We’ll be offline for a while…

You may have noticed you haven’t been hearing from us as often as you used to. This is because there are lots of changes happening at Shoalhaven Libraries, and we have decided to give The Readers’ Haven a little break.

We would like to thank our followers for their support, and we look forward to reconnecting in the new year.

Happy reading!

The Readers’ Advisory Team, Shoalhaven Libraries



International Women’s Day 2013 – books by and about inspirational women

EQUALScoverToday is International Women’s Day, when events are held all over the world to inspire women and celebrate their achievements. International Women’s Day began in the early 1900’s and since then the tone of the day has changed from a reminder of inequality to a celebration of the positives that have occurred in the last 100 years.

We can’t think of a better way to celebrate IWD here at Nowra Library than by sharing books by and about amazing and inspiring women. Making one complete list of these books would be impossible, so we’ve included a few.

Here they are.

Jezebel.com’s list of 75 Books Every Woman Should Read
The ‘Inspiring Women’ bookshelf on Goodreads
Amazon.com’s Best Books About Women By Women
Huffington Post’s Best Books for Women
The Guardian’s Are these the 50 most influential books by women? booklist

And some you’ll find here at Shoalhaven Libraries:

Girls with Grit: Memories of the Australian Women’s Land Army by Ethel Turner
Grand Obsession: Madame Curie and her Life by Rosalynd Pflaum
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
The Colour Purple by Alice Walker
Daughters of the Dreaming by Diane Bell
The Letters of Rachel Henning by Rachel Henning
The Diary of  a Young Girl by Anne Frank
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
Outback Women by Melissa McCord
Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali
The Suffragetee View by Antonia Raeburn
Falling Leaves: The Memoir of an Unwanted Chinese Daughter by  Adeline Yen Mah
A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf
The Hungry Ocean: A Swordboat Captain’s Journey by Linda Greenlaw

What are your most inspiring female reads? We’d love to hear.

Hilary Mantel’s Bring Up the Bodies takes out the Costa Book Award for 2012

ImageBring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel has been named 2012 Costa Book of the Year by a panel of nine judges who voted unanimously and in less than an hour. The win has solidified  Mantel’s place in literary history: Bring Up the Bodies is the first book to have been named both Costa Book of the Year and Man Booker Prize winner in the same year, while Mantel is also the only living author to have won the Man Booker Prize twice, for Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies. Yowzers!

ABC Open Writing Workshops @ Nowra Library – 500 Words

projectgroups_33085_1355109513_16x9_max_w220_h124ABC Open’s 500 Words Project is a monthly writing challenge that invites you to create a 500 word snapshot of your life and share it online.

In February, Nowra Library will be hosting two 500 Words writing workshops. Workshop participants will learn basic writing techniques in order to create a story in less than 500 words and publish their stories on the ABC Open website.

 There is a different theme for each month- February’s theme (and the focus of the workshops) is ‘A Scary Moment.’  

 The workshops will run on Friday 15th and Friday 22nd February at 10am at Nowra Library. 

 If you’re interested in writing memoir or in learning more about publishing online, these workshops could be for you. Contact Robin Sharpe on 4429 3710 or Sharpe@shoalhaven.nsw.gov.au to book your place.

3rd Wednesday Book Club- September 2012

The National Year of Reading theme for September was Grow. Here at Nowra Library we explored HSC English texts that are currently under study. We also read:

Faces in the Crowd by Valeria Luiselli
The True History of the Kelly Gang by Peter Carey
Disquiet by Julia Leigh
The Nightmare by Lars Kepler
Atlantis and Other Places by Harry Turtledove
The Night Strangers by Chris Bohjalian
Fishing for Tigers by Emily Maquire
Autumn Laing by Alex Miller
Hannah & Emile by Belinda Castles
The Figtree by Arnold Zable
The Interrogator by Glen Carr
All My Enemies by Barry Maitland
The Secret River by Kate Grenville
London by Edward Rutherford
The Scottish Prisoner by Diana Gabaldon
Landscape of Farewell by Alex Miller
Looking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta
The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
Mornings in Jenin by Susan Abulhawa
The Lost Girls of Rome by Donato Carrisi
Daughters of Mars by Thomas Keneally
Sibyl’s Cave by Catherine Padmore
What Makes Us Tick: The Ten Desires That Drive Us by Hugh Mackay
Next to Love by Ellen Feldman

