Latest from the Library

September 2017

New Inter-library loan and braille bags

The library is pleased to announce our new inter-library loan and braille bags. The bags feature the new Vision Australia logo and blue and yellow colouring.

These bags will be used in addition to the current yellow Inter-library loan bags and older braille bags in orange and yellow.

AFL Grand Final Eve and Melbourne Cup Day

The library will be closed for the AFL Grand Final Eve on Friday, 29 September and Melbourne Cup Day Tuesday, 7 November but some assistance will be available via telephone on 1300 654 656. We will endeavour to return your calls as soon as possible.


World Animal Day

To mark World Animal Day on October, here we feature books about animals.

Tuco: The Parrot, the Others, and a Scattershot World, by Brian Brett

Format: DAISY (AU 164696)

Subject Interest Codes: Autobiography and Animal Stories

Summary: This book is a biography of an irreverent African Grey parrot given to asking "Whaddya know?" and announcing "Party time!", and an exploration of the history of birds/dinosaurs, the relationships between humans and birds, our notions of language and intelligence, and our tendency to "other" anything that is different from us.

Tuco also describes Brett's own painful experience of being “othered” as an androgyne.

Provocative, profound, hilarious, and moving, Tuco is most of all the extraordinary story of Brett's decades-long relationship with this bird, what Brett calls "a story we made together”.

Free days with George : learning life's little lessons from one very big dog, by Colin Campbell

Format: DAISY (AU 164900)

Subject Interest Codes: Animal Stories and Autobiography

Summary: After Colin Campbell went on a short business trip abroad, he returned home to discover his wife of many years had moved out.

Shocked and heartbroken, Colin fell into a spiral of depression and loneliness. Soon after, a friend told Colin about a dog in need of rescue - a neglected Newfoundland Landseer, a breed renowned for its friendly nature and remarkable swimming abilities.

Colin adopted the traumatised dog and named him George. Both man and dog were heartbroken and lacking trust, but together, they learned how to share a space, how to socialize, and most of all, how to overcome their bad experiences.

Bones would rain from the sky, by Suzanne Clothier

Format: DAISY (AU 165186)

Subject Interest Codes: Animal Stories and Psychology

Summary: Takes a radical new direction in understanding our life with canines and offers new lessons about our pets. 

From changing the misbehaviours and habits that upset us, to seeing the world from their unique and natural perspective, to finding a deep connection with another being, Clothier helps readers receive an incomparable gift: a profound, life-long relationship with the dog they love.

Blind courage : reflections of a guide dog instructor in England, Australia and New Zealand,  by Brian Peel

Format: DAISY  (AU 160732) 

Subject Interest Codes: Animal Stories and Vision Impairment

Summary: A seasonal journal which is a blend of autobiography, folklore and the natural history of Central Otago. 

If you would like more titles we recommend you ask us to add Animal Stories to your favourite books genresor visit our online catalogue to choose a title yourself.

Readers’ Reviews

The Autobiography of the Woman the Gestapo Called the White Mouse, by Nancy Wake

Format: DAISY (AU 100809)

Set in: World War II Europe

Subject Interest Codes: Autobiography, Biography-Australian, War Non-Fiction

Summary: The Gestapo called her the White Mouse. Nancy Wake, an Australian who became one of the most highly decorated women of World War II, here tells her own story.

Reader Comments: “Thank you, once again. Although I have read many stories of Nancy Wake’s amazing life, none have or possibly could, equal her own. What word pictures, characterizations her words elicit. I was compelled to listen to it twice. A veritable classic.”


A Death in Vienna, by Daniel Silva

Gabriel Allon Series, 4

Sequel to: The Confessor

Followed by: Prince of Fire

Format: DAISY (AU 103165)

Set in: Europe

Subject Interest Codes: Spy Fiction, Suspense Fiction

Summary: Art restorer and sometimes spy Gabriel Allon is sent to Vienna to discover the truth behind a bombing that killed an old friend - a Nazi hunter.

While there he encounters something that turns his whole life upside down. It is a face - a face that feels hauntingly familiar, a face that chills him to the bone and sends him on an urgent hunt for more: a name, a history, a connection.

But as he searches for answers, each fact he uncovers only leads to more questions until finally a picture emerges that is more terrible than he could have ever imagined - a portrait of evil stretching across 60 years and thousands of lives into his own personal nightmares.

