Thursday, 29 December 2016

Fast Asleep, Wide Awake by Dr. Nerina Ramlakhan

For anyone who has experienced persistent insomnia, this book may be just what you need. Dr Nerina Ramlakhan has divided the book into four sections:
1. Awareness and background information
2. Getting started with the non-negotiables
3. The Pure Sleep Programme
4. Wide Awake: the big picture
Initially I was sceptical about the first section. It sounded like a ‘big sell’. Not that there aren’t interesting and important points but there’s also a fair bit of self-promotion. Of course other readers may not see it that way. There are certainly interesting opinions about sleeping tablets, the healing properties of sleep and the impact of feeling ‘safe’ on our ability to sleep soundly.
Once I actually tried the ‘non-negotiables’ I was quickly on board. These are specific strategies that seem to have a rapid impact. Almost immediately I was sleeping better.
1. Eat breakfast every day within 30-40 minutes of rising
2. Drink 2 litres of water
3. Reduce your caffeine intake or abolish completely
4. Start an electronic shut-off 1 hour before getting into bed
5. Aim to get at least 4 pre-midnight sleeps per week
The next section outlines some strategies that assist particular problems: not getting to sleep quickly, waking during the night and waking early. Some I found very helpful were:
1. Not referring to the clock when waking during the night because it starts a measuring and comparing stream of thoughts
2. During the day, taking time to be mindful as often as possible including watching the breath for 3 inhalations and following steps towards grounding and being ‘in one’s body’
3. Practising gratitude at intervals during the day
The final section proposes the examination of all aspects of life to determine why sleep is difficult to achieve. There is discussion about personality traits which may impact and the changing tides of stress and anxiety which affect us during different stages of our lives.
I recommend Fast asleep, Wide awake. It has made a real difference to me.


Monday, 19 December 2016

New fiction for December

Summer and holiday time is here - more time for reading and relaxing. Check out these new titles and more available at the library for all your Summer reading needs.
Harvest of Thorns Corban Addison
4 3 2 1 Paul Auster
Massacre of mankind Stephen Baxter
Take back the sky Greg Bear
Egg drop dead Laura Childs
Norse mythology Neil Gaiman
Right behind you Lisa Gardner
Executioner of St Paul's Susannah Gregory
Curtain of death W.E.B. Griffin
Immortal bind Traci Harding
Gifts for our time Anna Jacobs
Close Bill James
My not so perfect life Sophie Kinsella
Lord of the privateers Stephanie Laurens
You said forever Susan Lewis
Last debutante Lesley Lokko
Meet me at Beachcomber Bay Jill Mansell
Dead girls dancing Graham Masterton
Paper hearts and summer kisses Carole Matthews
Cast iron Peter May
Police at the station and they don't look friendly Adrian McKinty
Recluse tales L.E. Modesitt Jr
Those were the days Lynda Page
Wyoming Brave Diana Palmer
Murder on the Serpentine Anne Perry
Echoes in death J.D.Robb
Unexpected Nora Roberts
Crossing Nora Roberts
Shadow kill Chris Ryan
Extreme prey John Sandford
Most wanted Lisa Scottoline
Jericho's war Gerald Seymour
Three daughters of Eve Elif Shafak
City of friends Joanna Trollope
Heart of what was lost Tad Williams
Moshi moshi Banana Yoshimoto

Simply click on your chosen title/s and you will be directed to The Vault, where you can place your holds. Can't see anything you like? Why not ask one of our friendly staff for a reading recommendation.

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Between a wolf and a dog by Georgia Blain

I was intrigued by the title of this novel, which describes that particular moment of half-light between day and night, a moment of transition. Set in Sydney, mostly over one very rainy day, this novel by Australian author Georgia Blain explores the relationships of a family coming to terms with their own human frailty, who are caught in a strange moment of transition in their lives. The rain is a constant backdrop for the emotional drama of the story. There is Esther, a counsellor, struggling to get her own life back on track, Lawrence, her ex-husband, grappling with the fallout of his actions, April, Esther’s sister, trying to revive her flagging music career and mother Hilary, a filmmaker who is making her masterpiece, and a life changing decision. Each will make choices that impact on the lives of the others.
Winner of the University of Queensland Fiction book award, and short listed for the Victorian Premier's Literary Awards in 2017 Between a wolf and a dog
is a gentle, sometimes heartbreaking and keenly observed examination of the nature of relationships, betrayal, forgiveness and moving on after the rain has stopped. This is not a fast paced novel, but If you like contemporary relationship stories with a melancholy edge and some beautifully elegant writing, you will enjoy this read.

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil by Melina Marchetta

Chief Inspector Bish Ortley of the London Met, divorced and still grieving the death of his son, has been drowning his anger in Scotch. Something has to give, and he’s no sooner suspended from the force than a busload of British students is subject to a deadly bomb attack across the Channel. Bish’s daughter is one of those on board.
Also on the bus is Violette LeBrac. Raised in Australia, Violette has a troubled background. Thirteen years ago her grandfather bombed a London supermarket, killing dozens of people. Her mother, Noor, is serving a life sentence in connection with the incident. But before Violette’s part in the French tragedy can be established she disappears.
Bish, who was involved in Noor LeBrac’s arrest, is now compelled to question everything that happened back then. And the more he delves into the lives of the family he helped put away, the more he realises that truth wears many colours.

