We love reading.. staff picks for March 2016



Lola Berry's Little book of Smoothies & Juices/ Lola Berry
Lola Berry is an Australian nutritionist who has recently risen in prominence through the publication of her books "The 20/20 diet… " and "The Happy Cookbook". In this current title she offers a wealth of smoothie and juice recipes to nourish the body, mind and soul. The recipes are organised according to the colour of the ingredients they contain and the book includes a list defining the essential ingredients. The concoctions are easy to follow with enticing, colourful photographs. On a personal note I enjoyed the Piney Tropicana and the Mexicana Chocolate recipes from this book having joined the smoothie bandwagon in recent years.
~ Lisa

The extraordinary life of the Wildlife Man / David Ireland
 Enjoy death-defying encounters with crocs, sharks and wild animals by David Ireland with Tom Trumble -- is a very rollicking book from former local dive master (and wild boy) Dave Ireland. Ranging from schoolboy scraps on Sydney's North Shore to encounters with lions and elephants in Africa, crocodiles and sea snakes in the Northern Territory to sharks just about anywhere this is a boy's own adventure to rival them all.
~ Danny



The Gilded Hour/ Sara Donati
If you love Outlander by Diana Gabaldon you will love this book! If you love a lush historical drama romance this is for you!! The Gilded Hour is the first in a new series based on the later generations of the same families from the ‘Wilderness” series. This book is set seventy years past the devastation of the Civil War to take the story up again with the granddaughter and great-granddaughter of the Bonners, Savards and Freemans. Both young women Sophie and Anna are physicians who work with the poor in New York city in 1883.
A big blockbuster of a read.
~ Meagan


The Conversation by David Brookes 2012.
The first thing that struck me about this book was the gorgeous cover. (Yes, I do judge books by their covers!!)The top shows a still life painting in warm tones and the lower half looks like intricate tiles often seen in Italy. The blurb intrigued me next describing an attractive young lady who sits in a restaurant. I was compelled to open the book and was delighted by an additional blurb on the dust jacket. This one gave a little more of what was in store for the reader.

I liked the honesty of the conversation between the two characters, the stories they shared and the ideologies they discussed.  The description of the beautiful night in Trieste and the delicious food they shared added to the story. You felt you were there eavesdropping on this lovely evening they shared.
~Ingrid

Black Hole by Charles Burns
Black Hole is a graphic novel based around the lives of a group of Seattle teenagers in the 1970s. Through a sexually transmitted disease, the teens develop unique mutations, some more obvious than others. Weaving the story through the experiences of four main characters, Burns captures the inner difficulties of teen life, the struggles to understand and be understood and captures the isolation, distance and anxiety of the transformation from a teen to an adult. The art is brilliant. Burn’s creates absorbing moments and beautiful silences amidst the pressures of dealing with parents and feeling like a social outcast. Yeah, it’s pretty great.
~ Matt

Local stories, Local studies...George Bills

When wealthy businessman, philanthropist and animal lover, George Bills, died in 1927 he left a remarkable will. After providing for annuities and bequests, Bills directed that income from his £80,000  residue estate be used by his trustees ‘to construct and erect and pay for Horse-Troughs wherever they may be of opinion that such horse troughs are necessary or desirable for the relief of horses or other dumb animals either in Australasia in the British Islands or in any other part of the World.’ (George Bills last Will, 1925).

Over the next 12 years in excess of 500 horse troughs were erected in Australia and overseas - the majority being installed in Victoria and NSW in the 1930s. Municipal and shire councils were encouraged by the Local Government Association to apply for the troughs on the provision that proper foundations and efficient water services were provided. The Sutherland Shire received four of these horse troughs in 1939.
Each concrete horse trough, like this one pictured above, located near Engadine Public School on Waratah Road, was ornately designed and inscribed with the words ‘Donated by Annis & George Bills, Australia.’ Some were installed with drinking fountains for people and low basins for dogs.

Although most were grateful for Bills’ unusual bequest, not everyone was impressed. In 1939 Alderman Bray of Ermington-Rydalmere Council described the distribution of horse troughs as ‘ridiculous.’ “They’re only a nuisance and a breeding-place for mosquitoes,” declared Ald. Bray, and “in a few years time all these troughs will have to be removed.”

Today, the only George Bills horse trough in a public location in the Sutherland Shire is the one found at Carina Bay Reserve in Como.

Twice told tales

Something old, something new, you can have the best of both worlds with contemporary novels based on classic literature. Here are nine modern day re-tellings which have been inspired by the classics.

 The innocents by Francesca Segal,
A retelling of The age of innocence by Edith Wharton.
In a small, tight-knit Jewish suburb of London, one young man's pre-wedding panic illuminates the universal conflict between responsibility and passion. At the age of twenty-eight, Adam is engaged to Rachel, his girlfriend of twelve years, and can foresee a brilliant future: partnership in his father-in-law's legal firm, holidays with their extended families on the Red Sea, evenings out with the friends they've known since childhood in the well-heeled London neighbourhood they have shared since birth. It's a perfect match: the fulfillment of the desires and expectations of everyone Adam knows and loves. When Rachel's beautiful cousin Ellie suddenly appears in shul at the beginning of Yom Kippur, having returned to London to escape her scandal-touched past in New York, Adam's comfortable perspective and chosen life path begin, for the first time, to feel uncomfortable. Initially troubled by Ellie's presence and the gossip that her questionable history arouses, he soon finds himself dangerously drawn to the worldly, vulnerable young woman, his imagination ignited by her fierce independence and lack of regard for convention.