Reader Comments:  “Many thanks for your choice. It was the sort of book that has you thinking about the research for the book. I did enjoy the book. Once again my sincere thanks.”

The Climb: Conversations with Australian Women in Power, by Geraldine Doogue

Format: DAISY (AU 159236)

Subject Interest Codes: Biography, Biography Australian, Feminist Non-fiction

Summary: Iconic journalist and television presenter Geraldine Doogue turns her attention to an issue central to our times: how are we, as women, represented at the top levels of power in Australia?

In candid and personal conversations with 14 women leading the way in fields as wide-ranging as business, politics, religion, education and the armed forces, Doogue gets to the heart of what it means to be a woman in power in Australia.

Inspiring and insightful, The Climb reveals a varied and at times quite unexpected picture of contemporary Australia.

Reader Comments: “A very fine and inspiring piece of work. Brave Geraldine! Everyone interested in women’s equality and progress should read it. A very big thank you for sending it to me.”

Return to the High Country, by AD Parsons

Series: High Country, 2

Format: DAISY (AU 159236)

Set in: Rural Australia

Subject Interest Codes: Australian Fiction, Country Life Fiction, Family Chronicles

Summary: Wracked by grief following his father's death, David is determined to succeed.

With the MacLeod love of the land running in his blood, and the beautiful Catriona at his side, he builds an impressive empire of grazing properties for the sons he hopes will follow him.

But grooming a suitable heir proves as challenging and heartbreaking as rural life itself. It is David's passion for his beloved high country, and the support of the women in his life, that keep his dream alive.

 Reader Comments: “I loved listening to this story and the one before. I’m going to see if I can contact Mr A.D. Parsons and tell him he is the best story writer have read. He writes real stuff this is the Australia I grew up in and I love him for taking me back.”

They Do it with Mirrors, by Agatha Christie

Series: Miss Marple

Format: DAISY (AU 103542)

Set in: 20th Century England

Subject Interest Code: Detective and Mystery Fiction

Summary: A sense of danger pervades the rambling Victorian mansion in which Jane Marple's friend Carrie Louise lives.

Used as a rehabilitation centre for delinquents, the building teems with dangerous inmates, one of whom attempts to shoot the administrator, Lewis Serracold.

Neither is injured. The same cannot be said of a mysterious visitor - shot dead simultaneously in another part of the building.

Miss Marple must use all of her cunning to solve the riddle of the stranger's visit...and his murder.

Reader Comments: “Love Agatha Christie. This is another one of her mysteries. Keeps you guessing till the last minute. Then you have to really think it all through to see how it happened. Great stories.”


Miles Franklin Literary Award

The Miles Franklin Literary Award celebrates works depicting Australian life. Here we feature the 2017 shortlist.

The Last Days of Ava Langdon, by Mark O’Flynn

Format: Braille and braille download (AU 164747)

Subject Interest Codes: Twenty-First Century Literature, Australian Fiction, Perceptive Fiction

Summary: Ava Langdon is often not herself. Having fled her early life in New Zealand and endured the loss of her children, she now lives as a recluse in the Blue Mountains.

Regarded by locals as a colourful eccentric, she dresses in men’s clothes and fearlessly pursues her artistic path.

All that matters to Ava is her writing. Words offer beauty and a sense of possibility when so much else has been lost. But can they offer her redemption in her last days?

An Isolated Incident” by Emily Maguire

Format: Braille and braille download (AU 164745)

Subject Interest Codes: Twenty-First Century Literature, Australian Fiction, Psychological Fiction

Summary: When beautiful 25-year-old Bella Michaels is brutally murdered in the small New South Wales town of Strathdee, the community is stunned and a full investigation gets underway as a media storm descends.

Unwillingly thrust into the eye of that storm is Bella’s beloved older sister, Chris, a barmaid at the local pub and occasional sex worker, and a woman whose apparent easy-going nature conceals hard-won wisdom and the kind of street-smart only experience can bring.

As Chris is plunged into despair and searches for answers, reasons, explanations - anything - that could make even the smallest sense of Bella’s death, her ex-husband, friends and neighbours do their best to support her.

But as the days tick by with no arrest, Chris’s suspicion of those around her grows.

Also interested in Chris is May Norman, a young, self-absorbed city journalist, who is determined that Bella’s murder will be the story to launch her career.

But the longer May spends in Strathdee, the more she feels unable to do the job she was sent to do, yet unwilling to leave until she knows how the story ends.

