Monday, 21 August 2017

Winners of the CBCA Book of the Year awards

It's Children's Book Week and to kick it off the National Children's Book Council of Australia awards have been announced. The awards celebrate the best of Australian books for readers from early childhood up to young adult readers.
The winners are :

Picture Book of the year - Home in the rain Bob Graham
Book of the year : Younger readers - Rockhopping Trace Balla
Book of the year : Early Childhood - Go home cheeky animals Johanna Bell, illustrated by Dion Beasley
Book of the year : Older Readers - One would think the deep Clair Zorn

See all the nominees on our Children's Book Week page and more information on the CBCA Awards Website

Thursday, 17 August 2017

The science of Stupid : the specials - DVD

The science of stupid: the specials is not your typical National Geographic production nor is it textbook science education. The novel element of comedy makes this DVD a delight to watch over and over again.

The format of the show is simple yet effective. Firstly, the viewer is presented with cute and humorous video clips of misguided animals and people performing various actions. Then with the help of simple animation, the footage is dissected for basic science concepts. Through this clever way of delivering information, you will quickly learn that for every one of those actions (call them painful stunts), there will be an equal and opposite reaction (uncontrolled laughter) on your part.

Among other fascinating facts, you will also learn why the Christmas period is sometime called the silly season, and the importance of centre of gravity and base of support when performing movements.

The science of stupid is not just for science buffs. It's creative and energetic delivery of science concepts has mass appeal. It is a fine example of guilt free viewing that entertains and enlightens. I strongly recommend it to young and old, particularly those people that can not resist cute animal video clips. Not only will you have a good laugh but you will also be reminded of the fundamental part science plays in our daily lives.


Monday, 14 August 2017

Two Days, One night - DVD

I will start with one critic's review of this film which says:
“No sex, no chases, no cyberterrorism. Just people interacting” (Peter Travers, American film critic). I totally agree.

Two days, one night is an emotionally resonant drama about one family in Europe. Sandra is a young working class wife and mother of two beautiful children. She works at a small company. Feeling better after time off coping with depression, she planned to return to work but her boss told her that the job she has been doing is no longer required. If she leaves, her workmates will receive bonuses, but if she keeps her job they have to give them up. She has 2 days and 1 night (one weekend) to find her colleagues and explain to them her dreadful situation.

Do they want to save Sandra’s employment and help her family in a difficult time?

Two days, one night is a drama that so many young families are familiar with, not just in Europe but around the modern global world. But behind this human tale is actually one warm, beautiful, loving family. Sandra, played by Academy Award-winner, the brilliant Marion Cotillard (from La Vie en Rose), with her husband’s support found the way at the end to understand what is really most important in their lives. Despite everything, “nada” (read : hope) for better days will prevail.

This DVD is available in our World DVD and French DVD collections (In French, with English subtitles).

If you like to watch a movie about people who struggle but never give up, then this is one for you.

Friday, 11 August 2017

What's new in August

Get in early for these new releases from popular authors like Harlen Coben, Anna Jacobs, Andy McNab and Lisa Scottoline

Scarred woman Jussi Adler-Olsen
New England affair Steven Carroll
Don't let go Harlan Coben
Damaged Martina Cole
Highland sisters Anne Douglas
Lover, wartime notebooks, practicalities Marguerite Duras
Fresh complaint Jeffrey Eugenides
First person Richard Flanagan
Enemy of the state Vince Flynn
Pulse Felix Francis
Dangerous language Sulari Gentill
Rooster bar John Grisham
Munich Robert Harris
Shadow play Cynthia Harrod-Eagles
Rules of magic Alice Hoffman
Saffron lane Anna Jacobs
Sleeping beauties Stephen King
Any dream will do Debbie Macomber
After the fire Henning Mankell
Time of love and tartan Alexander McCall Smith

King Solomon's Curse Andy McDermott
Line of fire Andy McNabb
Need to know Fern Michaels
Sanctuary Judy Nunn
Red-haired woman Orhan Pamuk
Cull Tony Park
Haunted James Patterson
Twenty-one days Anne Perry
Playing to the gods Melanie Rawn
Exposed Lisa Scottoline
Tiger's prey Wilbur Smith
Other girl Erica Spindler
Fairytale Danielle Steel
A question of trust Penny Vincenzi
Last hours Minette Walters
Barely legal Stuart Woods
Destiny's conflict Janny Wurts

Simply click on your chosen title/s and you will be directed to The Vault, where you can place your holds. Want ideas for what to read next? Ask our friendly staff for a recommendation.

