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

Each week throughout December and January, discover a list of staff favourites (and readalikes) you might like to read.

The girl on the train
 by Paula Hawkins
Rachel is a washed-up thirty-something who creates a fantasy about the seemingly perfect couple she sees during her daily train ride into London. When the woman goes missing, Rachel manages to insert herself into the investigation of the woman’s disappearance. In the vein of Gone Girl, this dark psychological thriller is fast-paced and features some very unreliable narrators.

I let you goClare McIntosh
Try not to breatheHolly Seddon
Watching EdieCamilla Way

 by Jenny Éclair
 Edwina Spinner has lived in the same house for over fifty years. It used to be a busy, crowded family home but now Edwina lives alone and it has grown too big for her. She has decided to sell it. The young estate agent who comes to value the house sees potential. Knock down a few walls, add a wet room. 'People like a project.'  As Edwina's story unravels she is revealed as a complex and intriguing person. Why is she now so alone? What happened to Edwina's family all those years ago?

The secret life of Luke Livingstone/ Charity Norman
The things we never said / Susan Elliot Wright.
                                                The Shell seekers/ Rosamunde Pilcher

The Shadow of the Wind /
 Carlos Ruiz Zafon

A boy named Daniel selects a novel from a library of rare books, enjoying it so much that he searches for the rest of the author's works, only to discover that someone is destroying every book the author has ever written.


Slade HouseDavid Mitchell
The Thirteenth TaleDiane Setterfield
Mr Penumbra's 24-hour Bookstore/ Robin Sloan

The Stone Diaries
/ Carol Shields
Daisy Goodwill Flett, whose mother died during Daisy's birth in 1905, moves from Canada to Indiana with her stonecutter father and lives an ordinary life against the backdrop of 20th-century events.


Barkskins/ Anne Proux
LaRose/ Louise Erdrich
Home/ Marilynne Robinson

Murray Bail
A farmer announces that his daughter may only wed the man who can correctly name the species of each and every eucalyptus tree on his property, a decision that is complicated when Ellen chances upon a mysterious young man.


Love in the time of cholera/ Gabriel García Márquez
Captain Corelli's Mandolin [sound recording] / Louis de Bernières ; read by Michael Maloney./
Jazz/ Toni Morrison

The Beast's Garden/
Kate Forsyth

It's August 1939 in Germany, and Ava's world is in turmoil. To save her father, she must marry a young Nazi officer, Leo von Löwenstein, who works for Hitler's spy chief in Berlin. However, she hates and fears the brutal Nazi regime, and finds herself compelled to stand against it. Ava joins an underground resistance movement that seeks to help victims survive the horrors of the German war machine. But she must live a double life, hiding her true feelings from her husband, even as she falls in love with him. Gradually she comes to realise that Leo is part of a dangerous conspiracy to assassinate Hitler. As Berlin is bombed into ruins, the Gestapo ruthlessly hunt down all resistance and Ava finds herself living hand-to-mouth in the rubble of the shell-shocked city. Both her life and Leo's hang in the balance.
At  the waters edge/ Sara Gruen
   The Nightingale/ Kristin Hannah
All the light we cannot see/ Anthony Doerr

Want more?

Looking for something new to read these holidays? Let the Library help! During December and 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.

December reads...

The birdman's wife/ Melissa Ashley
Also available as an ebook
Artist Elizabeth Gould spent her life capturing the sublime beauty of birds the world had never seen before. But her legacy was eclipsed by the fame of her husband, John Gould. The Birdman’s Wife at last gives voice to a passionate and adventurous spirit who was so much more than the woman behind the man.

On the blue train/ Kristel Thornell
Also available as an ebook
What really did happen to Agatha Christie during her mysterious eleven-day disappearance just as she was on the cusp of fame? An entrancing novel of creativity and grief...

