Wednesday, 26 November 2014

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Anthony Doerr's 'All the Light We Cannot See' was recommended to me by a friend who knew I had enjoyed Markus Zusak's 'The Book Thief'. I therefore had pretty high expectations of what Doerr's novel would be like, and I was not disappointed. After a start to the novel that can occasionally feel a bit too heavy with characters and locations (persevere, it evens out and is worth the effort), the story takes off.

Marie-Laure is blind, and lives in Paris with her devoted father. They are forced to leave their home as the Nazis approach and travel down to Saint-Malo on the coast, to stay with their agoraphobic relative.

Werner is a German orphan living in a children's home with his younger sister. Werner is obsessed with radios, a skill that will take him from the poverty and safety of his childhood to the opportunity and brutality of war.

Meanwhile, a Sergeant Major combs the continent in search of a valuable diamond, one he believes has the power to heal him of disease and affect the destinies of all who possess it.

The narrative jumps between the siege of Saint-Malo and the years leading up to it. I resisted the urge to race through the chapters to find out what happened because the real strength of this story lies in the language - it is is beautiful, evocative, and to be savoured.

Emily

Place hold

Monday, 24 November 2014

12 Years a Slave

12 Years a Slave tells the true story of Solomon Northup an educated musician living a good life in pre-Civil War New York with his wife and two children, after a drunken sortie with two white men, Solomon wakes to find himself manacled to the floor of a dungeon; pleas of mistaken identity fall on deaf ears and, beaten into submission, Solomon is shipped to Louisiana where he is sold into slavery to first the liberal Ford and then the maniacal Epps.

It is a film that stimulates at both an emotional level and an intellectual one.

To watch 12 Years a Slave is to experience a level of despair and misery that can become overwhelming.

The acting is easily the best, the story is effectively gut & heart-wrenching, and Steve McQueen brings just the right amount of visual elegance and rough realism to do the story justice. It may be hard to stomach at times; it’s the unhappiest happy ending I’ve ever seen, a moment that makes you weep not just for this one man who found his way back to freedom, but for all those men and women who never knew it in the first place.

I did cry at the end of the movie. I hope you will borrow it and see what I’m talking about.

Suad

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Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Tender is the night by F. Scott Fitzgerald

“Later she remembered all the hours of the afternoon as happy – one of those uneventful times that seem at the moment only a link between past and future pleasure but turn out to have been the pleasure itself.”

Tender is Fitzgerald’s writing, however, seldom the night in this purportedly autobiographical account of love, lust, marriage and yearning.

In a savvy show of technique, Fitzgerald begins his novel smack, bang in the middle of the story – though this remains unbeknownst to readers until “Part 2″ when they are taken back in time to learn of the characters’ histories. This works well for the novel, baiting readers into a false sense of ownership over the narrative and leading them to believe that the book is about one thing when, really, it’s about a whole other (what these ‘things’ are you’ll have to find out for yourself when you read it).

The novel centres around three characters, all present at the French Riviera in the 1920s: young film star Rosemary Hoyt, psychiatrist Dick Diver and his wife Nicole Diver. Although each of them have their own story to tell, Fitzgerald’s narrative arc relies on how and why these three characters end up in each others’ lives… All are extremely well written and convincing; so much so that I found myself drinking, dining, crying and laughing with them.

The plot of this novel is laden with action. Although I can’t compare it to any of Fitzgerald’s earlier works (The Great Gatsby in particular) as this was my first time reading him, I struggle to imagine a more well written, poetic and lyrical exploration of the ‘stuff’ of relationships and what it means to be an individual in the throes of an era that is making the transition from the ‘Old World’ to modernity; an idea that is embodied beautifully by Dick’s work in the emerging field of psychiatry and Fitzgerald’s choosing to play out his narrative throughout Europe.

Love and sanity are lost and found in this book, relationships built and broken, families created and destroyed. However, the strength – by far – of Fitzgerald’s novel is the flawless style with which he executes his artistic vision.
This book was a delight to experience.

Kat

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Monday, 17 November 2014

Homefront

Jason Statham plays the unfortunate Phil Broker, a DEA agent who goes into hiding after running afoul of a bikie gang leader. With him is his 9 year old daughter, Maddy, who relocates with him to a small southern town in Louisiana. When Broker’s daughter is involved in a fight with a local boy, a minor incident escalates into bloody revenge, inadvertently drawing the attention of the local meth dealer, played by James Franco. Statham is overly familiar in his role as good-guy-trying-to-protect-his-own, but he does so with vigour.

While the movie has not received glowing reviews and the story treads well-worn ground, it is still worth watching, if only for the glow that comes of good triumphing over evil. Winona Ryder and Kate Bosworth have minor parts but their understated influence gives credit to an average storyline.

