Thursday, 28 August 2014

Frankenstein; or the Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley

Sometimes I find it hard to believe this book is almost 200 years old, with the writing style rather than the substance of the narrative the only real link to this historical period. However, this book remains highly relevant in light of continuing scientific and technological innovation, as well as a good reminder of our arrogance and pride as intelligent creators ourselves.

The story is told from 3 distinct points of view, beginning with a framing narrative told, through letters to his sister, by a Captain of a ship sailing through the icy waters of the North Pole. Here the Captain encounters our human protagonist, a tormented Victor Frankenstein, entering into the bulk of the story told from his perspective.

Victor is a man in search of knowledge and power, inspired by his study of science and philosophy to attempt to cheat death, eventually creating a man from stolen body parts of other dead men and instilling it with new life. Unfortunately, Victor’s passion and short-sightedness means he realises too late the consequences of his actions, fleeing from his grotesque creation in disgust, leaving the ‘monster’ alone, forcing it to establish its own identity. The novel then continues to follow a rather disheartened Victor, who wishes to return to a normal life with his family and friends, unaware of the fate of his creation, where a change in perspective occurs again, now from the monster’s perspective.

The monster begins his life in tragedy, solitude and ignorance with his first experience of being abandoned by the one that made him: where and to whom is he to turn for further understanding of life, having to carve his path entirely on his own. And carve he does. After a period of curiosity and encountering the more friendly aspects of human nature in a blind man, a torrent of human fear and hatred is dumped upon him and the monster is forced to seek revenge, seeing this as his only true purpose. He seeks out Victor Frankenstein as the instigator of his painful and lonely existence, but not before making Victor’s life as empty and meaningless as his monstrous life had begun.

This novel really spoke to me about what it is to be human, what we do with the knowledge we attain and how we take responsibility for our actions. These are the questions that we can take from this novel: Are we ready for the power and/or knowledge that science gives us? And how do we know we’re not until it’s too late?

But this story is not only about our power as innovators and users of technology, but also as creators of life; as parents. Are we aware of what we are and aren’t capable of in being responsible for another life.


Place hold

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Inky Short List announced!

The Inky Short List has now been announced! There are two awards: the Gold Inky for an Australian book, and the Silver Inky for an international book. Of the five Australian books shortlisted, four are by first time authors. Selected from a panel of six teen judges the following titles have been chosen.

Titles vying for the Gold Inky award:

And in the running for the Silver Inky award:

Click on the book cover to reserve your copy through our online catalogue.

The voting is now open to anyone between the ages of 12-20. Click here to cast your vote! Voting closes at 5pm on Sunday the 5th of October and the winners will be announced at the Inky Awards ceremony on Tuesday the 21st of October.


Monday, 25 August 2014

Whole of my world by Nicole Hayes - Inky Longlist finalist

The Inky short list will be announced today at the Melbourne Writers festival. You will then be able to vote for your favorite book, via the Inky website, up until the 5th of October. Do you think this title make the short list?

The Whole of My World is the story of Shelley, a teenage girl obsessed with Australian Rules football; from going to local games to analysing every part of the Glenthorn Football Club’s performance, the team she is passionate about. But then the accident happens and everything changes. With a father who’s just barely functioning and a secret that’s breaking her heart, Shelley throws herself even further into the game she loves.

Starting afresh at St Mary’s Catholic Ladies College, Shelley meets Tara, a fellow Glenthorn fan, who introduces Shelley to the world of fanatics. Shelley starts watching the players train and joins a cheer squad to help rally them on the weekend, subsequently a friendship develops with one of the club’s new stars. If only Glenthorn keeps winning.

This novel is aimed at young adults covering some weighty issues; grief, isolation, the temptation of celebrity fame and the delicate balance between adulthood and teenage years. The author’s love of football is obvious, it jumps off each page. It is well written and engaging. I wanted to take Shelley home and give her a big hug.

I enjoyed reading this book however as a fellow Melbournian who grew up with AFL I was familiar with the team and footy ground depicted in the novel which led to some frustration at times. I wish Nicole hadn’t decided to use fictional place names and football teams or created ones with a little more imagination.

It is a minor quibble as overall this is a great novel with a very Australian feel. It can also be used as a versatile platform for contemporary discussions with teenagers.

Visit our catalogue to reserve your copy and stay tuned for the short list announcement!


Thursday, 21 August 2014

The Craft: DIY Hair & Beauty by Lou Teasdale

The Craft is a non-fiction book written by Lou Teasdale who is the hair and make-up artist of One Direction. The front cover is very attractive, it has a picture of a pretty girl with light blue lips and nails making the reader want to grab the book and browse through the pages. With only ninety six pages, it is small and easy to handle.

The book has been divided into six sections: hair, make-up, beauty, how to be a makeup artist, nails and tattoos. Each section has beautiful coloured pictures of the selected products and explains in detail, with step-by-step instructions, how to use them artistically and from home. The author has put lots of thoughts and ideas for the readers to understand the steps easily. It is not nice feeling when someone talks about pink hair colour or blue lipstick however, the advice Lou gives will change your mind about bold make-up colours and teach you the tips and tricks behind applying these products. Also, the suggested products are suitable for all budgets.

