3rd Wednesday Book Club – June 2013 – Faraway

The Read, Watch, Play theme for June was Faraway. Here at Nowra Library we  chose to focus on travel fiction  because, we figure, books take you places. There’s nothing like armchair travel- curling up with an amazing book filled with the sights, scents and shades of a far away  place or time. Happy travels!

June Reads     

Blue Highways : A Journey into America by William Least Heat-Moon
Slicing the Silence : Voyaging to Antarctica  by Tom Griffiths
Questions of Travel  by Michelle de Kretser.  (Miles Franklin winner 2013)
The Library of Unrequited Love by Sophie Divry
The Railwayman’s Wife by Ashley Hay
The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
The Perfume Collector by Kathleen Tessaro
Mason & Dixon by Thomas Pynchon
Life of Pi :a novel  by Yann Martel
Ox Travels : Meetings with Remarkable Travel Writers edited by Mark Ellingham et al
I Hear the Sirens in the Street  by Adrian McKinty
Fishing for Tigers :a novel by Emily Maguire
Benediction by Kent Haruf.
Journey of a Thousand Miles : My Story by Lang Lang with David Ritz.
Kennedy’s Brain by Henning Mankell
Empire Day by Diane Armstrong
The Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer
Australian Science Magazine
Kennedy’s Brain by Henning Mankel
Los Angeles Stories by Ry Cooder
Sweeney Todd:  The Real Story of the Demon Barber of Fleet Street by Peter Haining
Wild Nights by Joyce Carol Oates
A Plea for Eros by Siri Hustvedt
Entangled by Graham Hancock
The Oldest Song in the World by Sue Woolfe
For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway
Perfume by Patrick Susskind
A Feast for Crows by George R.R Martin
Map of the Sky by Felix J. Palma

Most Talked About Reads

June2013

Blue Highways : A Journey into America by William Least Heat-Moon

“Hailed as a masterpiece of American travel writing, Blue Highways is an unforgettable journey along our nation’s backroads. William Least Heat-Moon set out with little more than the need to put home behind him and a sense of curiosity about “those little towns that get on the map-if they get on at all-only because some cartographer has a blank space to fill: Remote, Oregon; Simplicity, Virginia; New Freedom, Pennsylvania; New Hope, Tennessee; Why, Arizona; Whynot, Mississippi. His adventures, his discoveries, and his recollections of the extraordinary people he encountered along the way amount to a revelation of the true American experience.” (Goodreads.com)
‘This book is like a warm bath. You feel like you’re sitting in the passenger side of the author’s van as he drives along the highway.’- Michael, 3rd Wednesday Book Club.

Click here to reserve a copy of Blue Highways at Shoalhaven Libraries today.


The Railwayman’s Wife by Ashley Hay

“In a small town on the land’s edge, in the strange space at a war’s end, a widow, a poet and a doctor each try to find their own peace, and their own new story.

In Thirroul, in 1948, people chase their dreams through the books in the railway’s library. Anikka Lachlan searches for solace after her life is destroyed by a single random act. Roy McKinnon, who found poetry in the mess of war, has lost his words and his hope. Frank McKinnon is trapped by the guilt of those his treatment and care failed on their first day of freedom. All three struggle with the same question: how now to be alive.

Written in clear, shining prose and with an eloquent understanding of the human heart, The Railwayman’s Wife explores the power of beginnings and endings, and how hard it can be sometimes to tell them apart. It’s a story of life, loss and what comes after; of connection and separation, longing and acceptance. Most of all, it celebrates love in all its forms, and the beauty of discovering that loving someone can be as extraordinary as being loved yourself.

A story that will break your heart with hope.” (Goodreads.com)

Click here to reserve a copy of The Railwayman’s Wife at Shoalhaven Libraries today.

Sweeney Todd: The Real Story of the Demon Barber of Fleet Street by Peter Haining 

“Sweeney Todd, the notorious Demon Barber, has been called the greatest mass murderer in English history. With the aid of an ingenious revolving chair and a cut-throat razor, he is said to have robbed and butchered more than 160 victims in his barber shop in Fleet Street, before taking the remains to nearby Bell Yard where his accomplice, Margery Lovett, cooked their flesh for her meat pies. Despite being as infamous in London’s history as Jack the Ripper, Todd’s story has been almost completely ignored by historians. In this definitive biography, Peter Haining delves into the grim underworld of London 150 years ago to expose the man behind the myth. Separating fact from fiction, he reveals a gruesome and bizarre story with a unique criminal heart.” (Goodreads.com)

“Set from the late 1700’s to the present this bio tells the story of the infamous murderer Sweeney Todd who was known as the “Fleet Street Murderer” and his accomplice Mrs. Lovett, a famous pie maker.  The book also tells how the story of Todd has been “kept alive” in print, theatre and movies over the last 200+ years.

Fascinating!  Interesting!  Could not put it down!  Once again Haining has written a well-researched, enjoyable and informative read!” – Elaine, 3rd Wednesday Book Club

Click here to reserve a copy of Sweeney Todd at Shoalhaven Libraries today.

