February reads

Norse mythology/ Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman has long been inspired by ancient mythology in creating the fantastical realms of his fiction. Now he presents his fashioning of the primeval Norse myths into a novel, which begins with the genesis of the legendary nine worlds, delves into the exploits of the deities, dwarves, and giants, and culminates in Ragnarok, the twilight of the gods and the rebirth of a new time and people. Gaiman stays true to the myths while vividly recreating the characters--the gods with their fiercely competitive natures, their susceptibility to being duped and to dupe others, and their tendency to let passion ignite their actions--and making these long-ago myths breathe pungent life again (from publisher).

Moonglow/ Michael Chabon
A man bears witness to his grandfather's deathbed confessions, which reveal his family's long-buried history and his involvement in a mail-order novelty company, World War II, and the space program.(from publisher).

History of wolves/ Emily Fridlund

Even a lone wolf wants to belong.... Fourteen-year-old Linda lives with her parents in an ex-commune beside a lake in the beautiful, austere backwoods of northern Minnesota. The other girls at school call Linda 'Freak', or 'Commie'. Her parents mostly leave her to her own devices, whilst the other inhabitants have grown up and moved on. So when the perfect family mother, father and their little boy, Paul move into the cabin across the lake, Linda insinuates her way into the family's orbit. She begins to babysit Paul and feels welcomes, that she finally has a place to belong. But something isn't right. Drawn into secrets she doesn't understand, Linda must make a choice. But how can a girl with no real knowledge of the world understand what the consequences will be?(from publisher).

The dangers of truffle hunting/ Sunni Overend
A delightful sexy story that spans the Australian wine country, the French provinces and hip bars of Melbourne. Is life too short to play it safe? Kit Gossard's life is neatly mapped out. A secure photographic job. A partner ready to commit. A wedding in the family vineyard for her mother to preside over. So why the apprehension? Why a hunger for something ...more? Then someone new appears. Earthy, reserved, magnetic, this new man brings out feelings she has long suppressed, and suddenly Kit can't contain her simmering discontent. Black truffle hunting, illicit pastry lessons, vine fruit on flesh - Kit is seduced. It feels right. Before it all goes wrong. Artful, sexy, sophisticated, The dangers of truffle hunting explores how a man can be more to a woman than a destination (from publisher) .

I 'll take you there/ Wally Lamb
Behind every good man is a great woman - or three The kaleidoscopic new novel from Wally Lamb: the number one New York Times bestselling author of She's Come Undone. Every Monday evening, Felix Funicello sets up a new film at an old vaudeville theatre for his weekly movie club. But one night, as this sixty-year-old scholar prepares the projectionist booth, he is confronted by an unanticipated guest: the ghost of Lois Weber. Once a trailblazing motion picture director from Hollywood's silent film era, Lois invites Felix to sit back and watch a new feature on the big screen - scenes from Felix's life. Though unnerved by these ethereal apparitions, Felix comes to look forward to his encounters with Lois. And as these magical movies play before him, he begins to reflect on the trio of unforgettable women who have profoundly impacted his life: his troublesome yet loving sister; his Generation Y daughter; and Verna, a fiery would-be beauty queen from the 1950s. An evocative and kaleidoscopic convergence of Hollywood, feminism and family secrets, I'll Take You There is a radiant homage to a single life and to the resiliency, strength and power of women (from publisher).

News of the world/ Paulette Jiles
"In the wake of the Civil War, Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd travels through northern Texas, giving live readings from newspapers to paying audiences hungry for news of the world. An elderly widower who has lived through three wars and fought in two of them, the captain enjoys his rootless, solitary existence. In Wichita Falls, he is offered a $50 gold piece to deliver a young orphan to her relatives in San Antonio. Four years earlier, a band of Kiowa raiders killed Johanna's parents and sister; sparing the little girl, they raised her as one of their own. Recently rescued by the U.S. army, the ten-year-old has once again been torn away from the only home she knows. Their 400-mile journey south through unsettled territory and unforgiving terrain proves difficult and at times dangerous. Johanna has forgotten the English language, tries to escape at every opportunity, throws away her shoes, and refuses to act "civilized." Yet as the miles pass, the two lonely survivors tentatively begin to trust each other, forming a bond that marks the difference between life and death in this treacherous land. Arriving in San Antonio, the reunion is neither happy nor welcome. The captain must hand Johanna over to an aunt and uncle she does not remember--strangers who regard her as an unwanted burden. A respectable man, Captain Kidd is faced with a terrible choice: abandon the girl to her fate or become--in the eyes of the law--a kidnapper himself"(from publisher).

