Too busy to read a book in December – try a short read

If reading a book is the last thing on your mind in between all that planning for festivities, shopping or simply the end of year wind down, what do you read while you take a break?  Why not try a short read like a magazine, news article or get a quick snapshot of what is happening in the world.

Sutherland Shire Libraries can give you access to a wide range of short reads.

To read or not to read...

"A man of forty-five, with a heavy black moustache and ruggedly handsome features."  

This quote describes the main character in this popular dystopian novel. Perfect for MOvember! In 2005, this novel was chosen by TIME magazine as one of the 100 best English-language novels from 1923 to 2005. It also has a place on both lists of Modern Library 100 best novels. 

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

It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. Winston Smith, his chin nuzzled into his breast in an effort to escape the vile wind, slipped quickly through the glass doors of Victory Mansions, though not quickly enough to prevent a swirl of gritty dust from entering along with him.

The hallway smelt of boiled cabbage and old rag mats. At one end of it a coloured poster, too large for indoor display, had been tacked to the wall. It depicted simply an enormous face, more than a metre wide: the face of a man of about forty-five, with a heavy black moustache and ruggedly handsome features. Winston made for the stairs. It was no use trying the lift. Even at the best of times it was seldom working, and at present the electric current was cut off during daylight hours. It was part of the economy drive in preparation for Hate Week. The flat was seven flights up, and Winston, who was thirty-nine and had a varicose ulcer above his right ankle, went slowly, resting several times on the way. On each landing, opposite the lift-shaft, the poster with the enormous face gazed from the wall. It was one of those pictures which are so contrived that the eyes follow you about when you move. BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU, the caption beneath it ran.

Inside the flat a fruity voice was reading out a list of figures which had something to do with the production of pig-iron. The voice came from an oblong metal plaque like a dulled mirror which formed part of the surface of the right-hand wall. Winston turned a switch and the voice sank somewhat, though the words were still distinguishable. The instrument (the telescreen, it was called) could be dimmed, but there was no way of shutting it off completely. He moved over to the window: a smallish, frail figure, the meagreness of his body merely emphasized by the blue overalls which were the uniform of the party. His hair was very fair, his face naturally sanguine, his skin roughened by coarse soap and blunt razor blades and the cold of the winter that had just ended.

Lou Reed tribute in Rolling Stone available on Zinio now

This month, Rolling Stone remembers an outsider who took rock to the underground, Lou Reed. Including tributes from Bono, Michael Stipe, Mick Jagger and more.

This edition also takes a look at Danny Mena, the chef who is making ‘the tastiest tacos you’ve ever had’ and Becky G, Dr. Luke’s latest protégée: a 16 year old Mexican-American rapper who’s huge on YouTube.

Other featured include: Ringo Starr’s life in photos, how Norman Reedus became the breakout star of Walking Dead, why the geeky sisters of Haim are this year’s coolest new band and a review of Eminem’s grown up sequel to The Marshall Mathers LP.

Download the magazine FREE from Zinio, simply log onto your library website to find out more.

Studying online? Get support here!

Sutherland and Cronulla libraries are each providing dedicated staff, once a week, to assist with study online. It's a great opportunity to meet other online students face to face and discuss the issues particular to this style of study.

Sutherland Shire Libraries are working with OUA as part of the OUA Connect library program, developed by the Student Success unit of Open Universitities Australia. Studies have found that online students are much more likely to progress through their coursework and meet their goals, if they have some face to face support.

That's where the library can step in. Staff can guide students through the OUA, and partner educational institution websites and systems. Whilst location of resouces for assessment tasks is, of course, the librarian's specialty. Put them to the test!

You are welcome to attend the informal sessions, whether you are a first timer, tackling one unit or an old hand going for a full degree. There is no requirement to be studying through OUA just online. What happens at each session, is dependant upon what you, the participants want to know. There is no obligation to attend all sessions, attend one or all. The choice is yours.

Meeting times are:
Cronulla Library - every Monday evening, 6pm - 7pm
Sutherland Library - every Saturday afternoon, 2pm - 3pm

The sessions commence this coming Monday 25th November and will continue through to the end of Study Period 4, Saturday 22nd February 2014.

Scandi-noir: A (biased) list

It’s dark, bleak and lonely. The protagonists are often flawed, fractured characters with damaged souls. These are some of the ingredients of Scandinavian-noir, a sub-genre of crime writing popularised by writers such as Stieg Larsson (Swedish), Jo Nesbo (Norwegian) and Henning Mankell (Swedish).