Questions of Travel by Michelle de Kretser

“A mesmerising literary novel, Questions of Travel charts two very different lives. Laura travels the world before returning to Sydney, where she works for a publisher of travel guides. Ravi dreams of being a tourist until he is driven from Sri Lanka by devastating events.

Around these two superbly drawn characters, a double narrative assembles an enthralling array of people, places and stories – from Theo, whose life plays out in the long shadow of the past, to Hana, an Ethiopian woman determined to reinvent herself in Australia.

Award-winning author Michelle de Kretser illuminates travel, work and modern dreams in this brilliant evocation of the way we live now. Wonderfully written, Questions of Travel is an extraordinary work of imagination – a transformative, very funny and intensely moving novel.” (Goodreads.com)

Click here to reserve a copy of Questions of Travel at Shoalhaven Libraries today.

Word of the Day

‘Epistolary’ (epis·to·lary, adj.)  The word epistolary is derived from the Greek word ἐπιστολή epistolē, meaning a letter. Epistolary novels are those which are written as a series of documents, such as letters, diary entries, and newspaper clippings. Examples of novels written wholly or partly in the epistolary form include Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Alice Walker’s The Colour Purple, Bridget Jones’ Diary by Helen Fielding and We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver.


Author Love-In

Ashley Hay

Ash Horiz B&W A

Author Ashley Hay (from http://www.ashleyhay.com.au)

Ashley Hay’s four books of narrative non-fiction –The Secret and Gum, and Herbarium and Museum (the latter two in collaboration with photographer Robyn Stacey) – all reveal an ongoing fascination for stories about fabulous people and their obsessions.

Her essays, short stories and journalism have appeared in anthologies and magazines including Brothers and SistersThe MonthlyThe BulletinBest Australian Essays, Heat and When Books Die.

The Body in the Clouds, her first novel, was published by Allen & Unwin in September 2010 and described by The Weekend Australian as “a gorgeous, Fabergé egg of a book, enamelled with literary resonances and rhyming symbols, which we will still be reading decades from now”.

Her second novel, The Railwayman’s Wife, will be published in April 2013 – preceded by a five-star review from Australian Bookseller and Publisher. Gail Jones (author of Five Bells) has praised it as “a tender portrait of a marriage and the poetry and grief it contains; a beautiful, dreamy, melancholy book.”  (from ashleyhay.com.au)

Ashley Hay at Thirroul, NSW (from www.theage.com.au)

Ashley Hay at Thirroul, NSW (from http://www.theage.com.au)

3rd Wednesday Book Club – April 2013 – CrimeReads

This month’s book club theme was Crimereads, and our book clubbers were faced with a veritable banquet of murder and gore- there’s just so much crime fiction out there to choose from. Of course we had our usual mix of genres and tastes as well, along with with our man of the moment, Paul Auster : )

April Reads

Stravinsky’s Lunch by Drusilla Modjeska
The Invisible by Paul Auster
The Music of Chance by Paul Auster
Unplugged by  Eosin Colfer
7 Ways to Kill a Cat by Matias Nespolo
The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie
The Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie
The Woods by Harlen Coben
The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
Portrait of a Killer by Patricia Cornwell
Miracle Cure by Harlen Coben
Listening to Country by Ros Moriarty
Nefertiti Street by Pamela Bradley
The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters
Mr Vertigo by Paul Auster
Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion
Death Comes to Pemberley by PD James
Murder in the Ashhram: Welcome to the Dark Side of Delhi by Kathleen McCaul
Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
The End by Bianca Nogrady
Fetish by Tara Moss
Here and Now- Letters 2008-2011 by Paul Auster and J.M Coetzee
Beyond the Red Notebook Essays on Paul Auster (Penn Studies in Contemporary American Fiction)
The World that is the Book – Paul Auster’s Fiction by Aliki Varvogli
HG Wells- Another Kind of Life by Michael Sherborne
Point Omega by Don DeLillo
Kraken by China Mieville

Most Talked About Reads

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Portrait of a Killer by Patricia Cornwell

‘This non-fiction book is about one of the most horrific and unsolved murder mysteries in history.  Examining old case files and remaining evidence of the 114 year old unsolved murders with 21st century technology, the author has written an exhaustive, alternate and highly probable analysis of the true identity of Jack the Ripper:  a famous actor and artist named Walter Sickert.  Ripper mythology has always been a consuming passion for me.  Many people who have also read and reviewed this exposé clearly feel that parallel times, places and events in Walter Sickert’s life are just coincidence.  That begs the question that after 2 or 3 unexplained and coincidental events happen (and more and more follow), at what point should the evidence be taken seriously and the Jack the Ripper identity and case be considered closed?  The author has convinced me and this book is an eye opener and well worth reading.’ – Elaine

Kraken by China Mieville

‘There is a preserved giant squid in the Natural History Museum in London and curator Billy Harrow is in charge of the visiting tour groups.  One day the squid disappears and so begins the search for it which leads Billy to things he could never have imagined.  Among these are “…warring cults, surreal magic, assassins, mythical gods and the end of the world.”
Only read 136 pages of the 481.  To call this science fiction would be an insult to the genre.  Full of annoying and weird characters as well as foul language, the reader cannot help but think that the end of the world cannot happen soon enough.  Mankind deserves extinction.’ – Elaine

