Gabriel Garcia Marquez: 6 March 1927-17 April 2014.

Nobel Prize winner and world renowned Colombian novelist and journalist Gabriel Garcia Marquez, died last Thursday, 17 April, aged 87 years. Gabo, as he was affectionately known, has left the world with a wonderful legacy: his books.  These were written in a literary style known as magical realism, where the narrative blends magical elements with an otherwise realistic environment. Widely considered as the most influential Spanish writer of the 20th Century, now is the to read, or re-read one his novels-request a copy from the Library.

The Autumn of the Patriarch.
 'Over the weekend the vultures got into the presidential palace by pecking through the screens on the balcony windows and the flapping of their wings stirred up the stagnant time inside.'

As the citizens of an unnamed Caribbean nation creep through the dusty corridors of the presidential palace in search of their tyrannical leader, they cannot comprehend that the frail and withered man laying dead on the floor can be the self-styled General of the Universe. Their egocentric, maniacally violent leader, known for serving up traitors to dinner guests and drowning young children at sea, can surely not die the humiliating death of a mere mortal?
Tracing the demands of a man whose egocentric excesses mask the loneliness of isolation and whose lies have become so ingrained that they are indistinguishable from truth, Marquez has created a fantastical portrait of despotism that rings with an air of reality.


No one writes to the Colonel
'The Colonel took the top off the coffee can and saw that there was only one little spoonful left.'

Fridays are different, every other day of the week, the Colonel and his ailing wife fight a constant battle against poverty and monotony, scraping together the drags of their savings for the food and medicine that keeps them alive. But on Fridays the postman comes - and that sets a fleeting wave of hope rushing through the Colonel's ageing heart.
For fifteen years he's watched the mail launch come into harbour, hoping he'll be handed an envelope containing the army pension promised to him all those years ago. Whilst he waits for the cheque, his hopes are pinned on his prize bird and the upcoming cockfighting season. But until then the bird - the Colonel and his wife - must somehow be fed . . .

Memories of my melancholy whores  
The year I turned ninety, I wanted to give myself a gift of a night of wild love with an adolescent virgin.'

He has never married, never loved and never gone to bed with a woman he didn't pay. But on finding a young girl naked and asleep on the brothel owner's bed, a passion is ignited in his heart - and he feels, for the first time, the urgent pangs of love.








Love in the Time of Cholera
Florentino Ariza has never forgotten his first love. He has waited nearly a lifetime in silence since his beloved Fermina married another man. No woman can replace her in his heart. But now her husband is dead. Finally – after fifty-one years, nine months and four days – Florentino has another chance to declare his eternal passion and win her back. Will love that has survived half a century remain unrequited?



One Hundred Years of Solitude
Widely regarded as Gabriel Garcia Marquez' best work, this classic novel follows 100 years in the life and death of the mythical South American village, Macondo.
Pipes and kettledrums herald the arrival of gypsies on their annual visit to Macondo, the newly founded village where José Arcadio Buendía and his strong-willed wife, Úrsula, have started their new life. As the mysterious Melquíades excites Aureliano Buendía's father with new inventions and tales of adventure, neither can know the significance of the indecipherable manuscript that the old gypsy passes into their hands.

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Ten Books for Anzac Day... Lest we forget.

Ten books to teach kids about the meaning of ANZAC Day.

 My Grandad Marches on Anzac Day, by Catriona Hoy (picture book)
  This picture book for the very young is a simple, moving look at Anzac Day through the eyes of a little girl. She goes to the pre-dawn Anzac Day service with her father where they watch the girl s grandfather march in the parade. This beautifully illustrated book explains what happens on Anzac Day and its significance in terms a young child can understand It is an excellent introduction to this highly venerated ceremony, and poignantly addresses the sentiments aroused by the memory of those who gave their lives for their country.




   In his diary, Archie records his own battles at home, against the local bully, Beefy; and how Townsville copes as it becomes a base for the Pacific campaign; and the Australian east coast reels under Japanese bombs.   Archie’s two brothers are fighting in the battlefields of World War II. Des has been sent with the militia to fight in the treacherous landscape of the jungles of New Guinea against the Japanese — and his brother Harold is about to join him, after surviving the campaign in the Middle East. There is nothing between Australia and a Japanese invasion except a small band of brave soldiers, fighting rain, mud, malaria and machine guns.


