Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Prime Minister's Literary Award 2012

The wait is over! The shortlists for the 2012 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards have been announced. This year's awards have attracted the highest number of entries since its inception. Entries were received from every state and territory and included books, e-books, websites, documentaries and audiovisual material. The Awards celebrate the contribution of Australian literature and history to the nation's cultural and intellectual life.

In 2012 there are six awards: fiction, poetry, non-fiction, young adult fiction, children’s fiction and Australian history. The winner of each award will receive $80 000 tax-free and the shortlisted entries in each category receive $5000 tax-free. The shortlists include a diverse range of entries from richly illustrated children’s books to powerful documentaries with themes as broad as alienation, family conflict, Indigenous history, memoirs and magical worlds.

The 2012 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards shortlists are:

Fiction shortlist:
All That I Am by Anna Funder
Sarah Thornhill by Kate Grenville
Foal's Bread by Gillian Mears
Autumn Laing by Alex Miller
Forecast: Turbulence by Janette Turner Hospital

Non-fiction shortlist:
A Short History of Christianity by Geoffrey Blainey
Michael Kirby Paradoxes and Principles by A J Brown
When Horse Became Saw: A Family’s Journey Through Autism by Anthony Macris
Kinglake-350 by Adrian Hyland
An Eye for Eternity: The Life of Manning Clark by Mark McKenna

Young adult fiction shortlist:
A Straight Line to My Heart by Bill Condon
Being Here by Barry Jonsberg
Pan’s Whisper by Sue Lawson
When We Were Two by Robert Newton
Alaska by Sue Saliba

Children’s fiction shortlist:
Evangeline, The Wish Keeper's Helper by Maggie Alderson
The Jewel Fish of Karnak by Graeme Base
Father's Day by Anne Brooksbank
Come Down, Cat! by Sonya Hartnett, illustrated by Lucia Masciullo
Goodnight, Mice! by Frances Watts, illustrated by Judy Watson

Poetry shortlist:
Ashes in the Air by Ali Alizadeh
Interferon Psalms by Luke Davies
Armour by John Kinsella
Southern Barbarians by John Mateer
New and Selected Poems by Gig Ryan

Prize for Australian History shortlist:
1835: The Founding of Melbourne and the Conquest of Australia by James Boyce
The Biggest Estate on Earth: How Aborigines Made Australia by Bill Gammage
Breaking the Sheep's Back by Charles Massy
Indifferent Inclusion: Aboriginal people and the Australian Nation by Russell McGregor
Immigration Nation: The Secret History of Us by Renegade Films Australia Pty Ltd

All Australians are encouraged to reignite their passion for reading with these imaginative and compelling Australian stories during the National Year of Reading.

To read more about the awards click here


Monday, 28 May 2012

Summer Daydreams by Carole Matthews

Summer Daydreams is a lovely warm story about a young woman living in a small English town called Hitchen in the heart of Hertfordshire who has dreams of a better life. At the beginning of the story Nell McMcNamara, a woman is never paid much attention in school and left at sixteen, is quite happy with her life working part time in a fish and chip shop in between looking after her four year old daughter, Petal, and having a boyfriend, Olly, who adores her. Their lives are happy but uneventful and they are just making ends meet although with their work schedules where they are working back to back shifts , Olly and Nell don’t seem to have much time together and their lives don’t seem to be going anywhere.

Nell’s life turns around when she unleashes her creativity and renovates the fish and chip shop for her boss and the business starts blooming. Her boss and her best friends encourage her to start an art course and this leads to Nell exploring her passion for designing handbags. It seems Nell’s dreams are coming true as people love her handbags but Nell discovers that it’s a lot of hard work starting up a business and that her time is taken up with designing and making handbags and getting her bags out to the public which causes her boyfriend to secretly crave the simplicity of their old lives back.

Nell’s determination sees her starting off having a market stall to buying a small shop as well as flying off to attend fashion shows in London and Paris and making her dreams of a better life come true. However along the way she has to deal with the struggles of keeping her relationship on track and looking after her daughter, the guilt of the time she has to spend away from them and learning how the fashion business works.

She faces a few set backs when she discovers that not all the people she meets are genuine like the Frenchman who claims to be an agent but who secretly steals her bag designs and then shows off her handbags in a fashion show passing them off as his own or the American home shopping site which turns out to be a scam. She loses hope when she loses all her money but the story has a happy ending where her dreams do all come true with the help of Olly and her friends who have stood by her and encourage her not to give up hope, even when everything seemed so bad.

This is a wonderful read that you find you can’t put down once you start reading it.


