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.

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/

_________________________________________________________________

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.

Our Slouch Hat Soldiers on show

Brothers in Arms

They served the same cause,

Fresh-faced boys departed,a new breed of diggers returned,

toughened by violent events.

They knew what was expected of them,

battle savvy,

they backed each other,

fought off insanity with humour,

got the jobs done.

 

They witnessed events

no one should see,

did things they’d rather not talk of,

fought battles

long after they had ended.

And in this chasm of hell

A special breed of mateship grew.

Second World War 1939 – 1945.  Robert John Jarrad, Page 47, Slouch Hat Soldiers Generations at War, an Echoes Downunder publication, 2014.

Robert John Jarrad speaks about his poety at the Tea Tree Gully Library.

Robert John Jarrad speaks about his poety at the Tea Tree Gully Library.

When local retired engineer, military gunner, artist, didgeridoo player and writer Robert John Jarrad launched his first book of poems Slouch Hat Soldiers – Generations at War at the Tea Tree Gully Library in March 2014, there was standing room only.

Accompanied by illustrations from by internationally acclaimed military artist Barry Spicer, Robert’s collection of poignant war poetry focuses on Australians who enlisted when their country called.  Robert based his poems mainly on the powerful stories and images told to him by his nineteen relatives – including his father and grandfathers – who had enlisted and served in World Wars I and II, and in the Vietnam War. As we hear in his poem Brothers in Arms, Robert’s poems give us an insight into the harsh realities of war, but he also describes the mateship between soldiers and how they used humour to cope with their dire situation.

Robert hopes reading his poems may help a new generation of Australians to understand what it was like to go to war and how those who served were prepared to give their lives for their homeland that they loved. Moreover, they came back forever changed by their experiences.

Since the launch of Slouch Hat Soldiers – Generations at War, Robert Jarrad has toured around Australia, speaking to community groups about his book. He has been invited to several Centenary of Anzac events. In 2015, Robert’s poems, selected from his book Slouch Hat Soldiers-Generations at War, were performed at the Australian War Memorial’s ‘Of Words and War’ Anzac Centenary poetry event.

Now Robert’s literary achievement has been honoured once again. Some of his poems will feature prominently in the upcoming Wish me luck – an Anzac Centenary photographic exhibition, which pays tribute to South Australia’s World War II veterans. The exhibition is showing from 9 July to 11 September, in the Flinders University City Gallery, located within the State Library of South Australia on North Terrace.

Vale Clifford Brice

‘Poster boy’ for the Wish Me Luck exhibition, Vale Clifford (Cliff) Bryce sits aside his portrait.

Curated by Sharon Cleary (Veterans SA) and Louise Bagger (AIPP), the Wish me luck Exhibition has grown out a special nationwide project, which began on Anzac Day 2015. The Australian Institute of Professional Photography (AIPP) photographed Australia’s surviving World War II veterans, many of whom are now in their late nineties.  In South Australia 1050 portraits were taken over a seven month period.

Veterans SA is partnering with AIPP, Flinders University Art Museum and Atkins Photo Lab to present 100 photographic portraits of those who served in the Navy, Army, Airforce and Medical Corps from SA during WWII. Entry is free.  The Flinders University City Gallery is open Tuesday to Friday from 11am – 4pm and Saturday and Sunday from 12 – 4pm.

A series of public talks will accompany the ‘Wish me luck’ exhibition.  Come and hear Robert reading from Slouch Hat Soldiers on Sunday 4 September at 2.00pm at the Flinders University City Gallery.   RSVP essential to 08 8207 7055. Copies of Slouch Hat Soldiers – Generations at War, will be available for sale.  Part proceeds of all book sales will benefit Legacy.

Bob Jarrad Wish Slouch Hat SoldiersYou can also borrow Slouch Hat Soldiers – Generations at War through the One Card Network. Search the online catalogue or enquire next time you visit the Library.

Discover more about Robert Jarrad and his acclaimed book Slouch Hat Soldiers.  You can also explore the 100 Years of Anzac website.  Read more about the Wish me luck exhibition and Robert’s poetry reading.

Climate change can be deadly

David Kilner for blog

Adelaide author David Kilner has been writing crime stories for several years. He will be visiting the Library this month to speak about his first novel The Climate Change Murders and about lots of things ‘literary’.

When: Wednesday 27 July, 6.30pm – 7.30pm.

Venue: Relaxed Reading Area, City of Tea Tree Gully Library.

Cost: Free.  Bookings are essential.

“In this light-hearted talk, David Kilner will discuss crime fiction in its many forms, from its origins 250 years ago, through the years to contemporary fiction. Along the way he’ll look at the impact of film and television on crime writing and ask what does reading or watching crime fiction actually do for us?  Finally he’ll talk about his own books – how they came to be written, some of the challenges of writing and why he chose his characters.”  http://www.davidkilner.com

In The Climate Change Murders you can meet the new cop on the beat, Detective Sergeant Skyla Merrick.  Like all good fictional detectives, Skyla has a troubled past with a bad romance that she would rather forget about.   But of course, those experiences never really go away for our heroine.

“Somebody wanted Edwina Ling dead and it would not be a pleasant death, that was for sure. But who was the villain? The climate change activist? The professional colleague? The fishing industry guru? The ex-lover? The disgruntled employee? Detective Sergeant Skyla Merrick must tackle not only confusing evidence trails and public brawls but also long-buried personal traumas that threaten her objectivity. The only one she can turn to for help is the man who betrayed her.”  http://www.davidkilner.com

David says that he especially loves the British school of crime writing, as these authors explore why criminals act, their psycology and motivation, rather than just ‘whodunnit’.  He especially admires the work of PD James, Ian Rankin, Elizabeth George and Ruth Rendell/Barbara Vine.

