Looking for a good book? Staff favourites, Week Five.

The Japanese Lover/ Isabel Allende
From internationally bestselling author Isabel Allende comes an exquisitely crafted love story and multigenerational epic that sweeps from present-day San Francisco to Poland and the United States during WWII. In 1939, as Poland falls under the shadow of the Nazis and the world goes to war, young Alma Belasco's parents send her away to live in safety with an aunt and uncle in their opulent mansion in San Francisco. There she meets Ichimei Fukuda, the son of the family's Japanese gardener, and between them a tender love blossoms. Following Pearl Harbor, the two are cruelly pulled apart when Ichimei and his family - like thousands of Japanese Americans - are declared enemies by the US government and relocated to internment camps. Throughout their lifetimes, Alma and Ichimei reunite again and again, but theirs is a love they are forever forced to hide from the world. Decades later, Alma is nearing the end of her long and eventful life.

Readalikes: 
 Hotel on the corner of Bitter and Sweet/ Jamie Ford
The garden of the evening mists/ Tan Twan
Captain Corelli's MandolinLouis de Bernières.

Everyone brave is forgiven/ Chris Cleave
When war is declared, Mary North leaves finishing school unfinished, goes straight to the War Office, and signs up. Tom Shaw decides to give it a miss - until his flatmate Alistair unexpectedly enlists, and the conflict can no longer be avoided. Young, bright and brave, Mary is certain she'd be a marvelous spy. When she is - bewilderingly - made a teacher, she instead finds herself defying prejudice to protect the children her country would rather forget. Tom, meanwhile, finds that he will do anything for Mary. And when Mary and Alistair meet, it is love, as well as war, that will test them in ways they could not have imagined, entangling three lives in violence and passion, friendship and deception, inexorably shaping their hopes and dreams. In a powerful combination of both humour and heartbreak, this dazzling novel weaves little-known history, and a perfect love story, through the vast sweep of the Second World War - daring us to understand that, against the great theatre of world events, it is the intimate losses, the small battles, the daily human triumphs, that change us most.

Readalikes:
All the light we cannot see/ Anthony Doerr
The beekeeper's daughter/ Santa Montefiore

Snow white must die/ Nele Neuhaus ; translated by Steven T. Murray. 
On a wet November day, Detectives Pia Kirchoff and Oliver von Bodenstein are summoned to the scene of a mysterious accident. A woman has fallen from a bridge onto the motorway below. It seems that she may have been pushed. The investigation leads them to a small town near Frankfurt, and the home of the victim, Rita Cramer.

On a September evening eleven years earlier, two seventeen-year-old girls, Laura and Stefanie (also known as Snow White), vanished without trace from this same village. In a trial based entirely on circumstantial evidence, Stefanie's boyfriend, handsome and talented, Tobias Sartorius, was sentenced to ten years in prison. He has now returned to his home in an attempt to clear his name.

Rita Cramer is his mother. In the village, Pia and Oliver encounter a wall of silence. But when another young girl goes missing, the events of the past repeat themselves in a disastrous manner. The investigation turns into a dramatic race against time, because for the villagers, there is soon no doubt as to the identity of the perpetrator. And this time they are determined to take matters into their own hands.

Readalikes: 
The hypnotist/ Lars Kepler
Even dogs in the wild/ Ian McEwan
When the music's over/ Peter Robinson

Our Souls at night/ Kent Haruf
In the familiar setting of Holt, Colorado, home to all of Kent Haruf’s inimitable fiction, Addie Moore pays an unexpected visit to a neighbor, Louis Waters. Her husband died years ago, as did his wife, and in such a small town they naturally have known of each other for decades; in fact, Addie was quite fond of Louis’s wife. His daughter lives hours away, her son even farther, and Addie and Louis have long been living alone in empty houses, the nights so terribly lonely, especially with no one to talk with. But maybe that could change? As Addie and Louis come to know each other better–their pleasures and their difficulties–a beautiful story of second chances unfolds, making Our Souls at Night the perfect final installment to this beloved writer’s enduring contribution to American literature.

Readalikes: 
Etta and Otto and Russell and James/ Emma Hooper
Major Pettigrew's last stand/ Helen Simonson
Dear Life/ Alice Munro

The Fireman/ Joe Hill
The fireman is coming. Stay cool.
No one knows exactly when it began or where it originated. A terrifying new plague is spreading like wildfire across the country, striking cities one by one: Boston, Detroit, Seattle. The doctors call it Draco Incendia Trychophyton. To everyone else it’s Dragonscale, a highly contagious, deadly spore that marks its hosts with beautiful black and gold marks across their bodies—before causing them to burst into flames. Millions are infected; blazes erupt everywhere. There is no antidote. No one is safe.

