Latest from the Library

December 2018

Our books will be coming to you differently in the New Year

As of December 20, 2018, the Vision Australia Library will no longer send out talking books on CD, but we will deliver them in a range of new ways.

The library team has contacted members who received books on CD to chat about the alternative ways we have of getting books to them.

These include a 3G DAISY player and Wi-Fi DAISY player that are both very similar to the old DAISY CD players, and a free app that can be used on an iPhone or other smartphone and tablet devices.

We also have a brand new, easy to use, small handheld device called Envoy Connect that we are most excited about.

If you haven’t heard from us please phone 1300 654 656 so that we can settle you into a new player as soon as possible.


Envoy Connect – a simple audio book player

As part of the transition away from CD by the end of 2018, the Vision Australia library team has worked on a user-friendly, go-anywhere player to offer clients who may not be tech savvy or are unable to use the free Vision Australia Library Connect app or other online DAISY player.

We are pleased to introduce the brand new Envoy Connect audio player.  This player allows anyone to read audio books on a simple to use and cost effective hardware device.


No batteries required – the world’s first accessible solar powered audio player with an integrated solar panel ensures the battery maintains its long run-time. 

Easy to use download – clients (or a family member or friend) can immediately download the latest books from Vision Australia for themselves and copy them onto the player.  No waiting.

Huge memory – it can hold up to 30 average length audio books.

Perfect size – it fits in the palm of your hand with easy to use buttons.

Exclusive to Vision Australia – Vision Australia is very proud to have partnered with MegaVoice to develop this player especially for our clients.

The Envoy Connect is a basic player that suits young and old.  It has many benefits for our clients as we transition away from the older style CD DAISY player.

The Envoy Connect will be available from November 2018 for many of our library users, and will also be available for purchase from the Vision Store for just $90 RRP – we will advise when it is in stock.


Christmas Opening Hours

We would like to take this opportunity to wish you all the best for the upcoming Christmas and New Year period.

The library will close on Friday, December 21 at 5.30pm (AEDT) and will reopen on Wednesday, January 2 at 8.30am (AEDT).

Our opening hours for January 2 to 4 will be 8.30am to 5.00pm (AEDT). We will resume our usual hours on Monday, January 7.

The library will also close for the Australia Day public holiday on Monday, January 28.


Summer Reading Club

Summer isn’t far away, and we are excited to be involved in the Summer Reading Club once again.

The Summer Reading Club is a fun program held for children up to 17 years to encourage listening to our audiobooks or reading some braille over the summer holidays.

The program runs until January 31, and there will be great prizes.

Each year there is a fun new theme, and this year’s is Curious Creatures.

To register or for more information, phone the library on 1300 654 656.


Accessible Information Personal Support service

Library members may use the Accessible Information Personal Support service provided by Vision Australia.

Library members can have up to 360 pages of print material converted into braille, audio, large print or electronic text for free.

The personal support service is funded by the Print Disability Services Grant from the Federal government. Please phone Vision Australia on 1300 84 74 66 for more information.


Human Rights Day

To mark Human Rights Day (10th December), in this issue we feature books on human rights. This day aims to celebrate and advocate for human rights.

This year marks the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

In this issue we feature an autobiography of a human rights advocate, an autobiography of a human rights worker, and stories written by victims of injustice.


Finding a Way, by Graeme Innes

Formats: DAISY (AU 166285) and braille (AU 163774).

Subject Interest Codes: Autobiography, Biography-Blind, Biography-Australian, Biography-Politicians and Statesmen.

Summary: Blind from birth, Graeme Innes was blessed. Blessed because he had a family who refused to view his blindness as a handicap and who instilled in him a belief in his abilities.

Blessed because he had the determination to persevere when obstacles were put in his way. And now, after a long and successful career – from lawyer to company director to Human Rights Commissioner – he has written his story.

Finding a Way shares his memories of love and support, of challenges and failures, and of overcoming the discrimination so many people with disabilities face.

He writes of the importance of family, the value of courage and the unique experience of a life without one sense but with heightened awareness of the others.

Alongside his life story, Innes shares ideas on advocacy for people with disabilities and outlines what remains to be done to fully include people with disabilities in Australian society. This fascinating and moving book offers a new perspective on supporting diversity in our community.


The Power of Hope, by Kon Karapanagiotidis

Format: DAISY (AU 169909).

Subject Interest Codes: Autobiography, Biography-Australian, Inspirational Stories

Summary: A powerful, heartfelt and inspiring memoir from one of Australia's leading human rights advocates, Kon Karapanagiotidis, The Power of Hope tells the story of how Kon overcame his traumatic childhood of racism, bullying and loneliness to create one of Australia's largest human rights organisations, the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, which has gone on to transform the lives of thousands of refugees and has helped build a movement.

A book about how love, compassion, kindness and courage can transform our communities and ourselves, The Power of Hope shows us that in times of darkness, both personal and political, if we stand as one we can shine brightly and fiercely – because together, we are powerful.


They Cannot Take the Sky, edited by Michael Green and Andre Dao

Format: DAISY (AU 165288)

Subject Interest Codes: Autobiographies, Essays, Language and Cultural Criticism, Politics, Australian

Summary: In They Cannot Take the Sky, people who have sought asylum in Australia and have been placed in detention – for years, in some cases – tell their stories in their own words.

Speaking from inside immigration detention on Manus Island and Nauru, or from within the Australian community after their release, the narrators reveal not only their extraordinary journeys and their daily struggles but also their meditations on love, death, hope and injustice.

Their candid testimonies are at times shocking and hilarious, surprising and devastating. They are witnesses from the edge of human experience.

The first-person narratives in They Cannot Take the Sky range from epic life stories to heartbreaking vignettes.

The narrators who have shared their stories have done so despite the culture of silence surrounding immigration detention, and the real risks faced by those who speak out. Once you have heard their voices, you will never forget them.


Readers’ Reviews

Birds, Beasts and Relatives, by Gerald Durrell

Format: DAISY (AU 103577).

Subject Interest Codes: Autobiography, Animal Stories, Wit and Humour Non-Fiction

Summary: The Durrell family returns to live on the island of Corfu, and they continue the story begun in My Family and Other Animals.

Already an ardent naturalist at the age of ten, the young Gerald lives in an unconventional and disordered household with his mother, sister and two brothers.

Convivial and open, the family plays host to a constant stream of quirky guests. But for Gerald, the main attraction is the wildlife of Corfu.

In the sun-lit olive groves or along the dusty roads lined with ancient cypresses, he spends hours observing and marvelling at the natural environment around him, watching busy lines of ants or peering down the burrows of trap-door spiders.

He describes the midnight fishing trips, the collecting expeditions and the island's natural beauty with a child-like wonder that he never fails to impart to his reader.

Reader Comments: “Very funny … ideal if you are looking for a light read and a laugh”.


Star Gazing, by Linda Gillard

Format: DAISY (AU 119570)

Subject Interest Codes: Perceptive Fiction, Romance Fiction

Summary: Blind since birth, widowed in her 20s, now lonely in her 40s, Marianne Fraser lives in Edinburgh in elegant, angry anonymity with her sister.

Marianne's passionate nature finds solace in music, a love she shares with Keir, the man she encounters on her doorstep one winter's night.

Keir makes no concession to Marianne's condition. He is abrupt to the point of rudeness, yet oddly and touchingly kind, but can Marianne trust her feelings for this reclusive stranger who wants to take a blind woman to his island home on Skye, to ‘show' her the stars?

Reader Comments: “I thought the narrator was very, very, good.”


Tuesdays with Morrie, by Mitch Albom

Format: DAISY (AU 98600)

Subject Interest Codes: Biography, Biography-Disabled, Inspirational Stories

Summary: Maybe it was a grandparent, or a teacher. Someone older, wiser, who understood you when you were young and searching, helped you see the world as a more profound place, gave you sound advice to help you make your way through it.

For Mitch Albom, that person was Morrie Schwartz, his college professor from nearly 20 years ago. Maybe, like Mitch, you lost track of this mentor as you made your way. Wouldn't you like to see that person again? Mitch Albom had that second chance.

Reader Comments: “This book has a beautiful philosophy.”


Fall of Giants, by Ken Follett

Format: DAISY (AU 154754).

Subject Interest Codes: Family Chronicles, Historical Fiction, War Fiction

Summary: This novel follows five families through the world-shaking dramas of World War I, the Russian Revolution and the struggle for women’s suffrage.

It is 1911. The coronation day of King George V.