Their Brilliant Careers, by Ryan O’Neill

Format: Braille and braille download (AU 164748)

Subject Interest Codes: Twenty-First Century Literature, Australian Fiction, Biographical Fiction, Satire.

Summary: In Their Brilliant Careers, Ryan O'Neill has written a hilarious novel in the guise of sixteen biographies of invented Australian writers.

Meet Rachel Deverall, who discovered the secret source of the great literature of our time - and paid a terrible price for her discovery. 

Meet Rand Washington, hugely popular sci-fi author of Whiteman of Cor and inveterate racist. Meet Addison Tiller, master of the bush yarn, The Chekhov of Coolabah", who never travelled outside Sydney.

Their Brilliant Careers is a playful set of stories, linked in many ways, which together form a memorable whole. A wonderful comic tapestry of the writing life, this unpredictable and intriguing work takes Australian writing in a whole new direction...

Waiting, by Philip Salom

Format: Braille and braille download (AU 164752)

Subject Interest Codes: Twenty-First Century Literature, Australian Fiction, Perceptive Fiction

Summary: Big is a hefty cross-dresser and Little is little. Both are long used to the routines of boarding house life in the inner suburbs of Melbourne, but Little, with the prospect of an inheritance, is worrying Big by indulging in dreams of home ownership.

Little’s cousin, Angus, is a solitary man who designs lakescapes for city councils, and fireproof houses for the bushfire zone.

A handyman, he meets Jasmin - an academic who races in her ideas as much as in her runners.

Her head is set on publishing books on semiotics, her heart is turned towards her stalled personal life. All four are waiting for something, if not someone.

Extinctions, by Josephine Wilson

Format: Braille and braille download (AU 164773).

Subject Interest Codes: Twenty-First Century Literature, Australian Fiction, Perceptive Fiction.

Summary: He hated the word ‘retirement', but not as much as he hated the word ‘village', as if ageing made you a peasant or a fool.

Herein lives the village idiot. Professor Frederick Lothian, retired engineer, world expert on concrete and connoisseur of modernist design, has quarantined himself from life by moving to a retirement village.

His wife, Martha, is dead and his two adult children are lost to him in their own ways.

Surrounded and obstructed by the debris of his life - objects he has collected over many years and tells himself he is keeping for his daughter - he is determined to be miserable, but is tired of his existence and of the life he has chosen.

When a series of unfortunate incidents forces him and his neighbour, Jan, together, he begins to realise the damage done by the accumulation of a lifetime’s secrets and lies, and to comprehend his own shortcomings.

Finally, Frederick Lothian has the opportunity to build something meaningful for the ones he loves.

Book Talk – the Arctic

Do you like the cold? Have you travelled to the poles? Here we feature books relating to the Arctic…

Read about an Australian polar aviator…

The last explorer : Hubert Wilkins, Australia's Unknown Hero. by Simon Nasht

Format: DAISY  (AU 96112).

Subject Interest Codes: Biography, Biography- Australian, Adventure Non-fiction.

Summary: Hubert Wilkins was truly the last and one of the greatest explorers. Born in South Australia, he spent much of his life out of the country but always remained an Australian. He travelled through every continent, and was a pioneer of aviation. \He survived crashes and disasters, firing squads and sabotage, living long enough to be honoured by kings, presidents and dictators. He was a front-line photographer in World War I and was twice decorated.

He took the first ever film of battle, and took the first moving images from an aircraft. He was the first man to fly across the Arctic Ocean, the first to fly in the Antarctic and the first to fly from America to Europe across the then unknown Arctic.

In the 1930s he spent several years travelling in Western Queensland and the Northern Territory where many of his observations and views were ahead of their time. In the later years of his life, he worked for the US military and intelligence and in 1958 he was buried at sea at the North Pole by the US Navy.

Or some science fiction set in the Arctic...

Seed of the Arctic Ice, by Harry Bates

Followed by: Under Arctic ice.

Format: DAISY  (AU 137575).

Subject Interest Codes: Science Fiction, Short Stories.

Summary: Killer whales and seal-creatures tangle with Ken Torrance in an amazing adventure under the ice-roofed Arctic sea.

Outpost, by Adam Baker

Outpost ; 1

Followed by: Juggernaut

Format: DAISY  (AU 160572).

Subject Interest Codes: Horror, Science Fiction.                  