Readalikes:
Red right hand/ Chris Holm
Bird Box/ Josh Malerman
Good morning midnight/ Lily Brooks-Dalton


The Strange Library/ Haruki Marukami
'All I did was go to the library to borrow some books'.
On his way home from school, the young narrator of The Strange Library finds himself wondering how taxes were collected in the Ottoman Empire. He pops into the local library to see if it has a book on the subject. This is his first mistake.
Led to a special 'reading room' in a maze under the library by a strange old man, he finds himself imprisoned with only a sheep man, who makes excellent donuts, and a girl, who can talk with her hands, for company. His mother will be worrying why he hasn't returned in time for dinner and the old man seems to have an appetite for eating small boy's brains. How will he escape?

Readalikes: 
Slade house/ David
The little stranger/ Sarah Waters
The Historian/ Elizabeth Kostova
Want More? 
Looking for something new to read these holidays? Let the Library help! During January, fill in the reading profile form on the library website, tell us about the books you like and don't like and we'll suggest a personalised list of 3 books we think you'll love.

Local history, Local stories...The Bonnet

The Bonnet
The Northern Territory might have Uluru, Queensland the Great Barrier Reef, and Victoria the Twelve (or is it Eight?) Apostles, but the Sutherland Shire has The Bonnet!

The Bonnet is a large, irregular-shaped cave which has stood at its post atop a steep bank overlooking the Woronora River for millennia. In February 1868 the Sydney Morning Herald published an article attributing the cave’s ‘queer title’ (sometimes called ‘Old Woman’s Bonnet’ or ‘Sally’s Bonnet’) to its ‘resemblance when viewed from a distance to a gigantic but rather dingy sun-bonnet.’ Never-the-less, the overhanging rock provided excellent shelter and this, along with its beautiful and romantic position, meant that The Bonnet was well-known amongst travellers, explorers and fishermen for many years as an ideal camping spot. Indeed, the prevalence of middens found along the bay indicates that the area was well utilised by the local Indigenous population long before the British arrival of convicts and colonists.
The first recorded venture up what would later be called the Georges and Woronora Rivers was in 1789 when Captain (later Governor) John Hunter, led a party of marines in two longboats on a ten day excursion to explore Botany Bay.  On 30 September 1789, William Bradley, First Lieutenant of the First Fleet’s flagship, HMS Sirius, wrote in his journal ‘Captain Hunter returned from Botany Bay, having survey’d the Bay & taken an eye sketch of the branches.’ Bradley also records the exploration of several caves during this journey, but it is difficult to determine whether The Bonnet was one of those observed.

It was not until 1827, during the administration of Governor Darling, that Assistant Surveyor John Dixon, acting on the direction of Surveyor-General John Oxley, conducted a more comprehensive survey of the Georges and Woronora Rivers, although substantial development of the area did not come till much later. In the 1868 Sydney Morning Herald article, Jolly Under Difficulties, the author describes an adventure undertaken with seven others (including his 3 boys) in which they journeyed down these rivers aboard a sloop called the Rover’s Bride. ‘All the land on the southern side of the bay and Georges River to the Woronora, and on the eastern side of the latter river to its head, is the property of Mr Holt,' he wrote. 'Between Sans Souci and the mouth of the Woronora there are a few fishermen’s and shell-getters huts, but no residence of any pretension.' The travellers later encamped at The Bonnet and despite the torrential rain and unexpected visits from local fishermen in search of ‘eatables’ and a little ‘creature comfort’, were ‘snugly bonneted’ and found the cave ‘as dry as the staunchest house in Sydney’. Sixty years later, in 1928, another summer camp, this time organised by the St George District’s Young People’s Institute Union was held at The Bonnet ‘where a large party of girls spent a very happy time enjoying a programme’ which included ‘campfire concerts, rowing, swimming and vigaro’.

When Assistant Surveyor Dixon explored the area in 1827 he was also instructed to record the Aboriginal names of places and physical features and many, therefore, are still in use today. This includes ‘Woronora’ - although Dixon initially gave the tributary which now bares this name, ‘Wooloonara’. Bonnet Bay, however, takes its name (not surprisingly) from The Bonnet - but this was not the first choice.

In November 1967 the Sutherland Shire Council Minutes record that Councillor Skinner formally moved the motion ‘that the area of Parkes Development’s new subdivision at West Como be named Kirkby’ (after long-standing and respected Shire Clerk, David Kirkby MBE). The motion was carried and it was further resolved that the Council’s decision be referred to the Geographical Names Board. However, the following year when the GNB submitted its shortlist of proposed names from which Council could choose, Kirkby was not included.

