“The Reading Group” by Elizabeth Noble


The story is about a group of women who meet regularly to read and discuss books, and how their lives become intertwined, both with the books they read and with each other’s lives. What starts out as a good idea born from a glass of wine and the need to socialize, turns into much more. Over the span of a year, Clare, Harriet, Nicole, Polly and Susan — five women of different ages, backgrounds and contrasting dilemmas — transform themselves through the shared community of a book group. Their reading group becomes a forum for each of the women’s views, expressed initially by the book they’re reading and increasingly openly as the bonds of friendship cement.

In “The Reading Group”, Nobel reveals the many complicated paths in life we all face as well as the power and importance of friendship.


I like her style of writing, and I want to know more about the characters and what happens to them. Good easy read.


I rated this book 8/10




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“City of Thieves” by David Benioff


During the Nazis’ brutal siege of Leningrad, Lev Beniov is arrested for looting and thrown into the same cell as a handsome deserter named Kolya. Instead of being executed, Lev and Kolya are given a shot at saving their own lives by complying with an outrageous directive: secure a dozen eggs for a powerful Soviet colonel to use in his daughter’s wedding cake. In a city cut off from all supplies and suffering unbelievable deprivation, Lev and Kolya embark on a hunt through the dire lawlessness of Leningrad and behind enemy lines to find the impossible. A search that takes them through the dire lawlessness of Leningrad and the devastated surrounding countryside creates an unlikely bond between this earnest, lust-filled teenager and an endearing lothario with the gifts of a conman. Set within the monumental events of history, City of Thieves is an intimate coming-of-age tale with an utterly contemporary feel for how boys become men






I finished this book, and wanted to start reading it again. I fell in love with the characters and laughed with them. At some points horrified by humanity and what we are capable of, and learning more about history makes this a must read.




I rated this book 10/10


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“The Great Gatsby” by F Scott Fitzgerald


Self-made, self-invented millionaire Jay Gatsby embodies some of Fitzgerald’s–and his country’s–most abiding obsessions: money, ambition, greed, and the promise of new beginnings. “Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgiastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter–tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther…. And one fine morning–” Gatsby’s rise to glory and eventual fall from grace becomes a kind of cautionary tale about the American Dream.

It’s also a love story, of sorts, the narrative of Gatsby’s quixotic passion for Daisy Buchanan. The pair meet five years before the novel begins, when Daisy is a legendary young Louisville beauty and Gatsby an impoverished officer. They fall in love, but while Gatsby serves overseas, Daisy marries the brutal, bullying, but extremely rich Tom Buchanan. After the war, Gatsby devotes himself blindly to the pursuit of wealth by whatever means–and to the pursuit of Daisy, which amounts to the same thing. “Her voice is full of money,” Gatsby says admiringly, in one of the novel’s more famous descriptions. His millions made, Gatsby buys a mansion on Long Island, throws lavish parties, and waits for her to appear. When she does, events unfold with all the tragic inevitability of a Greek drama, with detached, cynical neighbour Nick Carraway acting as chorus throughout.




Can see why it’s a classic, looking forward to see how they adapt it to screen soon.


I rated this book 9.5/10



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“Four Fires” by Bryce Courtenay


While there are many fires that drive the human spirit, love being perhaps the brightest flame of all, it is these four that have moulded the Australian people most. The four fires give Australians their sense of place and, for better or for worse, shape their national character.

The title is derived from a quote (unspecified, but possibly of Indigenous Australian origin):

There are four fires of our dreaming

The bushfire of our land’s renewal

The war fire of good men killing

The soul fire of a different God

The fires of a consuming love

In a small town like any other small town around Australia live the Maloneys. They are a fifth-generation Australian family of Irish Catholic descent who are struggling to reach the first rung of the social ladder. The family is in many ways dysfunctional, but they are also fiercely loyal to each other and their friends and supporters. The Maloneys are a family you won’t forget: a strong mother, a father broken by war, three boys and two girls, one of whom has an illegitimate daughter. They start the novel far down the social ladder, but strive to rise up it, in spite of those who seek to keep them down. Each of their lives is changed forever by the four fires – passion, religion, warfare and fire itself.



