December 27, 2009
December 22, 2009
In her second novel, Giarratano has ticked the boxes for a successful crime thriller. A psychopathic killer escalating in violence; a loner cop coming to terms with brutal events in her past; a return to past haunts for a traumatised army veteran capable of extreme violence in defence of his family; a quirky, intelligent and off beat federal agent who also has a tragic past; and an authentic Australian setting in various Sydney suburbs. I got quite a thrill of recognition when some of the action took place around the Liverpool streets that I know well, in behind the Spotlight store no less, although I don't agree with her characterisation of the public library there! The book builds nicely to a satisfying conclusion and a tentative thawing of the thick wall of ice surrounding our protagonist. Well worth a try if you are looking for a new mystery author.
Alex Rutherford continues a rich historical action adventure tradition with this fictionalised story of Babur, the Moghul emperor. The story begins with Babur inheriting his father's small kingdom in central Asia and follows him as he pursues his dream to emulate his ancestor Timur or Tamberlaine. Ranging through the countries of modern day Uzbekistan, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan and India, Babur's armies face many trials before achieving success. I don't think this reaches the standard set by other historical action writers such as Conn Iggulden or Bernard Cornwell but it is an insight into a very different time and different cultures and very enjoyable escapism.
December 21, 2009
December 01, 2009
No, it's not Malcom Turnbull in 2009, it's Alcibiades in 415BC Athenian society as reported in A History of Histories by John Burrow (p. 45).
A review on LibraryThing appears here. Over 200 members of LibrayThing have given this book an average of 4 stars and I would agree with them. This book is an overview of who has written history from the earliest records to the present day; why they wrote it and why it matters what was going on around them when they did. Scholarly and informative, the author's wry humour leavens what can inevitably turn a little dry. I have enjoyed it in instalments and also secure in the knowledge I was reading just for my own pleasure - not to face a test! If you like history you may well get a lot out of this book.
November 26, 2009
November 24, 2009
This DVD is an English series of 6 episodes (a double DVD) on The Amazing Mrs Pritchard who, in disgust at the antics of her local candidates in a national election, decides to stand herself because politics isn't rocket science. Her knowledge of people helps her connect, her timing is right for people who are tired of professional politicians but as you may expect, she and her family are catapulted into situations she has not anticipated. A funny, serious, moving and interesting look at the pitfalls and pleasures of power and family life. Many of Britain's finest actors contribute to the strength of this series.
November 09, 2009
Our top 10 most borrowed books for 2009 are:
- Sail James Patterson
- The Whole Truth David Baldacci
- Firefight Chris Ryan
- Artic Drift Clive Cussler
- Patriot Act James Phelan
- Skeleton Coast Clive Cussler
- Area 7 Matthew Reilly
- The Chase Clive Cussler
- Plague Ship Clive Cussler
- Silent Predator Tony Park
November 07, 2009
October 13, 2009
The other short listed novels were:
AS Byatt The Childrens Book
J M Coetzee Summertime
Adam Foulds The Quickening Maze
Simon Mawer The Glass Room
Sarah Waters The Little Stranger
These titles are either available at the library or will be purchased soon.
August 30, 2009
August 22, 2009
This novel is beautifully translated from Japanese by Ralph McCarthy. It is a short novel, lyrically descriptive, explicitly sexual and shockingly violent. It is truly said that you should be careful what you wish for!
August 21, 2009
August 11, 2009
August 06, 2009
Have you ever paused a moment to consider what it might be like to descend into dementia? Still Alice is the story of one woman’s journey through early onset Alzheimer’s. Alice is a 50year old psychology professor who, at first puts her forgetfulness and confusion, as most of us would, to ageing, stress, lack of sleep.
Although fictional, Still Alice is a truthful and respectful depiction of life with Alzheimer’s and has been endorsed by the US National Alzheimer’s Association. Author Lisa Genova has a Ph.D in neuroscience from Harvard and combines her scientific understandings , with lots of research and contact with people who have Alzheimer’s and their carers resulting in a unique, touching story told from Alice’s perspective. I think that is what really makes the book so powerful as you become Alice. An easy read which I managed in a weekend ( although some of my tears slowed me down from time to time!).
Reading Still Alice has increased my awareness and understanding to the realities of the illness, and had me questioning issues of self and identity. The book left me moved and inspired. I reckon it will stay with you long after you have closed the last page. Linda
July 20, 2009
June 29, 2009
June 03, 2009
However, you need to go back to the original source material to get the feel, the grit, the intellectual thrill of the real James Bond. Ian Fleming wrote 12 Bond novels and 2 collections of short stories. Quantam of Solace collects these short stories in the one book. The brilliance of this volume is that the length of each story necessitates a concise plotline and distils for the reader the essence of Bond that is raw man, considerate and occaisionally compassionate human, as well as the cold instrument of the British government.
It is a great introduction to the written Bond and although they are half a century old, the stories still excite and make for compelling reading.