The Williams family, a Welsh coal-mining family, is linked by romance and enmity to the Fitzherberts, aristocratic coal-mine owners.

Lady Maud Fitzherbert falls in love with Walter von Ulrich, a spy at the German Embassy in London.

Their destiny is entangled with that of an ambitious young aide to U.S. President Woodrow Wilson and with two orphaned Russian brothers, whose plans to emigrate to America fall foul of war, conscription and revolution.

Reader Comments: “Travels all over the place – England, Germany, Russia – a great historical series starting from just before the First World War. Great characters.”


Library Member Book Review

The Natural Way of Things, by Charlotte Wood

The Natural Way of Things by Charlotte Wood is riveting from the first page. A young woman, Verla, wakes from a drugged sleep in a derelict farm in the centre of a vast valley in outback Australia.

She soon finds she is not alone. There are nine other young women nearby, all of whom have been recently involved in a sex scandal: pack rape on a cruise ship, gang rape by footballers, and Verla’s own experience as a young intern groomed by a powerful politician. All these cases are very familiar to us.

The girls have their heads shaved. Their slow-witted but vicious guards see this as a fitting punishment for women they see as adulterers and prostitutes. The young women should be punished further for being victims. Is this not the natural way of things?

Behind the guards stands the menacing electric fence that rings them all in. It is a very Kafkaesque scenario, with an individual placed in a nightmarish situation with no evident means of escape.

I loved the tension of the book, which kept up until the last pages, and then I read them again.

The book is not for the faint-hearted but is a fantastic modern fable about how we treat women and victims of all kinds in our society. What are the things that seduce us? And how can we be true to our real nature?

September 2018

Changes to the Inter Library Loans Service

What is happening?

The Inter Library Loans Service will cease after 28 September. There will be change in process whereby all requests for books not in the collection will be treated as a suggestion for inclusion in the collection.

Depending on the book it may either sourced from another DAISY partner, supplier or produced in our Vision Australia studios.


Why is this happening?

The Marrakesh Treaty has allowed our library to access a greater amount of DAISY books thereby supporting the goal of the Treaty to help end the book famine faced by people who are blind, visually impaired or otherwise print disabled.

We have over 40,000 DAISY titles in our library collection and with this increased access to books are preparing to increase that to about 50,000 over the next 12-18 months.

This will support the Vision Australia Information Library Service’s strategic plan to be an online library service by the end of 2018.


What about requests for non-Vision Australia book clubs?

We encourage where possible that clients provide a list of scheduled books on their book club lists for six months or a year so we have these available where possible or allow them to try to source from their local library.


What about student requests?

Our Vision Australia Student Support services can copy or reproduce student materials that are not in the collection into alternative formats like audio, braille, large print and e-text for students with a print disability.

Bookshare also provides students with access to thousands of fiction and non-fiction synthetic voice books in DAISY and braille formats. Vision Australia library members can access the Bookshare collection for $75 in the first year and $50 for each year after.

What about any multiple ILLs I still have waiting to be requested?

These will be submitted as suggestions on your behalf and automatically allocated to your request list once available.

For further questions phone the library on 1300 654 656 or email

Gael, Inter-Library Loan Officer


Library Twitter and YouTube

If you’d like to follow the Vision Australia Library we post our latest news and events on Twitter @VALibrary. We are also posting monthly Young Adult bookchats on YouTube which have been very popular with our younger readers. There is a link to our YouTube playlist at the bottom of the Library website.


Library Tech Help Saturday: working together to solve problems

On Saturday 30 June, the library staff invited library members to bring their library device issues to the library team.

Library team members worked with 20 library members over the day to help them learn new skills and feel more comfortable with using their device and with accessing the Vision Australia Library collection.

We also had a few new members join the library and some families dropped in to make contact with our children’s librarian.

One library member commented: “Saturday was just the perfect time to come in and get this player sorted”.

A number of library members also took advantage of the Vision Store displays and sought advice from our adaptive technology specialist and order equipment using the online ordering system.

We are planning to hold further Library Tech Help days at regular intervals.


World Blindness Awareness Month

To mark World Blindness Awareness Month (October), this issue we feature books on people’s experiences of blindness.


The Lion and the Giant of My Dreams, by Maxene Hewitt.

Format: DAISY (AU 94141).

Summary: Maxene Hewitt was accidentally blinded at the age of 25 and fought cancer for 10 years. She nevertheless lived a loving active life. In this moving but disturbing book, she tells of her struggle through therapy, dreams and meditation to accept her disabilities and her impending death.


Sight Unseen, by Georgina Kleege.

Format: DAISY (AU 96778).

Summary: Kleege was diagnosed with macular degeneration at the age of 11 and learned coping mechanisms. In eight essays she describes her experiences as well as the cultural aspects of blindness in language, film, and literature. As an author and professor, Kleege outlines the reading process and her delight in learning braille later in life.


On Sight and Insight: a Journey into the World of Blindness, by John Hull.

Format: DAISY (AU 116712).

Summary: In 1983, forced to accept total blindness, John Hull began to keep an audio diary. In it he recorded his daily experiences, his thoughts and impressions. It offers a unique journey into the "other world" of blindness – a world where people have no faces, and in which perception of sound, silence, time and space are dramatically transformed. He relates his interactions with other people, including his relationship with his young children and their growing understanding of his blindness.


Out of Darkness: A Memoir, by Zoltan Torey; foreword by Oliver Sacks.

Format: Braille (AU 96778).

Summary: In June 1951, Hungarian-born Zoltan Torey met with an industrial accident in Sydney that was forever to change his life. This once energetic, vibrant 21-year-old was left blinded in a foreign land. No one thought he would survive. But Zoltan did survive, and he responded to this tragedy in an unusual way he devoted himself to helping solve the riddle of human consciousness. This would give him back his life, as through mental techniques he learned to ‘see’ again, and so could psychologically return to the world of light.

If you would like more titles we recommend you ask us to add Biography-Blind to your favourite books genres, or visit our online catalogue to choose a title yourself.


Readers’ Reviews

Above the Bright Blue Sky, by Margaret Thornton.

Format: DAISY (AU 152003).

Set in: Mid-20th century England.

Subject Interest Code: Family Stories.

Summary: It is 1939 and war is looming on the horizon, but for nine-year-old Maisie Jackson, abused by her cruel step-brother and mercilessly tormented by her step-father, evacuation represents a longed-for chance of freedom. As the small town of Middlebeck in the Yorkshire dales prepares for the arrival of the evacuees, the villagers ponder how they will cope with this sudden influx of visitors, but they are all determined to pull together and welcome the strangers with open arms. True and lasting friendships are formed and love blossoms as the dark cloud of war eventually clears.

Reader Comments: “What a wonderful reader! Enjoyed this book very much.“


Green Leaf in Drought, by Isobel Kuhn.

Format: DAISY (AU 87240).

Subject Interest Code: Biography.

Summary: The story of the escape of the last China Inland Mission members from Communist China. The experiences that Arthur and Wilda Mathews endured during their ordeal under Communism answer the question relevant to all Christians: is it possible for Christians to put forth green leaves when all is drying up around him?

Reader Comments: “Thank you for this incredible book – I have read it three times!”


The Altman Code, by Robert Ludlum and Gayle Lynds.

Series: Covert One; 4

Sequel to: The Paris Option.

Followed by: The Lazarus Vendetta.

Format: DAISY (AU 132130).

Subject Interest Codes: Adventure Fiction, Medical Fiction, Spy Fiction, Suspense Fiction.

Summary:  On the dark Shanghai docks, a photographer records cargo being secretly loaded. He's murdered and his camera destroyed. Two weeks later on the dangerous high seas, the U.S. Navy covertly tracks a Chinese ship rumoured to carry tons of chemicals for Saddam Hussein to create new biological weapons. The President cannot let the ship reach Iraq. At the same time, he doesn't want the navy to attack and board it either, because decades of negotiations with China have at long last yielded a landmark human rights agreement that China is willing to sign. The President orders Fred Klein, head of Covert One, to find solid proof of what the Chinese ship is ferrying.

Reader Comments: “If I’d had an opportunity to choose a book I wouldn’t have chosen this as it’s altogether different to any I have read before. I was surprised I did enjoy it – thanks for broadening my brain.”


The Affair, by Lee Child.

Series: Jack Reacher; 16

Sequel to: Worth Dying For

Followed by: A Wanted Man

Format: DAISY (AU 137136) and braille (AU 158898).

Set in: Late-20th Century America.

Subject Interest Codes: Detective and Mystery, Suspense Fiction.