My favourite book of his so far. Tears, goose bumps and laughs. How can you not love it!


I rated this book 9/10

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And the winners are…….


Congrats to The Pulitzer Prize Winners; Fiction: The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson, General nonfiction: Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America by Gilbert King, History:Embers of War: The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America’s Vietnam by Fredrik Logevall, Biography: The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo by Tom Reiss, Poetry: Stag’s Leap by Sharon Olds and Drama: Disgraced by Ayad Akhtar




Congratulations to Carrie Tiffany who has been named the winner of the inaugural Stella Prize, an award established to promote books by Australian women writers. Tiffany received the $50,000 award for her second novel Mateship with Birds (Picador) at a presentation event in Melbourne. In her acceptance speech Tiffany announced that she would share $10,000 of the prize money with her other shortlisted women. How generous is that!! Awesome!
PLOT – On the outskirts of an Australian country town in the 1950s, a lonely farmer trains his binoculars on a family of kookaburras that roost in a tree near his house. Harry observes the kookaburras through a year of feast, famine, birth, death, war, romance and song. As Harry watches the birds, his next door neighbour has her own set of binoculars trained on him. Ardent, hard-working Betty has escaped to the country with her two fatherless children. Betty is pleased that her son, Michael, wants to spend time with the gentle farmer next door. But when Harry decides to teach Michael about the opposite sex, perilous boundaries are crossed.





Congrats to the shortlisted authors for 18th The Women’s Prize for Fiction (formerly The Orange Prize); Kate Atkinson Life After Life, A.M Homes May We Be Forgiven, Barbara Kingsolver Flight Behaviour, Hilary Mantel Bring Up the Bodies, Maria Semple Where’d You Go, Bernadette, and Zadie Smith. The award ceremony will take place in London, on 5 June 2013.



The long list for this year’s Miles Franklin Literary Award has been announced. The shortlist will be announced on 30 April at the State Library of New South Wales. The winner of this year’s award will be announced on 19 June at the National Library of Australia in Canberra.

Floundering (Romy Ash, Text)
Lola Bensky (Lily Brett, Hamish Hamilton)
Street to Street (Brian Castro, Giramondo)
Questions of Travel (Michelle de Kretser, A&U)
The Beloved (Annah Faulkner, Picador)
The Daughers of Mars (Thomas Keneally, Vintage)
The Mountain (Drusilla Modjeska, Vintage)
The Light Between Oceans (M L Stedman, Vintage)
Mateship with Birds (Carrie Tiffany, Picador)
Red Dirt Talking (Jacqueline Wright, Fremantle Press).




The nominations have been announced for the 2013 Hugo Awards. Winners will be announced on 1 September. 

 Best Novel 

  • 2312, Kim Stanley Robinson 
  • Blackout, Mira Grant 
  • Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance, Lois McMaster Bujold 
  • Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas, John Scalzi 
  • Throne of the Crescent Moon, Saladin Ahmed 

To view the full lists – http://www.thehugoawards.org/hugo-history/2013-hugo-awards/





Argentinean illustrator and performing artist Isol is the recipient of the 2013 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, the world’s richest prize for children’s and young adult literature. Isol, who was born Marisol Misenta, was announced as this year’s recipient on 26 March in Stockholm, to coincide with the 2013 Bologna Children’s Book Festival.


Congratulations to the following shortlisted publishers, authors and illustrators.

Older Readers Short List 2013  – for mature readers
Grant, Neil                The Ink Bridge
Lanagan, Margo       Sea Hearts
MacLeod, Doug        The Shiny Guys
Bouchell, Dianne      Creepy & Maud
Wakefield, Vikki         Friday Brown
Zail, Suzy                   The Wrong Boy   

Younger Readers Short List 2013 – intended for independent younger readers

French, Jackie          Pennies for Hitler
French, Simon          Other Brother
Gleitzman, Morris      After
Hartnett, Sonya         Children of the King
Herrick, Steven         Pookie Aleera is Not my Boyfriend
Millard, Glenda Ill. Stephen Michael King    The Tender Moments of Saffron Silk  

Early Childhood Short List 2013 – Intended for children in the pre-reading to early reading


Allen, Emma Ill. Freya Blackwood     The Terrible Suitcase
Cox, Tania   Ill. Karen Blair                With Nan
DeGennaro, Sue                               The Pros & Cons of Being a Frog
Dubosarsky, Ursula                           Too Many Elephants in This House
Harris, Christine Ill. Ann James          It’s a Miroocool!
Walker, Anna                                     Peggy  

Picture Book Short List 2013 – intended for an audience ranging from birth to 18 years range (Some books may be for mature readers.

