May 27, 2009

International Man Booker Prizewinner - Alice Munro

You will find Alice Munro's work at both Camden and Narellan Libraries. I remember feeling transfixed by her wonderful short story collections when I first was recommended to them by a friend from Canada many years ago. Read about why she won this prestigious prize which is awarded to an author for their whole body of work. At 77, she has a significant set of titles to her name and she hasn't finished yet, as a new collection is due out in October 2009.

May 07, 2009


Cranford by Mrs Gaskell is a funny, satirical look at change in a closed off village society. Recently adapted into a very successful BBC series which the library also holds on DVD, the original novel holds up very well in its characterisations and comedy in spite of being written in the 1850s. The book is episodic and an excellent afterword explains that it was written in parts for Dickens' weekly publication Household Words. The consequent lack of an overall structure does not detract form the reader's gentle enjoyment. Interestingly, Mrs Gaskell apparently regretted killing off Captain Brown in an early chapter, so in adapting the novel for the BBC, the producers kept him alive. It is worth viewing the 'making off Cranford' special features for their discussion on the adaption.
Thoroughly recommended!

May 06, 2009

Twilight and Beyond?

Looking for something to read after the Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer?
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

The Husband

I haven't read Dean Koontz before but he is prolific and popular writing horror and mysteries. The Husband is held in Large Print and normal print in the library. A man who lives a simple life as a gardener, valuing his wife and his home above all else, is rung by the men who have kidnapped his wife and are demanding $2 million for her safe return. He doesn't have anywhere near $2million but they apparently know where he can get it... In dealing with this horror scenario, he is forced to confront his own past and re-evaluate his relationships with his family.
This held my attention and was well-paced - I will be looking out his other work to read soon.

The Coroner

A new author for the library, M.R. Hall, has written a tale about a newly appointed coroner, Jenny Cooper, who seeks a new start after divorce and a minor nervous breakdown. In reviewing the last few cases dealt with by her predeccessor before his death from a heart attack, Jenny finds some inconsistencies that lead her to suspect a conspiracy to cover up the unlawful deaths of two troubled teenagers. Has Jenny bitten off more than she can deal with as she battles to deal with her own rehabilitation, establish a new relationship with her teenage son and manage a civil conversation with her ex-husband? As she gets closer to the truth, the bad guys up the ante but her determionation to find the truth finds her new allies and the two teens' families find some resolution just as Jenny confronts her own internal demons and deals with her past. An enjoyable, quick read with a welcome light touch of romance for our embattled heroine.

Songs Without Words

This latest book from Ann Packer is another gem about contemporary family life. You may have read her earlier novel 'The Dive from Clausen's Pier' and marvelled at her ability to get inside each character's head and tell events from different perspectives. Her lucid prose and telling descriptions are evident in this new book. Little touches like her description of a minor character, a real estate agent showing a house....."never a hair out of place. Today she stood at the dining room table with her smoked salmon and her flyers, in a tobacco-brown blazer over a high-collared gold silk blouse that was like a display stand for her impeccably made-up face."

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 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.