Some Assembly Required.

Book Review By Ali Kim.

Seventeen-year-old Arin Andrews shares all the hilarious, painful, and poignant details of undergoing gender reassignment as a high school student in this winning first-of-its-kind memoir.

Arin Andrews details the journey that led him to make the life-transforming decision to undergo gender reassignment as a high school junior. In his captivatingly witty, honest voice, Arin reveals the challenges he faced as a boy in a girl’s body, the humiliation and anger he felt after getting kicked out of his private school, and all the changes—both mental and physical—he experienced once his transition began.

Some Assembly Required is a true coming-of-age story about knocking down obstacles and embracing family, friendship, and first love. But more than that, it is a reminder that self-acceptance does not come ready-made with a manual and spare parts. Rather, some assembly is always required.

This book is available for loan from Lithgow Library Learning Centre.


Feline Friends

Feline Friends – Tales from the heart

Feline Friends – Tales from the heart

Written by: Cat Protection Society of NSW

Reviewed by: Sue Millmore

‘Feline Friends – Tales from the heart’ is a collection of short stories of various lengths from cat owners of all ages, such as 9 year old Harry and 11 year old Zoe. Many of the stories feature cats from the Cat Protection Society who operate a “No Kill” shelter in Newtown, Sydney.

The stories are engrossing and touch the heart. It is well known that cats often choose their owners and the stories reflect this. Despite being badly treated by life and humans, somehow cats of all ages endear themselves to that special person who will look after them for the rest of their lives.

The book is beautifully illustrated with photos of cats and kittens with an amazing array of colours and markings.

A great read – anyone who has owned a cat will identify with many of the tales and find themselves moved by the love that exists between cats and owners.

Feline Friends


The Cave, a talking book by Kate Mosse and narrated by Gordon Griffin. Reviewed by Liz Peters

A wonderfully haunting and suspenseful story with an inexplicable twist, that is set in the mountains near the town of Axat in the South –West of France in 1928 and1328.

A young English man, Freddie Smith, whom lost his brother in the Great War is on a motoring holiday, and whilst driving through a terrible storm has a near tragic car accident.

Whilst he is recuperating at a boarding house in the nearby village Axat, Freddie meets with a young lady he presumes is another guest at the boarding house, called Marie, they talk the night away in the sitting room, where she tells Freddie how the region has been ripped apart by wars of religion in the 14th century.  Upon his waking Marie has vanished.

Freddie must stay in town whilst his car is fixed, so to pass the time searches for Marie and walks the mountains in his quest to find the truth and Marie.

The Cave

Evolutions Achilles Heel

Evolution’s Achilles’ Heels

Book Review by Robert Lindsay

Evolution’s  Achilles’ Heels

Have you ever wondered about the origins of everything? Contrary to the commonly accepted ruling paradigm of evolution by chance through naturalistic processes over billions of years, nine PhD scientists present convincing evidence for special creation as a viable and even logical alternative. The chapters are authored by well qualified scientists, most of whom once embraced evolutionary dogma. Each of them eventually realised the inconsistencies in this theory. This book shows how the perceived strengths of evolutionary theory are actually weak points or “Achilles’ heels.” Learn how natural selection, the fossil record, the origin of life, cosmology, genetics, radiometric dating, the geologic record and morality and ethics can be explained within a framework of a young creation by a transcendent God. If you have never taken the time to examine the evidence from a creationist perspective, this book could change your life. Could mainstream evolutionary science be wrong? This is your opportunity to decide on what is perhaps life’s most important question.

This book is available for loan from Lithgow Library and Learning Centre


Evolutions Achilles Heel

“The Mandala of Sherlock Holmes” by Jamyang Norbu

“The Mandala of Sherlock  Holmes” by Jamyang Norbu.

Reviewed by Miriam Scott


Sherlock Holmes has fuelled the imagination of the reading public since his 1887 debut in “A Study in Scarlet”. This enigmatic and major figure of the detective genre has also inspired screenwriters and novelists alike to create movies and novels around his strongly delineated and eccentric characteristics and the evocative time in which he ‘lived’.

“The Mandala of Sherlock Holmes” focuses on the period of his ‘disappearance’ (rumours of his death were greatly exaggerated). Using a line spoken by Dr Watson in the “Adventure of the Empty House”, 1903, “I travelled for two years in Tibet, therefore, and amused myself by visiting Lhasa”, Jamyang Norbu writes a tale that takes you back in time and on one of Holmes’ epic adventures. This novel is rich in Anglo-Indian colour, snippets of history and insights into Tibet’s precarious position throughout its existence. Filled with little gems of scientific observation and political insights, this narrative provides an explanation of the mystery that has always shrouded the period of Holmes’ disappearance.

This entrancing novel contains humour and is a window into a past world that, for many, remains romantic and exotic.

Mandala of Sherlock Holmes

Jasper Jones

Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey, read by Humphrey Bower

Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey, read by Humphrey Bower

A Talking Book review by Scotia Tracey

Late on a hot summer night in 1965, Charlie Bucktin, a precocious and bookish boy of thirteen, is startled by an urgent knock on the window of his sleep-out. His visitor is Jasper Jones, an outcast in the regional mining town of Corrigan.