The Climate Change Murders could be your next good read.  If you would like to come along to meet David, you can book online or telephone: 8397 7333.  A wine and cheese supper will be served. Copies of The Climate Change Murders will be available for sale and signing by the author.

 

 

Book launch

 Book cover 7

‘Erteisia: Ultimate Sacrifice’ by Linda Lofts Wiles

Linda Lofts Wiles will launch the first novel of her new science fiction trilogy ‘Ertesia: Ultimate Sacrifice’ at this special event.

 When:  6.30 – 7.30pm, Wednesday 29 June.

Venue:  Relaxed Reading Area, City of Tea Tree Gully Library.

Cost:  Free.   Bookings are essential.

Copies of ‘Erteisia: Ultimate Sacrifice’ will be available for sale and signing by the author. A wine and cheese supper will be served.

About ‘Erteisia: Ultimate Sacrifice’:

T’Ertesia: Ultimate Sacrifice’ is set in a time of war, where humanity struggles against the dominion of an evil tyrant and eventual extermination.

The people of a distant planet Utopia, seek to intervene by sending Sianna’Q, a newly ordained warrior to Earth. She will journey through time and experience the wonders of space, meeting amazing and unique creatures such as the Time Maestro – the keeper of all that is known and forgotten.

Book online, at the Library or by telephone: 8397 7333.

 

A classic comes of age? Ladybird books for grown-ups

Ladybird books logoThe official Ladybird Classics site http://www.vintageladybird.com/ tells us that the printers Wills & Hepworth, from Loughborough in England, registered the Ladybird trade mark in 1915.  During the First World War, the company started publishing wholesome and healthy literature for children, in an attempt to sustain profits during the war years.

However, it was not until the early 1950s, under the guidance of Douglas Keen, that Ladybird Books established itself as a respected and well known children’s brand. Titles covered a vast range of subjects and interests, including British heritage, history, fairy tales, family stories, travel and pirates! The 1950s to the 1970s are often thought of as Ladybird’s ‘golden age’.

Ladybird books for children were affordable and designed to balance education with entertainment – and words with beautiful, detailed pictures. Distinguished commercial artists, rather than children’s book illustrators, created the artwork for each story, which made them unique. The illustrations in each book were full of light and colour and reflected the optimism of people in post-war Britain. Those books focusing on contemporary Britain depicted a utopian lifestyle, with happy nuclear families spending time together and a society full of new technology and modern conveniences

Now authors J.A. Hazeley and J.P. Morris have created a range of Ladybird books written specifically for adults. Full of tongue-in-cheek humour, Ladybird Books for Grown Ups are neither wholesome nor healthy!

The HangoverThey carry a similar premise to the original children’s books. “This delightful book is the latest in the series of Ladybird books that have been specially planned to help grown-ups with the world about them.” Clear, large script, which is easy for children who are learning to read, is ‘thoughtfully’ placed opposite original vintage illustrations, in the style of the classic editions.  These literary devices are designed so that grown-ups will think that they have taught themsleves to cope!

Much of the humour is achieved by the matter of fact, unemotional nature of the text and its placement alongside a sometimes contradictory, or exaggerated illustration. Quintessentially British and cleverly written, you can hear a voice in your head like somebody reading to children about issues relevant to adults, “What a confusing world it can seem with a hangover. Sit as still as you can. Do not attempt to make any decisions. Look out of the window. Can you recognise simple shapes or colours? Is there a moon or a sun in the sky? What sort of a name might you have? Where might there be bacon?” The Hangover, page 12.

402261-MumOne of my favourite excerpts comes from ‘How it works’ The Mum, page 42, “When she was single, Debbie had nightmares about being left alone and unwanted. For the last three years, someone has called for her every two minutes and watched her every time she has taken a bath or sat on the toilet. Debbie now dreams of being left alone and unwanted, even for just a few minutes”.

 

DatingDating is about everyone’s search to find a partner in life.  This little book will help you to smile and realise that you are not the only one experiencing bad dates, with totally unsuitable people.  Perhaps after reading it you to never look at romance in quite the same way!  On page 46 of Dating, a woman is being served at the counter of a 1950s post office,  “Judith is breaking up with Tony.  She knows a text message can be impersonal so she has come to her local Post Office.  The lady at the counter checks Judith’s envelope is sealed.  If any of the faeces leaks out, the Post Office is not obliged to carry it.  Judith sends her package by recorded delivery.  She can make sure it has reached Tony and know she is single again.”

The ShThe-Sheded explores men’s primal need to have their own space, or rather how use their beloved man cave to escape from family and responsibility, at any given opportunity.

 

 

The Mid Life CrisisThe Mid-Life Crisis makes us laugh by talking about the funny things we do in middle age to try and keep up with the times, relive our youth or just make ourselves feel better about growing older. The book starts with “When we are young, we all dream of doing something wonderful and exciting with our lives. What will we be? A cosmonaut? A detective? A tommy gunner? A groin surgeon? Anything is possible. And then, one day, it isn’t.” The facing page features old fashioned style illustrations of an American astronaut, a deep sea diver, army troops heading into battle and a medical team performing surgery. Where did all that time go?

o-THE-HIPSTER-570

The Hipster uses ridiculous text to make fun of affluent, trendy bearded men and pretentious women.

Other titles which are available in the Ladybird books for grown ups series are Mindfulness, How it works’ : The Wife and  ‘How it works’ : The Husband.   You can borrow Ladybird books for grown ups through the One Card Network. Reserve them online or enquire at the Library.