May 27, 2009
May 07, 2009
May 06, 2009
We have the following books that may appeal.
ð Vampire Beach series by Alex Duval
ð House of Night Series by P C Cast
ð The Vampire Diaries L J Smith
ð Tithe or Ironside by Holly black
ð Chronicles of Faerie by O R Melling
ð Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead
ð City of Bones & City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare
ð Shattered Mirror and Midnight Predator by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes
May 02, 2009
This held my attention and was well-paced - I will be looking out his other work to read soon.
Two friends, Sarabeth and Liz, their places in their relationship set by their shared history and separate choices. When Sarabeth was in high school, her mother committed suicide and Sarabeth lived with Liz's family. Liz has, by choice, devoted her life to her family - husband David and two children and has a routine of home making, yoga, and voluntary work; Sarabeth works part-time at a variety of 'arty' jobs and has had a long term unsatisfactory affair with a married man.
David on Sarabeth"...she's going to a gamelan concert tonight..you know those Indonesian chimes and gongs...Sarabeth was always doing something a little hipper than he and Liz would do on their own, and every third or fourth time, Liz would get a bee in her bonnet and they'd end up in some warehouse in Alameda , watching naked people write on each other or something. On the plus side, it gave him great stories for work."
Sarabeth and Liz don't quite realize that underneath their friendship, they regard each other's lives with 'scorn and envy' until a trauma in Liz's family is the catalyst for a re-assessment of their lives and relationships.
April 30, 2009
April 29, 2009
You might be interested in these other blogs' views of this work.
How does a son cope with his inheritance when his father was a successful FBI agent turned serial killer and he trained his son to be quicker and more deadly then his enemies?
Taut and with the obigatory plot twists, this kept my interest although I did feel a bit water-logged by the end.
April 25, 2009
Why was an egg-laying cockerel burnt at the stake?
Which of Mozart's compositions was based on the song of his pet starling?
How was the role of bird song and plumage display interpreted over the years?
How did they eventually discover that some birds migrated and didn't actually spend the winter hibernating at the bottom of frozen ponds?
All wrapped up with a discussion on how scientific thought and process generally developed and affected the study of birds especially the great legacy of Charles Darwin - Natural Selection.
You can learn a lot (even if , as I did, you skip some of the more technical explanations) and also enjoy the reproductions of illustrations from famous historical bird texts.
April 10, 2009
April 07, 2009
March 27, 2009
March 25, 2009
March 24, 2009
March 22, 2009
"Hook had learned the whispering release that let the string slip through his fingers, which hardened into leather pads. and as he drew and released, drew and released, year after year, the muscles of his back, his chest and his arms grew massive. This was one requirement, the huge muscles needed to draw the bow, while the other, which was harder to acquire, was to forget the eye.
When he first started as a boy, Hook would draw the cord to his cheek and sight down the arrow's length to aim, but that cheated the bow of its full power. If a bodkin was to shear through plate armour it needed all the power of the yew and that meant drawing the cord to the ear, and then the arrow slanted across the eye, and it had taken Hook years to learn how to think the arrow to the target. He could not explain it, but no archer could. He only knew that when he drew the cord he looked at the target and the arrow flew there because he wanted it to, not because he had lined eye, arrow and target.
That was why the French had no archers other than a few huntsmen, because they had no men who had spent years learning to make a length of yew and a cord of hemp become part of themselves." ....... from page 134
War in 1415 is brutal and bloody so this book is not for the squeamish. Cornwell's gift for re-telling famous battles and military campaigns evidenced in his works on Wellington (the Sharpe Series) and the American Civil War (the Starbuck Chronicles) is in full flight here. 6,000 Englishmen (including a few Welshmen) beat a French army of 30,000 helped by the weather and the English longbow.
Interestingly, as an aside in his historical note at the end of the book, Cornwell theorises that as the French had threatened to cut off two fingers from the archers' hands to prevent them drawing the bow, that the English made rude gestures with those fingers at the French after they won the battle. Thus the origin of the infamous two fingered salute!
I love Cornwell's masterly evocation of the few men and women he focuses on to tell the story, his commmand of the details of daily life & military training and of course his strong, though flawed, heroes. Visit the author's website for more info on his works http://www.bernardcornwell.net/
March 21, 2009
March 05, 2009
March 04, 2009
February 20, 2009
February 11, 2009
February 05, 2009
Another new classic title is Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. If you want some background on Mary Shelley, try 'Other People's Daughters: the Life and Times of the Governess' by Ruth Brandon held at Camden Library in the Biography Collection (B 923.7 BRA). both Mary and Claire Clairmont (her step-sister) feature in this exploration of the economic and social history of the governess. It is fortunate that there were some governesses who achieved some celebrity so that their records and papers were kept. Most governesses did not enjoy such a position. The book also includes information on early campaigners for female education and the establishment of the first female colleges at universities in England.