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Friday, 28 August 2009

Books Alive 50 Great Reads

50 Books You Can't Put Down

Crime Fiction

The Scarecrow - Michael Connelly
Crime reporter Jack McEvoy is almost at the end of the line, forced to take a pay-out from the LA Times. Determined to go out with a bang, he focuses on Alonzo Winslow, a 16-year-old drug dealer in jail after cnfessing to a brutal murder. But as he delves into the story, Jack realises Winslow's confession is bogus. Jack's soon tracking a killer operating completely below police radar - and with perfect knowledge of any move against him . . . including Jack's.


Too Close To Home - Linwood Barclay
When the Langleys are gunned down at home one hot night, the lives of their neighbours, the Cutters, are turned upside down. Could the killers have got the wrong house? At first the idea seems crazy. But the Cutter family is riddled with secrets - secrets that will have to come out if they're to track down the killers. Yet the secret that could save - or destory - them is in the one place nobody would ever think of looking . . .


206 Bones - Kathy Reichs
Called to Chicago, Dr Temperance Brennan is drawn into a missing person's case she fears will only end in bad news. Back in Montreal, the bodies of a trio of elderly women have been discovered and Tempe's convinced there's a link. But it's difficult to focus on the case while tensions run high at the lab. It soon becomes apparent that someone is attempting to sabotage Tempe's professional reputation, and they're willing to take any measures necessary to knock out the competition . . .


Shatter - Michael Robotham
A naked woman is perched on the edge of Clifton Suspension Bridge, weeping into a mobile phone. Clinical psychologist Joseph O'Loughlin is only feet away, trying to talk her down. 'You don't understand,' she whispers - and jumps. Later, the woman's daughter turns up on Joe's doorsetp insisting her mother would never commit suicide. Joe want to believe her, but what would drive someone to such a desparate act? Whose voice? What evil?


A Beautiful Place To Die - Malla Nunn
When Captain Willem Pretorius, an Afrikaner police officer, is brutally murdered in the tiny backwater of Jacob's Rest, Detective Emmanuel Cooper is sent to investigate. The local Afrikaners view Cooper with suspicion, and his investigation is quickly taken over by Security Branch. Pursuing his own inquiry, Cooper discovers the violence, secrets and desires behind the town's picture-perfect facade. This stellar debut novel explores a divided society through the frame of a classic murder mystery.


Thriller

A Most Wanted Man - John le Carre
A half-starved young Russian is smuggled into Hamburg with a huge amount of cash on his person. Determined to save him from deportation, Annabel, a civil rights lawyer, sets out to uncover his mysterious past. Meanwhile, scenting a sure kill in the so-called War on Terror, the spies of three nations converge upon the innocents . . . A Most Wanted Man bristles with tension until the last heart-stopping page.


True Life (Crime, Non-Fiction, Biographies, Health)

Dead Man Running - Ross Coulthart & Duncan McNab
For ten years, Steve Utah was a Bandidos insider. He arranged the security of their clubhouses. He 'cooked' ecstasy and ice for them and witnessed the sale of stolen military weapons. He saw vicious beatings and helped dump corpses. Men were executed in front of him. This chilling first-hand account is Utah's confession. He knows he's a dead man running. But first he wants to give Australians a wake-up call about the looming threat of outlaw motocycle gangs.

Dear Fatty - Dawn French
Dawn French is one of the greatest comedy actresses of our time. One half of the wildly successful and much-loved duo French and Saunders, she has created a repertoire of brilliantly observed characters, not least the Vicar of Dibley. Dear Fatty chronicles the extraordinary, hilarious rise of a complex, dynamic and unstoppable woman, from her early years as an RAF child and her flat-sharing antic with Jennifer Saunders, to her outspoken views on sizeism and her marriage to Lenny Henry.

Parky: My Autobiography - Michael Parkinson
This is the story of how a boy from a humble Yorkshire background became, through sheer natural talent, an award-winning journalist and then the world's best-known talk show host. Now an international celebrity, Parky writes with easy manner and insight that has kept his audiences fascinated for so many years. Witty, humorous and blessed with exceptional intellectual clarity, Michael Parkinson's memoir is a joy to read.


The Greatest Show On Earth - Richard Dawkins
Darwin's On the Origin of Species shook the scientific world when it was first published in 1859. The debate it sparked continues 150 years later. Now Richard Dawkins, the world-renowned evolutionary biologist and athiest, takes on the Creationists with a brilliant and uncompromising look at the incontrovertible evidence for Darwin's theory of evolution. This new book by the author of The God Delusion is a thrilling tribute to science and Dawkins's ultimate hero, Charles Darwin.


