Watch at the Library – SWF21

Are you tired of watching online author talks by yourself?
Want to meet with other book lovers?

This year, in partnership with the State Library of NSW, Sydney Writers’ Festival presents a reimagined digital iteration of the Festival’s beloved Suburban and Regional Library Program.

Enter the minds behind our most borrowed books with these events live-streamed from the State Library of NSW to Parramatta Library. Featuring award-winning and bestselling Australian authors Kate GrenvilleAnita Heiss and Candice Fox, in conversation each evening from Tuesday to Thursday of Festival week. 

Parramatta Library will be hosting ‘Watch at the Library’ events where you can watch the author talk each night live streamed on the big screen with other book lovers.
Seats are limited so register your place now:

Watch at the Library – Kate Grenville – Tuesday 27 April, 6.30pm – register here
Watch at the Library – Anita Heiss – Wednesday 28 April, 6.30pm – register here
Watch at the Library – Candice Fox – Thursday 29 April, 6.30pm – register here

All three conversations are available to stream from the comfort of your home too. 

March Reads & April’s Thriller Picks

After I finished writing the blog post for the February wrap-up, and told you all what I was planning on reading, I literally changed my mind as soon as I clicked post. I blame Kate, one of my reading colleagues here at the library, for filling my head with even more reading suggestions.

The books I read this month were….

A Room Made of Leaves by Kate Grenville (Historical Fiction)

This was such a beautifully written book. Although a fictional take on what Elizabeth Macarthur might have thought and said, I found myself believing whole-heartedly that Elizabeth’s voice was real!

What if Elizabeth Macarthur – wife of the notorious John Macarthur, wool baron in the earliest days of Sydney – had written a shockingly frank secret memoir? And what if novelist Kate Grenville had miraculously found and published it? That’s the starting point for A Room Made of Leaves, a playful dance of possibilities between the real and the invented. Marriage to a ruthless bully, the impulses of her heart, the search for power in a society that gave women none – this Elizabeth Macarthur manages her complicated life with spirit and passion, cunning and sly wit. Her memoir lets us hear – at last! – what one of those seemingly demure women from history might really have thought. At the centre of A Room Made of Leaves is one of the most toxic issues of our own age – the seductive appeal of false stories. This book may be set in the past, but it’s just as much about the present, where secrets and lies have the dangerous power to shape reality.

Normal People by Sally Rooney (Book to Screen)

I am really struggling to write my review for ‘Normal People’, even after discussing the book with my colleague Sarah. Therefore, I will keep it short and to the point. I loved the writing! Just was not interested in the storyline. I am going to watch the screen adaptation and see if this changes my opinion.

Connell and Marianne grow up in the same small town in the west of Ireland, but the similarities end there. In school, Connell is popular and well-liked, while Marianne is a loner. But when the two strike up a conversation – awkward but electrifying – something life-changing begins.

One Perfect Summer by Paige Toon (Chicklit)

Once again, Paige Toon managed to keep me glued to the pages until I had finished the whole book. How can one writer manage to write one amazing book, after another? Magic if you ask me! If you enjoy Chick Lit and haven’t read any of Paige Toon’s books give them a try. You will not be disappointed.

Alice is 18 and about to start university while Joe’s life is seemingly going nowhere. A Dorset summer, a chance meeting, and the two of them fall into step as if they have known each other forever. But their idyll is shattered, suddenly, unexpectedly. Alice heads off to Cambridge and slowly picks up the pieces of her broken heart. Joe is gone; she cannot find him. When she catches the attention of Lukas – gorgeous, gifted, rich boy Lukas – she is carried along by his charm, swept up in his ambitious plans for a future together. Then Joe is there, once more, but out of reach in a way that Alice could never have imagined. Life has moved on, the divide between them is now so great. Surely it is far too late to relive those perfect summer days of long ago?

The Funny Thing about Norman Foreman by Julietta Henderson (General Fiction)

I have not finished this one yet, but I am more than half way through and enjoying it. I like the characters and want to know how their story ends.