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Blue light Yokohama by Nicolas Obregon

Blue Light Yokohama by new author Nicolas Obregon starts with a bang - a disturbing and violent incident on a cable car in Japan. Fast forward 15 years and two detectives are hired to investigate the murder of a family in their own home. The killer left behind no traces, only a black sun symbol painted on the wall and evidence of some strange rituals. He apparently ate ice cream, surfed the net and left the house in broad daylight after the killings.
Detectives Kosuke Iwate, a troubled soul with a tragic past, and Noriko Sakai, a hardened, enigmatic young police officer come together to try and solve the mystery of the murders.
Iwate and Sakai travel around the country, following up different leads and the story goes back in time where we learn about Iwate's difficult childhood and troubled homelife with his wife. As another murder occurs, many threads are woven into the story, and the significance of the first incident in the cable car comes to light. Slowly the pieces of the story start to come together.
Taken off the case as corrupt cops frame an innocent man, Iwate risks his reputation and his life to pursue his own investigation as he believes he will find the killer, and needs to, as he knows who the next victim will be.

This is not the type of book I would normally read, but I enjoyed the Japanese setting of the book, and the pace was not too frenetic, enough to keep the story going, but not non stop action. It is a poetically written, intriguing story of the darker side of Tokyo society, cults, police corruption, loneliness in the big city and how the past shapes our lives. The title Blue Light Yokohama refers to a song, the lyrics of which are repeated throughout the story, a constant reminder of past events in Iwate's life.

Monday, 7 August 2017

U.S.A. adventure - Billy Connolly's Route 66

Billy Connolly is a Scottish stand-up comedian, actor, television presenter, musician, and author. Route 66 is about his journey on a three-wheeled motorbike along the historic United States road route. He also made this journey into a television series. These days Route 66 has been mostly replaced as the main travel route by newer interstate highways. However it is still popular with tourists.
I chose to read this book because I have enjoyed some of Connolly’s other work. I chose to review it because I enjoyed the book and thought it might appeal to people who enjoy travel writing.
One of the things I liked was Connolly’s enthusiasm. He admires positive achievements of human beings, such as great buildings, bridges and sculptures. He is also enthusiastic about people he meets along the way, such as a man who lives in an Amish community, and a Native American medicine man. Generally he finds that people are friendly and treat him well.
Another thing I liked was learning about the history and culture of the United States. Connolly mentions associations dedicated to preserving Route 66. He also talks about the civil war, racism, slavery, migration, prohibition, religion, engineering, Native Americans, Abraham Lincoln, railways, the wild west (which he first learnt about from cowboy movies), and music, including the song ‘Route 66’ by Bobby Troup which first inspired Connolly to take the trip.
Overall Route 66 is a good read for those who like armchair travel and who dream of going to the United States. Have you gone on a journey that you have enjoyed? Please send us your comments.

Friday, 4 August 2017

The Amazing True Story of How Babies Are Made by Fiona Katauskas

Do you have young children? Are they starting to ask you all sorts of things about the birds and the bees? Well if so, The Amazing True Story of How Babies Are Made is a wonderfully honest and factual story explaining how babies are made, how babies are born and what happens shortly after a baby is born.
The story begins by showing that all animals and humans make babies and explores the theories that children might hear about how babies are made. It then continues to explain how little boys and little girls may look the same but have very important biological differences. These biological differences are then described in further detail as the story moves from little boys and girls and their development as they grow into adults.

The story then informs the reader about the physical act of how two adults get together to make a baby and how that baby is created inside a woman’s body. A thoughtful inclusion in the story at this point is how some adults need a little help from a doctor to make a baby. In-vitro fertilisation (IVF) is explained in simple terms using helpful illustrations to provide clarification.
The following part of the story tells the reader that a baby takes a long time to grow big enough before it is ready to be born. The experience of labour and birth is expressed using accurate words and illustrations and also explains that babies can be delivered naturally or via caesarean.
What happens to a baby after birth and the care a mother can provide is the final part to the story which ends with reminding the reader how amazing human bodies are and the amazing things they can do.

Some illustrations in this book are very confronting and I would encourage any adult to read this book themselves before they decide to show this book to their child. All children reading this book will be educated with the facts in a considerate and sensitive manner. The Amazing True Story of How Babies Are Made is a wonderful tool for adults to explain the birds and the bees to their child with no birds and bees in sight!
Amanda C.

