Read Watch Play 2013 – April is Crime Reads

This month’s Read Watch Play theme is Crime Reads. Crime fiction is a hugely popular genre here at Shoalhaven Libraries, as well as in other libraries, book stores and lounge rooms all over the world. There are just so many good crime reads to choose from!

This month, you might choose to read something from the Detective fiction sub-genre, which focuses on a detective (professional or amateur) who investigates a crime, often murder. The 1920’s and 1930’s were the Golden Age of detective fiction, when authors like Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers, Ngaio Marsh and Margery Allingham were writing. In Golden Age detective stories, an outsider — sometimes a salaried investigator or a police officer, but often a gifted amateur — investigates a murder committed in a closed environment by one of a limited number of suspects. These days, authors such as Lee Child, Raymond Chandler, P.D James, James Patterson, Ian Rankin and Michael Connolly have taken centre stage.

You might enjoy Police Procedural novels, which portray the activities of the police force – including forensics- as they investigate crime. Police fiction is different to the ‘whodunnit,’ as the identity of the perpetrator is often known early in the story, and the story is often focused more on the techniques and circumstances that lead to their arrest. Popular police procedural authors at Shoalhaven Libraries include Tess Gerritsen, JD Robb, Kathy Reichs, Patricia Cornwall, Mo Hayder and R.D Wingfield.

Agatha Christie (1890- 1976) crime writer and best-selling novelist of all time.

Agatha Christie (1890- 1976) crime writer and best-selling novelist of all time.

Or Cozy Mysteries-  also referred to simply as “cozies,” might be your cup of tea. This subgenre of crime fiction features crime and detection occurring in small communities with a limited amount of sex, swearing  and violence. The name ‘Cozy Mystery’ was first used in the late 20th century when an attempt was made by various writers to resurrect the Golden Age of detective fiction. The detectives in these stories are almost always amateurs with a close knowledge of the murder-rocked community and its citizens. There is minimal violence and the murderer is seldom a psychopath or a serial killer, but rather a member of the community with motives such as jealousy or revenge. Our library borrowers like to cozy up with Alexander McCall Smith, Donald Bain, Rita Mae Brown and Laura Levine. Interestingly, Agatha Christie is still popular with our borrowers, too!

Psychological Suspense is another popular Crime sub-genre here at Shoalhaven Libraries. Also related to the thriller genre and detective fiction sub-genre, psychological thrillers are mental rather than physical in conflict- that is, the focus is on the process of the minds of the characters, rather than on the plot. Popular authors in this genre include Orson Scott Card, Nicci French, Steig Larsson, Val McDermid and Michael Robotham.

This April, read a work of crime fiction. There’s so much to choose from, and many different sub-genres to explore. There is, quite simply, a dead body for every reader.

And, after you’ve finished reading, why not join the live Twitter discussion on Tuesday April 30 at 8pm AEST.

Use the tags #crimeread and #rwpchat as you discuss the reading, watching playing that is your experience of crimeread, so others can join in the conversation too.

 
http://www.readwatchplay.wordpress.com

3rd Wednesday Book Club March 2013 – Ecoreads/Dystopian Fiction (and zombies!)

We had loads of fun at our March Book Club meeting (well, I did, anyway!) Lots of great book discussion and plenty of enthusiasm and new reading discoveries made for a great meeting. The group’s love affair with American author Paul Auster continues, with more of our members joining this author love-in every month. Check out the list of March reads and you’ll see what I mean…..

March Reads @ 3rd Wednesday Book Club

Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel
Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
Solar by Ian McEwan
The People Smuggler by Robin de Crespigny
The Book of Illusions by Paul Auster
Tiger’s Eye by Ingo Clendinnen
The Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng
55 Scotland Street Series by Alexander McCall Smith
Storm Warning by Billy Graham
The Circle Trilogy (Morrigan’s Cross, Dance of the Gods & Valley of Silence) by Nora Roberts
Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker
Invisible by Paul Auster
Shoes of the Fishermen by Morris West
The Stepford Wives by Ira Levin
Timbuktoo by Paul Auster
The Red Notebook by Paul Auster
Leviathan by Paul Auster
Moon Palace by Paul Auster
Music of Chance by Paul Auster
The Hunger Games Trilogy (The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, Mockingjay) by Suzanne Collins
The Tom Hanks Enigma (bio) by David Gardner
Moon Palace by Paul Auster
The Dark Side of Genius: the Life of Alfred Hitchcock by Donald Spoto
Travels in the Scriptorium by Paul Auster
Listening to Country by Ross Moriarty
A Storm of Swords (A Song of Ice and Fire Part 3) by George R.R Martin
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
In the Country of Last Things by Paul Auster

