Jewel of the north by Tricia Stringer

Cynthia Jewel of the NorthIt was so nice to revisit the Bakers and the Wiltshires and share in their stories of life in the Flinders Ranges. This is the tird novel featuring these characters. There is hardship, joy, sorrow and survival. The Australian landscape can be beautiful and also cruel. It is a lovely insight into what pioneering farming families had to achieve and how communities were built.

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The making of MONA by Adrian Franklin

Claire The making of MONAI chose this book because it is a great example of the book as an object of beauty – that is lovely to hold – to flip between the pages – soak up the ideas – and think about a trip to Tasmania to see MONA for real. It also matches my jacket!

In the world of eBooks there are lot of reasons why the new formats are so convenient, portable and accessible. But sometimes I just want to hold a paper book – it has a certain weight in your hands, it has a beautiful layout, amazing images and it tells a story – this time it is about the mysterious art collector and successful gambler David Walsh and how he created the always controversial MONA: the Museum of Old and New Art in Hobart.

Libraries give us the chance to walk in someone else’s shoes and travel to places we may never know otherwise. Don’t forget to check out our books on design, art and architecture nest time you come to the library. Be inspired!

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Truly madly guilty by Liane Moriarty

Amy Truly Madly GuiltyLiane Moriarty is really great at writing about suburban Sydney-siders. There’s a strong sense of place, and the characters are real; frustrating, amusing, familiar. Truly, Madly Guilty is about three families who gather for a BBQ one afternoon and something terrible happens that has a negative impact on them all. The events of that afternoon are (very) slowly revealed over the book and the surprises are many. Though very good at pointing out people’s foibles, Moriarty is a hopeful writer, and this book is thought provoking, compelling and with a satisfying ending.

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The husband’s secret by Liane Moriarty

Amy The Husband's secretLiane Moriarty writes great characters; real, raw, ridiculous, petty, and messy. Suburban Sydney folk, going through life exploring the impact of past mistakes, the nature of marriage, depths of character in the face of trials and how people differ from how they are perceived, by others and themselves. If you like experiencing the deep trouble people can make for themselves and others, in a safe environment when you know it will, largely, come right in the end, then this is for you!

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Requiem for a wren by Nevil Shute

Requiem for a WrenNevil Shute is a brilliant storyteller, and this is another great WWII story. Alan Duncan finally comes home to his family farm in Australia, quite a few years after the war, damaged physically and emotionally, and finds a new tragedy in his house. A maid committed suicide the night before he arrived, and he sets out to discover her story. This is less technical, more character driven than some of his books, so more to my taste, and a moving look at the impact the war had on people, during and afterwards.

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The hate race by Maxine Beneba Clarke

Amy The Hate RaceThe Hate Race is a thoughtful, nostalgic, confronting, funny, sad, and important book. Maxine Beneba Clarke grew up in Sydney, not too far from where I grew up, in the 90s. Though she is younger than I am, there is so much that is familiar in her childhood, including her feelings of being different , being left out, being made fun of. Her “fault”, however, was not being uncool, or failing to meet the current standard of beauty, it was that she is of Afro-Caribbean descent. The racism she experienced, and continues to experience, is both insidious and in your face; from those you’d expect, and those from whom you would expect protection. It is relentless, shocking and destructive. We need to know what it is like, so we can do our part in resisting this element of our culture. Clarke is a great storyteller, and this is a great story for us all.

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Fava beans for breakfast by Suzanne Salem

Fava beans for breakfastAn immigrant story that covers dreams and hopes, secrets, friendships and community attitudes. Life in a small coastal town is described well – with all the secrets, both shared and hidden that can exist there. Suzanne Salem’s use of language gave Nayeema’s story authenticity. I loved her journey to find a place where she felt she belonged. I also loved that the story was set in the seventies with coastal development, strikes, communes and fashion all playing a part in the story. This was an enjoyable story.

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Kakadu sunset by Annie Seaton

cynthia-kakadu-sunsetA great Australian story, set in the Northern Territory. I loved the descriptions of the landscape – it brought back memories of when I travelled there many years ago, although I have to go there again and fly over the area this time! It was a good romantic suspense story. The level of suspense was maintained, even though you know who the bad guy is early in the story. The characters are very likeable.

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Earthly delights by Kerry Greenwood

kerry-greenwoodKerry Greenwood is best known for her first series of books, The Phryne Fisher mysteries. Earthly delights is the first book in her second series, introducing us to Corinna Chapman, a divorced ex accountant turned baker and reluctant investigator.

Greenwood manages to combine mystery, food, humour, witchcraft, Goths, vampires, drugs, death and love. Her descriptive writing that I love so much in her Phyrne Fisher mysteries, transporting me to another time and place, isn’t lost in modern day Melbourne, exploring the quirky, weird and delicious. Continue reading