I think this book would attract professional salon people, make-up artists and people who would like to know more about hair styles and make up products.


Place hold

Monday, 18 August 2014

Fairytales for Wilde Girls by Allyse Near - Inky Longlist finalist

There’s a dead girl in a birdcage in the woods. That’s not unusual. Isola Wilde sees a lot of things other people don’t. But when the girl appears at Isola’s window, her every word a threat, Isola needs help.
Her real-life friends – Grape, James and new boy Edgar – make her forget for a while. And her brother-princes – the mermaids, faeries and magical creatures seemingly lifted from the pages of the French fairytales Isola idolises – will protect her with all the fierce love they possess.
It may not be enough.
Isola needs to uncover the truth behind the dead girl’s demise and appease her enraged spirit, before the ghost steals Isola’s last breath.

This debut novel from an Australian twenty three year old is a mix of fantasy and contemporary realism with a sprinkle of quotes from Edgar Allen Poe and modern fables. Fairytales for Wide Girls has attracted a plethora of praise for Allyse Near’s uniquely descriptive narrative however I found it difficult to engage with the story.

Perhaps I am being unfair to the book; I struggled with the first third of the book jumped a large section, and then skipped to the final chapters to learn what became of Isola Wilde. Credit to the author I did feel some concern for her.
Don’t let me put you off – have a read for yourself. One person’s fabulous read is another’s bore. That’s the beauty of books there’s something for everyone.

Visit our catalogue to reserve your copy. Or, for more information on the Inky Awards, click here.


Wednesday, 13 August 2014

New fiction titles for August

A new month calls for new books to be added to your growing reading list and this month there are lots of new titles to choose from. Whether it be romance, mystery, thriller or fantasy, all genres have been covered this month.

Marco effect Jussi Adler-Olsen
Last writes Catherine Aird
Stone mattress Margaret Atwood
Blood of an Englishman M.C Beaton
With a friend like you Fanny Blake
Little lumpen novelita Roberto Bolano
I can’t begin to tell you Elizabeth Buchan
Treasured Candace Camp
Amnesia Peter Carey
Silent sister Diane Chamberlain
Found Harlan Coben
Good life Martina Cole
Dancer in the dust Thomas H Cook
Eye of heaven Clive Cussler / Thomas Perry
Ark storm Linda Davies
Hacker Ted Dekker
Book of fires Paul Doherty
Two more pints Roddy Doyle
Damage Felix Francis
Justice postponed Anthea Fraser
House of grief Helen Garner
Saving Grace Jane Green
Deadly assets W.E.B Griffin
Crimson angel Barbara Hambly
Haunted Kay Hooper
Trinity Conn Iggulden
Wicked ways Lisa Jackson
Mistress of greyladies Anna Jacobs
J Howard Jacobson
Disclosures Bill James
Perfect witness Iris Johansen
Golem of Hollywood Jonathan Kellerman
It started with Paris Cathy Kelly
Shopaholic to the stars Sophie Kinsella
House of the four winds Mercedes Lackey
Drop Dennis Lehane
Hergesheimer in the present tense Morris Lurie
Crucifixion Creek Barry Maitland
Assassination of Margaret Thatcher Hilary Mantell
Dreamer’s pool Juliet Marillier
Borderline Liza Marklund
Hello from the Gillespies Monica McInerney
Hunter Tony Park
Angel court affair Anne Perry
Leaving time Jodi Picoult
Full churchyard Nicholas Rhea
Rise of the king RA Salvatore
Deadline John Sandford
Village rumours Rebecca Shaw
Chasing tomorrow Sidney Sheldon
Desert god Wilbur Smith
Constant star Jessica Stirling
Fish tails Sheri S Tepper
Mr. Bones Paul Theroux
Cleanskin cowgirls Rachael Treasure
Story hour Thrity Umrigar
Seventh sigil Margaret Weis
Mark of the midnight manzanilla Lauren Willig
Quick Steve Worland

All these titles are now available via our online catalogue so you can reserve your copy today!


Monday, 11 August 2014

Mrs Ali’s Road to Happiness by Farahad Zama

Mrs Ali’s Road to Happiness by Farahad Zama is a feel good book. Set in India it explores issues around family, customs, politics and religious beliefs. Mrs Ali’s extended family are happy enough. Muslims living in predominantly Hindu India, they go to mosque and look after their extended family. A young widowed Mulsim woman adopts a Hindu child and vows to bring him up as a Hindu. When the iman at the local mosque changes both Hindu nationalists and Muslim firebrands try to take the child. Set largely in Mrs Ali’s verandah and nearby apartments this book looks deeply into how a community can accept and tolerate differing beliefs in a time of change. The individual’s show courage, flexibility and resolve as their lives get taken from them. A fulfilling and enjoyable read inspite of the weighty issues explored.


Check catalogue