See? : )

Most Talked About Reads

marchbookclubtitles

The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker

“It still amazes me how little we really knew. . . . Maybe everything that happened to me and my family had nothing at all to do with the slowing. It’s possible, I guess. But I doubt it. I doubt it very much.”

Luminous, haunting, unforgettable, The Age of Miracles is a stunning fiction debut by a superb new writer, a story about coming of age during extraordinary times, about people going on with their lives in an era of profound uncertainty.

On a seemingly ordinary Saturday in a California suburb, 11-year-old Julia and her family awake to discover, along with the rest of the world, that the rotation of the earth has suddenly begun to slow. The days and nights grow longer and longer, gravity is affected, the environment is thrown into disarray. Yet as she struggles to navigate an ever-shifting landscape, Julia is also coping with the normal disasters of everyday life–the fissures in her parents’ marriage, the loss of old friends, the hopeful anguish of first love, the bizarre behavior of her grandfather who, convinced of a government conspiracy, spends his days obsessively cataloging his possessions. As Julia adjusts to the new normal, the slowing inexorably continues.

With spare, graceful prose and the emotional wisdom of a born storyteller, Karen Thompson Walker has created a singular narrator in Julia, a resilient and insightful young girl, and a moving portrait of family life set against the backdrop of an utterly altered world.’ (from Goodreads.com)

Invisible by Paul Auster

‘“One of America’s greatest novelists” dazzlingly reinvents the coming-of-age story in his most passionate and surprising book to date.

Sinuously constructed in four interlocking parts, Paul Auster’s fifteenth novel opens in New York City in the spring of 1967, when twenty-year-old Adam Walker, an aspiring poet and student at Columbia University, meets the enigmatic Frenchman Rudolf Born and his silent and seductive girfriend, Margot. Before long, Walker finds himself caught in a perverse triangle that leads to a sudden, shocking act of violence that will alter the course of his life.

Three different narrators tell the story of Invisible, a novel that travels in time from 1967 to 2007 and moves from Morningside Heights, to the Left Bank of Paris, to a remote island in the Caribbean. It is a book of youthful rage, unbridled sexual hunger, and a relentless quest for justice. With uncompromising insight, Auster takes us into the shadowy borderland between truth and memory, between authorship and identity, to produce a work of unforgettable power that confirms his reputation as “one of America’s most spectacularly inventive writers.”’ (from Goodreads.com)

Listening to Country by Ros Moriarty

“From a trip made by the author to the Australian desert to spend time learning the secrets and hearing the stories of her husband’s family’s matriarchs, comes a warm, intimate account providing rare insight into the spiritual and emotional world of Aboriginal women.

Ros Moriarty is a white woman married to an Aboriginal man. Over the course of many visits to her husband’s family, she was fascinated to discover that the older tribal women of his family had a deep sense of happiness and purpose that transcended the abject material poverty, illness, and increasing violence of their community—a happiness that she feels is related to an essential “warmth of heart” that these women say has gone missing in today’s world. In May 2006, she had the chance to spend time in the Tanami Desert in north central Australia with 200 Aboriginal women, performing women’s Law ceremonies. Here is the story of that trip and her friendship with these women, as she tells their stories and passes on their wisdom and understanding. Offering a privileged window into the spiritual and emotional world of Aboriginal women, this book is a moving story of common human experience, the getting and passing on of wisdom, and the deep friendship and bonds between women. It carries a moving and profound sense of optimism in the fundamental humanity we all share.” (from Goodreads.com)

