Monthly Archives: September 2010

Memories............Pageturners Talk Memoirs

Memoirs are one of the hottest genres around and it is a great topic to get people talking. Do you like memoirs? Pageturners book discussion group recently talked about memoirs they had read. Here are some of the titles:

What I Talk About When I'm Running by Haruki Murakami (reflections of a marathon runner, that unfortunately didn't inspire our runner).

Life in Own Hands by Susan Wyndham – the true story of a neurosurgeon and a pianist (Charlie Teo and Aaron McMillan).

Infiltration by Colin McLaren – the true story of an undercover cop who cracked the Griffith Mafia.

Head Over Heels by Sam and Jenny Bailey – a story of tragedy, triumph and romance in the Australian bush.

Birth, Deaths and Marriages, by Georgia Blain – true tales told in short story format.

Belonging by Renee Goosens – an inside look into a famous family with unusual goings on…

The Longest Trip Home by John Grogan – about family love and respect and strict Catholic parents by the author of Marley and Me (doesn't mention his dog so much here).

A Foreign Affair by Valerie Barnes – a passionate life in four languages.

When In Rome by Penelope Green – chasing la dolce vita (author has local connections too).

Maalika by Valerie Browning – her life among the Afar nomads in Africa.

Infidel by Ayaan Hirisi Ali – her astounding life story.

The Rose Boys by Peter Rose – moving story of two brothers, one a poet the other a sporting man who became a paraplegic.

Moon's a Balloon – David Niven – read it for the laughs from this British actor.

I liked this comment – memoirs are also sometimes referred to as the “black sheep” of the literary world where the family secrets are revealed.

And here is an extensive and long essay from The New Yorker magazine which tries to explain what memoirs say about ourselves:

CWL Zest Book Chain Reviews for Breath by Tim Winton

And here are the CWL Zest Book Chain (On-line Book Club) reviews for Breath by Tim Winton.

About the book: Breath is a story about the wildness of youth – the lust for excitement and terror, the determination to be extraordinary, the wounds that heal and those that don't – and about learning to live with its passing. In his first novel for seven years, Tim Winton has achieved a new level of mastery. Breath confirms him as one of the world's finest storytellers, a writer of novels that are at the same time simple and profound, relentlessly gripping and deeply moving. Winner of the 2009 Miles Franklin Literary Award.

Zest 1: Love the writing, but I'm not sure about some things in the story. It was a bit full on with the paramedic side of things and all the hazards for two boys growing up and all the teenage angst. And the relationship with the hippie surfie Sando and his wife Eva was disturbing. Eva's character and relationship with Pikelet was a major concern. But all that aside it is a powerful tale of growing up and what impacts on your life and it is well written and describes the surfing life and need for thrills extremely well.

Zest 2: The book slowly draws you into an atmosphere that is hauntingly beautiful. A period that was less bound by rules with the coming of age, spiced with a naive optimism that has seemingly infinite possibilities. Youthful dreams slowly diminishing with reality of growing old, gently making us ordinary. Wistful nostalgia takes hold as an involuntary smile slowly creeps through….

Zest 3: A story about risktaking and recklessness and the effect it has on 4 people. A young teenager trying to fit in with the cool people, dabbling in and then trying to match up to their risktaking behaviours. It is about realising your own mortality and how this form of behaviour combined with personal problems can lead to disaster. Thank you to our Zest Book Chain bookclubbers! Great Reviews!

The Librarians Return to ABC Wed 13 October 8.30pm

Just when you thought The Librarians had moved on … head Librarian Frances O'Brien (Robyn Butler) returns (Ha!) and library life has never been more laughable. The third instalment of the highly successful ABC TV comedy series, The Librarians, features on the small screen on ABC Wednesday 13 October at 8.30pm. While Frances' relationship with husband Terry (Wayne Hope) has improved, Frances is still having a hellish time, and for once it's not all of her making. Adding to her woes, morale at the Middleton Interactive Learning Centre is at a new all time low. In order for it to stay open, a high ranking government official (Angus Sampson) is forcing the library to run as a profitable business. This latest initiative could spell the end for the library. Check out this behind scenes look with Sir Robert Franklin (as only he can) and you'll notice comedian Tony Martin
join Wayne Hope behind the camera as director. For more on the series head to the official website

CWL Zest Book Chain More Reviews - Steven Carroll

Here are more reviews from our CWL Zest Book Chain for two novels by Steven Carroll:

The Time We Have Taken:
“It is both a meditation on the rhythms of suburban life and a luminous exploration of public and private reckoning during a time of radical change.”


The Lost Life:
“From one of Australia's finest writers, this is a moving, lyrical novel about poetry and inspiration, the incandescence of first love and the yearning for a life that may never be lived.”

Zest 1: The lost Life is an absorbing story set in an English country town in 1934. In the time of slow eating, in the first decade of 2000, this book could probably be described as slow reading in which you can live in the moment which I enjoyed in this fast paced life in which we all now live. A young couple (Catherine and Daniel) witness a private ceremony, of which you are not sure of the details, taking place between the poet TS Eliot and his secret lover Emily Hale. A ceremony that will be repeated. The young couple's lives become entwined with that of Eliot and Hale, the story focusing on Hale. It is an exploration of desire and regret which can result and last a lifetime. This is another excellent novel by a wonderful Australian author, not to be missed…

Zest 2: I read Carroll's 6th novel, The Time We have Taken. The third in the trilogy of the Glenroy novels. This particular novel is set in a fictional Melbourne suburb in the '70'. At the beginning I deceptively thought this book was going nowhere. It was not until the rain came and I was able to switch off the many intrusions of a hectic life, did I finally capture the poetic prose of Carroll's. His writing slowly draws you in and then… suddenly the novel is finished. I look forward to reading the rest of the trilogy: The Art of the Engine Driver and The Gift of Speed.

Zest 3: Well I read both books as they both sounded good. And I've discovered a new Aussie writer, well for me he is new. The writing in A Lost Life is beautiful and the story is lovely and romantic. It is about the lives of two couples – the poet T.S Eliot and his love Miss Hale (not is his wife) and the young Catherine and Daniel who watch a private ceremony between the couple. I liked how the ceremony came full circle in the lives of the women. It's a book of love and loss and regret.

Zest 3: I really enjoyed reading The Time We Have Taken – the story that kind of creeps up on you as you discover each of the characters and their lives and how they shaped the suburb and the suburb shaped them. The writing is poetic and descriptive and doesn't get in the way or overwhelm you. I really enjoyed it and will go onto to read the trilogy. All of which have been nominated for the Miles Franklin Literary Awards. Thank you for this.

For more on about author Steven Carroll and his books go to:

Who else writes like Stieg Larsson ?

Library staff are frequently asked the above question following the enormous success of Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl who Played with Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest. Following is a list of authors who write similar crime novels:

Karin Alvtegen,
Ake Edwardson,
Karin Fossum,
Anne Holt,
Araldur Indridason,
Mari Jungstedt,
Camilla Lackberg,
Henning Mankell,
Jo Nesbo,
Hakan Nesser,
Yrsa Sigurdadrottir,
Fred Vargas.

These authors are all available from the Library! Enjoy!