   Anzac Biscuits by Phil Cummings & illustrated by Owen Swan
   Notable Book in the picture book category of the 2014 Children’s Book Council Book of the Year Awards.
   Rachel is in the kitchen, warm and safe. Her father is in the trenches, cold and afraid. When Rachel makes biscuits for her father, she adds the love, warmth and hope that he needs. This is a touching story of a family torn apart by war but brought together through the powerful simplicity of Anzac Biscuits.




   Memorial, by Gary Crew & Shaun Tan
   When soldiers return from World War I in 1918, a memorial tree is planted. But generations later, what do those who pause in the shadow of the tree's immense branches remember? This gift picture book--for Memorial Day, Veteran's Day, or any number of other occasions--spotlights trees as living memorials.




 I was only nineteen by John Schumann, ill. Craig Smith
  A powerful and moving picture book about the Vietnam War based on the unforgettable song.
   John Schumann's unforgettable lyrics about the Vietnam War are etched in our memories and into our history books. Now they've been warmly brought to life by one of Australia's best-loved illustrators.





  Gallipoli by Kerry Greenwood ill. Annie White
  It was 1914 and Dusty and Bluey are headed for adventure. They were ANZACS, members of the Australian Light Horse, on their way to the Great War. The story of Bluey and Dusty is a story of family and friendship. It is the story of Gallipoli.








Midnight :The story of a light horse by Mark Greenwood

   A foal is born at midnight, on the homestead side of the river. Coal black. Star ablaze. Moonlight in her eyes. On October 31, 1917, the 4th and 12th Regiments of the Australian Light Horse took part in one of the last great cavalry charges in history. Among the first to leap the enemy trenches was Lieutenant Guy Haydon riding his beloved mare, Midnight. This is their story.




An Anzac tale written by Ruth Starke ; illustrated by Greg Hotfeld (Graphic novel)
When Australia pledges its support to Great Britain at the outbreak of World War I, mates Roy Martin and Wally Cardwell are among the first to enlist. But what the friends first thought would be an adventure soon turns to disaster The day after the landing at Anzac Cove on 25 April 1915, more than 2000 of their fellow Anzacs are dead. As the campaign drags on, life for Wally and Roy and their new friend, Tom, becomes a battle of endurance against a plucky enemy, a hostile landscape, flies, fleas, cold and disease. The story of the Anzac campaign, including the battle of Lone Pine, is interspersed with scenes of Australians at home to show the shift from popular support of the Empire at the start of the war to profound disillusionment as the casualties begin to mount. In this graphic novel, Ruth Starke and Greg Holfeld have combined to create an extraordinary and original work for upper primary students on the subject of Gallipoli and the Anzac campaign.

   Meet the Anzacs by Claire Saxby & illustrated by Max Berry.
   A picture book series about the extraordinary men and women who have shaped Australia's history, including our brave Anzac soldiers. Anzac stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. It is the name given to the Australian and New Zealand troops who landed at Gallipoli in World War I. The name is now a symbol of bravery and mateship. 




The Poppy by Andrew Plant
  Stunningly illustrated in over 70 paintings, The Poppy is the true story of one of Australia's greatest victories, and of a promise kept for nearly a century. On Anzac Day, 1918, a desperate night counter-attack in the French village of Villers-Bretonneux became one of Australia's greatest victories. A bond was forged that night between France and Australia that has never been broken. Villers-Bretonneux is 'The town that never forgets'. What was achieved that terrible night - and what happened after - is a story that, likewise, Australians should never forget.

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Seven deadly sins.... Open book groups


Come along to our Seven Deadly Sins Open Book Groups for lively discussion and friendly debate with people who share a love of books. Tell us about your book suggestions and discover new books to read.

Unlike most book groups, there are no set books to read. Instead, each member brings along their book suggestions to share and discuss.
Everyone is welcome to attend, bookings are preferred, but not are not essential. 


2014 Dates and themes

Lust
Talking about book lust. Who is your literary crush? What book genres, characters and authors get your heart racing? Includes romance novels, of course!

Caringbah Library
Wednesday, 21 May @ 2.00pm. 

Greed
How many books can  you read before this book group? Bring along and many suggestions as you can! Which book have you read that you just couldn't put down? Which authors and series do you devour greedily, always waiting impatiently for their next book?

