Thursday, July 30, 2015

The Neddies turn 20!

The Ned Kelly Awards honour Australian crime fiction and true crime writing. Known affectionately as 'The Neds' the awards began in 1995, with Peter Temple, Mark Dapin, Garry Disher, John Saffran, Peter Corris and Michael Robotham among previous winners. Categories for 2015  are Best Fiction, Best First Fiction, Best True Crime and the Sandra Harvey Short Story Award. The shortlist will be announced at the Byron Bay Writer's Festival on Saturday 8 August, followed by the Awards Ceremony on 22 August.

Many of the works submitted for consideration for this year's awards are held by our libraries. Click on the links below to access the catalogue records to place any of these items on hold or check which formats are available, or head into your local branch and browse the mystery and crime sections. You'll find plenty of previous winners on the shelves too!  

Best Fiction

The Snow Kimono by Mark Henshaw

Through the Cracks by Honey Brown

Best First Fiction

A Fatal Tide by Steve Sailah

Chasing the Ace by Nicholas J Johnson

Death on Danger Island by G.P. Field

King of the Road by Nigel Bartlett

Losing Kate by Kylie Kayden

Quota by Jock Serong

What Came Before by Anna George

Best True Crime

An Inconvenient Genocide by Geoffrey Robertson

At the Altar of the Road Gods: Stories of Motorcycles and Other Drugs by Boris Mihailovic

Australia's Hardest Prison: Inside the Walls of Long Bay Jail by James Phelps

He Who Must be Obeid: the Untold Story  by Kate McClymont & Linton Besser

In the Company of Cowards: Bush, Howard & Injustice at Guantanamo by Michael Mori

Khaki Crims and Desperados by Russell Robinson

Last Woman Hanged by Caroline Overington

Milat: Inside Australia's Biggest Manhunt: a Detective's Story by Clive Small & Tom Gilling

Once Upon a time in Melbourne by Liam Houlihan

 Silk Road:  the shocking true story of the world's most notorious online drug market by Eileen Ormsby

The Fall: How Simon Gittany Killed Lisa Harnum by Amy Dale

The Family Court Murders by Debi Marshall

The Feel-Good Hit of the Year: A Memoir by Liam Pieper

The Murder of Allison Baden-Clay by David Murray

The Real Chopper: the Man Behind the Legend, Inside & Out by Adam Shand

 This House of Grief: the Story of a Murder Trial by Helen Garner

Where is Daniel? by Bruce Marcombe

You're Just Too Good to be True by Sofija Stefanovic

Visit Newcastle Region Library's Catalogue and Website.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Celebrate the Reading Hour in 2015

Any time is reading time, but you can join us on Tuesday 18th August from 6.00 - 7.30 pm.

Hamilton, City and New Lambton branch libraries will be hosting The Reading Hour. Come in your PJs and bring a torch to enjoy your favourite stories in the dark.

Book your free spot on Eventbrite today!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Good Reading August issue

Two things are known for certain about Elena Ferrante. One; she was born in Naples, Italy. Two; she's one of the greatest contemporary fiction writers alive. Everything else - her age, gender, appearance, location, - is a mystery, and her identity is the subject of fierce and frustrated speculation in the literary world.

Did we catch your attention?

Goodreading has come down with a bad case of #ferrantefever this month, as the last installment of Elena Ferrante's Neapolitan Novels, The Story of the Lost Child, is published. Select Good Reading in the e-Magazines resources page on the Library's website and it will take you straight to the entire issue for you to read on your computer or tablet. 

“I believe that books, once they are written, have no need of their authors. If they have something to say, they will sooner or later find readers; if not, they won’t.” - Ferrante in a letter to her editor. Read the cover story to find out more about the globally acclaimed author. 

Good Reading also check in with Philippa Gregory to find out which books inspire her brilliant historical novels. Then rev up your heart rate with our interview with ThrillerEdge, a fast-growing coterie of Australia's best action writers. Also find out the story behind Helen Macdonald's H is for Hawk, and how you can age gracefully with Growing Old Without Feeling Older. You'll also find articles from Kate Forsyth and Alice Hoffman, and a huge Fathers' Day Gift Guide in time for Dad's special day coming up in a few weeks' time. 

