Stella Prize Winner 2020

Congratulations! 2020 ‘Stella Prize’ Winner Jess Hill for her novel ‘See What You Made Me Do: Power, Control and Domestic Abuse’.

The ‘Stella Prize’ is one of our favourtie awards here at City of Parramatta Libraries. With each year being a celebration of the talent and quality of Australian women’s writing in our every growing community of Australian Writers.

Each year the ‘Parra Reads Group’ of book-crazy Librarian’s get together and read all the books that make it to the ‘Stella’ shortlist and of course discuss each one. For the past two years we have featured that discussion on our podcast, Parra Pods. This year in episode 33 Nisa and Sandra read and discussed ‘See What You Made Me Do’; which stood out among the other titles as a “gripping & essential read”. I can remember Nisa very passionately telling anyone who would listen that they had to read ‘See What You Made Me Do’.

If you missed our special ‘Stella Prize’ episode of Parra Pods you can listen anytime on Podbean, Apple Podcasts and Google Play, or here!

As a special promotion for Book Clubs and our wider reading community, ‘See What You Made Me Do’ is available as an eBook with NO WAITING, NO HOLDS! Available to download from our rbDigital app. Just download the app to start ‘Reading Together’, at home!

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Podcast Episode 34 – Wellbeing

Find ways to relax, to meditate, to pursue balance, to consider gratitude, to engage in kindness, to strive for positivity…. all of these are important considerations for those interested in creating a sense of wellbeing for themselves and those around them.

Join Nisa & Antonia as they talk about some books that explore this and more!

The books discussed in this episode of Parra Pods include:

In Search of Happiness: following mindful paths to fulfillment by Mike Annesley. Worth Press, October 2018.

Smart Girls Screw Up Too: the no-nonsense guide to creating the life you want by Bella Zanesco. John Wiley & Son, January 2018. 

Unwind Your Mind: the life changing power of ASMR by Emma WhispersRed. Ebury Publishing, September 2019.

Happy Listening!

Book Review – The Choke by Sofie Laguna

The Choke by Sofie Laguna

Published by Allen & Unwin, 2017.

About the Book

I never had words to ask anybody the questions, so I never had the answers.
Abandoned by her mother and only occasionally visited by her secretive father, Justine is raised by her pop, a man tormented by visions of the Burma Railway. Justine finds sanctuary in Pop’s chooks and The Choke, where the banks of the Murray River are so narrow it seems they might touch – a place of staggering natural beauty. But the river can’t protect Justine from danger. Her father is a criminal, and the world he exposes her to can be lethal.

Justine is overlooked and underestimated, a shy and often silent observer of her chaotic world. She learns that she has to make sense of it on her own. She has to find ways to survive so much neglect. She must hang on to friendship when it comes, she must hide when she has to, and ultimately she must fight back.

The Choke is a brilliant, haunting novel about a child navigating an often dark and uncaring world of male power and violence, in which grown-ups can’t be trusted and comfort can only be found in nature. This compassionate and claustrophobic vision of a child in danger and a society in trouble celebrates above all the indomitable nature of the human spirit.

Sofie Laguna, winner of the 2015 Miles Franklin Literary Award for The Eye of the Sheep, once again shows she is a writer of rare empathy, originality and blazing talent.

From Allen & Unwin

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Parra Reads, Online Book Club

Online we can all ‘Read Together’.

Joining a book club is a great way to socialise with like-minded people while discovering new authors and books!

But what do you do when an in-person book club doesn’t work? Maybe you have work commitments, or your friends don’t live nearby, or maybe it’s April 2020 and COVID-19 and social distancing has resulted in your monthly book club meetings being ‘put on hold’ until the world rights itself!

Given the current situation and because we have been wanting to do this for a while we thought it would be the perfect time to start up an online book club, and we called it ‘Parra Reads’ of course!

Every month, a book-crazy group of Librarians will select two books they love and share them with readers.

Join in the online discussion on the ‘Parra Reads’ forum page, or share your thoughts via Twitter using #parrareadsbookclub

The books selected will include a mixture of both fiction and non-fiction and include newer and older titles.

The two titles chosen for April are:

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Book Review – The Lost Man by Jane Harper

Jane Harper’s books continue to be popular among our City of Parramatta Libraries book clubs. With all three titles out each month. In February Cultcha Club book club read ‘The Lost Man’, and thoroughly enjoyed it! Which is great because they have waited very patiently for their turn.

Happy Reading!

A twisted tale that kept us guessing all the way through. Lots of twists and turns with a few red herrings that kept the pages turning. We absolutely loved it! Now the third book of Jane Harper’s that we have read and thoroughly enjoyed.

Harper knows how to sell the scene. A wonderful turns of phrase that makes the reader feel the environment as if they were living it. In ‘Force of Nature’, we could feel the closeness and density of the forest, and in ‘The Lost Man’, we could feel the heat and remoteness of the Queensland outback. The unrelenting heat and neighbours that are three hours way.

We loved the relationships between all the characters, and the way their secrets unfolded. How our opinions of each of them changed as they changed and grew throughout the book. In particular, we loved the story lines and relationship between Nathan and his son, Xander.

We loved this book! Highly recommended!

8.5/10

Cultcha Club

Available as eBook from our BorrowBox Library

Available as eAudiobook from our rbDigital Library