 Eligible:Pride and prejudice retold / Curtis Sittenfeld
A modern re-telling of the Jane Austen classic Pride & Prejudice by the bestselling author of Prep, Curtis Sittenfeld. The fourth book in The Austen Project. 
The Bennet sisters have been summoned from New York City. Lizzy and Jane are good daughters. They've come home to suburban Cincinnati to get their mother to stop feeding their father steak as he recovers from heart surgery, to tidy up the crumbling Tudor-style family home, and to wrench their three sisters from their various states of arrested development. But once they are under the same roof, old patterns return fast. Soon enough they are being berated for their single status, their only respite the early morning runs they escape on together. For two successful women in their late thirties, it really is too much to bear. That is, until the Lucas family's BBQ throws them in the way of some eligible single men . . . Chip Bingley is not only a charming doctor, he's a reality TV star too. But Chip's friend, haughty neurosurgeon, Fitzwilliam Darcy, can barely stomach Cincinnati or its inhabitants. Jane is entranced by Chip; Lizzy, sceptical of Darcy. As Lizzy is consumed by her father's mounting medical bills, her wayward sisters and Cousin Willie trying to stick his tongue down her throat, it isn't only the local chilli that will leave a bad aftertaste. But where there are hearts that beat and mothers that push, the mysterious course of love will resolve itself in the most entertaining and unlikely of ways. And from the hand of Curtis Sittenfeld, Pride & Prejudice is catapulted into our modern world singing out with hilarity and truth.

Vinegar Girl: The Taming of the Shrew Retold (Hogarth Shakespeare)
 An inspired, witty and irresistible contemporary take on one of Shakespeare’s most beloved comediesThe Taming of the Shrew.
Kate Battista feels stuck. How did she end up running house and home for her eccentric scientist father and uppity, pretty younger sister Bunny? Plus, she’s always in trouble at work – her pre-school charges adore her, but their parents don’t always appreciate her unusual opinions and forthright manner.
Dr. Battista has other problems. After years out in the academic wilderness, he is on the verge of a breakthrough. His research could help millions. There’s only one problem: his brilliant young lab assistant, Pyotr, is about to be deported. And without Pyotr, all would be lost.
When Dr. Battista cooks up an outrageous plan that will enable Pyotr to stay in the country, he’s relying – as usual – on Kate to help him. Kate is furious: this time he’s really asking too much. But will she be able to resist the two men’s touchingly ludicrous campaign to bring her around?

 March by Geraldine Brooks
From Louisa May Alcott’s beloved classic Little Women, Geraldine Brooks has animated the character of the absent father, March, and crafted a story “filled with the ache of love and marriage and with the power of war upon the mind and heart of one unforgettable man” (Sue Monk Kidd).

Brooks follows March as he leaves behind his family to aid the Union cause in the Civil War. His experiences will utterly change his marriage and challenge his most ardently held beliefs. A lushly written, wholly original tale steeped in the details of another time, March secures Geraldine Brooks’s place as a renowned author of historical fiction.





The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
A retelling of Bram Stoker's Dracula. 
To you, perceptive reader, I bequeath my history....Late one night, exploring her father's library, a young woman finds an ancient book and a cache of yellowing letters. The letters are all addressed to "My dear and unfortunate successor," and they plunge her into a world she never dreamed of-a labyrinth where the secrets of her father's past and her mother's mysterious fate connect to an inconceivable evil hidden in the depths of history.The letters provide links to one of the darkest powers that humanity has ever known-and to a centuries-long quest to find the source of that darkness and wipe it out. It is a quest for the truth about Vlad the Impaler, the medieval ruler whose barbarous reign formed the basis of the legend of Dracula.


The flight of Gemma Hardy/Margot Livesy
With 2016 marking the 200th Anniversary of Charlotte Bronte's birth, why not read a retelling of Jane Eyre?
When her widower father drowns at sea, Gemma Hardy is taken from her native Iceland to Scotland to live with her kind uncle and his family. But the death of her doting guardian leaves Gemma under the care of her resentful aunt, and it soon becomes clear that she is nothing more than an unwelcome guest at Yew House. When she receives a scholarship to a private school, ten-year-old Gemma believes she's found the perfect solution and eagerly sets out again to a new home. However, at Claypoole she finds herself treated as an unpaid servant. To Gemma's delight, the school goes bankrupt, and she takes a job as an au pair on the Orkney Islands. The remote Blackbird Hall belongs to Mr. Sinclair, a London businessman; his eight-year-old niece is Gemma's charge. Even before their first meeting, Gemma is, like everyone on the island, intrigued by Mr. Sinclair. Rich (by Gemma's standards), single, flying in from London when he pleases, Hugh Sinclair fills the house with life. An unlikely couple, the two are drawn to each other, but Gemma's biggest trial is about to begin: a journey of passion and betrayal, redemption and discovery, that will lead her to a life of which she's never dreamed.

On Beauty by Zadie Smith
A  modern retelling and homage to Howard's end by E. M Forster.
Howard Belsey, a Rembrandt scholar who doesn't like Rembrandt, is an Englishman abroad and a long-suffering Professor at Wellington College. He has been married for thirty years to Kiki, an American woman who no longer resembles the sexy activist she once was. Their three children passionately pursue their own paths, and faced with the oppressive enthusiasms of his children, Howard feels that the first two acts of his life are over and he has no clear plans for the finale. Then Jerome, Howard's oldest son, falls for Victoria, the stunning daughter of the right-wing icon Monty Kipps. Increasingly, the two families find themselves thrown together in a beautiful corner of America, enacting a cultural and personal war against the background of real wars that they barely register . . .

Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth
 An exquisite rendering of the story behind the Rapunzel fairy tale.
Charlotte-Rose de la Force has been banished from the court of Versailles by the Sun King, Louis XIV, after a series of scandalous love affairs. She is comforted by an old nun, Sœur Seraphina, who tells her the tale of a young girl who, a hundred years earlier, is sold by her parents for a handful of
After Margherita's father steals a handful of parsley, wintercress and rapunzel from the walled garden of the courtesan Selena Leonelli, he is threatened with having both hands cut off ... unless he and his wife give away their little girl.
Selena is the famous red-haired muse of the artist Tiziano, first painted by him in 1512 and still inspiring him at the time of his death, sixty-four years later. Called La Strega Bella, Selena is at the centre of Renaissance life in Venice, a world of beauty and danger, seduction and betrayal, love and superstition.
Locked away in a tower, growing to womanhood, Margherita sings in the hope that someone will hear her. One day, a young man does ...
Three women, three lives, three stories, braided together to create a compelling tale of desire, obsession, black magic and the redemptive power of love.

 Boy Snow Bird by Helen Oyeyem
The Snow White fairy tale brilliantly recast as a story of family secrets, race, beauty, and vanity.
In the winter of 1953, Boy Novak arrives by chance in a small town in Massachusetts, looking, she believes, for beauty—the opposite of the life she's left behind in New York. She marries a local widower and becomes stepmother to his winsome daughter, Snow Whitman. A wicked stepmother is a creature Boy never imagined she'd become, but elements of the familiar tale of aesthetic obsession begin to play themselves out when the birth of Boy's daughter, Bird, who is dark-skinned, exposes the Whitmans as light-skinned African Americans passing for white. Among them, Boy, Snow, and Bird confront the tyranny of the mirror to ask how much power surfaces really hold.

Easter reading....

The Library is closed for the Easter Break, so don't forget to pick up some reading materials for a relaxing long weekend!

Historical 
Rebel sisters / Marita Conlon-McKenna
With the threat of the First World War looming, tension simmers under the surface of Ireland. Growing up in the privileged confines of Dublin’s leafy Rathmines, the bright, beautiful Gifford sisters Grace, Muriel and Nellie kick against the conventions of their wealthy Anglo-Irish background and their mother Isabella’s expectations. Soon, as war erupts across Europe, the spirited sisters find themselves caught up in their country’s struggle for freedom. Muriel falls deeply in love with writer Thomas MacDonagh, artist Grace meets the enigmatic Joe Plunkett – both leaders of 'The Rising' – while Nellie joins the Citizen Army and bravely takes up arms, fighting alongside Countess Constance Markievicz in the rebellion. On Easter Monday, 1916, the biggest uprising in Ireland for two centuries begins. The world of the Gifford sisters and everyone they hold dear will be torn apart in a fight that is destined for tragedy.

Crime and mystery
The woman in blue
The murder of women priests in the shrine town of Walsingham sucks Dr Ruth Galloway into an unholy investigation. When Ruth's friend Cathbad sees a vision of the Virgin Mary, in a white gown and blue cloak, in the graveyard next to the cottage he is house-sitting, he takes it in his stride. Walsingham has strong connections to Mary, and Cathbad is a druid after all; visions come with the job. But when the body of a woman in a blue dressing-gown is found dead the next day in a nearby ditch, it is clear Cathbad's vision was all too human, and that a horrible crime has been committed. DCI Nelson and his team are called in for the murder investigation, and soon establish that the dead woman was a recovering addict being treated at a nearby private hospital. Ruth, a devout atheist, has managed to avoid Walsingham during her seventeen years in Norfolk. But then an old university friend, Hilary Smithson, asks to meet her in the village, and Ruth is amazed to discover that her friend is now a priest. Hilary has been receiving vitriolic anonymous letters targeting women priests - letters containing references to local archaeology and a striking phrase about a woman 'clad in blue, weeping for the world'. Then another woman is murdered - a priest. As Walsingham prepares for its annual Easter re-enactment of the Crucifixion, the race is on to unmask the killer before they strike again...

Thriller
Rise / Karen Campbell
It is Easter 2013 and Justine is running for her life. Escaping a city and a man that have between them almost broken her, she heads north, to the mountains and valleys of the Scottish Highlands where she hopes to hide and survive. Michael and Hannah are running too. Gathering together their two young sons and the tatters of their marriage, they have come to the remote village of Kilmacarra, a place of standing stones and threatened windfarms - a place where they hope to once again make a home. But it is not so easy to flee one's ghosts or to find the way back once you have veered off course. In this ancient landscape, in a country balanced on the brink of change, Justine, Michael, and Hannah are brought together by a shocking accident that entangles them all in threads of guilt and love, duty and forgiveness. And as the ground beneath their feet begins to yield up its secrets, and each must question where they truly belong, the darkness that Justine left behind seeks her out - with perilous consequences for them all.

Short stories
When there's nowhere else to run / Murray Middleton
A survivor of Victoria's Black Saturday bushfires takes asylum with old friends in the Dandenong Ranges. An editor-in-chief drives his sister halfway around the country to an east-coast rehabilitation clinic. A single mother flies to Perth with her autistic son for one last holiday. A father at the end of his tether tries to survive the chaos of the Sydney Royal Easter Show. A group of young friends hire a luxury beach house in the final weeks of one of their lives. A postman hits a pedestrian and drives off into the night. 'When there's nowhere else to run' is a collection of stories about people who find their lives unravelling. They are teachers, lawyers, nurses, firemen, chefs, gamblers, war veterans, hard drinkers, adulterers, widows and romantics. Seeking refuge all across the country, from the wheat belt of Western Australia, the limestone desert of South Australia, the sugarcane towns of Queensland, the hinterland of New South Wales to the coastline of Victoria, they discover that no matter how many thousands of kilometres they put between themselves and their transgressions, sometimes there's nowhere else to run.