Interestingly, along with ‘Bonnet Bay’, the Geographical Names Board also suggested four names taken from a list of Aboriginal words compiled by Captain John Hunter in the early days of the Colony and printed in E.M. Curr’s catchily titled 1886 work, The Australian race: its origin, languages, customs, place of landing in Australia and the routes by which it spread itself over the continent. Those four suggestions were: Narramee (meaning ‘a net’), Baragoola (‘flood tide’), Carraduin (‘a fishing line’) and Bangaray (‘the red kangaroo’). Sutherland Shire Council’s preference was for Bonnet Bay as this name was already widely in use. On 7 March 1969 the NSW Government Gazette reported that the small bay of the Woronora River about 1.5 km NW of Jannali was ‘this day assigned the name BONNET BAY’.

The land on which The Bonnet stands has been private property for many years and the cave, now all but engulfed by suburbia, is rather screened from view, and so this once prominent landmark, has become one of the Sutherland Shire’s hidden, though still significant, treasures.

For more historical photographs of the Sutherland Shire visit sutherlandshire.nsw.gov.au/history

Criminally good reads... January


Behind her eyes/
Sarah Pinborough

The Spy/
Paulo Coelho
The Beautiful Dead/
Belinda Bauer

How not to disappear/
Clare Furniss
Good me bad me /
Ali Land
    
Win, Lose or Draw/
Peter Corris















The bone field/
Simon Kernick
The Watcher/
Ross Armstrong
The jealous kind/
James Lee Burke














Looking for a good book? Staff favourites, week four.

The girl with all the gifts/ M. L. Carey
Not every gift is a blessing. Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant Parks keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don't like her. She jokes that she won't bite. But they don't laugh. Melanie is a very special girl.


Readalikes:
The passage / Justin Cronin
The Chrysalids/ John Wyndham
The Stand/ Stephen King

The golden age/ Joan London
Thirteen-year-old Frank, survivor of Nazi-occupied Hungary, is learning to walk again after contracting polio. In hospital, he befriends Sullivan, a poet, who inspires Frank with his love of words and how they can change a life.When Frank is moved to The Golden Age, the polio convalescent home, he enters a little world that reflects the larger one, where everything occurs: love and desire, death and poetry. Where children must learn that they're alone, even within their families. Then one day Frank sees twelve-year-old Elsa in the Girls' ward, and they quickly form a forbidden, passionate bond.

Readalikes:
In the shadow of the Banyan/ Vaddey Ratner
The Lowland/ Jhumpa Lahiri

A house without windows/ Nadia Hashimi

 For two decades, Zeba was a loving wife, a patient mother, and a peaceful villager. But her quiet life is shattered when her husband, Kamal, is found brutally murdered with a hatchet in the courtyard of their home. Nearly catatonic with shock, Zeba is unable to account for her whereabouts at the time of his death. Barely escaping a vengeful mob, Zeba is arrested and jailed. As Zeba awaits trial, she meets a group of women whose own misfortunes have also led them to these bleak cells. Is Zeba a cold-blooded killer, these young women wonder, or has she been imprisoned, as they have been, for breaking some social rule? For these women, the prison is both a haven and a punishment. Removed from the harsh and unforgiving world outside, they form a lively and indelible sisterhood. Into this closed world comes Yusuf, Zeba's Afghan-born, American-raised lawyer, whose commitment to human rights and desire to help his motherland have brought him back. With the fate of this seemingly ordinary housewife in his hands, Yusuf discovers that, like Afghanistan itself, his client may not be at all what he imagines.

Readalikes:
A thousand splendid suns
The pearl that broke its shell/ Nadia Hashimi
A fort of nine towersQais Akbar Omar.

The lady in the lake / Raymond Chandler
Derace Kingsley's wife ran away to Mexico to get a quickie divorce and marry a Casanova-wannabe named Chris Lavery. Or so the note she left her husband insisted. Trouble is, when Philip Marlowe asks Lavery about it he denies everything and sends the private investigator packing with a flea lodged firmly in his ear. But when Marlowe next encounters Lavery, he's denying nothing - on account of the two bullet holes in his heart. Now Marlowe's on the trail of a killer, who leads him out of smoggy LA all the way to a murky mountain lake..

Readalikes:
The lady from Zagreb/ Phillip Kerr
The Chicago way/ Michael Harvey
Harry's World: A novel in five parts/ A. B Patterson

The Crane Wife/ Patrick Ness
One night, George Duncan - decent man, a good man - is woken by a noise in his garden. Impossibly, a great white crane has tumbled to earth, shot through its wing by an arrow. Unexpectedly moved, George helps the bird, and from the moment he watches it fly off, his life is transformed.

