Twenty years of Harry Potter

Work experience student Tiah is a Potterhead. She has seen all of the Harry Potter movies and continues to work her way through the books. Tiah has definite opinions on her favourite and least favourite characters – read on to see who they are. 

This year marks 20 years since the first Harry Potter book was published, so I thought ‘why not blog about it?’ My name is Tiah and I came to Tea Tree Gully Library for my Year 10 work experience for school. 

I am going to tell you about my favourite character Draco Malfoy. Now you may hate me for this, but I am also going to talk about my least favourite character Dolores Umbridge. I think most of us will definitely agree that she is one of the least favourite characters.

Draco Last Year

Draco Malfoy: my favourite character Image: Wikia

Yes in the first five movies and books, Draco is really mean to pretty much everyone at Hogwarts, but in the last three movies and two books you start to discover why he is that way. He doesn’t really have a choice on being nice to Harry and his friends, seeing as his parents are Death Eaters who serve Lord Voldemort. They killed his parents and are trying to kill Harry.

Honestly, I have not read all of the books yet, so I don’t know all that much (the books have more details than the movies) but Draco has always been one of my favourite characters. He is a siriusly misunderstood character (pun intended).

After realising he has been a jerk to everyone, Draco decides he does not want to raise his son, Scorpius, the way his parents raised him. He didn’t marry a Death Eater and he didn’t make his son believe everything his parents made him believe about muggle-borns and half-bloods.

Draco Year 1

Draco in his first year at Hogwarts – evil from an early age – yet still my favourite character Image: myharrypotterlovestory.wordpress.com

Even J.K. Rowling has a soft spot for Draco. She has said: “I do not discount the appeal of Tom Felton, who plays Draco brilliantly in the films and, ironically, is about the nicest person you could meet.” 

However Dolores Umbridge did have a choice on the way she behaved.
She is not a Death Eater, nor was anyone else in her family, with her father being her only other magic relation. She is just really rude to anyone who is not a pure blood. She didn’t let her students use spells for learning how to defend themselves during her class Defense Against The Dark Arts (aka DADA). Eventually in the end, after The Dark Lord’s final battle, Dolores was arrested, tried and sent to Azkaban for crimes against humanity.

Umbridge

Dolores was just plain rude. Image: thisgeekymommy.com

Stephen King told J.K Rowling, that he described Dolores Umbridge as  ‘the greatest make-believe villain to come along since Hannibal Lecter.’

Umbridge (2)

J.K. Rowling describes Dolores as ‘fat, short, ugly and toad-like’ in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Image: storyofcamelcow.wordpress.com

J.K. Rowling will always be one of my favourite authors and people in this world and if you didn’t know already, there is a website she has made about the wizarding world that is easy to use pottermore.com

You can find out everything about the characters, creatures and professors, discover your patronus, find out what house you’re in, what Ilvermorny house you’re in, find out what wand you would have, locations such as Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade Village, and there’s even things on Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. You can also shop for J.K. Rowling’s books, ebooks and audiobooks on the website.

PS I think Tom Felton and Imelda Staunton were perfect for the roles of Draco and Dolores.

Surprise book of the month

Beautiful Goats cover.docxBeautiful Goats: Portraits of Classic Breeds

Written by Felicity Stockwell  and photographed by Andrew Perris

I have noticed that Library staff love putting Beautiful Goats: Portraits of Classic Breeds on display and it always gets borrowed. So what is so appealing about this unusual title?

I asked myself “Why do we love goats?” They eat almost everything and can butt you in the backside, then appear to laugh about it.  However, goats are also sweet natured and have pretty faces. They have personality. Maybe they are endeared to us from childhood, when we listen to the story of the brave Billy Goats Gruff outwitting the vile troll on the bridge. One of my colleagues also told me that goats have become nearly as popular as cats on the Internet.

In the first few pages of Beautiful Goats: Portraits of Classic Breeds, Felicity Stockwell looks at the history and cultural significance of goats. She writes about the agricultural products derived from goats, goats as pets, wild goats and show competitions. However, the greatest part of this book is devoted to showcasing 40 breeds of goats. Photographs are accompanied by specific information about each breed that is featured.