The End: The Human Experience of Death by Bianca Nogrady

‘The author, a freelance science journalist takes us on a journey to understand death from every conceivable angle – spiritual, physical, metaphysical.  From chapters on why we die; palliative care; dying at home  to death and belief, this book may be just what we all need to help dispel our fear of death.   Nogrady covers organ donations, palliative care, diagnosing death, where to die and so on.  Fascinating and informative.’ -Lyn

Listening to Country by Ros Moriarty

‘Ros Moriarty is a white woman married to an Aboriginal man.  This warm and wonderful book tells of an emotional journey Ros takes with women of her husband’s Aboriginal family to perform ceremony  for women only.  Much of this even Ros herself is forbidden to talk about.  The book also tells the story of Ros’s husband, John, and his abrupt removal from his mother at the age of 4.  It also details John and Ros’s  life, their children and the path of their design company Balarinji.  The Balarinji company were the designers of the Aboriginal paintings on the Qantas jets and so much more.  The warmth of the Aboriginal women shines through as does their love for each other, the children and the newcomer, Ros.  They are such forgiving people despite the hardships inflicted by whites and white settlement.  Humour abounds such as the story (pp.58-59) of their elderly neighbor, Glad.  So many of them  are still suffering from the various diseases that lack of good nutrition and housing can cause.  I felt despair when I read of the way the tribe can be isolated in the wet season and often runs out of food, despite requests to the government to improve the road to enable them to get to town to purchase food at ridiculously inflated prices.  Great read.’ -Lyn

Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

”R’ is a zombie. He has no name, no memories and no pulse, but he has dreams. He is a little different from his fellow Dead.
Amongst the ruins of an abandoned city, R meets a girl. Her name is Julie and she is the opposite of everything he knows – warm and bright and very much alive, she is a blast of colour in a dreary grey landscape. For reasons he can’t understand, R chooses to save Julie instead of eating her, and a tense yet strangely tender relationship begins.
This has never happened before. It breaks the rules and defies logic, but R is no longer content with life in the grave. He wants to breathe again, he wants to live, and Julie wants to help him. But their grim, rotting world won’t be changed without a fight…’ (From goodreads.com)

Author Love- In: Henning Mankell

2f5f03596b9a0a7d9362d4_L__V188025836_SX200_“Although my father passed away before my first novel was published I knew he believed in me and was confident that I would have success as a writer.”

Henning Mankell was born in Stockholm 1948. When he was two years old the family moved to Sveg where the father worked as a court judge. The family lived in the court house in Sveg and young Henning much enjoyed listening to the grown-ups discussions on crime and punishment. At age 16 Henning Mankell dropped out of school in order to work as a merchant seaman for two years before settling in Paris. After a year and a half in the French capital, Henning returned to Sweden and got a job as a stagehand in a Stockholm theatre.

In 1973, Mankell released his debut novel, Bergsprängaren (The Rock Blast). In the same year, he went to Africa for the first time. Ever since he has divided his time between Africa and Sweden and since 1986 he is the artistic leader of Teatro Avenida in Maputo, Mozambique.

In 1991, the first novel in the Wallander series, Faceless Killers, was published. Since, Henning Mankell has written nine more novels in the series, including the novel Before the Frost, about Kurt Wallander’s daughter Linda. Next to the Wallander novels, Mankell has also written more than twenty novels and a dozen children’s and youth books. In addition, he is also one of Sweden’s most frequently performed dramatists.

And, lastly- what genre is Jane Eyre, anyway?

We had some discussion about what genre of fiction Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre falls under. I have always considered it to be a mix of Gothic and Romance, although it’s interesting to see what others think…

Sparknotes.com says Jane Eyre is a “hybrid of three genres: the Gothic novel (utilizes the mysterious, the supernatural, the horrific, the romantic); the romance novel (emphasizes love and passion, represents the notion of lovers destined for each other); and the Bildungsroman (narrates the story of a character’s internal development as he or she undergoes a succession of encounters with the external world).”

Shmoop.com puts dear old Jane into no less than 5 genres: Coming of age, Romance, Gothic, Mystery and Autobiography.

‘We know, that’s five genres – but Jane Eyre is a complex book, OK? Think about it – there’s the whole following-Jane-from-her-sad-childhood-as-an-orphan-to-her-happy-marriage thing, which definitely sounds like a “Coming-of-Age” story to us, especially because at every stage we’re focused on her developing morals and ethics.

jane-eyreJane’s passionate attachment to Rochester definitely makes this qualify as a “Romance” – think of all the times Rochester grasps her and clasps her to his chest. Whew! We get hot and steamy just thinking about it.

Then there are all the supernatural and “Gothic Fiction” elements. Even though most of them get explained away – Bertha may look like a vampire, but she’s just a woman from Jamaica struck with madness – the novel depends on making us feel that creepy, suspenseful atmosphere.

There’s definitely a strong “Mystery” quality here; like a younger version of Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple (whose first name, we’d like to point out, is also Jane), Jane gradually unravels Rochester’s seedy past to figure out what’s going on in the attic at Thornfield.

