Monday, 30 January 2017

Ready to read, ready for school

As librarians we know the importance of early reading with your child. Early literacy is built as you read to your child and they begin to recognise sounds, letters and words. Reading together is also a lovely experience to share and encourages a lifelong love of books and reading. A new initiative 1000 books before school will assist in tracking all the reading you do with your child as they build the early literacy skills that will help prepare them for school. Encouragement and rewards are given along the way and every story counts ; lookout for registration information for the 1000 books program coming soon on The Vault. The library also has resources to help get prepared for your child’s first school year and books to help parents encourage reading such as I spy a great reader by well known Australian author Jackie French. Jackie draws on her own experience with dyslexia to help parents understand if their child may have reading difficulties, as well as providing tips and fun games for developing reading skills in children and encouraging a love of books. Check out our Children's page on The Vault to access our fantastic range of children's picture books, begin-to-read graded readers, junior fiction and junior non-fiction.

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Short and sweet - Quick Reads for Australia Day

Feeling the pressure of modern life? Not enough hours in the day, not enough time for a good read? Or do you just want something short and sassy to fill a quiet hour on the train? Try one of the Quick Reads titles from Australian author Nick Earls. Wisdom Tree is a collection of five stand-alone novellas that explore human relationships and the changing nature of existence.
I most recently read Venice, the second book in the series. The story is centred on a serious four year old boy, Harrison, and his uncle, Ryan, still in a state of shock at having found himself unemployed. In typical Nick Earls style there is a feigned lightness to the text that belies the depth of the characters. Likewise he draws a story not with the opaque weight of oils or acrylic but with the vibrant translucence of a master watercolourist.
Gotham, book one, is set in New York. Jeff, an Australian journalist has spent the night driving around in the back of a stretch limo trying to interview a young, over-paid, egocentric Rap artist. Just as your feeling relief for Jeff the twist sets everything you’ve been thinking on a new tangent full of moral questions and emphasising the value of simple human decency.
While Earls’ five novellas are about the complexities of personality rather than bloody murder mysteries, they are, nevertheless, intriguing and entertaining. I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the series.
Find the Wisdom Tree series and other Quick Reads such as Bookshots via The Vault

Monday, 23 January 2017

A world at stake. A quest for the ultimate prize. Are you ready?

In a not too distant future, a virtual reality universe which exists entirely online (The Oasis) becomes a welcome escape from the dystopic reality in Ready player one. When the creator of the universe dies without family or an heir, a video is broadcast which invites everyone who uses The Oasis to participate in a series of quests to find the ‘Easter Egg' that he has hidden in the code of his virtual world, and offers his entire fortune and control of his company to the first person to find it. Wade Watts is determined to be that person, and has spent most of his waking hours since the announcement of the contest preparing. He has decided that this is a quest that he will undertake alone and likens it to the mythical quest for the Holy Grail. Other competitors have formed teams, or clans to assist one another in its completion, but not everyone is playing fair. Will Wade’s preparation be enough for him to win the contest – or even to survive it?
Ernest Cline's debut full length novel “Ready Player One” is not a typical science fiction novel. Steeped in references to popular culture (particularly 1980s popular culture) and video games, this is a novel aimed at an audience looking for a greater degree of relatability than is usually found in the science fiction genre.
Ready player one sat on my constantly increasing ‘to read’ pile for quite some time before I eventually listened to it as an audio book at a friend’s recommendation. I regret that it took me so long to get to it as I found it thoroughly enjoyable, particularly as the e-audio book is narrated by Wil Wheaton, who is perfectly suited to narrate the story and seamlessly interprets the pop culture and video game references which other narrators may have stumbled over.
The e-book and e-audio book are available for download from Overdrive.

Friday, 20 January 2017

Hillary's America : the secret history of the Democratic party by Dinesh D’Souza

Both book and film, Hillary's America: the secret history of the Democratic Party was released at the peak of the US presidential election, with Democratic Party leader Hillary Clinton running against Republican Party leader Donald Trump. While the namesake of this book suggests a focus on Hillary Clinton, it devotes a good portion of the book delving into the relatively obscure history of the Democratic Party, exploring past events and personages such as Democratic Party founder Andrew Jackson, through the civil war and into the twentieth century. The latter half of the book focuses on the Clintons themselves, particularly the early influence of Saul Alinsky on Hillary Clinton, the couple’s business and political dealings through the Clinton Foundation and the multiple allegations against Bill Clinton.
Likely those drawn to this book will favour a right-wing political standpoint. But those on the fence or seeking to know more about the backroom political machinations of the US may glean new tidbits of knowledge that are unlikely to be analysed on mainstream media. It also serves as an exposition into the use of narrative as a tool to shape history, opinion and support, with the Democratic Party most successfully using narrative to obscure or outright deny an inconvenient and dishonourable past.

