Lunchtime Author Talk

Want to find something new and something interesting? Come to Parramatta City Library. Every first Tuesday, from 1 – 2 PM, the library holds lunchtime author talk, free for everyone.

7th April – Basia Bonkowski talks about her latest book ‘The shimmer’
5th May – Sharyn Munro talks about her book ‘Mountain tails’
2nd June – Don Tate talks about his book ‘The war within

7th July – Jennifer Stackhouse talks about her book ‘My gardening year’.
4th August – Sheryl Perssons talks about ‘Smallpox, syphilis and salvation: breakthroughs that changed the world’.
1st Sepetmber – Amy Macgrath talks about ‘Satan’s Kingdom’.
6th October – Ber Carroll talks about ‘High potential’.

There will be more authors coming to Parramatta Library. Welcome join us.

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What we are made of

What we are made of by Thomas Hettche

Even at the beginning I felt something familiar: a German writer Niklas Kalf was visiting New York for his newly published biography of a Jewish-German physicist named Eugen Meerkaz, who emigrated to the USA in the late 1930s. But one morning when he woke up he found his pregnant wife Liz, mysteriously disappeared without a trace. So what happened to her? Surely a lot of you would remember this similar scene. Yes, that’s right; it was like the films of David Lynch and Quentin Tarantino.

However I felt the pace was rather slow and the context was dry although the book was shortlisted for German Booker Prize. When Kalf tried in vein and in pain to find answers he came to a very remote town, Marfa. He waited there for months and slept with other woman while his kidnapped wife was somewhere alive or dead that was unknown.

It is a thriller fiction and it is intense. Only after the half of the book is turned on, one could gradually make sense of the whole event of kidnapping.

What we are made of? Kalf asks again and again, and yet it is a question that the author asks. The language of this book is quite philosophical as well as religious.

With post September 11 and George W Bush’s strategies to invade Iraq as the historical context to this book, the author conveys somehow very significant message about war with its consequence that has been continuously haunting human beings ever since.

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The NSW Premier’s Literary Awards 2009

The NSW Premier’s Literary Awards honour both new and familiar writers, and the novels, poems, biographies, histories, plays and screenplays that have delighted readers of all ages since 1979.

The winners of the 2009 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards and Translation Prize are:

Special Award ($20,000)

The Special Award is awarded either to a work not covered by the existing categories, or in recognition of a writer’s achievements. This year the judges nominated Ms Katharine Brisbane AM for her service to Australian literature and theatre.

People’s Choice Award for fiction
Steve Toltz, A Fraction of the Whole, Penguin Group (Australia)

2008 Book of the Year Award (additional $10,000)
Nam Le, The Boat, Penguin Group (Australia)

Christina Stead Prize for fiction ($40,000)
Joan London, The Good Parents, Random House Australia Pty Ltd (Vintage)

Douglas Stewart Prize for non-fiction ($40,000)
Chloe Hooper, The Tall Man: death and life on Palm Island, Penguin Group (Australia)

Patricia Wrightson Prize for children’s literature ($30,000)
Ursula Dubosarsky ; Tohby Riddle (illus), The Word Spy, Penguin Group (Australia)

Ethel Turner Prize for young people’s literature ($30,000)
Michelle Cooper, A Brief History of Montmaray, Random House Australia Pty Ltd

Kenneth Slessor Prize for poetry ($30,000)
L K Holt, Man Wolf Man, John Leonard Press

Script Writing Award ($30,000)
Louis Nowra, Rachel Perkins & Beck Cole, First Australians, Blackfella Films, SBS

Play Award ($30,000)
Daniel Keene, The Serpent’s Teeth, Sydney Theatre Company, Currency Press Pty Ltd

The Biennial NSW Premier’s Translation Prize and PEN Trophy ($30,000)
David Colmer for his translations from the Dutch.

Community Relations Commission Award ($15,000, sponsored by the CRC)
Eric Richards, Destination Australia: migration to Australia since 1901, University of New South Wales Press Ltd

Gleebooks Prize for critical writing ($10,000, sponsored by Gleebooks)
David Love, Unfinished Business: Paul Keating’s interrupted revolution, Scribe Publications Pty Ltd

UTS Glenda Adams Award for New Writing ($5,000, sponsored by UTS)
Nam Le, The Boat, Penguin Group (Australia)

The 50 shortlisted works – selected from more than 640 nominations —
are featured here, and I invite you to discover a world of refreshing, confronting and inspirational reading.