My first encounter with Scandi-noir was via the author Asa Larsson, who I mistakenly borrowed in the place of Stieg in the prime of his popularity. Larsson continues to be a favourite of mine in the genre, her sparse prose borders on the poetic, and the atmosphere she creates of Kiruna in far-North Sweden is visceral and raw. Asa Larsson and the other writers on this list may be lesser known, but they are no less powerful.

Note: This list contains both writers of stand-alone novels and writers of series. It is also not an exhaustive list but rather those I most recommend.
Alvtegen, Karin (Swedish)

Arnaldur Indridason (Icelandic)

Blaedel, Sara (Danish)

Bohman, Therese (Swedish)

Edwardson, Åke (Swedish)

Enger, Thomas (Norwegian)

Eriksson, Kjell (Swedish)

Fossum, Karin (Norwegian)

Heivoll, Gaute (Norwegian)

Hjorth, Michael (Swedish)

Høeg, Peter (Danish)

Holt, Anne (Swedish)

Jungstedt, Mari (Swedish)

Kallentoft, Mons (Swedish)

Kepler, Lars (Swedish)

Larsson, Asa (Swedish)

Nesser, Håkan (Swedish)

Ohlsson, Kristina (Swedish)

Persson, Leif G. W. (Swedish)

Roslund, Anders (Swedish)

Tursten, Helene (Swedish)

Yrsa Sigurðardóttir (Icelandic)

Let us know what you think of these writers or of Scandi-noir in general!
(Dasha - Cronulla library)

Garden Storytime - Miranda

Please join us for a special Preschool Garden Storytime at Miranda Library. A representative from Miranda Community Garden will give us a brief overview of how a community garden operates and they will bring in samples of their plants and produce. A gardening themed storytime and craft will follow. All welcome, bring a friend.

Where: Miranda Library 31 Wandella Road
When: Monday 25th November 2013
Time: 10.30am
Duration: 45 minutes
Free event, no booking required.

Writers' Unleashed Festival Wrap Up

Last weekend, I was lucky enough to attend the Writers' Unleashed Festival. Now in it's 5th year, this festival based in the Sutherland Shire aims to bring writers, readers and professionals together to enhance and share knowledge about writing and the publishing industry. The festival is organised by Jodie Wells-Slowgrove, founder and co-ordinator, as well as a team of assistants who generously volunteer their time to ensure the smooth-running of this wonderful event which provides so many opportunities for writers and readers to connect. Attendees were able to choose between two or three sessions running at the same time, with subjects like 'Writing Stories that Matter' (Susanne Gervay) and 'Promotion is Everything: Blogging and Social Media' (Kate Forsyth).

One of the most interesting sessions for me was the 'Editor Panel - Adult Fiction', where Managing Editors from a variety of Australian Publishing Houses spoke about the market, what they are looking for in terms of content and how best to approach and pitch your manuscript in a competitive environment. This was invaluable information, especially for first-time authors, and the presenters were so clear and encouraging in their speeches. It was very inspiring.

At the end of the day I stumbled into a session called 'Mystery and Magic', hosted by Geoffrey McSkimming and Sue-Anne Webster. You might remember Geoffrey McSkimming's name - he is the author of the insanely popular Cairo Jim adventures, which were a huge hit for over 20 years. Geoffrey has a new series out - 'Phyllis Wong' - aimed at primary school children and young teens, about a girl conjurer who ends up assisting in the investigation of mysterious robberies and other misadventures. This was by far my most favourite session of the day. Together with talented magician Sue-Anne Webster (they met through their shared interest in magic and are now married!), Geoffrey provided an amazingly entertaining session where he was able to touch on his writing process, his plans for the new series and to convey how fulfilling he finds writing for children. There was even some real live magic, performed by Sue-Anne - and I still have no idea how she did it! The couple take their show out to schools to promote Phyllis Wong, and I can highly recommend watching it, if you're lucky enough to get the chance. It was the unexpected highlight of my weekend and a great way to wrap up the festival.

Hope to see you there next year.

Lauren, Library Staff Member

To read or not to read...

Drawn from a section of the Iliad, this is a reimagined tale told by a prominent Australian author who regularly sports a moustache!