Oryx & Crake by Margaret Atwood

“I tried to read this for our March Dystopian read i.e. “The end of our world as we know it.” At first I quite enjoyed the story, but gradually the horror of what I was reading began to get to me.  I realized it was because the hideous things happening in the novel, even though exaggerated, could very well happen, actually aspects of it were happening now – uncontrolled environmental damage; further class division based solely on income;  science gone mad (that is, experimental science, for example, Pigoons now roamed the landscape freely and were huge and dangerous.  And where did they come from?  Originally pigs were used to grow parts for humans!)  The total insensitivity of people to other people and animals’ suffering; the growth of any type of pornography and “snuff” on the web; the development of a race of people of all colours who had no education, hope etc., all this as a result of a mischievous experiment by a young student.  I just couldn’t finish it and had a few nightmares too!!” – Lyn

Shoes of the Fishermen (The Vatican Trilogy #1) by Morris West

“The pope has died, and the corridors of the Vatican hum with intrigue as cardinals from all over the world gather to choose his successor. Suddenly, the election is concluded – with a surprise result. The new pope is the youngest cardinal of all – and a Russian. Shoes of the Fisherman slowly unravels the heartwarming and profound story of Kiril Lakota, a cardinal who reluctantly steps out from behind the Iron Curtain to lead the Catholic Church and to grapple with the many issues facing the contemporary world.(from Goodreads.com)

The Dark Side of Genius – The Life of Alfred Hitchcock by Donald Spoto

As the title suggests this is an in-depth bio of Hitchcock.  Nothing is left untold.  Within the 555 pages are also comments, reviews and a history of the film industry.

Hitchcock may have been a genius of film, but beneath that he was a sadistic, self-centred, emotionally crippled man.  This begs the question:  “are geniuses deranged and flawed people?”  This is a tough and long-winded read, but it was most enjoyable from the history of film perspective.  FYI the most engrossing and MUST READ part of the book is Chapter 13.  To give you an idea of Hitch’s mindset, 2 of his favourite things were Edvard Munch’s painting “The Scream” and Hieronymous Bosch’s painting “The Garden of Earthly Delights”.  Another bit of interesting trivia is the fact that Hitch also had one of Walter Sickert’s artworks in his collection.” – Elaine

And lastly…

I think some of our book club members thought I was joking when I talked about the newest hype in the speculative fiction world, Post Apocalyptic Zombie Romance (or, zom rom com). Well, I wasn’t. Click here to read a Goodreads.com list of books called ‘Zombie Romance’  (including such titles as ‘Hungry For You,’ ‘Alice in Zombieland’ and ‘Confessions of a Zombie Lover.’) Also keep an eye out for Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion (you can reserve your copy here), which, as well as being number one on the list, has been made into a film due for release here in Australia this week. Looks like fun! – Kelly

The 2012 Aurealis Awards Finalists Have Been Announced! AND one of them is visiting us next month!

large_BRTD_MAY_wild_girl_coverYay!!!! The 2012 Aurealis Awards finalists have been announced! These awards, which were established in 1995 by the publishers of Aurealis magazine and are the premier awards for Australian speculative fiction, aim to highlight the achievements of Australian science fiction, fantasy and horror writers.

2012 saw almost 750 entries across 13 categories, which include Science Fiction, Fantasy, Youth, Horror, Children’s Fiction. Each category is divided further into novels and short fiction. Awards are also given to the best anthology and collection, and best illustrated work or graphic novel.  (www.aurealisawards.com). 

There are some amazing titles in the shortlist, and I am so excited to see that it includes two of my favourite reads for 2013 – Sea Hearts by Margo Lanagan and Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth. I braved an early morning train trip to Sydney to attend the 2013 NSW Writers’ Centre’s Speculative Fiction Festival last month and hear several authors of the who feature on this list- Kate Forsyth (who coordinated the festival), Juliet Marillier, Garth Nix, Kirstyn McDermott, John Flanagan and Jason Nahrung- talk about how they do their thing. Was that train trip worth it? In a word, YES!

forsyth-kateAnd while we’re on the topic… we’re lucky enough to have Kate Forsyth herself visiting Nowra Library next month. Our Morning Tea with Kate Forsyth will take place on May 1st here at Nowra Library and is sure to be a fascinating session with one of Australia’s top fantasy authors. Copies of Kate’s books, including her newest work, The Wild Girl, will be available for purchase. You can contact the library on 4429 3710 or  Sharpe@shoalhaven.nsw.gov.au to book your place. – Kelly.

