Wednesday, January 28, 2015

It's #libraryshelfie day!

Today is the day for books to take centre stage. Here is our #libraryshelfie - books on a trolley shelf ready to go back to Stack. Who knows when these books will see the light of day again? 

Well, here's their 15 seconds of fame. 

For more library shelfies from around the world check out the Twitter feed or head to Instagram.



Click here to see our December 2013 shelfie.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

The Sean Duffy series - Adrian McKinty reviewed by The Bookchook

The riot had taken on a beauty of its own now. Arcs of gasoline fire under the crescent moon. Crimson tracer in mystical parabolas…Helicopters everywhere: their spotlights finding one another like lovers in the Afterlife.


So begins the Sean Duffy series, written by Ulster-born Adrian McKinty, set in the turbulent Troubles era of Northern Ireland. This series has all the elements of a good crime thriller – fast, gritty, violent and political. What makes this series rise above others is the wry humour and lyrical penmanship of its author, which brilliantly evokes the sense of time and place in the midst of unholy chaos. McKinty does not seek to explain the events of the time, but rather recaptures and re-creates the emotions and atmosphere within the context of a crime thriller.

The main character, Sean Duffy, is a smart, hard-drinking rogue (aren’t they always), RUC policeman living in Belfast. The only Catholic in his Protestant housing estate, his daily routine begins by checking under his BMW for “mercury tilt” explosives. However, it is Duffy’s sense of truth and justice, his humanity regardless of which side of the political or religious divide they fall, that is central to all three books of the series.

The books are all set within the framework of The Troubles. Book 1 The Cold, Cold Ground, is set against the 1981 hunger strikes and the death of Bobby Sands. What starts out as a serial killer case soon leads to Special Branch, protection rackets and paramilitary organisations, all playing dangerous games.

Book 2 I Hear the Sirens in the Street, sees Duffy investigating the events surrounding the dismembered body of a 60 year old man, found in a suitcase. This is the time of the De Lorean car factory in Ireland, when tensions between opposing alliances were at breaking point and the hopelessness of the unemployed was extreme. Against this bleakness, the humour of the dialogue makes this, surprisingly, a very funny read.

The third in the series In the Morning I’ll be Gone, is by far the best. The book begins with the mass breakout of IRA prisoners from the notorious Maze prison, one of whom is master bomber Dermot McCann, sometime friend of Duffy. Duffy is called upon to solve a cold case murder in order to prevent an IRA assassination. In the midst of this, there is also a ‘locked-room’ murder mystery to be solved, all cleverly drawn around an atmosphere of betrayal, corruption and passions. Despite being constantly accused of gross professional misconduct, it is Duffy’s empathy and humanity which ultimately succeed.

Sprinkled throughout this series are a smattering of historical figures, from Gerry Adams to the rants of Ian Paisley, Maggie Thatcher and Joe Kennedy (nephew to JFK). One of the funniest descriptions was of Kennedy’s hair.

I had to admit that he was impressive. You noticed the hair first. Kennedy’s hair was far in advance of anything Ireland had to offer. It was space-age hair. It was hair for the new millennium. Irish hair was stuck somewhere in 1927. Kennedy hair had put man on the f…..g moon.

McKinty set out to write this series as a trilogy, but pressure from his publishers and a dream he had for the ending of a new Sean Duffy book, has resulted in a fourth book. Gun Street Girl has just been released in the UK and US and soon in Australia.

While each book in the series may be read as a standalone, I would strongly recommend reading them in order. Razor sharp, bleak, funny, gritty and complex – all are great reads, made even better by Mr McKinty’s recent conversion to Australian citizenship and currently residing in Melbourne! And, according to the Wall Street Journal and the Irish Examiner, Belfast is the ‘hip’ new Scandinavia. Sounds fine by me.

McKinty set out to write this series as a trilogy, but pressure from his publishers and a dream he had for the ending of a new Sean Duffy book, has resulted in a fourth book. Gun Street Girl has just been released in the UK and US and soon in Australia.

While each book in the series may be read as a standalone, I would strongly recommend reading them in order. Razor sharp, bleak, funny, gritty and complex – all are great reads, made even better by Mr McKinty’s recent conversion to Australian citizenship and currently residing in Melbourne! And, according to the Wall Street Journal and the Irish Examiner, Belfast is the ‘hip’ new Scandinavia. Sounds fine by me
 Visit Newcastle Region Library's Catalogue and Website.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

What do you love most about your public library?



Public Libraries Australia is running a survey for all Australian public libraries and their customers entitled: What do you love most about your local public library? 

To complete the survey click here

The survey is open to all library customers and closes 31 January 2015. The results of this survey will be published on the Public Libraries Australia website mid-February 2015.

Don't forget to save the date for Library Lovers' Day. And remember, the right book is out there, you just have to know where to look or who to ask...


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

A Year of Books

Are you looking for a reading challenge or a challenging read?

In good news for libraries and book sellers everywhere, Mark Zuckerberg has announced a reading challenge: "My challenge for 2015 is to read a new book every other week - with an emphasis on learning about different cultures, beliefs, histories, and technologies .... I'm excited for my reading challenge. I've found reading books very intellectually fulfilling. Books allow you to fully explore a topic and immerse yourself in a deeper way than most media today. I'm looking forward to shifting more of my media diet towards reading books."

The first book is The End of Power by Moises Naim. If you are a member of Newcastle Region Library you can borrow this book from our eBook collection. Apparently online bookstores have already sold out print copies of the book.  Click on the title and login with your library card number and PIN. Use this help sheet to assist with downloading the eBook.

Once you've read the book you might like to join the A Year of Books community on Facebook. Don't forget to add a comment and let us know what you think of the book also.




For help go to our eBook page or call staff on 4974 5340.


Friday, January 09, 2015

ABC Wonderful

With the New Year well and truly underway, and my new stack of Christmas gift books sitting on my bedside table, I’ve looked back at my 2014 reading list and pondered my favourites.  This year  it wasn’t a gigantic fiction work nor an intellectual epic that had me purchasing copies for friends this year. No, this year… children’s books reigned supreme and this printed wonder went in every little persons stocking I knew. Funnily enough their delight was matched by parents, uncles, aunties, nannas, pops, baby sitters, dogs, cats and sometimes the lucky teddy who reads along before bed as well.

Once Upon a Alphabet by the great Oliver Jeffers made my smiling cheeks hurt. Firstly… can we just stop to judge this book by its marvelous cover?



Jeffers, one of the most imaginative illustrator/story tellers of our time tells us beautifully alternative tales of each letter; subtle yet immeasurably expressive.



Jeffers nods to adult readers with intelligent conundrums and glorious juxtapositions. His stories brim with the fallible and heartening humanity that makes up our vastly imperfect but mostly noble selves — our paradoxes (A is for “astronaut,” and Edmund the astronaut is afraid of heights), the silly stubbornness (B is for “burning a bridge” and we meet neighbours Bernard and Bob, who have spent years “battling each other for reasons neither could remember”), the playful flights of curiosity (E is for “enigma,” like the question of how many elephants can fit inside an envelope), the existential perplexities (in P, a “puzzled parsnip” spirals into anguish over realising that he is neither a carrot nor a potato), the self-defeating control tactics we employ in attempting to assuage our fear of impermanence (the robots in R are so terrified of rusting that they steal the rain clouds from the sky and lug them around in carts).








It is a spellbinding classic and well worth borrowing whether to read to a child or enjoy your self.

Jaime