Then there’s the issue of “Autobiography,” which is the subtitle: after all, the novel is called Jane Eyre: An Autobiography. Because this is a first-person novel, our protagonist describes herself as though she’s telling us her autobiography…but since she’s not real, it isn’t exactly one.’ Hmm. Interesting.

Other sources we perused also put Jane Eyre in the Bildungsroman genre – and if you’re thinking ‘huh’ when you see Bildungsroman (so are we) here’s a little definition:  ‘Bildungsroman [is] a class of novel that deals with the maturation process, with how and why the protagonist develops as he does, both morally and psychologically. The German word Bildungsroman means “novel of education” or “novel of formation.” (www.britannica.com)

You don’t say?

: )

Read, Watch, Play 2013 – March is Ecoreads & Dystopian Fiction

6116062998_2d4e533d1bThe Read Watch Play theme for this month is Ecoreads. This is the time to read and discuss books and ideas about ecology, environment, water use and conservation.  2013 is the International Year of Water Cooperation, and it’s a great time to read up on the environmental and sustainability issues we face, and the ways we might improve them.

We’ve embraced Ecoreads this month at Nowra Library, but we’ve also found another way of exploring it- the dark side of conservation and sustainability, if you will. What would happen if none of our plans, ideas, environmental awareness and hard work paid off? What if the world we know …. ended?

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What if we found ourselves in….dystopia?

The Road, based on Cormac McCarthy's novel.

The Road, based on Cormac McCarthy’s novel.

Dystopian fiction is is a branch of Speculative Fiction, and is often closely related to Science Fiction. It is often set in a futuristic,post-apocalyptic or post-cataclysmic society characterised by environmental disaster, totalitarian governments and dehumanisation.  Social issues, as well as those of environment, technology, politics, are often explored. As the name suggests, ‘Dystopia’ is the opposite of ‘Utopia’,  the term first coined by Sir Thomas More in his 1516 work Utopia, which describes an ideal society, perfect and just. The word is similar to the Greek word “outopos ” – “no place”- and “eutopos” – “good place.”  No wonder then that Dystopian fiction is often fraught with sadness, desperation, desolation and struggle.

Katniss in The Hunger Games film.

Katniss in The Hunger Games film.

Famous works of dystopian fiction include Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 and George Orwell’s Ninteen Eighty- Four. Recent popular additions to the genre include The Hunger Games  series by Suzanne Collins, Divergent by Veronica Roth, The Road by Cormac McCarthy, Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro and Lois Lowry’s The Giver.  (You can also view or reserve these items on the Shoalhaven Libraries Catalogue).

This month at Nowra Library our 3rd Wednesday Book Club members will be reading and discussing Ecoreads, but the discussion doesn’t end there. You can join the live Twitter discussion on 26 March starting at 8.00pm EDT, and join readers from Australia, New Zealand, Singapore (and who knows where else!) as they discuss their favourite Ecoreads.

Use the tags #ecoread and #rwpchat as you discuss, so others can join in the conversation too. For more information on how to take part in Twitter book discussions, check out the Read Watch Play blog.  

Happy reading (and tweeting!)

3rd Wednesday Book Club- February 2013- Heartreads

photoWe had a lovely meeting yesterday here at Nowra Library with our 3rd Wednesday Book Club members. The theme for February is Heartreads, which is the second of the Read Play Watch themes for 2013. We’ve added our own flavour to each of the Read Play Watch themes this year, and this month, we focused on broken hearts, bad relationships and unhappily ever afters. It was great to hear everyone’s broken heart reads, and nice to see some happy endings in there as well.

February Reads

The Lovers of Algeria by Anouar Benmalek
This is Where I Am by Karen Campbell 
Murder on the Ballarat Train by Kerry Greenwood
Ravenscraig by Sandi Krawchecnko Altner
Klondike House: Memoirs of an Irish Country Childhood by John Dwyer
The Dubar Case by Peter Corris
Murder She Wrote- Domestic Malice (Murder She Wrote #38) by Jessica Fletcher
The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff
By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept by Elizabeth Smart
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
This is How by MJ Hyland
Timbuktu by Paul Auster
The New York Trilogy by Paul Auster
The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
Wondrous Times on the Frontier by Dee Brown
The Dog Stars by Peter Heller
The Legend of Broken by Caleb Carr
The Last Runaway by Tracy Chevalier
Philida by Andre Brink
The Tapestries by Kien Nguyen
Light Falling on Bamboo by Lawrence Scott
Lighthouse Bay by Kimberley Freeman
Poet’s Cottage by Josephine Pennicott
Travels in the Scriptorium by Paul Auster
The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey
Secrets in the Sands by Sara Sheridan
The Kiss by Kate Chopin
Leonardo and the Last Supper by Ross King

