The staff at the Library have nominated these books as some of  their favourite reads for 2014.  

"The Goldfinch" by Donna Tartt

A young boy in New York City, Theo Decker, miraculously survives an accident that takes the life of his mother. Alone and abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by a friend's family and struggles to make sense of his new life. In the years that follow, he becomes entranced by one of the few things that reminds him of his mother: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the art underworld. Composed with the skills of a master, The Goldfinch is a haunted odyssey through present-day America, and a drama of almost unbearable acuity and power.

 

"Sweet Tooth" by Ian McEwan

Set in Britain, 1972. Serena Frome, a bishop's daughter now turned spy, is sent on a secret mission to charm Tom Haley, a promising young writer. First she loves his stories, then she begins to love the man. Can she maintain the fiction of her undercover life? 

"The Curious Incident of the Dog in Nighttime" by Mark Haddon

Christopher, stands beside Mrs Shears' dead dog. It has been speared with a garden fork, it is seven minutes after midnight, and Christopher is under suspicion. He records each fact in the book he is writing to solve the mystery of who murdered Wellington.

"The Narrow Road to the Deep North" by Richard Flanagan. 

What would you do if you saw the love of your life, whom you thought dead for a quarter of a century, walking towards you? Richard Flanagan's story, of Dorrigo Evans, an Australian doctor haunted by a love affair with his uncle's wife, journeys from the caves of Tasmanian trappers in the early twentieth century to a crumbling pre-war beachside hotel; from a Thai jungle prison to a Japanese snow festival; from the Changi gallows to a chance meeting of lovers on the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Taking its title from 17th-century haiku poet Basho's travel journal, The Narrow Road To The Deep North is about the impossibility of love. At its heart is one day in a Japanese slave labour camp in August 1943. As the day builds to its horrific climax, Dorrigo Evans battles and fails in his quest to save the lives of his fellow POWs, a man is killed for no reason, and a love story unfolds.

"& Sons" by David Gilbert

A famous reclusive writer and his three sons find their bond tested by the weight of long-held secrets and a cumbersome legacy shaped by boarding school, Hollywood, and the elite circles of the publishing world.

"The Magic of Reality" by Richard Dawkins

Packed with clever thought experiments, dazzling illustrations and jaw-dropping facts, The Magic of Reality explains a stunningly wide range of natural phenomena. What is stuff made of? How old is the universe? Why do the continents look like disconnected pieces of a puzzle? What causes tsunamis? Why are there so many kinds of plants and animals? Who was the first man, or woman? This is a page-turning, graphic detective story that not only mines all the sciences for its clues but primes the reader to think like a scientist as well.

"The Paying Guests" by Sarah Waters

It is 1922, and London is tense. Ex-servicemen are disillusioned, the out-of-work and the hungry are demanding change. And in South London, in a genteel Camberwell villa, a large silent house now bereft of brothers, husband and even servants, life is about to be transformed, as impoverished widow Mrs Wray and her spinster daughter Frances are obliged to take in lodgers. 

"Mullumbimby" by Melissa Lucashenko

When Jo Breen uses her divorce settlement to buy a neglected property in the Byron Bay hinterland, she is hoping for a tree change, and a blossoming connection to the land of her Aboriginal ancestors. What she discovers instead is sharp dissent from her teenage daughter, trouble brewing from unimpressed white neighbours and a looming Native Title war between the local Bundjalung families. When Jo unexpectedly finds love on one side of the Native Title divide she quickly learns that living on country is only part of the recipe for the Good Life.

"The Long Way Home" by Louise Penny

At first enjoying a peaceful retirement, former Quebec homicide detective Armand Gamache reluctantly agrees to help a neighbour search for her missing estranged husband and teams up with two former colleagues on a search that reveals the workings of a psychologically damaged mind.

"When Fraser Met Billy" by Louise Booth

Billy the cat was rescued from an abandoned house. Fraser was a two-year-old autistic child with a multitude of problems when he first met Billy at the cat protection shelter. Billy purred, laid his paws across Fraser and they have been inseparable ever since. Slowly but surely Billy has transformed Fraser's life.