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Eating ourselves sick by Louise Stephen

There are an increasing amount of books and documentaries out there expanding on the dangers of our modern day diet, a diet that is largely influenced by government standards. These standards are supposedly built upon the knowledgeable guidance of scientific experts, whose primary concern is the health and wellbeing of society. Except it’s not that simple. Experts are often recipients of generous funding by agricultural and food industry groups. As is the case with so many things, money plays a role in the ‘expert’ dietary advice filtering down through the media to the people. So Australian author Louise Stephen posits in her book, Eating ourselves sick.

Drawing on research around the world, Louise takes an in-depth look at the history of government dietary advice, food pyramids and industry standards. It’s not a pretty picture, with the almighty dollar governing what we are advised to eat. Big pharmacological, medical and food industries all bring their weight to bear, resulting in a society plagued by diabetes, heart disease and obesity.
What this book is not is a diet book. Only in the final chapter does she touch on methods readers can employ to eat right and take control of their health. But if you are interested in finding out more about the behind-the-scenes machinations of the food industry, Eating ourselves sick is a good place to start.

Monday, 31 July 2017

Sun and moon sisters by Khoa Le

Sun and moon sisters is a beautiful illustrated picture book that tells the story about two sisters, Sun and Moon. These sisters run the sky but are jealous of the other’s ability and power. Until they decided to switch roles and problems started to appear! When Sun decided to shine all night, everyone is exhausted as they could not get any sleep. Plants started to die due to the heat, so everyone wanted Moon to come back. However, when Moon decided to appear throughout the day, everything was cold and dark, so everyone wanted Sun to come back.
From this experience, they learnt the lesson about the importance of harmony and that they are both equally important. After jealousy dims their affections, sisters learn to let love shine in this original tale that is redolent of folklore.
Sun and moon sisters is a sweet morality tale of cosmic misadventures and sibling rivalry.

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Wattle Creek by Fiona McCallum

Damien McAllister is a young farmer spending long, hard days on a farm he has no affection for. He is alone and lonely carrying on the family tradition and wondering why.
Damien hadn’t been himself for a while and had no one to talk to, but learned a long time ago to keep his problems to himself. Eventually he knew it was time to get some help.
Damien thought the doctor would just give him some tablets, but he was told to make an appointment to see a psychologist.
Jacqueline Havelock, a young psychologist has moved to Wattle Creek for twelve months - she has her own reasons for wanting to be away from it all in the country.
Jacqueline wants to help the community but soon realises that practicing in a small town can be challenging. Nothing is private and convincing patients like Damien to visit her without the whole town knowing is difficult. She develops a close friendship with the elderly widow Ethel who lives across the road. Ethel is willing to extend friendship and support to both Jacqueline and Damien as their relationship develops.
I did enjoy the story. Wattle Creek was a sweet book about two very different people and how they rely on each other in a small country town.

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Twig by Aura Parker

It’s Heidi the stick insect’s first day at bug school and like all stick insects she’s very good at blending in. So good that nobody notices her all day! A gentle little story about finding your voice and belonging, told through the diversity of bugs found at Bug School. Twig is a beautiful picture book, suitable for pre-school aged children (although older bug-loving children will enjoy it too).

There are a couple of great double page spreads of all the busy bugs in the school playing and learning, as well as the end pages where readers are encouraged to spot particular species. Bug-loving children will really enjoy spotting the different types of insects and talking about their antics, a great way to encourage those pre-reading skills.

Twig is on the 2017 Children’s Book Council of Australia notables list for Early Childhood. Check out the CBCA website for more great titles.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

The Revenant (DVD)

The Revenant is inspired by true events; it is an epic adventure of a man’s survival and the extraordinary power of the human spirit.
Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) is brutally attacked by a bear and left for dead by two members of his own hunting team. Glass then begins his journey through the wilderness. He performs self-surgery and goes through particularly hard times to try and get back to civilisation.
It's a revenge story more than anything. What it also highlights is human determination and the will to live. The things that happen to this man are truly horrific and sometimes difficult to watch. DiCaprio's performance is great, he deserved the Oscar and the supporting cast is great as well despite their small time on screen, they all deserve recognition for their performances. As far as performances and picture making goes, The Revenant is flawless.