Melina has cemented her place as one of Australia’s masters of storytelling with her new novel Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil. This book is her first adult novel. Melina has twice been awarded the CBCA children’s book award and her best known YA novels are Looking for Alibrandi, Saving Francesca and
On the Jellicoe Road.

This clever detective thriller gripped me from the first chapter and didn’t let go. It is a narrative of one of the uglier turmoil's of today’s society: racism and cultural ignorance blended with courage, family, love and friendship.

I invested myself in each of the book’s multifaceted characters which Melina effortlessly created. The spunk of Violette and the gritty personal and professional struggles of Bish were standouts. The exciting subplots come together as cleverly as a fine spider’s web.

If you are a fan of Melina Marchetta’s you wont be disappointed this book and if you are yet to discover her stories Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil is a must read.


Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Love, Marilyn (DVD)

50 years after Marilyn Monroe’s death, her acting coach discovered 2 boxes of personal papers and diaries, which are presented here by various Hollywood actors in fine dramatic style. Each actor reads either as Marilyn or as key people in her life, as written by Monroe during her turbulent and troubled life.
Included also is footage of Marilyn and excerpts from interviews which contribute to the revelation of “who was the real Marilyn Monroe?”, which, it seems ,is a difficult one to answer.
This is by far one of the best Monroe documentaries I have ever seen, for its’ dramatic effect and sensitive, personal portrayal of the star and her evident power to create a world-known persona.
Marilyn paid attention to her craft from early on in her career, and as this fascinating documentary shows, will be remembered in her many films and footage and now, in her own words.


Friday, 25 November 2016

Your fathers, where are they? And the Prophets, do they live forever? Dave Eggers

What a title, right? Not to judge it by its cover, but it was this very intriguing quote from the bible (I didn’t know it was until I looked it up on Wikipedia…) and what drew me to even have a look at this book. Getting started on it at 10pm one night about a year ago, I literally could not put it down until around 2am when I had finished it, making this one the quickest books I have ever read, not to mention one of the most different (I usually read fantasy/scifi). And it was that riveting!

As the back of the book states, a man kidnaps an astronaut, one of his childhood heroes, to simply ask him some questions. But this is only the beginning of such kidnappings, and the questions themselves are far from simple. This is a journey of (masculine) self-discovery in an age when such things are no longer as valued as they once were. The times and necessities for a man to punch down a wolf or blow up a mountain are behind us, but this leaves the protagonist aching for some new frontier to conquer or enemy to subdue. Hence the kidnapping.

Without giving too much away, as this story reads like a hostage thriller film, and the revelations need to be read, it is very fast paced but at no moment does our main man actually want to harm any of his victims, even though he is willing to if they do not answer him. The hostages extend from the astronaut, to a member of the kidnapper’s family right through to a prominent political figure. Maybe this book may answer some of our own questions about what we need to do with existing masculine energies that, if not used/spent, can be a source of self-destruction, to the individual or the community they come from.


Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Soulless – Gail Carriger. Book one of the Parasol Protectorate.

A Novel of Vampires, Werewolves and Parasols.
‘First, she has no soul. Second, she's a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she was rudely attacked by a vampire, breaking all standards of social etiquette.’
Alexia Tarabotti is a Victorian London woman, she is also a metanatural or ‘soulless’. Her touch will render a vampire or werewolf temporarily mortal, understandably considered the height of societal bad manners.
When she is framed for the disappearance of a number of important vampires she must work for queen and country to find the true culprits. She is joined on her quest by Werewolf Alpha Lord Maccon and a particularly ugly parasol. If she fails her standing in London society, such as it is, may be forever damaged.
This is a fun book, it’s unique in that creatures usually the subjects of horror stories are instead nocturnal members of polite society with the same expectations of civility placed on them as any human. Alexia is a wonderful narrator, she’s no nonsense, tough and woe befalls anyone who gets between her and cream clotted scones with tea.
Alexia’s is a Steampunk story with a monster twist, the first series is five books long with a second series currently in progress.

Lauren F

Friday, 18 November 2016

Genesis gunplay by John Davage

Cody McCade rides into Genesis looking to uncover the truth about the sudden disappearance of the town’s previous sheriff and the mystery of a young man’s homestead, razed to the ground just before his wedding. But when up against local thugs and the powerful and deadly Shaw family he realises it will take more than asking around to get any answers. And the townsfolk have another mystery on their hands: just who is Cody McCade and what brings him to Genesis? Even as answers to some of those questions came to light, more mysteries were triggered.

As an avid reader of Western I found this to be an excellent read, I enjoyed the well crafted characters, each having their own personality that makes you want to side with them, or see them get their comeuppance. As well as tough male roles Cody and The Shaw family, he also includes a number of strong females too, one of whom does something that sees McCade set to take the fall for it, making this a very difficult book to put down. I will be eager to find and read more of his works.


Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Roar: How to Match your Food and Fitness to your Female Physiology for Optimum Performance by Stacy T. Sims PhD.

This book delves into the physiological differences of female athletes, belaying the idea that women are just ‘little men’. Female athletes are physiologically different to male athletes and need to fuel, recover and repair accordingly.

It was refreshing to read a book oriented specifically to female physiology, including issues unique to women. Written by a woman who has not only researched the subject academically, but also competed at an elite level of fitness.

Straightforward writing style, easy to understand and follow with great advice for female athletes. Sometimes the advice challenges conventional health wisdom, such as the popularity of low-carb diets and how it can detrimentally impact a woman’s health, the pros and cons of supplements and the use and abuse of sports gels and drinks. While the focus is primarily on women competing in endurance sports like cycling or marathons, the advice provided can be beneficial to all female athletes for optimum nutrition and gaining the most from their effort.


Monday, 14 November 2016

Wings of fire: an autobiography by Abdul Kalam

Wings of fire is an autobiography of APJ Abdul Kalam written jointly by Arun Tiwari and Adbul Kalam, covering his early life and his work in Indian space research and missile programs.

APJ Abdul Kalam is a renowned Indian scientist who went on to become 11th President of India (2002-2007). He is very well known across India and is a recipient of India’s three highest civilian awards – Padma Bhushan, Padma Vibhushan and Bharat Ratna and Doctorate Honour from 40 University around the World. It is the story of a boy from a humble background who went on to become a key player in Indian space research/Indian missile programs and later became the president of India. It was very engaging initially, but tended to drag a bit towards the end with lot of technical details and procedural information of his space research and missile projects.

The initial chapters provide an interesting glimpse of religious harmony which existed before India’s partition. Kalam in younger years wanted to be an officer in air force; however he couldn’t clear the interview. “Accept your destiny and go ahead with your life”.

In the book we learn how Kalam started his career in Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) and were involved in the design of a hovercraft. Later he moved to Indian Space Research which was the brain child of Vikram Sarabhai. In 1963, Kalam went to NASA facility in Maryland (USA) as part of a training program on sounding rocket launching techniques. The book covers a lot of behind the scenes information and technical details about India’s satellite and missile program (SLV-3, Prithvi, Agni, Thrisul, Akash and Nag). Space and missile programs are huge complex projects and managing them is extremely challenging. The book does give a glimpse of the participatory management technique adopted by Kalam, but at the same time it doesn’t go into details.

Kalam is a poet and is a huge fan of poems. The book contains many of his own poems and his favorite poems.

One of the things that stand out throughout the book is Kalam’s positive thinking. He held many high ranking positions in various organizations. Yet in the book he rarely mentions anything about lethargy/corruption of bureaucracy or politicians. The secret to his success seems to be his ability to ignore negative things around him. The book also gives a clue to his popularity in India. Kalam is a simple, secular, inspiring humanitarian.

Worth reading for the students and young minds who are after the pursuit of their dreams come true. “Dream is not that which you see while sleeping it is something that does not let you sleep”.


Friday, 11 November 2016

A Single Stone by Megan McKinlay

Imagine having your limbs bound, lying still for hours, maintaining a strict diet. This is what the seven selected girls, who have the honour of climbing deep into the mountain to gather the harvest, have to endure as generations of girls before them had. It is with huge pride and a deep sense of responsibility which Jena leads the team. Many girls have given their lives to the mountain to collect the Mica.

This is the way it has always been in this isolated village where Mica holds the highest value. Rations of food, blankets and candles are distributed by the village matriarchs; they also lay down the law of the land. Of most importance is they oversee all the supply of Mica. No one has ever questioned the doctrine they live under until Jenna moves one single stone. What follows is an exploration of Jenna’s personal values and communal outlook. A quiet menacing undertone runs through the pages of Jenna’s journey.

Megan McKinlay has woven a unique tale which hooks the reader from the first page.

A single stone is the winner of the Prime Minister's Literary Awards for Young Adult fiction.


Thursday, 10 November 2016

Sister Heart by Sally Morgan

Each word used in this verse novel is equal to a paint stroke of an Old Masters painting. The story follows a young Aboriginal girl from North Australia who is sent to an institution in the distant south. This is a story about the Stolen Generation.

My heart ached for the children; I cried with some, felt the loneliness engulf me with others and shared the small bites of happiness they found. I was also reminded of the value of friendships, of culture, of self.

The atrocities made by the government in the name of betterment are beyond belief. It is an important story which needs to be shared with young and old and Sally Morgan has written an unforgettable novel.

Sister Heart is the winner of the Prime Minister's Literary Awards for children's fiction.


Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Winners announced!

The winners of the 2016 Prime Minister's Literary Awards have been announced by the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Arts Minister Mitch Fifield at a special ceremony last night at the National Library of Australia.

Selected from a shortlist of 30 books by exceptional Australian authors, this year’s winners reflect the huge diversity in Australian literature.