Most Talked About Reads

Fishing for Tigers by Emily Maquire
‘Mischa Reese flees a destructive, violent marriage and goes to live in Vietnam, working as a translator in Hanoi. At 35 Mischa is cynical and although she has a group of friends, she feels alone and not involved with Vietnamese society. Then she meets Cal, the Vietnamese-Australian son of one of her friends who is visiting his father. Her relationship with Cal develops into a full blown affair that is both wonderful and destructive. There were also a lot of interesting stories about Vietnam and its culture and myths. ’ – Lynne

The Interrogator: A CIA Agent’s True Story by Glen Carle
‘A difficult book to read, because so much of it has been blacked out by the CIA! This book is about Carle’s role in the interrogation of CAPTUS, a man the CIA suspected of being involved with Osama Bin Laden. The book also gives insights into the way the CIA operates. A real eye opener!’ – Lynne 

The Night Strangers by Chris Bohjalian
‘Chip Linton, a former airline pilot, his wife and twin daughters relocate to an old Victorian house in New Hampshire after a tragic plane crash in which Chip had been the pilot. His PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), the old house and the
new community combine to create even more horrors. This is a ghost story with a difference. Chilling!’ – Elaine  

Author Love-In: Alex Miller

Alex Miller is twice winner of Australia’s premier literary prize, The Miles Franklin Literary Award, first in 1993 for The Ancestor Game and again in 2003 for Journey to the Stone Country. He is also an overall winner of the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, in 1993 for The Ancestor Game. His fifth novel, Conditions of Faith, won the Christina Stead Prize for Fiction in the 2001 New South Wales Premier’s Awards. In 2011 he won this award a second time with his most recent novel Lovesong. Lovesong also won the People’s Choice Award in the NSW Premier’s Awards, the Age Book of the Year Award and the Age Fiction Prize for 2011. In 2007 Landscape of Farewell was published to wide critical acclaim and in 2008 won the Chinese Annual Foreign Novels 21st Century Award for Best Novel and the Manning Clark Medal for an outstanding contribution to Australian cultural life. It was also short-listed for the Miles Franklin Award, the Christina Stead Prize for Fiction, the ALS Gold Medal and the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize. Alex is published internationally and widely in translation. Autumn Laing is his tenth novel. (Biography sourced from Allen & Unwin).

Springtime at Ulladulla Library

Welcome back to Ulladulla Library.  Mid -September is here already and its  time to think about what to do during creative October Spring days.NYRlogo

  We are celebrating 10 days of Artistic bliss in the Milton-Ulladulla region with Escape
ARTfest from 28th September to 7th October.


Ulladulla Library is linking the ARTfest to National Year of Reading by hosting a paper-based workshop, “Into the Woods” with artist Jan Kierzkowski.

The two hour session from 2-4pm, Saturday, October 6 will be an exploration of paper, colour and creative expression.2005_0401jannn0122

Participants will create a mixed-media Tree of Words wall hanging and a Wise owl notebook.  Cost is $8 per person and ages 6 years to Adult are welcome.

Bookings to Library on 44448820

Home Education week is October 22-26

The local region has an active group of Families involved in Home Education.

The President of Shoalhaven Home Education is a staff member so we will have a promotion of the new resources available through the Library catalogue.

We will have a get-together at Ulladulla Library at 11.00am on Tuesday, 23rd October so that those interested can see what is available to assist them in educating their children.

It will be an informal cuppa and chat, so come along and see what we have to help you.


E-books are the buzz at the Library! Recently Milton Library had the first E-book tutorial

with a small group of  enthusiastic novices. The success of the morning has prompted further  tutorials which will be held at Ulladulla Library on a Saturday afternoon in the near future…keep an eye on the blog…

We all love Lego! November will see the Brick Fest at Shoalhaven Anglican School where local children and families will have the chance to see the wonderful models that are often only built and displayed in retail stores in Capital cities for Christmas holidays.