The Premier’s Literary Awards have so far acclaimed more than 300 writers, providing encouragement, sponsorship, peer praise and financial sustenance to Australia’s most promising and most respected authors.


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What’s new

So what’s new for non fiction? Well, a lot, quite a lot. First for those who like reading biography:

The alchemy of loss by Abigail Carter
Annie Leibovitz at work by Sharon DeLano
Blade runners, deer hunters & blowing the bloody doors off by Michael Deeley
Catching the wolf of Wall Street by Jordan Belfort
Choir man by Jonathon Welch
Chosen by a horse by Susan Richards
Churchill by Nigel Knight
Cityboy : beer and loathing in the Square Mile by Geraint Anderson
Cut by Cathy Glass
David Williamson : behind the scenes by Kristin Williamson
Destroyed by Jayne Sterne
The world is what it is by Patrick French
Fidel & Che by Simon Reid-Henry
Fortunate son : the unlikely rise of Keith Urban by Jeff Apter
Golden boy by Christian Ryan
Gordon Barton by Sam Everingham
Hope endures by Colette Livermore
In search of Bill Clinton : a psychological biography by John Gartner
Joan in India by Suzanne Falkiner
John Lennon by Philip Norman
Leave to remain : a memoir by Abbas El-Zein
Loving Peter by Judy Cook
Possible side effects by Augusten Burroughs
A remarkable journey by Carol Kidu
Seven seasons in Aurukun by Paula Shaw
Snowball by Alice Schroeder
Somewhere towards the end by Diana Athill
Sunbathing naked and other miracle cures by Guy Kennaway
Where war lives by Paul Watson

Other titles of non fiction
Reading matters by Margaret Willes
Homework for grown-ups by E. Foley
The man who owns the news by Michael Wolff
The lot: in words by Michael Leunig
On longing by Blanche d’Alpuget
On experience by David Malouf
The uses of sadness by Karen Masman
On ecstasy by Barrie Kosky
On Rage by Germaine Greer
On indignation by Don Watson
The decisive moment by Jonah Lehrer
Evolution in the antipodes by Tom Frame
Cyburbia by James Harkin
The next 100 years by George Friedman
Gap year by Penelope McEniry
A tale of two women by C Slade
Leisureville by A. D. Blechman
The sex diaries by B Arndt
The catastrophe continues by John Clarke
American revolution by K. Jennings
The great depression ahead by Harry Dent
Bad money by Kevin Phillips
Factory girls by L. T. Chang
The pleasures & sorrows of work by Alain de Botton
Buffett by Roger Lowenstein
The patient by Mohamed Khadra
The best American magazine writing 2008
Death and the author by David Ellis
The house of wisdom by J. Lyons
Eat, pray, love by E Gilbert
Sideways by P O’Neil
Human smoke by N Baker
Churchill and Australia by Graham Freudenberg
The shameful peace by F Spotts
Valkyrie by P von Boeselager
Putin and the rise of Russia by M Stuermer
From Russia with lunch by D Smiedt
Things I’ve been silent about by Azar Nafisi
Kill Khalid by Paul McGeough
Arabian plights by Peter Rodgers
The war within by Bob Woodward
An awkward truth by Peter Grose
The irregulars by J Conant
Journal by Hélène Berr
Why we watched by T S Hamerow

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Pleasures or sorrows?

The pleasures and sorrows of work by Alain de Botton

It seems quite ridiculous or unwise to ask this question now if work gives you more pleasures or sorrows, since the news bombards us all times with stressful unemployment sorrows. It seems having a job or get employed should be the happiest thing under this tough climate.

However, one does not feel happy if a job only provides financial security but not with personal fulfilment and satisfaction. Or worse if one drags oneself coming out from bed for a job that one hates.

De Botton is a philosopher and maybe he has never worked from 9 to 5, and five days a week on a daily routine. He still has very good point of views about pleasures and sorrows of work. In this book, he selects jobs to make his philosophical expressions on jobs ranged from warehouse, logistic management, biscuits manufactory, counsellors, and painters, etc, jobs that not normally you would give a second thought beyond its surface. He does not give guidelines on how to or what if. Only when you read it you may find how much emotion that you might have lost along way of a long working life.

However, as much as I enjoyed the reading I also felt much stressed in reading a book with such tiny print text. Surely one needs a magnifier to go through it. The book has a large numbers of photos and they are equally interesting though.

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