fields, shepherding and slaughtering of sheep, feeding the cattle, harvesting the wheat, watering the crops and running a B&B. However it also lets the reader understand how the farmers understand the balance between owning the land and belonging to it in turn and understanding how to respond to it. There’s also a summer romance in the story and get to experience and learn about the village festival, the sun baked wine country, the town gossips and even a mischievous stray dog. It's written in an accessible and down to earth style with vivid descriptions that makes the reader want to go and experience the rural pleasures of Gascony.


Monday, 13 February 2012

The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul by Deborah Rodriguez

If you like chick lit then you’ll like this book about five women from very different backgrounds who come together and meet in a coffee shop in Kabul, one of the most dangerous places to live. This is Deborah Rodriguez’s first novel. She has previously written a memoir based around her experiences of living and working for five years in Afghanistan.
It’s a heart warming novel of how the five women meet in a coffee shop and form a strong female friendship as well as discover love and experience betrayal.
Sunny is the bold American who is the proud proprietor who runs the coffee shop of the title. Drawn to Kabul to escape her uninspiring life in the States as well as follow the love of her life, she falls in love with the city, the culture and the people. But Kabul is a dangerous place, and Sunny has to work harder and harder to keep her coffee shop and its customers safe.
Yasmina is a young widowed and pregnant woman who was torn from her family and abandoned on the streets of Kabul. She faces serious danger being a single, pregnant female in Kabul and tries to hide her pregnancy from everyone. She finds safety when Sunny takes her in and puts her to work in the coffee shop. She is also determined to find safety for her younger sister so that she isn’t sold to the drug lords.
Isabel is a determined journalist from the UK, visiting Kabul in an attempt to uncover the story of her career. She has a secret past that could put her life in danger as well as those people around her.
Candace is a wealthy American who caused a scandal by leaving her diplomat husband and taking up with her Afghan lover, Wakil. However, there’s more to Wakil than meets the eye which causes heartbreak for Candace.
And finally there’s Halajan who is the oldest of the group, an Afghan woman who has lived all her life in Kabul. Remembering life before Taliban rule, Halajan longs for the freedom women once had and rebels in small ways every day. Her biggest rebellion is a hidden love affair which breaks all the rules
These five women play out their lives in the coffee shop and discover there's more to one another than meets the eye, they form a unique bond that will forever change their lives and the lives of many others.
The story is also rich in describing the culture in Kabul and what life is like living there, especially for women, including the dangers of suicide bombers and life living under Taliban rule. It also describes what the conditions are in some of the women’s prisons.
I loved all five women in the book, but the male characters were fabulous too. Bashar Hadi, the cook at the coffee shop, who is a quietly spoken and loyal man who looks out for all five women as though they were his family, Jack, the enigmatic American and Ahmet, Halajan’s son who acts as the bodyguard to the coffee shop but who is also a strictly devout Muslim who cannot understand, or tolerate, his mothers small bids for freedom.
This is a beautifully written novel and I found once I started to read it, I couldn’t put it down.


Monday, 6 February 2012

Netherwood by Jane Sanderson

Yorkshire, 1903: Above stairs: Lord Hoyland keeps his considerable fortune ticking over with the profits from his three coal mines in the vicinity. It’s just as well the coal is of the highest quality as the upkeep of Netherwood Hall, his splendid estate on the outskirts of town, doesn’t come cheap. And that’s not to mention the cost of keeping his wife and daughters in the latest fashions– and keeping the heir to the Hoyland wealth, the charming but feckless Tobias, out of trouble.
Below stairs: Eve Williams, is the wife of one of Lord Hoyland’s most stalwart employees. When her ordered existence amid the terraced rows of the miners’ houses is brought crashing down by the twin arrivals of tragedy and charity, Eve must look to her own self-sufficiency, and talent, to provide for her three young children. And it’s then that ‘upstairs’ and ‘downstairs’ collide…

I was drawn to this book after watching Downton Abbey on T.V last year and although it follows a similar path, I found that it helped me visualise the story as I was reading. It's a great book filled with historical references to the contrasting lives of the Yorkshire mining communities and the wealthy colliery owners. While it took me some time to get used to reading the Yorkshire dialect, which is spoken by the “below stairs” characters, once I did I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It is the first in a series, so the story is by no means finished when you have turned the last page. But Jane Sanderson has written that rare kind of serial book: one with enough of a cliff-hanger to keep you anxiously waiting for the next installment (Ravenscliffe, due out September 2012), but also with enough of a finished story to leave you with a happy feeling at the end of it


Click links to reserve your copy of or

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

New fiction titles for February

Me and you Niccolo Ammaniti
Love is blind Anne Baker
Halo: primordium Greg Bear
Chemistry of tears Peter Carey
Colonial Queen Peter Corris
Three letters Josephine Cox
Play abandoned Garry Disher
Sentimental traitor Michael Dobbs
Catch me Lisa Gardiner
Piccadilly plot Susanna Gregory
I’ve got your number Sophie Kinsella
Capture of the Earl of Glencrae Stephanie Laurens
Raylan Elmore Leonard
Walk in the park Jill Mansell
Prodigal son Colleen McCullough
Phantom Jo Nesbo
What it was George Pelecanos
Celebrity in death J.D Robb
Soldier’s wife Joanna Trollope

Place FREE holds through our library catalogue or ask Library staff about these new titles.