Thursday, 30 July 2015

Pride and Prejudice adaption by Stacy King

Beloved by millions the world over, Pride & Prejudice is delightfully transformed in this bold, new manga adaptation. All of the joy, heartache, and romance of Jane Austen's original, perfectly illuminated by the sumptuous art of manga-ka Po Tse, and faithfully adapted by Stacy E. King

“The reception at ALA was fantastic, much better than we’d even hoped,” said writer Stacy King. “Librarians really got what we were going for with the line and there was a lot of excitement about the books. We sold out of Pride and Prejudice, which was fantastic!”

In this wonderful manga adaptation of the classical novel, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, readers are given a new perspective of the well-beloved characters. The attractive illustrations have brought the story to life to draw the readers into the story. Whilst keeping faithful to the original story, Stacy E. King has integrated her own interpretations and insight of the character’s thought processes in relation to the action that they take. While bringing in a new perspective of the classical novel, this manga adaptation aims to draw in new and younger readers who may not be so compelled to pick up a classical novel.

My Van

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Monday, 27 July 2015

Charlie's Country - DVD

Produced in South Australia, this contemporary film tells the story of an elderly indigenous man, Charlie, who lives in a remote community near Darwin. The subject matter of the movie is one that is highly topical in the present political climate and surrounds the problems encountered by indigenous Australians trying to survive by the white man’s rules and having their cultural values swept from under them.
Finding he is unable to fit in to the white man’s ways, Charlie decides to go “walkabout” and survive in the bush by the traditional ways, as his ancestors did before him.

It’s a powerful and sombre work dealing with issues such as alcohol and drug abuse within aboriginal communities. The acting by David Gulpilil is superb for which he received an award at Cannes Film Festival 2014. The cinematography as well is brilliant. It is a confronting film at times but at the same time unforgettable, eloquent and beautifully put together.

If you enjoyed Ten Canoes or The Tracker, then this movie should also appeal to you.


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Thursday, 23 July 2015

Cider with Rosie by Laurie Lee

Cider with Rosie by Laurie Lee is a rhapsody to nostalgia; a golden retreat in to the authors recollection of his past and that of a family, village and country in early twentieth century rural England. The recollection of a time and place that has long since been superseded by the technological and digital age and for which there is a certain sentimental pull without it consuming the reader with an excessive sentimentality.

Fatherless but amply nourished by his mother and elder sisters Laurie Lee recreates the past from his age as a toddler to that of leaving home in his late teens. His rich metaphorical writing is beautiful to read and makes idyllic nearly everything his thoughts touch upon as evidenced from this passage at the novel’s outset, ““The June grass, amongst which I stood, was taller than I was, and I wept. I had never been so close to grass before. It towered above me and all around me, each blade tattooed with tiger-skins of sunlight. It was knife-edged, dark, and a wicked green, thick as a forest and alive with grasshoppers that chirped and chattered and leapt through the air like monkeys.”

Lee goes on to explore the fabric of his village life beginning with himself and extending to familial relationships, observation of the town’s characters and of course the fleeting figure of Rosie to which the novel owes its title and the poignancy of the author’s first brush with romance.

Rosie, like all those aspects of the past for which we afterwards long becomes ephemeral and transcendent, unable to be replicated and for which we are ever grateful and ever saddened – a past for which we yearn and that diminishes our present.

Red sky at sunrise includes the titles: Cider with Rosie,
As I walked out one midsummer morning and A moment of war.


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Monday, 20 July 2015

My Two Blankets by Irena Kobald ; illustrated by Freya Blackwood

A delightful children’s picture book about a little girl named Cartwheel, talking of one’s language, learning, longing and loves. How these attributes are wrapped up in ones culture. Whether immigrant or refugee, the book talks of telling traditions and trying to feel safe and warm in an unfamiliar place. As the word blanket in the title suggests, words of warmth, comfort and layers come to mind and the feeling of being safe and secure.

There is also a sense of layers of knowledge and one can depict layers of blankets. It has a simplistic but beautiful way of capturing ones differences but also communicating the facts of settling and simulating into the land of hope and opportunity and being excited by it. The book is written and created in a unique way that empathy and understanding aspect is revealed in different ways.

The illustrations are also worth mentioning with its warm contrasting coloured tones that help you visualise and appreciate more of what the book conveys. Children and adults alike will enjoy this beautiful book and its many analogies.

My Two Blankets also forms part of the Children’s Book Council of Australia, Picture book of the Year Awards Short List 2015.


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Thursday, 16 July 2015

Fantasy Creatures In Clay by Emily Coleman

This beautiful book is a helpful introduction to sculpting techniques. Although the models in the book are mostly made from polymer clay, the techniques work just as well for plasticine (if the reader wants to try a more cost-effective material first). Good for older children and adults. There are step-by-step instructions for individual parts of animals (they don’t have to be fantasy creatures – the techniques work just as well for real-world creatures) but not an entire single project from start to finish as the author emphasises the reader developing their own original project. I found this encouraged an open mindset, supporting the new sculptor to adapt the methods illustrated to their own vision.