Summary:  March 1997. A woman has her throat cut behind a bar in Carter Crossing, Mississippi. Just down the road is a big army base. Is the murderer a local guy, or is he a soldier? Jack Reacher, still a major in the military police, is sent in undercover. The county sheriff is a former U.S. Marine, and a stunningly beautiful woman. Her investigation is going nowhere. Is the Pentagon stonewalling her? Or doesn't she really want to find the killer? If he does what the army wants, will he be able to live with himself? And if he doesn't, will the army be able to live with him? Is this his last case in uniform?

Reader Comments: “Good old Reacher keeps you intrigued and interested with his logic and the way he brings a permanent finish to his problems.”


Staff Book Review

Oryx and Crake, by Margaret Atwood

Oryx and Crake is the first novel in Margaret Atwood’s Maddaddam trilogy, and was published in 2003.

The setting is post-apocalyptic: humanity, for the most part, has been wiped out by a devastating pandemic, and the main protagonist of the novel, Snowman, finds himself alone with a group of primitive, genetically engineered, human-like creatures.

We learn more of Snowman’s earlier life through a series of flashbacks. He was previously called Jimmy, and he grew up in one of the compounds, mostly science communities, where, in this multinational dominated world, corporate families live, sealed off from the so-called Pleeblands.

This latter is where the rest of humanity ekes out a meagre, insecure existence amidst a desolate, degraded and dangerous urban chaos.

Security in the compounds is provided by the CorpSeCorp, a private Corporation Security Corps employed by the brand-name Corporations.

They are the only ones with weapons, and even run the army, which is now privatised.

They are also active in the Pleeblands, suppressing the occasional riot, running various rackets, and generally making their sinister presence felt.

The novel opens in a post-apocalyptic world, but Snowman’s flashbacks reveal just how dystopian the world of his earlier existence already was.

Biodiversity has been drastically reduced after numerous extinctions.

The planet has warmed appreciably, bringing environmental disasters in its wake. 

Yet in the cocooned world of the compounds, the scientists are busily producing genetically engineered monstrosities such as the ‘pigoon’ – a pig spliced with human tissue and designed for organ harvesting.

During the pandemic, these, as well as other hybrid obscenities of unethical science gone mad, are released, and their marauding bands form a dangerous part of the post-apocalyptic landscape.

We also learn of cynical experiments with unsuspecting human guinea pigs, and the ruthless way in which any conscience-stricken scientists who threaten to reveal such crimes, are ruthlessly eliminated.

The other significant protagonist in the novel is Crake, as he is later known.

But when Jimmy first meets him, he is simply Glenn. Like Jimmy, he is the son of bioengineers, but unlike him, he is a precocious genius, albeit a genius with an Asperger-like inability to relate emotionally to others.

The two become unlikely friends and, when not at school, they hang out together, smoking ‘skunkweed’, playing online games, and watching underground videos of child pornography, assisted suicides, graphic surgery and live executions.

It is whilst watching a child pornography video that Jimmy first sees the face of the beautiful young Asian girl he will later know as Oryx – a face that will haunt him always.

Oryx and Crake falls into the genres of Speculative/Dystopian and Science Fiction.

I found the story intriguing and vividly imagined.  It belongs to the Speculative Fiction genre because it represents the kind of story that could very well play out in reality. 

This is what makes it so fascinating, because we can already see ourselves on the dangerous path that could lead to this future world.

I recommend this novel to all enthusiasts of speculative and dystopian fiction.

I am a big fan of the dystopian fiction genre.  Dipping into the occasional dystopian novel is a kind of therapy for me, as the real world, with its myriad problems, always seems less bleak after the experience.

This title is available in DAISY (AU 95356) and braille (AU 85050).

Anne R, Library Services


Word of Mouth

The Miles Franklin Literary Award celebrates works depicting Australian life. Here we feature titles from the 2018 shortlist.


Taboo, by Kim Scott. 

Formats: DAISY (AU 166324) and braille (AU 167379).

Set in: Contemporary Australia.

Subject Interest Codes: Twenty-first century literature, Australia Fiction, Indigenous Fiction.

Summary: Taboo takes place in the present day, in the rural south-west of Western Australia, and tells the story of a group of Noongar people who revisit, for the first time in many decades, a taboo place: the site of a massacre that followed the assassination, by these Noongar’s descendants, of a white man who stole a black woman.

They come at the invitation of Dan Horton, the elderly owner of the farm on which the massacres unfolded.

He hopes that by hosting the group he will satisfy his wife’s dying wishes and cleanse some moral stain from the ground on which he and his family have lived for generations. But the sins of the past will not be so easily expunged.


Storyland, by Catherine McKinnon.

Formats: DAISY (AU 164860) and braille (AU 167671).

Set in: Australia.

Subject Interest Codes: 21st century literature, Australia Fiction, Historical Fiction.

Summary: In 1796, a young cabin boy, Will Martin, goes on a voyage of discovery in the tiny Tom Thumb with Matthew Flinders and George Bass on an exploratory journey south from Sydney Cove to the Illawarra.

Set on the banks of Lake Illawarra and spanning four centuries, Storyland weaves together the stories of Will Martin together with the stories of four others: a desperate ex-convict, Hawker, who commits an act of terrible brutality; Lola, who in 1900 runs a dairy farm on the Illawarra with her brother and sister when they come under suspicion for a crime they did not commit; Bel, a young girl who goes on a rafting adventure with her friends in 1998 and is unexpectedly caught up in violent events; and in 2033, Nada, who sees her world start to crumble.

Intriguingly, all these characters are all connected – not only through the same land and water they inhabit over the decades, but also by tendrils of blood, history, memory and property.


The Last Garden, by Eva Hornung. 

Formats: DAISY (AU 166283) and braille (AU 167672)

Set in: Australia.

Subject Interest Codes: Twenty-first century literature, Australia Fiction, Perceptive Fiction.

Summary: The settlement of Wahrheit, founded in exile to await the return of the Messiah, has been waiting longer than expected.

Pastor Helfgott has begun to feel the subtle fraying of the community’s faith. Then Matthias Orion shoots his wife and himself, on the very day their son Benedict returns home from boarding school.

Benedict is unmoored by shock, severed from his past and his future. Unable to be inside the house, unable to speak, he moves into the barn with the horses and chooks, relying on the animals' strength and the rhythm of the working day to hold his shattered self together.

The pastor watches over Benedict through the year of his crazy grief: man and boy growing, each according to his own capacity, as they come to terms with the unknowable past and the frailties of being human.

The remaining shortlisted titles are currently in production:

Border Districts, by Gerald Murnane (braille),

“No More Boats, by Felicity Castagna (braille),

“The Life to Come, by Michelle de Kretser (DAISY and braille).  

June 2018

Tech Saturday

The Library team invites you to Tech Saturday 

DATE: Saturday 30 June

TIME: 10.00am to 1.00pm

LOCATION: Vision Australia Kooyong, 454 Glenferrie Road, Kooyong

Are you a new library member and are not sure how to get started? Are you a VA client who misses reading books?

Do you need help learning to use your 3G Player or the VA Connect app? Want to know the difference between a Wi-Fi and 3G player?

Do you need help with your Victor Reader Stream? Would you like to learn how to make best use of our i-Access online catalogue?

Drop in and visit our library team and they can join you up on the spot. Or, if you are already a member, we will help you become more confident with your new DAISY player or the app, and get answers to any of your tech needs.

Staff will be available to demonstrate our players to you and provide one-on-one training. There will also be 20-minute group talks where our experts will talk about:

Technology – Introduction to the DAISY players, Introduction to the VA Connect app

Our Collections – Children and Young Adults, Creating a reading profile for you, Book suggestions

Common questions – Q and A session, Simple troubleshooting, Caring for your DAISY player, NDIS and MAC


International Day of the Tropics

To mark International Day of the Tropics (29 June), this issue we features books on (or set in) the tropics.

Tales from the Torrid Zone: Travels in the Deep Tropics, by Alexander Frater.
Format: DAISY (AU 129254)
Subject Interest Codes: Travel and Culture, Adventure Non-fiction. 
Summary: Part-memoir, part-travelogue, Tales from the Torrid Zone is rooted in Alex Frater's birthplace, the tiny tropical republic of Vanuatu.

From this obscure South Seas group he ranges over the hot, wet, beautiful swathe of the world that has haunted him ever since.