Most Talked About Books

9781860468681

The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff

Sweeping and lyrical, spellbinding and unforgettable, David Ebershoff’s The 19th Wife combines epic historical fiction with a modern murder mystery to create a brilliant novel of literary suspense. It is 1875, and Ann Eliza Young has recently separated from her powerful husband, Brigham Young, prophet and leader of the Mormon Church. Expelled and an outcast, Ann Eliza embarks on a crusade to end polygamy in the United States. A rich account of a family’s polygamous history is revealed, including how a young woman became a plural wife.
Soon after Ann Eliza’s story begins, a second exquisite narrative unfolds–a tale of murder involving a polygamist family in present-day Utah. Jordan Scott, a young man who was thrown out of his fundamentalist sect years earlier, must reenter the world that cast him aside in order to discover the truth behind his father’s death. And as Ann Eliza’s narrative intertwines with that of Jordan’s search, readers are pulled deeper into the mysteries of love and faith. (from www.goodreads.com)

Timbuktu by Paul Auster

‘Magnificent! Outstanding! This is the story of a dog named Mr. Bones and his owner Willy G. Christmas who is dying. Told from the viewpoint of the dog it is a captivating story of love, humour and tragedy that ultimately makes you think about what being human is all about. This book made me laugh and cry all at the same time. It also follows all the ‘rules’ in writing that make up a good book. Put it on your MUST READ list.’ (Elaine, 3rd Wednesday Book Club).

Klondike House: Memoirs of an Irish Country Childhood by John Dwyer

The eldest of six children, John Dwyer recounts his memories of a rural childhood on the remote but beautiful Beara Peninsula in West Cork, Ireland. Complemented by a series of childhood photographs, his stories are told in vivid and colourful prose. He describes the hard but happy work of saving the hay, cutting the turf, shearing the sheep, and digging the potatoes. His humour comes to the fore as he describes a rampaging sheep and an innocent hobby nearly caused a local outcry. His account of his own family connections with America and especially Butte, Montana are a microcosm of all Irish-American stories of immigration. Sprinkled with a selection of fitting works by some of Ireland’s best-known poets such as Seamus Heaney, Patrick Kavanagh and Paul Muldoon, this gem of a book is a chronicle of the simple but happy life of an Irish farmer boy (from www.goodreads.com).

The Lovers of Algeria by Alouar Benmalek

Benmalik is Moroccan born, but as an adult writer, he had to flee to France and now lives there, although he holds both French and Algerian citizenships. The Algeria of this book is unbelievably brutal – someone is killed, tortured in the most horrible way every day, no one fares well.  Anna (a Swiss/German woman working in the circus) and Nassreddine, an Algerian are married and the story opens as they travel to a small village to live in 1955.  A hideous crime occurs and Anna and  Nassreddine are separated.  Forty years later, Anna, now a widow, returns to Algeria to search for Nassreddine.  This is a very dangerous enterprise, because foreigners are being murdered every day.  Anna’s search, with flashbacks to the past make this a stomach-turning read about a country that has been in turmoil for years.  The story covers the years 1928-1997, from the country living under French colonialism, to claiming independence, to falling in the hands of ruthless rulers “The Terrorists” i.e. Islamists. However, I am glad I made the effort to read this wonderful book (Lyn, 3rd Wednesday Book Club).

3rd Wednesday Book Club- January 2013- Summer Reads

Welcome back! It was great to see everyone back after a safe and happy festive season. The first of our themes this year is Summer Reads. This is our interpretation of the Read Play Watch reading themes this year. Read Play Watch is an initiative of the NSW Readers Advisory Working Group, who last year were responsible for bringing us our lovely National Year of Reading themes. This year at Nowra Library we will be loosely following the Read Play Watch themes with our own special twist. Here we go!  

Summer Reads

Murder on the Ballarat Train by
Kerry Greenwood
Foal’s Bread by Gillian Mears  
Man in the Dark by Paul Auster
Trouble at the Little Village School by Gervase Phinn
Winter Journal by Paul Auster
Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel
The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe
The Woman Reader by Belinda Jack
Summer Lies by Bernhard Schlink 
Man Gone Down by Michael Thomas
The Forgotten Wars by C.A Bayly
New Finnish Grammar by Diego Maravi 
The Golden Land by Di Morrissey
The Foundling by Agnes Desarthe
The Mousetrap by Ruth Hanka Eigner  
After Such Kindness by Gaynor Arnold
The Streets by Anthony Quinn
Poet’s Cottage by Josephine Pennicott
Medea by Kerry Greenwood
The Dinosaur Feather by Sisset Jo Gazan
Flying Crows by Jim Lehrer
Maestro by Peter Goldsworthy
Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman
Wanting by Richard Flanagan  
The Twelve by Justin Cronin
Possession: A Romance by A.S Byatt
The Tenderness of Wolves by Steph Penney
The Invention of Solitude by Paul Auster

Most talked about reads

Winter Journal by Paul Auster

Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel

After Such Kindness by Gaynor Arnold

Author Love-In – Kerry Greenwood

Writers'_Week_Kerry_Greenwood_Adelaide_Festival_mediumKerry Greenwood was born in the Melbourne suburb of Footscray and after wandering far and wide, she returned to live there. She has a degree in English and Law from Melbourne University and was admitted to the legal profession on the 1st April 1982, a day which she finds both soothing and significant. Kerry has written twenty novels, a number of plays, including The Troubadours with Stephen D’Arcy, is an award-winning children’s writer and has edited and contributed to several anthologies. In 1996 she published a book of essays on female murderers called Things She Loves: Why women Kill.