The better son/ Katherine Johnson
1952. Tasmania. The green, rolling hills of the dairy town Mole Creek have a dark underside — a labyrinthine underworld of tunnels that stretch for countless miles, caverns the size of cathedrals and underground rivers that flood after heavy rain. The caves are dangerous places, forbidden to children. But this is Tasmania — an island at the end of the earth. Here, rules are made to be broken.

For two young brothers, a hidden cave a short walk from the family farm seems the perfect escape from their abusive, shell-shocked father — until the older brother goes missing. Fearful of his father, nine-year-old Kip lies about what happened. It is a decision that will haunt him for the rest of his life.

Wild Island/ Katherine Johnson
This dazzling modern recreation of a nineteenth century novel ingeniously entwines Jane Eyre's iconic love story with Sir John Franklin's great tale of exploration and empire. A brilliant and historically accurate depiction of Van Diemen's Land society in the 1800s, as well as a vivid portrayal of the human cost of colonisation, Wild Island shows us that fiction and history are not so different after all. Each story, whether it be truth or fiction, is shaped by its teller.

Do not say we have nothing Madeleine Thien
Thien takes us inside an extended family in China, showing us the lives of two successive generations--those who lived through Mao's Cultural Revolution in the mid-twentieth century; and the children of the survivors, who became the students protesting in Tiananmen Square in 1989, in one of the most important political moments of the past century.

Hot milk/ Deborah Levy
Also available as an audiobook
Driven to cure her mother's inexplicable illness, a young anthropologist seeks the advice of a famous but controversial consultant on the arid coast of southern Spain, where the transient desert environment shapes her own desires.

Faithful/ Alice Hoffman
Also available as an ebook
She was disappearing inch by inch, vanishing into thin air, and then one day a postcard arrived . . . There was no return address, no signature, only a scrawled message: Say something..

The FenceMeredith Jaffé
"I promise you one thing, young lady. Building a fence is not going to keep the world out and won't keep your children in. Life's not that simple." 
Gwen Hill adores Green Valley Avenue. Here she has built friendships, raised her children and nurtured a thriving garden. 
Francesca Desmarchelliers has high hopes for the house on Green Valley Avenue.  To maintain her privacy and corral her wandering children, Frankie proposes a fence between the properties that would destroy Gwen's picture-perfect front yard.
To Gwen, this is an act of war.

The Memory Stones/ Caroline Brothers
An Argentinian woman embarks on a harrowing search in 1976 for her 19-year-old daughter who was "disappeared" by the junta while her husband, a doctor forced to flee to Europe, can only witness the destruction of his country and family from afar.

Treading Air/Ariella Van Luyn. 
In 1940s Brisbane, Lizzie O'Dea lies in a lock hospital bed, thinking about how she got there. Thinking about Joe, who's been in gaol for twenty years. Twenty-five years earlier, Lizzie wants to get away from her dad, a petty crim, and the memory of her mum. When she meets Joe at the races, he seems the right man to help her escape. But after they move to Townsville, Lizzie soon falls through what she thought would be a safety net. She starts working at the local brothel because she and Joe desperately need money - but then her work becomes something else. A living. A new life. Skirting the edges of society, Lizzie lets go of rules and expectations, finding real love and true friendship. It's a precarious life, though, and one day it has to collapse - with tragic consequences. And so Lizzie finds herself, two decades later, sick and worn-out, not having seen Joe in years. But she's still alive, and maybe there's hope yet.

Criminally good reads... December

Louise Doughty
Criminally good reads for December!

Out of Bounds/
Val Mc Dermid

The Undertow
Elizabeth  Heathcote

Blood Wedding/
Pierre Lemaitre
Different Class/
Joanne Harris
The Child Garden/
Catriona McPherson

The last one/
Alexandra Oliva
Kill the next one/
Frederico Axat
The Fourth Victim/
Mari Jungsedt

