To read or not to read...

A warm and witty  debut novel by a much loved author. She recently visited Sutherland Shire  Library Service to launch the sequel to this bestselling book. 

To read or not to read...that is the question! Read the opening paragraphs of this novel and you decide. 

Not long after schoolkids have rampaged through The Briny Cafe like a flock of hungry seagulls, Ettie Brookbank sits down, with a heavy sigh, at one of the scarred picnic tables in the Square outside. She's just returned from cleaning a house so filthy she'd considered putting a match to it. She'd found used condoms at the bottom of a bed, a bathroom full of bloody tissues, and a kitchen strewn with dirty dishes and cooking pots burnt beyond redemption. The house had always been a tip but this was a new low. To top it off, the owner, a divorced mother of three, had forgotten to leave out her pay, which meant Ettie would have to waste time chasing up the money and put off grocery shopping for a couple of days. 
For a while she'd put aside her anger, telling herself she was lightening the load for a woman raising her children alone. 
Then sh'e stopped vacuuming mid-stream. 
"Ah sod it," she'd thought. "I'm out of here."
The sun was is now low in the sky as the steady pulse of Cook's Basin beats around her. In this sleepy offshore community there are no roads or bridges, no cars, trains, no buses or even bicycles. Just a cluster of dazzling blue bays with mouth watering names Oyster, Kingfisher, Blue Swimmer. 
For once, the beauty of her surroundings fails to soothe her and Ettie feels worn out and anxious. Every time she looks into the future, all she sees are her options fast running out. She flexes her arm muscles. She is strong. Her blood still runs hot. She considers her nest egg sitting tidily in the bank. The stash her mother left her wasn't much but she's never, ever touched it. The numbers, five of them now, are fat with comfort and mean she can make choices. She reckons that's about as close to freedom as most people ever get. 
She could buy a ticket to Paris, find a tiny atlier to live in and get a job in a pâtisserie. Learn to bake meltingly light croissants. Stir crème anglaise dotted with vanilla seeds and rich with egg yolks that hint at decadence, but feel light on the tongue. On her summer holidays, she could hitchhike from Paris to southwest France to make the 800-kilometre pilgrimage along the Compostelle de St Jacques. 
 First, all you can think about are the blisters on your feet. Next you ditch everything from your backpack except a clean pair of knickers and your toothbrush. Finally, the rocks begin to sing to you. 
She wants to hear the rocks singing, she wants to burn bridges, shout from the mountain tops. She wants to lie on a remote sunstruck island dotted with whitewashed houses in fields smelling sweetly of thyme, oregano and rosemary. 

To keep reading this book,  you can request it from the Library. 

Back Issues added to Zinio Digital Magazines

Back issues of digital magazines are now available through the library's Zinio collection. 

The library collection page will contain all of the back issues of magazines currently offered in the library's collection, back to the beginning of of our subscription period in mid 2013 (or if the title was added later, to the date when we first subscribed).

The library's collection page and checkout process has also been enhanced to show more information about each title, including issue date and a list of compatible devices (iPhone, iPad, Android, browser, etc).

Try it for yourself.

Zinio Digital Magazines

OCTOBER - EgoReads for Kids

Quote: A child can ask questions that a wise man cannot answer. ~ Author Unknown

Virtually Perfect  by Dan Gutman
Yip Turner spends more time playing computer games than with other kids. For him, virtual reality usually beats reality! So when his dad, a movie special-effects designer, brings home new software for creating virtual actors, Yip is psyched. He and his sister create 'Victor,' a boy who is smart, handsome, and charmingly perfect in everyway. But when Victor leaves cyberspace and invades their world, Yip realizes that there are bugs in his dad's virtual-actor software. Now his family - and possibly the whole world ... may be in danger. (What happens when you forget to program morals into your virtual double - it can't be good!)

Hank Zipzer the World's Greatest Underachiever  
by Henry Winkler 
About The Series: Inspired by the true life experiences of Henry Winkler (from Happy Days fame), this winning series is about the world's greatest underachiever, it's funny, touching, and deals with learning differences in a gentle and humorous manner. My favourite thing about Hank Zipzer is that he is resourceful. Just because he can't figure something out doesn't mean that he won't find a way.  I love his sense of humor. 

