Scrublands April Read

Our April read is Scrublands by Chris Hammer to be discussed at Orange City Library on Wednesday 10th April from 5.30pm – 7pm. Please RSVP online via or call the Library on 6393 8132 – thank you.

Set in an isolated country town brought to its knees by endless drought, a charismatic and dedicated young priest calmly opens fire on his congregation, killing five parishioners being shot dead himself.

A year later, troubled journalist Martin Scarsden arrives in Riversend to write a feature on the anniversary of the tragedy. But the stories he hears from the locals about the priest and incidents leading up to the shooting don’t fit with the accepted version of events his own newspaper reported in an award-winning investigation. Martin can’t ignore his doubts, nor the urgings of some locals to unearth the real reason behind the priest’s deadly rampage.

About the author:

Chris Hammer was a journalist for more than thirty years, dividing his career between covering Australian federal politics and international affairs. For many years, he was a roving correspondent for SBS TV’s flagship current affairs program Dateline. He has reported from more than thirty countries on six continents. In Canberra, roles included chief political correspondent for The Bulletin, currrent affairs correspondent for SBS TV and a senior political journalist for The Age.

His first book, The River, published in 2010 to critical acclaim, was the recipient of the ACT Book of the Year Award and was shortlisted for the Walkley Book Award and the Manning Clark House National Cultural Award. Chris has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Charles Sturt University and a master’s degree in international relations from the Australian National University. He lives in Canberra with his wife, Dr Tomoko Akami. The couple have two children.

The Shell Discussion

Praise for The Shell:

‘A luminous look at a city at a time of change, a time when the building of the Sydney Opera House was a reach for greatness.’ The New York Times

‘Olsson transcribes Sydney into an exquisite visual palette, forcing the reader to pay attention to her stunning language. A complex and provocative novel of ideas.’ Sydney Morning Herald

‘Olsson’s subtle and nuanced tale displays how deeply the past – or at least one’s perception of it – informs life in the present.’ Kirkus Reviews

A beautifully crafted novel about a fascinating time in our history. There is a luminous precision in every sentence.’ Heather Rose, award-winning author of The Museum of Modern Love

Pageturners described it as “gentle, atmospheric, a little bit slow, beautiful language, light, time of change, a lot happening, Vietnam draft, controversy, the building of the Opera House, Utzon drama, focus on the artist, a little frustrating, didn’t get to know the characters, loved the landlady, liked the bits about Scandinavia,  liked the narrative about interviewing the author, and lots of criticisms of Australians.”

Discussion revolved around conscription, Pearl the journalist and protestor, her relationships, her brothers,  her father, Axel and his artwork and his father, nuclear weapons, Vietnam war, Anzac Day and Swedish neutrality.

Ratings out of five went as follows:  4, 4, 3.5, 2.5, 3.5, 2, 3, 2,3, 3.5, 4. So a broad range of views on the book..

Read more on the national service ballots including the birthdates drawn out:

Sydney Morning Herald interview with the author Kristina Olsson:

The next read is the bestselling novel Scrublands by Chris Hammer. The discussion will be held on Wednesday 10th April at 5.30pm. Please RSVP online through or call the Library on 6393 8132. See you then.

Man Booker International

The Man Booker International Prize has revealed the Man Booker Dozen – 13 novels in contention for the 2019 prize, which celebrates the finest works of translated fiction from around the world.

  • Celestial Bodies by Jokha Alharthi, translated by Marilyn Booth
  • Love in the New Millennium buy Can Xue, translated by Annelise Finegan Wasmoen
  • The Years by Annie Emau, translated by Alison L.Strayer
  • At Dusk by Hwant Sok-Yong, translated by Sora Kim-Russell
  • Jokes for the Gunmen by Mazen Maarouf, translated by Jonathan Wright
  • Four Soldiers by Hubert Mingarelli, translated by Sam Taylor
  • The Pine Islands by Marion Poschmann, translated by Jen Calleja
  • Mouthful of Birds by Samanta Schweblin translated by Megan McDowell
  • The Faculty of Dreams by Sara Stridsberg, translated by Deborah Bragan-Turner
  • Drive Your Plow Over The Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk, translated by Antonia Lloyd-Jones
  • The Shape of the Ruins by Juan Gabriel Vasquez, translated by Anne Mclean
  • The Death of Murat Idrissi by Tommy Wieringa, translated by Sam Garrett
  • The Remainder by Alia Trabucco Zeran, translated by Sophie Hughes

The winner of the 2019 prize will be announced on 21 May.