At the end of the film, we are left not even knowing whether Glass, after demanding revenge on the man who killed his son, lives or dies himself.
It is a great film has the power to carry the unbelievable.
You don’t just watch The Revenant you experience it. You walk out of it exhausted, impressed with the overall quality of the filmmaking. It is such an enjoyable film, I encourage everyone to watch it.

Editor's note : If you are interested to read the book version of The Revenant that inspired the movie we have copies available.

Monday, 17 July 2017

Aquaman Rebirth (YA Comic)

With his strong finish to the New 52 series , Dan Abnett takes the reins once again to lead the Aquaman
line into the new Rebirth era. Affectionately known for his work with publishers 2000AD and Marvel, taking on titles such as Guardians of the Galaxy, Ghostbusters and even Doctor Who, Abnett has been given a chance to elaborate on his take on Aquaman in a solid run that delves into the core of Aquaman themes of kingship, trust and identity, and makes headway into changing perceptions of a character (and the underwater world in which he lives) that has been more often than not undervalued and misunderstood in the scope of DC Comics universe.

Abnett carries forward the previous New 52 question of whether Aquaman
, on his own, and as a somewhat ‘illegitimate’ heir to a throne, can unite two worlds (the surface and Atlantis) and avoid all-out war. This series explores the surface world’s distrust of the Atlanteans, and the uphill battle faced by Aquaman and his closest allies to bring about constructive dialogue between the surface and Atlantis in the face of perpetual threats from various rogue elements attempting to undermine this delicate mission. Aquaman is essentially caught between two worlds, literally! – being half human and half Atlantean – he struggles to maintain cohesion between his heritages, not only within his respective camps, but within himself as well. The series does a brilliant job of capturing the essence of what it is to struggle with conflict, and is at its most captivating when it pits Aquaman’s sense of responsibility and duty up against his morality and his heart.

Abnett’s contributions to Aquaman has been to help bring the character up many notches in the DC universe social ladder and push past the common misconception that he is simply a character that talks to sea creatures. While only being one of many of his abilities, Abnett also explores Aquaman’s relationship to the other superheroes in the DC, sowing seeds of distrust and suspicion over the worthiness of Aquaman to be a member of the famous and powerful Justice League - which ultimately sees him use his super strength to brawl with none other than Superman himself! The series is worth it just to see Aquaman hold his own against such a powerful adversary.

Friday, 14 July 2017

New forthcoming fiction for July

Get your Winter reading list sorted with these forthcoming titles from authors such as Robin Cook, Val McDermid, Christine Feehan and Danielle Steel

Liar in the Library Simon Brett
Seeing Red Sandra Brown
Urban enemies Jim Butcher
Successor's promiseTrudi Canavan
Seagull Ann Cleaves
He John Connolly
Charlatans Robin Cook
Romanov Ransom Clive Cussler
Dark legecy Christine Feehan

Column of fire Ken Follett
Y is for yesterday Sue Grafton
Habit of murder Susanna Gregory
Saboteur Andrew Gross
Did you see Melody? Sophie Hannah
Rose in winter Sarah Harrison
State secrets Quintin Jardine
The Break Marian Keyes
Legecy of spies John Le Carre
Christmas cakes and mistletoe nights Carole Matthews
Insidious intent Val McDermid

Red haired woman Orhan Pamuk
Glass houses Louise Penny
Secrets in death J. D. Robb
House of unexpected sisters Alexander McCall Smith
Less than a treason Dana Stabenow
Right time Danielle Steel

Simply click on your chosen title/s and you will be directed to The Vault, where you can place your holds. Want ideas for what to read next? Ask our friendly staff for a recommendation.

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Night school (or the 100 million dollar deal) by Lee Child

Firstly I must let you know that a library patron and I were talking about this book prior to my reading it, as we are both avid readers of Lee Child. This made me more interested to find out if their comments and conclusions about the book were correct. However, this conversation could also have influenced how I read and reviewed this title.
I found the title of this book Night School misleading. Most reviewers use lines like ‘Reacher is still in the army. In the morning they give him a medal, and in the afternoon they send him back to school’ to describe the story line. However the story is all about a secret $100 million deal, not about going to night school. Was this Night School rouse really necessary to hide that fact Reacher is going undercover on a secret mission? I’m not convinced. For me I would have preferred a title like "Secret Deal" or "$100 million deal"! What do you think ? I would like to hear your comments after reading this title.
Once Jack and the other operatives start their investigations, the plot slowly starts to emerge, and I may be too critical here, but I felt the pace of the investigation was slow and full of uncertainties and procrastinations, which for Jack Reacher books is unusual. Also the violence Reacher is capable of in other stories seemed to have a purpose whether for the forcing information or self-survival, in this story I did not get that impression.
Also a particular chapter which is based in Hamburg near the middle of the book, was way too graphic in its details and of a distasteful nature to me that I skipped the rest of the chapter.