Goddess Girls  by Joan Holub
This series is about the famous goddesses Artemis, Athena, Aphrodite and Persephone as tweens attending the Mount Olympus Academy - and lately, I started to think of why I love them so much. I guess, I just love seeing friendship portrayed in the way it should be, especially among young girls: something that makes you stronger and makes you feel accepted for who you are, and with fabulous people who are completely different to you but love you anyway. These girls also have conflicts and problems, but they solve them by talking to each other. Also, by not letting a misunderstanding stand between them and by loving and supporting each other.

What is Freegal?

Free legal music downloads from the Sony catalogue.
Every week you can download 3 songs.
In no time you will have a great playlist.
Find your favourites.
Find treasures you may never have tried before in case you wasted your money.
If you lose this link just search Freegal in the library catalogue or find it on the library web site under Online Collections.

To read or not to read...

Today's book is by a most famous gothic author, best known for their vampires stories.  Making a return to the horror genre, this novel  is the first of a strange and mythic imagining of the world of wolfen powers It tells the story of a young man who is attacked and turns into a werewolf, and his subsequent exhilarating journey of being and becoming both wolf and man. 

To read or not to read.. that is the question! Read the opening paragraphs below and then you can decide whether to keep reading...

Reuben was a tall man, well over six feet, with curly brown hair and deep set blue eyes.  “Sunshine Boy” was his nickname, and he hated it; so he tended to suppress what the world called an irrepressible smile. But he was a little too happy right now to put on his studious expression, and try to look older than his twenty three years.
 He was walking up a steep hill in the fierce ocean wind with an exotic and elegant older woman named Marchent  Nideck and he really loved all she was saying about the big house on the cliff. She was lean, with a narrow beautifully sculpted face, and that kind of yellow hair that never fades. She wore it straight back from her forehead in a soft wavy swinging bob that curled under just above her shoulders. He loved the picture she made in her long brown knit dress and high polished brown boots.
He was doing a story for the San Francisco observer on the  giant house and her hopes of selling it now that the estate had at last been settled , and her great uncle felix had been declared officially dead. The man had been gone for twenty years, but his will had just been opened, and the house left to Marchent, his niece.

They’d been walking the forested slopes of the property since Reuben arrived visiting a ramshackle old guesthouse and the ruin of a barn. They’d followed old roads and old paths lost in the brush, and now and then come out to a rocky ledge above the cold iron coloured Pacific, only to duck back quickly into the sheltered and damp world of gnarled oak and bracken.
Reuben wasn’t dressed for this really. He’d driven north  in his usual uniform of worsted wool blue blazer over a thin cashmere sweater, and gray slacks. But at least he had a scarf his neck that he’d pulled from the glove compartment. And he really didn’t mind the biting cold. 

 To keep reading this book, request it from the Library.

Man Booker Prize 2013 Winner

The Man Booker Prize for Fiction, 2013 has been announced. 

Congratulations to Eleanor Catton, author of The Luminaries, who is the youngest ever winner of the Man Booker Prize. At 832 pages, The Luminaries is also the longest novel to ever win this prestigious prize. 

 The story is set in 1866, and Walter Moody has come to make his fortune upon the New Zealand goldfields. On arrival, he stumbles across a tense gathering of twelve local men, who have met in secret to discuss a series of unsolved crimes. A wealthy man has vanished, a whore has tried to end her life, and an enormous fortune has been discovered in the home of a luckless drunk. Moody is soon drawn into the mystery: a network of fates and fortunes that is as complex and exquisitely patterned as the night sky.

Fiction at its finest!

The shortlisted books were as follows:

We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo (Chatto & Windus)
The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton (Granta)
The Harvest by Jim Crace (Picador)
The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri (Bloomsbury)
A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki (Canongate)
The Testament of Mary by Colm Tóibín (Penguin)

To read or not to read...

As the 200th Anniversary of the publication of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen draws to a close, now is the perfect time to read a new book inspired by this beloved novel. Not a sequel, a prequel, or including the paranormal, this new novel  has been described as the other half of Pride and Prejudice;  a reimagined tale told from a rather different perspective...

To read or not to read, that is the question! Read these opening paragraphs of this novel and you decide....

