The Waverley Library Award for Literature, established in 2002, is entitled 'the Nib'. Organised and financed by Waverley Council, it is managed by Waverley Library, with the support of a committee, and a number of community establishments, including Friends of Waverley Library, Gertrude & Alice Bookshop, and local RSL Clubs. The Nib promotes research-based Australian literature, with a generous prize of $20,000. Definitely the best book I have read this year, is one of the finalists for the 2017 Nib Award. It's The Phoenix Years : Art, Resistance and the Making of Modern China by Madeleine O'Dea. Foreign correspondent Madeleine O'Dea has been an eyewitness for over thirty years to the economic success of China, the ongoing struggle for human rights and free expression there, and the rise of its contemporary art and cultural scene. Her book, The Phoenix Years is vital reading for anyone interested in China today.


I joined WANA tribe, after having read a book entitled: Rise of the Machines: Human Authors in a Digital World by American writer and blogger, Kristen Lamb. I'd recommend it to anyone trying to understand the world of social media and blogging. It's a first step into learning how to increase traffic to your site. [caption id="attachment_11422" align="alignnone" width="640"]waiting-for-food Pelicans at The Entrance, Central Coast of NSW[/caption] The online Book on Social Media and Blogging that led me to better my social media skills and improve my blogging: kristen-lamb-book
Kristen says in explaining the concept of WANA tribe:
WANA stands for We Are Not Alone, and began as the title of my #1 best-selling social media book. I named the book, We Are Not Alone—The Writers’ Guide to Social Media, because I saw that social media was a game-changer for creative professionals, if only they could let loose of fear and understand that we don’t have to change our personalities to be successful. Social media isn’t about spamming people for free on ten different sites; it is about community and connection.


WANA Tribe is a place where creative people can be themselves and connect with other artists. Form critique groups, discussions, post your art, network, or just sit back and be inspired. No matter where you turn on WANA Tribe you will find passion and imagination and people who understand you. Why? Because they are just like you.  
We Are Not Alone! Wanna join?
This book helped me understand and start to use  social media a lot better. We writers are often technically challenged, so thanks must go to Kristen.  Actually, I need lots more help in  reality...
Trying to set up a self-hosted website nearly made me consider giving up entirely, but I'm proud to say I didn't, and I achieved my goal, after a lot of time spent asking for help. I'm still struggling with being able to use Hootsuite, but am determined to get there.

“My Brilliant Friend” by Elena Ferrante,  is a brilliant read, if somewhat elusive at the start. This mirrors the enigmatic aspect of the novelist herself: Who is she? Is part of the draw-card the setting in Naples, that boisterous and "dangerous" city to the south of Rome? Many English speaking readers of these books, have been raving about them. Others have been wondering what all the hype is about. I must admit I was put off, at first glance, by the long list of characters at the beginning of the novel. It reminded me of a Shakespearean play. Ten  groups,  mainly family ones, contain nearly fifty characters, including their names and their roles. I only read the list after I finished reading the book. I preferred to let the narrator introduce the characters bit by bit, during the unfolding of events. Then I soon became entranced and pulled along by the characters, especially the two women. my-brilliant-friend

Meet the Author, HELEN O’NEILL, in conversation with Suzanne Leal Thursday 21 April  2016  6.30-8pm Waverley Library

I attended an interesting conversation in 2016 at the Waverley Library, Bondi Junction, Sydney, between Susanne Leal, journalist and author, and Helen O’Neill, whose recently published book, Daffodil: Biography of a Flower”  was a contender for the 2016 Waverley Library Nib Award. This was the fifteenth anniversary of this generous competition, in which judges select a winning entry based on literary merit and evidence of in-depth research. Helen started out by recounting a short personal biography, telling of a rather uprooted childhood in the UK, travelling around because of her father’s work, until the family settled, when she was thirteen, in Southern England: “In Midsomer Murders” territory”. Helen spoke with passion about her subject, an interest and love originally inspired by her mother’s growing daffodil obsession; the latter was surprised to win silver cups for her specimens three years in a row. She then started sketching the flowers from her garden, showing the different colours and shapes and sizes of each one, prompted by a desire to understand more about the flower, its propagation and its background.

My Year with Sammy by Libby Sommer

Have you ever had, or known, or heard tell of a child who was amazing, beautiful, special, and ... difficult? Not just difficult, but impossible? Impossible to discipline, impossible to educate, impossible to fit in ... tearing her families apart ... yet unable to be slotted into any medico/psychological framework? And she was the most amazing, beautiful, gifted child that ever walked the face of the earth?  That was  Sammy. If so, I'm sure you'll want to read Libby Sommer's novel, "My Year with Sammy". It's just been published by a small publishing firm, Ginnindera Press, in Australia, but can also be bought as an e-book from Amazon.

"Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way (Leo Tolstoy 1878)
Tolstoy's Impact
Tolstoy is a philosopher/narrator within his novel Anna Karenina.  He invites the reader to philosophize about happiness, as they read the doings, the thoughts and the feelings of his characters. The Oblonsky family's happiness  is destroyed by adultery and financial problems; the Kareninas' reputation is ruined by scandal; and even Levin’s happy marriage suffers from jealousy and ongoing arguments. “Love at first sight” is still popular in romance novels of our own time, as it was in Tolstoy's time.  Vronsky and Anna are immediately attracted one to the other. However, the narrator, as well as utilising traditional symptoms—red lips and shining eyes—adds a mystical and philosophical dimension to the lovers' first meeting. 

Double Madness by Caroline de Costa

Published by Margaret River Press, 2015

 If you like detective stories and a rollicking good read, with a nice dose of voyeurism thrown in, this first novel by Caroline de Costa, is definitely for you. “Double Madness” is a crime novel set in far North Queensland. Not surprisingly, place is a very strong element throughout the novel, reflecting the beauty of this humid, lush area full of spectacular scenery. A woman’s body is discovered tied to a tree with expensive silk scarves in the rainforest, several weeks after cyclone Yasi has devastated the region. It’s a mystery as to who the woman is and how she died. The main criminal investigation that follows is led by attractive indigenous detective, Cass Diamond, supported by her boss, Leslie Ferrando and other crime fighters. the-cover-of-double-madnessThe theme of doctors being blackmailed enters in the second chapter, suggesting a motive for the woman’s murder, and the narrator is careful to portray the missing husband of Odile Janvier as probably not capable of carrying it out. The irony and subtle humour underlying this novel is apparent early on through the author’s choice of names. The Latino names (Borgese and Ferrando) echo those of well-known male detectives in other novels, but the shining designation of “Cass Diamond” to the young female detective breaks the mould, as does the murdered woman’s name, “Odile Janvier”, that seems to suit her perfectly. Straight, unisex Aussie names (Chris, Tim, Troy) offer an ironic contrast to the more exotic ones. There is also a subtle pairing and doubling of names, underscoring the theme of the book’s title, and emphasising difference, as well as Australia’s multicultural mix.