Family Secrets
The house we grew up in / Lisa Jewell
All four children have an idyllic childhood: a picture-book cottage in a country village, a warm, cosy kitchen filled with love and laughter, sun-drenched afternoons in a rambling garden. But one Easter weekend a tragedy strikes the Bird family that is so devastating that, almost imperceptibly, it begins to tear them apart. The years pass and the children become adults and begin to develop their own quite separate lives. Soon it's almost as though they've never been a family at all. Almost. But not quite. Because something has happened that will call them home, back to the house they grew up in - and to what really happened that Easter weekend all those years ago.

Must read
Chocolat/Joanne Harris
Try me...Test me...Taste me. When an exotic stranger, Vianne Rocher, arrives in the French village of Lansquenet and opens a chocolate boutique directly opposite the church, Father Reynaud identifies her as a serious danger to his flock - especially as it is the beginning of Lent, the traditional season of self-denial. War is declared as the priest denounces the newcomer's wares as instruments of murder. Suddenly Vianne's shop-cum-cafe means that there is somewhere for secrets to be whispered, grievances to be aired, dreams to be tested. But Vianne's plans for an Easter Chocolate Festival divide the whole community in a conflict that escalates into a 'Church not Chocolate' battle. As mouths water in anticipation, can the solemnity of the Church compare with the pagan passion of a chocolate clair? For the first time here is a novel in which chocolate enjoys its true importance, emerging as a moral issue, as an agent of transformation - as well as a pleasure bordering on obsession.

If you liked.... March suggestions




If you liked...
Purity/ Jonathan Franzen
Young Pip Tyler doesn't know who she is. She knows that her real name is Purity, that she's saddled with $130,000 in student debt, that she's squatting with anarchists in Oakland, and that her relationship with her mother – her only family – is hazardous. But she doesn't have a clue who her father is, why her mother chose to live as a recluse with an invented name, or how she'll ever have a normal life. Enter the Germans. A glancing encounter with a German peace activist leads Pip to an internship in South America with the Sunlight Project, an organization that traffics in all the secrets of the world – including, Pip hopes, the secret of her origins. TSP is the brainchild of Andreas Wolf, a charismatic provocateur who rose to fame in the chaos following the fall of the Berlin Wall. Now on the lam in Bolivia, Andreas is drawn to Pip for reasons she doesn't understand, and the intensity of her response to him upends her conventional ideas of right and wrong. Jonathan Franzen's Purity is a grand story of youthful idealism, extreme fidelity, and murder. The author of The Corrections and Freedom has imagined a world of vividly original characters – Californians and East Germans, good parents and bad parents, journalists and leakers – and he follows their intertwining paths through landscapes as contemporary as the omnipresent Internet and as ancient as the war between the sexes. Purity is the most daring and penetrating book yet by one of the major writers of our time.

You may like...
Lloyd Burko is having troubles with his sources, with his technology at the paper, and with his family. The Imperfectionists is a novel about the peculiar people who write and read an international newspaper based in Rome: from the obituary reporter who will do anything to avoid work, to the dog-obsessed publisher who seems less interested in his struggling newspaper than in his magnificent basset hound, Schopenhauer. While the news of the day rushes past, the true front-page stories for all of them are the blunders and triumphs of their own lives.




If you liked...
The storied life of A.J Fikry/ Gabrielle Fikry

A. J. Fikry, the irascible owner of Island Books, has recently endured some tough years: his wife has died, his bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in its history, and his prized possession — a rare edition of Poe poems — has been stolen. Over time, he has given up on people, and even the books in his store, instead of offering solace, are yet another reminder of a world that is changing too rapidly. Until a most unexpected occurrence gives him the chance to make his life over and see things anew.
Gabrielle Zevin’s enchanting novel is a love letter to the world of books — an irresistible affirmation of why we read, and why we love.

You may like...
Sara is 28 and has never been outside Sweden – except in the (many) books she reads. When her elderly penfriend Amy invites her to come and visit her in Broken Wheel, Iowa, Sara decides it's time. But when she arrives, there's a twist waiting for her – Amy has died. Finding herself utterly alone in a dead woman's house in the middle of nowhere was not the holiday Sara had in mind.
But Sara discovers she is not exactly alone. For here in this town so broken it's almost beyond repair are all the people she's come to know through Amy's letters: poor George, fierce Grace, buttoned-up Caroline and Amy's guarded nephew Tom.
Sara quickly realises that Broken Wheel is in desperate need of some adventure, a dose of self-help and perhaps a little romance, too. In short, this is a town in need of a bookshop.


If you liked...
Me before you/ JoJo Moyes
Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick.
What Lou doesn't know is she's about to lose her job or that knowing what's coming is what keeps her sane.
Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he's going to put a stop to that.
What Will doesn't know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they're going to change the other for all time.

You may like... 
All my puny sorrows/Miriam Toews
/
Elf and Yoli are two smart, loving sisters. Elf is a world-renowned pianist, glamorous, wealthy, happily married: she wants to die. Yoli is divorced, broke, sleeping with the wrong men: she desperately wants to keep her older sister alive. When Elf's latest suicide attempt leaves her hospitalised weeks before her highly anticipated world tour, Yoli is forced to confront the impossible question of whether it is better to let a loved one go. Miriam Toews' All My Puny Sorrows, at once tender and unquiet, offers a profound reflection on the limits of love, and the sometimes unimaginable challenges we experience when childhood becomes a new country of adult commitments and responsibilities.