Winners for best fiction are:
The life of houses | Lisa Gorton
The natural way of things | Charlotte Wood

Best non-fiction:
On Stalin’s team: the years of living dangerously in Soviet politics | Shelia Fitzpatrick
Thea Astley: inventing her own weather | Karen Lamb

The Prime Minister's Literary Awards recognise the best of Australian writing in fiction, non-fiction, Australian history, young adult fiction, children’s fiction and poetry.

Visit the PMLA website for a full list of winners, author biographies, book summaries and judges’ comments.

Congratulations to all the winners.


Monday, 7 November 2016

New fiction for November

We have a small list of new titles for you to choose from this month:

Golden legend Nadeem Aslam
The Spy Paulo Coelho
Win, lose or draw Peter Corris
Bridget Jones: the baby diaries Helen Fielding
Death’s mistress Terry Goodkind
Tom Clancy’s true faith and allegiance Mark Greaney
Purple swamp hen and other stories Penelope Lively
Bad moon rising Jonathan Maberry
Kidnapped James Patterson
Come and get us James Patterson
Private Delhi James Patterson
The light between oceans M.L. Stedman
Mistress Danielle Steel

Simply click on your chosen title/s and you will be directed to The Vault, where you can place your holds. Can't see anything you like? Why not ask one of our friendly staff for a recommendation.


Thursday, 3 November 2016

Start the journey all over again…

Before Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them opens in Australia on the 17th of November why not revisit all your favorite characters and moments from the original Harry Potter series? There is no need to wait as you can borrow and download the whole series on both eBook and eAudiobook formats via the BorrowBox app.

Not a fan of downloadable formats? We also have copies of all the titles in other formats, including print, DVD and audio books. Click here to be directed to the Vault where you can place your holds.

To download your free App just visit the Apple App Store or Google Play Store via this link. If you require help or more information, please speak with our friendly library staff at Dandenong or Springvale Library.


Friday, 28 October 2016

The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman

The Light Between Oceans, one of the most successful Australian novels of recent years, has recently been adapted for the big screen. Starring international actors Michael Fassbender, Alicia Vikander and Rachel Weiss, it opens in Australia on the 3rd of November.

The novel has received multiple awards, including winner of three ABIA awards for Best Newcomer, Best Literary Novel and Book of the Year, winner of two Indie Awards for Best Debut and Book of the Year, winner of the Nielsen BookData Bookseller’s Choice Award for 2013 and was voted Historical Novel of 2012 by GoodReads’ reading community.

1926. Tom Sherbourne is a young lighthouse keeper on a remote island off Western Australia. The only inhabitants of Janus Rock, he and his wife Isabel live a quiet life, cocooned from the rest of the world.

Then one April morning a boat washes ashore carrying a dead man and a crying infant - and the path of the couple's lives hits an unthinkable crossroads.

Only years later do they discover the devastating consequences of the decision they made that day - as the baby's real story unfolds ...

Although reading the book before seeing the movie isn’t necessarily required, it’s definitely recommended. Books contain a lot more information than the movie can possibly include, such as character development and back stories. Heading into the movie theatre armed with all that information enhances your movie experience.

The library has copies of The Light Between Oceans in multiple formats including fiction, audio book MP3 and downloadable e-book & e-audio books.


Thursday, 27 October 2016

The Sellout wins the 2016 Man Booker Prize

Paul Beatty has become the first American author to win the prestigious Man Booker Prize for Fiction. The Sellout has been described as a provocative, laugh-out-loud, blistering satire on race relations in contemporary America.

The book is set in a rundown Los Angeles suburb called Dickens, where the residents include the last survivor of the Little Rascals and the book's narrator Bonbon — an African American man on trial at the US Supreme Court for attempting to reinstate slavery and racial segregation.

The Sellout was voted the unanimous winner by all five judges. Beatty was awarded the £50,000 prize by the Duchess of Cornwall, during a black-tie ceremony at London's medieval Guildhall.

The Man Booker Prize for Fiction is awarded each year for the best original novel, written in the English language, and published in the UK. You can read more about the prize here.


Monday, 24 October 2016

Less is more by Brian Draper

Less is more is a nonfiction title held in the Health and Wellbeing collection. The book is divided into six inspirational parts, and the layout is convincing with quotes on the left-hand pages and short tips on the right-hand pages. Less is more gives a lot of messages and encourages the reader to enjoy life more by living a little more simply and with satisfaction.

I enjoyed reading the book as it shows how to find more time and energy to enjoy the things that really do matter. The ideas in the book invites the readers to make small, simple changes in the way they live, embracing silence and feeling relaxed and happy instead of stressed and overwhelmed. It has a positive idea that too many options to choose from is not good and it doesn’t satisfying the self, it will have opposite feeling.

It is full of inspiration quotes such as “I will focus less on the gap between me and my competitors and instead work on honing my own unique gift”, “… remembering that I am free to choose how I respond to every situation I face …” and "I’ll let the colours of the trees remind me, each autumn that we have to let go, in the end, to let come. And I will begin, today, the process of dying, so that I can come alive. So that I may be born again".

