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)

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Australian Women Writers Challenge 2012 – Bittersweet But Delicious…or, Why I’m in love with Laura Buzo.

I have a secret to tell you. I have a crush. Not just any old crush, but a full blown I-want-to-read-everything-you’ve-ever-written-including-that-shopping-list-you-scribbled-down-last-week kind of crush. And it’s on Sydney based young adult author, Laura Buzo.

She’s amazing. Her stories tell tales of longing and grief in suburbia. Her writing is full of wit, grit and feeling. Her female leads are well-read, funny and strong. Her male characters are dangerously attractive. But above all, her books feel REAL.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan of YA fiction, but a lot of the time, young adult books sound like they have been written by adults. You know, when they try to sound hip and funky (when no person under the age of 25 says things like ‘hip’ and ‘funky’)? Few have avoided this trap. Think Marchetta, Lawrinson and Crowley.
In Good Oil, 15 year old Woolworths employee Amelia falls hard for 21 year old Chris. What follows is a tale of lust and longing, of being too young to know what you really want, but wanting it anyway. So bad it hurts.

Buzo’s second novel, Holier Than Thou follows Holy and Nick, two twenty-something social workers in inner city Sydney, down the bumpy roads and dim alleyways of the heart.

If you want to try YA fiction, or are already a convert and looking for something to sink your teeth into, I highly recommend taking a bite out of Buzo’s work.

Jess

It’s been a little Grimm around here…

This December marks the 200th anniversary of the first edition of fairy tales collected by the Brothers Grimm, Kinder- und Hausmärchen (Nursery and Household Tales). In celebration, we decked out our display area here at Nowra Library with an enchanted forest, Rapunzel’s tower and yes, a real gingerbread house.

Our peg Rapunzel has a sad, sad face 😦

The display is getting plenty of attention from our borrowers (particularly children, which is a bit creepy, considering the purpose of the original gingerbread house) and the fairy tale based fiction and non-fiction displayed there has been seeing plenty of borrowing action. It’s no wonder, really. Fairy tales, ever enduring, have nonetheless been enjoying a resurgence in popular culture of late, as the 2011 Red Riding Hood film, soon to be released Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters and the two Snow White films released this year demonstrate. Just last month Philip Pullman’s re-telling of Grimm’s fairy tales hit the shelves, and you only have to browse the catalogue here at the library to see the range of fairy tale based books we keep in our children’s, young adult and adult collections. 200 years later, the Brothers Grimm live on…happily ever after, you could say.

Meet the Brothers Grimm…  

They look cheery, don’t they?

Jakob (Ludwig Karl) (1785–1863) and Wilhelm (1786–1859) were born in Hanau, Germany. They studied law at the University of Marburg and it was there that their interest in folk tales first began. They collected folk tales from storytellers and print sources in the years following university and  in 1812 they published Kinder- und Hausmärchen, now more often known as Grimms’ Fairy Tales. The second edition of the tales was published in 1816. The collection includes tales such as  ‘Little Red Riding Hood’, ‘Cinderella’, ‘Rapunzel’, ‘Snow White,’  ‘Rumpelstiltskin’ and ‘Hansel & Gretel’, among many other classic fairy stories. Up until 1857 the brothers continued to polish and refine the collection, ultimately releasing seven editions in all. The brothers also co-wrote a German dictionary, and Jacob, who was a professor of philology, wrote Deutsche Grammatick  (German Grammar) in 1819. It was the first historical study of German languages.

… and Mrs Grimm 

In 1825 Wilhelm married Dortchen Wild, a family friend. Dortchen (along with other female friends and acquaintances) was responsible for introducing the brothers to such tales as ‘Rumpelstiltskin’, ‘Hansel & Gretel’ and ‘The Singing Bone’. In her book, Clever Maids: The Secret History of the Grimm Fairy Tales, Valerie Paradiz explores the role upper class German women had in helping the brothers compile their fairy tale collection. According to Paradiz, more than half of the fairy tales were contributed by women such as writer Bettina von Arnim, Dorothea Viehmann, Annette von Droste- Hulshoff and, of course, Dortchen Wild.

Dortchen is the  focus of Australian fantasy author Kate Forsyth’s next novel, The Wild Girl. History and fairy tale merged beautifully in Forsyth’s 2012  novel Bitter Greens, a luminous re-telling of ‘Rapunzel’, and  fairy tale devotees will no doubt be looking forward to The Wild Girl’s April 2013 release.

And, while we’re on the subject… 

Kate Forsyth will be speaking about her take on fairy tales at the Fairy Tales Re-Imagined: Enchantment, Beastly Tales and Dark Mothers symposium at the University of Technology in Sydney this month.

Forsyth will be joined by fellow Australian writer Margo Lanagan (award winning author of Sea Hearts, a captivating selkie tale, and Tender Morsels, which is based on ‘Snow White, Rose Red’) as well as artists, academics, educators and media arts practitioners to examine the relevance of traditional fairy tales in contemporary culture and the motifs, themes and meanings within them.

The symposium has been initiated by media artist Sarah Gibson. Check out Sarah’s interactive online fairy tale project ‘Re- enchantment’ at www.abc.net.au/re-enchantment

Fairy Tales Re-imagined will be held on Saturday October 13th at UTS.

See you there!

Kelly

Australian Women Writers 2012 Challenge Review- ‘Tiger Men’ by Judy Nunn

In true Nunn form this is a family saga set in the golden years of Tasmanian settlement and expansion. It follows the lives of three men, Silas Sandford, philanthropist and business man, Jefferson Powell, political idealist and ferryman and  Mick O’Callaghan, Irish rogue from convict days, through the Federation period and The Great War. The novel showcases the contrast between the wealthy elite, with their grand sandstone mansions, to the exploited poor who live in the Wapping slum area of Hobart.  Each main character’s ability to take advantage of the changing world of Hobart town caused their lives and families to prosper as they moved into the 20th century.

Tiger Men also explores the way the women in each of the main character’s lives showed courage, strength and endurance- thus the analogy to the Tasmanian tiger.

This is a great read if you enjoy a mix of Aussie history with your fiction as I do. You always learn something new.  

                                                                                                                                                                           Cheers, Marie

 http://www.australianwomenwriters.com

The Australian Women Writers 2012 Reading and Reviewing Challenge

The Readers’ Haven is proud to announce that the following library members/staff will be participating in the Australian Women Writers 2012 Reading and Reviewing Challenge:

Lynne
Carol
Cher
Ann
Deb
Kristin
Everald
Barbara
Kelly
Sarah
Nicole
Diane
Kerry
Nicole
Robin
Bronwyn
Jessica
Marie

We’ll be reading books by Australian female writers throughout the year and publishing our reviews here.

So watch this space….

For more information, go to The Australian Women Writers Reading and Reviewing Challenge 2012.   Image