Summary: They took the job to escape the world. They didn't expect the world to end. Kasker Rampart: a derelict refinery platform moored in the Arctic Ocean.

A skeleton crew of fifteen fight boredom and despair as they wait for a relief ship to take them home. But the world beyond their frozen wasteland has gone to hell. Cities lie ravaged by a global pandemic. One by one TV channels die, replaced by silent wavebands.

The Rampart crew are marooned. They must survive the long Arctic winter, then make their way home alone. They battle starvation and hypothermia, unaware that the deadly contagion that has devastated the world is heading their way...

Staff book review Poodle Springs by Raymond Chandler and Robert B. Parker.

How excited I was to discover that there was another Raymond Chandler novel out there that I hadn’t yet read, albeit one that he had started and put aside.

Death intervened, and the novel would not be published until 1989 after Chandler’s estate had asked the crime writer, Robert B. Parker, to finish it.

For me it had all the appeal of a classic Chandler novel, even though he had only written the first four chapters. 

Parker has so faithfully emulated Chandler’s style, and so seamlessly picked up the threads, that the reader cannot detect the shift. 

Chandler’s famous detective hero, Philip Marlowe, comes alive one last time, and all the Chandleresque hallmarks of gritty, snappy dialogue, richly evoked characters, and action and suspense, are there in abundance.

The novel opens in a different setting this time.  Marlowe has left Los Angeles for the exclusive desert resort town of Poodle Springs and is living a life of sybaritic idleness with his new heiress wife.

It is not long before being a kept man with nothing to do begins to pall, and Marlowe decides to open a private investigation office in Poodle Springs.

He soon has his first client, a local gangster-casino operator, who engages him to find a man who has disappeared, owing him a lot of money.

In the course of his investigation, Marlowe will find himself drawn back to the corrupt and seedy world of Los Angeles – a city that is as much a character in Raymond Chandler’s novels as Philip Marlowe, himself.

The novel contains many of Chandler’s familiar tropes: the cynical, thuggish cop; the wealthy and criminal business man, who has the police and the politicians in his pocket; the morally warped offspring of the corrupt and wealthy elite; and the usual alcoholic blondes.

It has plenty of wonderful vignettes – little scenes that are incidental to the story but which render it so much richer and so much more atmospheric.

It also has the sort of marvellous similes that Chandler, himself, could have written, such as: “Hollywood Boulevard looked like it always did in the morning, like a hooker with her make-up off”.  Or: “The silence in the room imploded, getting denser and denser like a collapsing star”.

As with any Chandler novel, our sympathies are engaged by the tough, hard drinking hero, Marlowe, because he is also a man with a kind, sentimental side, a man with chivalrous traits, and a moral code that is incorruptible.

His very eloquence endears him to us.  And Marlowe’s essential loneliness is another factor, a sense of urban alienation that makes him all too easy to identify with.

I recommend this book to all Chandler fans, who have not yet discovered this one; to anyone who likes a good crime/detective story; and to anyone who enjoys a well-written novel.

Raymond Chandler pushed the boundaries of the crime fiction genre with his finely wrought novels that placed character development, masterfully crafted scenes, and evocative, well-honed language before considerations of plot.

Robert B. Parker’s completion of Raymond Chandler’s unfinished novel is a tour de force in the best Chandler tradition.

Annie, Library

This title is available in DAISY (AU 103311).

Who Else Writes Like…?

Have you ever read a book which leaves you hungry for more by the same author, or in the same style or genre? Perhaps you’d just like to read all the latest prize winners, or follow a favourite character or place.

The library has recently subscribed to “Who Else Writes Like...?” a wonderful online resource which could help you to feed that hunger or answer that curly question.  This website lets you browse or search for authors and discover a world of fiction writers based on your favourites. You can also search or browse by genre, check characters and series, follow links to author websites and check the latest prize-winning writers. 

Best of all it is easy to use and navigate around and is designed to help general readers expand the range fiction they read. It’s not just a tool for librarians and teachers, even though the library staff do use it when advising borrowers of books they might like to try.

So why not give it a try at “Who Else Writes Like…?”

This and other research and information resources are also available to Vision Australia clients from the library’s online reference and research databases list located on the Youth Library page and also on the i-access online welcome page.

