Here are the Library team’s top recommendations 

1989 – The Great Grand Final  by Tony Wilson





The year was 1989.    The Berlin Wall comes down, Emperor Hirohito of Japan dies, the Exxon Valdez tanker runs aground, The Bangles, Madonna and Fine Young Cannibals rock the charts, taffeta is in short supply at Spotlight,  Bob Hawke is our PM and the mullet is the hairstyle of choice for many boys, men and some women.

1989 was also the year of the most exhilarating, nail biting and brutal grand final games of VFL/AFL history. Three decades later, it’s been called possibly the greatest game of all time.

It was a football era of savage tackles and shirt-fronts which sometimes resulted in players being stretchered off the ground, often to hospital.  A  loop- hole in the rules meant that if the ball was within 10 metres you could charge your opponent with a violent  hip and shoulder and usually, not end up at  the tribunal.   The best executor of this legal but questionable manoeuvre was Hawthorn’s Dermott Brereton.  With his peroxide permed mullet hair, Speedo size shorts and coloured flashy boots, Brereton was the epitome 80s rockstar footballer.   He was also one of the most competitive and fearless players to lace up the boots.

Hawthorn dominated the competition for years and was known as a sleek professional machine coached by former policeman, Allan Jeans and led by the “Saintly” Michael Tuck.

Geelong was known as flighty – a team who displayed brilliance one week and woeful substandard skills the next.   They enlisted the coaching talents of former North Melbourne player turned supercoach, Malcolm Blight,  and suddenly the pretenders became serious finals contenders.

Plus Geelong had one thing no other team possessed – they had “god”  AKA the original Gary Ablett.

The scene was set for a spectacular showdown and the two sides did not disappoint the packed MCG nor the thousands watching it on TV.     At the end of the game the injury toll resembled a hospital emergency room list –  rolled ankles, punctured lung,  ruptured testicle, broken ribs, concussions, medial ligament tear, broken teeth, ruptured kidney, internal bleeding and wide scale bruising.

Scottish soccer player, Ray Stewart observed the game, and was recorded to have said “I would not play this game for a million dollars!”

For further viewing I can recommend this insightful documentary.

And after watching, make sure you read the book.

Library Call Number:  796.336 WIL

The Ruin  by Dervla McTiernan





Galway 1993:  A young policeman,  Cormac Reilly is called to a scene he will never forget. Two silent, neglected children – fifteen-year-old Maude and five-year-old Jack – are waiting for him at a crumbling country house. Upstairs, their mother lies dead. 

Twenty years later, a body surfaces in the icy black waters of the River Corrib. At first it looks like an open-and-shut case, but then doubt is cast on the investigation’s findings – and the integrity of the police. Cormac is thrown back into the cold case that has haunted him his entire career – what links the two deaths, two decades apart? As he navigates his way through police politics and the ghosts of the past, Detective Reilly uncovers shocking secrets and finds himself questioning who among his colleagues he can trust. 

What really did happen in that house where he first met Maude and Jack? 

The Ruin draws us deep into the dark heart of Ireland and asks who will protect you when the authorities can’t – or won’t.

Library Call Number: CRI F MCT

The Happiest Man on Earth  by  Eddie Jaku


“Life can be beautiful if you make it beautiful. It is up to you.”




Eddie Jaku was born Abraham Jakubowicz in Germany in 1920.   He always considered himself a German first, a Jew second. He was proud of his country. But all of that changed in November 1938, when he was beaten, arrested and taken to a concentration camp.

Over the next seven years, Eddie faced unimaginable horrors every day, first in Buchenwald, then in Auschwitz, then on a Nazi death march. He lost family, friends, and his country.

Because he survived, Eddie made the vow to smile every day. He pays tribute to those who were lost by telling his story, sharing his wisdom and living his best possible life. He now believes he is the ‘happiest man on earth’.

In 1950 he moved with family to Australia where he has lived since. Eddie has volunteered at the Sydney Jewish Museum since its inception in 1992. Edie has been married to Flore for 74 years. They have two sons, grandchildren and great grandchildren.  He decided to write this book – his memoirs – during his 100th year.    

This is his story.

Library Call Number: BIO 940.531 JAK


The Guest List   by Lucy Foley





A gripping, twisty murder mystery thriller in the classic whodunnit style.

On an island off the windswept Irish coast, guests gather for the wedding of the year – the marriage of  socialite Jules Keegan and TV Star Will Slater.

Old friends.

Past grudges.

Happy families.

Hidden jealousies.

Thirteen guests.

One body.

The wedding cake has barely been cut when one of the guests is found dead. And as a storm unleashes its fury on the island, everyone is trapped.

All have a secret. All have a motive.

Who is the victim and who is the killer?

Library Call Number  CRI F FOLE


My Traitor’s Heart  – by Rian Malan





Not a new book, but new to the AHL and one we recommend you read.   First published in 1990, My Traitor’s Heart tells the story of  journalist, Rian Malan – descendant of the architects of apartheid, middle-class white boy, and friend to blacks.  Rian was a crime reporter at a Johannesburg newspaper during the 70’s and early 80’s. There he encountered first-hand the horrors wrought by apartheid- the poverty, the injustice and the violence. 

At the centre of this book is the question, “What do you do when you despise your racist father who advocates graphic violence as a solution,  when you also deeply love him ?

After an eight-year exile, he returned to write this book.  With gripping stories and in mesmerising prose, this is Malan’s attempt to understand his country, its racial hatred, and his own tortured conscience.

Library Call number  BIO 968.06 MAL


The Captain Class   – by Sam Walker





From the founding editor of The Wall Street Journal’s sports section comes a bold new theory of leadership drawn from the elite captains who inspired their teams to achieve extraordinary success.

The secret to winning is not what you think it is.

It’s not the coach. It’s not the star.

It’s not money. It’s not a strategy.

It’s something else entirely.

Several years ago, Sam Walker set out to answer one of the most hotly debated questions in sports: What are the greatest teams of all time? He devised a formula, then applied it to thousands of teams from leagues all over the world, from the NBA to the English Premier League to Olympic field hockey. When he was done, he had a list of the sixteen most dominant teams in history. 

At that point, he became obsessed with another, more complicated question: What did these freak teams have in common?

As Walker dug into their stories, a pattern emerged: Each team had the same type of captain—a singular leader with an unconventional skill set who drove it to achieve sustained, historic greatness.

Fueled by a lifetime of sports spectating, twenty years of reporting, and a decade of painstaking research, The Captain Class tells the surprising story of what makes teams exceptional. 

Drawing on original interviews with athletes from two dozen countries, as well as general managers, coaches, executives, and others skilled at building teams, Walker identifies the seven core qualities of this Captain Class—from extreme doggedness and emotional control to a knack for nonverbal communication to tactical aggression and the courage to stand apart.

The men and women who make up the Captain Class were never the most skilled athletes, nor were they gifted orators or paragons of sportsmanship. They were often role players who were allergic to the spotlight. In short, the seven attributes they shared challenge your assumptions of what inspired leadership looks like.

Library Call number  796 WAL


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