There could be no wearing of clothes without their laundering, just as surely as there could be no going without clothes, not in Hertfordshire anyway, and not in September. Washday  could not be avoided, but the weekly purification of the household's linen was nonetheless a dismal prospect for Sarah. 
The air was sharp at four thirty in the mornin, when she started work. The iron pump handle was cold and even with her mitts on, her chilblains flared as she heaved the water up from the underground dark and into her waiting pail. A long day to be got through, and this just the very start of it. 
All else was stillness. Sheep huddled in drifts in the hillside; birds in the hedgegrows were fluffed like thistledown; in the woods, fallen leaves rustled with the passage of a hedgehog; the stream caught sunlight and glistened over the rocks. Below, in the barn, cows huffed clouds of sweet breath, and in the sty, the sow twitched, her piglets bundled at her belly. Mrs Hill and her husband, up high in their tiny attic, slept the black blank sleep of deep fatigue; two floors below in the principal bed chamber, Mr and Mrs Bennet were a pair of churchyard humps under the counterpane. The young ladies, all five of them sleeping in their beds, were dreaming of whatever it was that young ladies dream. 
And over it all, icy starlight shone; it shone on the slate rooves and flagged yard and the necessary house and the shubbery and the little wilderness off the side of the lawn.and on the coveys where the pheasnats huddled, and on Sarah, one of the two Longbourn housemaids, who cranked the pump, and filled a bucket, and rolled it aside, her palms already sore, and then set another bucket down to fill it too. 
 Over the eastern hills the sky was fading to a transparent indigo. Sarah, glancing up, hands stuffed into ther armpits, her breath clouding the air, dreamed of the wild places beyond the horizon where it was already full light, and of how, when her day was over, the sun would be shining in other places still, on the Barbadoes and Antigua and Jamacia where dark men worked half-naked, and on the Americas where the Indians wore almost no clothes at all, and where there was consequently very little in the way of laundry, and how one day she would go there, and never have to wash other people's underthings again. 

To keep reading this book, you can request it from the Library. 

Introducing Renewals for Overdrive Books

Overdrive have just released a new feature allowing users to renew eBooks and Audiobooks they have borrowed from the library. Three days before your Overdrive titles are due to expire you will see an option to renew them in your Overdrive bookshelf.

Overdrive renewals work just like reserves. If no one else has a hold on the title you have borrowed you can renew the title. Overdrive will send you an email with a link to checkout and download the title again immediately after your first loan expires.

In practice, the renewal feature allows you to place a hold on a title 3 days before it expires to ensure you are next in line to borrow that book

If, however, other people are waiting for the title you can still use the renew link but it will place a hold on the title and you will go to the end of the queue.

To renew an Overdrive title simply login to your account on the Sutherland Library Overdrive website or via the Overdrive Media Console app on your device and navigate to your Bookshelf. You will see the renew option appear next to each title 3 days before it is due to expire. You can see titles you have renewed under Holds on your account.

Note that you can only renew each title once.

If you have any problems using renewals or any other features of Overdrive eBooks and Audiobooks please drop in and ask at any branch library or email us at and we'll do our best to help.

OCTOBER - EgoReads for Kiddies

It's ALL about ME:
Mother: "No, you can't have the iPad right now!"
4yo reply: "I can't believe this. NO ONE UNDERSTANDS MY LIFE!" *throws his hands up and stomps away*

The Wrong Book  by Nick Bland
Nicholas Ickle has a big problem. He is trying to tell us HIS story. Yet everything he tries to tell us what his book is about... silly things happen to stop him. Elephants show up. Pirates appear. Then, there are the rats. Nickolas keeps telling these creatures that they have to go away, after all they are in the... Wrong Book! The Wrong Book is goofy and fun. After the first reading, my grandson started in with 'You’re in the wrong book'. I can see this being one of those books that he pretends to read as the text is quite simple with the illustrations giving clever visual prompts.

No Bears  by Meg McKinlay & Leila Rudge
Ruby is in charge of this book. And she'll tell you something right now. There are NO BEARS in it. Not even one! Ruby would like to tell you a story. A story with absolutely no bears, Ruby is sick of bears! You don t need bears for a book. You need pretty things like fairies and princesses and castles. And maybe funny things and exciting things but definitely no bears!