Local history, Local stories....The Foundering of the Inflexible

Just after midnight on the morning of Monday 26 August 1889, Charles Goard, master of the harbour steam tug, Inflexible, steered his ship out from Lavender Bay on a course towards Coalcliff in search of inward-bound sailing vessels requiring a tow. 
All was well until 3:30am when the Inflexible, now 10 miles off the ‘Sisters Rocks’ to the south of Port Hacking, pitched in the lumpy sea and fell heavily into a trough with a hard jolt. Alarmed by the shock, Captain Goard, who had been lying below in his berth, jumped up on deck to ascertain the cause of the abrupt bump, but as the steamer hadn’t collided with anything obvious and appeared to have escaped unharmed, the captain soon returned to his bunk and the Inflexible continued on her passage.
Suddenly, at 5:30am a tremendous rush of steam and loud hissing from the engine room sent the fireman rushing to raise all hands. Water was streaming in towards the furnaces and heated boiler and, fearing a blow up, he tried to rake out the flames. This was no easy task and by the time the fireman had finished hauling out the last of the blaze, he was waist deep in water.
The Inflexible’s crew of six worked desperately at the donkey and hand pumps, but with the water gaining at the rate of 1ft every 15 minutes in a shallow vessel of just 8ft, there wasn’t a second to lose. After half an hour at the pumps Captain Goard saw no alternative but to order all to abandon the foundering ship.
For the next 45 minutes the crew stood by in the lifeboat and watched as the doomed Inflexible gradually sank, stern first, below the angry chopping waves. There was no time to save any effects other than the compass and glasses.
It was then that the crew noticed some large pieces of timber , some 60 – 70ft long , floating in the water and it was supposed that this may have been the wreckage the ship had fallen upon as it crashed in the waves causing the fateful crack in the bottom of the steamer directly under the foremast.
The Inflexible gone, the men now found themselves alone on the rough seas 12 miles from shore. They pulled in a north-westerly direction, trying to pick up with the collier, the Governor Blackall, but the dark and squally night prevented them being seen. There was nothing for it but to turn their dinghy and row towards shore. Finally, seven hours later and drenched to the skin with rain and saltwater, the crew pulled in safely to Port Hacking where they were met by Mr Springall, proprietor of the Oriental Hotel, who ensured that Captain Goard and his crew were ‘most hospitably entertained.’
This, however, was not quite the end of the story.
The following week, members of the Inflexible’s crew, which had included William Langstone (engineer), Thomas Halstead (the fireman – nephew to the owner), Duncan McDonald (fireman), Thomas Holmes (mate), Ralph Thompson (deck hand), and Charles Goard (master), were called up before the Marine Board for an inquiry into the foundering of the steam tug, the cause of which the insurance company believed was ‘enshrouded in mystery’. Not only had the amount covering the Inflexible been raised from £3000 to £6000 just three months prior to its sinking - with no special survey conducted of the vessel - but the owner, Mr James Halstead, had visited the Commercial Union Insurance Company several times in the preceding weeks in connection with the steam tug. Just three days before it sank, Mr Halstead had again visited the CUIC office to make enquiries into whether the company would cover the Inflexible on a projected trip to Melbourne. There were even allegations from a previous commander of the Inflexible, a William Jewell, that Mr Halstead had once instructed him to “take her outside and sink her.” The curiously named Dr Sly, who was appearing on behalf of the master and owner of the vessel, objected strongly to this evidence.

After deliberation, the Marine Board found the Inflexible had sunk after unaccountably springing a leak which caused her to founder, and there was no evidence with which they could charge the captain, Charles Goard, with default.

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

Each week throughout December and January, discover a list of staff favourites (and readalikes) you might like to read.

A Classic romance
Pride and Prejudice/
 Jane Austen
Read or re-read this classic romance by Jane Austen these holidays. Human foibles and early nineteenth-century manners are satirized in this romantic tale of English country family life as Elizabeth Bennet and her four sisters are encouraged to marry well in order to keep the Bennet estate in their family.
Evelina by Frances Burnie
Longbourn Jo Baker ( The story as told from the servant's perspective)
Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld (A modern  retelling)
A heart-pounding thriller
Killer look /
Linda Fairstein
A heart-pounding thriller that explores the dark secrets of Manhattan’s iconic fashion scene in Linda Fairstein's 18th book in her Alexandra Cooper series.