The Phryne Fisher series (pronounced Fry-knee, to rhyme with briny) began in 1989 with Cocaine Blues which was a great success. Kerry has written sixteen books in this series with no sign yet of Miss Fisher hanging up her pearl-handled pistol. Kerry says that as long as people want to read them, she can keep writing them.

Kerry Greenwood has worked as a folk singer, factory hand, director, producer, translator, costume-maker, cook and is currently a solicitor. When she is not writing, she works as a locum solicitor for the Victorian Legal Aid. She is also the unpaid curator of seven thousand books, three cats (Attila, Belladonna and Ashe) and a computer called Apple (which squeaks). She embroiders very well but cannot knit. She has flown planes and leapt out of them (with a parachute) in an attempt to cure her fear of heights (she is now terrified of jumping out of planes but can climb ladders without fear). She can detect second-hand bookshops from blocks away and is often found within them.

For fun Kerry reads science fiction/fantasy and detective stories. She is not married, has no children and lives with a registered wizard. When she is not doing any of the above she stares blankly out of the window.

3rd Wednesday Book Club- October and November 2012

3rd Wednesday Book Club had a fantastic 2012 . It just keeps getting better and better each year, due in no small part to the enthusiasm and insightful reviews that added so much to our bookish discussions. Thankyou to our lovely members!   

And now for a sneak peak at what’s in store for 3rd Wednsday Book Club in 2013. In October, we’ll be reading biography for ‘Egoreads’. In August, ‘Furreads’, join us in reading about all creatures great and small. Or maybe we’ll see you in July for ‘Artreads’ when we will discuss exactly what it takes to create a good book cover.

We wish everyone a Merry Christmas and safe and book-rich New Year. See you for our first meeting on January 16th, 2013, at 10am here at Nowra Library. Until then, Happy Reading!

And now to round off 2012, here’s a mash up of reads from our final two meetings in October and November:

Caleb’s Crossing by Geraldine Brooks
An Eye for Eternity- the Life of Manning Clark by Mark McKenna
On Writing by Stephen King
The Night Strangers by Chris Bohjalian
The Street Sweeper by Elliot Perlman
The Letters of Rachel Henning by Rachel Henning
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
The Wonderful Country by Tom Lea
Cold Light by Frank Moorhouse
A Cat, a Hat and a Piece of String by Joanne Harris
Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan
Various Pets Alive and Dead by Monica Lewycka
The New Republic by Lionel Shriver
Five Bells by Gail Jones
State of the Union by Douglas Kennedy
Unnatural Habits by Kerry Greenwood
Room by Emma Donoghue
Other People’s Country by Maureen Helen
Matilda is Missing by Caroline Overington
Washed in the Blood by Lisa Alther
Man in the Dark by Paul Auster
The Book of Illusions by Paul Auster
Oracle Night by Paul Auster
Travels in the Scriptorium by Paul Auster
Winter Journal by Paul Auster
The Fiftieth Gate by Mark Raphael Baker
A Haunted Love Story by Mark Spencer
Cusp by Josephine Wilson
In the Company of Strangers by Liz Byrski
Me For You by Jo Jo Moyes
War Brides by Helen Bryan
The Mountain by Drusill Modjeska

Most Talked About Books

brooks-calebs-crossing-440x663Caleb’s Crossing by Geraldine Brooks Geraldine Brooks remains one of our steadfast favourites here at 3rd Wednesday Book Club. Barely a month has gone by when her name has not been mentioned and her work praised. Many of our members have read, and enjoyed, Caleb’s Crossing.
 

the-letters-of-rachel-henning

The Letters of Rachel Henning by Rachel Henning
Rachel Henning left England to settle in Australia in 1854. The letters she wrote to her family back in England give a fascinating account of life in colonial Australia.

never-let-me-goNever Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro- This book was described as ‘heart-rending’ by one of our book club members. With such subject matter- children raised with the pupose of harvesting/ cloning- this is hardly surprising.

cold-light-4ebb23c98a52dCold Light by Frank Moorhouse
‘The third and last book in the Edith trilogy, which like the previous two was a great read, although I think I liked this one best. Edith has returned to Australia with her husband, Ambrose Westwood, after the failure of the League of Nations. Ambrose is attached to the British Embassy in Canberra- ie. he is a spy. Theyv are living in the Hotel Canberra. As always historical events are incorporated into the novel, such as Edith’s obsession with Burley Griffin. It is the early 1950’s in Canberra, a time when the embassies are relocating to the Capital and the Communist party is a strong movement. Unfortunately for Edith her brother Frederick is a reasonably powerful member of the party. This is meticulous writing, the characterisation is detailed as is the history. And of course we have the ‘divine Ambrose Westwood’ to tut tut over! Loved it. Edith Campbell Berry has become an icon to some readers and I read a review by someone- I think it was Annabel Crabb- who overheard two women discussing Edith and saying that when faced with a problem, they would ask ‘What would Edith do?’ – Lyn

