In this meeting, the Sydney Mechanics School of Arts Library's Crime and Mystery Book Club focused on crime novels with a connection to coffee, tea or bonnox. This resulted in a wide range of books and authors read. See below for the list:
The Crime and Mystery Book Club of the Sydney Mechanics School of Arts Library read Australian crime novels published in the last 50 years. In addition, a couple of true crimes were highlighted. The first was the Wanda Beach murders of two 15 year old girls in 1965, and the story of John Friedrich, the architect of Australia's biggest fraud case. Here are the Australian books we recommend:
Prime Cut; Getting Warmer by Alan Carter
The Murder Book, Rats and Mice by Stuart Littlemore
Crimson Lake; Eden; Hades; Fall by Candice Fox
This meeting at the Crime and Mystery Book Club we had the random theme of crime novels written by an author, whose name started with a T. It was a very eclectic selection. Our book club is part of the Sydney Mechanics School of Arts Library in Pitt Street in the middle of Sydney. Here is what we read:
A Shilling for Candles; The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey
The Scandalous Life of Sasha Torte Hotel Du Barry by Lesley Truffle
Truth; Bad Debts by Peter Temple
In this meeting of the Sydney Mechanics School of Arts Library Crime and Mystery Book Club, we discussed crime novels set in the geographical area of the Ottoman Empire. A wide range of books were recommended. Here they are:
A Chemical Prison; A Noble Killing by Barbara Nadel
The Sultan Seal; The Abyssinian Proof by Jenny White
It was a long holiday break and much was read by the Sydney Mechanics School of Arts Library Crime and Mystery Book Club. Here they are:
The Cuckoo's Calling; The Casual Vacancy by Robert Galbraith
The Bloody Meadow; The 12th Department; The Holy Thief by William Ryan
For the last Sydney Mechanics School of Arts Library crime and mystery book club meeting of 2016, we talked about our favourite books we had read in the last 12 months. Here they are in no particular order:
Slaughtered Park; The Marx Sisters by Barry Maitland
Looking for a mystery novel that you want to read that was published the year of, or within a year or two of your 21st birthday is harder than you think. The result from the Sydney Mechanic School of Arts Crime and Mystery Book Club meeting was eclectic. Here they are:
Third Girl; Dead Man's Folly by Agatha Christie
The Moon Spinners; The Ivy Tree by Mary Stewart
Here are the recommendations of crime books featuring cold cases from the Sydney Mechanics School of Arts Library Mystery Book Club. Enjoy.
The Absent One; The Redemption; Mercy by Jussi Adler-Oslen
At this meeting of the Sydney Mechanics School of Arts Crime and Mystery Book Club we focused on novels involving bureaucracy. This resulted in books from all over the world and set in different eras. Here they are in no particular order.
At the Sydney Mechanics Schoolsof Arts Library, the focus this Crime and Mystery Book Club meeting was crime novels set in Eastern Europe. This is what was read, although not all would be recommended, mainly the novels by Marek Mrajewski, which were read by two of us and each found them too violent, full of unpleasant people and thetreatment of female characters left a lot to be desired.
Phantoms of Breslau; Death in Breslau by Marek Mrajewski
In this session of the Sydney Mechanics School of Arts Library's Crime and Mystery Book Club, we read books featuring a protagonist who is over 60 years old. Here is the diverse list of suggestions:
Murder Once Done by Mary Lou Bennett
In this meeting we read books that had been published as a green Penguin. The original idea, according to wikipedia, was established by Penguin Books, a British publishing house that was established in 1935 that sold inexpensive paperbacks through high street stores.
"From the outset, design was essential to the success of the Penguin brand. Eschewing the illustrated gaudiness of other paperback publishers, Penguin opted for the simple appearance of three horizontal bands, the upper and lower of which were colour-coded according to which series the title belonged to; this is sometimes referred to as the horizontal grid. In the central white panel, the author and title were printed in Gill Sans and in the upper band was a cartouche with the legend "Penguin Books". The initial design was created by the then 21-year-old office junior Edward Young, who also drew the first version of the Penguin logo. Series such as Penguin Specials and The Penguin Shakespeare had individual designs (by 1937 only S1 and B1-B18 had been published).
