Wednesday, December 15, 2010

High Tea with Jane Austen

On Wednesday 8th December, 30 of Wallsend's most dedicated Jane Austen fans flooded Wallsend District Library to celebrate all things Austen.

From High Tea with scones and wildflowers to trivia and voting for their favourite Austen character, all who attended had a lovely morning immersing themselves in Jane facts and fun!

Mr Darcy won as the favourite (a huge suprise) and we were treated to some tales of saucy seduction in our writing competition about Darcy and Elizabeth's happily-ever-after honeymoon. We had lots of accomplished ladies, as well as regency maids and aristocrats gracing our tables and vying for a place in our costume competition.

All together we had a wonderful morning, with everyone getting into the spirit of the event. A big thank you goes out to all our patrons who constantly support our events and make them something to remember, this is what the library is all about!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Puggle's Problem

Author: Aleesah Darlison

Illustrator: Sandra Temple

Publication Date: 2010

Category: Picture Book

What's it all about?

Pipp Puggle is a beautiful baby echidna, he is top of his class at eating ants and makes "terrifically tidy burrows", but Pipp is very worried, he is the only one in the whole bush who hasn't grown his spines yet.

So, Pipp goes on an experimental adventure trying all sorts of funny things to make his spines grow. From eating handfuls of eucalyptus leaves to laughing until sunset, but nothing seems to work, will he ever get his spines?

This was a beautiful story about growing up and about all the different animals in our incredible Australian bushland. It was lovely and simple, while on another level it gave me a lot of laughs about all the things we do to try and grow up too fast.

There is a wonderful message in this book about letting things happen when they happen, about enjoying your life and not rushing it.

But most of all, it was about a very cute echidna, Pipp Puggle!

I would recommend reading this book to any child in your life, it will bring a smile to both your faces, gorgeous illustrations and a great story.

Publisher: Wombat Books

If you love the sound of this book

why not meet the author during our January School Holiday Fun!

Aleesah will be holding sessions of 'Draw. Dream. Write. Delight' and 

'Puggle Storytime' at different branches of Newcastle Region Library.

Contact your local library for more information OR download the program from our online catalogue:
Visit Newcastle Region Library's Catalogue and Website.

Monday, November 29, 2010

HSC Society & Culture PIPs

Are you starting HSC Society & Culture? Are you having trouble with your Personal Interest Project? Do you need ideas for your layout?

Wallsend District Library and the Information & Research Centre at Newcastle Region Library have 17 award-winning Personal Interest Projects (PIPs) available for viewing. These PIPs have been selected from 2009 entries which were awarded with Distinctions.

Here are some of the available titles:

  • Penetrating Australia's Patriotism
  • Afghan Girls Gone Wild
  • Through the Porthole
  • Deutschland: ΓΌ ber alles
  • Is Foreign Aid Perpetuating 'Race'?
  • An Exploration into the Attitudes Towards the Mothertongue Among Second Generation Adolescent Australians
PIPs cannot be loaned or photocopied, but are completely free to access. Simply ask our friendly staff.

Did you know that our libraries also hold study guides for Society & Culture? Or that we have provide access to a range of electronic resources such as ebooks and searchable databases on civilizations and global issues? Simply search our catalogue or use our
E-resource page to get started.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Rediscover Marilyn Monroe

Two gorgeous recent releases will delight Marilyn Monroe fans.

The first is Fragments: poems, intimate notes, letters by Marilyn Monroe, edited by Stanley Buchthal and Bernard Comment. Fragments is a manuscript lover's dream - a collection of notes, letters and poems written in Marilyn's own hand. Each piece is copied in the book and transcribed on the opposite page with notes and explanations. The book gives us an intimate insight into Marilyn Monroe, highlighting her sense of humour, her despair, her perfectionism and her charm. Each section is complemented with rarely seen photographs.