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

The sea has many voices. The voice this man is listening for is the voice of his mother. He lifts his head, turns his face to the chill air that moves in across the gulf, and tastes its sharp salt on his lip. The sea surface bellies and glistens, a lustrous silver-blue-a membrane stretched to a fine transparency where once, for nine changes of the moon, he had hung curled in a dream of pre-existence and was rocked and comforted. He hunkers down now on the shelving pebbles at its edge, bunches his cloak between his thighs. Chin down, shoulders hunched, attentive.
The gulf can be wild at times, its voices so loud in a man's head that it is like standing stilled in the midst of battle. But today in the dawn light it is pondlike. Small waves slither to his sandalled feet, then sluice away with a rattling sound as the smooth stones loosen and go rolling.
The man is a fighter, but when he is not fighting he is a farmer, earth is his element. One day, he knows, he will go back to it. All the grains that were miraculously called together at his birth to make just these hands, these feet, this corded forearm, will separate and go their own ways again. He is a child of earth. But for the whole of his life he has been drawn, in his other nature, to his mother's element. To what, in all its many forms, as ocean, pool, stream, is shifting and insubstantial. To what accepts, in a moment of stillness, the reflection of a face, a tree in leaf, but holds nothing, and itself cannot be held.
As a child he had his own names for the sea. He would repeat them over and over under his breath as a way of calling to her till the syllables shone and became her presence. In the brimming moonlight of his sleeping chamber, at midday in his father's garden, among oakwoods when summer gales bullied and the full swing of afternoon came crashing, he felt himself caught up and tenderly enfolded as her low voice whispered on his skin. Do you hear me, Achilles? It is me, I am still with you. For a time I can be with you when you call.
He was five then, six. She was his secret. He floated in the long soft swirlings of her hair.
But she had warned him from the beginning that she would not always be with him. She had given him up. That was the hard condition of his being and of all commerce between them. One day when he put his foot down on the earth he knew at once that something was different. A gift he had taken as natural to him, the play of a dual self that had allowed him, in a moment, to slip out of his hard boyish nature and become eel-like, fluid, weightless, without substance in his mother's arms, had been withdrawn. From now on she would be no more than a faint far-off echo to his senses, an underwater humming.
He had grieved. But silently, never permitting himself to betray to others what he felt.

To read or not to read...Samuel Langhorne Clemens

Its MOvember again, a time when we traditionally read books by moustached men! You may have read this adventure story, if so, is it  worth a re-read? 

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

YOU don't know about me without you have read a book by the name of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer; but that ain't no matter.  That book was made by Mr. Mark Twain, and he told the truth, mainly.  There was things which he stretched, but mainly he told the truth.  That is nothing.  I never seen anybody but lied one time or another, without it was Aunt Polly, or the widow, or maybe Mary.  Aunt Polly—Tom's Aunt Polly, she is—and Mary, and the Widow Douglas is all told about in that book, which is mostly a true book, with some stretchers, as I said before.
Now the way that the book winds up is this:  Tom and me found the money that the robbers hid in the cave, and it made us rich.  We got six thousand dollars apiece—all gold.  It was an awful sight of money when it was piled up.  Well, Judge Thatcher he took it and put it out at interest, and it fetched us a dollar a day apiece all the year round—more than a body could tell what to do with.  The Widow Douglas she took me for her son, and allowed she would sivilize me; but it was rough living in the house all the time, considering how dismal regular and decent the widow was in all her ways; and so when I couldn't stand it no longer I lit out.  I got into my old rags and my sugar-hogshead again, and was free and satisfied.  But Tom Sawyer he hunted me up and said he was going to start a band of robbers, and I might join if I would go back to the widow and be respectable.  So I went back.
The widow she cried over me, and called me a poor lost lamb, and she called me a lot of other names, too, but she never meant no harm by it. She put me in them new clothes again, and I couldn't do nothing but sweat and sweat, and feel all cramped up.  Well, then, the old thing commenced again.  The widow rung a bell for supper, and you had to come to time. When you got to the table you couldn't go right to eating, but you had to wait for the widow to tuck down her head and grumble a little over the victuals, though there warn't really anything the matter with them,—that is, nothing only everything was cooked by itself.  In a barrel of odds and ends it is different; things get mixed up, and the juice kind of swaps around, and the things go better.
After supper she got out her book and learned me about Moses and the Bulrushers, and I was in a sweat to find out all about him; but by and by she let it out that Moses had been dead a considerable long time; so then I didn't care no more about him, because I don't take no stock in dead people.

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

Robyn Gosbell - Local artist at Sutherland Library

Robyn Gosbell has been a highly acclaimed artist for many years and is well known in the Sutherland Shire. She is very observant artist who loves nature and expresses herself  by sensitively using light and shade in her scenic paintings in oil, pastel and acrylic.

Robyn came to the attention of well known Sydney artist, Robert Greive when she was just 12 and became his pupil.  She then completed her Art Certificate course achieving first place. Robyn has had many successful local and regional art exhibitions and has won many prizes and acclamation in Australia and overseas.

Many of her works hang in collections worldwide. Robyn enjoys travelling around Australia and overseas in search of new places to discover and new ways of expressing herself.  She also writes for art journals, teaches art and judges art shows.