The Noonday Sun: Edwardians in the Tropics, by Valerie  Pakenham.
Format: DAISY (AU 116766). 
Subject Interest Codes: History, European History.
Summary: The Edwardians set out for the tropics when the imperial sun was at its zenith: traders, soldiers and sportsmen, land-hungry younger sons, hunters in search of ivory and missionaries in search of souls, prancing proconsuls and earnest young men sailed off to bear the White Man's Burden in steamy Asian jungle or African bush. The author uses the letters, diaries and memoirs of the famous and not-so-famous to draw a picture of the British Empire at high noon.

Lower Latitudes: Stories of the Tropics, by James McQueen.
Format: DAISY (AU 122766).
Subject Interest Codes: Australian Fiction, Short Stories, 20th Century Literature.
Summary: These stories take us on a voyage of the imagination to the tropics. Although many of the places will be familiar – Tahiti, Thailand and the Philippines – the characters, some delightful, and some not so delightful, add a new dimension to tropical climes.

Online resources: To find out more about the International Day of the Tropics, please visit the International Day of the Tropics web page here.

Readers’ Reviews

The Escape, by David Baldacci
Series: John Puller; 3
Sequel to: The Forgotten
Followed by: No Man’s Land
Format: DAISY (AU 155857)
Set in: Contemporary America. 
Subject Interest Codes: Detective and Mystery, Suspense Fiction. 
Summary: It’s a prison unlike any other. Military discipline rules. Its security systems are unmatched. None of its prisoners dream of escaping. They know it’s impossible. Until now.

John Puller’s older brother, Robert, was convicted of treason and national security crimes. His inexplicable escape from prison makes him the most wanted criminal in the country. Some in the government believe that John Puller represents their best chance at capturing Robert alive, and so Puller takes on the burden of bringing his brother in to face justice.

But Puller quickly discovers that there are others pursuing his brother who only see Robert as a traitor and are unconcerned if he survives. Puller is in turn pushed into an uneasy, fraught partnership with another agent, who may have an agenda of her own.

Reader Comments: “This author is part action and part make you think plus a little loving on the side but he is a serious writer.”

1788: The Brutal Truth of the First Fleet, by David Hill.
Format: DAISY (AU 116466)
Set in: 18th century. 
Subject Interest Codes: Australian History, Australia Non-Fiction, History. 
Summary: Never before or since has there been an experiment quite as bold as this. Set against the backdrop of Georgian England with its peculiar mix of elegance, prosperity, progress and squalor, the story of the First Fleet is one of courage, of short-sightedness, of tragedy but above all of extraordinary resilience.

It is also, of course, the story of the very first European Australians, reluctant pioneers who travelled into the unknown – the vast majority against their will – in order to form a colony by order of the King's government.

Separated from loved ones and travelling in cramped conditions for the months-long journey to Botany Bay, they suffered the most unbearable hardship on arrival on Australian land where a near-famine dictated that rations be cut to the bone.

But why was the settlement of New South Wales proposed in the first place? Who were the main players in a story that changed the world and ultimately forged the Australian nation? How did the initial skirmishes with the indigenous population break out and how did the relationship turn sour so quickly?

Reader Comments: “Thank you for sending me this book. I found it fascinating and the best account I have read of the first fleet. Hill’s research was first class.”
Sunset in St Tropez, by Danielle Steel.
Formats: DAISY (AU 105057) and Braille (AU 105012)
Set in: Contemporary France. 
Subject Interest Code: Romance Fiction
Summary: Anne Smith's death had been sudden and unexpected. She and Robert Smith had been married 38 years, and to all their friends the couple had seemed forever inseparable.

To console Robert (and themselves), several of his long-time friends decided to take this still young-at-heart widower off to St Tropez, to soothe his grief in the warm French sun. When Robert arrives at the villa with a nimble, long-legged aspiring actress, his buddies begin to wonder if it's time that they shed their mournful inhibitions too.

Reader Comments:  “Another enjoyable read. It’s amazing all the different plots they can think up, that give us their readers so much enjoyment.” 

Down Where the Moon is Small, by Richard Llewellyn.
Format: DAISY (AU 104427).
Subject Interest Codes: Biographical Fiction, Twentieth Century Literature. 
Summary: Home in Wales, Huw Morgan reflects on his life in the Argentine, his marriage, and his success in industry.
Reader Comments:  “Fascinating. 8/10 stars.”

A bride for Donnigan, by Janette Oke.
Series: Women of the West; book 7
Sequel to: The Measure of a Heart
Followed by: Heart of the Wilderness
Format: DAISY (AU 114701)
Subject Interest Codes: CBMI General Fiction, CBMI Romantic Fiction, CBMI Adventure

Summary: Donnigan, who dreams of having a wife and helpmate, lives on the western frontier, while Kathleen, who yearns for adventure, lives thousands of miles away, but their love develops through letters. 

Reader Comments: “It gave me great joy to hear this book of Janette Oke. I haven’t enjoyed a book as much for a long time.”


April 2018

Commemorating the centenary of ANZAC Day 

To mark the centenary of ANZAC Day, the Vision Australia Library has drawn together a selection of books to honour the Australian men, women and animals who have served their country over the past 100 years. 

The Library's radio program Hear This will be highlighting a number of books from the collection during April. The program is on air in Melbourne each Friday at 3pm and is also podcast each week here

The following titles as well as many others can be found in the i-access online catalogue.

You can access DAISY audio titles via a rented DAISY player or the free VA Connect App. If you are the holder of a DVA Gold Card the Rental fee will be covered by Veterans Affairs.   

The Commando: The life and death of Cameron Baird, VC, MG by Ben McKelvey (DAISY Audio)

The Battle of Long Tan by David W. Cameron (DAISY Audio)

Lancaster Men: The Aussie Heroes of Bomber Command by Peter Rees (DAISY audio)

Redback One: the True Story of an Australian SAS Hero by Robert Macklin (DAISY audio)

Sandakan: the Untold Story of the Sandakan Death Marches by Paul Ham (DAISY audio)

Monash: The Outsider Who Won a War by Roland Perry (DAISY Audio)

The Battle for Lone Pine: Four Days of Hell at the Heart of Gallipoli by David W. Cameron (DAISY audio)

The Crossroad: a Story of Life, Death and the SAS by Mark Donaldson, VC (DAISY audio)

Crack Hardy by Stephen Dando-Collins (Braille, DAISY audio)

Kitty's War: the remarkable Wartime Experiences of Kitty McNaughton by Janet Butler (DAISY audio)

The Other Anzacs: Nurses at War 1914-1918 by Peter Rees (braille, DAISY audio)

Commemorating the animals

A Centenary of Australian Animals at War by Nigel Allsop (DAISY audio)

The Australian Light Horse by Roland Perry (braille, DAISY audio) 

Only the Animals by Ceridwen Dovey (braille and DAISY)

Children's and young adult titles

War Horse by Michael Morpurgo (DAISY audio)

Animal Heroes by Anthony Hill (DAISY audio) 

Horrie the War Dog by Roland Perry (braille, DAISY Audio)

The Donkey that Carried the Wounded by Jackie French (braille)

Only a Donkey by Celeste Walters (children's print braille picture book) will be added to the collection shortly. 


Please contact the library if you would like these or any other books added to your bookshelf.

If you are not already a library member, please contact us and if you have a DVA Gold Card, please let us know. 

March 2018

Easter and Anzac Day opening hours:

The Library will close on Thursday 29 March at 5.00pm and reopen on Tuesday 3 April 2018 at 9.00am.

The library will also be closed for Anzac Day on Wednesday 25 April. We will endeavour to return your calls as soon as possible. 

Brain Awareness Week

To mark Brain Awareness Week (12 to 18 March), this issue we feature books on the brain and mind improvement.
The Human Brain: A Guided Tour, by Susan Greenfield. 
Format: DAISY (AU 109464). 
Subject Interest Codes: Health Care, Science and Technology.  

Summary: Combatting Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases provides the motivation for much of today's progress in brain research.

By exploring different regions of the brain together with their functions, the author examines how drugs can be used to help brain cells communicate with one another.

From a single egg, the brain combines personal experience and memory, to develop into the essence of a unique individual.

This book guides us through some of the latest understanding about the human brain.    

A Better Brain at Any Age: The Holistic Way to Improve Your Memory, Reduce Stress and Sharpen Your Wits, by Sondra Kornblatt.
Format: DAISY (AU 161837). 
Subject Interest Codes: Health Care, Psychology.    

Summary: Sondra Kornblatt, along with the experts she has interviewed, helps readers put their heads on straight through healthy activities for the body (exercise, healthy food consumption and relaxation) and through specific activities to boost brain power like movement, eye rolls, supplements, and making environmental changes.