Creators of the models  will be there to answer questions and a Lego building area will be set up for your own creations.

Check out the website at www.sas.nsw.edu.au for competition details for school age children.

10-4 on Saturday and Sunday 17-18 November; $10 per family $4 individuals

The Man Booker Prize 2012 Shortlist

The Man Booker Prize Shortlist for 2012 was released overnight.

Tan Twan Eng, The Garden of Evening Mists (Myrmidon Books)
Deborah Levy, Swimming Home (And Other Stories/Faber & Faber)
Hilary Mantel, Bring up the Bodies (Fourth Estate)
Alison Moore, The Lighthouse (Salt)
Will Self, Umbrella (Bloomsbury)
Jeet Thayil, Narcopolis (Faber & Faber)

The list was chosen by a panel of 6 judges chaired by Peter Stothard, editor of the Times Literary Supplement.  He commented: “After re-reading an extraordinary longlist of twelve, it was the pure power of prose that settled most debates. We loved the shock of language shown in so many different ways and were exhilarated by the vigour and vividly defined values in the six books that we chose – and in the visible confidence of the novel’s place in forming our words and ideas.” (www.themanbookerprize.com)

The winner of the 2012 prize will be announced on Tuesday 16 October. Each of the six shortlisted writers will be awarded £2,500 and a specially commissioned beautifully handbound edition of his/her book. The winner receives a further £50,000.

News about the prize can also be found on Twitter @ManBookerPrize


Remembering Maeve Binchy

I grew up with Maeve Binchy’s books. My Mum first handed me a battered copy of Circle of Friends when I was in my teens and in a way it was the perfect novel for me at that time in my life. Two best friends grow up together, leave their small village together, meet the world together. The novel was about friendship and unrequited love, first kisses, first dances, fashion issues and nuns- you know, the usual coming of age stuff. I have that old copy still, along with others- Firefly Summer and Light a Penny Candle, which, together with Circle of Friends, make my personal Maeve Binchy trifecta. I don’t read them so often nowadays, but I know they’re there on my bookshelf, patiently exuding their warm, comforting presence until I choose to re-read them once again.

There is an innocence, a safeness in, Maeve’s novels. Quaint villages, quirky characters, often set in times past when life was so much simpler and technology was still a thing of the future. I remember being really shocked and affronted when I read one of Maeve’s newer novels, Scarlet Feather, and saw that the characters were using mobile phones. Mobile phones? I ranted (silently) mobile phones in a Maeve Binchy novel? What is the world coming to?

Binchy’s novels often focus on the inhabitants of a small town or village, or a small group of acquaintances in a larger town who are connected to each other in some way, like Quentin’s, which is about a restaurant, and Evening Class which is -yep, you guessed it- about members of an evening class. They involve convoluted, character based plotlines in which characters meet and unwittingly affect each others’ lives, often through chance or coincidence. Friendship, fate, happiness, loneliness, love, family, healing, home- they are all covered.

Binchy’s works often end tidily, which is, I believe, one of their nicest qualities. When you pick up a Maeve Binchy novel, it is with the inherent understanding that no matter how bad things might get, no matter how sad or unlucky or down and out the characters might become, everything will work out in the end. You know that the knot in the plot will be neatly undone, that all the strings will be attached and that all the loose ends will be tied neatly in a (lilac -coloured) bow. And that’s OK; that’s why we read Maeve Binchy, after all- it’s not for the thrill of the thing, but for the comfort, the safety. Reading a Maeve Binchy book is like drinking a cup of tea with an old friend, or eating one of your nan’s homemade biscuits from the same battered biscuit tin she had when you were little, or wandering the cobbles in a tiny Irish town with a rain washed sun warm on your face.

Now that Maeve has gone it’s like a little piece of innocence, of goodness, of lilac-coloured comfort, has left the world.

Thank goodness we still have her books!

Síochán leat, Maeve Binchy, and thankyou