Brooks, Ron Ill. Julie Hunt                      The Coat
Goodman, Vivienne   Ill. Margaret Wild    Tanglewood
Gordon, Gus                                          Herman and Rosie
Lester, Alison                                         Sophie Scott Goes South
Mullins, Patricia  Ill. Glenda Millard           Lightning Jack
Wilson, Mark    Ill. Jackie French              A Day to Remember   

Eve Pownall Award for Information Books Short List 2013  – Intended for an audience ranging from birth to 18 years

Cheng, Christopher & Jackson, Mark        Python
Kerin, Jackie     Ill. Gouldthorpe, Peter      Lyrebird! A True Story
Murray, Kirsty                                         Topsy-turvy World: How Australian Animals Puzzled Early Explorers
Queensland Art Gallery                            Portrait of Spain for Kids
Weidenbach, Kristin   Ill. Ide, Timothy       Tom the Outback Mailman Lothian Children’s Books

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“Addition” by Toni Jordan

images-1Grace Lisa Vandenburg orders her world with numbers: how many bananas she buys, how many steps she takes to the café, where she chooses to sit, how many poppy seeds are in her daily piece of orange cake. Every morning she uses 100 strokes to brush her hair, 160 strokes to brush her teeth. She remembers the day she started to count, how she used numbers to organize her adolescence, her career, even the men she dated. But something went wrong. Grace used to be a teacher, but now she’s surviving on disability checks. According to the parents of one of her former students, “she’s mad.”
Grace’s father is dead and her mother is a mystery to her. Her sister wants to sympathize but she really doesn’t understand. Only Hilary, her favorite niece, connects with her. And Grace can only connect with Nikola Tesla, the turn-of-the-twentieth-century inventor whose portrait sits on her bedside table and who rescues her in her dreams. Then one day all the tables at her regular café are full, and as she hesitates in the doorway a stranger—Seamus Joseph O’Reilly (19 letters in his name, just like Grace’s)—invites her to sit with him. Grace is not the least bit sentimental. But she understands that no matter how organized you are, how many systems you put in place, you can’t plan for people. They are unpredictable and full of possibilities—like life itself, a series of maybes and what-ifs.

And suddenly, Grace may be about to lose count of the number of ways she can fall in love.

I liked this book a nice quirky love story.

I rated this book 8.5/10

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“Crossing to Safety” by Wallace Stegner

imagesCrossing to Safety is the story of a friendship between two couples, and their entwined journeys through the divine benevolence and the bitter cruelty of life. Written from the perspective of the modern day and old age, Larry Morgan, now a successful writer, travels back to the past and the places where his life began, teaching English, grafting at stories, starting a family with his wife, Sally. When they arrive at the University of Wisconsin, they are rapidly befriended by the rich and vibrant couple, Sid and Charity Lang. It would seem that the Langs have everything – money, security, love, children, success – and it becomes apparent that they want nothing more than to share those things with the poor but talented and hopeful Morgans. Yet as their friendship deepens, so Sally and Larry notice the complexities of the Lang’s relationship. Sid’s most heartfelt desire is to be a poet, but Charity, herself the daughter of a hugely successful academic, wants Sid to have academic ambitions. Charity’s family is dominated by the matriarchal line, and Charity herself, full of energy, hungry for life, a planner and organiser and general troop-rallier, has an iron will that seeks to help those she loves by breaking them first. This is a story of love, in all its many forms, and Charity’s tendency to domineer is represented as an overflowing of determined generosity, and an obsession with ‘doing things right’. She knows Sid better than he thinks he knows himself, and her need to project him onto a course that is not of his choosing, is at the same time a form of altruistic bullying that intends to get the best out of him.

I loved this book about lives, not dramas and how relationships affect everybodies life differently.


I rated this book 7.5/10

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