Recent Reads from Jackie, Kristina and Darcy

January 2022

Some recent reads recommended by our Libraries team with links to various copies in both our print and digital collections.

From Kristina, our Collections Team Leader:

Stillways by Steve Bisley  


by Steve Bisley

A raw, rough, poetic, funny, intensely moving and quite, quite beautiful memoir about a boy from the bush, growing up in Australian in the sixties.

From one of Australia's favourite actors comes a classic memoir of an Australian childhood in the sixties. Young Steve was a larrikin, happy-go-lucky, resilient kid, coming of age in a simpler time. Growing up on a farm cut from virgin scrub at the end of a lake, a farm called Stillways, Steve daydreamed about cars and escape.

His story is about him heroworshipping his older brother with Brylcreem in his hair; going to school as a young kid with bus money knotted into a hanky and clutching his Globite schoolcase; fighting bullies at school and dreaming about girls; being amazed at the first television in town; remembering where he was when Marilyn Monroe died... But there's a darker thread running through the story: the father who'd take out his frustrations by savagely belting his young children; a struggling mother who'd do anything to protect her kids; a young boy irrevocably marked by his father's anger.

Endearing, funny, honest and unflinching-this memoir will become an Australian classic.  

From Kristina:  An authentic, well-written ,funny and heartbreaking auto-biography of the actor’s difficult childhood growing up on the Central Coast of NSW during the 60s/70’s. I thoroughly enjoyed it and recommend it if you enjoy memoirs.

 Request a digital copy from our eLibrary on Overdrive

Caught in the Act by Shane Jenek  

Caught in the Act

by Shane Jenek aka Courtney Act

An intensely personal account of Jenek's experience growing into a proud, passionate, politically active, genderfluid, queer Australian icon all while the world watches on.

Boy, girl, artist, advocate. Courtney is more than the sum of her parts. Meet Shane Jenek. Raised in the Brisbane suburbs by loving parents, Shane realises from a young age that he's not like all the other boys. He finds his tribe at a performing arts agency, where he discovers his passion for song, dance and performance. Shane makes a promise to himself- to find a bigger stage.

Meet Courtney Act. Born in Sydney around the turn of the millennium, Courtney makes her name in the gay bars of Oxford Street and then on Australian Idol. Over ten years later, she makes star turns on RuPaul's Drag Race and Celebrity Big Brother UK, bringing her unique take on drag and gender to the world. Behind this rise to national and global fame is a story of searching for and finding oneself.

Told with Courtney's trademark candour and wit, Caught in the Act is about our journey towards understanding gender, sexuality and identity. It's an often hilarious and at times heartbreaking memoir from a beloved drag and entertainment icon. Most of all, it's a bloody good time.

From Kristina: Beautifully written with searing honesty and self -reflection the book takes the reader on a journey of understanding gender, sexuality and identity in both an entertaining and thoughtful way.

Request a print copy via our catalogue

Request a digital copy via our eLibrary on Overdrive

Request a digital copy via our eLibrary on BorrowBox


From Darcy, our Library Operations Officer:

The invisible life of Addie La Rue by V.E. Schwab  

The invisible life of Addie LaRue

by V.E. Schwab

When Addie LaRue makes a pact with the devil, she trades her soul for immortality. But there's always a price, the devil takes away her place in the world, cursing her to be forgotten by everyone.

Addie flees her tiny hometown in 18th Century France, beginning a journey that takes her across the world, learning to live a life where no one remembers her and everything she owns is lost and broken. Existing only as a muse for artists throughout history, she learns to fall in love anew every single day. Her only companion on this journey is her dark devil with hypnotic green eyes, who visits her each year on the anniversary of their deal. Alone in the world, Addie has no choice but to confront him, to understand him, maybe to beat him. Until one day, in a second hand bookshop in Manhattan, Addie meets someone who remembers her. Suddenly thrust back into a real, normal life, Addie realises she can't escape her fate forever.

