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.

Community Survey 2016

Sutherland Shire Libraries launched a community survey in May 2016 to help plan for the future. The survey was open for four weeks and received nearly 2000 responses.

This infographic summarises the overall response from the public. Thank you to everyone who gave us their feedback we are using this in the development of Sutherland Shire Libraries' Business Unit Plan, Delivery Program and Operational Plan.

Stories from the stacks...November

While searching the Library catalogue you may have encountered a book listed as available at Sutherland Stack Fiction.

These are a collection of books which are housed behind the scenes at Sutherland Library - items that the Library definitely wants to keep, but for some reason (e.g. older condition, or not in as high demand) the open shelf is not the right place for them. 

Here are six recently returned books from this collection...

Forty Fathoms deep/ Ion Idriess
Burr Gire Vidal/ Gore Vidal
Hornblower and the Atropos /C.S Forrester
The Cheiro Book Of Fate And Fortune : Palmistry, Numerology, Astrology/ Cheiro
The collector/ John Fowles
Mother Night/ Kurt Vonnegut
National Velvet/ Enid Bagnold

Criminally good reads... November

Some criminally good reads  for November..

                    Jane Steele/
                     Lyndsay Faye
Crime Scenes: stories/
Zane Lovitt
House of the rising sun/
James Lee Burke

The Chemist/
Stephanie Meyer
The Drowning ground/
James Marrison
Pen 33/
Roslund & Hellstrom

Magpie Murders/
Anthony Horowitz
Signal Loss/
Gary Disher
The other side of silence/
Philip Kerr


Local Studies Local Stories…Bathing Laws

Every morning hundreds of Sydneysiders rise well before daybreak to enjoy a pre-work surf or swim at one of our many beaches. But in the early 1900s, as surf-bathing (as it was then called) increased in popularity, so too did the number of restrictions imposed on beach-goers by lawmakers determined to maintain a strict level of moral decorum. This included a ban on ‘daylight bathing’ which required swimmers to leave the water by 7am, as well as restrictions on ‘mixed bathing’ which forbade men and women swimming together, although for safety reasons this stipulation was soon abandoned. The Sutherland Shire’s authorities were, however, particularly enthusiastic about policing additional beach regulations, in some cases many years after other local Council’s had bowed to public opinion through a distinct lack enforcement.

In January 1912 the Surf Bathing Association, which had been formed the previous year by the NSW Government, forwarded three questions to Sutherland Shire Council with a view to ascertaining their feelings on the question of sunbaking (sunbathing). These were:
If they were in favour of allowing sunbaking, clad in costume, on the beach.
If so, whether the sexes should be permitted to sunbake indiscriminately together?
Whether sunbaking should be confined to sheds or special enclosures provided for the purpose?
“In the sheds,” said Sutherland.
Not only was sunbaking on beaches banned, but it was necessary for bathers to proceed to - and from - the water by the most direct route after changing in the specially erected dressing sheds. ‘Loitering’ was forbidden and offenders could face harsh fines. In 1920 Sutherland Shire Council took Herbert George Erickson to court for lying on the sand at Cronulla Beach wearing only his swimmers. The Propeller newspaper reported that Erickson had been ‘lying on the beach clad in his costume speaking to a young lady. They had an umbrella over them. He had surfed a good deal at times and at no other beach that he frequented were bathers prevented from lying on the beach while in a costume.’ For this heinous crime Erickson was fined 20/- and £1/1 professional costs in addition to 6/- costs in default of 14 days imprisonment.
In further efforts to thwart public displays of indecency on the Shire’s beaches, Council enforced the use of suitable covering garments. Beachgoers could hire official ‘shorts’ for men and ‘kimonos’ (kims) for women at a cost. On 4 March 1926 the Sun newspaper, reporting on a meeting of the Sutherland Shire Council the previous evening, stated:
The health inspector said that shorts cost 3s, and that amount has to be deposited, and was refunded on return of the garment. “We now charge sixpence for a half-day and 1s for a full day for their hire,” he added. “Kimonos cost us 8s, and at a hire fee of sixpence each they have to be used 16 times to pay for themselves.
When asked whether the garments were washed and disinfected after being used, the health inspector replied indignantly, “Certainly not. They are done once a week.” Shire President, Councillor Monro was, however, quick to correct this claim and assured the public that every bather hiring shorts was given a clean pair which had been treated in the most hygienic way.
Nevertheless, many Sydney newspapers clearly took great joy in circulating articles and commentary on the scrupulous policing of Shire beaches. As far back as 1911 the St George Call published a letter from a ‘constant reader’ outlining his (rather tongue in cheek) recommendations for beach bathing rules.
1. You shall not bathe.
2. If any person insists, then he shall bathe in a costume approved by:
the Chief Commissioner of Police
the Methodist Conference
the Town Clerk
the Bo Leong Society
the Austral Salon, and
the Governor in Council
3. Notwithstanding anything contained in clause 2, any person bathing may be fined.
4. The hours of bathing shall be between 12 (midnight) and 1am, provided that, in the opinion of the police, the water is
not too cold
not too hot
not too wet
and provided also that
no elderly lady of conservative views on propriety,
no junior member of the police force,
no child under the age of 14 years,
no wowser,
be within 250 yards of the place where bathing in contemplated.
5. Each bather shall cause a man to walk, ringing a bell and carrying a red flag, not less than 20 yards in front of him.
How the times have changed!