If you liked...
The girl on the train/ Paula Hawkins
Rachel catches the same commuter train every morning. She knows it will wait at the same signal each time, overlooking a row of back gardens. She's even started to feel like she knows the people who live in one of the houses. ‘Jess and Jason', she calls them. Their life – as she sees it – is perfect. If only Rachel could be that happy.
And then she sees something shocking. It's only a minute until the train moves on, but it's enough.
Now everything's changed. Now Rachel has a chance to become a part of the lives she's only watched from afar.
Now they'll see; she's much more than just the girl on the train…
You may like...
 The Widow/Fiona Barton
Following the twists and turns of an unimaginable crime, The Widow is an electrifying debut thriller that will take you into the dark spaces that exist between a husband and a wife. When the police started asking questions, Jean Taylor turned into a different woman. One who enabled her and her husband to carry on when more bad things began to happen ... But that woman's husband died last week. And Jean doesn't have to be her anymore. There's a lot Jean hasn't said over the years about the crime her husband was suspected of committing. She was too busy being the perfect wife, standing by her man while living with the accusing glares and the anonymous harassment. Now there's no reason to stay quiet. There are people who want to hear her story. They want to know what it was like living with that man. She can tell them that there were secrets. There always are in a marriage. The truth--that's all anyone wants. But the one lesson Jean has learned in the last few years is that she can make people believe anything...

Need a laugh ? Try these humorous reads...

Whether you are looking to laugh out loud or have a quiet chuckle to yourself,  here are some books that will at least make you smile!

All together now/Gill Hornby
Four strangers in the midst of difficult life transitions find friendship, purpose, and perfect pitch in in this heartfelt comic novel. In the small English village of St. Ambrose, the members of the Bridgeford Community Choir have little in common. But when their singing coach dies unexpectedly before a big contest, the motley group must join forces and voices in pursuit of an impossible-seeming goal. Featuring an eclectic cast of characters including a mother suffering from empty nest syndrome, a middle-aged man who has just lost his job and his family, and a 19-year-old waitress who dreams of reality TV stardom. All together now is a poignant and charming novel about small town life, community, falling in love, and the big rewards of making a small change.

The good, the bad and the smug / Tom Holt
New Evil. Same as the Old Evil but with better PR. Mordak isn't bad as far as goblin kings go, but when someone or something starts pumping gold into the human kingdoms, it puts his rule into serious jeopardy. Suddenly he's locked in an arms race with a species whose arms he once considered merely part of a healthy breakfast. He goes looking for the truth behind these sudden riches, accompanied by an elf with a background in journalism (she'll get the hang of 'truth' eventually), but the two will discover that the difference between human and goblin, and between good and evil itself, is far more complicated than it appears.

Confessions of a once fashionable mum / Georgia Madden
Fashion PR exec Ally Bloom got her happy ending. Okay, her marriage might be showing the odd crack, her battleaxe mother-in-law might have come to stay, and she might not be the yummy mummy she'd imagined, but it's nothing a decent night's sleep and a firm commitment to a no-carb diet won't fix. But when Ally returns to work and finds she'll be reporting to a 22-year-old airhead, she decides to turn her back on life as a professional fashionista and embrace her inner earth mama instead. So it's out with the Louboutins and champagne and in with the sensible flats and coffee mornings with the Mummy Mafia.

Wish you were here / Catherine Alliott
When Flora, James and their two teenage daughters are offered the holiday of a lifetime in a chateaux in the South of France in return for one simple good deed, they jump at the chance to escape the confines of Clapham, the weight of the mortgage and anxieties over their future for a blissful break. But Flora didn't anticipate a mysterious guest and a whole heap of family baggage to come too. With James developing a schoolboy crush on a famous opera singer and Flora distracted by ghosts from her past, their dream holiday suddenly takes some very unexpected turns.

Losing it/Helen Lederer
Millie was at one time quite well known for various TV and radio appearances. However, she now has no money, a best friend with a better sex life than her, a daughter in Papua New Guinea and too much weight in places she really doesn't want it. When she's asked to be the front woman for a new diet pill, she naively believes that all her troubles will be solved. She will have money, the weight will be gone, and maybe she'll get more sex. If only life was really that easy. It doesn't take her long to realize it's going to take more than a diet pill to solve her never-ending woes...

According to yes/ Dawn French
The Foreign Land of the Very Wealthy - otherwise known as Manhattan's Upper East Side - has its own rigid code of behaviour. It's a code strictly adhered to by the Wilder-Bingham family. Emotional displays - unacceptable. Unruly behaviour - definitely not welcome. Fun - no thanks. This is Glenn Wilder-Bingham's kingdom. A beautifully-displayed impeccably-edited fortress of restraint. So when Rosie Kitto, an eccentric thirty-eight-year-old primary school teacher from England, bounces into their lives with a secret sorrow and a heart as big as the city, nobody realises that she hasn't read the rule book. For the Wilder-Bingham family, whose lives begin to unravel thread by thread, the consequences are explosive. Because after a lifetime of saying no, what happens when everyone starts saying yes?

Adult onset / Ann-Marie MacDonald
Mary Rose McKinnon has two children with her partner Hilary and a fractured relationship with her mother Dolly; she also has issues with anger management and lives in fear of hurting the children, these feelings seem somehow rooted in a part of her childhood she has trouble remembering. Is Dolly - the kind of big personality who makes all Mary Rose's friends, and even waiters in coffee shops, exclaim I love your Mum! really harbouring a dark secret about what caused Mary Rose's childhood injuries, and is Mary Rose doomed to follow the same path with her own children? ADULT ONSET is a heartbreaking, hilarious, hugely satisfying novel about family ties and the joy and agony of parenthood. Ann-Marie MacDonald gets under the reader's skin and gives voice to the feelings we have all experienced but may never have examined.