Marilyn August 1953: the lost Look photos by John Vachon, text by Brian Wallis, is another treasure trove for lover's of things lost. John Vachon was sent to Canada in 1953 by Look magazine to do a story on Hollywood in Canada. Marilyn was on location to film River of No Return. Due to a broken ankle, Marilyn was unable to film, giving Vachon days of access for his Look piece. The result is a stunning portfolio of images her fans will adore - Marilyn on crutches by the poolside, on a ski lift and many more. My favourites are the ones taken with Joe DiMaggio, especially the one with her cheekily poking out her tongue.

Both of these books are held at Wallsend District Library and can be reserved by either ringing the library on 4985 6680 or on-line via our catalogue.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Great Teen Reads from Wallsend's Teen Book Club

Here are some of our member's favourite reads.

For adventure, fantasy, thrills and lots of action try:
  • Chaos Walking trilogy by Patrick Ness

  • The wheel of time series by Robert Jordan

  • Jack West series by Matthew Reilly
If you like Manga (especially Shojo) we recommend:

  • Negima by Ken Akamatsu

  • Gentlemen's Alliance+ by Arina Tanemura

  • Yotsuba&! by Kiyohiko Azuma

  • Cheeky Angel by Hiroyuki Nishimori
If you're into comics and graphic novels we suggest:

  • The Umbrella Academy by Gerard Way

  • Watchmen by Alan C. Moore
  • Lex Luthor : man of steel by Brian Azzarello

  • The Joker by Brian Azzarello

All these titles and much more are available through Newcastle Region Library.
Request items using the online catalogue or visit your local library branch.
Our teen book club is always looking for new members, so if you like reading and free snacks please come and check it out.
Our meetings are on the 2nd Friday of each month from 4-5pm @ Wallsend District Library
Phone us on 4985 6680 for more information or see Natasha at the library.

Monday, August 23, 2010

The life and opinions of Maf the dog, and of his friend Marilyn Monroe

Author: Andrew O'Hagan

Publication Date: 2010

Category: Very funny literary fiction narrated by a dog.

Who'll want to read it? Dog lovers, Marilyn Monroe fans and anyone needing both a good laugh and an education in how dogs know the things they know.

Point of no return: From the very first page I knew I would be finishing this book: "It was warm that summer and the mornings went far into the afternoon, when the best of the garden would come into the house.." and then "I was lucky to have my two painters, Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant, a pair who, for all their differences, shared a determination to dream the world they lived in and fashion it into permanence. And what a blessing it was to paddle about on those Sussex flagstones and chase the yellow wasps, turning slowly into lovely me, the sort of dog who is set for foreign adventures and ordained to tell the story."

What's it all about? The last two years of Marilyn Monroe's life from the perspective of Mafia Honey, a Maltese terrier given to her by Frank Sinatra in 1960. It is a tender portrait of both Marilyn and Maf as well as "who's who" and "what's what" of the early 1960's in the USA.  As Maf explains, a dog's biggest talent "is for absorbing everything of interest - we absorb the best of what is known to our owners and we retain the thoughts of those we meet. We are retentive enough and we have none of that fatal human weakness for making distinctions between what is real and what is imagined. It is all the same, more or less."
Maf's "puphood" is therefore spent absorbing the knowledge of his various companions, from breeder, housekeepers, buyers and visitors. He has a great knowledge of  psychotherapy, history, art, world literature, Communism and his beloved Trotsky.

One of my favourite conversations occurs while Marilyn is at the Columbia-Presbyterian hospital: "There were bedbugs. I saw them and immediately assumed they were little Karamazovs... the bedbugs had a perfectly Russian attitude, seeming to doubt the reliability of everything. 'We admit it is our time,' said one of the bugs in a mournful way. 'Russian values, if we may speak of anything so nebulous and bourgeois as values, are understood, in America, as elsewhere, to be a central feature in what we might call the great duality and contradiction of the age.' He meant the Cold War. 'The Americans envy us. They are fascinated by Russian Literature.'
'And what has that to do with you?' (Sorry to have been so rational, but on these visits I'd spent a lot of time around very rational young doctors. And the times were paranoid: I thought they might be spies.)
'We are weaned in hospitals. In flop houses. In asylums. In cheap hotels and in housing projects. Our soul is Russian.'
'But your are Americans, right?'
'No,' said a tiny voice. 'We are bedbugs.'