Dead connection by Alafair Burke
Pray for silence by Linda Castillo
Woman with a gun by Philip Margolin

Historical Book to movie...
Poldark /
Winston Graham
The first in a series of 12 historical books that have been made into a television series, currently on ABC on Sunday nights. It is a best selling series, loved for it's blend of drama,  romance, memorable characters and evocative Cornish setting. A saga spanning the
Request the books and watch the series (seasons one and two).

The land of my dreams : war at home, 1916 / Cynthia Harrod-Eagles.
The forgotten room / Karen White, Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig.
Penmarric/ Susan Howatch

Coming of age...   
We are all completely beside ourselves /
Karen Fowler
***Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2014***
Rosemary's young, just at college, and she's decided not to tell anyone a thing about her family. So we're not going to tell you too much either: you'll have to find out for yourselves, round about page 77, what it is that makes her unhappy family unlike any other.
The evolution of Bruno Littlemore/ Benjamin Hale
A beautiful truth/ Colin McAdam
Spill simmer falter wither/ Sara Baume

A portrait of India in 1970's...
A fine balance /
Rohinton Mistry
A perennial bestseller, A Fine Balance is consistently acclaimed as a masterpiece from one of the most gifted writers of our time.In mid-1970s urban India - a chaos of wretchedness on the streets and slogans in the offices - a chain of circumstances tosses four varied individuals together in one small flat.The reader first learns the characters' separate, compelling histories of brief joys and abiding sorrows, then watches as barriers of class, suspicion, and politeness are gradually dissolved.

Howards End/ E.M. Forster
Sea of poppies/Amitav Gosh
Behind the beautiful forevers/ Katherine Boo

Atmospheric mystery 
The Lake House

A moody, suspenseful page-turner filled with mystery and spellbinding secrets.
The morning after the Edevane's exclusive Midsummer Eve party in Cornwall in 1933, their youngest child, Theo, is nowhere to be found. After months of futile searching, the family pack up and leave their beautiful country home, never to return. Until, in 2003, a young female police officer stumbles into the lost gardens surrounding the abandoned house and determines to find out what happened.

Black Rabbit Hall/ Eve Chase
The evening spider/ Emily Arsenault
The thirteenth tale/ Diane Setterfield

Want more? 
Looking for something new to read these holidays? Let the Library help! During December and 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.

Be Safe Online these Holidays

Do you know who can see your child’s online profile?
How can you manage cyber bullying?
What do trolls have to do with the internet?

School holidays are a great opportunity for the family to indulge themselves and spend more time than usual on online pursuits. Whether it's keeping in touch with friends, Christmas shopping online, uploading and organising photos or gaming, personal security is important.

Test your knowledge of how to best protect yourself and your family by using the brand new course Learning Internet Safety, available via Computer Training Online.

The course starts from the basics with online browsing and email issues eg. Phishing scams, dangerous attachments, suspicious links etc - and so is great for informing new online device users (older parents, younger children) of the need for caution.

It looks at social media sites. Each one has different security controls and they can be confusing. Even if you think you are sharing information privately, that may not be the case, so to protect your privacy, safety and reputation, our most private information address phone number and date of birth should never be shared. Find out what else you should know.
There is a session on purchasing online and what to keep in mind, to make sure you are being as secure with your credit card details as you can possibly be. Don't end up paying for something that never arrives, learn how to pick a reputable selling site.
What exactly constitutes Cyberbullying? and what is the best way to mange it if it is happening to your child? Personal attacks are not welcome especially when they can come at any time of the day or night. Being aware of how to deal with them effectively may shorten their lifespan and so lessen the impact.
Could the replies you are posting to that chatroom be seen as Trolling?