I recommend reading this book for busy people to who would like to learn how to use the senses to savour life.


Friday, 21 October 2016

The Passage by Justin Cronin

Agent Bradford Wolgast collects people for the government. His job is to convince death row inmates to sign away their rights and identities to a shady experiment in return for their lives. Then he receives orders that the experiment has moved on and he must bring in a six year old girl named Amy.

I picked up this novel on a whim because the sequel had sounded interesting. It was not at all what I had expected and every time I thought I had a handle on whom the main characters were and where the story was going I was soon proven wrong.

Superbly written, complex and continually surprising (Zombie vampire monsters? That’s new) this is the best novel I have had the random luck to pick up in some time. It is the first of a trilogy, the third of which was released this year.

If you’re a fan of monsters, apocalypses and intricate human relationships then hopefully you’ll enjoy this as much as I have. If nothing else you’ll want to leave your lights on.

Lauren F

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

2016 Prime Minister's Literary Award shortlist

The Prime Minister's Literary Awards celebrate outstanding literary talent in Australia and the valuable contribution Australian literature and history makes to the nation's cultural and intellectual life.

The awards are presented in six categories;
• Fiction
• Non-fiction
• Young adult fiction
• Children's fiction
• Poetry
• Australian history

Up to $100,000 is awarded in each category: $80,000 for each winner and $5,000 each for shortlisted entries. All prizes are tax-free.

The nominees for fiction are:

Forever Young | Steven Carroll
The Life of Houses | Lisa Gorton
The World Repair Video Game | David Ireland
Quicksand | Steve Toltz
The Natural Way of Things | Charlotte Wood

Click here for a full list of nominees in all six categories.

Winners will be announced later this year.


Monday, 17 October 2016

Author Talk J.M Yates in support of White Ribbon Day

To commemorate White Ribbon Day 2016, join us at Dandenong Library to hear Author J.M Yates talk about her book and childhood experience with domestic violence.

Her new book The Vine Bleeds: The impact of domestic violence. A women's journey of spirit and strength is based on a true story as she writes about her childhood experience with domestic violence.

Yates explores the issue that 'what happens is not as important as what we do about it' and shows the strength of a women's journey of spirit and strength.

Date: Thursday, 20 October 2016
Time: 10:15am - 11:15am

For more information phone 1300 630 920

This is a free event.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Unofficial Guide to by Nancy Hendrickson is a wealth of information for any family history research, but it can be confusing about where to go and how to use the millions of records it provides access too. The book Unofficial Guide to how to find your family history on the #1 genealogy website helps wade through the myriad records, card catalogues, photos, maps and family trees and provides a solid foundation on how, and where, to start your family history research.

The book looks a little daunting to begin with, but it has been broken down into 15 chapters, with each focussing on a specific topic and section of Chapter three is particularly useful - it gives a detailed overview on how to best use Ancestry’s basic and advanced search functions, which for someone who is just starting out can be daunting.

Chapters six and nine also make for interesting reading – chapter six is all about the births, deaths and marriages records, and it breaks down all the information you could possibly need about how to decipher each of the different records, including the different record types (birth, death, divorce, church etc).

Chapter nine explores the newspapers, publications and maps available through Ancestry. The publications available include obituaries, magazines, maps, atlases, gazetteers, to name just a few. Newspapers can often hold a wealth of information for family historians, but can be complicated to wade through – this chapter helps break down the steps for a successful navigation.

This book also highlights what I believe to be one of Ancestry’s hidden gems – the outward passenger lists for the RMS Titanic, followed by the Titanic Survivors, Carpathia Passenger List, and RMS Titanic, Deaths at Sea, 1912. It is very profound and sad to read through the Deaths at Sea lists, especially the large families in third class, and Ancestry has found a way to make this 100+ year old tragedy seem very real in modern times.

Overall, despite its tendency to lean towards the more American based searches, this book provides a solid base on how to either start researching your family history, or if you have already started, how to do more indepth research and to get more from your searches.

The City of Greater Dandenong Libraries subscribes to both Ancestry and Find My Past, which are available for use within both Springvale and Dandenong Libraries, via the Family History page on the Vault.

As part of the History Week celebrations (October 16th-23rd), Dandenong library will be hosting Vicki Montgomery from the Genealogical Society of Victoria as she provides an information session about how to start your Family History Research. The session will be held on the 18th of October at 6.30pm. Click here for more information.


Monday, 10 October 2016

Better Reading's Top 100 for 2016

Last year Better Reading launched their first Top 100 list, asking Australians to nominate their favourite book. Thousands of people responded and Bryce Courtenay's The Power of One took out the top spot for 2015.

This year it's back and while there are a lot of familiar books in the Top 100, there are also plenty of surprises. Many books debuted high on the list, including Anthony Doerr’s All the light we cannot see at no. 4, Hanya Yanighara’s controversial bestseller A little life at no. 14 and Liane Moriarty’s latest bestseller Truly, Madly, Guilty at no. 21. Once again, Australian authors are strongly represented, with writers like Tim Winton, Bryce Courtenay, Rachael Johns and Geraldine Brooks each getting multiple titles on the list.

