Monday, 27 May 2013

New fiction titles for June

There's no better time than winter to cozy up with a good book. Why not add one of these new titles to your winter reading list?

Light of the world James Lee Burke
Summer Queen Elizabeth Chadwick
Zero hour Clive Cussler
Cold steel Kate Elliott
Waiting for Wednesday Nicci French
Shadow tracer Meg Gardiner
I take you Nikki Gemmell
Con law Mark Gimenez
Tell me Lisa Jackson
Trader’s gift Anna Jacobs
Stranded Alex Kava
Treacherous paradise Henning Mankell
Antiagon fire L.E. Modesitt Jr
Things we never say Sheila O’Flanagan
Aftershock Andrew Vachss
Revenge wears Prada: the devil returns Lauren Weisberger

You can place a hold via our online catalogue or come into one of our branches and ask staff for assistance or recommendations. Remember, all holds are free of charge.


Monday, 20 May 2013

In the Country of Men by Hisham Matar

Nominated for a Booker Prize in 2006, Hisham Matar’s In the Country of Men tracks life in Tripoli in 1979 and Gaddafi’s Libya 10 years after the revolution, as seen by nine year old Suleiman.

It is not a political novel: it’s about relationships in one family, relationships between people – friends, spouses, comrades and particularly children and their parents. It is also about a boy struggling to make sense of confusing events at home and the public politics around him. Questions circle around Suleiman and he is soon caught up in a world he cannot understand.

Why does his father, Bu Faraj Suleiman, lie about going away on a business trip when Suleiman has just spotted him across the square of a busy marketplace? Why is his mother Najwa taking copious amounts of ‘medicine’ sold to her, by the baker, in brown paper bags from under the counter? Why, since his father loves books, does the his mother suddenly burn them? When Suleiman’s father finally disappears – where have the authorities taken him? And will he survive?

Betrayal, uncertainty, disloyalty, mistrust, violence and shame operate at many different levels, both in private and public life throughout much of the novel. Suleiman takes out his frustration in understanding the adult world on his childhood friends, in particular, his best friend Kareem. He is tired of the lies told to him. He tells his mother, “I am not a child and you always lie”. Najwa too has suffered much betrayal at the hands of her brother and father, “Betrayal was a hand squeezing my throat”.

In the Country of Men is a masterful and remarkable novel, memorable in so many beautiful, shocking, realistic and poignant moments in this moving and exceptional piece of writing. A tree outside his mother’s bedroom window is “green shy in the early light”. The beggar, Bahloul’s “toenails were like bird beaks”. When his Baba was recovering and they had both gone to the roof, his father turned and Suleiman also turned with him, and (they were like) “two halves of the same soul, two open pages of the same book”.

In the Country of Men is a debut novel of rare insight and literary grace.


Check catalogue

Monday, 13 May 2013

The Alexander Technique

“She’s been doing Alexander Technique for a few months and she looks 10 years younger.”
When I heard that comment I was most interested. It was a friend talking about his mother-in-law. He said the change in her appearance was so obvious that he was not surprised when she told him she had found pain relief through the strategies and practices of her new interest.
So what is Alexander Technique?
• Alexander Technique focuses on the unconscious, habitual ways in which you ‘use’ yourself - your patterns of posture, your movement and your responses to stress and pressure - and teaches you to develop conscious control.
• Conscious control helps you eliminate the unnecessary tension which often leads to pain. It helps you stand, sit and move with poise.
• Poise is a lost skill from your childhood. When you have poise you use far less effort and the body will support itself with ease allowing you to move, breathe and function more freely.
• The Alexander Technique was developed by F M Alexander, an Australian, who taught in Australia and England during his long life. Even into his 80’s F M Alexander could swing his leg over the top of the back of a chair smoothly and effortlessly.

Adapted from information provided by The School for FM Alexander Studies

I have been studying and practising the Alexander Technique for approximately 10 years and I have developed awareness and strategies which have eliminated most back, shoulder and neck pain as well as making my singing voice much stronger and more reliable. I feel 10 years younger myself. These books are not a substitute for working with a teacher but the details may motivate you to seek one out.

Alexander books at DANDENONG Library-
Free yourself from back pain : a guide to the Alexander technique - Kingsley, Noël. Check catalogue

Anatomy of the moving body : a basic course in bones, muscles, and joints - Dimon, Theodore. Check catalogue

The Alexander technique manual : take control of your posture and your life - Brennan, Richard. Check catalogue

and SPRINGVALE Library-
Mastering the art of working out - Balk, Malcolm. Check catalogue

Master the art of swimming - Shaw, Steven. Check catalogue

Aleksanderova tehnika : uvod u praktičnu primenu - Brennan, Richard. Check catalogue


Monday, 6 May 2013

Vanishing Point by Val McDermid

A fantastic read as crime readers have come to expect from Val McDermid. Gripping suspense right from the outset and to me the emotions created are very real. I did feel rather accepting of the appalling treatment of our key character at the hands of the US airport security etc. as this style has become commonplace to any crime viewer or reader. However as the novel progresses this early affront is placated once the FBI officer appointed to the case shows sensible compassion.

Summary of the story: Stephanie Harker is travelling through the security gates at O'Hare airport, on her way to an idyllic holiday. Five-year-old Jimmy goes through the metal detector ahead of her. But then, in panic and disbelief, Stephanie watches as a uniformed agent leads her boy away - and she's stuck the other side of Security, hysterical with worry.
The authorities, unaware of Jimmy's existence, just see a woman behaving erratically; Stephanie is brutally wrestled to the ground and blasted with a taser gun to restrain her. And by the time she can tell them what has happened, Jimmy is long gone.
But as Stephanie tells her story to the FBI, it becomes clear that everything is not as it seems with this seemingly normal family. What is Jimmy's background? Why would someone want to abduct him? And, with time running out, how can Stephanie get him back?

McDermid layers complexity and suspense creating a gripping psychological thriller. The tension builds continuously making this one of the best thrillers I have read for a long time.


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