The colour schemes included: orange and white for general fiction, green and white for crime fiction, cerise and white for travel and adventure, dark blue and white for biographies, yellow and white for miscellaneous, red and white for drama; and the rarer purple and white for essays and belles lettres and grey and white for world affairs. Lane actively resisted the introduction of cover images for several years. Some recent publications of literature from that time have duplicated the original look."
What a great design and marketing idea that has been fabulously executed and has been renewed throughout the years. This meant that the Sydney Mechanics School of Arts Library's Crime and Mystery Book Club members had a plethora of books to choose from to read. For the latest list you can go here to Penguin Australia. Here is a list of what was read by the group.
In our latest Sydney Mechanics School of Arts Library Crime and Mystery Book Club, we discussed books that had been adapted for television and film. Some were done well and some we not, and of course, some were better in the written form and some actually were improved on screen. Here are our recommendations:
A Morbid Taste for Bones by Ellis Peters
This is the first book in the Cadfael series and was made into a British TV series starring Derek Jacobi.
Death of a Gossip by M.C. Beaton
This is the first book in the Hamish McBeath series and was made into a British TV series starring Robert Carlyle.
Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
This is the first book in the Swedish trilogy was made into a nine hour miniseries for Swedish television that was reedited into three theatrical movies that did very well internationally. This book was also made into an English speaking film with American and English actors. I personally preferred the Swedish version because it holds truer to the Lisbeth character.
The Remorseful Day by Colin Dexter
The Remorseful Day is the last Inspector Morse, and of course Inspector Morse was a long running British TV series starring John Thaw and inspired two spin offs. Lewis, about his sidekick Sargent Lewis, and a prequel - Endeavour, about a young Morse set in the 1960s.
Wire In The Blood by Val McDermid
Wire In The Blood is the book the TV series is named after is the first in the Tony Hill/Carol Jordan series.
Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith
Child 44 was made into a movie starring Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman and Noomi Rapace in 2015
Runaway Jury by John Grisham
This is Grisham's seventh novel, but was only the ninth one to be made into a movie starring Dustin Hoffman, Gene Hackman, John Cusack and Rachel Weisz
The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith
This series of books from Alexander McCall Smith was made into a US TV series in 2009.
Sidney Chambers and The Shadow of Death by James Runcie
This collection of short stories have been made into a UK TV series called Grantchester after the town Sidney lives in.
L.A. Confidential by James Ellroy
Ellroy's third novel in the LA Quartet was made into a very successful film in 2008.
Agatha Raisin and The Quiche of Death by M.C. Beaton
Another series from M.C. Beaton made into an UK TV show.
Frosted Christmas by R.D. Wingfield
Frosted Christmas is the very first DI Frost novel. The UK TV series, A Touch of Frost, starred David Jason. It was very popular and ran for a long time.
Sidetracked by Henning Mankell
OK, this series of books about Swedish detective Kurt Wallander has been made into a very long running TV series called Wallander in Sweden starring Krister Henriksson from 2005 to 2013. It was made again in English, by the British, starring Kenneth Branagh.
Standing In Another Man's Grave by Ian Rankin
Rankin's very popular character Inspector Rebus has been brought to TV by two actors, Ken Stott and John Hannah. Both great actors, but very different approaches to character.
The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett
What can I say? It is a classic in both mediums. Read it and watch the movie.
Meet Inspector Banks by Peter Robinson
Inspector Banks was brought to British TV in the last few years. The next series is due out this year.
The Night Manager by John Le Carre
Other John Le Carre's novels have been dramatised, most notably the Smiley books. However, this recent British TV miniseries is a very slick and sexy take on a later novel from Le Carre.
The Turn of the Screw by Henry James
Originally published in 1898, this gothic novel was made into an opera by Benjamin Britten, a ballet by Will Tucket, a play (The Innocents) by Harold Pinter, five feature films (some non-English speaking), over 10 TV movies (again some non-English speaking), and it has also heavily influenced other novels.