Engadine Library
Wednesday, 18 June @ 2.00pm

Gluttony

What is the biggest, doorstopper book you have read? Indulge in a discussion about big books and book series, along with gluttony themed books of course, and any other books you want to talk about. The more the merrier. Afternoon tea/supper will be served.

Miranda Library
Wednesday, 16 July @ 2.00pm

Envy

Which books to you wish you could get your hands on? Which books are you waiting to read? Is there a book you wish you had written? Do you like to read debut novels, discovering new authors before anyone else?

Caringbah Library
Wednesday, 20 August @2.00pm

Pride

Have you read a book  to make yourself look good? Or are you proud of having finished a challenging book? What award winners and classic titles have you been reading? 

Sutherland Library
Wednesday, 17 September@ 2.00pm

Wrath
Do you have an author you love to hate? Or a love/hate relationship with a writer?  Do you read crime fiction, thrillers or true crime?

Sutherland Library
Wednesday, 15 October @2.00pm

Sloth
Make the the effort to come along to this book discussion group, nothing to strenuous, just an enjoyable discussion about books! Tell us about books on your to read list, those books you have been meaning to read, but you just haven’t got around to them. Tell us about your lazy summer reads.

Menai Library
Thursday, 20 November,@ 2.00pm


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Ten book Tuesday...books to read over the Easter break.

Tiddas by Anita Heiss
A story about what it means to be a friend …
Five women, best friends for decades, meet once a month to talk about books … and life, love and the jagged bits in between. Dissecting each other’s lives seems the most natural thing in the world – and honesty, no matter how brutal, is something they treasure. Best friends tell each other everything, don’t they? But each woman harbours a complex secret and one weekend, without warning, everything comes unstuck.
Izzy, soon to be the first Black woman with her own television show, has to make a decision that will change everything.
Veronica, recently divorced and dedicated to raising the best sons in the world, has forgotten who she is.
Xanthe, desperate for a baby, can think of nothing else, even at the expense of her marriage. 

The wardrobe girl by Jennifer Smart
After the humiliating end of her last relationship, this is just what TV costume designer, Tess Appleby, needs to hear. Sure, a wardrobe assistant on a soap is a step down from her gig at the BBC, but all Tess wants is an easy life . . .
Unfortunately she's barely arrived on set before she's warding off the attentions of the show's heartthrob, Sean Tyler – and, as a consequence, the hostility of its other star, Bree Brenner.
And if the pressures and politics of working on a TV drama aren't enough, she's living with her high-maintenance mother, an ageing celebrity, and her infuriating sister Emma, an aspiring actress. 
Still, Tess is certain she can deal with everything they throw at her – until Jake Freeman, her ex-fiancé, the man she last saw eight years ago as he walked away and broke her heart, is named the show's new director… 

Fatal Impact by Kathryn Fox
When a girl's dead body is found in a toy box, forensic physician and pathologist Anya Crichton joins the police hunt in her home state of Tasmania for the child's missing mother and sister.
Staying with her increasingly erratic mother, Dr Jocelyn Reynolds, Anya fears the long shadow of her sister Miriam's disappearance has finally driven her mother past the brink of sanity. But Anya soon discovers that Jocelyn is keeping a deadly secret.
When tests conclude a virulent strain of food poisoning was responsible for the child's death, the outbreak begins to spread. Anya pairs up with Internal Affairs detective Oliver Parke to unravel the sinister connections between the fatal epidemic, a covered-up study, the shady deals of a multinational corporation and the alleged murder of a local scientist. Anya has strayed into a high-stakes game so dangerous the players will kill to keep it quiet. With time running short, Anya must uncover the truth before she is silenced - permanently.

Snapper by Brian Kimberling
Nathan Lochmueller studies birds, earning just enough money to live on. He drives a glitter-festooned truck, the Gypsy Moth, and he is in love with Lola, a woman so free-spirited and mysterious she can break a man’s heart with a sigh or a shrug. Around them swirls a remarkable cast of characters: the proprietor of Fast Eddie’s Burgers & Beer, the genius behind “Thong Thursdays”; Uncle Dart, a Texan who brings his swagger to Indiana with profound and nearly devastating results; a snapping turtle with a taste for thumbs; a German shepherd who howls backup vocals; and the very charismatic state of Indiana itself. And at the center of it all is Nathan, creeping through the forest to observe the birds he loves and coming to terms with the accidental turns his life has taken.