The book is near perfect and deserves any prizes coming it's way - it is intelligent, poetic and captivating. For all of the book's laugh out loud humour it conveys a wonderful appreciation of Marilyn Monroe and of how hard she worked towards her goal of being taken seriously. Anyone who doesn't love Marilyn now will be in love with her at the end of the book.

Publisher: Allen and Unwin

Listen to Andrew O'Hagan on the ABC Radio National's The Book Show.

Watch the book trailer on You Tube.

PS Andrew O'Hagan will be in Sydney for an Out of Season Sydney Writers' Festival Event in March 2011. I've already bought my tickets!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Melrose and Croc Go To Town

Author: Emma Chichester Clark

Publication Date: 2007

Category: Children's picture book

Who'll want to read it? Pre-schoolers and Kindergarten kids and grown up librarians.

Point of no return: Well, Emma Chichester Clark is among my favourite authors and illustrators. I especially love the "Blue Kangaroo" series of books as well as Melrose and Croc Together at Christmas. So I was very excited to find this book in the collection at Wallsend District Library. Our copy include a CD so that children can read along with the book.

What's it all about? It's a cautionary tale about sticking together in crowded shopping centres so that you don't get lost! It has a happy ending. As with all of Emma's books the illustrations are exquisite. You could spend a long time just admiring the colours, the clothes and the decor in the world of Melrose and Croc.

Publisher: HarperCollins

Friday, July 30, 2010

New Graphic Novels @ your library

Here's some of the latest graphic novels that Newcastle Region Library have purchased.

If you like what you see, reserve a copy online or visit your nearest branch.

  • Alice in the country of hearts Vol. 1 by Soumei Hoshino and Quinrose

  • Neko Ramen Vol. 1 by Kenji Sonishi

  • Pluto 001 Urasawa X Tezuka by Naoki Urasawa and Osamu Tezuka

  • Modesty Blaise : death in slow motion by Peter O'Donnell and Neville Colvin

  • Alice in Sunderland by Bryan Talbot

  • Orange by Benjamin

  • Pride and prejudice and zombies : the graphic novel by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith; adapted by Tony Lee and Cliff Richards
Can't find what you want in our graphic novel collection?
Why not fill out a Suggestion For Purchase Form in branch or
contact Natasha @ Wallsend District Library on 4985 6680

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Family Law

Author: Benjamin Law Publication Date: 2010 Classic line: There are so many classic lines, one doesn't know where to begin. From Benjamin's mother giving graphic descriptions of childbirth (enough to frighten any who would like to remain cool and aloof in the face of giving birth) to Emu horror stories to confused interpretations of the Holy Spirit. What's it all about? Some of you may have read Benjamin Law's work before, he is a senior contributor to Frankie magazine and also has had work appearing in The Monthly, Qweekend, Sunday Life, The Big Issue, New Matilda and The Courier Mail.
This is a book about Benjamin's life and family. It was, for me, a time of hysterical almost embarassing fits of laughter, combined with moments that made you wish you knew this young man and could give him a giant bear hug and tell him that everything's alright. It is a beautiful, honest and fun-filled journey that we take with the Law family, it really made me appreciate all the weird quirks and kinks of my own family in a new way.
The Family Law is simply brilliant, in the words of Dilmah "Do try it!" Publisher: Black Inc
To find out more about this wonderful young Australian writer visit his website

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Silk Chaser

Author: Peter Klein

Publication Date: 2010

Category: Mystery/Thriller

Who'll want to read it? People who like to read Dick Francis.

