Friday, 23 November 2012

Ten books to read before they hit the cinemas this summer….

Are you like me and must read the book before the movie comes out? If your answer is yes, then now is the time to start reading, as there is an abundance of movies being released over the summer holidays that have been adapted from books. Here is a short synopsis of each title. All you need to do is click on the title and you will be taken directly to our catalogue, where you will be able to place a hold. Get in early though as once these movies hit the cinemas everyone will want to read them!

Perks of being a wallflower by Stephen Chbosky Charlie is a freshman. And while he's not the biggest geek in the school, he is by no means popular. Shy, introspective, intelligent beyond his years yet socially awkward, he is a wallflower, caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it. It’s a moving tale of love, loss, fear and hope –and the unforgettable friends who help us get through life.

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo Set in early 18th century France, Jean Valjean, a thief who has turned his life around as the result of an unexpected act of mercy, must overcome the scheming of scoundrels and the pursuit of Inspector Javert in order to protect the illegitimate daughter of a former employee.

The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien Bilbo Baggins enjoys a quiet and contented life, with no desire to travel far from the comforts of home; then one day the wizard Gandalf and a band of dwarves arrive unexpectedly and enlist his services -- as a burglar -- on a dangerous expedition to raid the treasure-hoard of Smaug the dragon. Bilbo's life is never to be the same again.

Life of Pi by Yann Martel After the tragic sinking of a cargo ship in the Pacific, one solitary lifeboat remains, carrying a hyena, a zebra, a female orangutang, a Bengal tiger, and a 16 year old Indian boy named Pi. This story is a dazzling work of imagination that will delight and astound readers in equal measure.

Jack Reacher by Lee Child (Based on the novel One Shot) Ex-military investigator Jack Reacher is called in by James Barr, a man accused of a lethal sniper attack that leaves five people dead, and teams up with a young defense attorney to find an unseen enemy who is manipulating events.

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy Anna Karenina, dutiful wife and doting mother, knows contentment but not passion. That changes when she meets ardent Count Vronsky. For him, she throws away marriage, family, social position and finally her life.

Great Gatsby by Scott F Fitzgerald Jay Gatsby is the man who has everything. Everybody who is anybody is seen at his glittering parties. But beneath the shimmering surface of his life he is hiding a secret: a silent longing for the one thing that will always be out of his reach. And soon this destructive obsession will force his world to unravel.

Safe haven by Nicholas Sparks When Katie, an enigmatic stranger, shows up out of the blue, the folks of sleepy Southport become suspicious of her past. Katie tries to keep herself from becoming involved with anybody in town, but as time goes on, she slowly falls in love with Alex, a widowed store owner and father of two. However, when her dark past finally catches up with her, Katie must make the painful choice between either fleeing or facing her fears and fighting for her newfound life.

Cloud atlas by David Mitchell Six interlocking lives - one amazing adventure. In a narrative that circles the globe and reaches from the 19th century to a post-apocalyptic future, David Mitchell erases the boundaries of time, genre and language to offer an enthralling vision of the world and where humanity's will might take us.

The Host by Stephenie Meyer The earth has been invaded by a species that takes over the minds of their human hosts while leaving their bodies intact. Wanderer, an invader, has been given Melanie's body but the former tenant is refusing to relinquish possession of her mind.


Monday, 19 November 2012

My week with Marilyn by Colin Clark

This wonderful book is a detailed diary by young Englishman Colin Clark, who worked as an assistant in the 1956 film production of “The Prince and the Showgirl”, starring Marilyn Monroe and Lawrence Olivier.

Clark spends an intimate week with Marilyn, as well as observing her in the making of this film which was problematic due to differences of Marilyn’s American team, and the established English crew.

This book will appeal to Monroe fans as well as lovers of film history, as it details the erratic behavior of Marilyn on set, as well as the controlling tendencies of the Marilyn “team” consisting of business partner Milton Greene, playwright husband Arthur Miller, and New York drama coach Paula Strasberg.

It is clear from Clark’s account that Marilyn was being manipulated for her money-drawing fame, and phenomenal crowd-pleasing ability at the height of her famous career.

Monroe entered this film with the intention of it showing her to be a “serious” actress, as was she was to star alongside British acting great, Lawrence Olivier.

However the role for Monroe was that of a “chorus girl” – similar to so many other of her blonde roles, and the conflict between her and Olivier is palpable on the set in which Olivier had little time for Monroe’s lateness on set and repetitive scene takes.

The production is fraught with tension, and its’ end is welcomed with relief by the cast and crew, however not before the romance between Colin Clark, as detailed in the later, separate part of the book, “My Week with Marilyn”, takes place.

It is whilst Monroe’s husband Arthur Miller is away from London to work in New York that author Clark befriends her and encounters a one-week friendship with the troubled star.

This friendship beautifully allows us to see the human side of Marilyn, and the pressure she is under to be “her” in her Hollywood image, which is not necessarily her true self, who expresses to Clark her longing to be “free” and an ordinary human being.

The book is fascinating for its’ film history and touching account of the friendship between the young film “go-fer” and Monroe, which takes place away from the cameras.

It appealed to me as a fan of Marilyn Monroe, and its’ detailed descriptions of her struggles to measure up to the English film crew whilst retaining her own indisputable originality and alluring appeal.


Monday, 12 November 2012

Her father's daughter by Alice Pung

In the four parts of this book, you will discover Alice Pung’s powerful, vivid and clever account of her attempt to search for independence from a loving and overprotective father and to understand her roots.

Parts 1 takes us to China when “the story begins on a bus ……(as it) rolls down dirt roads” and Part 2 to Melbourne, four years before the China trip, when she moved out. Her father had “finally decided that it was safe enough for one of his flock to fly”.

Parts 3 and 4 transport us to Cambodia and its devastating history; revealing her father’s struggles and painful memories and the atrocities and many, many deaths . “Sometimes, the eyes can see too much”. “To kill you is no loss, to keep you is no gain, the Black bandits had told them again and again”.

Her father’s daughter is based on conversations between Alice the daughter and Kuan the father. This memoir is fascinating, even extraordinary as it captures a father-daughter relationship in a poignant and engaging way.


Monday, 5 November 2012

Fromelles by Carole Wilkinson

Fromelles by Carole Wilkinson forms part of the Black dog books award-winning Drum history series. The Drum uses first-person accounts and non-fiction to bring history to life. Fromelles is the story of a battle that took place in France from World War 1 and the men who took part in it. It is told with compassion and respect, without glorifying war. It was also a Children’s Book Council of Australia short listed Book of the Year for 2012.

I thought it was appropriate with Remembrance Day just around the corner (11th November) to review this book. A well researched and easy to read book that would appeal to the junior level reader, right through to the adult. It describes both factual events of the time as well as personal letters of soldiers based on true accounts. War stories are not a topic that interests me but I was surprised by how I wanted to know more about the Australians involvement in France and World War 1. Also how now we have learnt so much more about our soldiers than people were not told at the time. I would highly recommend this fascinating and informative book Fromelles to anyone interested in or studying Australian history or involvement in war, especially school students.

To learn more about the author Carole Wilkinson and her other books including the best-selling, award-winning Dragonkeeper and Ramose series visit: her website or Walker Books.