 Readalikes:
The buried giantKazuo Ishiguro
The ocean at the end of the lane/ Neil Gaiman
The bone clocks/ David Mitchell


The Alchemist/Paulo Coelho
A mystical story of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who yearns to travel in search of a worldly treasure. His quest will lead him to riches far different—and far more satisfying—than he ever imagined. Santiago's journey teaches us about the essential wisdom of listening to our hearts, of recognizing opportunity and learning to read the omens strewn along life's path, and, most importantly, to follow our dreams.

 Readalikes:
Soul mountain / Gao Xingjian ; translated from the Chinese by Mabel Lee
The five people you meet in heaven/ Mitch Albom
Siddhartha/ Herman Hesse

Want More? 
Looking for something new to read these holidays? Let the Library help! During January, fill in the reading profile form on the library website, tell us about the books you like and don't like and we'll suggest a personalised list of 3 books we think you'll love.


Looking for a good book? Staff favourites...week three.


Barkskins by Annie Proulx
Barkskins opens in New France in the late 18th century as Rene Sel, an illiterate woodsman, makes his way from Northern France to the homeland to seek a living. Bound to a "seigneur" for three years in exchange for land, he suffers extraordinary hardship and violence, always in awe of the forest he is charged with clearing. In the course of this epic novel, Proulx tells the stories of Rene's children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren, as well as the descendants of his friends and foes, as they travel back to Europe, to China, to New England, always in quest of a livelihood or fleeing stunningly brutal conditions--war, pestilence, Indian attacks, the revenge of rivals.

Readalikes:
News of the world/ Paulette Jiles
Homegoing/ Yaa Gyasi
In the skin of the lionMichael Ondaatje. 


Salt Creek by Lucy Treloar
Salt Creek, 1855, lies at the far reaches of the remote, beautiful and inhospitable coastal region, the Coorong, in the new province of South Australia. The area, just opened to graziers willing to chance their luck, becomes home to Stanton Finch and his large family, including fifteen-year-old Hester Finch. Once wealthy political activists, the Finch family has fallen on hard times. Cut adrift from the polite society they were raised to be part of, Hester and her siblings make connections where they can: with the few travellers that pass along the nearby stock route - among them a young artist, Charles - and the Ngarrindjeri people they have dispossessed. Over the years that pass, an Aboriginal boy, Tully, at first a friend, becomes part of the family. Stanton's attempts to tame the harsh landscape bring ruin to the Ngarrindjeri people's homes and livelihoods, and unleash a chain of events that will tear the family asunder. As Hester witnesses the destruction of the Ngarrindjeri's subtle culture and the ideals that her family once held so close, she begins to wonder what civilization is. Was it for this life and this world that she was educated?

 Readalikes:
The railway man's wife/ Ashley Hay
The secret river/ Kate Grenville
Days without end/ Sebastian Barry


I Am Behind You by John Ajvide Lindqvist
Four families wake up one morning in their caravans, next to their cars, on an ordinary campsite in southern Sweden. However, during the night something strange has happened. Everything else has disappeared, and the world has been transformed into an endless expanse of grass. The sky is blue, but there is no sign of the sun; there are no trees, no flowers, no birds. And every radio plays nothing but the songs of sixties pop icon Peter Himmelstrand.

As the holiday-makers try to come to terms with what has happened, they are forced to confront their deepest fears and secret desires, and in many cases expose the less appealing aspects of their character. Past events that they have tried to bury rise to the surface and take on a terrifying physical form.

Can any of them find a way back to reality?

Readalike authors:
Arnaldur Indridason
Yrsa Sigurdardottir

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Claire Randall is leading a double life. She has a husband in one century - and a lover in another.

In 1946, Claire Randall is back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon in Scotland. Innocently she walks through a stone circle in the Highlands, and finds herself in a violent skirmish taking place in 1743. Suddenly she is a Sassenach, an outlander, in a country torn by war and by clan feuds.

Readalikes:
The river of no return/ Bee Ridgeway
Overseas/ Beatriz Williams
Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict/ Laurie Viera Rigler.

Flawed by Cecilia Ahern
The stunning YA debut from internationally bestselling author Cecelia Ahern. Celestine North lives a perfect life. She's a model daughter and sister, she's well-liked by her classmates and teachers, and she's dating the impossibly charming Art Crevan.But then Celestine encounters a situation in which she makes an instinctive decision. She breaks a rule and now faces life-changing repercussions. She could be imprisoned. She could be branded. She could be found FLAWED.In this stunning novel, bestselling author Cecelia Ahern depicts a society in which perfection is paramount and mistakes are punished. And where one young woman decides to take a stand that could cost her everything.

Readalikes:
Article 5/ Kristen Simmons
Messenger/ Lois Lowry
Delirium/ Lauren Oliver


Want More? 
Looking for something new to read these holidays? Let the Library help! During January, fill in the reading profile form on the library website, tell us about the books you like and don't like and we'll suggest a personalised list of 3 books we think you'll love.