Negative comments aside, as a story it is still be worth reading. The characters and scenery are believable and well written, and the plot with all the twists and turns will keep you guessing.
For me Night School is not up to Lee Child's usual brilliant standards, but you will need to read it and make up your own mind. Please let us know your thoughts via the comments section below.

Monday, 10 July 2017

Insecure : the complete first season (DVD)

Insecure is an incredible series by HBO - a story of middle working class, thirty-something Afro-Americans in Los Angeles attempting to put their lives in pespective.
Issa is a creative young woman who nonetheless finds herself creeping toward stagnation in her journey. She works for a non-profitable youth outreach organization (We Got Y'All) and she doesn’t like it. She lives with her friend, a smart figure, and her unemployed boyfriend who lucks motivation; and she is starting to feel nervous about her life. She also shows a bit of jealousy towards her best friend Pearl (Yvonne Orji) who is successful in her law career, but Pearl struggles in her personal life with her inability to hold onto a man or be a good keeper.
Insecure will entertain you; it portrays a specific view of young black women in the urban cities working hard to achieve their dreams. Insecure is funny and a perfect movie to watch particularly as the cold winter Melbourne weather looms on our door steps - who wouldn’t want to stay warm on the couch! It's a great series and will connect with a wide diverse audience.
John P.

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Coming up roses : the story of growing a business - Cath Kidston with Sue Chidler

“Flicking through a magazine one day, I saw a photo of a bathroom that was so simple and uncluttered. I loved the old rose wallpaper on the side of the bath, the glossy paint on the big armoire. It summed up all the ideas I’d had about using English heritage designs and giving them a twist. It was my eureka moment !

When Cath Kidston had her eureka moment on what her business was going to be about, a whole story unfolded revealing more ideas and opportunities for her business as well as teachings on how to run it and how to get back on track.
Cath is an entrepreneur who has been able to establish her business, Cath Kidston LTD, all over the UK and the world. Coming up roses : the story of growing a business tells the story of how she went from having one employee to becoming an internationally known brand. It reveals all the ups and downs she experienced with her business in the early days and the hard work she put in to make decisions and create this international brand.

I recommend Coming up roses as it has a very different design to your usual business book. While reading a great deal of useful information on how to grow a business, you also feel like you are in one of Cath’s cosy little shops browsing through beautiful modern vintage items and patterns.

Monday, 3 July 2017

Small things by Mel Tregonning

A 2017 CBCA picture book notable, Small things is a thought provoking look at mental illness through a young person’s eyes. It is a moving story with a tragic background. The illustrator Mel Tregonning struggled with depression and passed away before the book was finished. In loving memory, her family published the near complete book with Shaun Tan (fellow Aussie artist/writer) illustrating the final pages.

Small things explores a personal topic purely though incredible fine graphic drawings – there is no text. The emotive illustrations are intricate with characters expressions spine-tingling ‘real like’. This is a sophisticated read despite the ‘cartoon’ imagery as a young reader needs to interpret narrative through body language in pictures. This is a good exercise in imagination, body vocabulary, social sensitivity, and of course a thematic discussion of serious issues such as anxiety and depression.

Small things is not a feel good story nor does it have a conclusive ending, however the reader can deduce that reaching out when you feel isolated is the first step in fixing problems – you are not alone.
I would recommend this book for age group 10+.

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

XXX: Return of Xander Cage - DVD

Xander Cage (Vin Diesel) must race against time to recover a sinister weapon known as Pandora's Box, a device that controls every military satellite in the world. Recruiting a new group of thrill-seeking guys, Xander finds himself entangled in a deadly conspiracy that points to collusion at the highest levels of government.…

The cast is surprisingly really good and loaded with talent. Other than Vin Diesel, Donnie Yen is particularly charismatic. It is refreshing to see an international cast with actors of various backgrounds, speaking with different accents. The cast actually resembles the real world.