March Read Shell By Kristina Olsson

The Shell

Pageturners next read is Shell by Kristina Olsson on Wednesday 13th March at 5.30pm at Orange City Library.

A big, bold and hauntingly beautiful story that captures a defining moment in Australia’s history.

Everywhere he looked he saw what Utzon saw. The drama of harbour and horizon, and at night, the star-clotted sky. It held the shape of the possible, of a promise made and waiting to be kept …

In 1965 as Danish architect Jørn Utzon’s striking vision for the Sydney Opera House transforms the skyline and unleashes a storm of controversy, the shadow of the Vietnam War and a deadly lottery threaten to tear the country apart.

Journalist Pearl Keogh, exiled to the women’s pages after being photographed at an anti-war protest, is desperate to find her two missing brothers and save them from the draft. Axel Lindquist, a visionary young glass artist from Sweden, is obsessed with creating a unique work that will do justice to Utzon’s towering masterpiece.

In this big, bold and hauntingly beautiful portrait of art and life, Shell captures a world on the brink of seismic change though the eyes of two unforgettable characters caught in the eye of the storm. And reminds us why taking a side matters.
About the author:

 Kristina Olsson is a journalist and the award-winning author of the novels ShellIn One Skin, and The China Garden, and two works of nonfiction, Boy, Lost: A Family Memoir and Kilroy was Here. She lives in Brisbane, Australia.

ABC Radio Interview:




Holiday Reads Wrap

Book Club

Welcome back Pageturners and what a great discussion about so many books! Here is a list of the books we talked about with a little description:

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman – a funny, moving, uplifting tale of love and community that will leave you with a spring in your step.

Michelangelo’s Mountain The Quest for Perfection in the Marble Quarries of Carrara by Eric Scigliano – discover the fascinating, crucial, and often dangerous relationship between Michelangelo and the stone quarries of Carrara in this clear-eyed and well-researched exploration

The Birdsman’s Wife by Melissa Ashley – artist Elizabeth Gould spent her life capturing the sublime beauty of birds the world had never seen before. But her legacy was eclipsed by the fame of her husband, John Gould. The Birdman’s Wife at last gives voice to a passionate and adventurous spirit who was so much more than the woman behind the man.

The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart by Holly Ringland – after her family suffers a tragedy, nine-year-old Alice Hart is forced to leave her idyllic seaside home. She is taken in by her grandmother, June, a flower farmer who raises Alice on the language of Australian native flowers, a way to say the things that are too hard to speak.

 The Land Before Avocado by Richard Glover – a funny and frank look at the way Australia used to be – and just how far we have come.

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris – this story, full of beauty and hope, is based on years of interviews author Heather Morris conducted with real-life Holocaust survivor and Auschwitz-Birkenau tattooist Ludwig (Lale) Sokolov.

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafron – The Shadow of the Wind is a coming-of-age tale of a young boy who, through the magic of a single book, finds a purpose greater than himself and a hero in a man he’s never met.

Kick: The True Story of Kick Kennedy, JFK’s Forgotten Sister and the Heir to Chatsworth by Paula Byrne – the remarkable life of the vivacious, clever – and forgotten – Kennedy sister, who charmed the English aristocracy and was almost erased from her family history.

Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak – Zusak makes his long-awaited return with a profoundly heartfelt and inventive novel about a family held together by stories, and a young life caught in the current: a boy in search of greatness, as a cure for a painful past.

Secrets of a Happy Marriage by Cathy Kelly – any family knows that a special birthday party is the perfect chance to come together, but for the Brannigan clan it’s about more than just raising a glass.