Why not me? /Mindy Kaling
Hollywood starlet Mindy Kaling shares her ongoing, laugh-out-loud journey to find contentment and excitement in her adult life.

Quicksand /Steve Tolz
Aldo has been so relentlessly unlucky -- in business, in love, in life -- that the universe seems to have taken against him personally. Even Liam, his best friend, describes him as 'a well-known parasite and failure'. Aldo has always faced the future with optimism and despair in equal measure, but this last twist of fate may finally have brought him undone. There's hope, but not for Aldo. Liam hasn't been doing much better himself: a failed writer with a rocky marriage and a dangerous job he never wanted. But something good may come out of Aldo's lowest point. Liam may finally have found his inspiration. Together, maybe they can turn bad luck into an art form. What begins as a document of Aldo's disasters develops into a profound story of love lost, found and betrayed; of freedom and incarceration; of suffering and transcendence; of fate, faith and friendship; of taking risks -- in art, work, love and life -- and finding inspiration in all the wrong places. Quicksand is a fearlessly funny, outrageously inventive dark comedy that looks contemporary life unblinkingly in the eye. It confirms Steve Toltz as one of our most original and insightful novelists.

Coming soon...
Sofia Khan is not obliged / Ayisha Malik
'Brilliant idea! Excellent! Muslim dating? Well, I had no idea you were allowed to date.' Then he leaned towards me and looked at me sympathetically. 'Are your parents quite disappointed?' Unlucky in love once again after her sort-of-boyfriend/possible-marriage-partner-to-be proves a little too close to his parents, Sofia Khan is ready to renounce men for good. Or at least she was, until her boss persuades her to write a tell-all expose about the Muslim dating scene. As her woes become her work, Sofia must lean on the support of her brilliant friends, baffled colleagues and baffling parents as she seeks stories for her book. But in amongst the marriage-crazy relatives, racist tube passengers and polygamy-inclined friends, could there be a lingering possibility that she might just be falling in love ...?


Read green for St Patrick's Day!

Celebrate St Patrick's Day by reading some green books!  Fiction books with green covers, that is....

Sing fox to me/ Sarah Kanake
In 1986, fourteen-year-old twins Samson and Jonah travel from the Sunshine Coast to the wild backcountry of Tasmania to live on a mountain with a granddad they’ve never met. Clancy Fox is a beat-up old man obsessed with finding his long-missing daughter, River. He’s convinced that she was taken by a Tasmanian tiger pack.
The resentful, brooding Jonah and thoughtful, inquisitive Samson become entranced, in different ways, with the mountain. While Samson – who has Down syndrome – finds mystery and delight all around, Jonah develops a dark obsession as persistent as Clancy’s desire to bring River home.


Daughter of smoke and bone/ Laini Taylor
The note was on vellum, pierced by the talons of the almost-crow that delivered it. Karou read the message. 'He never says please', she sighed, but she gathered up her things.
When Brimstone called, she always came.
In general, Karou has managed to keep her two lives in balance. On the one hand, she's a seventeen-year-old art student in Prague; on the other, errand-girl to a monstrous creature who is the closest thing she has to family. Raised half in our world, half in 'Elsewhere', she has never understood Brimstone's dark work - buying teeth from hunters and murderers - nor how she came into his keeping. She is a secret even to herself, plagued by the sensation that she isn't whole.
Now the doors to Elsewhere are closing, and Karou must choose between the safety of her human life and the dangers of a war-ravaged world that may hold the answers she has always sought.

The best things in life can be just around the corner Rachel and Becca aren't real sisters, or so they say. They are step-sisters, living far apart, with little in common. Rachel is the successful one: happily married with three children and a big house, plus an impressive career. Artistic Becca, meanwhile, lurches from one dead-end job to another, shares a titchy flat and has given up on love. The two of them have lost touch but when Rachel doesn't come home one night, Becca is called in to help. Once there, she quickly realises that her step-sister's life is not so perfect after all: Rachel's handsome husband has moved out, her children are rebelling, and her glamorous career has taken a nosedive. Worst of all, nobody seems to have a clue where she might be. As Becca begins to untangle Rachel's secrets, she is forced to confront some uncomfortable truths about her own life, and the future seems uncertain. But sometimes happiness can be found in the most unexpected places.

The green road/Anne Enright
The children of Rosaleen Madigan leave the west of Ireland for lives they never could have imaggined, In Dublin, New York and various third-world towns. In her early old age their difficult, wonderful mother announces that she's decided to sell the house and divide the proceeds. Her adult children come back for a last Christmas, with the feeling that their childhoods are being erased, their personal history bought and sold.


The Soldier's curse/ Meg and Tom Keneally
This is a fast-paced, witty and gripping historical crime series. In the Port Macquarie penal settlement for second offenders, gentleman convict Hugh Monsarrat hungers for freedom. Originally transported for forging documents, passing himself off as a lawyer, he is now the trusted clerk of the settlement's commandant. His position has certain advantages, such as being able to spend time in the Government House kitchen, being supplied with outstanding cups of tea by housekeeper Hannah Mulrooney, who is his most intelligent companion. Not long after the commandant heads off in search of a rumoured river, his beautiful wife, Honora, falls ill with a sickness the doctor is unable to identify. When Honora dies, it becomes clear she has been slowly poisoned. Monsarrat and Mrs Mulrooney suspect the commandant's second-in-command, Captain Diamond, a cruel man who shares history with Honora. Then Diamond has Mrs Mulrooney arrested for the murder. Knowing his friend will hang if she is tried, Monsarrat knows he must find the real killer.