XXX: Return of Xander Cage is a jam-packed action movie that's filled with crazy stunts, extremely fun action sequences and hilarious one-liners.

Overall, XXX: Return of Xander Cage still manages to send pulses racing with Diesel in it and is a really entertaining action flick.

Monday, 26 June 2017

The eat real food cookbook - David Gillespie

David Gillespie is a lawyer and the best-selling author of the Sweet Poison books, a series about how we are all poisoning ourselves with sugar. He followed those up with Big Fat Lies and Toxic Oil both of which target the dangers of seed oils in our diet. Having upset the dietetics industry by writing about stuff in which he has no qualifications, in Eat real food David returns to the topic of human nutrition and delivers the ultimate practical guide to avoiding the two most toxic substances in the modern food supply - sugar and seed oil.
The Eat real food cookbook helps you to apply the knowledge with the least amount of effort as we are all busy people. I found the book to be the best I have seen on applying the information given. David has put the words and pictures together to show you the differences and why we should eat real food. There is a whole chapter on how to eat real food and most importantly, recipes to show you  how. The book also contains the practicalities of how to read labels and shopping lists for the recipes. I can highly recommend taking this book home.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Busting by Aaron Blabey

Busting is hilarious!
Lou’s problem is one that is sure to evoke empathy. Who hasn’t been ‘busting’ to go? The pictures are so expressive. Lou is ready to explode while every other character in the book is neutral or at the most, annoyed at Lou. Of course it’s the ‘loo’ that Lou needs, but there is a queue, it’s true. But phew, there is finally resolution with a great deal of entertaining rhyme and repetition.
Aaron Blabey is well worth checking out. His books are entertaining and he often explores meaningful themes and subject matters.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

All our wrong todays by Elan Mastai

Every so often I will go through the New Titles section on The Vault to see what new fiction titles are coming out. Sometimes nothing catches my eye, sometimes too many things catch my eye. Normally I just put the titles I want to read in "My Lists" ** to come back to later. But there was one particular line that caught my eye in the summary of All our wrong todays.

The book explores the utopian future we “should’ve had” with flying cars and high rises and technological advances, to the point where “punk rock never existed because it wasn’t necessary”. Until of course, it all goes wrong. This intrigued me and I thought I'd put this one on hold. When it arrived, it turned out it was a pretty bulky 400 page book I didn’t think I’d have time to read. But what do you know; you find time when the book is good.

The story is a “memoir” (as the main character, Tom, likes to reiterate), and it’s his story of how he ruined the techno-utopian society he grew up in by going back in time and changing everything. It explores the concept of time travel, and what the possible repercussions of interacting with the past might bring about. It starts off with Tom telling you his life story up until the point it all went wrong, where you get to know and kind of care for him, but also think he’s a spoilt egoist who just wallows in his own misery and can’t seem to see the bigger picture. You just really want him to get on with the story so you can find out how it is that he ruined this utopia and landed in our present, but in a good, anticipating kind of way.

Tom ends up having to face a very tough choice, choosing between his old broken family, and this new, better version, for the sake of the world he grew up in. It’s a very eloquently and smartly written book that’s highly enjoyable to read. I would definitely recommend All our wrong todays, and I already have.

**Editor's note : You can create lists of items to review at a later time - maybe you don't want to place an item on hold right now, but just keep it in mind for later. When you click on a title heading in The Vault, you will see a menu next to the item details "Select an action". From this drop down menu choose "add to my lists". Lists can be accessed from the My Lists link at the top of the screen, and saved when you log in with your Library card number and pin.

Friday, 16 June 2017

A message of hope

A street cat named Bob by James Bowen is the true story of a busker recovering from homelessness and drug addiction who adopts a homeless cat. I chose to read the book because it is about a cat and because it is a story about hope. I chose to review it because I enjoyed the book and thought that others might also, especially if they like cats. The book was recently made into a film which I also liked. (A street cat named Bob on DVD).

The main theme of the book is how James and Bob help each other. Bob appears to have no owner and needs veterinary treatment. Looking after Bob motivates James to gradually overcome his own difficulties, including drug addiction and getting by financially. Bob follows James when he goes busking, so James starts bringing Bob with him. Bob seems happy to do this, and James finds he is much more successful as a busker as people respond positively to Bob. In this way, Bob helps James re-connect to people and helps him bring his music to more people. This is a positive story which might inspire other people to overcome their own difficulties.