What's it all about? Set in the Australian racing circuit, a serial killer is stalking young female strappers. No one know who it is, why he's doing it, or who is next. The police and the racing fraternity seem powerless to do anything. The women are terrified and the union is threatening to go on strike and close down the entire racing industry..............enter John Punter, a professional 'punter', who seems to be in the right place at the wrong time......

'Silk Chaser' is the third John Punter novel of the series, with great characters and reminiscent of Dick Francis.
I love Dick Francis books and when I found Peter Klein I was in heaven. Great characters and good story lines. Set in Australia, readers will appreciate the familiar landscapes.
Publisher: Macmillian

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Winter Warmers

With the cold weather upon us it's time to start reading knitting books. Here are just two of the interesting titles available at Newcastle Region Libraries.

Hattitude : knits for every mood by Cathy Carron contains 40 amazing hats you can knit. From the "Tied Bonnet" for humble moods to the "Appliqued Pillbox" for idealistic moods there really is something for every mood. I really must find someone to make me the literary "Floppy Toque".

Publication Date: 2009

Publisher: sixth and spring books

Aware Knits : knit and crochet projects for the eco-conscious stitcher by Vicki Howell and Adrienne Armstrong has been another popular book in our collection. Projects include an aromatherapy eyepillow, organic cotton washcloths, a crocheted jute welcome mat as well as a lovely range of socks, booties, cardigans and wraps.

Publication Date: 2009

Publisher: Lark Books

Thursday, June 10, 2010

My Girragundji

Author: Meme McDonald & Boori Monty Prior

Publication Date: 1998

Category: Children's fiction; Indigenous literature

Who'll want to read it? People who love frogs and those needing to find courage.

Point of no return: It was the front cover that made we want to read this book, but as soon as I started it I knew I would finish it.

Classic line: "A frog! A little, green, tree frog. A beautiful little girragundji. 'Where did you come from?' I'm breathing again. I'm gonna live. 'Where you come from, little fulla?' ....'Big snakes out there, yibulla. You gotta watch out for them big fulla snakes.They can gobble your right up. You stay in here with me, you little darlin'. We can look after each other." pg28-30

What's it all about? A boy growing up and experiencing bullying, first love, problems at home and the looming threat of "The Hairyman" - a bad spirit playing tricks in his house. Things pick up when he finds the little gree tree frog who gives him so much courage. The book has beautiful evocative photographs throughout and would be a great read for 8-10 year olds.

I read this book a few years ago and it's one of my favourites. I but bought myself a copy at Sydney Writers' Festival in May - how could I resist when Boori Monty Pryor was there to sign it for me? What a wonderful, interesting and hilarious man. I can't wait for his new book, illustrated by Jan Ormerod,  Shake A Leg which is coming out in October this year.

By the way, My Girragundji  was the winner of the Book of the Year for Younger Readers prize, Children's Book Council Book of the Year Awards 1999.

Publisher: Allen & Unwin

Friday, May 07, 2010

New readers for ESL students, teachers and tutors!

Wallsend District Library now has a small collection of ESL readers with African content aimed at adult readers. Contact Kieran at Wallsend District Library on 4985 6680 if you'd like to know more about our literacy collection.

Titles include:

* The Nkosi Family by Elda Lyster
* Why dogs chase goats by Mba Manqele
* Woza Friday by Wendy Annecke
* The trick by Wendy Annecke
* Who shall I marry? by Sello Motete
* The tree man: Robert Mazibuko's story by Robert Mazibuko

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Boy With the Cuckoo-Clock Heart

Author:  Mathias Malzieu, translated from the French by Sarah Ardizzone     

Publication date: 2009

Category: Fairytale love story, with a little bit of steampunk.

Who'll want to read it? The broken hearted. Also anyone who loved The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick.

Point of no return:  The first page: "In which Little Jack is born on the coldest day on earth and miraculously resuscitated......The old river usually so serious, is disguised as an icing sugar lake that stretches all the way to the sea. The din of the surf rings out like the sound of windows smashing. Miraculously, the hoarfrost stitches sequins on to cats' bodies. The trees stretch their arms, like fat fairies in white nightshirts yawning at the moon...."

