Monday, 28 April 2014

Northanger Abbey by Val McDermid

Northanger Abbey is a modern re-imagining of the gothic classic Northanger Abbey originally written by Jane Austen. Val McDermid has done a wonderful job modernising an old classic. She follows the plot and events of the original exactly, but places the action at the Edinburgh Festival rather than Bath, and rather than fantasising about gothic fiction, Cat Morland is convinced that the Tilneys are a family of vampires. It’s a fun, clever and thoroughly enjoyable read.

Seventeen-year-old Catherine ‘Cat’ Morland has led a sheltered existence in rural Dorset, a life entirely bereft of the romance and excitement for which she yearns. So when Cat’s wealthy neighbours, the Allens, invite her to the Edinburgh Festival, she is sure adventure beckons.
Edinburgh initially offers no such thrills: Susie Allen is obsessed by shopping, Andrew Allen by the Fringe. A Highland Dance class, though, brings Cat a new acquaintance: Henry Tilney, a pale, dark-eyed gentleman whose family home, Northanger Abbey, sounds perfectly thrilling. And an introduction to Bella Thorpe, who shares her passion for supernatural novels, provides Cat with a like-minded friend. But with Bella comes her brother John, an obnoxious banker whose vulgar behaviour seems designed to thwart Cat’s growing fondness for Henry.
Happily, rescue is at hand. The rigidly formal General Tilney invites her to stay at Northanger with son Henry and daughter Eleanor. Cat’s imagination runs riot: an ancient abbey, crumbling turrets, secret chambers, ghosts…and Henry! What could be more deliciously romantic?
But Cat gets far more than she bargained for in this isolated corner of the Scottish Borders. The real world outside the pages of a novel proves to be altogether more disturbing than the imagined world within…

Northanger Abbey is the second book in The Austen Project and after reading this one I am keen to read the others when they are published. For more information on the Austen project: click here.

Visit our catalogue to reserve your copy of Northanger Abbey.


Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Bewitched & Bedevilled: Women write the Gillard Years. Edited by Samantha Trenoweth

I have just finished reading this great book about the former Prime Minister Julia Gillard and the vilification, sexual comments and nasty cartoons that she had to put up with as Australia's First Woman Prime Minister. It brought to mind my encounters starting off as a young sixteen year old in the highly male dominated banking industry in the 1970s. Every day I would endure inappropriate comments from my older male colleagues that were unacceptable and upsetting. Luckily I had the support of my wonderful parents who taught me to fight back with wit and words rather than with venom or anger, and it worked. I still use this concept to this day.

Bewitched and Bedevilled: Women Write the Gillard Years is a provocative analysis of Australian attitudes towards the nation's first female Prime Minister. A selection of Australia's most influential, entertaining and controversial female voices examine the country's reaction to Julia Gillard and debate the successes and failures of her prime ministership. Bewitched and Bedevilled investigates Gillard's position at the receiving end of a barrage of sexism and misogyny; questions why she was so vehemently attacked; and discusses the role this played in her ultimate undoing. Bewitched and Bedevilled also uncovers the impacts (reinvigorating, divisive, disturbing) of the Gillard years on feminism, on the Australian community and on our image abroad. Packed with wit, ire and incisive comment, this is a compelling anthology for all those who were intrigued or outraged during Julia Gillard's tenure as Prime Minister. Contributors include: Tanya Plibersek, Jane Caro, Eva Cox, Clementine Ford, Kathy Lette, Chloe Hooper, Helen Razer, Shakira Hussein, Emily Maguire, Tracey Spicer, Ruth Hessey, Catharine Lumby, Helen Pringle, Carol Johnson, Claire Harvey and speeches from Anne Summers and Julia Gillard.

I hope every man and women reads this book and it helps them to speak up when they hear of any kind of derogatory remarks made, or gossip against their fellow work colleagues, whether they are female or male.

This book is a must read for everyone. Click here to reserve your copy.

Lynda G.

Monday, 14 April 2014

New fiction titles for April

The following new releases are now available for you to reserve:

Long Mars Stephen Baxter
Lincoln myths Steve Berry
Bones beneath Mark Billingham
Burglar who counted the spoons Lawrence Block
Cinderella killer Simon Brett
Skin game Jim Butcher
Thief’s magic Trudi Canavan
Earth awakens Orson Scott Card
Ghost ship Clive Cussler
Candle flame Paul Doherty
Roseblood Paul Doherty
Silver lining Anne Douglas
Top secret twenty-one Janet Evanovich
Dancing on knives Kate Forsyth
Murder of Harriet Krohn Karin Fossum
Written in my own heart’s blood Diana Gabaldon
Death of a scholar Susanna Gregory
Rest assured J.M. Gregson
I am China Xiaolu Guo
Shiver of light Laurell K Hamilton
Darkness, darkness John Harvey
Director David Ignatius
Snatched Bill James
Want you dead Peter James
Fields of glory Michael Jecks
Mr Mercedes Stephen King
Those who wish me dead Michael Koryta
Ties that bind Jayne Ann Krentz
Twisted Lynda LaPlante
Keeper John Lescroart
Chandelier ballroom Elizabeth Lord
Drought Graham Masterton
Last kind words saloon Larry McMurtry
Fortress Andy McNab
Immortal crown Richelle Mead
Fear and loathing Hilary Norman
China dolls Lisa See
Shield of winter Nalini Singh
Bourne ascendancy Eric Van Lustbader
Perfect heritage Penny Vincenzi
Children of war Martin Walker

Visit our online catalogue to place your free hold.


Monday, 7 April 2014

The Sound of one hand clapping by Richard Flanagan

This is a powerful and intensely sad novel, which deals with loss, alienation and the power of human beings to inflict pain on those they love most. Recommended to me by my son (always a good source of great reading). Not so easy to obtain but still available at some libraries.

The title comes from a Zen koan - a philosophical riddle - formulated by the Japanese Zen Master Hakuin Ekaku, who asked "You know the sound of two hands clapping; tell me, what is the sound of one hand?"

To me, the connection between the title and the narrative is that the reactions of the characters to the events that occur in their lives are formed by an intricate web of history, geography, personality and circumstance. There are no easy answers, either for the characters or for the readers who come to know them.

A sweeping novel of world war, migration, and the search for new beginnings in a new land, The Sound of One Hand Clapping was both critically acclaimed and a best-seller in Australia. It is a virtuoso performance from an Australian who is one of our most talented storytellers.

It was 1954, in a construction camp for a hydroelectric dam in the remote Tasmanian highlands, where Bojan Buloh had brought his family to start a new life away from Slovenia, the privations of war, and refugee settlements. One night, Bojan's wife walked off into a blizzard, never to return -- leaving Bojan to drink too much to quiet his ghosts, and to care for his three-year-old daughter Sonja alone. Thirty-five years later, Sonja returns to Tasmania and a father haunted by memories of the European war and other, more recent horrors. As the shadows of the past begin to intrude ever more forcefully into the present, Sonja's empty life and her father's living death are to change forever.

The Sound of One Hand Clapping is about the less than admirable attitudes of Australians towards migrants of an old world left behind (although I do wonder), about the harshness of a new country, and the destiny of those in a land beyond hope who seek to redeem themselves through love.

Compelling and beautifully written.


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