This book should appeal to people who like animals and to people who want to read a real life story about struggle and recovery. Have you had a pet that has helped you through a difficult period in your life? Send us your comments.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Ben Hur - DVD (2016)

Those familiar with the original movie of Ben Hur starring Charlton Heston, may be somewhat surprised – as I was – with the alternative adaptation of the Lew Wallace novel ‘Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ’. While the 1959 original film spanned almost 4 hours, this version of Ben Hur comes in at just shy of 2 hours, resulting in a faster-paced story that sometimes skims over events and moments that need greater exploration. Consequently, instances of emotive importance lost their impact due to the hurried pace of the film.
The portrayal of Jesus in both movies certainly indicates a shift in both political and religious thinking. While the Jesus of the 1959 version remained a peripheral yet supernatural persona, the 2016 version pursued a more political Che Guevara-esque guise, blaming the occupying Roman empire for the evil in their world. But there is merit to this new adaptation, which may appeal to younger viewers less inclined to persevere through the original. Having sat through the horrible travesty of a film that was Noah, Ben Hur was certainly a welcome improvement as modern Biblical films go, indicating a small ray of hope for Hollywood.

Friday, 9 June 2017

New fiction for June - Our bumper list part 2

Get in early to reserve these new titles coming into the library

Murder in July Barbara Hambly
The Susan effect Peter Hoeg
The management style of the supreme beings Tom Holt
Darien : empire of salt C.F. Iggulden
Pussy Howard Jaconson
Dragonsworn Sherrilyn Kenyon
Lockdown Laurie R. King
The silent corner Dean Koontz
Light touch Stephen Leather
Hiding in plain sight Susan Lewis
When the music stopped Beryl Matthews

The trip of a lifetime Monica McInerney
Midnight jewel Richelle Mead
The last secret of the Deverills Santa Montefiore
Refuge Dina Nayeri
Undaunted Diana Palmer
Store James Patterson
Fifty fifty James Patterson & Candice Fox
Woman in the wood Lesley Pearse
The painted queen Elizabeth Peters
The right side Spencer Quinn
Two nights Kathy Reichs
Sleeping in the ground Peter Robinson
The secrets she keeps Michael Robotham

Three minutes Anders Roslund
House of spies Daniel Silva
The good daughter Karin Slaughter
The Duchess Danielle Steel
Night of the lightbringer Peter Tremayne
Everybody's son Thrity Umrigar
Forever and a death Donald E. Westlake
Indecent exposure Stuart Woods

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? Ask our friendly staff for a recommendation.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

New Fiction for June - Our bumper list part 1

So many new titles this month we had to split the list in two !
Get in first for these new release works from popular authors such as Janet Evanovich, Kate Forsyth and Philippa Gregory.

An uncommon woman Nicole Alexander
Anna Niccolo Ammaniti
Last kid left Rosecrans Baldwin
Walk Peter Barry
Common people Tony Birch
Paradise Valley C. J. Box
Blotto, Twinks and the stars of the silver screen Simon Brett
The black elfstone Terry Brooks
The late show Michael Connelly
Just a little Christmas Janet Dailey
Her Garry Disher
Mansions of murder Paul Doherty
Whipbird Robert Drewe
A high mortality of doves Kate Ellis
Danderous minds Janet Evanovich
Deadfall Linda Fairstein
Switch Joseph Finder
Beauty in thorns Kate Forsyth
Seven stones to stand or fall Diana Gabaldon
Unsub Meg Gardiner
Crossing the lines Sulari Gentill
I know a secret Tess Gerritsen
Rooted in evil Ann Granger
Sunshine sisters Jane Green
The last tudor Philippa Gregory

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? Ask our friendly staff for a recommendation.

Thursday, 1 June 2017

The ties that bind by Lexi Landsman

From the outset in The ties that bind, the reader is told of two tragedies occurring in both Country Victoria and in Miami, United States. A fictional Victorian town in the Yarra Ranges, the home of Jade Taylor’s family olive grove property, is impacted by devastating bushfires, in the image of the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires. At the same time Courtney Hamilton and her husband David’s life in Miami is turned upside down when their 10 year old son Matthew is diagnosed with leukaemia. He needs a bone-marrow transplant but with Courtney being adopted, the chances of a family match are next to non-existent. It is no secret that the two stories are linked – it is just a matter of when and how the two will merge.
The preamble on the book cover states ‘A mother would do anything for her child – wouldn’t she?’ the full meaning of which does not become clear until later in the book.
Issues of love, loyalty and the parent-child bond arise and the theme of grief through loss underlies the two concurrent storylines.
I found that I was torn between sympathy and outwardly condemning the choices made by Jade’s mother, Asha with a final realisation that an obsession can take on a life of its own. 
On the whole, The ties that bind,was an engaging and thoughtful read and I look forward to more titles from this new Australian author.
Lauren B