Salvation of a Saint by Keiga Higashino – the stunning thriller from the author of the Japanese 2 million copy bestseller The Devotion of Suspect X. When a man is discovered dead by poisoning in his empty home his beautiful wife, Ayane, immediately falls under suspicion.

The Other Side of Silence by Philip Kerr – when Bernie Gunther takes on a blackmail case and gets involved in the affairs of British spies, the former detective risks exposing his own dark past

Bad Luck and Trouble by Lee Child – in the past the elite team always watched each other’s backs. Now one of them has shown up dead in the California desert and six more are missing. Reacher’s old buddies are in big trouble, and he can’t let that go.

Hawk Quest by Robert Lyndon – a huge, exciting historical adventure epic It’s 1072 AD. The Normans have captured England. The Turks have captured a Norman knight. And in order to free him, a warrior named Vallon must capture four rare hawks.

House Rules by Jodi Picoult – when your son can’t look you in the eye… does that mean he’s guilty?

Infinite Plan by Isabel Allende – a saga of one man’s search for love and his struggle to come to terms with a childhood of poverty and neglect.

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce – when Harold Fry sets out one morning to post a letter to his dying friend Queenie he finds himself at the start of a journey that will have many beginnings, and for which he’s entirely unprepared.

The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin – 1969 in New York City’s Lower East Side, and word has spread of the arrival of a mystical woman, a traveling psychic who claims to be able to tell anyone the day they will die. The Gold children – four adolescents on the cusp of self-awareness – sneak out to hear their fortunes.

The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson – A devious tale of psychological suspense involving sex, deception, and an accidental encounter that leads to murder.

This is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay – welcome to the life of a junior doctor: 97-hour weeks, life and death decisions, a constant tsunami of bodily fluids, and the hospital parking meter earns more than you.

Light and Shadow: Memoirs of a Spy’s Son by Mark Colvin – Mark Colvin was one of Australia’s longest-serving broadcasters. He reveals what it was like to discover his diplomat father was really an MI6 spy. And the reality of covering some of the most dangerous flashpoints of recent history:-

Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier – Remarkable Creatures is the story of Mary Anning, who has a talent for finding fossils, and whose discovery of ancient marine reptiles such as that ichthyosaur shakes the scientific community and leads to new ways of thinking about the creation of the world.

Less by Andrew Sean Greer – a struggling novelist travels the world to avoid an awkward wedding in this hilarious Pulitzer Prize-winning novel full of “arresting lyricism and beauty”.

When Will There will be Good News by Kate Atkinson – in rural Devon, six-year-old Joanna Mason witnesses an appalling crime. Thirty years later the man convicted of the crime is released from prison.

Foal’s Bread by Gillian Mears – set in hardscrabble farming country and around the country show high-jumping circuit that prevailed in rural New South Wales prior to the Second World War, Foal’s Bread tells the story of two generations of the Nancarrow family and their fortunes as dictated by the vicissitudes of the land.

Paula by Isabel Allende – Allende has written a tour de force, a powerful autobiography whose straightforward acceptance of the magical and spiritual worlds will remind readers of her first book, The House of Spirits.

The Hospital by the River A Story of Hope by Catherine Hamlin – the story of the remarkable Australian gynaecologist Dr Catherine Hamlin and her medical work that has transformed the lives of 45,000 Ethiopian women.

The Secret History by Donna Tartt recounts the terrible price we pay for mistakes made on the dark journey to adulthood.

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles – From the New York Times bestselling author of Rules of Civility – a transporting novel about a man who is ordered to spend the rest of his life inside a luxury hotel

Guilded Hour by Sara Donati – from the internationally bestselling author of Into the Wilderness comes a magnificent epic about two pioneering women doctors in 19th-century New York.

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders – a moving and original father-son story featuring none other than Abraham Lincoln, as well as an unforgettable cast of supporting characters, living and dead, historical and invented.

The Lost Man by Jane Harper – a powerful story of suspense, set against a dazzling landscape.

The Year of the Farmer by Rosalie Ham – in a quiet farming town somewhere in country New South Wales, war is brewing. The last few years have been punishingly dry, especially for the farmers, but otherwise, it’s all Neralie Mackintosh’s fault.

