October 2021 Author Talks

City of Parramatta Libraries have once again teamed up with Public Libraries NSW to offer our communities the chance to attend FREE online author talks over the coming months.
There are three author talks for the month of October that you can attend from the comfort of home – Judy Nunn, Claire G. Coleman and Costa Georgiadis.

Judy Nunn Presents Showtime!
Wednesday 6 October, 6.30pm

Judy Nunn will be in conversation with Catherine Krause from Central Coast Libraries about her bestselling new novel Showtime! that takes us on a scintillating journey through the golden age of Australian show business.
In the second half of the 19th century, Melbourne is a veritable boom town, as hopefuls from every corner of the globe flock to the gold fields of Victoria. And where people crave gold, they also crave entertainment. Enter stage right: brothers Will and Max Worthing and their wives Mabel and Gertie.
To register book online – parra.city/nunn21

Claire G. Coleman Presents Lies, Damned Lies
Thursday 14 October, 6.30pm

Claire G. Coleman will be in conversation with Torres Strait Islander journalist and broadcaster, Rhianna Patrick, speaking about her non-fiction debut Lies, Damned Lies.
In Lies, Damned Lies, Coleman wields the truths unseen in Australia’s history to highlight the wrongs that underpin the very foundations of this nation. Coleman has long used her writing as a vehicle for truth-telling and Lies, Damned Lies is the ultimate exemplar of this. By layering her experiences against the realities of Australia’s past and present Coleman demonstrates the ongoing impacts of colonisation on the individual, and on Country, to devastating effect. 
To register book online – parra.city/coleman21

Costa Georgiadis Presents Costa’s World
Wednesday 27 October, 6.30pm

Costa Georgiadis will be in conversation with Robyn Syphers from Camden Libraries discussing his new book Costa’s World.
Gardening for the soul, the soil and the suburbs – from the beloved host of ABC TV’s Gardening Australia. A generous, joyous, fully illustrated gardening book, Costa’s World celebrates the life-changing joy of chooks; kids in the garden; big ideas for small spaces; Costa’s favourite plants; growing the right plants for your conditions; biodiversity in the soil and garden; the power of community; the brilliance of bees and pollinators; easy-peasy permaculture; and much, much more. Bringing together all of Costa’s gardening and sustainability knowledge, this is a book for the whole family that reflects Costa’s philosophy and big-hearted sense of fun.
To register book online – parra.city/costa21

Book Club Review The Dictionary of Lost Words

Summary

In 1901, the word bondmaid was discovered missing from the Oxford English Dictionary. This is the story of the girl who stole it.

Motherless and irrepressibly curious, Esme spends her childhood in the Scriptorium, a garden shed in Oxford where her father and a team of lexicographers are gathering words for the very first Oxford English Dictionary.

Esme’s place is beneath the sorting table, unseen and unheard. One day, she sees a slip containing the word bondmaid flutter to the floor unclaimed. Esme seizes the word and hides  it in an old wooden trunk that belongs to her friend, Lizzie,  a young servant in the big house. Esme begins to collect other words from the Scriptorium that are misplaced, discarded or have been neglected by the dictionary men. They help her make sense of the world.

Over time, Esme realises that some words are considered more important than others, and that words and meanings relating to women’s experiences often go unrecorded. She begins to collect words for another dictionary: The Dictionary of Lost Words.

Comments

Our group thoroughly enjoyed this novel. We loved the descriptive writing, the historical perspective, the believable characters and the gentle, interesting way the emancipation of women was treated. We savoured the warmth of the relationships between families and women. It was a love story that involved people, places and language. The treatment of women’s suffrage ran throughout the story but we weren’t ‘hit over the head’ with it. We were connected to it in a subtle, sympathetic way as we observed it through the life of the main character and her observations of others and understanding of the use and meaning of words. Learning how the dictionary was compiled was also fascinating. A great read.

Read by MJ Readers

September Author Talks

City of Parramatta Libraries have once again teamed up with Public Libraries NSW to offer our communities the chance to attend FREE online author talks over the coming months. 
There are two author talks for the month of September that you can attend from the comfort of home – Tom Keneally and Matt Murphy.