These goats are simply photogenic and definitely beautiful. Each goat is photographed against a simple grey background, which reflects the colour of the book’s covers.  They do not require any other artifices. Andrew Perris skilfully manages to capture so much expression on each of these animal’s faces.  The goats look proud and happy to be photographed on set. They raise their heads in regal poses as if to say “This is my good side”.

The final section of the book ‘Reportage’ takes a fun look inside a goat show, where black and white snapshots are posted billboard style, accompanied by cute captions.

It is worth browsing through this lovely book, whether you have an interest in agriculture, you would like a cheeky pet or even if you just enjoy clever photography. You can reserve Beautiful Goats: Portraits of Classic Breeds. Or enquire next time you visit the Library.

 

 

How many books will you read in 2017?

How many books do you read in a year?

Some Tea Tree Gully Library staff recently compared their 2016 reading lists. It was interesting to see not just what books people read, but also how many books they got through.

Penny read 24. Hayley got through 25. Rose smashed 69 books – an impressive effort.

But no one had anything on Pixie. The magical Pixie, who read 94 books in 2016. An incredible 1.8 books a week.

Pixie created a reading challenge list at the start of last year and especially focused on reading classics, seeing as they’re not her thing. In the end, she got through nine classics – one short of her goal of 10. Amazing.

Here’s the full list of what Pixie read:

Classics
1. Dracula by Bram Stoker
2. The women in black by Madeleine St John
3. To kill a mockingbird by Harper Lee
4. Little men by Louisa Alcott
5. Jo’s boys by Louisa Alcott
6. Good wives by Louisa Alcott
7. Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote
8. One flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey
9. Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D H Lawrence

Non-fiction
10. Quiet by Susan Cain
11. Talking to my country by Stan Grant
12. I, Digital: personal collections in the digital era by Christopher A. Lee (ed)
13. The Life of I: the new culture of narcissism by Anne Manne
14. Shrill: notes from a loud woman by Lindy West
15. The Japanese mind: essentials of Japanese philosophy and culture by Charles Moore (ed)
16. Primates of park avenue by Wednesday Martin
17. Reckoning by Magda Szubanski
18. Love and death in Kathmandu by Amy Willesee & Mark Whittaker
19. Between you and me: Confessions of a comma queen by Mary Norris
20. Yes please by Amy Poehler
21. Bossypants by Tina Fey

Foreign titles
22. The angel’s game Carlos Ruiz Zafon (Spain)
23. My mother’s house by Colette (France)
24. The white tiger by Aravind Adiga (India)
25. Norwegian wood by Haruki Murakami (Japan)
26. The post-office girl by Stefan Zweig (Austria)
27. China Mao’s last dancer by Li Cunxin (China)
28. Breathless by Anne Sward (Sweden)
29. Ines of my soul by Isabel Allende (Peru/Chile)
30. The hairdresser of Harare by Tendai Huchu (Zimbabwe)
31. Half of a yellow sun  by Chimanda Ngozi Adichie (Nigeria)

Fiction
32. Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Greene & David Levithan
33. The messenger by Markus Zusak
34. The language of flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
35. The god of small things Arundhati Roy
36. Purple Hibiscus by Chimanda Ngozi Adichie
37. The curious incident of the dog in the night by Mark Haddon
38. Sputnik Sweetheart by Haruki Murakami
39. Lost and found by Brooke Davis
40. Witches abroad by Terry Pratchett
41. Odd hours by Dean Koontz

Sci-Fi
42. Some kind of fairytale by Graham Joyce
43. Stardust by Joseph Kanon
44. The prisoner of heaven by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
45. Pirate Latitudes by Michael Crichton
46. The Dressmaker by Rosalie Ham
47. The Crane Wife by Patrick Ness
48. Mountain shadow by Gregory David Roberts

Quirky
49. Everything is illuminated Jonathan Safran Foer
50. The love song of Johnny valentine by Teddy Wayne
51. Wild abandon by Joe Dunthorne
52. The truth about diamonds by Nicole Richie
53. The woman in the lobby by Lee Tulloch
54. A most immoral woman by Linda Jaivin

Young Adult Fiction
55. March by Geraldine Brooks
56. The bone dragon by Alexia Casale
57. Finding serendipity by Angelica Banks

Horror/crime
58. Wraith by Lee Tulloch
59. The vampire shrink by Lynda Hilburn
60. Career of evil by Robert Galbraith
61. A prick with a fork by Larissa Dubecki