Classic line:  "Firstly: don't touch the hands of your cuckoo-clock heart. Secondly: master your anger. Thirdly: never, ever fall in love. For if you do, the hour hand will poke through your skin, your bones will shatter, and your heart will break once more." pg 24.

What's it all about? Set in late 19th Century Edinburgh and Spain, it's a bittersweet little book in which every line about love and hearts has a double meaning. It is so beautifully written that your eyes and your mind (or your own heart) experience the different meanings separately. Travel with Jack as he learns about life and love, despite his guardian's efforts to protect him from pain. I particularly enjoyed the appearance of Georges Meilies and his efforts to assist Jack in his search for Miss Acacia, the love of his life.

Publisher: Chatto & Windus

Something interesting: The author is lead singer of the French pop group Dionysos. You can watch the book trailer here with Dionysos performing. Apparently there is a whole album based on this novel and a film on the way courtesy of Luc Besson.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Rabbit Problem

Author: Emily Gravett (and a lot of rabbits)

Publication Date: 2009

Category: Eccentric children's picture book about rabbits (not maths).

Who'll want to read it? Children learning to read and count, rabbit lovers, grownups.

Point of no return: The curious rabbit on the front cover.

Classic line: The whole book is a classic and I really must buy myself a copy.

What's it all about? It's a year in the life of "Fibonacci's Field" in which rabbits multiply each month. The book is set out like a calendar with a new problem each month such as "The lonely rabbit problem" in January, "The cold rabbit problem" in February, with suggestions to keep warm which lead right to "The baby rabbit problem" in March. There are lots of little books within this book including "Bunny's first month" and "The Carrot Cookery Book : Creative ways with carrots". I could probably spend an hour or two reading this book and it's booklets and still find new bits. I absolutely adore this book and just know parents and children will enjoy reading it together.

Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Wonders of a Godless World

Author: Andrew McGahan

Publication Date: 2009

Category: Fiction

Point of no return: This book was a recommendation, but the first two sentences really drew me in: "The orphan knew something was up that night, even before the foreigner arrived at the hospital. It was a warm evening, early in the storm season, and she had been feeling strangely restless all day."

Classic line: Page 2-3: "He thought she was one of the inmates - a short, stumpy girl with a shaved head and a hairy upper lip and a hospital dress stretched tight over big floppy breasts.
    Ha! She was ugly and a madwoman and he was scared of her."

What's it all about? An orphan lives and works in an aging hospital, prefering to spend her time in the back wards, with the dying and the insane. She knows that she herself has madness in her, but it has remained undiagnosed due to her mental disabilities. She has to concentrate to understand even simple speech, cannot decipher pictures, television, or sounds on the radio, and cannot hold onto or understand names. But she can read the weather, and tell you if it will rain or not.

One night the foreigner arrives, in a catatonic state, and disrupts the balance of the hospital. He ends up in the old crematorium with the Duke, the Witch, the Archangel, and the Virgin, with none of the nursing staff wanting to go near him.

After the nearby volcano erupts, the orphan hears the foreigner's voice inside her head, clear and wonderful. He recognises her special abilities, and helps her to explore and expand them.  He claims to be immortal, and takes her on journeys into his mind and his past, and the minds and memories of the Duke, the Witch, the Archangel, and the Virgin.

I don't feel I can do justice to the story, and hope that you feel intrigued enough from this very paltry description to read it yourself. I felt like I travelled with the orphan on her amazing journeys, experienced her wonder and joy. I also felt the foreigner was taking advantage of her naivity, and moulding her for his own selfish reasons. Her reactions to his manipulations were surprising to me at first, but Andrew McGahan really made you understand how isolated she felt before the foreigner arrived.