If you’d like help with finding information or using these resources please contact the iibrary on 1300 654 656, or email

Katalin Mindum

Reference/Information Librarian

June 2017

International Women's Day Quiz

Thank you to everyone who entered the Library’s International Women’s Day quiz. Several prizes were awarded. We hope all winners enjoy their prize!

Quiz Answers:

  1. 1975 was International Women's Year? Answer: true.
  2. New Zealand was the first country to grant equal voting rights to women. True or false? Answer: True
  3. International Women's Day was first celebrated in 1911. True or false? True


Reading Challenges

Are you up for a reading challenge? If so, you might like to try one of these …

Good Reads reading challenge

Better World Books  


To mark NAIDOC Week (2 to 9 July 2017), we feature books on Indigenous Australians and related issues.

The Power of Bones by Keelen Mailman

Format: DAISY disc and download (AU 157854)

Subject Interest Codes: Autobiography, Biography-Australian, Indigenous Non-fiction, Inspirational Stories

Summary: It looked bleak and predictable for little Keelen Mailman: an alcoholic mother, absent father, the horrors of regular sexual and physical assault and the casual racism of a small outback town in the 1960s.

But somehow, despite the pain and deprivation, the lost education, she managed to absorb her mother’s lessons: her Bidjara language and culture, her obligations to Country, and her loyalty to her family.

So it was no surprise to some that a girl who could hide for a year in her own home to keep her family together, run as fast as Raelene Boyle and catch porcupine and goanna, would one day make history.

At just 30, and a single mother, Keelen became the first Aboriginal woman to run a commercial cattle station when she took over Mt Tabor, two hours from Augathella on the black soil plains of western Queensland.

This is the heartland of Bidjara country, after all, the place her mother and grandparents and great-grandparents had camped on and cared for, and where their ancestors left their marks on caves and rock walls more than 10,000 years ago.

In this unflinching memoir, the warmth of Keelen’s personality, her determination and her irresistible humour shine through as she recalls her extraordinary life.

The Little Red Yellow Black Book: an introduction to Indigenous Australia by Bruce Pascoe, with the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies

Formats: DAISY disc and download (AU 128717) and braille and braille download (AU 133832)

Subject Interest Codes: Indigenous Non-fiction, Australian Non-fiction

Summary: An invaluable introduction to Australia's rich Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and culture.

If you're an adult wanting to learn what you weren't taught at school, or a student or teacher who wants to hear from and about Indigenous Australians, or if you're a migrant or tourist, or an institution or department with cross-cultural training needs, then The Little Red Yellow Black Book is a very useful and enjoyable resource.

The book takes a non-chronological approach, and is written from an Indigenous viewpoint. The themes that emerge are the importance of identity, adaptation and continuity. The four sections are: Who Are We?; Culture and Sport; Participation and Governance; and Resistance and Reconciliation.

Here are stories the media don't tell you. Mini-essays on famous and everyday people and organisations will give insights into a range of Indigenous experiences.

Blacklines: Contemporary Critical Writing by Indigenous Australians, by Michele Grossman, co-ordinating editor

Formats: DAISY disc and download (AU 107563) and braille and braille download (AU 93355)

Subject Interest Codes: Essays, Indigenous Non-fiction, Language and Cultural Criticism

Summary: This is a ground-breaking volume - the first collection of critical writing by Indigenous Australian intellectuals addressing contemporary cultural issues.

Written by established and emerging Indigenous intellectuals from a variety of positions, perspectives and places, these essays generate new ways of seeing and understanding Indigenous Australian history, culture, identity and knowledge in national and global contexts.

From museums to Mabo, anthropology to art, feminism to film, land rights to literature, the essays offer provocative insights and compelling arguments around the historical and contemporary issues confronting Indigenous Australians today.

If you would like more titles, ask the library to add Indigenous Non-fiction to your favourite book genres, or visit our online catalogue to choose a title yourself.


Library resources for homework help and research

Did you know that Vision Australia Library subscribes to online research databases that include up-to-date information on Australian and overseas topics, as well as a wide range of general interest, health and lifestyle magazines?

Topics covered include; current affairs, health, geography and social studies, history, literature, science and gardening to mention just a few.

But why would you want to use these rather than just searching the internet?

Put simply, these sources are freely available to library members, and include articles from authoritative journals, reference books, and encyclopaedias.

Some also include images, maps and videos. They are easy to search and offer the flexibility to limit or expand searches in a way that is not possible in Google.