Memoir
62. Bitter is the new black by Jen Lancaster
63. Blood bones and butter by Gabrielle Hamilton
64. Stephanie’s feasts and stories by Stephanie Alexander
65. The devil’s picnic by Taras Grescoe
66. Hallucinations by Oliver Sacks
67. Cyndi Lauper: A memoir by Cyndi Lauper
68. Weird Sister by Kate Pullinger
69. The anti cool girl by Rosie Waterland

Other reading
70 + 71. Divergent series (2 books) – Insurgent & Allegiant
72-83 Stackhouse series (11 books ) + The Sookie Stackhouse companion
84. Fun home by Alison Bechdel (graphic novel/ memoir)
85. We need new names by Noviolet Bulowayo
86. Pure by Andrew Miller
87. Japanese mythology by Juliet Piggott
88. Wildflower by Drew Barrymore
89. How to be happy by David Burton
90. Go set a watchman by Harper Lee
91. Candy girl by Diablo Cody
92. Rosewater and soda bread by Marsha Mehran
93. Be different by John Elder Robinson
94. Orange is the new black by Piper Kerman


Rose’s 10 favourite books read in 2016 (in no particular order)

  • The Fifth Season – NK Jemisin
  • The Neapolitan Novels by Elena Ferrante:
  • My Brilliant Friend
  • The Story of a New Name
  • Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay
  • The Story of the Lost Child
  • Into Thin Air – Jon Krakauer
  • The Wrath and The Dawn – Renee Ahdieh
  • Murder Must Advertise – Dorothy L Sayers
  • So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed – Jon Ronson
  • The Monogram Murders – Sophie Hannah

Penny’s 10 favourite books read in 2016 (in no particular order)

  • French Kids Eat Everything by Karen Le Billon
  • The Other Hand by Chris Cleave
  • The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
  • Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed
  • Shelter by Kara Rosenlund
  • Love x Style x Life by Garance Doré
  • Eat Real Food by David Gillespie
  • Use Your Words by Catherine Deveny
  • Mastery by Robert Greene (this book is a treasure!) 
  • Norweigan Wood by Haruki Murakami

As for Hayley, she loved ‘Big Magic’ by Elizabeth Gilbert, ‘Use Your Words’ by Catherine Deveny and ‘Princess Jellyfish’ by Akiko Higashimura in 2016.

Here’s a pic of her 2017 reading challenge:

hayley-book-list

Many of these books were presents given to Hayley in 2016. All of them are titles she really wants to read but hasn’t gotten around to yet. There are 12 of them – so she is aiming to read one book per month.


Do you set ambitious reading goals each year?

Do you aim to read a book a month, or a book a week? Or one book a year? Let us know.

Season’s Greetings

wrting-cardsEvery year, do you mechanically write out your Christmas cards at the last minute, using the same message for everybody, while getting a sore wrist?

Do you write “Merry Christmas and best wishes for the coming year, love from…” Even if that is what the card’s verse basically says?

cropped-santa

 

Or do you cringe when you have selected or made a beautiful blank card that needs a message? If you would like to saysomething more poetic and personalised, then Just the Right Christmas Words could be what you need.

just-the-right-christmas-words-cover-largeJudith Wibberley has created a selection of messages that you can use for your festive cards and invitations, to make the people who receive them feel special. She includes a variety of wording for Christmas and New Year greetings in both prose and in verse. There are messages for loved ones and different relatives, including families who have a new child.

Judith also writes for friends who are living overseas or serving in the armed forces. She includes a special section for Christian messages and for writing to Jewish friends celebrating Hanukkah. So as is noted on page 155 of Just the Right Christmas Words,“This Christmas, Spend a little, Laugh a lot, And enjoy.”

You can reserve Just the Right Christmas Words through the online catalogue or enquire when you visit the Library.

The Driver – Australia and New Zealand on the back of a truck.

20160920_160053I first heard about this upcoming title some months ago whilst flicking through the free newspaper ‘Big Rigs’ when I stopped at a roadhouse on a regular drive to Victoria. I was pretty excited when it finally arrived on my desk at the Library last week. As a fan of anything automotive, it was great to see an excellent book that focuses on an industry that is under-represented in library collections. An industry that everyone in Australia relies on, yet generally knows so little about.