The comfort of lies by Randy Susan Meyers
Five years ago . . . 
Tia fell into obsessive love with a man she could never have. When she became pregnant, Nathan disappeared, and she gave up their baby for adoption. 
Caroline reluctantly adopted a baby to please her husband. Now she’s ques¬tioning whether she’s cut out for the role of wife and mother. 
Juliette considered her life ideal: solid marriage, two beautiful sons, and a thriving business. Then she discovered Nathan’s affair. He promised he’d never stray again, and she trusted him. 

Why can't I be like you by Allie Larkin
At one time or another, everyone has wished they could be someone else. Exploring this universal longing, Allie Larkin follows up the success of her debut novel, Stay, with a moving portrait of friendship and identity.
When Jenny Shaw hears someone shout “Jessie!” across a hotel lobby, she impulsively answers. All her life, Jenny has toed the line, but something propels her to seize the opportunity to become Jessie Morgan, a woman to whom she bears an uncanny resemblance. Lonely in her own life, Jenny is embraced by Jessie’s warm circle of friends—and finds unexpected romance. But when she delves into Jessie’s past, Jenny discovers a secret that spurs her to take another leap into the unknown.


We are all completely beside ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler
Meet the Cooke family: Mother and Dad, brother Lowell, sister Fern, and our narrator, Rosemary, who begins her story in the middle. She has her reasons. “I spent the first eighteen years of my life defined by this one fact: that I was raised with a chimpanzee,” she tells us. “It’s never going to be the first thing I share with someone. I tell you Fern was a chimp and already you aren’t thinking of her as my sister. But until Fern’s expulsion, I’d scarcely known a moment alone. She was my twin, my funhouse mirror, my whirlwind other half, and I loved her as a sister.”
Rosemary was not yet six when Fern was removed. Over the years, she’s managed to block a lot of memories. She’s smart, vulnerable, innocent, and culpable. With some guile, she guides us through the darkness, penetrating secrets and unearthing memories, leading us deeper into the mystery she has dangled before us from the start. Stripping off the protective masks that have hidden truths too painful to acknowledge, in the end, “Rosemary” truly is for remembrance.

Coal creek by Alex Miller
Bobby Blue is caught between loyalty to his only friend, Ben Tobin, and his boss, Daniel Collins, the new constable at Mount Hay. 'Ben was not a big man but he was strong and quick as a snake. He had his own breed of pony that was just like him, stocky and reliable on their feet.' Bobby understands the people and the ways of Mount Hay; Collins studies the country as an archaeologist might, bringing his coastal values to the hinterland. Bobby says, 'I do not think Daniel would have understood Ben in a million years.' Increasingly bewildered and goaded to action by his wife, Constable Collins takes up his shotgun and his Webley pistol to deal with Ben. Bobby's love for Collins' wilful young daughter Irie is exposed, leading to tragic consequences for them all.

Man made boy by Jon Skovron
Sixteen-year-old Boy’s never left home.  When you’re the son of Frankenstein’s monster and the Bride, it’s tough to go out in public, unless you want to draw the attention of a torch-wielding mob.  And since Boy and his family live in a secret enclave of monsters hidden under Times Square, it’s important they maintain a low profile.Boy’s only interactions with the world are through the Internet, where he’s a hacker extraordinaire who can hide his hulking body and stitched-together face behind a layer of code.  When conflict erupts at home, Boy runs away and embarks on a cross-country road trip with the granddaughters of Jekyll and Hyde, who introduce him to malls and diners, love and heartbreak. But no matter how far Boy runs, he can’t escape his demons—both literal and figurative—until he faces his family once more.
 
A tale for the time being by Ruth Ozeki
In Tokyo, sixteen-year-old Nao has decided there’s only one escape from her aching loneliness and her classmates’ bullying. But before she ends it all, Nao first plans to document the life of her great grandmother, a Buddhist nun who’s lived more than a century. A diary is Nao’s only solace—and will touch lives in ways she can scarcely imagine.
Across the Pacific, we meet Ruth, a novelist living on a remote island who discovers a collection of artifacts washed ashore in a Hello Kitty lunchbox—possibly debris from the devastating 2011 tsunami. As the mystery of its contents unfolds, Ruth is pulled into the past, into Nao’s drama and her unknown fate, and forward into her own future.