"Missing Christopher" by Jane Newling

Christopher was 17 and he had everything to live for. He was smart, charismatic, loving, and deeply loved, and a champion rugby player. Yet behind the veneer of a popular and confident athlete he was struggling. Diagnosed a year earlier with depression and severe anxiety, he hid his fears from family and friends. Finally, Christopher chose to stop fighting... This is the story of Christopher's shocking death and its tragic aftermath for the family. It is also the story of a mother and father's love, and their determination not to lose another son to the temptation of taking his own life. Honest, raw, and deeply moving, Jayne's account brings to life the visceral experience of grief and the long, painful journey towards finding meaning in life again...This is compelling and inspirational reading for anyone affected by the death of a young person.

"The Skeleton Cupboard" by Tanya Byron

The Skeleton Cupboard is Professor Tanya Byron's account of her years of training as a clinical psychologist, when trainees find themselves in the toughest placements of their careers. Through the eyes of her naive and inexperienced younger self, Tanya shares remarkable stories inspired by the people she had the privilege to treat. Gripping, poignant and full of daring black humour, this book reveals the frightening and challenging induction faced by all mental health staff and highlights their incredible commitment to their patients. Powerfully moving and beautifully written, The Skeleton Cupboard shares the tales of ordinary people with an amazing resilience to the challenges of life. 

"This House of Grief" by Helen Garner

On the evening of 4 September 2005, Robert Farquharson, a separated husband, was driving his three sons home to their mother when his car plunged into a dam. The boys, aged ten, seven, and two, drowned. Was this an act of deliberate revenge or a tragic accident? The court case became Helen Garner's obsession. She was in the courtroom every day of Farquharson's trial and subsequent retrial, along with countless journalists and the families of both the accused and his former wife.

"The Black Prism" by Brent Weeks

Gavin Guile is the Prism, the most powerful man in the world. He is high priest and emperor, a man whose power, wit, and charm are all that preserves a tenuous peace. But Prisms never last, and Guile knows exactly how long he has left to live: Five years to achieve five impossible goals. 
But when Guile discovers he has a son, born in a far kingdom after the war that put him in power, he must decide how much he's willing to pay to protect a secret that could tear his world apart.


"The Maze Runner" by Branden Sanderson

When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his name. He’s surrounded by strangers—boys whose memories are also gone.
Outside the towering stone walls that surround the Glade is a limitless, ever-changing maze. It’s the only way out—and no one’s ever made it through alive.
Then a girl arrives. The first girl ever. And the message she delivers is terrifying.

"Nora Webster" by Colm Toibin

Set in Wexford, Ireland, Colm Tóibín's superb seventh novel introduces the formidable, memorable and deeply moving Nora Webster. Widowed at forty with four children and not enough money, Nora has lost the love of her life, Maurice, the man who rescued her from the stifling world to which she was born. And now she fears she may be drawn back into it. Wounded, strong-willed, clinging to secrecy in a tiny community where everyone knows your business, Nora is drowning in her own sorrow and blind to the suffering of her young sons, who have lost their father. Yet she has moments of stunning empathy and kindness, and when she begins to sing again and after decades, she finds solace, engagement, a haven - herself.

"Eyrie" by Tim Winton.

Eyrie tells the story of Tom Keely, a man who's lost his bearings in middle age and is now holed up in a flat at the top of a grim highrise, looking down on the world he's fallen out of love with. He's cut himself off, until one day he runs into some neighbours: a woman he used to know when they were kids, and her introverted young boy. The encounter shakes him up in a way that he doesn't understand. Despite himself, Keely lets them in. What follows is a heart-stopping, groundbreaking novel for our times, funny, confronting, exhilarating and haunting, populated by unforgettable characters.

"Big Little Lies" by Liane Moriarty

Follows three mothers, each at a crossroads, and their potential involvement in a riot at a school trivia night that leaves one parent dead in what appears to be a tragic accident, but which evidence shows might have been premeditated.

"A Universe From Nothing" by Lawrence Krauss. 

Where did the Universe come from? What was there before it? What will the future bring? And finally, why is there something rather than nothing? 

In a cosmological story that rivets as it enlightens, pioneering theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss explains the groundbreaking new scientific advances that turn the most basic philosophical questions on their heads. One of the few prominent scientists today to have actively crossed the chasm between science and popular culture, Krauss reveals that modern science is addressing the question of why there is something rather than nothing, with surprising and fascinating results. 

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