Did you participate this year? Are you curious to find out which book took out the top spot? Simply click here to discover Australia's favourite book for 2016. Make sure you bookmark the list and use it as a guide for your next read. With thrillers, historical fiction, classics, new releases, romance and fantasy all represented you're bound to find something new and exciting to read. Then pop over to our online catalogue and search for your chosen title/s. We have made sure we have a copy of every book listed in the top 100.

Happy reading!


Friday, 7 October 2016

New fiction for October

It’s new fiction time again and while it is a small list this month, there is still a nice selection to choose from.

Lyrebird Cecelia Ahern
Liverpool sisters Lyn Andrews
Beautiful dead Belinda Bauer
Mrs Pargeter’s public relations Simon Brett
Moonglow Michael Chabon
Sleeping beauty killer Mary Higgins Clark
Pilgrimage of murder Paul Doherty
Pale guardian Barbara Hambly
When all the girls have gone Jayne Ann Krentz
The last debutante Lesley Lokko
Ruler of the night David Morrell
Whirlwind Hilary Norman
Killer chef James Patterson
Radiant James Patterson
Bodyguard James Patterson
Christmas mystery James Patterson
Mating season James Patterson
Prince Lestat and the realms of Atlantis Anne Rice
Island of glass Nora Roberts
While the moon burns Peter Watt

Click on your chosen title/s to place your hold via The Vault .

Happy reading!


Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Winners of the 2016 Inky awards

The winners of the 2016 Inky awards were announced at the State Library Victoria yesterday. First established in 2007, the Inky awards are the only national teen choice awards where the shortlist is selected by teens and voted for online by teens. There are two awards: the Gold Inky Award for an Australian book, and the Silver Inky Award for an international book.

And the winners are.....

Gold Inky award: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do. This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

Silver Inky: I’ll give you the sun by Jandy Nelson

Jude and her twin Noah were incredibly close - until a tragedy drove them apart, and now they are barely speaking. Then Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy as well as a captivating new mentor, both of whom may just need her as much as she needs them. What the twins don't realize is that each of them has only half the story and if they can just find their way back to one another, they have a chance to remake their world.

You can find out more about the Inky Awards and the Centre for Youth Literature here.

Congratulations to both winners!


Monday, 3 October 2016

Triple 9

In the movie Triple 9, a crew of dirty cops are blackmailed by the Russian mob to execute a virtually impossible heist and the only way to pull it off is to manufacture a 999, police code for "officer down." Their plan is turned upside down when the unsuspecting rookie they set up to die foils the attack, triggering a breakneck action packed finale tangled with double-crosses, greed and revenge.

John Hillcoat, an Australian screenwriter, film and music video director, directs with a sense of immediacy and grimy realism, bringing the audience into the shootouts and bloodshed on the streets. Atlanta becomes another war zone for the men who have seen war, battling an enemy of a different race and culture.

Triple 9 is a classic cops and robbers saga and has a ridiculous turn from Kate Winslet as a Russian mobster.

If you like your crime flicks grim and gritty you'll be able to fill your boots here. I recommend this movie to people who are into their action/crime/drama/thrillers.


Thursday, 29 September 2016

Return to the Little Coffee Shop of Kabul by Deborah Rodriguez

I was so excited to see there was a sequel to The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul. I loved the first book about a western woman, Sunny, setting up a coffee shop in war torn Kabul and of four completely different women coming together to form strong friendships. In the sequel we are reunited with the characters several years later. We once again meet Sunny, Yasmina, Layla, Candace and Halajan, who are all dealing with personal and cultural challenges.

Sunny is back in the US, struggling to deal with the loss of her boyfriend Jack. She is now the new owner of the Screaming Peacock Vineyards on Twimbly Island, a vineyard left to her by Jack. We are also introduced to several new characters in the story. Sunny meets a troubled Afghani teenager called Kat living in America who tries to renounce everything to do with her Afghan heritage. Sunny invites Kat to tutor Layla, Yasmina’s younger sister, who has come to stay with her on Twimbly Island for a little while. Through this we see a clash of cultures and gain an understanding of how difficult it is for Afghani people to come to terms with the western way of life, especially as the Afghan culture is so full of tradition, culture and pride.

Back in Kabul, Yasmina is running the coffee shop along with her husband Ahmet and his mother Halajan. She receives a visit from a young woman called Zara seeking her help as she’s being forced into a marriage to a ruthless, violent and corrupt man.

This is a wonderful story of strong friendships, courage and strength in a world where happily ever afters are not as simple as they seem.


Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

Agatha Christie is a well renowned crime writer. The Guinness Book of World Records lists Agatha Christie as the best-selling novelist of all time. Murder in the Orient Express is one of her many titles that the library has in the collection. I have chosen to read this particular novel as I really enjoyed Death on the Nile also by Agatha Christie. Murder in the Orient Express is the tenth book in the series, featuring Belgian detective Hercule Poirot.