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Ten book Tuesday: If you liked Divergent by Veronica Roth...try one of these ten books!

Ten book Tuesday. Divergent has just arrived cinemas in Australia. Have you read the book? Are you looking for more books like it? Try one of these...
Blood Red Road by Moira Young: In a distant future, eighteen-year-old Lugh is kidnapped, and while his twin sister Saba and nine-year-old Emmi are trailing him across bleak Sandsea they are captured, too, and taken to brutal Hopetown, where Saba is forced to be a cage fighter until new friends help plan an escape.




Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi: Exiled from her safe home in the enclosed city of Reverie, Aria finds herself in the outer wastelands known as the Death Shop. If the cannibals don't get her, the violent energy storms will. There she meets a savage, an Outsider named Perry - wild, dangerous - who is her only chance of survival. But Perry needs Aria, too, and they are forced into an unlikely alliance that will determine the fate of all who live under the never sky.




The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness: Pursued by power-hungry Prentiss and mad minister Aaron, young Todd and Viola set out across New World searching for answers about his colony's true past and seeking a way to warn the ship bringing hopeful settlers from Old World.




Article 5 by Kristen Simmons: Seventeen-year-old Ember Miller is old enough to remember that things weren't always this way. Living with her rebellious single mother, it's hard for her to forget that people weren't always arrested for reading the wrong books or staying out after dark. It's hard to forget that life in the United States used to be different. Ember has perfected the art of keeping a low profile. She knows how to get the things she needs, like food stamps and hand-me-down clothes, and how to pass the random home inspections by the military. Her life is as close to peaceful as circumstances allow. That is, until her mother is arrested for noncompliance with Article 5 of the Moral Statutes. And one of the arresting officers is none other than Chase Jennings - the only boy Ember has ever loved.

The Way We Fall by Megan Crewe: When sixteen-year-old Kaelyn lets her best friend leave for school without saying goodbye, she never dreams that she might not see him again. But then a strange virus begins to sweep through her small island community, infecting young and old alike. As the dead pile up, the government quarantines the island: no one can leave, and no one can come back. Those still healthy must fight for the island's dwindling supplies, or lose all chance of survival. As everything familiar comes crashing down, Kaelyn joins forces with a former rival and discovers a new love in the midst of heartbreak. When the virus starts to rob her of friends and family, she clings to the belief that there must be a way to save the people she holds dearest. Poignant and dizzying, The Way We Fall is the heart-wrenching story of one girl's bravery and unbeatable spirit as she challenges not just her fears, but her sense of what makes life worth living.

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi: Ostracized or incarcerated her whole life, seventeen-year-old Juliette is freed on the condition that she use her horrific abilities in support of The Reestablishment, a post-apocalyptic dictatorship, but Adam, the only person ever to show her affection, offers hope of a better future.




Reboot by Amy Tintera:  '5 years ago, I died. 178 minutes later, I woke up.' In this post-apocalyptic thriller a deadly virus mutation sees teenagers raised from the dead and trained to be vicious soldiers until Wren, the deadliest Reboot, joins forces with Callum, the most innocent, to try to overthrow the organisation that has corrupted their world.




The Program by Suzanne Young: When suicide becomes a worldwide epidemic, the only known cure is The Program, a treatment in which painful memories are erased, a fate worse than death to seventeen-year-old Sloane who knows that The Program will steal memories of her dead brother and boyfriend. 





Breathe by Sarah Crossan: The world is dead. The survivors live under the protection of Breathe, the corporation that found a way to manufacture oxygen - rich air. Alina has been stealing for a long time. She is a little jittery, but not terrified. All she knows is that she is never been caught before. If she's careful, it will be easy. If she is careful. Quinn should be worried about Alina and a bit afraid for himself, too, but even though this is dangerous, it is also the most interesting thing to happen to him in ages. It isn't every day that the girl of your dreams asks you to rescue her. Bea wants to tell him that none of this is fair; they'd planned a trip together, the two of them, and she'd hoped he'd discover her out here, not another girl. And as they walk into the Outlands with two days' worth of oxygen in their tanks, everything they believe will be shattered. Will they be able to make it back? Will they want to?