Into the Labyrinth/Sigge Eklund
An eleven-year-old girl, Magda, has disappeared. Her mother Åsa works every clue, obsessively trying to solve the mystery. Is she concerned, or coldly delusional?
Fingers have been pointed at Magda’s father Martin, a well-known publisher. Is he responsible, or has he simply been neglectful in the face of his own obsessions?
Also involved are Martin’s ambitious colleague, Tom, and his partner Katja, a rejected writer.
Through these four voices the reader gains insight into dark obsessions, powerful secrets, and the labyrinthine nature of language itself. Each character’s actions has an effect on the others’, in incredibly surprising ways. This is a powerful psychological thriller that will get under your skin and haunt you well beyond its final, shocking conclusion.

Mr Chen's emporium/ Deborah O'Brien
The smell of exotic spices enveloped her in a fragrant cloud. Taking a deep breath, she stepped into the shop. Above her strings of brass bells tinkled like fairies laughter. In 1872, seventeen-year-old Amy Duncan arrives in the Gold Rush town of Millbrooke, , having spent the coach journey daydreaming about glittering pavilions and gilded steeples. What she finds is a dusty main street lined with ramshackle buildings. That is until she walks through the doors of Mr Chen's Emporium, a veritable Aladdin's cave, and her life changes forever. Though banned from the store by her dour clergyman father, Amy is entranced by its handsome owner, Charles Chen. In present-day Millbrooke, recently widowed artist Angie Wallace has rented the Old Manse where Amy once lived. When her landlord produces an antique trunk containing Amy's intriguingly diverse keepsakes - both Oriental and European - Angie resolves to learn more about this mysterious girl from the past. And it is not long before the lives of two very different women, born a century apart, become connected in the most poignant and timeless ways.

The end of the wasp season
When notorious millionaire banker Lars Anderson hangs himself from the old oak tree in front of his Kent mansion, his death attracts no sympathy. One less shark is little loss to a world nursing a financial hangover. But the legacy of a lifetime of self-serving is widespread, the carnage most acute among those he ought to be protecting: his family. He leaves behind two deeply damaged children and a broken wife. Meanwhile, in a wealthy suburb of Glasgow, a young woman is found savagely murdered in her home. The genteel community is stunned by what appears a vicious, random attack. When DS Alex Morrow, heavily pregnant with twins, is called in to investigate, she soon discovers that behind the murder lurks a tangled web of lies.

The devils anvil by Matt Hilton
Accepting the task of protecting Billie Womack is a no-brainer for ex-counterterrorist soldier Joe Hunter, but it comes with its own set of complications. Billie's husband, Richard, stole thirty million dollars from some violent people. He apparently died in a car crash with Billie's daughter, Nicola, during a desperate attempt to elude his pursuers. But his enemies don't believe him dead. They think he escaped the plunge into the icy river that killed Nicola and has now decided to come back for the money. If he's alive, they believe he'll contact Billie. It doesn't take long for the bad guys to arrive at her remote farmhouse. Soon she and Joe are fugitives. Dead or alive, Richard's fate means nothing to Hunter, but he promises to do everything in his power to protect the grieving mother. Even if it means taking a bullet for her, it's a price he'll pay. It's a pledge he will come to regret, as he learns that killers are forged on the Devil's anvil.

Blood relatives/Stevan Alcock
A coming of age tale set against the backdrop of the Yorkshire Ripper murders. Leeds, late 1975 and a body has been found on Prince Philip Playing Fields. Ricky, teenage delivery van boy for Corona pop, will be late for The Matterhorn Man. In the years that follow until his capture, the Yorkshire Ripper and Rick's own life draw ever closer with unforeseen consequences. Set in a time in England's history of upheaval and change - both personal and social - this is a story told in an unforgettable voice.

Stella Prize shortlist 2016

The Stella Prize 2016 started with a 170 entries, from which a longlist of twelve books was selected.
From this followed an announcement of the shortlist of six extraordinary books on 10 March. These are listed below.

Who do you think should win?

The 2016 Stella Prize will be awarded in Sydney on the evening of Tuesday 19 April.

Shortlist
Six Bedrooms
by Tegan Bennett Daylight
Hope Farm
by Peggy Frew
A Few Days in the Country:
 And Other Stories
 by Elizabeth Harrower













The Natural Way of Things
 by Charlotte Wood
The World Without Us
 by Mireille Juchau
Small Acts of Disappearance: 
Essays on hunger
by Fiona Wright

A new take on old favourites...

Readers who enjoy seeing a new take on old favorites will love seeing these classic characters through another lens.

The Beekeeper’s Apprentice, by Laurie R. King
Featuring  a reclusive, retired Sherlock Holmes

In 1915, Sherlock Holmes is retired and quietly engaged in the study of honeybees in Sussex when a young woman literally stumbles onto him on the Sussex Downs. Fifteen years old, gawky, egotistical, and recently orphaned, the young Mary Russell displays an intellect to impress even Sherlock Holmes. Under his reluctant tutelage, this very modern, twentieth-century woman proves a deft protégée and a fitting partner for the Victorian detective. They are soon called to Wales to help Scotland Yard find the kidnapped daughter of an American senator, a case of international significance with clues that dip deep into Holmes's past.


Death Comes to Pemberley by P. D. James
Elizabeth and Darcy, six years after happily ever after... 
In their six years of marriage, Elizabeth and Darcy have forged a peaceful, happy life for their family at Pemberley, Darcy’s impressive estate. Her father is a regular visitor; her sister Jane and her husband, Bingley, live nearby; the marriage prospects for Darcy’s sister, Georgiana, are favorable. And preparations for their annual autumn ball are proceeding apace. But on the eve of the ball, chaos descends. Lydia Wickham, Elizabeth’s disgraced sister who, with her husband, has been barred from the estate, arrives in a hysterical state—shrieking that Wickham has been murdered.  Plunged into frightening mystery and a lurid murder trial, the lives of Pemberley’s owners and servants alike may never be the same.