The content is often available in full text and is easy to save, print, email or download.  In addition to all of this, some of the databases even include an option to search other databases with a single click without having the re-type your search. 

Vision Australia Library databases include the Britannica Online, Australian and New Zealand Reference Centre and Gale Virtual Reference Library and MasterFILE Premier.  As an added bonus if you search Credo Reference you will be offered an option to search Australian and New Zealand Reference Centre and MasterFILE Premier with a single click and without the need to repeat the search in the two databases.

If you’re after lighter reading, Popular Magazines Plus and MasterFILE Premier also include magazines and trade journals, general interest, current events, sports and lifestyle magazines like the Australian Women’s Weekly, Australian Geographic, Nature, Vanity Fair and many others as well as News Limited newspapers.   

Try the online reference and research databases today? There is a link on the Youth library page and also on the i-access online welcome page.

Contact the Library for more details.

- Katalin Mindum, Reference Information Librarian


Readers’ reviews

Rebecca, by Daphne du Maurier

Format: DAISY disc and download (AU 103385)

Set in: 20th century England

Subject Interest Codes: Twentieth Century Literature, Romance Mystery, Suspense Fiction

Summary: A young wife finds her happiness over-shadowed by the memory of her husband's brilliant first wife, Rebecca

Reader Comments: “Classical fiction at its zenith. Not narrated but acted. Not enough superlatives for this one. Amazing narration by Ms Tobin. Hang in there. The finale is worth waiting for.”

Venetia, by Georgette Heyer

Format: DAISY disc and download (AU 103384)

Set in: 19th century (Regency) England

Subject Interest Codes: Romance Fiction, Historical Romance Fiction

Summary: In all her 25 years, lovely Venetia Lanyon has never been further than Harrogate, nor enjoyed the attentions of any but her two wearisomely persistent suitors.

Then, in an extraordinary encounter, she meets a neighbour she knows only by reputation, the infamous Lord Damerel, and before she knows better is egging on a libertine whose way of life has scandalised the North Riding for years.

Reader Comments: “I found this the most entertaining book - a few good laughs. Recommended.”

Private Bill: In Love and War, by Barrie Cassidy

Format: DAISY disc and download (AU 157203)

Subject Interest Codes: Biography, Biography – Australian, Biography – Military, War Non-Fiction

Summary: Barrie Cassidy's dad Bill survived more than four years as a prisoner of war in World War II

He first saw conflict on Crete in May 1941, during the only large-scale parachute invasion in wartime history.

Just four days later, Bill was wounded and eventually captured. Twice he tried to escape his internment with horrific consequences.

He suffered greatly but found courageous support from his fellow prisoners.

His new wife Myra and his large family thought he was dead until news of his capture finally reached them.

Back home, Myra too was a prisoner of sorts, with her own secrets. Then, 50 years after the war, unhealed wounds unexpectedly opened for Bill and Myra, testing them once again.

Reader Comments: “Well written non-fiction. The dark and poignant story tells the story of the subject’s time both as a prisoner of war, and his later life.”

The Eagle Has Landed, by Jack Higgins

Series: Liam Devlin, no. 1

Followed by: Touch the Devil

Format: DAISY disc and download (AU 102664)

Set in: 20th century Europe

Subject Interest Codes: Adventure Fiction, Politics, Spy Fiction, Suspense Fiction

Summary: It was to become known as the most daring enemy mission of the entire war: "Operation Eagle", SS Reichsfuhrer Heinrich Himmler's audacious plan to kidnap Winston Churchill on British soil in November 1943. But, despite spectacular secrecy, there was to be no surrender without a fight.

Reader Comments: “Highly recommended for the older reader, man or woman, who lived through World War II. An edge-of-your-seat thriller. Fantastic presentation by narrator. I spent many late nights to listen to this one because I didn’t want to wait to hear the next chapter. Volume quality is excellent.”

Maralinga, by Judy Nunn

Format: DAISY disc and download (AU 120682) and braille and braille download (AU 122991)

Set in: 20th century Australia

Subject Interest Codes: Australian Fiction, Outback Australia

Summary: During the darkest days of the Cold War, in the remote wilderness of the South Australian desert, the future of an infant nation is being decided without its people's knowledge.

A British air base in the middle of nowhere; an atomic weapons testing ground; an army of raw youth led by powerful, ambitious men - a cocktail for disaster. Such is Maralinga in the spring of 1956.

