All About Books Spring 2020

Click here to download all about books Spring 2020 reading suggestions guide.The latest All About Books, our reading suggestions guide to some amazing titles for adults and teens being published this season is now here…better late then never! Another issue jam packed with a wide range of upcoming titles on so many different subjects and in a variety of genres – there is sure to be something for any reader. The always popular Staff Picks is back with reviews of books our staff have been reading lately to inspire you. We are also very pleased to announce the resumption of our author talks via an online platform – now you can listen to wonderful authors from the comfort of home and send in your questions. Pick up your free copy of our guide at any branch of the City of Parramatta Libraries or download now. Don’t forget you can click on any of the covers inside to reserve it before it arrives in the Library.

Miles Franklin Shortlist, Our Picks!

Over the last month, myself and my colleague Sarah have been super busy reading!

What have we been reading? Well, as many books on the ‘Miles Franklin’ longlist that we could manage! Not to mention our leisure reading and book club titles. Luckily we both love books and reading; although Sarah is by far the superior reader. I am constantly in awe of her seemingly endless list of books she has finished.

Now back to the ‘Miles Franklin’ longlist. While we didn’t get through the whole longlist, we did manage to read six out of ten titles, which I think is not a bad effort.

We read:

The White Girl by Tony Birch, UQP, 2019. eBook – eAudiobook – This made me cry! In a good way. I was totally invested in Odette and Sissy’s story. If I am honest I would have read another two hundred pages. Jody

Room For A Stranger by Melanie Cheng, Text Publishing, 2019. eBook – eAudiobook – Meg is an elderly lady living alone in her childhood home. After a break-in she finds a student to share her house. This is Andy, an international student from Hong Kong. Although they are from different backgrounds they develop a friendship as they do have some things in common. Sarah

Islands by Peggy Frew, Allend & Unwin, 2019. eBook – eAudiobook – The many different layers/perspectives in this book did confuse me a times; enough so that I did find myself re-reading parts. However, overall I did enjoy the book and after finishing it, felt that on some level the way it was written perfectly matched the disjointed lives of the characters. Jody

Exploded View by Carrie Tiffany, Text Publishing, 2020. eBook – This book had the power to mess with my head! The narrator of this book is a teenage girl living with her mother, brother and a dangerous man. She uses her mechanical skill to fight back. I found this book quite disturbing. Sarah

The Yield by Tara June Winch, Hamish Hamilton, 2019. eBook – eAudiobook – Simply a perfect book! I enjoy reading books about Australian History, particularly Indigenous stories. ‘The Yield’ is complex and emotional book, with characters that will stay with you long after you finish reading their story. – Jody

The Weekend by Charlotte Wood, Allen & Unwin, 2019. eBook – eAudiobook – Four women in their 70s have been lifelong friends. After the death of one of the group the others spend a weekend at her beach house to clean it out. But there is conflict between the three ladies without the friend that held the group together. This novel looks at growing older and dealing with past regrets. – Sarah

We are crossing our fingers that our three favourite books, ‘The White Girl’ by Tony Birch, ‘The Yield’ by Tara June Winch and ‘Room for a Stranger’ by Melanie Cheng make it onto the 2020 ‘Miles Franklin Shortlist’.

Do you have a favourite? What will be your pick for the 2020 Winner?

Jody

I’m Reading Again!

Earlier this month I shared my frustrations will you all regarding how difficult I was finding it lately to actually concentrate and finish a book. (If you missed the post you can catch up HERE).

It turns out all I needed was to pick up the right book, a book I had been wanting to read for a while; ‘The Nowhere Child‘ by Christian White.

I listed ‘The Nowhere Child’ on my wish list because since it’s publication by Affirm Press in 2018 continues to be a book everyone recommends as a ‘must read’. That, plus the fact Christian White is an Australian Author made it an automatic choice for me. Not to mention it was chosen as one of our May, Parra Reads Book Club Titles.

My verdict after finishing ‘The Nowhere Child’ is “I loved it!” I literally couldn’t put it down, and I am not just saying that. I picked it up one Saturday morning and didn’t stop until I finished it at 9.30pm that night. It wasn’t one of those book that you just have to keep reading because the suspense of finding out ‘what happens’ is just so intense. It was, more ‘I am invested in these characters and need to know how their story ends.’