The mothers/ Britt Bennett
"All good secrets have a taste before you tell them, and if we'd taken a moment to swish this one around our mouths, we might have noticed the sourness of an unripe secret, plucked too soon, stolen and passed around before its season." It is the last season of high school life for Nadia Turner, a rebellious, grief-stricken, seventeen-year-old beauty. Mourning her own mother's recent suicide, she takes up with the local pastor's son. Luke Sheppard is twenty-one, a former football star whose injury has reduced him to waiting tables at a diner. They are young; it's not serious. But the pregnancy that results from this teen romance—and the subsequent cover-up—will have an impact that goes far beyond their youth. As Nadia hides her secret from everyone, including Aubrey, her God-fearing best friend, the years move quickly. Soon, Nadia, Luke, and Aubrey are full-fledged adults and still living in debt to the choices they made that one seaside summer, caught in a love triangle they must carefully maneuver, and dogged by the constant, nagging question: What if they had chosen differently? (from publisher).

Love lies and linguine/ Hillary Spiers
"Hester and Harriet lead comfortable lives in a pretty cottage in an English village. Having opened their minds, home and hearts to Daria, a mysterious migrant, and her baby son Milo, the widowed sisters decide to further expand their own horizons by venturing forth to Italy for their annual holiday...Back in England, Daria and Milo are celebrating - they've received official refugee status with papers to confirm they can make England their home. Meanwhile nephew Ben, who knows only too well how much he owes his aunts, is hurtling towards a different sort of celebration - one he's trying to backpedal out of as fast as he possibly can...With a huge secret hanging between the sisters, an unlikely new love on the landscape for Hester and new beginnings also beckoning for Harriet, Italy provides more opportunities for adventure than either of them could ever have imagined. But which ones will Hester and Harriet choose?..As Hester and Harriet throw all their cards on the table in Italy, and potential catastrophe threatens Ben in England, it's anyone's guess how chaos will be kept at bay..."-- Back cover.

Skylarking/Kate Mildenhall
"Kate and Harriet are best friends, growing up together on an isolated Australian cape in the 1880s. As daughters of the lighthouse keepers, the two girls share everything until a fisherman, McPhail, arrives their small community. When Kate witnesses the desire that flares between him and Harriet, she is torn by her feelings of envy and longing. But one moment in McPhail's hut will change the course of their lives forever. Inspired by a true story, Skylarking is a stunning debut novel about friendship, love and loss, one that questions what it is to remember and how tempting it can be to forget."(from publisher).

The heart of Henry Quantam/ Pepper Harding
Henry Quantum has several thoughts going through his head at any given time, so it is no surprise when he forgets something very important, a Christmas gift for his wife, Margaret, which he realises on the morning of December 23rd. So Henry sets off in search of the perfect present for Margaret: a bottle of Chanel No. 5. But much like Henry's ever-wandering mind, his quest takes him in different and unexpected directions, including running into the former love of his life, Daisy. Meanwhile, Margaret is questioning whether she and Henry belong together after all. This is a funny and sweet debut which shows how the seeming insignificant events can change our lives forever, perhaps for the better (from publisher).

Stories from the stack...February

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. 

The Hundred and One Dalmations/ Dodie Smith
Pied Piper / Nevil Shute
The Min Min/ Mavis Thorpe Clark
The Red Badge of Courage/Stephen Crane
Gone Troppo/ John Grady
The Witch's Thorn/ Ruth Park
The Bodysurfers/ Robert Drewe

Criminally Good Reads... February

All fall down/
Crimson Lake/
Candice Fox
Behind her eyes/
Sarah Pinborough

Dirk Kurbjuweit
The nowhere man/
Greg Hurwitz
The book of mirrors/
E.O Chirovici


Something for nothing/
Andy Muir
The unfortunate victim/
Greg Pyers
Police at the station and
they don't look friendly
Adrian McKinty

Local history, local stories...Amy Isabel and Donald George Mackay

On 13 July 1935 a public drinking fountain, situated at the intersection of Port Hacking Road and the Kingsway in Caringbah, was officially received by then Shire President, Councillor Edward Seymour Shaw, on behalf of the citizens of the Sutherland Shire. The elaborate structure, which featured a bubbler fountain for people, water troughs for horses and smaller animals, seats around the sides, a sundial, a bronze lighting standard with 14 inch opal ball perched atop, and the inscription, ‘Come ye to the waters’, was presented as a gift by Mrs Amy Mackay who the Propeller newspaper reported ‘had lived in Sutherland Shire for many years, and had always wanted to show her appreciation for the people in the area by some small token.’

Amy Isabel Mackay (née Little) was the wife of renowned Australian explorer and adventurer, Donald George Mackay. Before their marriage in 1902 Donald had travelled extensively throughout the world to such places as New Zealand, Hong Kong and Japan, where he collected such an extraordinary array of tattoos that his biographer, Frank Clune, likened Donald’s skin to ‘a walking picture gallery’. He also tried his hand at many pursuits including gold prospecting, pugilism and competitive sculling. In 1899, Donald heard that the professional bicycle rider, Arthur Richardson, was attempting to cycle 11,000 miles (almost 18,000 km) around Australia – a feat which had never before been accomplished. Whilst Richardson’s ride was still in progress, Donald not only decided that he too would attempt the marathon campaign with fellow riders Alec and Frank White, but that he would endeavour to beat Richardson’s time by riding in the opposite direction. Although his companions were unable to complete the long and arduous ordeal, Donald Mackay, an amateur cyclist, reached the General Post Office at Brisbane at 5:15pm on 27 March 1900, completing the journey in 240 days and beating Richardson’s freshly set record of 243 days.