This is the story of British Lieutenant Daniel Gardiner, who accepts a 12-month posting to the wilds of South Australia on a promise of rapid promotion; Harold Dartleigh, Deputy Director of MI-6 and his undercover operative Gideon Melbray; Australian Army Colonel Nick Stratton and the enigmatic Petraeus Mitchell, bushman and anthropologist. They all find themselves in a violent and unforgiving landscape, infected with the unique madness and excitement that only nuclear testing creates.

It is also a story of love; a love so strong that it draws the adventurous young English journalist Elizabeth Hoffmann halfway around the world in search of the truth.

Maralinga is a story of heartbreak brought to the innocent First Australians who had walked their land unhindered for 40,000 years.

Reader Comments: “Thoroughly enjoyed this book. Good research of the Atlantic bomb testing at Maralinga gave the book authenticity to a romantic novel.”

To Chase the Storm, by Peter Watt

Series: Cry of the Curlew, no. 4

Sequel to: Flight of the Eagle

Followed by: To Touch the Clouds

Format: DAISY disc and download (AU 139395)

Set in: Various countries, turn of the 20th century

Subject Interest Codes: Australian Fiction, Family Chronicles, Historical Fiction

Summary: Major Patrick Duffy is torn by conflicting duties: his oath to the Queen is unwavering as she gathers her armies together to march on the Boers of southern Africa, but his duty to his family is equally clear.

But when his wife Catherine leaves him for another and returns to Ireland, Patrick's broken heart propels from the Macintosh home in Sydney into another bloody war.

The battlefields of Africa hold more than nightmarish terrors and unspeakable conditions for Patrick - they bring back to one he thought long dead and lost to him.

In Australia, the mysterious Michael O'Flynn mentors Patrick's youngest son, Alex, and at his grandmother's request takes him to their Queensland property, Glen View.

But will the terrible curse that has inextricably linked the Duffys and Macintoshes for generations ensure no true happiness for them? So much seems to depend on Wallarie, the last warrior of the Nerambura tribe, whose name evokes a legend.

Reader Comments: “Another incredible historical story from Peter Watt. He relates as if he lived in that era.”

If you have a book review you would like to share, please email us at


Staff book review

Palais des Nations or The Edith Trilogy - Grand Days, Dark Palace and Cold Light, by Frank Moorhouse

I read this trilogy two years ago and it was one of the most fluid reads I’ve ever had. I could not wait to pick up the next book. I was fascinated with Edith, a woman well ahead of her time. I found her very real, surprising given the author is a man.

It is also compulsively interesting because it is set in real history with the rise of the League of Nations in Geneva, the attempts to disarm aggressive states in Europe, the construction of Canberra and the early days of the Communist Party in Australia.

A number of our politicians and allusions to other interesting characters in the literary and dramatic world are mentioned, such as Robert Menzies and James Joyce.

For a girl from the Australian bush Edith gets to live a very “Bloomsbury-like” lifestyle. She is intensely stylish. Descriptions of her clothes and life are moreish.

She sets out early to be very independent and ambitious and while she has some setbacks her feistiness stands her in good stead.

Her long-time relationship with Ambrose, her best friend and lover is fascinating. Their escapades in Europe are curious and their group of foreign attaches they work with, give you a glimpse of the power plays and dissolute lifestyles that some lived.

The books in the trilogy are Grand Days, Dark Palace and Cold Light.

Grand Days follows Edith’s rise in the League of Nations and the start of long-term friendships.

Dark Palace follows her during the post-1918 disarmament period and the establishment of her role there.

Cold Light sees her return to Australia and her work in Canberra. The setbacks in the design of Canberra, and the establishment of senior political officials gives one a view of the foibles of the time.

Edith’s brother becomes part of her life again, causing complications. When the League disbands in favour of the UN and Australia is snubbed, Edith is devastated. She maintains her passion for international peace and Australia’s role in it.

Each could be enjoyed as stand-alone novels, but I recommend you read all of them. You can’t help but admire Edith for her zest for life, but mostly for her devotion to her work and world peace.

- Louise, Feelix Library

Grand Days is available in DAISY disc and download (AU 100299), and braille and braille download (AU 138246)

Dark Palace is available in DAISY disc and download (AU 135978) and braille and braille download (AU 138248)

Cold Light is available in DAISY disc and download (AU 136804) and braille, and braille download (AU 138250)

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