Birthmarked by Caragh M. O’Brien:  In the future, in a world baked dry by the harsh sun, there are those who live inside the walled Enclave and those, like sixteen-year-old Gaia Stone, who live outside. Following in her mother's footsteps Gaia has become a midwife, delivering babies in the world outside the wall and handing a quota over to be "advanced" into the privileged society of the Enclave. Gaia has always believed this is her duty, until the night her mother and father are arrested by the very people they so loyally serve.


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Ten book Tuesday... cities and the urban experience


Read ten tales about cities and the urban experience. Choose from factual, fiction and fantasy books...


The city and the city by China Mieville. Inspector Tyador Borlú must travel to Ul Qoma to search for answers in the murder of a woman found in the city of Besźel. "When the body of a murdered woman is found in the extraordinary, decaying city of Bes el, somewhere at the edge of Europe, it looks like a routine case for Inspector Tyador Borlu of the Extreme Crime Squad. But as he probes, the evidence begins to point to conspiracies far stranger, and more deadly, than anything he could have imagined. Soon his work puts him and those he cares for in danger. Borlu must travel to the only metropolis on Earth as strange as his own, across a border like no other. With shades of Kafka and Philip K. Dick, Raymond Chandler and 1984 The City & The City is a murder mystery taken to dazzling metaphysical and artistic heights.

Leviathan: the unauthorised biography of Sydney by John Birmingham. An electrifying, epic history of the city of Sydney as you have never seen her before. 'To peer deeply into this ghost city, the one lying beneath the surface, is to understand that Sydney has a soul and that it is a very dark place indeed.' Beneath the shining harbour, amid the towers of global greed and deep inside the bad-drugs madness of the suburban wastelands, lies Sydney's shadow history. Terrifying tsunamis, corpse-robbing morgue staff, killer cops, neo-Nazis, power junkies and bumbling SWOS teams electrify this epic tale of a city with a cold vacuum for a moral core. Birmingham drills beneath the cover story of a successful multicultural metropolis and melts the boundaries between past and present to reveal a ghost city beneath the surface of concrete and glass.  This is available as an ebook.

Winters tale by Mark Heprin. New York City is subsumed in arctic winds, dark nights, and white lights, its life unfolds, for it is an extraordinary hive of the imagination, the greatest house ever built, and nothing exists that can check its vitality. One night in winter, Peter Lake - orphan and master-mechanic, attempts to rob a fortress-like mansion on the Upper West Side. Though he thinks the house is empty, the daughter of the house is home. Thus begins the love between Peter Lake, a middle-aged Irish burglar, and Beverly Penn, a young girl, who is dying. Peter Lake, a simple, uneducated man, because of a love that, at first he does not fully understand, is driven to stop time and bring back the dead. His great struggle, in a city ever alight with its own energy and beseiged by unprecedented winters, is one of the most beautiful and extraordinary stories of American literature.

Communion Town by Sam Thompson. The Man Booker longlisted novel is explores how each of us conjures up our own city. Every city is made of stories: stories that meet and diverge, stories of the commonplace and the strange, of love and crime, of ghosts and monsters. The iridescent, Man Booker longlisted Communion Town is reminiscent of David Mitchell's Ghostwritten and Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities, it is the story of a place that never looks the same way twice: a place imagined anew by each citizen who walks through the changing streets among voices half-heard, signs half-glimpsed and desires half-acknowledged. This is the story of a city.




The city by Dean Koontz. There are millions of stories in the city—some magical, some tragic, others terror-filled or triumphant. Jonah Kirk’s story is all of those things as he draws readers into his life in the city as a young boy, introducing his indomitable grandfather, also a “piano man”; his single mother, a struggling singer; and the heroes, villains, and everyday saints and sinners who make up the fabric of the metropolis in which they live—and who will change the course of Jonah’s life forever. Welcome to The City, a place of evergreen dreams where enchantment and malice entwine, where courage and honor are found in the most unexpected corners and the way forward lies buried deep inside the heart. on order, request a copy now.

The devil in the white city by Erik Larson. Author Erik Larson imbues the incredible events surrounding the 1893 Chicago World's Fair with such drama that readers may find themselves checking the book's categorization to be sure that 'The Devil in the White City' is not, in fact, a highly imaginative novel. Larson tells the stories of two men: Daniel H. Burnham, the architect responsible for the fair's construction, and H.H. Holmes, a serial killer masquerading as a charming doctor.