I enjoyed Christian White’s writing style so much, I also read his second book ‘The Wife and the Widow’. Funny isn’t it, I went to reading nothing to reading two books in quick session. Just proves you can get out of your reading slump if you find the write book and author.

My tale doesn’t end there! Now I’m reading again I have renewed sense of wanting to talk about books.

Some of the books I have read and thoroughly enjoyed over the last few weeks are:

The White Girl by Tony Birch – This made me cry! In a good way. I was totally invested in Odette and Sissy’s story. If I am honest I would have read another two hundred pages.

The Maker’s Curse by Trudi Canavan – ‘The Maker’s Curse’ in the last book in Trudi Canavan’s ‘Millennium’s Rule Series’. The last time I was in a reading slump, my good friend and colleague Amanda recommended I try Trudi Canavan’s ‘Thief’s Magic’. She guaranteed me the book wouldn’t fail to get me reading again, and it worked! I read my way through all three books in the series then sat back and eagerly awaited the release of the fourth and final book ‘The Maker’s Curse’. If you enjoy reading fantasy novels with amazing world building you should read ‘The Millennium’s Rule Series‘.

The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi – I came across this title while browsing through the new eBook releases. An incredible story! With rich and colorful descriptions of the sights and sounds of India.

Until next time, I hope you enjoyed the post and find another couple of books to add to your TBR pile!

Happy Reading

Jody

Miles Franklin Literary Award 2020 Longlist

On Tuesday 12 May 2020 the ‘Miles Franklin Literary Award 2020 longlist was announced. This is something I look forward to each year, as one of my passions is to read books written by Australian Authors.

I didn’t realise it was a passion until I looked back over my ‘Books Read’ list and noticed there was a distinct pattern, 97% were written by Australian Authors. At the time my choices were unconscious; I always picked the books I read by the cover, and I still do to this day, although I now actively look for books written by Australian Authors.

Needless to say each year I eagerly await all the title announcements of the different Australian Literary Awards, of which there are so many. I won’t list them all here, rather I will tell you my top three which are: ‘The Miles Franklin‘, ‘The Stella Prize‘ and the ‘Australian Book Industry Awards‘. I will just quickly mention I love checking out the State Literary Awards too.

Anyway, I can see I am about to lose focus again so returning to ‘The Miles Franklin Award’. Each year I try to read as many of the titles on the longlist as I can, pick my favourites then eagerly await the shortlist announcement, then the winner. Most years my colleague Katherine manages to read all the titles, because she is a reading machine, literally I think she might be a robot, no human can read that many books! Oh, then again my other colleagues Kate, Amanda and Sarah seem to read non stop too, hmm makes you wonder doesn’t it! Oh I did it again didn’t I, went off on a tangent. Right back on topic.

Normally, Katherine & Nisa our resident Podcasting Librarians discuss some of the ‘Miles Franklin’ titles on our Parra Pods podcast. This year, to make things a little different I was thinking to ask more of my book loving colleagues to get involved and see if we can manage to get through the whole longlist and vote for our favourites before the shortlist is announced on 17 June 2020.

Sounds like fun to me. Hopefully I get some takers otherwise I will be very busy reading. Contrary to belief Librarian’s do not spend all day reading! Although maybe I can get special permission just this once, you never know!

I will keep you all updated on my progress via our Twitter account. If you feel like reading along and sharing your thoughts with us that would be great. We have most of the longlist available via our online Library platforms, and quite a few are ‘MULTICAP’. Which means we have multiple copies so we can all read along together.

Happy Reading!

I look forward to seeing how many titles everyone manages to read.

Jody

Miles Franklin Longlist 2020

The White Girl by Tony Birch, UQP, 2019. eBookeAudiobook

Room For A Stranger by Melanie Cheng, Text Publishing, 2019. eBook eAudiobook

Islands by Peggy Frew, Allend & Unwin, 2019. eBookeAudiobook

No One by John Hughes, UWA Publishing, 2019.

Act of Grace by Anna Krien, Black Inc. 2019. eBookeAudiobook

A Season on Earth by Gerald Murnane, Text Publishing, 2019. eBook

The Returns by Philip Salom, Transit Lounge, 2019. eBook

Exploded View by Carrie Tiffany, Text Publishing, 2020. eBook

The Yield by Tara June Winch, Hamish Hamilton, 2019. eBookeAudiobook

The Weekend by Charlotte Wood, Allen & Unwin, 2019. eBookeAudiobook

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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