Monday, 29 May 2017

Bakir and Bi written by Jillian Boyd, illustrated by Tori-Jay Mordey

Bakir and Bi is a captivating story set on the islands of Torres Strait “long before the tall ships brought strangers”. It is set on an island called Egur, known by surrounding islands for its “beauty and abundance”. The story is centred around a family from the Kedawer tribe of Egur. Names are important to the people of the Kadawer tribe, as they believe that each person will grow to become the name that they are given.
Bakir, meaning ‘rock’, was a father and skilled hunter who provided for his family. Mar, meaning ‘storm bird’, is the ‘ama’, mother, of the family who protected her children in times of need. Tam, meaning ‘branch’, is the son of Bakir and his parents wanted him to grow up to become like his father. Lusik, means ‘to blossom’, for her parents wanted her to grow into a “beautiful woman in heart and in appearance”.

The story revolves around Bakir’s family as they lived peacefully in their tribe until drought hit the beautiful island, turning brothers against brothers. In this time of famine, Bakir discovers a young gawei, a baby pelican, whom he saw as his family’s totem. He named this gawei Bi, meaning ‘light’. He took Bi home to his family and explained to them that the gawei is sacred to his family as the dolphins is sacred to their ama. They hid Bi away from the hungry tribe members as the gawei is known for its beautiful feathers that adorn the chief’s robes and the beak is used as weapons. It was until one day that Bakir knew that they could not hide Bi any further and he went to set him free. Bakir never returned to see his family again.

Remembering her promise to her husband, Mar took her children and packed their belongings on a canoe as they sailed away from Egur, their once beautiful home in search of a better place to live. This journey was not an easy one, as the sea is as temperamental as the face of a child, calm one moment but unpredictable the next. But they find guidance in Bi who directed their canoe to the direction that would bring them hope, and in the dolphins that brought Lusik back to them when they thought that they had lost her to the sea. And finally, they arrive at an island that was flourishing with life and they named the lagoon on the island Iti, meaning ‘to take out many things’, as they are able to take out many things from the lagoon.

Bakir and Bi is written in a “gentle and hypnotic” tone that makes it enthralling to its readers. The story, even though is in picture book format, is meant for both younger and older readers. The author has artistically integrated the traditional Torres Strait Island language Meriam Mir from the Mer Island, and the customs and beliefs into the story so that its readers can ‘see’ how these customs and beliefs play a part in everyday life.
My Van

Friday, 26 May 2017

Winners of the Australian Book Industry Awards 2017 are ...

The Australian Book Industry Awards (ABIA) were announced last night. The Gold ABIA for Book of the Year and ABIA Fiction Book of the Year went to Jane Harper for her internationally acclaimed novel, The Dry a haunting crime novel set in a drought-stricken rural Australia. Jane writes of her novel -

"I feel The Dry is a mystery at its heart but, as I was writing, it became a book about many other things as well – community pressures, what happens when the bonds of loyalty are stretched too far, and how difficult it is for anyone to ever really shed their past".

Jimmy Barnes won ABIA Biography of the Year for his revealing memoir, Working Class Boy. Barnes gave an emotional first reading of his new memoir, Working Class Man, to be released in October. (See our review of Working Class Boy).

Best selling book The 78 Storey Treehouse (Pan Macmillan Australia and Bolinda Audio) by popular children's author Andy Griffiths and illustrator Terry Denton took out the inaugural ABIA Audiobook of the Year and ABIA Book of the Year for Younger Children.

Other winners were:

Book of the Year for Older Children (age range 8 to 14 years) was
The Bone Sparrow by Zana Fraillon.

General Non-fiction Book of the Year
The Road to Ruin : How Tony Abbott and Peta Credlin Destroyed Their Own Government by Niki Savva.

Matt Richell Award for New Writer of the Year presented by Simpsons Solicitors
Fight like a girl by Clementine Ford.

Congratualtions to all the winners. Reserve your copies of these award winning books by clicking on the title links, or search via our catalogue The Vault