Learning Internet Safety provides a total of 20 short (5 - 10 minute) presentations on all things security online. Suitable for 8 - 88 year olds. If you are really keen to know that you now know it all, there are 6 assessments you can test yourself with. Why not try them first to find out what you need to brush up on!

Computer Training Online offers the following hands-on short format courses:
Learning Internet Safety - 20 lessons and 6 assessments
Mobile Devices - Intro to Android and iPad
Photography - Simple and Advanced Concepts
Windows 10 Training
Introductory Computer Training
Office 2010 Training
Windows Training - Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8
Social Networking Training - Twitter, Facebook and Blogging
Office 2007 Training and Testing
Intro to E-Learning

Register for your own account and have your progress tracked so you always know where you are up to.

November Reads

The girl from Venice/ Martin Cruz Smith
Venice, 1945. The war may be waning, but the city known as La Serenissima is still occupied and the people of Italy fear the power of the Third Reich. One night, under a canopy of stars, a fisherman named Cenzo comes across a young woman’s body floating in the lagoon and soon discovers that she is still alive and in trouble.

Born to a wealthy Jewish family, Giulia is on the run from the Wehrmacht SS. Cenzo chooses to protect Giulia rather than hand her over to the Nazis. This act of kindness leads them into the world of Partisans, random executions, the arts of forgery and high explosives, Mussolini’s broken promises, the black market and gold, and, everywhere, the enigmatic maze of the Venice Lagoon.

The Girl from Venice is a thriller, a mystery, and a retelling of Italian history that will take your breath away. Most of all it is a love story.

 Mercury/ Margot Livesey
A tense, psychological drama and a taut emotional thriller about love, obsession, and the deceits that pull a family apart.
Donald believes he knows all there is to know about seeing. An optometrist in suburban Boston, he is sure that he and his wife, Viv, who runs the local stables, are both devoted to their two children and to each other. Then Mercury—a gorgeous young thoroughbred with a murky past—arrives at Windy Hill and everything changes.
Mercury’s owner, Hilary, is a newcomer to town who has enrolled her daughter in riding lessons. When she brings Mercury to board at Windy Hill, everyone is struck by his beauty and prowess, particularly Viv. As she rides him, Viv begins to dream of competing again, embracing the ambitions that she had harbored, and relinquished, as a young woman. Her daydreams soon morph into consuming desire, and her infatuation with the thoroughbred escalates to obsession.
Donald may have 20/20 vision but he is slow to notice how profoundly Viv has changed and how these changes threaten their quiet, secure world. By the time he does, it is too late to stop the catastrophic collision of Viv’s ambitions and his own myopia.

Normal/ Graeme Cameron
The truth is I hurt people. It's what I do. It's all I do. It's all I've ever done." He lives in your community, in a nice house with a well-tended garden. He shops in your grocery store, bumping shoulders with you and apologizing with a smile. He drives beside you on the highway, politely waving you into the lane ahead of him. What you don't know is that he has an elaborate cage built into a secret basement under his garage. And the food that he's carefully shopping for is to feed a young woman he's holding there against her will--one in a string of many, unaware of the fate that awaits her. This is how it's been for a long time. It's normal...and it works. Perfectly. Then he meets the checkout girl from the 24-hour grocery. And now the plan, the hunts, the room...the others--he doesn't need any of them anymore. He only needs her. But just as he decides to go straight, the police start to close in. He might be able to cover his tracks, except for one small problem--he still has someone trapped in his garage. Discovering his humanity couldn't have come at a worse time.

Orphans of the Carnival/ Carol Birch
A life in the spotlight will keep anyone hidden. Julia Pastrana is the singing and dancing marvel from Mexico, heralded on tours across nineteenth-century Europe as much for her talent as for her rather unusual appearance. Yet few can see past the thick hair that covers her: she is both the fascinating toast of a Governor's ball and the shunned, revolting, unnatural beast, to be hidden from children and pregnant women. But what is her wonderful and terrible link to Rose, collector of lost treasures in an attic room in modern-day south London? In this haunting tale of identity, love and independence, these two lives will connect in unforgettable ways.

