Monday, 31 August 2009

Books Alive


Running througout September is Books Alive, an Australian Government initiative developed through the Australia Council for the Arts. Books Alive promotes the love of reading and features a guide 50 books you can't put down. The guide features a wide range of great books, for adults and children. This years guide ranges from Mem Fox and Helen Oxenbury's Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes to Melina Marchetta's Finnikin of the Rock (for Young Adults) and for Adults Christos Tsiolkas' The Slap, Michael Connelly's The Scarecrow, Dawn French's Dear Fatty and many more great reads. The guide is sure to have something for everyone. To view the complete guide go to the Books Alive website.

Monday, 24 August 2009

People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks

Geraldine Brooks has given us an intricate, gripping novel that traces the journey of a rare illuminated Hebrew manuscript from Convivencia Spain to the ruins of Sarajevo, from the Silver Age of Venice to the sunburned rock faces of northern Australia. Inspired by the true story of a mysterious codex known as the Sarajevo Haggadah, People of the Book reveals a tapestry of linguistic pleasure mixed with a well researched platform for this sweeping adventure through five centuries of history. From its creation in Muslim-ruled, medieval Spain, the illuminated manuscript makes a series of perilous journeys: through Inquisition-era Venice, fin-de-siecle Vienna, and the Nazi sacking of Sarajevo. In 1996, Hanna Heath, an Australian rare-book expert, is offered the job of a lifetime: analysis and conservation of the famed manuscript, which has been rescued once again from Serb shelling during the Bosnian war. Priceless and beautiful, the book is one of the earliest Jewish volumes ever to be illuminated with figurative paintings. When Hanna, a caustic loner with a passion for her work, discovers a series of tiny artifacts in its ancient binding—an insect wing fragment, wine stains, salt crystals, a white hair—she becomes determined to unlock the book’s mysteries. As she seeks the counsel of scientists and specialists, the reader is ushered into an exquisitely detailed and atmospheric past, tracing the book’s journey from its creation to its salvation. In Bosnia during World War II, a Muslim risks his life to protect it from the Nazis. In the hedonistic salons of Vienna in 1894, the book becomes a pawn in an emerging contest between the city’s cultured cosmopolitanism and its rising anti-Semitism. In Venice in 1609, a Catholic priest saves it from Inquisition book burnings. In Tarragona in 1492, the scribe who wrote the text has his family destroyed amid the agonies of enforced exile. And in Seville in 1480, the reason for the Haggadah’s extraordinary illuminations is finally disclosed.

Geraldine Brooks has demonstrated an uncanny ability to embrace the unforgettable voices from cultures of the past, but it is Hanna’s voice—edgy, contemporary—that makes People of the Book a compulsively readable adventure that will have the reader spellbound throughout as they experience love, war art and survival.
Jane
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Friday, 21 August 2009

Melbourne Writers Festival


The Melbourne Writers Festival commenced today and runs from 21st - 30th August. The festival features interviews and discussions with a large range of authors - from Australia and around the world - as well as workshops for writers and aspiring writers.


For more information about the festival go to the festival website.

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Shortlist Announced

Over the last few weeks the shortlists for two literary prizes have been annouced. Last weekend the shortlist for the Age Book of the Year Award, and on 28th July the shortlist for the Booker Prize.

First the Booker - the shortlist includes two previous winner's, J.M.Coetzee's Summertime (he previously won the prize for Life and Times of Michael K in 1983 and Disgrace in 1999) and A.S.Byatt's The Children's Book (she previously won for Possession in 1990).

The full list of books on the shortlist is as follows
Sarah Waters The Little Stranger
William Trevor Love & Summer
Colm Toibin Brooklyn
James Scudamore Heliopolis
Ed O'Loughlin Not Untrue & Not Unkind
Simon Mawer The Glass Room
Hilary Mantel Wolf Hall
James Lever Me Cheeta
Samantha Harvey The Wilderness
Sarah Hall How to Paint a Dead man
Adam Foulds The Quickening Maze

For more information go to Booker Website

And the shortlist for the Age Book of the Year Awards includes

Fiction
Tom Cho Look Who's Morphing
Sonya Hartnett Butterfly
Steven Amsterdam Things We Didn't See Coming
Vivienne Kelly Cooee
David Malouf Ransom

The full shortlist is available at Readings Website including non fiction and poetry.

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Eat Prey Love. One woman’s search for everything across Italy, India, Indonesia by Elizabeth Gilbert

Elizabeth Gilbert’s personal journey has become a phenomenon and book club favourite. Interviewed on Oprah. Elizabeth’s book embraces her life and travels to Rome, India and Bali. She goes through a process self discovery, personal fulfilment and analysis of self while she deals along the way with her divorce and life challenges. She offers readers a way to rediscover life - eat, prey and love.