Tuesday, January 16, 2018

52 Book Challenge - Week 3

Okay! Well, it's time to move away from books you encountered in school or childhood, and pick up a book that has been around for a while.

This week's challenge is:

3. A Book Published Over 100 Years Ago

Now, that includes everything written before 1918, so you've got a few to choose from.

By the way, you'll notice that most of these challenges don't specify "fiction book" or "novel" - so you can choose any kind of book you like, so long as it's a little long in the tooth.

And we've had a few people say the idea of all 52 books is a bit daunting - but never fear! We don't mind how many books you read this year. The challenge is just designed to encourage you to think about reading a book you might not have read without the prompt.

Feel free to jump in and out of the challenge as you go along, and see how many books you can fit in.

Have you missed out on hearing about the 52 Book Challenge? Catch up here.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Reading Challenge Week 2 - A Book From Your Childhood

We're still valiantly struggling on with the 52 Book Challenge, and finding some interesting books in our Curriculum collection to help us with the second book on the list:

A Book From Your Childhood.

What have you been reading? Here are some of the books we've been reading:

Brenda Carter read Tales from the Arabian nights by James Riordan.

On my last day of primary school, I surreptitiously left a small pile of “the best books I had ever read” on a bookshelf in the school library, as a silent recommendation to other students. One of these titles was an edition of Tales from the Arabian nights (C398.210953 RIO).  My preference for fable and magic was beautifully catered for by this small selection of tales , and I have since purchased the complete version which includes elements of crime, horror, fantasy and science fiction, as well as plenty of suspenseful adventures.

One thousand and one nights is a collection of Middle Eastern folk tales compiled in Arabic, collected over many centuries by various authors, translators, and scholars across West, Central, and South Asia and North Africa. Some of the more well-known stories include  "Aladdin's Wonderful Lamp", "Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves", and "The Seven Voyages of Sinbad the Sailor".

What is common throughout all the editions of the Nights is the initial story of the ruler Shahryār and his wife Scheherazade. After discovering that his wife has been unfaithful, Shahryār has her killed. Shahryār decides that all women are the same and begins to marry a succession of virgins, only to execute each one the next morning before she has a chance to dishonour him. Finally, a woman named Scheherazade offers herself as the next bride and, on the night of their marriage, Scheherazade begins to tell the king a tale but does not end it. The king, curious about how the story ends, is thus forced to postpone her execution in order to hear the conclusion. This continues for 1,001 nights.

For those who think the 1001 night challenge might be too much, our copy of Tales from the Arabian nights would be a good place to start.

Full disclosure – I thought this was a book from my childhood, because the title was so darn familiar when I saw it on the shelf (at C810 BLU). However, I didn’t remember any part of the book other than the title, so I think I actually read this book for the first time this year.

And I have to say, if I had read this book in my childhood, I wouldn’t have liked it. Then again, I remember that I didn’t like most of the other Judy Blume books I read when I was young – the characters were too mopey, and seemed to spend most of the time worrying about a) puberty and b) some other thing (in this case, Margaret worries about which religion she should follow) and doing very little else.

Allow me to summarise the plot of this book in haiku form (because I can):

Dear God, I would like
Religious guidance and boobs.
Hooray! Periods!

Alice Luetchford read Miss Happiness and Miss Flower, by Rumer Godden

Miss Happiness and Miss Flower (C820 GOD) is one of my favourite stories from my primary school library.

Written in the 1960’s and set in England, this book is about a small girl a long way from her home on an Indian tea plantation. The small girl feels very lonely and unable to settle in to her new life with her English cousins, until a beautiful wooden box arrives revealing two wooden Japanese dolls. The story then unfolds around how the mysterious Japanese dolls entrance the small girl and set her on a quest for their happiness. The girl and her cousins are aided by their local bookstore proprietor as they learn all they can about building a Japanese dolls house featuring rosewood, cherry blossoms, lattice screen sliding doors and walls, scalloped niche alcoves for flowers boughs, Japanese scrolls, tea ceremonies, pencil boxes and beautiful satin kimonos.

During my own childhood this story opened my eyes to the wonders of Japanese culture, art, design, houses, etiquette and nuances. Re-reading this simple story with a happy ending has been very nostalgic and once again captivated me with its visual imagery and artistic delight.

Martin Luther King Day

Senior Airman Jarad A. DentonReleased 
2018 marks 50 years since the death of social activist Martin Luther King. Martin Luther King Day is commemorated on 15 January this year. As a leader of the civil rights movement for negro people, King travelled over six million miles and spoke over twenty-five hundred times, appearing wherever there was injustice, protest, and action.

King was arrested more than twenty times and assaulted at least four times; he was awarded five honorary degrees and was named Man of the Year by Time magazine in 1963. At the age of thirty-five, Martin Luther King, Jr., was the youngest man to have received the Nobel Peace Prize. He was assassinated on the evening of April 4, 1968, while standing on the balcony of his motel room in Memphis, Tennessee.

You can read more about King's inspirational life, including his speech,"I have a dream" in the library catalogue.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

52 Book Challenge - Week 2

We hope you enjoyed revisiting a book you read in school for last week's part of the 52 Book Challenge.

This week, we're still revisiting books from the past:

2. A Book From Your Childhood

We've got a great range of children's books in the Curriculum Collection (which is designed to be a miniature school library), but if you were the kind of kid who liked reading books like Dracula, or the Lord of the Rings trilogy, you might need to check out the 810s and 820s to find your old friends.