Local Author Showcase - Meet the local authors! Karina Machado

Don't miss the Sutherland Shire Libraries local author showcase, featuring six local authors sharing their very different books.

Local Author Showcase
Sutherland Library
Saturday 19 November
 Bookings essential, book online:

About Karina Machado
Karina Machado was born in Uruguay and was two when her parents emigrated to Sydney. She grew up hearing stories of her mum’s psychic gift, which ignited a life-long curiosity about life after death (and other mysteries). Passionate about books and writing since she taught herself to read Golden Books, Karina always knew she had to ‘work with words’, and after graduating from the University of New South Wales with an English major in 1994, she began her career in journalism as an editorial assistant at TIME magazine. Today she’s a senior editor at WHO magazine and the author of Spirit Sisters (2009), Where Spirits Dwell (2011), Love Never Dies (2014) and now, Awaken, a book of spiritual insights co-authored with her sister, Natalie Grueninger. Karina lives in Sydney’s Sutherland Shire with her husband and two children.

Awaken by Natalie Grueninger and Karina Machado

Written in collaboration with her sister, Natalie Grueninger, AWAKEN is a book of life-changing inspiration, drawn from the authors’ own profound journeys of transformation and spiritual awakening. Dip into any page for instant spiritual nourishment or read from cover to cover.This mini GPS for the soul belongs in every handbag—it’s a little book that creates big changes.
You’ve been asleep but it’s time to Awaken …

.Books will be for sale and signing at the event.

Other books by Karina Machado
Where spirits dwell, Love never dies and Spirit sisters

 Author questions 
What is your favourite book and why?
I love Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë, it is one of only two books I have read twice (the other is In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, another gem, but a very different kind!) Wuthering Heights contains all the elements I relish in a story: setting, landscape, mystery, spookiness and a formidable house. I also adore A Traveller in Time by Alison Uttley, for the way it magically transports you to another time. Before the story begins, the author notes that she experienced in “dreams” the trips into a Tudor past that she describes in her tale. To me, this helps explain a little about why this is such a special book—ostensibly it’s for children but I consider it one of the most beautifully written books I’ve ever read. It’s nothing short of a wonder. (I also know that my sister mentioned this as her favourite book, but I don’t feel like I’m copying her answer because I introduced her to the novel!) ;-)

What book(s) are you currently reading?
I always have multiple books on the go, both on my Kindle and physical books that sit by my bedside. I’ll mention a few: on my Kindle, I’m dipping in and out of Be Here Now by Ram Dass (a spiritual classic), and by the bedside, there is Elizabeth Goudge’s historical-fiction modern classic, The Child From the Sea. I am also about to begin The Good People, the new novel by the very talented Australian author Hannah Kent.