20160920_160304The author is professional photographer and entrepreneur Alice Mabin. Alice is no stranger to rural Australia having grown up on the land, and photographing Aussie rural life, much of which appears in her first book, The Drover.

 

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The Driver – Australia and New Zealand on the back of a truck is literally a massive book, and it needs to be to even scratch the surface of an industry of the scale seen in Australia and New Zealand. It features 110 trucking families and businesses, of all sizes, truck makes and cargoes, providing very colourful and varied stories. It’s not just the trucks though, each spread also has the real-life experiences of those who drive the trucks, and superbly captures their passions and drives.

20160920_160232There’s 700 photographs, and Alice’s skill with the camera is clearly evident. Some were planned shots and stories, others occurred by chance as she travelled the country snapping the photo and then chatting with the driver.

20160920_160217Trucking life is certainly a culture unto itself and has suffered and triumphed through many changes and challenges since the pre-war period when trucks became a standard feature on and off of our roads. There is a timeline in the front of the book that highlights many of these important events.

Alice herself was struck by a truck whilst driving on the Sunshine Coast some years back and she accounts this incident as the trigger to understanding trucking life. Both of Alice’s books are available to borrow from SA Libraries and you can learn more about Alice on her website.

Children’s Book Council – Book of the Year Awards 2016

It’s Book Week! That means this year’s Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Book of the Year awards have been revealed!

The shortlist was announced earlier this year, and the overall winners in each category were revealed at a special event yesterday. There are some common themes arising in most of these titles, commenting on some very contemporary issues around the world.

flightFlight, by Armin Greder and Nadia Wheatley won the Best Picture Book. From Nadia’s website: Under the cover of darkness, a small family takes flight in search of a new home. At first it could be happening thousands of years ago, but as the travellers make their way through the wilderness, the unseen dangers are suddenly transformed into the kind of images that are only too familiar from contemporary scenes of war.

mr-huff-anna-walker

Mr Huff written and illustrated by Anna Walker took out the Early Childhood area. From the publisher: Mr Huff is following him around and making everything seem difficult.  Bill tries to get rid of him, but Mr Huff just gets bigger and bigger!  Then they both stop, and a surprising thing happens . . . 

 

soon-gleitzmanIn the Young Readers category, Soon, by Morris Gleitzman was the winner.  From Goodreads: Soon continues the incredibly moving story of Felix, a Jewish boy still struggling to survive in the wake of the liberation of Poland after the end of World War Two.

 

 

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Older Readers category was won by Cloudwish, written by Fiona Wood. Vân Uoc doesn’t believe in fairies, zombies, vampires, Father Christmas – or magic wishes. She believes in keeping a low profile: real life will start when school finishes. But when she attracts the attention of Billy Gardiner, she finds herself in an unwelcome spotlight. Not even Jane Eyre can help her now.

 

All of these titles are available from the Library, and you can see the full list of winners and honourable mentions here.

Classic Graphic: The Moomin stories

moomin_history_tove_jansson-cfb36ad907e5b10ec440f2105589c600                               pee-hoo

Today is the birthday of Finnish author, artist and cartoonist Tove Marika Jansson. Tove was born in Helsinki on 9 August 1914 and died on 27 June 2001 at the age of 86.

Tove Jansson was a member of the Swedish speaking minority in Finland. She was raised by bohemian artist parents, who encouraged a love of nature and an appreciation of diversity in their children. Tove studied art in Helsinki, Stockholm and Paris. Her siblings also grew up to become artists.

Tove Janson is the most widely read Finnish author outside her own country. Shemoomin_by_marzymarrs-d8wj23y received wide recognition for her short stories, novels, picture books, plays and a comic strip. Tove also exhibited paintings and graphic art and was commissioned to create public art works. Although Tove wrote for both children and adults, she is best known and loved for her Moomin stories.

230px-Finn_FamilyIn 1945 Söderström & Co published Tove’s first Moomin story The Moomins and the Great Flood in Swedish. This was followed by Comet In Moominland in 1946 and Finn Family Moomintroll or The Magician’s Hat in 1948.