The Eyre Affair, by Jasper Fforde
The heroine of Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre has been kidnapped from the pages of this much loved classic in an alternate reality of literature-obsessed England. 
Fans of Douglas Adams and P. G. Wodehouse will love visiting Jasper Fforde’s Great Britain, circa 1985, when time travel is routine, cloning is a reality (dodos are the resurrected pet of choice), and literature is taken very, very seriously: it’s a bibliophile’s dream. England is a virtual police state where an aunt can get lost (literally) in a Wordsworth poem and forging Byronic verse is a punishable offense. All this is business as usual for Thursday Next, renowned Special Operative in literary detection. But when someone begins kidnapping characters from works of literature and plucks Jane Eyre from the pages of Brontë’s novel, Thursday is faced with the challenge of her career. Fforde’s ingenious fantasy—enhanced by a Web site that re-creates the world of the novel—unites intrigue with English literature in a delightfully witty mix.

Vinegar Girl: The Taming of the Shrew Retold by Anne Tyler
An inspired, witty and irresistible contemporary take on  The Taming of the Shrew.
Kate Battista feels stuck. How did she end up running house and home for her eccentric scientist father and uppity, pretty younger sister Bunny? Plus, she’s always in trouble at work – her pre-school charges adore her, but their parents don’t always appreciate her unusual opinions and forthright manner.

Dr. Battista has other problems. After years out in the academic wilderness, he is on the verge of a breakthrough. His research could help millions. There’s only one problem: his brilliant young lab assistant, Pyotr, is about to be deported. And without Pyotr, all would be lost.

When Dr. Battista cooks up an outrageous plan that will enable Pyotr to stay in the country, he’s relying – as usual – on Kate to help him. Kate is furious: this time he’s really asking too much. But will she be able to resist the two men’s touchingly ludicrous campaign to bring her around?

March, by Geraldine Brooks
From Louisa May Alcott’s beloved classic Little Women, Geraldine Brooks has animated the character of the absent father, March. 
A "story filled with the ache of love and marriage and with the power of war upon the mind and heart of one unforgettable man” (Sue Monk Kidd). With “pitch-perfect writing” (USA Today), Brooks follows March as he leaves behind his family to aid the Union cause in the Civil War. His experiences will utterly change his marriage and challenge his most ardently held beliefs. A lushly written, wholly original tale steeped in the details of another time, March secures Geraldine Brooks’s place as a renowned author of historical fiction.

Rhett Butler’s People, by Donald McCaig
Authorised novel based on Gone with the wind
Through the storytelling mastery of award-winning writer Donald McCaig, the life and times of the dashing Rhett Butler unfolds. Through Rhett's eyes we meet the people who shaped his larger than life personality as it sprang from Margaret Mitchell's unforgettable pages: Langston Butler, Rhett's unyielding father; Rosemary his steadfast sister; Tunis Bonneau, Rhett's best friend and a onetime slave; Belle Watling, the woman for whom Rhett cared long before he met Scarlett O'Hara at Twelve Oaks Plantation, on the fateful eve of the Civil War.

Of course there is Scarlett. Katie Scarlett O'Hara, the headstrong, passionate woman whose life is inextricably entwined with Rhett's: more like him than she cares to admit; more in love with him than she'll ever know…

 After Alice by Gregory McGuire
Set in Wonderland, with Ada tumbling down the rabbit hole, after Alice...
When Alice toppled down the rabbit-hole 150 years ago, she found a Wonderland as rife with inconsistent rules and abrasive egos as the world she left behind. But what of that world? How did 1860s Oxford react to Alice’s disappearance?
In this brilliant work of fiction, Gregory Maguire turns his dazzling imagination to the question of underworlds, undergrounds, underpinnings—and understandings old and new, offering an inventive spin on Carroll’s enduring tale. Ada, a friend of Alice’s mentioned briefly in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, is off to visit her friend, but arrives a moment too late—and tumbles down the rabbit-hole herself.

Ada brings to Wonderland her own imperfect apprehension of cause and effect as she embarks on an odyssey to find Alice and see her safely home from this surreal world below the world. If Eurydice can ever be returned to the arms of Orpheus, or Lazarus can be raised from the tomb, perhaps Alice can be returned to life. Either way, everything that happens next is “After Alice.”

 Jane Steele/ Lyndsay Faye
A reimagining of Jane Eyre as a gutsy, heroic serial killer.
A sensitive orphan, Jane Steele suffers first at the hands of her spiteful aunt and predatory cousin, then at a grim school where she fights for her very life until escaping to London, leaving the corpses of her tormentors behind her. After years of hiding from the law while penning macabre “last confessions” of the recently hanged, Jane thrills at discovering an advertisement.  Her aunt has died and her childhood home has a new master: Mr. Charles Thornfield, who seeks a governess.
 Burning to know whether she is in fact the rightful heir, Jane takes the position incognito, and learns that Highgate House is full of marvelously strange new residents—the fascinating but caustic Mr. Thornfield, an army doctor returned from the Sikh Wars, and the gracious Sikh butler Mr. Sardar Singh, whose history with Mr. Thornfield appears far deeper and darker than they pretend. As Jane catches ominous glimpses of the pair’s violent history and falls in love with the gruffly tragic Mr. Thornfield, she faces a terrible dilemma: can she possess him—body, soul, and secrets—without revealing her own murderous past?