unnatural-habitsUnnatural Habits by Kerry Greenwood ‘Another romp with the delightful Phrynne Fisher and her menagerie- Mr and Mrs Butler, Jane and Ruth,her adopted daughter, Tink, a street boy she has taken under her wing and, of course, Ember the cat and Molly the dog. When innocent young blonde girls go missing, all of Phrynne’s senses are alerted.These books are such fun. This book covered an era of Australian society when women were easy prey and not really protected- it was all about show and what the neighbours would think. Perhaps nothing has changed!’ -Lyn

the-book-of-illusionsThe Book of Illusions by Paul Auster ‘Professor David Zimmer has lost his wife and 2 children in a plane crash. Afterwards, he spends his waking hours consumed by alcohol and self-pity until one night he finds himself fascinated by an old flim on TV about Hector Mann, who was a genius of the silent cinema. This fascination leads Zimemr on a journey that he could never have imagined. I LOVED this book! It was MAGNIFICENT! Auster has written a wonderful, different and gripping story that will keep me reading his other books!’ – Elaine

Author love-in: Paul Auster

299013Paul Auster is the bestselling author of Sunset Park, Invisible, Man in the Dark, The Book of Illusions, The Brooklyn Follies and The New York Trilogy, among many other works. His books have been translated into forty-three languages. He lives in Brooklyn, New York. 

Blast From the Past

Banjo Patterson’s Collected Verse
On Our Selection by Steele Rudd
Forever Amber by Kathleen Winsor

3rd Wednesday Book Club- July- Discover

The National Year of Reading theme for July was Discover, and our book club members did some fantastic literary discovering of their own in celebration. From the history of London’s underground  to the Mayan calendar to what really happened with the second gunman on the grassy knoll, we read a wide range of ‘discovery’ books as well as many that  had absolutely nothing at all to do with the theme! As always, it’s an eclectic mix, and we love it!

July reads:

Stop What You’re Doing and Read This  – a celebration of reading by various authors, including Zadie Smith, Tim parks, Michael Rosen and Jeanette Winterson
Five Bells by Gail Jones
The River Wife by Heather Rose
The Hours by Michael Cunningham
The Other Hand by Chris Cleave
Kingdom of Strangers by Zoe Ferraris
Handwriting by Michael Ondaatje
London Under by Peter Ackroyd
A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian by Marina Lewycka
The 2012 Story by John Major Jenkins
11.22.63 by Stephen King
Oswald’s Tale by Norman Mailer
The Troubled Man by Henning Mankel
The Remnants by John Hughes
Verdi and/or Wagner by Peter Conrad
Grand Days by Frank Moorhouse
Never Apologise, Never Explain by James Craig
Season of Content by Jackie French
Carnival of the Dead by David Hewson
March by Geraldine Brookes
Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth

Most talked about reads:

The 2012 Story by John Major Jenkins – ‘This is a comprehensive and detailed look at the Mayan culture, history and calendar that has spawned  the ‘End of the World’ scenario on 21 December 2012. It’s very scientific and no stone is left unturned. It’s not an ‘easy’ read, but nonetheless informative, eye opening and myth dispensing. Jump to Chapter 9 and read to the end. The true ‘prophecy’ will blow you away!’ (Elaine)

Cover image london Under London Under by Peter Ackroyd
‘This is a book about what can be discovered about old London by exploring the ground under present London.

Under London can be found places of worship and healing waters. The Bank of England underground vaults store the second biggest hoard of gold bullion on earth. In  the 18tyh century there was an underground prison- it was in use for 250 years and closed in 1877. There are underground rivers, like the Fleet River under Fleet Street.

Serious archaeological activity didn’t take place in London till after WWII, but when it did a complete Roman bathhouse was found under Lower Thames Street.
The 13 rivers and brooks of London still flow; but whereas they once went through fields and valleys, they are now contained by pipes and sewers.

The London Metropolitan Underground Railway was opened in January 1863; it was the first underground railway in the world. The trains were pulled by compact steam engines. There were complaints about the smoke and the smell. The first trains powered by electricity were introduced in 1890. It is interesting ti note that the incentive to build underground was driven by the congestion of cart and traffic in the streets.

Knowing what is underfoot is a discovery most of us will never make; but this book is really interesting reading- almost gripping at times! (Janet)

A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian by Marina Lewycka  – quirky, funny, surprising, this book has been read and loved by several book club members.

Author love-in

Tim Winton
Born in Perth in 1960, Tim Winton is the author of thirteen books, including novels, short stories, non-fiction and books for children. He began publishing fiction in his teens and his first novel, An Open Swimmer, won the 1981 Australian/Vogel Prize. He has twice won the Miles Franklin Award, for Shallows in 1984 and for Cloudstreet in 1991, and his other awards include the Banjo Prize, the WA Premier’s Prize, the DEO Gloria Award (UK), the Marten Bequest and the Wilderness Society Environment Award. In 1995 The Riders was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. Dirt Music – shortlisted for the Booker Prize, winner of the Miles Franklin Literary award and more – confirms Tim’s status as one of the finest novelists of his generation.

His collection of short stories called The Turning won the 2005 Christina Stead Prize for Fiction and the 2005 Queensland Premier’s Literary Awards.