From Darcy: This book hooked me in from the first few chapters – a woman who sells her soul to live forever and be free, but cannot be remembered by anyone she meets. You root for the main character, Addie, and the book is written with lyricism, energy and passion that encourages you to question what it is to be ‘free’. Not normally the type of genre I go for but I couldn’t put it down. 4.5 out of 5 stars. 

Request a print copy via our catalogue

Request a digital copy via our eLibrary on Overdrive

Request a digital audiobook via our eLibrary on Overdrive



From Jackie, our Literacy & Learning Team Leader:

The last thing he told me by Laura Dave  

The last thing he told me

by Laura Dave

Before Owen Michaels disappears, he manages to smuggle a note to his new wife, Hannah: protect her.

Hannah knows exactly who Owen needs her to protect - his sixteen-year-old daughter, Bailey, who lost her mother tragically as a child. And who wants absolutely nothing to do with her new stepmother. As her increasingly desperate calls to Owen go unanswered, his boss is arrested for fraud and the police start questioning her, Hannah realises that her husband isn't who he said he was. And that Bailey might hold the key to discovering Owen's true identity, and why he disappeared. Together they set out to discover the truth. But as they start putting together the pieces of Owen's past, they soon realise that their lives will never be the same again.

From Jackie: This is classified as a thriller but it’s more a family mystery, not too fast paced, violent or scary so just how I like it. The story adds enough twists and turns to keep you guessing.

Request a print copy via our catalogue

 Request a digital copy via our eLibrary on BorrowBox


The funny thing about Norman Foreman by Julietta Henderson  

The funny thing about Norman Foreman

by Julietta Henderson

What do you get when you cross a painfully awkward son, lofty comedic ambition and a dead best friend? Norman.

Norman and Jax are a legendary comedy duo in the making, with a five-year plan to perform at the Edinburgh Fringe by the time they're fifteen. But then Jax dies before they even turn twelve.

Norman's mum Sadie knows she won't win Mother of the Year anytime soon, and she really doesn't know, or care, who Norman's father is. But her heart is broken when she discovers her grieving son's revised plan: 'Find Dad' and 'Get to the Edinburgh Fringe'. If meeting his dad and performing at the Festival are the two things that will help Norman through this devastating time, then Sadie is going to make them happen. So mother and son set off from Cornwall, with their friend Leonard in his vintage Austin Maxi, on a pilgrimage to Edinburgh - to honour Jax and to track down a few maybe-fathers on the way . . .

From Jackie: I don’t know why I chose to read this book as I had never heard of it or the author, but I absolutely loved this feel-good story. The gentle humour and whimsical storyline just made my week. Highly recommend it.

Request a print copy via our catalogue

Request a digital copy via our eLibrary on Overdrive

Request a digital audiobook via our eLibrary on Overdrive

Request a digital copy via our eLibrary on BorrowBox

The Windsor Knot by S.J. Bennett  

The Windsor knot

by S.J. Bennett

The morning after a dinner party at Windsor Castle, eighty-nine-year-old Queen Elizabeth is shocked to discover that one of her guests has been found murdered in his rooms, with a rope around his neck. When the police begin to suspect her loyal servants, Her Majesty knows they are looking in the wrong place. For the Queen has been living an extraordinary double life ever since her coronation. Away from the public eye, she has a brilliant knack for solving crimes. With her household's happiness on the line, her secret must not get out. Can the Queen and her trusted secretary Rozie catch the killer without getting caught themselves?

From Jackie: I wanted a gentle crime/mystery (if there is such a thing!) to listen to on a recent driving trip and stumbled across this title. I really enjoyed the humour of Queen Elizabeth in her secret detective role. The actor that narrates this book was just perfect!

 Request a digital copy from our eLibrary on Overdrive

Request a digital copy via our eLibrary on Overdrive

Request a digital copy via our eLibrary on BorrowBox

Request a digital audiobook via our eLibrary on BorrowBox 


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