This must see sample of Robyn's varied styles of art including landscapes and still lifes are on display at Sutherland Library during November and December.

Want the perfect book to gift for Christmas?

Novelist, Who next…? and Who else writes like…? will help you make the right choice. All Sutherland Shire library members can use these resources from home or in the library, just have your membership card handy.

Do you have a hard time locating gifts for relatives? Would you like to really impress the new love in your life? Or just want to give the sort of gift you will be remembered for it’s appropriateness…then read on…… give these guides for readers, a good workout , before you hit the shops.

At the end of the month is C.S. Lewis’s birthday. Has your nephew loved Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia? Look him up in Who next…?: a guide to children’s authors and find a list of nine authors who will thrill your nephew just as much…and keep him reading! 

Who else writes like? informs, that C.S. Lewis writes fantasy and literary books. He is considered a crossover Author (writes for children and/or teens readying for adult themes) and there are names of four extra authors who ‘write like’ him.

Novelist can be used the same way, to find similar authors, but its big selling point is that one can find subjects, reading level, set location, nationality of character and/or mood of the book …and whether Sutherland Shire libraries hold it!

World Vegan Month is coming up, maybe you want to give your  mystery loving friend a novel you know is animal cruelty free. Use the top search box for ‘vegan’, then narrow your results using ‘Genre’ on the left and ‘Adult’ on the right.

Check if it’s in Sutherland library, in case you want to censor it first! Or read the reviews if not.

Red Planet Day is this month so Mars may have piqued the curiosity of the children in your life. Graphic novels are a good choice for less interested readers. Use Novelist to provide a list of graphic novels in the science fiction genre to help you narrow the choices. If you thought there was only one type of graphic novel, look at this!

The same is available for the non-fiction titles. Sub-genres make locating the perfect book that much easier!

Have you got a book club member to buy for? Novelist provides titles that have discussion notes already, so the ‘hard’ work of running the group is done. Once the list of Discussion Group titles are showing they too can be limited to get ‘just the thing!’

To learn about all the features of Novelist, see the How to Use icon on the top right of any page. Learn how to create and save title lists so you can keep what interests you for when you have the time.

If you just would like to scan lists of new titles then try the library's New Items lists. See what is newly received in adult and junior fiction, sport, travel, biography and more.

All this and more for free access, from home or in the library. Ask staff how today.

To read or not to read...

In the week leading up to Melbourne Cup, now is the time to read some suspense fiction- set in the horseracing world. If the lead character seems familiar, this is because this beloved character first appeared in a novel written by the author's late father back in 2006. 

 To read or to read, that is the question...
Read these opening paragraphs and you decide whether to keep reading the rest of the book!

"No." I said. "Not a chance." 
"But Sid, you must."
"Why must I?"
"For the good of racing."
It was a familar tactic. 
"I'm retired," I said. "I told you. I don't do that kind of thing anymore."
Sir Richard Stewart, currently chairman of the British Horseracing Authority, hadn't worked his way up from Saturday morning shelf stacker to become chief executive of the country's largest supermarket chain by taking no for an answer. 
"Come on Sid, " he said with a knowing smile "Everyone knows that Sid Halley is the best of the best." Sir Richard playfully punched my arm. "And you know you want to really." 
Did I?
It had been nearly six years since I had opted out of the private investigator business. Six years in which I had established myself as a moderately successful independent investor, dealing primarily in blue-chip stocks on the major markets, but also, with increasing frequency, bankrolling individual inventors who had good ideas but little or no cash. 
Six years of mostly stress- free living with no one trying to beat me up or worse. 
"No," I said again with finality. "I don't want to, really, not now, not ever."
I could tell Sir Richard wasn't  happy, not happy at all. 
"Sid," he said, drawling the word out for a couple of seconds, "can I tell you something in confidence?"
"Of course."
He leaned forward towards me as if he didn't want to be overheard, which was rather strange considering we were alone in  the living room of my Oxfordshire home. 
"I am seriously concerned that the whole future of our sport is at risk." He pursed his lips, raised his eyebrows and nodded at me as if emphazing what he had just said. "Racing only survives due to its integrity. Oh yeah, sure, everyone has stories of races being fixed or horses getting nobbled, but, overall, racing is very clean. If it wasn't, the public wouldn't have the confidence to bet, and then where would we be?"
I said nothing. 
"That's why we at the BHA invest so much time and money into our dope testing facilities and then punish any wrongdoers so harshly. We don't exactly enjoy taking away people's livelihoods, but we do want to deter others from trying."
I nodded at him. I knew all this. 
"So why all the panic?" I asked. 
"I am convinced that someone is beating the system-manipulating the results of  races. That's why we need you."

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