Boy Swallows Universe by Trent Dalton – an utterly wonderful novel of love, crime, magic, fate and coming of age, set in Brisbane’s violent working class suburban fringe – from one of Australia’s most exciting new writers.

Next Meetings: 

  • 13th March 2019 Meeting – Shell by Kristina Olsson. Please RSVP via
  • 10th April 2019 Meeting – Scrublands by Chris Hammer


  • Wild West Women Writers Book Tour – Three popular writers from the Central West take to the road to chat about their new novels and share secrets of their writing success: Kelly Rimmer The Things We Cannot Say, Alissa Callen The Round Way and Kim Kelly with Sunshine. Meet all three authors  on Wednesday 27th March at 5.30pm at Orange City Library. Please book your place online through or call the Library on 6393 8132.

Top Ten Fiction Bestseller List

Perfect strangers

Here is the Top Ten Fiction Bestseller List provided by Better Reading:

  1. Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty (Pan Macmillan)
  2. Past Tense by Lee Child (Bantam)
  3. The Lost Man by Jane Harper (Macmillan)
  4. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman (HarperCollins)
  5. Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak (Picador)
  6. The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris (Echo Publishing)
  7. The Binding by Bridget Collins (The Borough Press)
  8. Dark Sacred Night by Michael Connelly (Allen & Unwin)
  9. You by Caroline Kepnes (Simon and Schuster)
  10. Long Road to Mercy by David Baldacci (Macmillan)

© Nielsen BookScan 2019 Week Ending 05/01/19.


Still want more to read? You can also check out the weekly top 10 bestselling non-fiction list and the top 10 bestselling children’s books list on Better Reading.

Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak

Markus Zusak Bridge of Clay 2

Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak

Let me tell you about our brother.
The fourth Dunbar boy named Clay.
Everything happened to him.
We were all of us changed through him.

The Dunbar boys bring each other up in a house run by their own rules. A family of ramshackle tragedy – their mother is dead, their father has fled – they love and fight, and learn to reckon with the adult world.

It is Clay, the quiet one, who will build a bridge; for his family, for his past, for his sins. He builds a bridge to transcend humanness. To survive.

A miracle and nothing less.

Markus Zusak makes his long-awaited return with a profoundly heartfelt and inventive novel about a family held together by stories, and a young life caught in the current: a boy in search of greatness, as a cure for a painful past.

So Bridge of Clay was one of Pageturners’ most liked books for the year – scoring ratings of 3 to 4 ¾ out of five.

There was so much to talk about – the boys, the animals, the classical Greek references, the parents, their childhoods, Penelope’s father, Michael’s first wife, the teacher, Clay’s relationship with Carey, the horse racing, the running, the fighting and of course building the bridge.

Comments included “beautiful, sparse, heart-breaking, lovely once you got the hang of the rhythm, loved it, really liked it, loved the boys, lots of little sentences, short chapters, took awhile to get used to the style, it was hard to get into, most devastated by Carey’s death, I felt like we were given a private discussion about the family, it was everything I could have hoped for and more, she had a message for each of the boys, Clay got her resilience from his mother, the father was weak – he walked out on the boys, it was a bit too repetitive, very autobiographical, very raw and honest, the language – the simplicity of the language, Clay felt he needed to be punished, Penny was a remarkable character, she took a long time to die – that went on too long, there was a lot about fate, everything happens for a reason, there was a lot of love in the family, they were dysfunctional, no – they were just boys, I want to read more about Michelangelo, I read about the Pont Du Gard, I want to read Homer, I re-read the beginning so I could make sense of it, it was a bridge of past and present, the bridge mended the relationship with the boys, I really enjoyed the characters of the animals, I liked the ending – the last line, it will make a great mini-series. But the comment of the evening was this: “once I got into it – it was a lover’s embrace and I didn’t want to leave it.”