Mortimer  by Robert Munsch
This is the story of a boy named Mortimer who does not want to go to bed. When he is put to bed he is told to be QUIET, however, Mortimer decides to sing at the top of his lungs and disrupt everybody in the house. The family gets so fed up with the noise that they end up calling the police. This story gives the impression that it was written from the point of view of a parent who was driven crazy by the noise from their young son. This book is lots of fun, especially if you can get the kids to sing his special song really loudly! Get the family to join in and make a huge racket!

The Terrible Suitcase  by Emma Allen and Freya Blackwood - Sometimes you don’t always get what you want. Instead of the rocket backpack, you might end up with a terrible suitcase for the very first day of school. And this makes you mad! But sometimes what you think is terrible, might not be so terrible after all, especially when there are rocket ships and new friends involved. The Terrible Suitcase is a lovely story about acceptance, making friends and new experiences.


October School Holiday Report

It's Magic!
This was our holiday theme and boy... did we have a fun fortnight!

We had Trevor's Drawing Workshops at Sutherland and Menai libraries which were ALL fully attended (approximately 75 kids). Trevor is one of our regular events and has a fine following of artistic attendees. Trevor also caters to children who just want to improve their drawing and colouring skills or if they are complete beginners. You have to be at least 7 years old to join this program.

We had some seriously creative Lego construction going on for the 6-12 year olds. These were held at both Sutherland and Sylvania. Due to the raging success of this event we will be holding more of these sessions in the future.
Unfortunately for some we booked-out very early, so don't forget to get in quick 3 weeks before the event to secure your child's attendance.

At Sutherland we had a riotous Storytime event with a visiting magical wizard who attempted some inept prestidigitation (lame magical tricks). Our staff at most of our branches told magical stories, played a magical memory game, sang silly songs, showed a short film and helped construct a Jack-in-the-box craft for the kids to take home. 

Last, but certainly not least - we had Joel Howlett (a REAL magician) present his spectacular magic show to 62 awestruck children. He produced doves from silk hankies, changed the colours of scarves mid-air, he then apparated a little black bunny (whose name was David Hopperfield) into cake tin. 
Staff and parents were desperately hoping for cake... but the baby bunny was much cuter!  
Joel even doubled up for a juggling/ magic workshop in the afternoon.
Thank you Joel we had a truly magical time!

October - Music and Mental Health

Freegal is the library's feature database this month and as it is Mental Health Month we are using one to highlight the other!

Kindness: little acts, big impacts is this years Mental Health Month theme.

Upon hearing this, the song 'From little things, big things grow', from Paul Kelly came to mind. The association of music and songs with our everyday world, occurs to most of us.

Freegal has a few cover versions of this song, which library members can download and own free and legally! By downloading the little number of 3 songs a week from Freegal, you can soon have a big collection of music. Ask staff to demonstrate or try it out now. Don't forget to tell your friends.

Have your library card handy to be able to download from the thousands of songs, instrumentals and music videos available for you! Look for music by artist, album, genre or song. From Rave to Folk, Heavy Metal to Devotional, Classic to Salsa you are bound to find something to suit your mood. Once you are logged in, you can listen to a preview before downloading, so you only get the music you like! 

If downloading music is not your style the library has many music records on CD. Look for music in the catalogue and use the filters on the left to narrow down your options. Or search for a specific artist, album or song.

Do you prefer to watch? Then try out some of the 1300 music DVD’s the library has for loan. Freegal also has music videos for download.

Or do you play an instrument or sing? Try out our music score collection.

Maybe you don’t play but have always wanted to? Then check out the range of music instruction materials available. (Remember the filters!) Or try searching by the instrument you want to learn.

“Music can change the world because it can change people.”

“Music acts like a magic key, to which the most tightly closed heart opens.”
Maria von Trapp

“ music isn't just music- its medicine.”
Kanye West

There is much research to support comments like those above and that is why for Mental Health Month, the library encourages you to explore it’s range of music.

The Mental Health Association provides 10 tips for stressing less, Freegal has music to match, log in and listen to the previews if you like them, download and keep them!
1) Call a friend
2) Walk wherever you can
3) Let go of what you can’t control
4) Go out of your way to make someones day
5) Offer and accept help
6) Do one thing at a time
7) Surround yourself with reminders of what you love
8) Learn more about something that amazes you
9) Write it down
10) Make time for fun
The library also has many resources you can use to find out more about mental health and specific conditions. Search the catalogue to discover the range.