The 2012  Aurealis Awards Finalists

FANTASY NOVEL

Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth

Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff

Sea Hearts by Margo Lanagan

Flame of Sevenwaters by Juliet Marillier

Winter Be My Shield by Jo Spurrier

FANTASY SHORT STORY

“Sanaa’s Army” by Joanne Anderton in Bloodstones

“The Stone Witch” by Isobelle Carmody in Under My Hat

“First They Came” by Deborah Kalin in Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine 55

“Bajazzle” by Margo Lanagan in Cracklescape

“The Isles of the Sun” by Margo Lanagan in Cracklescape

SCIENCE FICTION NOVEL

Suited by Jo Anderton

The Last City by Nina D’Aleo

And All The Stars by Andrea K Host

The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf by Ambelin Kwaymullina

Confusion of Princes by Garth Nix

The Rook by Daniel O’Malley

SCIENCE FICTION SHORT STORY

“Visitors” by James Bradley in Review of Australian Fiction

“Significant Dust” by Margo Lanagan in Cracklescape

“Beyond Winter’s Shadow” by Greg Mellor in Wild Chrome

“The Trouble with Memes” by Greg Mellor in WildChrome

“The Lighthouse Keepers’ Club” by Kaaron Warren in Exotic Gothic 4

HORROR NOVEL

Bloody Waters by Jason Franks

Perfections by Kirstyn McDermott

Blood and Dust by Jason Nahrung

Salvage by Jason Nahrung

HORROR SHORT STORY

“Sanaa’s Army” by Joanne Anderton in Bloodstones

“Elyora” by Jodi Cleghorn in RabbitHole Special Issue Review of Australian Fiction

“To Wish Upon a Clockwork Heart” by Felicity Dowker in Bread and Circuses

“Escena de un Asesinato” by Robert Hood in Exotic Gothic 4

“Sky” by Kaaron Warren in Through Splintered Walls

YOUNG ADULT NOVEL

Dead, Actually by Kaz Delaney

And All The Stars by Andrea K. Host

The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf by Ambelin Kwaymullina

Sea Hearts by Margo Lanagan

Into That Forest by Louis Nowra

YOUNG ADULT SHORT STORY

“Stilled Lifes x 11” by Justin D’Ath in Trust Me Too

“The Wisdom of the Ants” by Thoraiya Dyer in Clarkesworld

“Rats” by Jack Heath in Trust Me Too

“The Statues of Melbourne” by Jack Nicholls in Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine 56

“The Worry Man” by Adrienne Tam

CHILDREN’S FICTION (told primarily through words)

Brotherband: The Hunters by John Flanagan

Princess Betony and the Unicorn by Pamela Freeman

The Silver Door by Emily Rodda

Irina the Wolf Queen by Leah Swann

CHILDREN’S FICTION (told primarily through pictures)

Little Elephants by Graeme Base

The Boy Who Grew Into a Tree by Gary Crew and Ross Watkins (illustrator)

In the Beech Forest by Gary Crew and Den Scheer (illustrator)

Inside the World of Tom Roberts by Mark Wilson

ILLUSTRATED BOOK / GRAPHIC NOVEL

Blue by Pat Grant

It Shines and Shakes and Laughs by Tim Molloy

Changing Ways #2 by Justin Randall

ANTHOLOGY

The Year’s Best Australian Fantasy and Horror 2011 edited by Liz Grzyb and Talie Helene

Bloodstones edited by Amanda Pillar

The Best Science Fiction & Fantasy of the Year Volume 6 edited by Jonathan Strahan

Under My Hat edited by Jonathan Strahan

Edge of Infinity edited by Jonathan Strahan

COLLECTION

That Book Your Mad Ancestor Wrote by K. J. Bishop

Metro Winds by Isobelle Carmody

Midnight and Moonshine by Lisa L. Hannett & Angela Slatter

Living With the Dead by Martin Livings

Through Splintered Walls by Kaaron Warren

The winners of the 2012 Aurealis Awards and the Peter McNamara Convenors Award will be revealed at a gala ceremony on the evening of Saturday 18 May 2013 at The Independent Theatre in North Sydney.