The colour photos and written instructions are clear, concise and work very effectively together. The photos are so beautiful I enjoyed them just as a study in the evolution of a sculptural project long before attempting the techniques outlined. There is also thorough information on materials and tools, however you don’t need to invest much to begin making your creature – I made do with skewers and a chopstick.

As the author and artist says in her introduction: ‘Enjoy, and happy sculpting!’


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Monday, 13 July 2015

Signature of all things by Elizabeth Gilbert

If you've read Eat Pray Love and you think you know Elizabeth Gilbert - Balinese love affairs and all - think again! Her latest book The signature of all things could not be more different from her last three memoirs and, it is such a delight. Set in 18th and 19th century Philadelphia, the book tells the story of Alma Whitaker - a passionate botanist with a true gift for the science. Mundane mosses are brought to life, great love affairs are had and traditional notions of the 18th century American female are explored and challenged. Gilbert's writing is exquisite and the detail with which she creates her world is simply extraordinary.

Despite considering myself someone who dislikes historical fiction, I could not put this book down. Its highly unique plotline and intriguing characters had me hooked throughout.

A beautifully written and moving read.


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Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Remember me like this by Bret Anthony Johnston

This is a terrible story told in a beautiful way.

It’s interesting that the story unfolds through the eyes of all main characters except the boy himself who has been taken from his family and then returned four years later. We learn of his awful experience through the voices of his family and others.

The most fascinating aspect of the novel for me was the complex responses of the family members to the reappearance of the boy. Each of them examines feelings of guilt, connection and isolation in response to the dreadful disappearance and the unbelievable return of Justin.

The endless grief and fear that followed Justin’s disappearance is told after the event. Slowly the impact of the kidnapping on each of the character’s lives is revealed. The details are gut-wrenching, but softened by the knowledge that he is back in the safety of his family. But what is lurking in the unknown? What else will be told? There are lots of unexpected moments that flash out of the page and make the reader gasp. We can never be sure that the happy ending that seems so deserved will be reached.

The events of the Prologue remain in the reader’s mind as the story develops. Who is it under the bridge? Surely after this family’s struggles there is not another tragedy in store. What we find out in the first two pages keeps us guessing till the end.

The family members all struggle to re-establish their relationships with Justin and to each other but ultimately, that is the common struggle for all. The events in the book are bizarre but the examination of human relationships and emotions are common to us all.

I couldn’t put the book down and felt the sadness of separation when I had finished. It is a tragic story but also an opportunity to reflect on the preciousness of our own relationships, the joy of being in a family and the possibility of surviving any event in our lives.


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Monday, 6 July 2015

New fiction titles for July

Do you need some winter reading inspiration? Here are some new and upcoming titles to help you find your next book.

One way or another Elizabeth Adler
Badlands C.J. Box
Nemesis Catherine Coulter
Dark ghost Christine Feehan
First confessor Terry Goodkind
Game for all the family Sophie Hannah
Fool’s quest Robin Hobb
Naked eye Iris Johansen
Murderer’s daughter Jonathan Kellerman
Perfect touch Elizabeth Lowell
Splinter the silence Val McDermid
Wishes for Christmas Fern Michaels
Three moments of an explosion China Mieville
Enough rope Barbara Nadel
Nature of the beast Louise Penny
Scents and sensibility Spencer Quinn
Last time I saw her Karen Robards
Devoted in death J.D. Robb
No cure for love Peter Robinson
Hellfire Chris Ryan
Legion: skin deep Brandon Sanderson
Bombs away Harry Turtledove
Other daughter Lauren Willig
Naked greed Stuart Woods

Remember all holds are FREE so simply click on the book title to reserve your copy today. You can have up to 10 holds per library membership card.

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

If I stay - DVD

Young Mia (ChloĆ« Grace Moretz) is a cello prodigy with typical teenage issues. She is faced with the imminent decision between pursuing her musical dreams at Juilliard and the love of her life, Adam (Jamie Blackley). Her seemingly perfect life is instantly torn apart when a family drive goes wrong. During an out-of-body experience, Mia sees herself lying unconscious on the side of the road. In the next moment, she sees herself cold on the operating table. Caught between life and death, she is left with no choice but to decide her own fate…

In contrast to the current run of thematically similar young adult novel adaptations, If I Stay is an emotionally manipulative exploration of the after-life that is fuelled by committed performances from Moretz and the supporting cast including Mireille Enos, Joshua Leonard, Lauren Lee Smith and Liana Liberato. The film is melodramatic, but delivers a positive message to remind us the importance of one’s choices and to appreciate both the power and fragility of life.

If I Stay is based on American author Gayle Forman’s best selling novel of the same name and directed by award-winning R.J. Cutler.

Did you know?

• Author Gayle Forman has a small cameo in the movie.
• The director and producers were insistent that the actors had to be able to play the musical instruments like the characters in the script. Jamie Blackley can actually play the guitar, however, ChloĆ« Grace Moretz had to learn how to play the cello for the part.

Further viewing

Lovely Bones


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