Each of the seven chapters (Body-Mind Connection; Environmental Support; Food and Supplements; Intelligence and Learning; Memory, Learning Shortcuts, and Brain-Stretchers; Emotions and Decisions; Meditation and Bigger Perspectives) details how that topic impacts the brain, and offers tips and highlights for readers to either delve into the book or peruse it for quick boosts.

Kornblatt teaches readers how to reduce brain stress and optimize mental agility, and shares information on how the brain interacts with the body, what habits impact the brain, positively and negatively, and how to maximise learning.

She provides tips to strengthen memory, cognition and creativity so readers can function better in their active lives.

Doing Up Buttons: A Deeply Personal Yet Practical Account of Understanding Head Injury, by Christine Durham.

Format: DAISY (AU 106789).
Subject Interest Codes: Autobiography, Biography – Australian, Biography – Disabled. 

Summary: The extraordinary, courageous and uplifting story of the realities of coming to terms with the lasting effects of head injury and the grief at the loss of the person the author once was. Her recovery encompasses both deep despair and firm hope as she discovers that recovery is a complex process.

For more information on Brain Awareness Week, please visit the Brain Foundation website here 

Library Lovers' Day 2018

Library Lovers' Day is celebrated by libraries across Australia on 14 February.

The day helps libraries and their borrowers unite to express their appreciation for the wonderful relationships that exist between libraries and their communities.
The Vision Australia Library has more than 15,000 borrowers across Australia, so it is a little difficult to get together for a celebration, but that didn't stop us from celebrating in our own way.

The theme for Library Lovers' Day this year was ‘Love letters to libraries', and some of our borrowers share with us their appreciation for the service and how much they love the books they receive from us. 

The following is a very special open letter we received from Nick Gleeson, who is a long-time library member, motivational speaker and author. 

Nick's letter:

"A book is a new beginning. An opportunity to experience love, fear, sorrow and laughter.
It connects me with the author and the characters, it allows me to disengage from the world around me. It is my way of helping me cope with life. When I was 11 years old, I discovered a braille library, with shelf upon shelf of stories.
My first treasure was The Silver Brumby, published in 1958 and written by Elyne Mitchell.
My fingers flew across the braille pages and I held my breath as the powerful silver stallion named Thowra, stood on top of the world, looking down upon the wonderful high country of the Snowy Mountains. Later, I would read books about life, death and love.  
It was all of these books that showed me that reading is the documentation of a story to be shared.

In 2017, I became an author. This was my opportunity to express in words, many of the stories of my life.

My heart was touched when I received comments that my words helped others to manage their own lives."

The Many Ways of Seeing: A True Story of Blindness, Friendship and Adventure, by Nick Gleeson with Peter Bishop, was published in 2017 by Ventura Press. It is available in DAISY audio from the library (AU 166388). 

Other notes of thanks

"I do not know how to express my gratitude for the help I get from your organisation. Many thanks for brightening my life … your books fill my lonely life. MANY, MANY THANKS!!"

"I want to express my sincere thanks for all your support, especially when it came to identifying and solving the few problems we had with the players. Mum was almost completely blind and loved a good story. You provided a device that allowed her to continue these pleasures right to the end of her 93 years." 

Reader reviews

For All Mankind, by Harry Hurt III; interviews by Al Reinert.
Format: DAISY (AU 129708)

Subject Interest Codes: Adventure Non-Fiction, American History, History, Science and Technology. 

Summary: Between December 1968 and December 1972, 24 men went to the moon; no-one has been there since.

This is a dramatic, engrossing account of the most hazardous, dangerous and greatest adventure on which man has ever embarked. 'For All Mankind' recounts all the drama and danger of the moon voyages.

Reader comments: "What a great account of the space exploration. Everybody should acclaim those men who took their courage in their hands. What confidence they had! I salute them all." 

Cry Once Alone, by EV Thompson.
Format: DAISY (AU 105258). 

Set in: 19th Century America. 
Subject Interest Codes: Historical Romance Fiction, Indigenous Fiction, Romance Fiction. 

Summary: Texas in 1838 is a wild and lawless country and Adam Rashleigh, sent out there by Lord Palmerston on a secret mission to assess the prospects for the survival of the infant Texan Republic, is drawn into the lives and problems of the Cherokee.

Among them he finds a love for which he is prepared to risk everything, even his mission.

Reader comments: "This would have to be the best talking book I have ever received with you in all my time with blind society. Really, really enjoyed this CD talking book. This has topped every talking book I have ever had in the past."

The Dean's Watch, by Elizabeth Goudge. 
Series: A City of Bells, 3.
Format: DAISY (AU 108109).

Set in: 19th century England. 
Subject Interest Codes: Great Britain Fiction, Historical Fiction.

Summary: Set in the 1870s, this novel centres on the friendship between the formidable dean of the city and a quaint little clockmaker.

The people learn to love the dean, and in the process, grow in love and achievement themselves.

Reader comments: "Excellent … loved it … well worth reading. Beautiful description in passages."

Angels Fall, by Norah Roberts.
Format: DAISY (AU 114319). 

Set in: 21st Century America.
Subject Interest Codes: Romance Fiction, Romance Mystery.

Summary: The sole survivor of a brutal crime, Reece Gilmore has been on the run, desperately fighting the nightmares that haunt her.

She doesn't intend to stay in the sleepy town of Angel's Fall any longer than she needs to, despite its friendly inhabitants and the irresistible attraction of local writer, Brody.

But then she witnesses a couple having a vicious argument that culminates in murder. By the time Reece finds Brody and brings him to the scene, both killer and victim are gone – and Reece finds that very few people in this small community believe her story.

Reader comments: "This is a most exciting thriller – amusing in parts and the narrator was excellent."

VA Connect update

The VA Connect library app was updated to in January, 2018.

The update provides mainly improved performance and bug fixes for both iOS and Android versions.

To check if you have the updated app, search for Vision Australia in the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.

Online Training & Support Officer

Staff book review – Brooklyn, by Colm Tóibin

Brooklyn is set in Brooklyn, NY and Ireland in the early 1950s, when one young woman crosses the ocean to make a new life for herself.

Coming of age in Enniscorthy, a small town in south-east Ireland in the years following World War II, Eilis Lacey is one among many of her generation who cannot find a job in the miserable economy of the time.

When an Irish priest, Father Flood from Brooklyn, offers to sponsor Eilis to live and work in America, she decides she must go, leaving her fragile mother and her charismatic sister behind.

Eilis takes up her new life in a crowded Brooklyn boarding house, working in Bartocci's, a department store on Fulton Street, and at night taking book-keeping classes.

Slowly, the pain of parting is buried beneath the rhythms of her new life, until she finds a sort of happiness and, when she least expects it, love with Tony Fiorello, a young Italian plumber. But then, devastating news from home threatens the promise of her future.

Brooklyn focuses on the reflection that death, travel, and romantic love force on people at various times in their lives.
It will be of particular interest to readers to whom immigration and homesickness are pivotal.
Self-discovery is an important theme, which includes the process and progress of Eilis, not only in becoming a stronger and better person emotionally, spiritually and morally, but also in learning more about herself through life experiences.
The novel is also about the choice Eilis has to make between her old life in Enniscorthy and her new life in Brooklyn.
I was attracted to Brooklyn because I have travelled to Ireland and I am keen to visit New York, and I have an interest in Irish immigration to America.

I felt it was believable and it reminded me of my eldest sister who has resided in Ireland for more than 10 years. She is a little torn between life in Tralee, Ireland, and in Melbourne with my elderly mother.

This title is available in DAISY (AU 119914).

If you enjoy Brooklyn, you might like other titles in our collection such as:
Small Island, by Andrea Levy available in DAISY (AU 97533).
Love and Summer, by William Trevor available in DAISY (AU 121775).
A Long Long Way, by Sebastian Barry available in DAISY (AU 95959).

Crime collection

Here is a selection of recent additions to the library's crime collection.

First, some true crime.

The Straight Dope: The Inside Story of Sport's Biggest Drug Scandal, by Chip Le Grand.
Format: DAISY (AU 162889).

Summary: The greatest drugs scandal in Australian sport goes well beyond who took what.

What happened at Essendon, what happened at Cronulla, is only part of the story.

From the basement office of a suburban football club to the seedy corners of Peptide Alley to the polished corridors of Parliament House, The Straight Dope is an inside account of the politics, greed and personal feuds that fuelled an extraordinary saga. 