Publisher: Allen & Unwin

Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Outlander

Author: Gil Adamson Publication Date: 2007 Category: Startling transformation of the classsic western narrative. Who'll want to read it? Readers who enjoy a haunting tale about passionate crime and retribution, precarious survival, redemption and love. A story of one young woman's deliberate journey deep into the icy wilderness of the Rocky Mountains. Along her journey she encounters a handful of odd and eccentric individuals who like her are outcasts surviving against the odds in the harsh frontiers of America but who also offer her kindness, which gives her hope.
'A remarkable first novel, full of verve, beautifully written, and with all the panache of a great adventure' MICHAEL ONDAATJE
Point of no return: "Nineteen years old and already a widow. Mary Boulton. Widowed by her own hand.".pg 4
" The girl stood in a ditch under a hard , small moon. Pale foam rose from where her shoes sank into the mud. No more voices inside her head, no noise but these dogs. She saw her own course along the ground as a trail of bright light, now doused in the ditchwater. She clamboured up the bank and onto the road, her stiff funeral skirt made of breadspread and curtain, her hair wild and falling in dark robes about her face. The widow gathered up her shawl and fled witchlike down the empty road." p 4
Classic Opening Verse:
Now goes the sun under the wood,
I pity, Mary, thy fair face.
Now goes the sun under the tree,
I pity, Mary, thy son and thee.
What's it all about? A young woman referred to as the widow who we later find out is called Mary is being pursued in the night by two vengeful brothers and a pack of dogs. The brothers are tracking her like prey in retaliation for killing their kin. The widow is also suffering the recent loss of her son which fuels her delirium which runs in the recesses of her mind. Glimpses into her past reveal her unhappy marriage, absent and sick parents and her repression by an over bearing grandmother. The widows wintery and intense journey is aided by rogues who help her with food, shelter and safe passage.
This story speaks to the resilence of the female spirit in the early part of the last century. The wild womyn who need to find a way out and seek their own liberation, no matter what it takes.
Publisher: Allen & Unwin

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Mystery Man

Author: Bateman... Colin Bateman Publication Date: 2009 Category: Mystery, humour etc etc etc Who'll want to read it? People who need a good laugh Point of no return: Having read the follow-up (The Day of the Jack Russell) a couple of weeks ago, I couldn't wait to go back and read this. I tried to wait a couple of months to have some distance, but reading Colin Bateman is like eating chocolate - if there is one around, you can't resist it. Which is how I ended up reading the follow-up first. Classic line: "It was serial killer week in No Alibis, and thus far the Chianti was proving way more popular than the fava beans." pg 23 "I have made a lifelong study of crime fiction. I have read all of the great works, and most of the middling ones, and many of the minor ones, and a lot of trash besides. There is virtually nothing about the solving of fictional crimes that I do not know, and what are fictional crimes but factual crimes with hats on?" pg 376 What's it all about? "Mystery Man" runs a crime fiction bookshop in Belfast called No Alibis. He is a massive hypochondriac with obsessive-compulsive disorder, or possibly, an obsessive-compulsive with massive hypochondria. Yet he somehow manages to attract the attentions of the very pretty young lady working in the jewellery shop across the road. He inadvertently becomes a Private Eye which leads on to all sorts of dangerous, yet frequently hilarious consequences for himself and his new side-kick Alison. I really loved this book and would have to say it is my new favourite Bateman book. It seems to be part tribute to crime fiction and part spoof. Everyone should enjoy the Agatha Christie style denouement towards the end. All in all it was a fabulous read and one I really couldn't put down no matter how tired I was - it landed on my face as I fell asleep many times. Publisher: Headline Publishing Group

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Disciples

Author: James Mollison Publication Date: 2008 Category: Coffee table book, adult non-fiction, photography
Who'll want to read it? Music fans Point of no return: The very first photo. Have a look at James Mollison's site. What's it all about? If you missed the exhibition you can see the book. James Mollison took these photographs of music fans over a 3 year period. It's such a fun book, guessing which star the fans are paying tribute to. My favourited is a guy dressed as Bob Dylan, although I thought he was trying to be Leonard Cohen. The book itself is wonderful to sit down with and flick through, but the web-site has songs to go with some of the photos. I'd recommend both the book and the web-site.
Publisher: Chris Boot