Tim Winton has lived in Greece, France and Ireland. He lives in Western Australia with his wife and three children. (Author bio from http://www.panmacmillan.com.au)

Marina Lewycka
Marina Lewycka was born in a refugee camp in Germany in 1946 and moved to England with her family when she was about a year old. She spent most of her life since then trying to become a writer, and finally succeeded in 2005 with A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian which has sold more than a million copies in the UK alone. This was followed by Two Caravans in March 2007, We Are All Made of Glue in July 2009 and Various Pets Alive and Dead in March 2012.


There was  also some discussion this month about the International Thriller Writers Society. Here’s some information about the society, and a link to their website:

The International Thriller Writers is an honorary society of authors, both fiction and nonfiction, who write books broadly classified as “thrillers.” This would include (but isn’t limited to) such subjects as murder mystery, detective, suspense, horror, supernatural, action, espionage, true crime, war, adventure, and myriad similar subject areas.

ITW’s mission is “To bestow recognition and promote the thriller genre at an innovative and superior level for and through our Active members; to provide opportunities for mentoring, education and collegiality among thriller authors and industry professionals; and to grant awards for excellence in the thriller genre.” ITW By-laws: Article II, Purposes, Section 2.

One of the main purposes of the organization is to provide a way for successful, bestselling authors to help debut and midlist authors advance their careers. To that end, ITW has designed numerous, effective programs and events which promote debut and midlist writers and their work, sometimes in partnership with bestselling authors. In addition, ITW promotes literacy, gives money to worthy organizations, supports libraries, and advances the genre. Finally, it brings together almost a thousand writers, readers, publishers,  editors and agents at its annual conference, ThrillerFest, as well as at CraftFest, a writing workshop program, and AgentFest, where aspiring authors can meet and pitch top literary agents. (http://thrillerwriters.org/aboutitw/)

3rd Wednesday Book Club- February

Yesterday saw the February meeting of our 3rd Wednesday Book Club  here at Nowra Library. This month’s theme was Love or Laughter- LOL- to tie in with the National Year of Reading’s Love2Read theme for this month, Laugh.

We’re not bossy (often) and so we don’t force our book club members to read within the themes we set each month; that would be rude. No, we run with more of a mixed-bag kind of feeling at our meetings, and, as a result, there’s always a nice assortment of books to discuss. Yesterday we ended up with some very funny reads, and some that were decidely not funny. In any case, it didn’t matter- tea was poured, conversation flowed, and we got through a heap of books. Here they are:

The Sixth Key by Adriana Koulias
Arabesques by Robert Dessaix
You or Someone Like You by Chandler Burr
Instances of the Number 3 by Sally Vickers
Trieste and the Meaning of Nowhere by Jan Morris
The Absolutist by John Boyne
Friendship Bread by Darien Gee (a ‘cozy’ book)
Slouching Towards Bethlehem by Joan Didion 
Empire Day by Diane Armstrong 
Her Father’s Daughter by Alice Pung
Ghost Platoon by Frank Walker
Blackbird by David Brooks
The Sawdust in My Shoes by Dolly Lennon
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Ghostheart by Roger Jon Ellory ‘Captivating’
Remarkable Creatures by Tracey Chevalier
The Dry Grass of August by Anna Mayhew
The Girl with Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larsson
The Land of Painted Caves by Jean M. Auel
The Marx Sisters by Barry Maitland
Candlemoth by Roger Jon Ellory
The Big Score by Peter Corris
The Primal Yoke by Tom Lee  
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy  by Douglas Adams
The Lake Wobegon books by Garrison Keillor
The New Zealand Trilogy by Maurice Shadbolt
Comeback by Peter Corris
High Fidelity by Nick Hornby
Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Wicked Bestiary by David Sedaris

The eternal question- to finish or not to finish?- was also raised. How many pages do you give a book before you ditch it? Five? Ten? Fifty? Should we waste time on books that just don’t ‘grab’ us?  The answer remains a mystery- it’s a personal choice, after all- but some words of wisdom shone through: it all depends on your mood and how you are feeling at the time, so often, it’s worth giving a highly recommended book another attempt a little later. Sometimes, the problem lies not in the book, but in the person who’s reading it.

Most Talked About Reads

 

                           

Ghostheart by Robert Jon Ellory           The Absolutist by John Boyne             

                                      

Arabesques by Robert Dessaix              Ghost Platoon by Frank Walker

 
                                                                                  

Slouching Towards Bethlehem           The Sawdust in My Shoes
  by Joan Didion                                                        by Dollie Lennon

     

Remarkable Creatures
by Tracey Chevalier  

Honourable Mentions

Chocolat by Joanna Harris

The Land of Painted Caves by Jean M.Auel

The Wonderful Country by Tom Lee

Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons

And, to end – the Oscar Wilde short story in which the ghost tries to scare the family without success is called The Canterville Ghost.  It was the first of Wilde’s stories to be published, appearing in the magazine The Court and Society Review in February 1887. It was later included in a collection of short stories entitled Lord Arthur Savile’s Crime and Other Stories in 1891.