Through A Glass Darkly - Caroline Jones
'I've been given the wisdom of so many people's stories, their real life struggles; I have committed them to memory and treasured them in my heart. And I suppose that is why I am expected not to grieve . . .' These are the opening words of Caroline Jones's diary, written over several years as she watched her beloved father suffer and eventually pass away. The respected radio and television journalist and presenter writes from the heart in this deeply personal memoir.


The Young Widow's Book of Home Improvement - Virginia Lloyd
At the age of 32, Virginia Lloyd finally met the man she wanted to spend the rest of her life with, only to discover he was terminally ill. In The Young Widow's Book of Home Improvement she chronicles the story of her beloved John's death from cancer, and how, as she struggles with her loss, she attempts to renovate the house they shared. This clear-eyed memoir about love, life, grief and renewal is full of humorous touches and unexpected moments.


The Night My Bum Dropped - Gretel Killeen
Comedian, bestselling author and former Big Brother host Gretel Killeen takes a long, hard and hilarious look at herself in the wake of some big life changes. She's raised a family, earned a living and spent 20-odd years running around like a headless chook. Now she's standing on top of the hill she climbed surveying the view and wondering, 'Is this all there is?' This is a riotous account of a midlife crisis in all its idiosyncratic, dramatic and dumbfounding glory.


Occy - Mark Occhilupo & Tim Baker
A rising star at 16, third in the world at 17, winner of the Pipeline Masters at 19 - Mark Occhilupo looked set to sweep all before him with his spontaneous, irresistible brand of surfing. But a descent into drug abuse and depression snuffed out his flame prematurely and he quit the pro tour at 22. Ten years later he made a comeback, winning the world title. Now, for the first time, Occy tells the remarkable story of his spectacular rise, terrifying fall and miraculous rebirth.

True Colours - Adam Gilchrist
Many critics believe Adam Gilchrist is the greatest wicketkeeper-batsman to have played cricket. But Adam's huge popularity doesn't rest solely on his incredible track record. To his millions of fans around the world, it's the way he plays the game - not just the sum of his achievements - that distinguishes him as one of the best-loved cricketers of his generation. In True Colours, Gilchrist tells his story with honesty, intelligence and humour.

Australian Tragic - Jack Marx
Australian Tragic is about a nation that began its life as a stage for misfortune, and has struggled ever since to outgrow its birthright. These are dark, fascinating stories that take us to the heart of this country - tales of genuine catastrophe, of grand chances gone astray, of fools and their plans pathetically undone, of heartbreaking sadness and violent loss, and of both goodness and human evil. And we thought we knew out history. . .

Pacific Fury - Peter Thompson
In 1942, the future of Australia was on the brink, threatened by Japanese aggression on the one hand and British deception on the other. Only after the loss of untold lives and the unleashing of the most powerful weapon ever seen did the Allies eventually emerge victorious. But for Australia the victory was bittersweet, not least because Churchhill accused the Australians of cowardice. Peter Thompson sets the record straight with a gripping account of the conflict that places Australian voices and action at the heart of the struggle.


1788 - David Hill
The story of the First Fleet is one of courage, short-sightedness, tragedy and resilience. Most of the First Fleeters made it to Sydney Cove only to be confronted with conflict, starvation and despair. Combining the rigour of a vigilant journalist with the skills of a master novelist, David Hill brings the sights, sounds, sufferings and joys of the First Fleeters to life. Journals, letters and reports are all interwoven to create a narrative history that is surprising, compelling and unforgettable.


My God! It's A Woman - Nancy Bird
At the age of 17, Nancy Bird became one of Charles Kingsford Smith's first pupils. In 1935 she became the youngest Australian woman to get a commercial pilot's licence. My God! It's A Woman spans Nancy's flying experiences in the outback, her travels in Europe and the USA, her association with famous aviators such as Jean Batten and Amy Johnson, and her flying comeback in the 1950s. Her biography is a fascinating glimpse of a determined, courageous and glamorous aviatrix.


It's All Too Much - Peter Walsh
Are your cupboards stuffed with clothes you've only worn once? Have you been hanging onto that hideous teapot your mother gave you ten years ago? This inspirational step-by-step program explains the emotional cost of having too much 'stuff' and equips you with the tools to get rid of it. Confront and conquer the stuff that is bogging you down by identifying the purpose of each and every object in your home and assessing your reasons for keeping it.