Just after midnight, a snowdrift stopped the Orient Express in its tracks along the Istanbul to Paris Line. “Being a luxurious train it was surprisingly full for the time that year”. But by the morning there was one passenger fewer. A passenger lay dead in his compartment, stabbed a dozen times, his door locked from the inside. In true Poirot style he endeavours to uncover who killed the passenger and how.

The train passes through several different countries with international passengers. This form of transportation is compact so everyone is in a confined space. Thus, the murderer, victim, and investigator are all thrown together. No one can really skip town, which makes for a fun and suspenseful read. The victim is Ratchett, and in true Poirot style the detective discovers that this is an alias and his real name is Cassetti. Poirot then examines how any or all of the passengers are connected to the victim.

The train itself is split up into first and second classes. The separation makes us keenly aware of the passengers' social standing and place in the world – key factors to solving the mystery Poirot with assist from his old friend, M. Bouc, a manager of the Orient Express and the Greek Dr. Constantine on broad interview all the passengers and are still confused as to who the assailant could be.
“Murder on the Orient Express” is told in an omniscient third-person voice, and is fairly unobtrusive sticking to given facts. The narrator also gives us multiple points of view and switches between, for example, Poirot, and other characters, such as Mary Debenham. Poirot examines several clues found in the murdered man's compartment, a watch apparently broken at the time of the murder, a burnt note, a pipe cleaner, and a delicate ladies' handkerchief, which leads to further intrigue as the door is lock on the inside.

Of all the murder mysteries I have read by Agatha Christie, this has been by far the best. It keeps you guessing repeatedly as to who could be the murderer, and if the perpetrator still lurks on the train. You will be surely in for a shock as the book nears its end...


Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Perfect by Danny Parker and Freya Blackwood

Danny Parker says... Perfect is a story inspired by my daughter. One happy day I asked her what she wanted to do. Her reply was simple. ‘I just need a crayon and somewhere to scribble.’ And so began a little story about simple pleasures.

Perfect is like a warm blanket in the cool evening or the fresh fragrance of roses in a sunny room. It is just delightful. The children move through their day from the cosiness of the kitchen to the freedom of the outdoors. It’s full of action but not hurried. The children are curious and uninhibited. They are engaged in varied and meaningful activities according to their interests and desires: cooking, drawing, fixing, exploring, playing and sleeping. They are together but also they do their own thing. The supervision is provided by the cat. There is also the company of cows. It seems they have all they need in each other. The illustrations are fluid, easy and delicate.

Perfect is a lovely book with such a sense of freedom. It reflects the idyllic childhood we all need.


Monday, 19 September 2016

Could you survive the Call?

Imagine a world where you might disappear any minute, only to find yourself alone in a grey sickly land, with more horrors in it than you would ever wish to know about. And then you hear a horn and you know that whoever lives in this hell has got your scent and the hunt has already begun.

Every child in Ireland knows that the time will come for them to answer the Call, that horrifying moment when they are transported to the Grey Land, the land of the Sídhe. There they must run or fight to survive for 24 hours in faerie time, or three minutes and four seconds in human time. The Sidhe, although beautiful, are cruel and malicious creatures that enjoy using the full 24 hours to toy with their prey. Chasing and terrorising the teens until they can run no longer, they then capture and kill them. Or worse. Much worse.

Veterans of the Call have set up survival colleges throughout Ireland and from age 10 the children are taught the Sidhe language, combat skills, and knowledge they need to survive. The story revolves around a group of teens currently undertaking training skills at Boyle Survival College. In some regards, surviving training at the college is just as brutal as surviving the Call. Nessa, who is crippled by polio, is the most determined and focused of all the students at her school and will need to draw on all her strength to survive - the school, the bullies and finally the Call.

Well written and full of horror, action, and psychological torment, The Call gets under your skin and lingers long after finishing the book. I look forward to reading the (rumoured) sequel, The Cauldron.


Friday, 16 September 2016

Aeronaut's Windlass by Jim Butcher

Jim Butcher, the author best known for the Dresden files, begins a new series with this book.

The Aeronaut's Windlass is set in a fantastic world, some may say steampunk, but I would disagree. While there are steampunk elements I find the world building in this series goes beyond that and sets it apart.

The people that inhabit this world live in floating spires miles above a monster infested surface. The spires are each protected by an armada of floating ships powered by crystals that power them and give them lift. The spires are divided into hubs and most people will live and die in their hubs, never leaving or seeing the sky.

The story follows Captain Grimm who was drummed out of the armada for a crime he didn’t commit and now works as a privateer. When his ship is ambushed, it is heavily damaged. Grimm is given an opportunity to repair his ship but first he must take on a clandestine mission with some guards in training. What he finds out will be more disturbing than first thought.

The book is filled with really likable characters, with many laugh out loud moments. It is set in an interesting and unique world. Frustratingly, I would have liked to know about the world below so I am looking forward to the other books in the series to see where Jim Butcher takes it.


Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Man Booker Prize shortlist 2016

The prestigious Man Booker shortlist has been announced. Established in 1969 it is the leading literary award in the English speaking world, and has brought recognition, reward and readership to outstanding fiction for over four decades. The winner receives £50,000 as well as the £2,500 awarded to each of the shortlisted authors. Both the winner and the shortlisted authors are guaranteed a worldwide readership plus an increase in book sales.