NW by Zadie Smith. This is the story of a city. The north-west corner of a city. Here you'll find guests and hosts, those with power and those without it, people who live somewhere special and others who live nowhere at all. And many people in between. Every city is like this. Cheek-by-jowl living. Separate worlds. And then there are the visitations: the rare times a stranger crosses a threshold without permission or warning, cause a disruption in the whole system. Like the April afternoon a woman came to Leah Hanwell's door, seeking help, disturbing the peace, forcing Leah out of her isolation.




Paris by Edward Rutherfurd.  Presents a multigenerational saga detailing the history of Paris, from its founding under the Romans to the hotbed of cultural activity during the 1920s and 1930s.









Down and out in Paris and London by George Orwell. Written when Orwell was a struggling writer in his twenties this book documents his 'first contact with poverty': sleeping in bug-infested hostels, working as a dishwasher in Paris surviving on scraps and cigarette butts, living alongside tramps.








Tales of the city by Armistead Maupin. This is the first in a series of novels.
For more than three decades, Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City has blazed its own trail through popular culture - from a groundbreaking newspaper serial to a classic novel, to a television event that entranced millions around the world. San Francisco, 1976. A naive young secretary, fresh out of Cleveland, tumbles headlong into a brave new world of laundromat Lotharios, pot-growing landladies, cut throat debutantes and Jockey Shorts dance contests. The saga that ensues is manic, romantic, tawdry, touching and outrageous.


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Readwatchplay Twitterchat for April is #Urbanread.

April 2014

street graffiti - flickr image from ioBeto
street graffiti – flickr image from ioBeto

#urbanread

April is the month for #urbanread – books, films and games set in any environment ranging from a densely populated city, towns (even small towns)  to small villages. They may be set in any time period including the Victorian era or the distant future.  The city itself may become a character, such as in books about urban places.
 Consider reading author Ian Rankin or watch the My Place series by Nadia Wheatley to explore this.  You may like to read urban fantasy, featuring magic and strange creatures,  a great example is American Gods by Neil Gaiman,  and don't forget Cassandra Clare.
This is the month to go local. Read something set in your local area-your place, where you recognise the landmarks, cafes, sights, maybe even the vibe of the town re-created in the setting of the books. Plan some urban travels to compliment your #urbanread.  If you want some factual information about your environment, start your research in the local studies section of your local library. Incidentally, this  is also a good place to find something to read by a local author.  You may like to read further afield, for example, about slums, such as described in Slum Dog Millionaire. You  might enjoy reading about  buildings, urban planning or architecture.
Sustainability in our environment is another  hot topic. In both fact and fiction there’s lots to read, watch and learn about. Choose something to read from the selection of Goodreads Sustainability book lists. Watch a movie, anything from Happy Feet or  Wall- E to documentaries such as An inconvenient truth.
What about crime, including true crime?  Crime stories can be set in any environment, usually urban. Read about underworld figures.  Underbelly, Ripper Street, and Sherlock all present great watching for #urbanread.
While street art adorns the urban landscape, graffiti often poses the question – art or vandalism? You decide – try exploring  the issue by reading  some books celebrating the art of graffiti. You may enjoy some Graffiti in fiction.
Street literature is another upcoming genre to try.
Sometimes stories are based on an urban legend – why not scare yourself silly reading horror stories? Read something by these masters of horror – Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Edgar Allan Poe, Graham Masterton, H.P Lovecraft – they will leave you reading with the lights on. Many of these have also inspired film adaptations. Which is spookier, the book or the movie?
While you are reading, playing or watching your #urbanread, you might like to tweet about it using #urbanread #rwpchat so that other people can have a conversation with you about your #urbanread.  You can add to the discussion on Pinterest too. You might like to post your photographs to Instagram or Flickr and use #urbanread #rwpchat so others can share in your reading, watching and playing.
 There will be a twitter discussion on 29 April starting at 8.00pm Australian Eastern Standard Time.   9.00pm New Zealand  Time, 6.00pm Singapore Standard Time, 12.00 noon Central European Summer Time.  Note : this is a staggered start to the discussion.
Use the tags #urbanread and #rwpchat as you discuss the reading, watching playing that is your experience of urbanread, so others can join in the conversation too.

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