Sci-Fi/Fantasy

The Host - Stephenie Meyer
An alien species has taken over the minds of humans, leavind their bodies intact. But Wanderer, the invading 'soul' who has been given Melanie Stryder's body, finds that Melanie refuses to fade away. Melanie fills Wanderer's thoughts with visions of Jared, her beloved, and soon Wanderer yearns for a man she's never met. Outside forces make Wanderer and Melanie unwilling allies, and they set off to search for the man they both love . . .


Brisingr - Christopher Paolini
Following the colossal battle against the Empire's warriors on the Burning Plains, Eragon and his dragon, Saphira, have narrowly escaped with their lives. But now Eragon finds himself bound by a table of promises he may not be able to keep. When danger stikes from every corner, Eragon must make choices - choices that take him across the Empire and beyond, and that may lead to unimagined sacrifice. Can this once simple farm boy united the rebel forces and defeat the King?


Young Adult

Finnikin of the Rock - Melina Marchetta
Finnikin has not set foot in his beloved kingdom of Lumatere for ten years, not since the days when the royal family was murdered and the kingdom put under a terrible curse. But then Finnikin meets Evanjalin, a mysterious young woman who claims to hold the key to their return to Lumatere. They begin the long and treacherous journey towards their homeland, but Evanjalin is not all she seems. And the truth will not only test Finnikin's faith in her . . . but in himself.


Eagle Day - Robert Muchamore
The year is 1940. Charles Henderson is the last British spy left in occupied France, living on a farm near Calais with four runaway kids cut adrift by the war. He and his young agents are playing a dangerous game: translating for the German high command and sending information back to Britain about the Nazi plans to invade England in September, on Eagle Day. This is the second book in Henderson's Boys, the new series from Robert Muchamore that follows the original Cherub agents during World War 2.


Somebody's Crying - Maureen McCarthy
Three years have passed since the murder of Alice's mother, but still the idetity of the killer is unkown. Alice, her cousin Jonty and his friend Tom are drawn together by the mystery, but what is each of the hiding? Will their secrets bind them tighter together or tear everything apart? Maureen McCarthy's intesely real characters will draw you deep into a world of suspicion, betrayal, desire and redemption.


Children's Books

Robot Riot! - Andy Griffiths
Once upon a time there was - and still is - a school called Northwest Southeast Central School. At the school, which is located to the southeast of a town called Northwest, which is located to the northwest of a big city called Central City, there is a year five class. And in that class of year five students there is a kid called Henry McThrottle. Henry likes telling stories. That's where I come in. I'm Henry McThrottle, and this is my latest story . . .



Pearlie in the Park - Wendy Harmer
Meet Pearlie, the park fairy. Pearlie has lots of jobs to do - she makes sure the slippery dip stays slippery, the flowers are open each day, and the spiders' webs are sparkling with dew drops each morning. But one day Pearlie wakes up to find everything is topsy turvy. The frogs are trying to spin webs. The possums are trying to paddle in the lade. And the ducks are trying to jump from tree to tree. What's gone wrong? It's up to Pearlie to find out.



The Graveyard Book - Neil Gaiman
When a baby escapes a murderer intent on killing the entire family, who would have thought it would find safety and security in the local graveyard? Bod has an eccentric childhood learning about life from the dead. But there is also the danger that the murderer is still looking for him - after all, he is the last remaining member of the family. An original adventure story about a boy raised by ghosts, ghouls and spectres.


The Nixie's Song - Tony DiTerlizzi & Holly Black
Eleven-year-old Nicholas Vargas only thinks his life has been turned upside down after his father remarries and moves his new wife and daughter into the soon-to-be completed Mangrove Hollow. But and 'expedition' to a nearby lake turns up a little nixie with a giant problem of the huge, lumbering, fire-breathing variety - and it's up to Nick, his stepsister, Laurie, and his big brother, Julian, to figure out the best way to stop a host of rampaging giants before all of Florida goes up in smoke.


From Little Things Big Things Grow - Paul Kelly & Kev Carmody
Paul Kelly and Kev Carmody's remarkable song From Little Things Big Things Grow is the anthem of the land rights movement in Australia. A song of hope and optimism, it tells the story of the proud Gurindji people and their stand against the might of the cattle baron Lord Vestey. All proceeds from sales of this beautiful book, which is based on that legendary song, go back to the Gurindji community, to help keep their rich history and culture alive.


Ten Little Finger and Ten Little Toes - Mem Fox & Helen Oxenbury
'There was one little baby who was born far away, and another who was born on the very next day . And both of these babies - everyone knows - had ten little fingers and ten little toes . . .'
An irresistible story celebrating babies everywhere and the love every mother feels for her own child, by the bestselling author of Possum Magic and the illustrator of the much-loved classic We're Going on a Bear Hunt.

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