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Our opening hours will be changing between Tuesday 24 December 2019 and Wednesday 1 January 2020. All reading rooms will be closed from Christmas Day, reopening on 2 January. But you’ll still be able to visit our Exhibition Galleries, our children’s holiday space, WordPlay, and Bookshop from 9am-5pm (except on Christmas Day). Bookplate café will also be open during this period, but with varied hours. Be sure to check our Summer Opening Hours before you visit.
Winter is officially upon us! It’s the best time of year to dive into a good book, preferably while snuggled up in a doona with a hot mug of coffee. If you are looking for your next book to get lost in, we have you covered.
May 20-26 2019 was Library and Information Week, which recognises and celebrates the way libraries and library staff support the community. As a part of Library and Information Week, I asked my colleagues at the National Library for recommendations of Australian books that are near and dear to their hearts, and they responded with enthusiasm. Their picks ranged from Australian genre fiction to autobiographies, much-loved children’s books to poetry collections.
These recommendations were turned into a beautiful display of books in our Main Reading Room. Even though Library and Information Week is over and the display has been taken down, we wanted to share our librarian’s recommendations with you. So without further ado…
Penguin Bloom by Cameron Bloom and Bradley Trevor Grieve.
Recommended by Vanessa.
“The Bloom family’s inspiring account of overcoming adversity expressed through beautiful photography and prose. The addition of an unconventional but special new family member Penguin Bloom, adds another dimension to life, at times mirroring the challenges and triumphs experienced. One for all ages.”
Stella: Star of the sea by Marie-Louise Gay.
Recommended by Helen.
“I read lots of books to my children when they were young, but I always looked out for ones about little girls with red hair (because that is the colour of my daughter's hair!). This was a favourite with her, with a lovely story and beautiful pictures and a feisty little girl who has an answer for everything her little brother asks.”
The Arsonist: A mind on fire by Chloe Hooper.
Recommended by Ruby.
“A beautifully written non-fiction book on the Black Saturday fires and the subsequent court case. Hooper was able to effectively capture the thoughts and experiences of those involved. Having grown up in the bush during the drought, this book captured my fear of fires and the unsettling reality we have with the Australian landscape.”
Playing Beatie Bow by Ruth Park.
Recommended by Michela.
“An Australian tale of time travel and history, brilliantly told through the coming of age of the lead character Abigail Kirk - a story to delight adults and children alike.”
Obernewtyn by Isobelle Carmody.
Recommended by Sarah.
“I first read Obernewtyn as a teenager, whilst home recovering from having my wisdoms removed. Though I was in something of a haze at the time, I fell in love with its compelling yet flawed characters and clever world-building. Yes, dystopian coming-of-age stories are often as heavy-handed as they are pervasive... but this is a very good one. And it's Australian genre fiction, which rarely receives the attention it deserves.”
Drawn from Life by Stella Bowen.
Recommended by Heather G.
“I love this one. It's a very straight forward autobiography written by the Australian ex-pat artist Stella Bowen. There isn't anything fancy about it but it is a vivid description of her life. Her writing paints a great picture of her life, like her paintings, that isn't fussy but very accessible and intriguing, you want to know more about this woman and her story.”
My Place by Sally Morgan.
Recommended by Jack.
“An Australian Classic. Sally Morgan masterfully recounts her childhood using a sophisticated yet simple style to draw attention to the difficulties her family faced and to the racism directed towards them. Her story also reflects on the importance, and difficulty, of researching family history and highlights how crucial these connections are in developing our identity.”
The Broken Shore by Peter Temple.
Recommended by Heather C.
“Prior to discovering Peter Temple, reading crime fiction felt a little like a guilty pleasure. But he writes so beautifully and uses the idiosyncrasies of Australian English so effectively, I can't speak more highly of him as an Australian author. This is my favourite.”
Here is the full list of our librarian-recommended reads:
While curling up with a good book in the comfort of your own home is wonderful, all of our selections are also available to read here at the National Library! So get yourself a library card and escape the winter’s chill in our cosy Reading Rooms.