Rebellious, mixed-race and solitary, Jasper is a distant figure of danger and intrigue for Charlie. So when Jasper begs for his help, Charlie eagerly steals into the night by his side, terribly afraid but desperate to impress. Jasper takes him to his secret glade in the bush, and it’s here that Charlie bears witness to Jasper’s horrible discovery.

With his secret like a brick in his belly, Charlie is pushed and pulled by a town closing in on itself in fear and suspicion as he locks horns with his tempestuous mother; falls nervously in love and battles to keep a lid on his zealous best friend, Jeffrey Lu.

And in vainly attempting to restore the parts that have been shaken loose, Charlie learns to discern the truth from the myth, and why white lies creep like a curse.

Brilliantly narrated by Humphrey Bower, I was swept back into being a teenager in a country town very similar to Corrigan. Humphrey makes you believe you are listening to each of the varied, complex characters – from a gawky boy, an old isolated man and an Asian immigrant. He captured the youth and coming of age of the main characters, making them realistic, relatable and mostly lovable. The story is tragic, funny, warm and witty.

This story is available at the Lithgow Library Learning Centre in print and as an audio book. If you haven’t listened to a Humphrey Bower narrated story – do yourself a favour and give this one a go!

Jasper Jones

All the light we cannot see cover

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Book Review by Sharon Lewis

I wasn’t surprised when this book was announced as the Pulitzer Prize winner for fiction in 2015, such was the beautiful imagery and imaginative storytelling within the pages.

All the Light We Cannot See is the story of two young people in Germany and France who become caught in the lead up and subsequent occupation of France during World War 2.  Marie-Laurie is a blind French girl and the daughter of a museum keeper who is entrusted with a precious gem to safeguard from the Germans. He is a creative locksmith who builds a model of the French town of Saint-Malo so Marie-Laurie can be independent, which becomes useful when her father disappears. A large part of the story is centralised around the relationship Marie-Laurie had with her father and growth in independence when he disappears.

Werner Pfennig is an orphan living with his sister in an orphanage in the German mining town of Zollverein.  He discovers that he is very good at fixing mechanical things but especially radios. Werner’s talent means he is eventually discovered by the Nazi’s and he is taken off to train and school as part of the Third Reich. It is this association that eventually leads to his path crossing with Marie-Laurie in Saint-Malo during the German occupation of France.

There is an element of time-shifting in the story and occasionally the descriptions can be over the top but the story mostly works and while you have a sense of where the story is going it is interesting how the journey takes place.

Well worth reading and available at the Lithgow Library Learning Centre.

All the light we cannot see cover

The Duck and the Darkling by Glenda Millard and Illustrated by Stephen Michael King

Book Review – The Duck and the Darkling by Glenda Millard and Illustrated by Stephen Michael King

Reviewed by Kellie Drengenberg

This stunning picture book was shortlisted for Book Week this year, and while it missed out on winning it is an absolutely must-read for all ages.

It tells the story of a land called Dark in which people have moved underground as the earth surface has become unliveable. Peterboy and the other children of Dark forage to the surface at night to look for food and other supplies.

With stunning pictures and vibrant colours this story will delight children, it will also appeal to parents reading the book to children. It has elements of dystopian themes which is great for those parents who want a bit more from the stories they read every night.

The language used is wonderfully lyrical, using words such as ‘disremembered’ and “sorry drops fell from their eyes” and it is simply a delight to read aloud, to yourself or share with a friend.

Highly recommended and you can borrow it now from Lithgow Library.

duck darklings

Lost – a true tale from the bush by Stephanie Owen Reeder

Lost – a true tale from the bush by Stephanie Owen Reeder


Reviewed by Sue Millmore

This Junior Non-Fiction book is about 3 children, who were lost for 9 days in the Victorian bush in the winter of 1864. It is estimated that during the time they were lost, the children walked over 100 kms. The story is about resilience and hope, and the incredible talents of the Aboriginal trackers who were brought in after numerous days. The story is beautifully illustrated with watercolour pictures. Each chapter in the story is followed by information pages which explain aspects of life in the 1860s with engaging illustrations.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would recommend it for preteen and teen readers. It gave me a better understanding of life in the 1860s without being textbook-ish. The story format was an easy read and the information pages gave a great glimpse into the past. 4 out of 5 stars!

Lost - a true tale 2

The Snow Kimono by Mark Henshaw

Reviewed by Terry O’Keefe

This stunningly beautiful novel is a pleasure to read – poetic, complex, engaging and deeply emotional.

Set in Paris and Japan, The Snow Kimono tells the stories of Inspector Jorvert, former Professor of Law Tadashi Omura, and his one-time friend the writer Katsuo Ikeda. All three men have liied to themselves, and to each other. And these lies are about to catch up with them.

This book is like the Japanese puzzles which the narrator describes: ‘Some pieces are small, others large, but all are calculated to deceive, to lead one astray, in order to make the puzzle as difficult, as challenging, as possible. In our tradition, how a puzzle is made, and how it is solved, reveals some greater truth about the world.’

Described as a ‘mediataion on love and loss, on memory and its deceptions, and the ties that bind us to each other’ this novel recently won the NSW Premiers Literary Award.

A haunting and evocative tale – highly recommended!

Snow Kimono by Mark Henshaw