Coverups and Copouts by Tom Lewis.
Format: DAISY (AU 162818).

Summary: Written by a former detective sergeant, this book exposes some of the corruption within the New Zealand Police Force.

Or, some crime fiction.

Black Teeth, by Zane Lovitt.
Formats: DAISY (AU 161206) and braille (AU 164926).

Summary: Jason Ginaff doesn't get out much, partly because of the anxiety, mainly because he works at home, researching people on the internet.

Job candidates doing bucket bongs on Instagram accounts they thought they'd deleted; the prospective new head of sales stripping for a hens' night.

He's been searching for something on his own time, too. Now he's found the phone number of the man he believes to be his father, which is how he gets mixed up with Rudy Alamein. They've been looking for the same man, but Rudy wants to kill him. 

The Night the Rich Men Burned, by Malcolm Mackay. 
Format: DAISY (AU 161244). 

Summary: Two friends, Alex Glass and Oliver Peterkinney, look for work and for escape from their lives spent growing up in Glasgow's most desperate fringes.

Soon they will become involved in one of the city's darkest and most dangerous trades.

But while one rises quickly up the ranks, the other will fall prey to the industry's addictive lifestyle and ever-spiralling debts.

Before long, violence will spill out onto the streets, as those at the top make deadly attempts to out-manoeuvre one another for a bigger share of the spoils. Peterkinney and Glass will find themselves at the very centre of this war.


Disc magazines

The January 2018 disc magazines will be the last editions on disc.

If you are currently receiving any magazines in disc, and would like to continue receiving magazines beyond the January editions, please phone the Library on 1300 654 656 to discuss transitioning to online delivery.

Cricket fixtures


The Library will cease offering the alternative format Cricket Fixture subscription option following the production and distribution of the 2017/2018 Cricket Fixtures.

Cricket Australia has an app called Cricket Live – it is free, accessible and stores all fixtures and lots of other great cricket content.  The app can be downloaded from the app store.

From next season, if you are unable to access the Cricket Live app and require an alternative version of the fixtures, please phone the Cricket Australia help desk on 1800 274 2538.


International Day of Disability

To mark International Day of Disability (3 December), we feature biographies and autobiographies of people with disability.

When the Dust Settles, by Rob Cook

Formats: DAISY (AU 152590), braille (AU 155118)

Subject Interest Codes: Autobiography, Biography - Australian, Biography - Disabled, Country Life Non-Fiction

Summary: When the Dust Settles is the extraordinary story of cattleman Rob Cook’s journey back to life from a catastrophic helicopter accident that left him paralysed - it is also the story of Suplejack Downs Station and one of Australia's most remarkable and resilient bush dynasties.

Pushing the limits: Life, Marathons and Kokoda, by Kurt Fearnley

Format: DAISY (AU 157202)

Subject Interest Codes: Autobiography, Biography - Australian, Biography - Disabled, Biography – Sports


Summary: When Kurt Fearnley was a kid, he would leave his wheelchair at the front gate and go exploring with his brothers and sisters.

“You're going to have to be stronger than we are,” they told him, “and we know you will be.” The boy from Carcoar was raised to believe he could do anything.

At 15, he won his first medal. Then he conquered the world, winning three Paralympic gold medals, seven world championships and 35 marathons.

Inspiring, exhilarating and highly entertaining, Pushing the Limits takes us inside the mind of a kid with a disability growing up in a tiny town, a teenager finding his place in the world, and an elite sportsman who refuses to give up, no matter how extreme the challenge.

Silent Shock: The Men Behind the Thalidomide Scandal and an Australian Family's Long Road to Justice, by Michael Magazanik

Format: DAISY (AU 156970)

Subject Interest Codes: Biography, Biography - Australian, Biography - Disabled

Summary: "The baby started to come out. Head first, everything OK. But then I saw that there were no arms. And then no legs. The little girl had only a torso and a head."


Summary: Lyn Rowe was born in Melbourne in 1962, seven months after her mother Wendy was given a new wonder drug for morning sickness called Thalidomide.

For 50 years, the Rowe family cared for Lyn. Decades of exhausting, round-the-clock work.  But then in 2011 Lyn Rowe launched a legal claim against the Thalidomide companies. Against the odds, she won a multi-million dollar settlement.

Former journalist Michael Magazanik is one of the lawyers who ran Lyn’s case. In Silent Shock he exposes a 50-year cover-up concerning history’s most notorious drug, and details the damning case against manufacturers Grünenthal and the moving story of the Rowe family.

Spanning Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, Canada, Sweden and Germany, Silent Shock is an epic account of corporate wrongdoing against a backdrop of heroic personal struggle and sacrifice.


Rex: A Mother, Her Autistic Child, and the Music that Transformed Their Lives, by Cathleen Lewis

Format: braille (AU 158083)

Subject Interest Codes: Biography, Biography - Disabled, Inspirational Stories


Summary: The inspiring story of Rex, a boy who is blind and autistic – and is a musical savant.

How can an 11-year old boy hear a Mozart piece for the first time and play it back, note-perfect, but struggles to navigate the familiar surroundings of his own home?

Cathleen Lewis says her son Rex's laugh of total abandon is the single most joyous sound anyone could hear, but his tortured aversion to touch and sound breaks her heart and makes her wonder what God could have had in mind.

In this book she shares the mystery of Rex and the highs, lows, hopes, dreams, joy, sorrows, and faith she has journeyed through with him.


Exploring magazine and journals available in text and audio in MasterFILE Premier

In addition to the magazine and newspaper subscriptions that can be added to your library membership, there are a lot more available online.

A wide range of popular magazines and journals are also available to Library members through MasterFILE Premier.

These are available in a machine-readable format, and in audio.

MasterFILE Premier even allows you to select whether you’d like articles read in an Australian, British or American accent. Once you have located the magazine you want to read, it is also possible to create an alert so that you will be notified via email or RSS feed when new issues are added to the service.

These sources include the follow titles just to name a few.

  • Lifestyle, food and wine magazines such as the Australian Gourmet traveller, Australian House and Garden, Good Health, Harper’s Bazaar, Australian Women’s Weekly, Nature, Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone
  • Science journals and magazine like Australian Geographic, Environment, New Scientist, Popular Science and Science weekly
  • Literature and reading magazines like Australian Literary Studies and Literary Review
  • Current affairs and history title include the Australian Quarterly,Foreign Affairs, History Today, New York Times, New Internationalist


MasterFILE Premier is available on the Youth Library page and also via the link to the Library online research and research tools on the i-access online catalogue welcome page.

If you’d like further information or help locating these or other magazine please contact the Library on 1300 654 656 or email

Katalin Mindum, Reference/Information Librarian

Readers’ Reviews

Mermaids Singing, by Dilly Court

Format: DAISY (AU 114372)

Set in: England

Subject Interest Code: Historical Fiction

Summary: A desperate childhood, an uncertain past, one chance at happiness. Born into poverty, young Kitty Cox dreams of working in a dress shop in the West End - a million miles away from the reality of her life as a mudlark, scavenging on the banks of the Thames.

Employed as a skivvy for Sir Desmond and Lady Arabella Mableton, Kitty is taken under Lady Arabella's wing, but Lady 'Bella' has a secret and decides to leave her husband, fighting him for custody of their daughter Leonie.

Kitty's loyalty is severely tested as all their lives are thrown into turmoil and she faces life in the slums once more.

Reader Comments: “Thank you for choosing Mermaids Singing. Having lived in London (Lambeth/Cockney) for two years in early ‘60s, this book really appealed to me – a great story, the narration so true to Londoners. Thanks.”

The Case of the Secret Assassin, by Kel Richards

Series: Ben Bartholomew Mysteries. No. 2

Format: DAISY (AU 118495)

Set in: 1st century Palestine

Subject Interest Codes: CBMI Mystery and Suspense, CBMI Biblical Fiction

Summary: A fast moving biblical whodunnit. Set in AD57 Roman-occupied Palestine, Ben and his son track down a killer with multiple confliction identities.

Reader Comments: “I enjoyed this book, a proper plot but not taken too seriously. With words of wisdom to encourage the reader. A light-hearted novel that was also full of wisdom. Thanks. Most enjoyable.”



Endless Night, by Agatha Christie

Format: DAISY (AU 102811)

Set in: 20th century England

Subject Interest Code: Detective and Mystery

Summary: Michael Rogers dreamed of a perfectly designed house and a rich, beautiful wife. He found the girl and built the house, but he built it on Gypsy's Acre, a place with a curse on it, where sudden death had already struck.