Tove continued writing about the adventures of the Moomin family throughout the 1950s and 1960s. In 1966 the International Board on Books for Young People awarded Tove the Hans Christian Andersen award, which is the highest accolade that can be given to a writer or illustrator of children’s books.

Following the translation into English of her books Tove was approached by a British publisher to transform her Moomin stories in a comic strip format. In 1954, the famous London newspaper The Evening News started to publish it. In order to allow his sister more time for her visual art projects, Tove’s brother Lars Jansson took over drawing the comic strip from 1960.  It ran up until 1974.

In 1970, Tove ceased writing Moomin stories with the publication of her ninth and last Moomin book Moominvalley in November. She later published a somewhat eerie children’s picture book called The Dangerous Journey in 1977, which is about different characters but takes place in the world of Moominvalley.

Tove went on to write an acclaimed novel for adults, which focuses on the relationship between a young girl and her grandmother who are living on an island. The Summer Book (1972) is her best known work of fiction which has been translated into English. Throughout her life, Tove produced six novels and five books of short stories for an adult audience.

Tove Jansson’s Moomin stories have been adapted for film, the stage, television series, an opera and a theme park. Her books have been translated into several languages.

You can reserve books about Tove Jansson’s life through the One Card Network online. Visit the official Tove Jansson website at http://tovejansson.com/

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CharactersA friend asked me to post about Tove Jansson, so I decided to explore the world of the Moomins, to discover why both children and adults are still captivated by them.

So you may ask, what exactly is a Moomin? Are they really trolls?

Fear not, the Moomins are not your average ugly, stupid trolls lurking in the mountains or under bridges, lying in wait to catch their next meal. The Moomins are cute, kindly fairytale characters who are plump and white and resemble hippopotamuses! They are intelligent, literate and make their home in a tower in Mooninvalley, living alongside a host of eccentric characters.

Tove’s stories are full of lighthearted humour. Her simple and colourful ‘retro’ style illustrations will appeal to children. She cleverly parodies many different concepts in her Moomin stories, from becoming famous, vanity, the theatre, the legal profession to buying unnecessary modern kitchen gadgets.

Young Moomin or Moomintroll, as he is known in the original Swedish version, is a sweet-natured, brave and somewhat naïve character, making his way in the world. Moomin lives with his close knit family, his mother Moominmamma, father Moominpappa and girlfriend Snorkmaiden.

Moomin familyThe Moomin family is always ready to embrace new experiences, meet new people and welcome them into their home.

Moonminpappa enjoys reading and philosophising. Moominpappa’s romantic view of himself leads to all sorts of grand plans such as moving his family to a lighthouse so he can write a grand novel. The more practical Moominmamma takes pride in her home and loves her garden. She prefers to live simply but comfortably.

Moominmamma is skilled at making others know that they may not have made the best decisions, without making her family feel bad about themselves. Her serenity helps us to realise that everything will eventually turn out okay. However, Moominmamma is not immune from falling into the trap of keeping up appearances and competing with her neighbour Mrs Fillyjonk!

Pretty Snorkmaiden is a dreamer. She and Moomin are devoted to each other.  However, she can be insecure, overly concerned with her Snorkmaidenappearance and with getting Moomin’s attention. The adopted Little My causes chaos in the Moonmin household but she is perceptive and brings other characters down to earth with her sharp observations.

Tove Jansson’s work is original and surrealOn their numerous adventures, many of the characters that The Moomin family encounters are of indeterminate species. For example, at first glance Too-Ticky appears to be human, until you notice her strange birdlike feet. The fearless Little My is so small she can fit incharacter_mymble_familyto the pocket of her half-brother Snufkin. She looks remarkably like her mother, older sister Mymble and her seventeen younger siblings. A ghost who haunts a lighthouse resembles a sausage with legs!

The Moomin books teach us about the importance of family and friendship and about accepting others for their uniqueness. They value living a simple life, staying close to the beauty of nature and just being happy. The Moomins are always ready to help other characters, as everyone is important and needs a purpose.

You can borrow the Moomin stories and graphic novels (which comprise episodes from the Moomin comic strip) across the One Card Network. Tove Jansson’s work has also been adapted to bring her characters to younger readers, through a series of new picture books. Search the catalogue online, or enquire next time you visit the Library. Why not also visit the official Moomin site: https://www.moomin.com/en/

And yes, I could be hooked.