 Cross Talk/ Connie Willis
 In the not-too-distant future, a simple outpatient procedure to increase empathy between romantic partners has become all the rage. And Briddey Flannigan is delighted when her boyfriend, Trent, suggests undergoing the operation prior to a marriage proposal--to enjoy better emotional connection and a perfect relationship with complete communication and understanding. But things don't quite work out as planned, and Briddey finds herself connected to someone else entirely--in a way far beyond what she signed up for. It is almost more than she can handle--especially when the stress of managing her all-too-eager-to-communicate-at-all-times family is already burdening her brain. But that's only the beginning. As things go from bad to worse, she begins to see the dark side of too much information, and to realize love--and communication--are far more complicated than she ever imagined.

Smoke and mirrors/ Elly Griffiths
Brighton, winter 1951. Pantomime season is in full swing on the pier with Max Mephisto starring in Aladdin, but Max's headlines have been stolen by the disappearance --of two local children. When they are found dead in the snow, surrounded by sweets, it's not long before the press nickname them 'Hansel and Gretel'. DI Edgar Stephens has plenty of leads to investigate. The girl, Annie, used to write gruesome plays based on the Grimms' fairy tales. Does the clue lie in Annie's unfinished - and rather disturbing - last script? Or might it lie with the eccentric theatricals who have assembled for the pantomime? Once again Edgar enlists Max's help in penetrating the shadowy theatrical world that seems to hold the key. But is this all just classic misdirection?

Today will be different/ Maria Semple
Eleanor knows she's a mess. But today, she will tackle the little things. She will shower and get dressed. She will have her poetry and yoga lessons after dropping off her son, Timby. She won't swear. She will initiate sex with her husband, Joe. But before she can put her modest plan into action--life happens. Today, it turns out, is the day Timby has decided to fake sick to weasel his way into his mother's company. It's also the day Joe has chosen to tell his office--but not Eleanor--that he's on vacation. Just when it seems like things can't go more awry, an encounter with a former colleague produces a graphic memoir whose dramatic tale threatens to reveal a buried family secret. A hilarious, heart-filled story about reinvention, sisterhood, and how sometimes it takes facing up to our former selves to truly begin living.

The hating game/ Sally Thorne
For Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templeman, executive assistants to the CEOs of newly merged Bexley-Gamin Publishing, it's hate-at-first-sight. So begins a series of daily passive-aggressive manoeuvres, including the staring game, the mirror game, and the HR game, each played with the intensity of the Hunger Games. Their mutual antipathy grows when a new executive position opens at Bexley-Gamin, and both their bosses put their names up for the promotion. Then, the high-stakes games begin! After another 60-hour work week, Lucy logs off her computer and hops on the elevator to head home, as does Joshua. When Joshua hits the emergency button and stops the ride, Lucy is certain her nemesis is going to kill her. Instead, he plants a kiss on her, and Lucy begins to wonder if she really does hate Joshua after all, or if this is yet another game.

The book that matters most/Ann Hood
Ava's twenty-five-year marriage has fallen apart, and her two grown children are pursuing their own lives outside of the country. Ava joins a book group, not only for her love of reading but also out of sheer desperation for companionship. The group's goal throughout the year is for each member to present the book that matters most to them. Ava rediscovers a mysterious book from her childhood--one that helped her through the traumas of the untimely deaths of her sister and mother. Alternating with Ava's story is that of her troubled daughter Maggie, who, living in Paris, descends into a destructive relationship with an older man. Ava's mission to find that book and its enigmatic author takes her on a quest that unravels the secrets of her past and offers her and Maggie the chance to remake their lives

Nutshell/ Ian McEwan
Trudy has betrayed her husband, John. She’s still in the marital home—a dilapidated, priceless London townhouse—but John’s not there. Instead, she’s with his brother, the profoundly banal Claude, and the two of them have a plan. But there is a witness to their plot: the inquisitive, nine-month-old resident of Trudy’s womb.