Monday, 21 May 2012

New fiction titles for June

Proposal Mary Balogh
Storm Clive Cussler
Wicked business Janet Evanovich
Canada Richard Ford
Particular eye for villainy Ann Granger
Kiss the dead Laurell K Hamilton
Peaches for Monsieur le Cure Joanne Harris
Guy Noir and the straight skinny Garrison Keillor
Daughters of Mars Tom Keneally
Absolute deception Lesley Lakko
Turn in the road Debbie Macomber
Red notice Andy McNab
Breaking news Fern Michaels
Princeps L.E Modesitt
I, Michael Bennet James Patterson
Dorchester terrace Anne Perry
Impossible dead Ian Rankin
Lower river Paul Theroux
Woman who went to bed for a year Sue Townsend
Bourne imperative Eric Van Lustbader
Dream of the Celt Mario Vargas Llosa
Unnatural acts Stuart Woods

Place FREE holds through the Catalogue or ask Library Staff about these books.


Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Miles Franklin Literary Award- shortlist 2012

The shortlist for the 2012 Miles Franklin Award was announced at the State Library of New South Wales on the 3rd of May. The list features five works of fiction and includes a mixture of well-established Australian authors and first time novelists.

Established by writer, Miles Franklin, to support and encourage authors of Australian literature, the Miles Franklin Literary Award is Australia’s oldest and most prestigious literary prize. The winner of the award will receive $50,000 for the novel of the year judged to be of the highest literary merit which “must present Australian life in any of its phases”.

The nominations for the 2012 Miles Franklin Literary Award shortlist are:

Blood by Tony Birch
All That I Am by Anna Funder
Foal’s Bread by Gillian Mears
Cold Light by Frank Moorhouse
Past the Shallows by Favel Parrett

The winner will be announced at the State Library of Queensland on the 20 June 2012. Why not judge each book for yourself? You can reserve all 5 titles via our online library catalogue. Will you agree with the judges decision?

For more information about the award or to read a synopsis on the short listed titles click here


Monday, 14 May 2012

The witness by Nora Roberts

Daughter of a cold, controlling mother and an anonymous donor, studious, obedient Elizabeth finally let loose one night, drinking too much at a nightclub and allowing a strange man’s seductive Russian accent to lure her to a house on Lake Shore Drive. The events that followed changed her life forever. Twelve years later, the woman now known as Abigail Lowery lives alone on the outskirts of a small town in the Ozarks. A freelance programmer, she works at home designing sophisticated security systems. Her own security is supplemented by a fierce dog and an assortment of firearms. She keeps to herself, saying little, revealing nothing. Unfortunately, that seems to be the quickest way to get attention in a tiny southern town. The mystery of Abigail Lowery intrigues local police Chief Brooks Gleason, on both a personal and a professional level. Her sharp, logical mind, her secretive nature, her unromantic viewpoints leave him fascinated but frustrated. He suspects that Abigail needs protection from something, even if he doesn’t know what — and that her elaborate defenses hide a story that must be revealed. Accustomed to two-bit troublemakers, Gleason is about to walk into the sights of very powerful and dangerous men. And Abigail Lowery, who has built a life based on security and self-control, is at risk of losing both.

I always enjoy reading Nora Roberts but I especially enjoy her stand alone thrillers. As usual there is a little bit of romance thrown in but not so much that it is the main component of the story. The writing in this book flowed along nicely and I was able to get caught up in the book from the first chapter. The only quibble I have it that Abigail, the heroine, is pretty much Temperance Brennan from the TV show “Bones” right down to the auburn hair, high IQ, and literal mind. I had a hard time not reading and hearing Bones’ voice. Also the ending was slightly rushed as the storyline wrapped up quickly in the last chapter but, all in all, another enjoyable book from Nora Roberts.


Monday, 7 May 2012

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

The Kite Runner is a title that has been around for a number of years but has continued to be in the top recommendations for an insightful novel. This book is so different from what I would usually read (suspense, crime or thrillers) but one that was recommended to me and I wanted to see what it was that attracted thinking people to engage with the book.

An epic tale of fathers and sons, of friendship and betrayal, that takes us on a journey in Afghanistan from the time of the monarch's overthrow to the tyranny of the Taliban. From the first page I was hooked. This book was life changing, heart wrenching, mindboggling and all those other clich├ęs you use when you can’t find a better word to express the depths of your feelings. This book broke my heart and as I sit here composing this review my compassion for the Afghan people is enormous. I’m glad I read this book because it has taught me that the Afghan people are one of tremendous faith, honour, customs, and hope. Before, my view of Afghanistan was limited and governed to a fair extent by media coverage and the Taliban. There was an Afghanistan before the blast of bombs and the remaining rubble. The characters in this book were so real. This was a book of friendship, dishonesty, honour, guilt, and redemption. I encourage everyone to read this book but have a box of Kleenex nearby when you do.