We'd love to hear from you about the books you are discovering (or rediscovering). Feel free to use the comments section in our posts (or on Facebook) to share.

Next week the challenge is to read a book that was published over 100 years ago. What would you like to read?

Monday, January 8, 2018

Reading Challenge Week 1 - A book you read in school

How have you been going with the 52 Week Book Challenge?

Last week's theme was "A Book You Read in School", and here are some books we've been reading:

Brenda Carter read Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen:

It is a truth universally acknowledged...that everyone should read Pride and Prejudice at least once in their life.

Pride and prejudice (820 AUSTE) by Jane Austen was one of my Year 12 texts and has since become my favourite novel. In fact, Pride and Prejudice is cited by academics and booklovers as the bestselling novel of all time and has never been out of print (Powell, 2017). Austen's wry social commentary, expert characterisation and timeless wit make this book my go-to read.  From a 90's rom-com (Clueless) and Colin Firth's 'wet shirt' (Andrew Davies' 1995 screenplay) to a Bollywood musical (Bride and prejudice), the novel's many adaptations demonstrates its continuing relevance in the 21st century. Already hooked? You might consider joining the Jane Austen Society or attending the Jane Austen Festival.

If you missed celebrating the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen's death in 2017, reading Pride and prejudice would be a great place to start. You can find all of Austen's works and much more in the library catalogue.

Samantha Baxter read The Gathering by Isobelle Carmody:

I remember The Gathering (820.94 CARM, Curriculum Collection) by Isobelle Carmody being one of the books assigned to me in high school that I actually enjoyed, at the time I wasn’t a big fan of young adult fiction. So when I rediscovered it recently and this challenge came up I decided to re-read it. It had been awhile since my original reading but I remembered certain parts of the story, funnily enough it was things like Nathaniel’s description of ‘the pain barrier’ that had stuck in my mind as opposed to actual plot points.

The story centres on Nathaniel Delaney, who has been shuffled around by his mother since his parents’ divorce. Now finding himself in the town of Cheshunt, a place that automatically sets him on edge. He feels a negativity around him, especially at his new High School, Three North High. What follows is a horror/fantasy story, including wild dogs, and magical talismans. As well as more mundane ‘evils’ suffered by Nathaniel’s schoolmates.

The story is fast paced, but with a depth that keeps the characters interesting and with regular revelations that are sometimes expected and sometimes out of the blue. I am glad to have re-read this story from my adolescence.

Rachael McGarvey read The Silver Sword, by Ian Serraillier:

I was first introduced to The Silver Sword (820 SER, Curriculum Collection) when I was in primary school, it was read to the class by our teacher, and I have loved it since.

Serraillier's book is based in Poland during the second world war and it is about a family who are separated due to their opposition towards the Nazi regime.  The story follows each of the members of the family in their struggles and difficulties to escape and survive the conflicts of war and reunite with each other.

The Silver Sword is an amazing story that will stay with you long after you have closed the book.

Sharon Bryan read Pastures of the Blue Crane, by H.F. Brinsmead:

I remembered enjoying  Brinsmead's Pastures of the Blue Crane (820.94 BRI, Curriculum Collection) in high school and, reading it again 20 years later, I can see why I liked it.

It’s basically a “Girl’s Own Adventure”, in which 16-year-old Ryl Merewether (who has never known life outside of boarding school) suddenly acquires A Life - involving a run-down dump of a farm, a grumpy grandfather she never knew existed, and a group of friends she might never have spoken to in her "old" life. From a prim, stuck-up school girl who doesn’t know how food gets onto the table, she grows into a resourceful young lady who would be the match of any action heroine, even though her “adventures” consist of planting a banana patch and learning to surf.

But this coming-of-age story is also an exploration of attitudes towards race – particularly concerning the South Sea Islanders who came to Australia via “blackbirding”. The "twist" in the story has less impact now that it would have in 1964, but it's still well worth reading, to see this slice of life from Australia's recent past.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

2018 - the year of...?

Each year, the United Nations seeks to raise awareness of a global issue by designating an International Year dedicated to the topic, however no theme has been advertised for 2018 as yet. We are, however, still in the midst of the Decade of Action on Nutrition, which runs from 2016 until 2025.

UN statistics reveal that 155 million children are stunted and 1.9 billion adults over 18 years of age are overweight. With health targets relating to mental health and wellbeing, substance abuse, road traffic accidents, sexual health, and chemical use, there are many ways individuals can get involved and make a difference.

Improving personal health and wellbeing is a popular new year's resolution, so why not check out WHO's goals and commit to one or more this year?

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

A Reading Challenge for 2018 - Week 1

Click on the picture for a bigger view.
The full list is also in the comments under this post,
if you find the picture hard to read..
Happy Tuesday, everyone! And welcome to the first week of 2018!

Just to liven things up this year, we've decided to adopt Hannah Braime's 52 Book 2018 Reading Challenge.

Every week, for the next 52 weeks, we'll be inviting you to make use of our books (eBooks as well as print books) to complete the challenge.

We'll be reading along, and posting some reviews of the books we've read as part of the challenge.

You don't have to read every book - just what you can (although the more the better) - and we'd love to hear about the books you have read as part of the challenge, either in the comments on the posts we write, or on our Facebook page.

We'll be issuing the challenge for the week each Tuesday, and catching up on Monday to see who has been reading what.

Think of it as a giant book club, only with everyone reading different books....

This week's challenge should send you to our Curriculum Collection (where all the best books are):

1. A Book You Read in School.

Happy Reading!