Here is the full shortlist:

The Sellout Paul Beatty
Hot Milk Deborah Levy
His Bloody Project Graeme Macrae Burnet
Eileen Ottessa Moshfegh
All That Man Is David Szalay
Do Not Say We Have Nothing Madeleine Thien

Congratulations and good luck to all the shortlisted authors. The winner will be announced at a ceremony in London on October 25th so stay tuned.


Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Happy birthday Roald Dahl!

Did you know that today would have been Roald Dahl’s 100th birthday? Roald Dahl was one of the world's most popular children's authors, publishing 21 children's books including the much loved Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, The BFG and James and the Giant Peach. (My personal favourite is Danny the Champion of the World). Many of his books have been adapted into films.

Roald Dahl stories are filled with adventure and humor; some tend more towards slapstick humor, like The Twits, some are filled with suspense and adventure, like James and the Giant Peach, and some, like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, can be read for social commentary and satire as well. His stories are full of imaginative language and creative plot twists that hook children of all ages. Whilst best known for his children’s stories in which the good, young and kind always triumph over the old, greedy and the wicked, he also had a successful career writing macabre adult short stories, usually with a dark sense of humour and a surprise ending.

To celebrate his birthday why not re-read some of your favourite Roald Dahl stories and be transported back into his whimsical worlds. After all, in the words of the man himself, “A little nonsense now and then, is cherished by the wisest men”.


Monday, 12 September 2016

Join the online bookclub - Sept 2016

Greater Dandenong Libraries is taking part in Together We Read, an online ebook club facilitated by OverDrive. From the 7th-21st of September you can borrow the ebook Worlds Apart by Ber Carroll without any waitlists. All you need is your library card. Simply click on the cover image to download your eBook and join the conversation today!

Erin and Laura are cousins and best friends who share a love of languages and travel. Erin, a French teacher in Dublin, reaches crisis point and drops everything to move to Australia. In Sydney, not only does she land the perfect job, but she meets the perfect man. Finally, her life is falling into place. Except Sydney isn't home, and never can be. Back in Ireland, Laura is struggling. Her husband appears distant, her work life is spinning out of control and her daughter's strange new nanny is undermining her at every turn. She longs to travel in Erin's footsteps, to drop everything and run far away. But these are dangerous thoughts for a mother and wife. As Erin and Laura desperately try to find their place in the world, a shocking family secret comes to light, and nothing will ever be the same again.

For more information on Together We Read and to hear a podcast interview with Ber Carroll, click here.


Friday, 9 September 2016

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of very curious photographs. It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow-impossible though it seems-they may still be alive. A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows.

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children has recently been adapted for the big screen by English screenwriter Jane Goldman and directed by Tim Burton, who is known for his dark, gothic film style. Opening in Australia on the 29th September you still have time to read the novel before it hits the cinemas.


Wednesday, 7 September 2016

The Girl in the Spider's Web by David Lagercrantz

Stieg Larsson’s Salander-Blomkvist saga is continued but written by David Lagercrantz. This being part 4 of the Millennium series (Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest) posthumously written after Stieg Larsson died of a heart attack in 2004. Its publication was embroiled in controversy within the family but was eventually made possible after Stiegs estate allowed it.

The original title in Swedish: Det som inte dödar oss, literally "That Which Does Not Kill Us" in English, is still befitting the feeling and character of the first 3 Millennium books and the renaming to "the girl in the spider's web a further tribute to Stieg’s original titles. The main characters Lisbeth Salander "glitteringly angry genius punk hacker" and Mikael Blomkvist "an uncompromising crusading investigative journalist", join forces again in this adrenaline-charged, uniquely of-the-moment thriller along with old and new characters.

Mikael Blomkvist feels like he is stuck in a rut. In the year since Millennium magazine's scoop on "The Section" the publication has stagnated and is in danger of losing creative control to the whims of outside investors. Late one night, Blomkvist receives a phone call from Linus Brandell who relates Frans Balder's tumultuous history. Blomkvist is largely bored with the recitation until Brandell mentions that some of Balder's activities were aided by Lisbeth Salander, someone Blomkvist knows all too well.

Frans Balder, a computer scientist, returns to Sweden, abandoning a prestigious job with a Silicon Valley company, to take custody of his autistic son August. His life is in danger from a criminal organization who called "Spider Society," by ignoring their warnings he puts his life in danger, preferring to focus on his neglected son. August exhibits Savant syndrome, producing drawings of impressive veracity and showing a facility with numbers both become crucial to the story.

After Frans Balder murder, things get hectic. Blomkvist in desperate need of a scoop for Millennium, turns to Salander for help, she as usual has her own agenda. The secrets they are both chasing is at the center of a tangled web of spies, murder, cybercriminals, and governments around the world, and someone is prepared to kill to protect it . . .

Happily in The Girl in the Spider’s Web, Lagercrantz has written a compelling story with a great deal of style and with a deliciously complex plot.