Tom Keneally Presents ‘Corporal Hitler’s Pistol’
Thursday 9 September, 12.30pm

Tom Keneally will be in conversation with Christine Dearness from Willoughby City Libraries discussing his compelling new story set in early twentieth-century Australia.
How did Corporal Hitler’s Luger from the First World War end up being the weapon that killed an IRA turncoat in Kempsey, New South Wales, in 1933?
Corporal Hitler’s Pistol speaks to the never-ending war that began with ‘the war to end all wars’. Rural communities have always been a melting pot and many are happy to accept a diverse bunch … as long as they don’t overstep.
To register book online – parra.city/keneally21

Matt Murphy Presents ‘Rum: a distilled history of Colonial Australia’
Wednesday 15 September, 6.30pm

Matt Murphy will be in conversation with Eric Dodson from Lane Cove Library taking us through his account of the formation of Australia through the distorted view of a rum bottle.
He will cover questions like Would the Eureka Stockade have been different if the rebels weren’t pissed? And how were prisoners able to get drunk if Macquarie closed the only pub in the goal?..
To register book online – parra.city/murphy21

August Reading Wrap-up

Welcome to our monthly reading wrap-up fellow readers!

Books, books & more books.

Finding ourselves still in lockdown here in Sydney being able to enjoy the odd book or two is one thing we look forward to in our downtime. Enjoying every opportunity to share what we are reading our City of Parramatta reading community is one of our highlights.

With our reading theme for August being, ‘Big, Bang Books’, I decided to re-read ‘And the mountains echoed’ by Khaled Hosseini. While ‘And the mountains echoed’ isn’t my favourite Khaled Hosseini book, it was still a beautiful, emotional read that stayed with me for days after I finished the book. The next time I’m looking to have my heart squeezed, I think I might re-read, ‘The kite runner’ & ‘A thousand splendid suns’.

‘Banned Books’ is our reading theme for September and one that offers up a great chance to pick up one of those classics you have been considering for years. We have highlighted some titles you might like to explore for your reading or listening pleasure.

For those of you who are more interested in exploring what we have been reading, you will find a list below.

Whatever book you choose to read over the next month or so, we hope you enjoy it.

Happy reading,

Jody

Some of the fabulous books we’ve been reading

The distant hours by Kate Morton – eBook, eAudiobook

The Henna artist by Alka Joshi – eBook, eAudiobook

Still life by Sarah Winman – eBook

The truth about her by Jacqueline Maley – eBook, eAudiobook

Leave me alone: A memoir of me, myself and Trish by Christian Hall – eBook

The truth & Addy Loest by Kim Kelly – eAudiobook

Olive, again by Elizabeth Strout – eBook, eAudiobook

One hundred days by Alice Pung – eBook

Your second life begins when you realize you only have one by Raphaelle Giordano

The electric hotel by Dominic Smith – eBook, eAudiobook

So much life left over by Louis de Berniere – eAudiobook

The bluffs by Kyle Perry – eBook, eAudiobook

Thorn by Intisar Khanani – eBook, eAudiobook

And the mountains echoed by Khaled Hosseini – eBook, eAudiobook

Hamilton and Peggy! A revolutionary friendship by L.M. Elliott – eAudiobook A doctor in Africa by Dr Andew Browning – eBook, eAudiobook

Banned books

All the titles listed were at some point banned in Countries around the world or people were asking for them to be banned. How many have your read?

Continue reading

Book Club Book Reviews August 2021

Napoleon’s Last Island by Thomas Keneally

Summary

In October 1815, after his defeat at the Battle of Waterloo, Napoleon Bonaparte was sent to live the remainder of his life in exile on the remote Southern Atlantic island of St. Helena. There, on what he called “the cursed rock,” with no chance of escape, he found an unexpected ally: a spirited British teenager named Betsy Balcombe who lived on the island with her family. While Napoleon waited for his own accommodations to be made livable, the Balcombe family played host to the infamous exile, a decision that would have far-reaching consequences for them all.

Comments

We generally did not enjoy this book although most of us researched the characters after finishing it. We were not engaged with the story and felt that modern ideas and opinions were to too prominent in the narrative. We would have been more interested in reading about the central characters’ life in NSW as a result of their time and experiences on the island.

Read by MJ Readers

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Summary

For years, rumours of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life – until the unthinkable happens.

Comments

Starting in the 1950s, set in North Carolina, Where the Crawdads Sing follows the story of Kya, who grows up alone after being abandoned by her family.  She learns her life lessons from the wildlife around her.  Learning how to hide from the truant officer and hunting skills to catch food.

We absolutely, unanimously loved this book!  Loved, loved, LOVED IT!  Beautifully written; we felt like we were in the shack, or hiding in the marshes, or on the boat exploring the water ways of the swamp.  We enjoyed the way the story alternated between Kya’s childhood and, her present day.  This book kept us guessing to the very end.  To an ending none of us picked and loved all the same.   We loved Kya, her quiet strength and determination.  And the wonderful characters that surrounded her (Jumpin & Mabel) and the relationships she had with all of them.  Even the not so likeable ones. They were real, and people we could relate to.  The book covered a whole range of issues, loss and abandonment, racial prejudice, social injustice, and love.  We cannot recommend this book enough.

Read by Cultcha Club – Rating 9.5/10