Visit Newcastle Region Library's Catalogue and Website.

Friday, July 10, 2015


FAIR and Newcastle Library are campaigning for copyright law reform – it’s long overdue – and right now we’re focused on one thing in particular, the fact that in Australia, while copyright is limited to 70 years after the death of the creator for published works, for unpublished works copyright lasts forever. 

Unpublished works include old diaries, letters, company records, theses – even recipes. The copyright rules as they currently stand mean that these manuscripts, valuable pieces of social history, are locked away – to no one’s benefit. We’d like the same copyright terms for unpublished works as for published works.

The impact is felt by our big collecting institutions, museums, historical societies, university libraries and by public libraries with local history collections. These items cannot legally be digitised and made accessible to the community, family historians, researchers, and others who would find them a useful and fascinating resource.

FAIR has dug into library and museum collections across Australia and found lots of handwritten recipes which, according to the current law,  shouldn’t be shared – but they have put them up on the FAIR website anyway. We’re asking you to cook up one of these recipes – or choose one of your old favourites – and send us a photo and post it on social media with the #cookingforcopyright. FAIR would love to see your family recipes from 1950 and earlier using classic Aussie recipes for lamingtons, pavlovas, canteen biscuits and soldier cake tins to drive the copyright reform agenda. Share your images on the FAIR Facebook page!

The images will be collected and shared via social media and then sent to Senator George Brandis, the Attorney General, who has the unenviable task of unravelling the current copyright regime. We’re hoping he just might be swayed by pictures of cakes, cookies and savouries from people who care passionately about FAIR – Freedom of Access to Information and Resources.
Orange Salad (from chef at Claridge’s London) - Lala Fisher diary, 1916-1917, from the State Library of NSW

Raspberry Shortcake - Recipe book by unknown contributors,1940-1960, from the State Library of NSW

Apple Cake - Papers of BessieSherrie, 1891-1935, from the State Library of NSW

 Visit Newcastle Region Library's Catalogue and Website.

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

How to be both by Ali Smith

Difficult to put my finger on this one. How to Be Both by Ali Smith is a dual narrative; two tales of love and injustice intertwined. Half way through I discovered the publishers has printed two versions of the book, swapping each of the stories to the beginning. Depending which copy of the book you pick up you may be meeting Francescho in 15th-century Ferrara, northern Italy first or teenage girl George in present day Cambridge, England. The two parts of 'How to Be Both' have overlapping themes: the subversive power of art; what Martineau refers to as “sexual and gender ambiguities”; the hold of the dead on the living; and, of course, the figure of Francescho him/herself.
George has a boy's name but is a girl whose sexuality is only just being explored; Francesco is born a girl but binds her chest and lives as a man. When Francesco is taken to a brothel by a male friend, the artist declines to sleep with the prostitute but draws her instead. When, centuries later, George and her mother study del Cossa's frescoes they cannot tell who is male and who is female. In the end, they decide it doesn't matter. And when Francesco sees George for the first time, she assumes George is a boy, only to discover later that she had been mistaken. I read Georges story first, and loved it... although I do wonder what my perception of the book may have been if I started the other first. Great read for book clubs who love a debate!

Category: Adult Fiction

Classic line: 

“And which comes first? her unbearable mother is saying. What we see or how we see it?” 

“Girl : do you hear me?

cause although it seemed to be the end of the world to me -
it wasn't. There was a lot more world : cause roads that look set to take you in one direction will sometimes twist back on themselves without ever seeming anything other than straight, ... many things get forgiven in the course of a life : nothing is finished or unchangeable except death and even death will bend a little if what you tell of it is told right.” 

Visit Newcastle Region Library's Catalogue and Website.

Monday, July 06, 2015

Celebrating NAIDOC Week with the Library

All across Australia during the month of July, communities are celebrating the history, culture, and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Come along and celebrate NAIDOC week with us at Newcastle Library!

We have special NAIDOC storytimes at Mayfield (Tues 7 10:30), Wallsend (Wed 8 10:30), New Lambton (Thurs 9 10:30), and City (Wed 8 & Fri 10 at 10:30) with readings by our lovely librarians as well as special guest Ray Kelly reading on the steps of City branch. If you would like to join in on some free craft, City is also hosting a Wedge-Tail Eagle Totem Weaving class on Wednesday 8th of July at 2 and 3:30pm - Please call the Library on 4974 5300 to reserve a spot.