For more about Bridge of Clay and Markus Zusak:

Here is an ABC Radio interview:

Here is a Sydney Morning Herald interview:

Next meetings: 

  • 13th February 2019  – first meeting of the New Year – share your holiday reads
  • 13th March 2019  – Shell by Kristina Olsson
  • 10th April 2019  – Classic Read to be announced




Prime Minister’s Literary Awards

Border Districts

Six diverse titles have been recognised at the 2018 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards ceremony.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Minister for Communications and the Arts Mitch Fifield announced the winners at a ceremony at Parliament House today.

From over 500 entries to 30 shortlisted books, 6 titles were recognised as some of Australia’s greatest literature of the year. From this competitive group of entries, the judges selected a diverse and deserving list of finalists and identified outstanding winners.

The 2018 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards winners are:

  • FictionBorder Districts by Gerald Murnane
  • Australian HistoryJohn Curtin’s War: The coming of war in the Pacific, and, reinventing Australia, volume 1 by John Edwards
  • Young Adult LiteratureThis is My Song by Richard Yaxley
  • Children’s LiteraturePea Pod Lullaby by Glenda Millard and illustrated by Stephen Michael King
  • Poetry – Blindness and Rage: A Phantasmagoria by Brian Castro
  • Non-fictionAsia’s Reckoning: The struggle for global dominance by Richard McGregor

The Australian history and non-fiction books “reflect the diversity of Australia and tell our story in remarkable ways. The books really show Australia’s place in the world and place Australian history in a global context,” said Professor Lynette Russell, Chair of the Non-fiction and Australian History judging panel.

The children’s and young adults categories engage with “issues that profoundly affect humanity… there’s a  variety of ideas, of narrative techniques, of illustration techniques, which makes them very, very different, but all equally interesting,” said Margot Hillel, Chair of the Young Adult and Children’s Literature judging panel.

Now in its eleventh year, the Awards celebrate Australian literary excellence and recognise our talented authors, illustrators and historians.


Pageturners on Warlight

Biography 1 (Small)

Hi there, here is the blog post that went astray about Warlight:

A mesmerising new novel Warlight tells a dramatic story set in the decade after World War II through the lives of a small group of unexpected characters and two teenagers whose lives are indelibly shaped by their unwitting involvement.

Pageturners rated the book Warlight by Michael Ondaatje from 2 to 4 ¾ out of a score of five.

It’s an interesting book that starts with two teenage children being brought up by criminals and had pageturners discussing writing style, structure, plot twists and turns and some unresolved issues.

Comments included “liked the puzzles, lovely writing, thought the husband had done her in, the second part were flashcards of memory, the reader was drip fed, where nothing was what it seemed, loved it, love how he writes,well crafted, well constructed, didn’t like it at all, the plot had holes, didn’t like the writing, nothing was resolved, intricate plot, husband was a shadowy figure, some of the characters were shadowy, it was murky, foggy and dim like warlight, too confusing, used nicknames, he was reflecting on life, mother was a strategic thinker, she was a flawed hero.”


December Read: Bridge of Clay

Markus Zusak

The December discussion will be held on Wednesday 12 December at 5.30pm to talk about the latest work by Markus Zusak Bridge of Clay.

Let me tell you about our brother.
The fourth Dunbar boy named Clay.
Everything happened to him.
We were all of us changed through him.

The Dunbar boys bring each other up in a house run by their own rules. A family of ramshackle tragedy – their mother is dead, their father has fled – they love and fight, and learn to reckon with the adult world.

It is Clay, the quiet one, who will build a bridge; for his family, for his past, for his sins. He builds a bridge to transcend humanness. To survive.

A miracle and nothing less.

Markus Zusak makes his long-awaited return with a profoundly heartfelt and inventive novel about a family held together by stories, and a young life caught in the current: a boy in search of greatness, as a cure for a painful past.

He is the bestselling author of six novels, including The Book Thief and The Messenger. His books have been translated into more than forty languages, to both popular and critical acclaim. He lives in Sydney with his wife and two children.

 RSVP Reminder

Letting us know you are coming along helps with our planning and putting out chairs and catering. If you are able to access the internet, please go online to eventbrite (you can also access it via the events button on the front page of the website) and book your place, if you are unable to access the internet please phone Jasmine directly on 6393 8125. And if you prefer to email please use Thank you.