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)

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

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?

photo of display

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!)