Two years later Donald Mackay and his young bride, Amy, settled into their newly erected home at Port Hacking which they’d named ‘Wallendbeen Lodge’ after the merino sheep station near Yass where Donald was born in 1870. This beautiful and romantic Federation residence still occupies a prominent position as one of the deepest water frontages at Burraneer Bay. The couple shared a love of nature and Donald and Amy regularly enjoyed many of the outdoor activities Sutherland Shire has to offer such as fishing on the waterways, hiking in the National Park and taking a double-scull outrigger for a spin from Cronulla to Audley and back. “They say marriage is a lottery, with more blanks than prizes,” recalled Donald many years later, “well, in my case, my luck was in; I got a real sport for a life-mate.” For some years it appeared as though the adventurer may have settled down, but Donald’s days of roaming were not yet behind him.

In 1926 Donald Mackay financed the first of his expeditions to Central Australia. Travelling with anthropologist, Dr Herbert Basedow from the University of Adelaide, he set out on camel to explore and cross the Petermann Ranges in the south-west of the Northern Territory. Earlier ventures by white explorers into this unforgiving land had been met with death and disaster, but Donald’s careful preparation and dogged determination, coupled (crucially) with the assistance of the local Indigenous inhabitants,  meant that the expedition successfully traversed nearly 1200 miles (1900 km) and added valuable geographical data to the official map of terra incognita. Despite these achievements, the Petermann Ranges is probably best remembered as the place where Lewis Hubert Lasseter (1880 – 1931) starved to death whilst searching for his mythical lost reef of gold.

Over the next decade Donald Mackay led five further explorations to Central and Northern Australia. In 1928 he journeyed to Arnhem Land on horseback, again with Dr Basedow. In 1930, 1933, 1935 and 1937 Donald took advantage of developments in aviation technology and returned to the Red Centre where he supervised aerial surveys of huge tracts of previously uncharted areas. The Mitchell Library in Sydney holds copies of all Donald Mackay’s reports and the maps which have contributed significantly to increasing our understanding of remote areas of Australia. Additionally, during his 1930 expedition Donald discovered the large lake on the border between Western Australia and the Northern Territory which the Commonwealth Government later named after him.

Donald Mackay was appointed an O.B.E. in 1934 and C.B.E. in 1937. Many, however, felt that these accolades did not fully recognise the services Donald had rendered to this country. At a welcome home event in 1937 Shire President, Councillor Shaw said that "a photograph of Mr Mackay should be hung in every school as a tribute to Australia’s greatest explorer". Council even approached then Prime Minister, Joseph Lyons, to award Donald Mackay with a greater honour, namely a knighthood. The request was unsuccessful, perhaps in part due to statements Donald had made in July 1933 criticising the harsh treatment and conditions endured by Indigenous Australians, thus instigating official denials from Prime Minister Lyons. The Sydney Morning Herald reported on 25 July 1933 Donald’s declaration “that if the Prime Minister can prove to him that the treatment of aborigines in the past has been humane, he will admit publicly that his own statements were incorrect and unjustified.”

In their later years Amy and Donald Mackay contributed much to the Sutherland Shire through philanthropic work and regularly gave funds to help provide for distressed families in the Shire. When Amy died in 1956 and then Donald in 1958, all those present at the respective Sutherland Shire Council meetings gave their condolences and stood in silent tribute.

Now engraved with the words ‘Lest We Forget’ and used each Anzac Day as a commemorative site, the fountain Amy Mackay donated over 80 years ago still stands, although it was reconstructed to a more simplified shape when relocated in 1972 to its current position in the small park in front of the Caringbah Hotel on the corner with Mackay Street, named after Donald George Mackay, ‘the last Australian explorer.’

Listen to the music and read the latest gossip

Keep up with celebrity chit chat, whilst you get lost in the music of your choice.

With Freegal you can stream and download the latest hits by The Veronicas, Justin Timberlake, Robbie Williams, Delta Goodrem, Ryan Adams, Kylie Minogue and many more.  - it’s free and legal! You just need to login to access content and play samples. Download and keep 3 songs per week, or one song and one video clip. Stream live up to 3 hours per day, so sample the songs before you download.
Choose from thousands of artists and hundreds of thousands of songs, all free and legally yours to keep. These files do not expire. They are free of DRM and can be transferred to iPods and MP3 players or burnt to CD.
Then, use Zinio digital magazines, to catch up on the best celebrity news. Download the latest issues of Rolling StoneOK MagazineHello! Magazine, Total FilmTV Soap magazine and more. Read them at your leisure on any device: PC, Mac, iPad or Android. Previous issues may also be available.

Sutherland Shire Library has partnered with RB Digital to provide access to a collection of over 100 magazine titles that library members can download for FREE.
Once downloaded they are yours to keep. There are no time constraints, keep them as long as you like.

Use your library membership to check them out today.