Melissa

Place hold

Homefront

Jason Statham plays the unfortunate Phil Broker, a DEA agent who goes into hiding after running afoul of a bikie gang leader. With him is his 9 year old daughter, Maddy, who relocates with him to a small southern town in Louisiana. When Broker’s daughter is involved in a fight with a local boy, a minor incident escalates into bloody revenge, inadvertently drawing the attention of the local meth dealer, played by James Franco. Statham is overly familiar in his role as good-guy-trying-to-protect-his-own, but he does so with vigour.

While the movie has not received glowing reviews and the story treads well-worn ground, it is still worth watching, if only for the glow that comes of good triumphing over evil. Winona Ryder and Kate Bosworth have minor parts but their understated influence gives credit to an average storyline.

Melissa

Place hold

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion


“Don Tillman and Rosie Jarman are now married and living in New York. Don has been teaching while Rosie completes her second year at Columbia Medical School. Just as Don is about to announce that Gene, his philandering best friend from Australia, is coming to stay, Rosie drops a bombshell: she’s pregnant.
In true Tillman style, Don instantly becomes an expert on all things obstetric. But in between immersing himself in a new research study on parenting and implementing the Standardised Meal System (pregnancy version), Don’s old weaknesses resurface. And while he strives to get the technicalities right, he gets the emotions all wrong, and risks losing Rosie when she needs him most.”

The Rosie Effect is the sequel to The Rosie Project. The first book I read on a recommendation and I have to say I was glad I did. While I don’t think it’s exactly a great literary piece, it is definitely worth reading and it’s definitely worth following the rest of the story in The Rosie Effect.

Don’s eccentricities get better of him from time to time, but I think that just adds to the story as you’re agitated with him and frustrated for him when he doesn’t seem to be doing what he should be doing and when his plans just go terribly wrong. Don’s Aspergers, and more so his denial and total oblivion of his condition, creates for some quite awkward and amusing conversations and interactions. It’s written from a first person point of view so at all times you know what’s going through his mind and how he goes about solving problems in his own unique way. I got into the story so much, and couldn’t wait to see how it unfolded that I stayed up until 5am just to finish it.

Bojana

Place hold

Monday, 10 November 2014

New fiction titles for November


Can you believe that it’s already November? Where did October go? May I offer a suggestion before the craziness of Christmas begins? Turn off your mobile, step away from the internet and slow time down by immersing yourself in one of these fantastic new fiction titles.

Actually, step away from the internet after you’ve visited our new online catalogue and reserved your chosen title.

Done? O.K, now you can step away from the internet.

Wartime girls Anne Baker
Perfect sins Jo Bannister
Go and bury your dead Bill Brooks
Let sleeping dogs lie Rita Mae Brown
Brewer of Preston Andrea Camilleri
Scorched eggs Laura Childs
Change of heart Jude Deveraux
Die again Tess Gerritsen
Cheapside corpse Susanna Gregory
Time to remember Anna Jacobs
Dandelion years Erica James
Map of betrayal Ha Jin
Collision Mercedes Lackey
Missing and the dead Stuart MacBride
Three amazing things about you Jill Mansell
Woman with a gun Phillip Margolin
Rogues George R.R. Martin
Cake shop in the garden Carole Matthews
Runaway Peter May
Whispering swarm Michael Moorcock
Land of the blind Barbara Nadel
Private Vegas James Patterson
Martini shot and other stories George Pelecanos
Beneath the lake Christopher Ransom
Firefight Brandon Sanderson
Betrayed Lisa Scottoline
Oddfellows Nicholas Shakespeare
Heist Daniel Silva
Nantucket sisters Nancy Thayer
Devil’s seal Peter Tremayne

To place free holds simply click on your chosen title. You will then be transported to our new library catalogue, The Vault. Here you can place holds, browse our extensive new book and AV collections, download eBooks and eAudio, magazines and much, much more. Better yet, it’s all free.

Leigh


Thursday, 6 November 2014

Zinio Magazine of the Month: Australian Vogue

Vogue Australia epitomises the finest in fashion, design and journalism. It enlightens, entertains and inspires by focusing on its position as the authoritative voice in Australian fashion. Vogue Australia combines a modern mix of glamour, style and intelligence presenting the ultimate in fashion, beauty, health, and the arts.

Discover the latest news on Vogue’s cover model this month, Blake Lively, as she discusses her career going from Gossip Girl star to leading business entrepreneur.

Also, don’t miss out on other fashionable features, including Lady Amanda Harlech’s passion for Chanel Couture, an insight into the Saddle Club – Australia’s racing royalty, as well as delving into Nicholas Ghesquiere’s take ‘street’ take on Louis Vuitton. Plus, all of the regular features, including which books are hot to new make-up trends, the latest news in art and luxury holiday destinations.

To download this magazine FREE from Zinio, simply click on the magazine cover. Click on this link to view our entire Zinio collection.

If you need further assistance with creating an account, please don’t hesitate to contact library staff for additional help.

Leigh