Parra Pods – Brilliant Daughters Difficult Fathers

This Podcast discusses  difficult Father/daughter relationships in memoirs. Often in memoir and in literature family relationships loom large,  especially father/daughter relationships. All three daughters suffered abuse & neglect in various forms, yet all three are high achieving women. This discussion focuses on these recent memoirs “Small Fry” by Lisa Brennan Jobs, Jeanette Walls “The Glass Castle” and Tara Westover’s “Educated”.

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Book Review Life After Life – Kate Atkinson

Life After LifeKate Atkinson

Book Summary

In 1910, Ursula Todd is born during a snowstorm in England, but two parallel scenarios occur – in one, she dies immediately. In the other, she lives to tell the tale. As the possibility of having a second chance at life opens up, the novel unfolds, following Ursula as she lives through the events of the twentieth century again and again.

What if you had the chance to live your life again and again, until you finally got it right?

During a snowstorm in England in 1910, a baby is born and dies before she can take her first breath.

During a snowstorm in England in 1910, the same baby is born and lives to tell the tale.

What if there were second chances? And third chances? In fact an infinite number of chances to live your life? Would you eventually be able to save the world from its own inevitable destiny? And would you even want to?

Life After Life follows Ursula Todd as she lives through the turbulent events of the last century again and again. With wit and compassion, she finds warmth even in life’s bleakest moments, and shows an extraordinary ability to evoke the past. Here is Kate Atkinson at her most profound and inventive, in a novel that celebrates the best and worst of ourselves.


The group found this book “Life after life” confusing and even frustrating. The writing was well done but passages in German did not help our understanding.

Going back and forward in time as well as the different realities did not make for continuous reading. Also, reviews of the book were misleading – not what we were expecting. It was a chore not a pleasure.

Group rating: 4 ½ out of 10

Read By – Dundas Readers




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Halloween Special

October is upon us and with recent rains it looks very much like the proper Halloween weather. One can debate the pros and cons of Australia increasingly adopting this heavily commercialized American holiday, but we can’t deny the occasion lends itself to enjoying a bit of mystery, thriller and horror. Visit your local branch of Parramatta libraries to enjoy a selection of recent releases, popular and classic titles in these genres.

Reserve some of our new titles in horror and mystery genres:

The best of the Best Horror of the year

The best Horror of the year vol.10

The mammoth book of Halloween stories by Stephen Jones

The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror 2018 ed.

Don’t Believe It by Charlie Donlea

Out of the Dark: Tales of Terror by Robert Chambers

Ghosts in the House: Tales of Terror by Benson A.C. & Benson R.H.

Slender Man by Anonymous

The Invisible Eye: Tales of Terror by Emily Erckmann & L.A. Chatrian

The tall man by Phoebe Locke


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Librarians Choice – October 2018

It’s that time of the month – the top 10 reads of upcoming books as chosen by Library Staff around Australia. Why not reserve a copy now?

Bridge of Clay – Markus Zusak
Librarians’ Choice Favourite

The breathtaking story of five brothers who bring each other up in a world run by their own rules. As the Dunbar boys love and fight and learn to reckon with the adult world, they discover the moving secret behind their father’s disappearance.

At the center of the Dunbar family is Clay, a boy who will build a bridge—for his family, for his past, for greatness, for his sins, for a miracle.

The question is, how far is Clay willing to go? And how much can he overcome?

Any Ordinary Day – Leigh Sales
Shell – Kristina Olsson
The Arsonist – Chloe Hooper
Lost without you – Rachael Johns
Cedar Valley – Holly Throsby
Boys will be boys – Clementine Ford
Lenny’s book of everything – Karen Foxlee
You daughters of freedom – Claire Wright
The valley – Steve Hawke

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Banned Books Week

This week the literary world celebrates Banned Book week and remembers that the right to free speech and difference of opinion should never be taken for granted. Nowadays hardly any books are actually banned in the English speaking world but quite a few are challenged regularly, usually by parents on the grounds of age-appropriateness. However, a number of books and comic books are still censored for their content. You might be surprised to find that Australia has its own list of banned books although the bans have been lifted now. Did you know that ‘American Psycho’ is still technically banned in Queensland with sales of the book restricted to those over 18?  Some of the books available in our libraries are banned in other parts of the world. A list of banned books and the governments that ban them can be found on Wikipedia and is an interesting read.

American Library Association has released a list of ten most challenged books of 2017:

  1. Thirteen Reasons Why, by Jay Asher (Reason: Suicide)
  2. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie (Reasons: Profanity, Sexually Explicit)
  3. Drama, written and illustrated by Raina Telgemeier (Reason: LGBT Content)
  4. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini (Reasons: Sexual Violence, Religious Themes, “May Lead to Terrorism”)
  5. George, by Alex Gino (Reason: LGBT Content)
  6. Sex is a Funny Word, written by Cory Silverberg and illustrated by Fiona Smyth (Reason: Sex Education)
  7. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee (Reasons: Violence, Racial Slurs)
  8. The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas (Reasons: Drug Use, Profanity, “Pervasively Vulgar”)
  9. And Tango Makes Three, by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson, illustrated by Henry Cole (Reason: LGBT Content)
  10. I Am Jazz, written by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings, illustrated by Shelagh McNicholas (Reason: Gender Identity)
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