Reader Comments: “This is the best disc I have ever had. It was so real I could not put it down.”


Australian Stories for the Spirit, by John Smith

Format: DAISY (AU 118922)

Subject Interest Codes: CBMI Recreation, CBMI Inspirational

Summary: Sixty short inspirational stories that will bring spiritual refreshment and restores the gift of wonder to our hectic lives.

The treasure includes heartfelt and humourous stories about faith, hope, courage, love and finding God and blessing in everyday life.

Reader Comments: “Thank you for this book. One of the stories reminded me of some of our experiences as we tracked from Alice Springs to Queensland and some others of our movements during the 60 years of being a Christian. God certainly has his ways of helping us.”


Elianne, by Judy Nunn.

Format: DAISY (AU 155894)   braille (AU 150794)

Set in: 1960s Queensland

Subject Interest Code: Australian Fiction, Family Stories

Summary: In 1881 ‘Big Jim’ Durham, an English soldier of fortune and profiteer, ruthlessly creates for Elianne Desmarais, his young French wife, the finest of the great sugar mills of the southern Queensland cane fields, and names it in her honour.

The massive estate becomes a self-sufficient fortress, a cane-consuming monster and home to hundreds of workers, but Elianne and its masters, the Durham family, have dark and distant secrets; secrets that surface in the wildest and most inflammatory of times, the 1960s.

For Kate Durham and her brothers Neil and Alan, freedom is the catchword of the decade. Young Australians leap to the barricades of the social revolution. Rock ‘n’ roll, the Pill, the Vietnam War, the rise of feminism, Asian immigration and the Freedom Ride join forces to rattle the chains of traditional values.

The workers leave the great sugar estates as mechanisation lessens the need for labour. And the Durham family, its secrets exposed, begins its fall from grace.

Comments: “I do enjoy Judy Nunn. Thank you for the splendid selections I have such pleasure from the readings. Thanks to the narrators. Thank you.”

Beyond the Last Oasis: A Solo Walk in the Western Sahara, by Ted Edwards

Format: DAISY (AU 81248)

Subject Interest Code: Autobiography, Adventure Non-Fiction, Travel and Culture

Summary: A British honours graduate writes of walking 350 across the waterless, searing Empty Quarter of the Sahara Desert.

Completing his trek in 19 days, despite bandits, an air attack, scorpions, and being hopelessly lost, he made the longest self-sufficient solo camel journey in history.

Reader Comments: “Thank you for the trouble you take to find rich interesting stories for me. This one is formidable. A saga of courage, determination and the will to survive. Having tangled with this kind of terrain, albeit in a very minor way.”


Literary Awards – Nobel Prize for Literature

The Nobel Prize for Literature is awarded to an author who is judged to have the most outstanding work of an idealistic tendency out of a field of nominees.

The annual Prize recognises authors who have produced writing of high quality over a lifetime.

The Nobel Prizes were established in 1895 according to the will of Alfred Nobel.

The 2017 Nobel Prize for Literature was recently awarded to British novelist Kazuo Ishiguro, known for lyrical tales of regret fused with subtle optimism.

The Library holds a number of titles by Kazuo Ishiguro, including:

Never Let Me Go - (DAISY 95212, braille AU 96796). Kathy, Ruth and Tommy were pupils at Hailsham, an idyllic establishment situated deep in the English countryside.

The children there were tenderly sheltered from the outside world, brought up to believe they were special, and that their personal welfare was crucial. But for what reason were they really there?

It is only years later that Kathy, now aged thirty-one, finally allows herself to yield to the pull of memory. What unfolds is the haunting story of how Kathy, Ruth and Tommy slowly come to face the truth about their seemingly happy childhoods - and about their futures.

The Remains of the Day - (DAISY AU 94264). Stevens is a perfect English butler who tries to give his narrow existence form and meaning through the self-effacing, almost mystical practice of his profession.

In a career that spans World War II, Stevens is oblivious of the real life that goes on around him, such as the fact his aristocrat employer is a Nazi sympathizer.

In the summer of 1956 he embarks on a rare country motoring holiday, but his travels are disturbed by the memories of a lifetime of service to his late master, and most of all the painful recollection of his friendship with the housekeeper.

Visit for more information.

June 2017

International Women's Day Quiz

Thank you to everyone who entered the Library’s International Women’s Day quiz. Several prizes were awarded. We hope all winners enjoy their prize!

Quiz Answers:

  1. 1975 was International Women's Year? Answer: true.
  2. New Zealand was the first country to grant equal voting rights to women. True or false? Answer: True
  3. International Women's Day was first celebrated in 1911. True or false? True

Reading Challenges

Are you up for a reading challenge? If so, you might like to try one of these …

Good Reads reading challenge

Better World Books  


To mark NAIDOC Week (2 to 9 July 2017), we feature books on Indigenous Australians and related issues.

The Power of Bones by Keelen Mailman

Format: DAISY disc and download (AU 157854)

Subject Interest Codes: Autobiography, Biography-Australian, Indigenous Non-fiction, Inspirational Stories

Summary: It looked bleak and predictable for little Keelen Mailman: an alcoholic mother, absent father, the horrors of regular sexual and physical assault and the casual racism of a small outback town in the 1960s.

But somehow, despite the pain and deprivation, the lost education, she managed to absorb her mother’s lessons: her Bidjara language and culture, her obligations to Country, and her loyalty to her family.

So it was no surprise to some that a girl who could hide for a year in her own home to keep her family together, run as fast as Raelene Boyle and catch porcupine and goanna, would one day make history.

At just 30, and a single mother, Keelen became the first Aboriginal woman to run a commercial cattle station when she took over Mt Tabor, two hours from Augathella on the black soil plains of western Queensland.

This is the heartland of Bidjara country, after all, the place her mother and grandparents and great-grandparents had camped on and cared for, and where their ancestors left their marks on caves and rock walls more than 10,000 years ago.

In this unflinching memoir, the warmth of Keelen’s personality, her determination and her irresistible humour shine through as she recalls her extraordinary life.

The Little Red Yellow Black Book: an introduction to Indigenous Australia by Bruce Pascoe, with the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies

Formats: DAISY disc and download (AU 128717) and braille and braille download (AU 133832)

Subject Interest Codes: Indigenous Non-fiction, Australian Non-fiction

Summary: An invaluable introduction to Australia's rich Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and culture.

If you're an adult wanting to learn what you weren't taught at school, or a student or teacher who wants to hear from and about Indigenous Australians, or if you're a migrant or tourist, or an institution or department with cross-cultural training needs, then The Little Red Yellow Black Book is a very useful and enjoyable resource.

The book takes a non-chronological approach, and is written from an Indigenous viewpoint. The themes that emerge are the importance of identity, adaptation and continuity. The four sections are: Who Are We?; Culture and Sport; Participation and Governance; and Resistance and Reconciliation.

Here are stories the media don't tell you. Mini-essays on famous and everyday people and organisations will give insights into a range of Indigenous experiences.

Blacklines: Contemporary Critical Writing by Indigenous Australians, by Michele Grossman, co-ordinating editor

Formats: DAISY disc and download (AU 107563) and braille and braille download (AU 93355)

Subject Interest Codes: Essays, Indigenous Non-fiction, Language and Cultural Criticism

Summary: This is a ground-breaking volume - the first collection of critical writing by Indigenous Australian intellectuals addressing contemporary cultural issues.

Written by established and emerging Indigenous intellectuals from a variety of positions, perspectives and places, these essays generate new ways of seeing and understanding Indigenous Australian history, culture, identity and knowledge in national and global contexts.

From museums to Mabo, anthropology to art, feminism to film, land rights to literature, the essays offer provocative insights and compelling arguments around the historical and contemporary issues confronting Indigenous Australians today.

If you would like more titles, ask the library to add Indigenous Non-fiction to your favourite book genres, or visit our online catalogue to choose a title yourself.


Library resources for homework help and research

Did you know that Vision Australia Library subscribes to online research databases that include up-to-date information on Australian and overseas topics, as well as a wide range of general interest, health and lifestyle magazines?

Topics covered include; current affairs, health, geography and social studies, history, literature, science and gardening to mention just a few.

But why would you want to use these rather than just searching the internet?

Put simply, these sources are freely available to library members, and include articles from authoritative journals, reference books, and encyclopaedias.

Some also include images, maps and videos. They are easy to search and offer the flexibility to limit or expand searches in a way that is not possible in Google.

The content is often available in full text and is easy to save, print, email or download.  In addition to all of this, some of the databases even include an option to search other databases with a single click without having the re-type your search. 