Laura by Vera Caspary
This 1942 novel was made into a classic film in 1944 (yes another one) by Otto Preminger starring Gene Tierney and Dana Andrews.
Gorky Park by Martin Cruz Smith
Made into a film by Michael Apted in 1983 starring William Hurt, Gorky Park by Martin Cruz Smith was written in 1981 and was the first book in his series set in Soviet Russia.
Before I go to Sleep by S.J. Watson
This is a debut novel by S.J. Watson that was published in 2011 and made into a film starring Nicole Kidman in 2014.
Here are the mystery books that use poison as the weapon from this month's meeting. Thanks to the Sydney Mechanics School of Arts Library Crime Book Club for this list:
Unfortunately I only managed to get to three talks at this year's Sydney Writers Festival, which boasted over 300 events with many local and international authors and writers. You can check out some of this year's events here on their youtube channel. My final event was Murder in the Making, which was a discussion between Australian fiction and true crime authors about why they decided to write about crime and murder.
The authors involved were Emily Maguire, who not only writes crime fiction but also pens essays and articles on sex, religion and culture; Anna Westbrook, who has just written her debut crime novel; and true crime writer and academic, Alecia Simmonds. The facilitator was Dr Alyce McGovern, a Senior Lecturer in Criminology in the School of Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at UNSW Australia.
It was a great discussion that felt like an extension of Gloria Steinem's writing about violence in the home and concepts of masculinity (especially in Australia). These very smart women spoke about the mainstream narrative around victims, such as who 'qualifies' to be a victim; the levels of description around the violence of the crime being written about; and the defining scilence around the fact that there is one woman killed every week in Australia.
It is wonderful to see that there are Australian authors (especially women) are writing within the crime genre and challenging the tropes around victims, white male protagonists' and descriptions of violence.
The original conversation between Gloria Steinem and Australian writer and journalist, Caroline Overington, was sold out pretty quickly and the Sydney Writers Festival very sensibly put on another event yesterday at the Town Hall. Taking her recently published memoir, Life on the Road, Steinem delved into what drivers her as a writer, activist and feminist.
Many things have been written about Steinem and by Steinem. So instead of interpreting over 60 years of life and thoughtm I recommend reading and listening toher yourself, with no intermediary. Click her to see her recent interview with the Australian Broadcast Corporation
It is that time of year again in Sydney, the weather turns cold and the writers and readers come out of the woodwork for a week of celebrating the written word. This year's festival started last Saturday, 14 May and will run until this Sunday 22 May. I have only managed to get to to a session yesterday, and was lucky enough to get a ticket for the panel discussion about World War II in Fiction.
The discussion was facilitated by ABC interviewer Michaela Kalowski and involved Nir Baram, an Israeli author, Leah Kaminsky, an Australian writer who's latest book focuses on the impact of the Holocaust on subsequent generations, and Irish author John Boyne, who wrote The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. Obviously the gargantuan topic that is World War II honed in on the Holocaust and how each author decided to write about this subject, how they approached it and how they dealt with the impact on their lives.
It was a fascinating conversation that kept coming back to the authors agreeing on being loyal to the story rather than loyal to history. Not that they advocated throwing away historical fact, but that the role of the author is to create a story that runs true to the world created not to the official historical narrative we are told. To set a novel in a place and time in the past only works if it reflects on the issues of today. Each of the novels discussed does this, whether it is a story of a how someone can thrive in a fascists regime, the generational impact of genocide or a child's perspective of war. What is undeniable is thtat each writer ensured that their protagnosts are well rounded human beings that make decisions to survive. No one is a hero or a villan but a person like you and me.
It was a great way to start the weekend.
This month, the Sydney Mechanics School of Arts Crime and Mystery Book Club read novels set in or connected to Central or South America. Here are our recommendations:
This month the Sydney Mechanics School of Arts' Crime and Mystery Book Club focused on crime books connected to an island. Here are our recommendations:
This month the theme was cold or hot and that gave the Crime & Mystery Book Club members at the Sydney Mechanic School of Arts' library a wide range of possibilities. This is what we read:
Hope you enjoy our recommendations.