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Private Diary of Mr Darcy

Author: Maya Slater
Publication Date: 2009 Category: Fiction Who'll want to read it? Pride and Prejudice fans who are prepared for Darcy to be a real man. Point of no return: I was immediately taken in, mainly because of Darcy's references to Caroline Bingley's attentions, and seeming oblivious to her intentions. Classic line: page 215: "We were discomforted when, after dinner, the 'monks', by now well in their cups, began to throw off their habits, beneath which they were naked as Adam & Eve. It seemed that we were to experience a full-scale orgy. Charles objected that such an event was peculiarly unsuited to the Sabbath. 'That is precisely the point,' retorted Byron." What's it all about? It's exactly what it says it is - the diary of Mr Darcy, from his time at Netherfield to a month before his marriage to Elizabeth. I loved this book, for a variety of reasons. It adds depth to Mr Darcy's character in a manner of surprising ways - his friendship with Lord Byron being one example of these. It also gives insight into what a gentleman of the time was expected to do, by the larger population and by his peers. Slater also placed the novel(s) more firmly in time by mentioning events of historical significance that a gentleman would be interested in. The novel challenges the reader's preconceived ideas of several characters, Darcy included, and goes places that Jane Austen would have been to mortified to tread. Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company

The Year of the Flood

Author: Margaret Atwood
Publication Date: 2009
Category: Fiction  
Who'll want to read it? Environmentalists, anti-utopia fans, disaster fans, alternate civilisation fans, Margaret Atwood fans. Point of no return: The first page indicates a sinister disaster, with "abandoned towers ... devoid of life" and "the absence of motors", not to mention the presence of vultures. I was drawn in immediately, with the usual 'what happened?', but also 'how did this one person survive when no one else did?'
Classic line: Too many to list here, but I think lots of lines will start turning up on t-shirts soon!  
What's it all about? This is a post apocalypse novel, and it follows two survivors, Toby and Ren, who were previously members of an environmental religious group called God's Gardeners. To combat their loneliness, they relive their past, remembering the lessons the Gardeners passed on, wondering if anyone else survived the Waterless Flood, hoping but not quite believing they could have. Apparently this expands on, and further explains, certain aspects of and characters from Oryx and Crake. I haven't yet read it, so I cannot comment about that, but obviously you do not need to have read Oryx and Crake to understand what is going on in this book. I thoroughly enjoyed The Year of the Flood, as I have enjoyed all of Atwood's books I've read so far. Do not skip the songs, as they are often very dark, and amusing.  
Publisher: Nan A. Talese, Doubleday

Friday, January 01, 2010

Tensy Farlow and the Home for Mislaid Children

Author: Jen Storer; cover and text illustrations by Sonia Kretschmar

Publication Date: 2009

Category: Children's story, adventure, fantasy.

Who'll want to read it? Primary school kids and grownups.

Point of no return: I just had to buy this book when I saw the front cover. About a week before I discovered this book I had a dream that I had masses of curly red hair - just like Tensy Farlow!

Classic line: "At the sound of Albie's tuneless singing the baby gave a tremulous sigh. The droning voice and the dull rattle of the lorry quickly worked their magic and before long she was lulled into a twilight state. By the time Wiggin Row was behind them and they had entered the rolling hills of Mumbles Fell, it was all she could do to stay awake." pg 5

What's it all about?: A baby girl is left in a basket on the steps of the hospital in Wiggin Row. Mistaking her for a basket of linen, Albie Gribble puts her in the back of his lorry, and so begins the adventure. This is a beautiful story featuring GAs (Guardian Angels), an evil spirit, the wicked Matron Pluckrose & Mrs Beadle, some mysterious "watchers" and an abominable orphanage known as "The Home for Mislaid Children". Join Tensy and Albie on their journey and put a little magic back in your life.

Publisher: Penguin. See the book trailer on YouTube.