Kate workingclassboyBeing memoir, my favourite genre, ‘Working Class Boy’ is a book I considered many times but, not really a fan of Jimmy Barnes and or knowing anything about his life, it really didn’t appeal to me. Not until, that is, he won the biography category at the Australian Book Industry Awards, and then I quickly borrowed the ebook before anyone else could!

‘It is the story of what shaped my life,’ Jimmy said. ‘The good, the bad and the very, very ugly.’
His brutally honest storytelling, about things I would rather not know, made this a difficult book for me to read, and I felt he wasn’t giving me any credit as a reader, repeating things and telling me not showing me. After the third time he wrote, ‘as I said before …’ I vowed to quit if he wrote it again. But he didn’t, and I became captivated by the sense of healing I was witnessing as Jimmy searched for hope in his story, quite often using a wicked sense of humour at what seemed inappropriate times. I soon realised this was his way of coping with the ugliness of it all. The book felt like a confession, an opening up by Jimmy. At first he sounded hesitant and unsure, but I could sense him settling into his new role as an author and imagined the healing tears flowing along with the healing words.
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The shape of us by Lisa Ireland

Renee The State of UsRead via Borrowbox – ebook

This is the type of book I would pick up and hand to random strangers in Kmart and insist they buy… Okay, it’s the actual book I did that with. The story has stayed with me long after I finished reading. It’s a fabulous example of contemporary Australian women’s fiction – full of friendships, romance, and personal growth. I laughed, I cried, I ran out of pages too quickly.
Four women from diverse backgrounds meet in an online weight loss forum and develop a deeper friendship. They share their struggles and each takes a different path on their journey. This book would be particularly relatable to anyone who has ever stood on the scales and seen a number they didn’t like.

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Jarulan by the river by Lily Woodhouse

Cynthia Jarulan by the riverI was looking forward to reading this book based on the blurb; Australian – Family – History, all the things that I love to read. Lily’s descriptive writing gave me a good sense of place and what life was like at Jarulan. There was an overall sense of uneasiness and I had to keep reading to find out what would happen with the family. Then came Rufina, a character that I could not feel anything for, and this let the story down for me. I was also disappointed about not finding out the full story of the ghosts that would appear at the appropiate times, but not fully explained, and this made the novel feel a bit unfinished.

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A few right thinking men by Sulari Gentill

Amy A Few Right Thinking MenSet in Sydney in the 1930s, A Few Right Thinking Men is an historical, cosy mystery. Rowland Sinclair is a wealthy artist, turned amateur sleuth. I really enjoyed the setting (they also went to Yass!), and the characters were suitably quirky and amusing. I found it more about the political history of New South Wales than the murder mystery, but there was just enough intrigue to keep the story going, and I wouldn’t say no to finding out what’s next for Rowly and his friends.

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The scret river by Kate Grenville

Susan The secret river.jpgThe secret river, written by Kate Grenville in 2005, is a historical novel about an early 19th century Englishman transported to Australia for theft. I love this title and have read the book a couple of times. It is an older publication, however I really enjoy the factual story of William Thornhill who was transported from the slums of London to NSW for the term of his natural life. William Thornhill ends up a free man who sails up the Hawkesbury River to claim some land.

However, it is a little confronting when the land he claims is actually owned by the Aboriginal people. The book illustrates the cruelty the Aboriginals faced due to people like William claiming the land, although he wasn’t as bad as some of them.

The book really focuses on the reality of the settler’s life, about ownership, the dangers and dilemmas. The Secret River is part of a trilogy about early Australia, along with The Lieutenant, published in 2008 and Sarah Thornhill, published in September 2011.

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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 third 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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