Top books to read at home

Looking for a new book to read while staying safely at home? The Library has expanded its ebook collection to over 6000 titles, including access to over 800 new fiction titles and recent award winners. 

Access to ebooks is free for all NSW residents — all you need is a Library card. Once you have registered for a card, simply head to our collection at ProQuest Ebook Central to find a wide range of titles covering business, history, self-help, travel and fiction.  

If you need some tips on where to start, here are 12 hand-picked suggestions from Librarians working from home.

See What You Made Me Do cover

See What You Made Me Do
by Jess Hill, 2019

In this year’s winner of the Stella Prize, investigative journalist Jess Hill puts perpetrators of domestic abuse in the spotlight, shifting the victim-blaming narrative as she ‘radically rethinks how to confront the national crisis of fear and abuse in our homes.'

Fly Already cover

Fly Already
by Etgar Keret, 2019

Librarian David Berg has been enjoying this new collection of short stories, with over 20 vignettes that cover family, war and games, marijuana and cake, memory and love. Keret’s short stories ‘fit a whole novel’s worth of ideas and emotions into witty, clever hits,' says David. ‘No topic is safe from him!’

Critics' Picks photo - Too Much Lip

Too Much Lip
by Melissa Lucashenko, 2018

One of our Top Critics’ Picks recommendations from Library staff over summer, you can now enjoy the adventures of the wise-cracking Kerry Salter on your favourite device. ‘There is some extraordinary Indigenous writing around at present that heralds a new stage in Australian literature, perhaps in world literature,' wrote the Australian Review of Books. ‘Too Much Lip is a worthy addition to the work of such original and passionate writers as Kim Scott and Alexis Wright.’

Pathfinders: A History of Aboriginal Trackers in NSW cover

Pathfinders: A History of Aboriginal Trackers in NSW
by Michael Bennett, 2020

Librarian Andy Carr recommends this story of the more than a thousand Aboriginal men and women who toiled for colonial authorities across the state after 1862 as trackers. 'It highlights the lives of the Indigenous Australians,' says Andy, ‘including the legendary Alec Riley of Dubbo, who worked for the NSW Police Service to locate escaped convicts, murderers and a variety of felons.'

Patience Toby Litt cover

by Toby Litt, 2019

‘The title alone seemed appropriate to these times,' says SLNSW staff member Mathilde de Hauteclocque. ‘Protagonist Elliott is in a wheelchair, able to move only his right hand. His world is built on sounds and reflections and glimpses, on tiny observations that explode out into an understanding of his world, and the people in it, that is full of love and humour — and patience. It’s a very tender example of just what can be created in confinement.’

Earthly Delights - Kerry Greenwood cover

Earthly Delights — Corinna Chapman series #1
by Kerry Greenwood, 2004

'You can smell the bread being described in this delightful dip into this inner city baker’s life,' says librarian Philippa Stevens, suggesting that it’s time to start in on this enduring gastronomical crime series. She adds that it’s 'complete with an interesting cast of locals and a highly enjoyable focus on food and drink throughout.'

Penny Wong: Passion and Principle cover

Penny Wong: Passion and Principle
by Margaret Simons, 2019

Librarian Susan Mercer spent some time with this biography of one of the most recognisable Australian politicians, one who has been a Senator for South Australia since 2002. 'A thoughtful portrait of one of the country’s most admired politicians, revealed via interviews with friends family and colleagues,' says Susan. 

The Great Arch cover

The Great Arch
by Vicki Hastrich, 2010

'How does an ordinary man live big? He must attach himself to big things.' Reverend Ralph Anderson Cage became obsessed with observing and recording the building of the Sydney Harbour Bridge on the doorsteps of his church in Lavender Bay. The building of the bridge parallels his story of bringing up his family during the Great Depression and all their dreams for the future. 'Much like family historians of the future,' comments librarian Kathi Spinks, ‘we try to make our lives more meaningful by attaching ourselves to more interesting ancestors, or in this case, to an engineering feat we could not begin to understand while we live our ordinary lives.'

The Silence cover

The Silence
by Bruce Mutard, 2009

Librarian Richard Gray suggests that you should explore some of the Australian comics and graphic novels on offer too. 'Mutard’s deceptively simple story of a couple in search of an elusive artist unfolds through conversations and observations on the nature of art and artists. Backed by strikingly etched black and white line-art, it’s also a low-key mystery,' enthuses Richard.

Lovesong Alex Miller cover

by Alex Miller, 2009

Miller has won the Miles Franklin Award twice, but it is his 2009 book that is still a favourite for librarian Philippa Stevens, who says it’s 'a superbly crafted novel that takes you to the heart of a cafe serving immigrant workers in Paris and the powerful connections formed between staff and diners, truly a wonderful commentary on love.'

Florence under Siege: Surviving Plague in an Early Modern City cover

Florence under Siege: Surviving Plague in an Early Modern City
by John Henderson, 2019

'History repeats itself?' asks librarian Emma Gray. 'An epidemic of plague in early 17th century Florence left medical workers and government officials struggling to manage the outbreak, while the general population were forced to cope with restrictions, illness and the loss of loved ones.' A timely reminder of humanity’s perseverance. 

Library 2020: Today’s Leading Visionaries Describe Tomorrow’s Library

Library 2020: Today’s Leading Visionaries Describe Tomorrow’s Library
by Joseph Janes

'In 2020 books still take up a lot of space,' says librarian Renee McGann upon reading this look at the future of libraries. 'But storage has become portable, light and accessible, and is no longer finite. So, a day in the life of a librarian is even busier. After all, we’re still organising things: people, social spaces, community, and places. With a bit of leadership and vision like this, the future has never looked brighter.'  She also leaves us with this quote from the book which hits close to home:

‘The Annoyed Librarian is possibly the most successful, respected, and desirable librarian of her generation… She has no other interest than to bring her wit and wisdom to the huddled librarian masses yearning to breathe free… The Annoyed Librarian is a free spirit and you are lucky to have her.’