What is one book you haven’t read but want to read before you die?
The Bible immediately comes to mind! That is another I have been dipping in and out of very sporadically. I also am curious about The Brothers Karamazov by Dostoevsky. Both require a big investment of time.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your book/s?
I have written three books that are essentially a collection of other people’s stories, and yet, it was interesting to me how much of my own story became woven into the narrative, beginning with the first book, Spirit Sisters (2009) and developing through to the last book in the spiritual trilogy, Love Never Dies (2014). My family emigrated to Australia in 1973, so I particularly appreciate one theme that emerged: that of immigration being a kind of death, with loved ones left behind in the old country being like living ghosts. Immigrants mourn lost love, lost life too, though their loved ones haven’t physically died.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Make sure you write from the heart, because you have an ache to tell a story, not because you seek fame or fortune. Very few writers in Australia make a lot of money from their writing but I believe that if you do something from the heart, events will unfold in such a way that you’re supported so that a path opens for you to continue doing what you love.
I would also say that while you write and work at another job to support your creativity, as many of us do, do everything with the utmost love and care, regardless of whether you consider your other endeavour inferior to your true passion. As an example, I work at a magazine to support myself. I have learned to infuse every article I write with the same love, excellence and care I poured into each of my books. It makes for a happier working day, my magazine readers are well served, and I’m creating the right conditions for a thriving writing life.

How can readers discover more about you and you work?

Local Author Showcase - Meet the local authors! Natalie Grueninger

Don't miss the Sutherland Shire Libraries local author showcase, featuring six local authors sharing their very different books. 

Local Author Showcase
Sutherland Library
Saturday 19 November
 Bookings essential, book online:

Natalie Grueninger
Natalie Grueninger is a researcher, writer and educator, living in Australia with her husband and two children.
She graduated from The University of NSW in 1998 with a Bachelor of Arts, with majors in English and Spanish and Latin American Studies and received her Bachelor of Teaching from The University of Sydney in 2006.
Natalie has been working in public education since graduating, and is passionate about making learning engaging and accessible for all children.
In 2009 she created On the Tudor Trail, a website dedicated to documenting historic sites and buildings associated with Anne Boleyn and sharing information about the life and times of Henry VIII’s second wife. Natalie is fascinated by all aspects of life in Tudor England and has spent many years researching the period.
Natalie has co -authored two non-fiction books with Sarah Morris, In the Footsteps of Anne Boleyn, and ‘In the Footsteps of the Six Wives of Henry VIII'.
Natalie is currently working on two books: ‘Discovering Tudor London’ and ‘History in Colour – The Tudors‘ which will both be published by The History Press in early 2017.

Awaken by Natalie Grueninger and Karina Machado

Have you ever felt like you’re disconnected from life, vitality and joy? Ever sensed the gnawing unease of having forgotten something important, yet the answer remains maddeningly out of reach? Ever yearned to be fulfilled by something you can’t begin to understand or express? What you’re missing is a connection to your soul, also known as Source, Infinite Spirit, God, the Higher Self, or the Universe—there are many labels for one truth.

AWAKEN is a guidebook to help you find your way back to the divine spark within. Do that, and life will expand in new and seemingly magical ways.
Books will be available for sale and signing at the event.

Other books by Natalie Grueninger co-authored with Sarah Morris
The Six Wives of Henry VIII,
In the Footsteps of Anne Boleyn 
Five Questions...

What is your favourite book and why?

One of my all-time favourite novels is ‘A Traveller in Time’ by Alison Uttley. It’s the story of Penelope, a young English girl who, while staying with her great-aunt in her ancient farmhouse in Derbyshire, is mysteriously transported back to Elizabethan times. Her sixteenth-century family is involved in the plot to free Mary, Queen of Scots, and while in the present time, Penelope is aware that their efforts are doomed to fail; on her sojourns into the past, she is not. Penelope grows to love ‘Thackers’, the farmhouse where the story is set, and the people she meets there, in the present and in the past.
Alison Uttley’s descriptions of life at Thackers are vivid and evocative, and the detail makes you wonder whether, like Penelope, the author herself wasn’t privy to the secrets of time travel. The story is compelling and beautifully written, and while technically a book for children/young people, will captivate and etch itself onto the hearts of adults for a long-time to come.
As a sidenote, earlier this year I stayed at The Manor Farmhouse in Derbyshire, the very sixteenth century farmhouse that was both the inspiration and setting for Alison Uttley’s haunting story. I reread the novel, while looking out over the same ancient lands that Mary, Queen of Scots would have known, and was enveloped by a sense of timelessness that I’ve only experienced a handful of times.