For the cinema lovers (and popcorn enthusiasts), please join us at the Regal Cinema on Wednesday 8 July at 7pm for the screening of Charlie's Country; all donations going to the Indigenous Literacy Foundation.

If you can't make it into a branch this July, use one of the libraries e-Kids resources: Story Box Library at home (just pop your library card in and you're on your way!) Curl up with family and have a listen to master storyteller Boori Monty Pryor read his book Shake a Leg.

When three hungry boys enter a pizza shop in steamy far north Queensland, they are in for a few surprises. The pizza maker might speak Italian but he's also Aboriginal.  What's served up next is a slice of pizza, a milkshake…and the inspiration to get up and dance - Warrima - and shake a leg!

There is a PDF at home activity to download after you have watched the story which gives you instructions to make your own dreamtime meal and discuss thoughts and ideas. 

Saturday, July 04, 2015

Eve and the runaway unicorn by Jess Black

Feeling bored, Eve explores her Nan's attic. Here the discovery of an old chest and the crystal figurine of a unicorn, transports her into a new world, where Eve and her unlikely/reluctant friend Oscar, meet people in need of their help. Opening the chest has also unlocked the power of a crystal and Eve finds herself with strange new powers and linked to an ancient prophecy to overthrow the evil king and his rangers. 

 Eve and the Runaway Unicorn  is the first book in Jess Black's new Keeper of the Crystals series. In each book the pair are thrust into different and dangerous worlds where unicorns, tigers, dragons and panthers communicate with people and where native communities and their way of life are under threat. Only Eve, the crystals and her new powers can save them. 

Jess Black is well known for her Bindi Wildlife Adventure series, the RSPCA Animal Tales series and The Kaboom Kid series with David Warner. This new series will expand and delight her fans. 

With a strong resilient female character and an ecology message, this series will be enjoyed by children 7+. 

Published by New Frontier Publishing.

Visit Newcastle Region Library's Catalogue and Website.

Figgy in the world by Tamsin Janua

Figgy has two problems. One is her name. Nobody in Ghana has such a name. The other is that her grandmother is ill and in need of special medicine. Figgy can’t do much about her name, but she can do something for Grandma Ama. So commence her adventures as she begins to walk to America to bring back precious medicine. Accompanying her is Kwame, her special goat and Nana, a runaway boy who joins her early in her travels. 

With echos of the tone in The number one ladies detective agency, Figgy in the world is an uplifting story of innocence, loyalty and courage. Frequent touches of humour and a rare insight into life in Ghana, carry this beautiful story along. 

A debut novel by young author Tamsin Janu who has worked with children in Ghana, Figgy in the world is short-listed for the 2015 Children's Book Council of Australia's Children's Book Week awards. 

This is not a difficult read, and will be enjoyed by children 7+. It would also make an excellent family or class read. 

Published by Scholastic.

Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy

Although movies rarely live up to the expectations of a good book, listening to story on CD or iPod can actually bring the story to life. Such has been the experience of listening to Skulduggery Pleasant. Although this series has now been out for a few years, the audio edition by Harper Collins is so brilliant that it deserves to be revisited. Read by actor Rupert Degas, the lilting Irish accents plus the 101 other voices are truly astounding.

The story centers around Stephanie, whose Uncle Gordon,a writer of horror fiction dies and leaves her his estate. However, Stephanie learns that while he may have written horror, it certainly wasn’t fiction. Enter Skulduggery Pleasant, a wise cracking detective, powerful magician, master of dirty tricks and burglary,who is also very dead. In the vein of all good fantasy, they are pursued by evil forces intent of controlling their world as they know it.

For lovers of Artemis Fowl, this is the next series for you, with a continuation of the wry humour, fast and improbable action loved by so many. Don't be put off by the cover with its evil looking skulls. Skulduggery Pleasant fits more easily into a fantasy or even adventure genre than it does horror.

The Skulduggery Pleasant series will be enjoyed by 10-13 year old's as well as teens and adults who love a well written fantasy.

Visit Newcastle Region Library's Catalogue and Website.