What do you get when you cross a painfully awkward son, lofty comedic ambition and a dead best friend? Norman. Norman and Jax are a legendary comedy duo in the making, with a five-year plan to perform at the Edinburgh Fringe by the time they’re fifteen. But then Jax dies before they even turn twelve. Norman’s mum Sadie knows she won’t win Mother of the Year anytime soon, and she really doesn’t know, or care, who Norman’s father is. But her heart is broken when she discovers her grieving son’s revised plan – ‘Find Dad’ and ‘Get to the Edinburgh Fringe’. If meeting his dad and performing at the Festival are the two things that will help Norman through this devastating time, then Sadie is going to make them happen. So, mother and son set off from Cornwall, with their friend Leonard in his vintage Austin Maxi, on a pilgrimage to Edinburgh – to honour Jax and to track down a few maybe-fathers on the way…    

We were lucky enough to host Julietta Henderson in an online author talk. You can check out the recording here at parra.city/nswplevents

Now! Down to the business of April’s to be read, thriller list. I am hoping to read at least one of the books listed below.

Continue reading

Book Review The Alice Network

Last month our ‘Dundas Readers’ book club read ‘The Alice Network‘ by Kate Quinn and it looks like they enjoyed reading it like most of our other book clubs. This title is definitely a popular pick!

The Alice Network by Kate Quinn

Summary

1947. In the chaotic aftermath of World War II, American college girl Charlie St. Clair is pregnant, unmarried, and on the verge of being thrown out of her very proper family. She’s also nursing a desperate hope that her beloved cousin Rose, who disappeared in Nazi-occupied France during the war, might still be alive. So when Charlie’s parents banish her to Europe to have her little problem taken care of, Charlie breaks free and heads to London, determined to find out what happened to the cousin she loves like a sister. 1915. A year into the Great War, Eve Gardiner burns to join the fight against the Germans and unexpectedly gets her chance when she’s recruited to work as a spy. Sent into enemy-occupied France, she’s trained by the mesmerizing Lili, code name Alice, the queen of spies, who manages a vast network of secret agents right under the enemy’s nose. Thirty years later, haunted by the betrayal that ultimately tore apart the Alice Network, Eve spends her days drunk and secluded in her crumbling London house. That is until a young American barges in uttering a name Eve hasn’t heard in decades, and launches them both on a mission to find the truth … no matter where it leads.

Continue reading

Extra Reads – December 2020

Looking for even more reads being published this month? These are the titles that didn’t make it into the ‘All About Books‘ Summer 2020/21 edition – we just didn’t have room for them. Why not take a look (we all know we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover…but we all do!), click on a cover to read more about it and reserve your copy.

Good Reads Choice Awards 2020

Announcing the winners of the 12th Annual Goodreads Choice Awards, a major book award decided by readers. Congratulations to the best books of the year! Did one of your favourites become a winner?  Click on the titles below to reserve your copy now.

Best FictionThe midnight library by Matt Haig
Best Mystery & ThrillerThe guest list by Lucy Foley
Best Historical FictionThe vanishing half by Brit Bennett
Best FantasyThe house of Earth and blood by Sarah J. Maas
Best RomanceFrom blood and ash by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Best Science FictionTo sleep in a sea of stars by Christopher Paolini
Best HorrorMexican gothic by Silvia Moreno Garcia
Best HumourStrange planet by Nathan W. Pyle
Best Non FictionStamped by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi
Best Memoir & AutobiographyA promised land by Barack Obama
Best History & BiographyCaste by Isabel Wilkerson
Best Science & TechnologyA life on our planet by David Attenborough
Best Food & CookbooksModern comfort food by Ina Garten
Best Graphic Novels & ComicsHeartstopper: Volume Three by Alice Oseman
Best PoetryDearly by Margaret Atwood
Best Debut NovelSuch a fun age by Kiley Reid
Best Young Adult FictionClap when you land by Elizabeth Acevedo
Best Young Adult FantasyThe queen of nothing by Holly Black
Best Middle Grade & Children’sThe tower of Nero by Rick Riordan
Best PicturebookAntiracist baby by Ibram X. Kendi, Ashley Lukashevsky (Illustrations)