Vision Australia Library databases include the Britannica Online, Australian and New Zealand Reference Centre and Gale Virtual Reference Library and MasterFILE Premier.  As an added bonus if you search Credo Reference you will be offered an option to search Australian and New Zealand Reference Centre and MasterFILE Premier with a single click and without the need to repeat the search in the two databases.

If you’re after lighter reading, Popular Magazines Plus and MasterFILE Premier also include magazines and trade journals, general interest, current events, sports and lifestyle magazines like the Australian Women’s Weekly, Australian Geographic, Nature, Vanity Fair and many others as well as News Limited newspapers.   

Try the online reference and research databases today? There is a link on the Youth library page and also on the i-access online welcome page.

Contact the Library for more details.

- Katalin Mindum, Reference Information Librarian


Readers’ reviews

Rebecca, by Daphne du Maurier

Format: DAISY disc and download (AU 103385)

Set in: 20th century England

Subject Interest Codes: Twentieth Century Literature, Romance Mystery, Suspense Fiction

Summary: A young wife finds her happiness over-shadowed by the memory of her husband's brilliant first wife, Rebecca

Reader Comments: “Classical fiction at its zenith. Not narrated but acted. Not enough superlatives for this one. Amazing narration by Ms Tobin. Hang in there. The finale is worth waiting for.”

Venetia, by Georgette Heyer

Format: DAISY disc and download (AU 103384)

Set in: 19th century (Regency) England

Subject Interest Codes: Romance Fiction, Historical Romance Fiction

Summary: In all her 25 years, lovely Venetia Lanyon has never been further than Harrogate, nor enjoyed the attentions of any but her two wearisomely persistent suitors.

Then, in an extraordinary encounter, she meets a neighbour she knows only by reputation, the infamous Lord Damerel, and before she knows better is egging on a libertine whose way of life has scandalised the North Riding for years.

Reader Comments: “I found this the most entertaining book - a few good laughs. Recommended.”

Private Bill: In Love and War, by Barrie Cassidy

Format: DAISY disc and download (AU 157203)

Subject Interest Codes: Biography, Biography – Australian, Biography – Military, War Non-Fiction

Summary: Barrie Cassidy's dad Bill survived more than four years as a prisoner of war in World War II

He first saw conflict on Crete in May 1941, during the only large-scale parachute invasion in wartime history.

Just four days later, Bill was wounded and eventually captured. Twice he tried to escape his internment with horrific consequences.

He suffered greatly but found courageous support from his fellow prisoners.

His new wife Myra and his large family thought he was dead until news of his capture finally reached them.

Back home, Myra too was a prisoner of sorts, with her own secrets. Then, 50 years after the war, unhealed wounds unexpectedly opened for Bill and Myra, testing them once again.

Reader Comments: “Well written non-fiction. The dark and poignant story tells the story of the subject’s time both as a prisoner of war, and his later life.”

The Eagle Has Landed, by Jack Higgins

Series: Liam Devlin, no. 1

Followed by: Touch the Devil

Format: DAISY disc and download (AU 102664)

Set in: 20th century Europe

Subject Interest Codes: Adventure Fiction, Politics, Spy Fiction, Suspense Fiction

Summary: It was to become known as the most daring enemy mission of the entire war: "Operation Eagle", SS Reichsfuhrer Heinrich Himmler's audacious plan to kidnap Winston Churchill on British soil in November 1943. But, despite spectacular secrecy, there was to be no surrender without a fight.

Reader Comments: “Highly recommended for the older reader, man or woman, who lived through World War II. An edge-of-your-seat thriller. Fantastic presentation by narrator. I spent many late nights to listen to this one because I didn’t want to wait to hear the next chapter. Volume quality is excellent.”

Maralinga, by Judy Nunn

Format: DAISY disc and download (AU 120682) and braille and braille download (AU 122991)

Set in: 20th century Australia

Subject Interest Codes: Australian Fiction, Outback Australia

Summary: During the darkest days of the Cold War, in the remote wilderness of the South Australian desert, the future of an infant nation is being decided without its people's knowledge.

A British air base in the middle of nowhere; an atomic weapons testing ground; an army of raw youth led by powerful, ambitious men - a cocktail for disaster. Such is Maralinga in the spring of 1956.

This is the story of British Lieutenant Daniel Gardiner, who accepts a 12-month posting to the wilds of South Australia on a promise of rapid promotion; Harold Dartleigh, Deputy Director of MI-6 and his undercover operative Gideon Melbray; Australian Army Colonel Nick Stratton and the enigmatic Petraeus Mitchell, bushman and anthropologist. They all find themselves in a violent and unforgiving landscape, infected with the unique madness and excitement that only nuclear testing creates.

It is also a story of love; a love so strong that it draws the adventurous young English journalist Elizabeth Hoffmann halfway around the world in search of the truth.

Maralinga is a story of heartbreak brought to the innocent First Australians who had walked their land unhindered for 40,000 years.

Reader Comments: “Thoroughly enjoyed this book. Good research of the Atlantic bomb testing at Maralinga gave the book authenticity to a romantic novel.”

To Chase the Storm, by Peter Watt

Series: Cry of the Curlew, no. 4

Sequel to: Flight of the Eagle

Followed by: To Touch the Clouds

Format: DAISY disc and download (AU 139395)

Set in: Various countries, turn of the 20th century

Subject Interest Codes: Australian Fiction, Family Chronicles, Historical Fiction

Summary: Major Patrick Duffy is torn by conflicting duties: his oath to the Queen is unwavering as she gathers her armies together to march on the Boers of southern Africa, but his duty to his family is equally clear.

But when his wife Catherine leaves him for another and returns to Ireland, Patrick's broken heart propels from the Macintosh home in Sydney into another bloody war.

The battlefields of Africa hold more than nightmarish terrors and unspeakable conditions for Patrick - they bring back to one he thought long dead and lost to him.

In Australia, the mysterious Michael O'Flynn mentors Patrick's youngest son, Alex, and at his grandmother's request takes him to their Queensland property, Glen View.

But will the terrible curse that has inextricably linked the Duffys and Macintoshes for generations ensure no true happiness for them? So much seems to depend on Wallarie, the last warrior of the Nerambura tribe, whose name evokes a legend.

Reader Comments: “Another incredible historical story from Peter Watt. He relates as if he lived in that era.”

If you have a book review you would like to share, please email us at


Staff book review

Palais des Nations or The Edith Trilogy - Grand Days, Dark Palace and Cold Light, by Frank Moorhouse

I read this trilogy two years ago and it was one of the most fluid reads I’ve ever had. I could not wait to pick up the next book. I was fascinated with Edith, a woman well ahead of her time. I found her very real, surprising given the author is a man.

It is also compulsively interesting because it is set in real history with the rise of the League of Nations in Geneva, the attempts to disarm aggressive states in Europe, the construction of Canberra and the early days of the Communist Party in Australia.

A number of our politicians and allusions to other interesting characters in the literary and dramatic world are mentioned, such as Robert Menzies and James Joyce.

For a girl from the Australian bush Edith gets to live a very “Bloomsbury-like” lifestyle. She is intensely stylish. Descriptions of her clothes and life are moreish.

She sets out early to be very independent and ambitious and while she has some setbacks her feistiness stands her in good stead.

Her long-time relationship with Ambrose, her best friend and lover is fascinating. Their escapades in Europe are curious and their group of foreign attaches they work with, give you a glimpse of the power plays and dissolute lifestyles that some lived.

The books in the trilogy are Grand Days, Dark Palace and Cold Light.

Grand Days follows Edith’s rise in the League of Nations and the start of long-term friendships.

Dark Palace follows her during the post-1918 disarmament period and the establishment of her role there.

Cold Light sees her return to Australia and her work in Canberra. The setbacks in the design of Canberra, and the establishment of senior political officials gives one a view of the foibles of the time.

Edith’s brother becomes part of her life again, causing complications. When the League disbands in favour of the UN and Australia is snubbed, Edith is devastated. She maintains her passion for international peace and Australia’s role in it.

Each could be enjoyed as stand-alone novels, but I recommend you read all of them. You can’t help but admire Edith for her zest for life, but mostly for her devotion to her work and world peace.

- Louise, Feelix Library

Grand Days is available in DAISY disc and download (AU 100299), and braille and braille download (AU 138246)

Dark Palace is available in DAISY disc and download (AU 135978) and braille and braille download (AU 138248)

Cold Light is available in DAISY disc and download (AU 136804) and braille, and braille download (AU 138250)