What book(s) are you currently reading?
I have just finished ‘I Capture the Castle’, an enchanting and tender novel by Dodie Smith. It’s a coming of age tale, narrated by the intelligent and charismatic, seventeen-year-old Cassandra Mortmain, and set in a crumbling medieval castle in England in the 1930s. Its opening line is one I’ll not forget any time soon… “I write this sitting in the kitchen sink”.

What is one book you haven’t read but want to read before you die?
The Sunne in Splendour by Sharon Kay Penman. I’ve heard such wonderful things about this hefty historical novel that chronicles the life of Richard III. It took the author around twelve years to write, and as it consists of 895 pages of small print, might take me that long to read!
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your book/s?
I’ve studied and written about Medieval and Tudor England for a long time, and what never ceases to amaze me is just how ambitious the nobility were. Anyone who was anywhere near the crown was ruthless in their quest to ascend the ranks. The bonds of family were not enough to guarantee loyalty. People hungered for power and were willing to do anything, including murdering your own kin, in order to get it.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Write about what you love, and about what gives you that ‘butterflies-in-the-tummy’ excited feeling. Write a book that you are longing to read.

How can readers discover more about you and you work?

Local Author Showcase - Meet the local authors! Dave Reardon.

Don't miss the Sutherland Shire Libraries local author showcase, featuring six local authors sharing their very different books. Meet Dave Reardon!

Local Author Showcase
Sutherland Library
Saturday 19 November
 Bookings essential, book online:

About Dave...
 I’m a writer, journalist, speaker, husband, proud dad & somewhere along the line I inadvertently became a YouTuber too.

I was a reporter for 10 years, covering crime, politics and crocodile attacks for major Australian and international newspapers. I loved meeting amazing people (most of them unsung heroes) and also got to swim with dolphins (and from sharks). After that I worked full-time with youth and ran an organisation that, amongst other things, staged all-ages concerts with artists such as Guy Sebastian and Switchfoot.

More recently, much of my energy has been directed online, working with my super-smart wife Ann Reardon to produce HowToCookThat – one of the world’s favourite cooking shows with 2.5M subscribers and 20M viewers each month.

Along the way, I’ve ghostwritten books for some great people, had a non-fiction leadership book published and branched into the mysterious world of Young Adult fiction for my first novel ‘The Deep Enders’.
Watch the book trailer...

 The Deep Enders by Dave Reardon

When the world burns, all you have is each other. With his home and family torn apart after the
attack on Pearl Harbor, 16-year-old Murph Turner is evacuated to a wild town on the Australian coastline.
An outsider in a bizarre land, he falls in with Micki, a gorgeous but mysterious girl on the run, and Banjo, a hilarious Aboriginal scamp with pyrotechnic tendencies.
All three are running from their past and, despite his misgivings, Murph finds himself drawn to Micki. But even as war clouds gather on the horizon, they are suddenly catapulted into a deadly conspiracy that could shatter their world and destroy everyone they love.

Five Questions:  
What is your favourite book and why?
The Life of Pi - Yann Martel.
A wonderful mix of adventure, fantasy and spirituality draws readers into an exciting tale before suddenly flipping everything around at the very end.

What book(s) are you currently reading?
A Fatal Tide - Steve Sailah
Why Weren't We Told - Henry Reynolds
What is one book you haven’t read but want to read before you die?
Batavia - Peter FitzSimons

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your book/s?
I was surprised how time-consuming, but also how enjoyable, writing fiction could be.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Listen to feedback & don't be too defensive. Be prepared to consider different opinions about your work … even it you stick to your guns, it will help you define what is important to you.

How can readers discover more about you and you work?
The Deep Enders Website
Twitter: @docreardon/

National Novel Writing (NaNoWriMo) starts today!

Images courtesy of National Novel Writing Month

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) starts today with participants begin working towards the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 PM on November 30. This is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writing! This year, Sutherland Library's meeting room will be a write in centre: A place where writers can work toward reaching their 50,000 word goal. Join us for some quiet writing time and the opportunity to meet other local writers. Write -ins at Sutherland Library Sutherland Library Meeting Room Wednesday evenings 5.00pm - 9.00pm 2 November 9 November 16 November 23 November Saturdays 10.00am-3.00pm 5 November 26 November
See you there! 

Valuing enthusiasm, determination, and a deadline, NaNoWriMo is for anyone who has ever thought about writing a novel.