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Science is beautiful : the human body under the microscope by Colin Salter

Colin Salter is a history and science writer with a fascination for how things work. Salter wrote this book Science is beautiful with a stunning collection of the most wonderful microscopic images of the human body. It is a fascinating visual tour around our bodies and brains we take for granted.

It is a visual voyage through the cells, organs, microbes & molecules that make up our bodies. The main picture that I liked the most is the fat cells showing empty fat cells are amongst the largest cells in the human body. When we put on weight, the cells swell with additional fat, and eventually extra cells are added too, that’s amazing!! It made me think about diet and being healthy. It is educational and fun to read and a conversation starter. It is easy to digest and memorise by linking the pictures and the colours together as a piece of art.

This book has an effective introduction explaining in depth X-Ray radiographs, CT & MRI scans. It would be of interest to a medical student and anyone interested in knowing about the human body. Science books are hard to read and understand but Science is beautiful is a good source of information, is factual and scientifically sound and the pictures and the texts are engaging and capture attention. It is an excellent book worth reading, once you open it you will not put it down.

Monday, 16 January 2017

New fiction for January

Running out of books to read ? Get ready for the coming months with these new releases
About last night Catherine Alliott
Broken glass Virginia Andrews
View across the Mersey Anne Baker
Death of a ghost M.C. Beaton
Etched in bone Anne Bishop
Sinner man Lawrence Block
Vicious circle C.J. Box
Silence fallen Patricia Briggs
Ambulance girls Deborah Burrows
Dark serpent Paul Doherty
Power game Christine Feehan
Secret garden Katie Fforde
From the heart Susan Hill
Expecting to die Lisa Jackson
Stranger in Honeyfield Anna Jacobs
Bone box Faye Kellerman
Heartbreak hotel Johnathan Kellerman
Unmourned Meg and Tom Keneally
White tears Hari Kunzru
Takedown Stephen Leather
If not for you Debbie Macomber
Spindrift Tamara McKinley
Book of American martyrs Joyce Carol Oates
16th seduction James Patterson
All of a winters night Phil Rickman
Orange blossom days Patricia Scanlan
Dangerous games Danielle Steel

Simply click on your chosen title/s and you will be directed to The Vault, where you can place your holds. Can't see anything you like? Our staff can help you find your next great read.

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Cool breeze for the Summer heat

I thoroughly enjoyed watching Force Majeure, a Swedish family drama placed in the most beautiful scenery of the French Alps.
This film was shortlisted for the Oscars and is a winner of the Jury Prize at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival where it was a big hit.
It is a story about a perfect Swedish family – successful businessman Tomas, his lovely wife Ebba, and their two perfect blond children on a luxury skiing holiday.
This idyllic life was suddenly interrupted one morning as they enjoyed their lunch on a hotel terrace – the beautiful mountain view changed into a horrific avalanche that brought everyone in mortal danger.
As people were panicking around them, Ebba tried to reach for the children, while Tomas simply decided to run.
This event changed everything, and from a model family, they became a couple who was struggling to continue living together.
Force Majeure is full of beautiful nature shots and it is very enjoyable to watch.
Actors are excellent, and although the storyline starts as a quite simple one, there are many side characters that are “thickening” the story which becomes more complicated and deeper with every minute.
This psychodrama full of humour and wit is completed by Antonio Vivaldi’s Four Seasons - Summer, a powerful musical motif that reflects the ups and downs of the characters and the thrilling plot.
Force Majeure is refreshingly clever and entertaining, smart and funny – it will not fail to impress.

Monday, 9 January 2017

English - have a go (DVD series)

Volumes 1 - 7
(English Language Learning Resource produced by ABC Commercial)

The English – have a go DVD series provides learners with a clear model of how the English language works and how it is used in a variety of everyday situations.
Each short episode follows a family as they go through their daily lives. The program has a lovely mix of cultural backgrounds and lifestyles supported by a combination of age groups.
Episodes feature issues based around relationships, work, study and health followed by comprehension questions so that the viewer can check his/her understanding of the storylines.
What I like most about the series is that each presenter remembers not to rush and speaks slowly and clearly. The scripts are designed to repeat words and sentences, usually with visual cues. This helps the student to not only remember the words and how they work together but also to place them in understandable situational contexts.
The grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation sections at the end of each episode are also paced to suit the early learner. They use well-designed repetition to give the viewer plenty of time to listen, consider and repeat.
The English – have a go DVD series would suit post-beginners.

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Books that inspire movies

Happy New Year everyone.
Summer is a great time for movies, whether catching up on DVDs or seeing the latest blockbuster at your local cinema. Many of the movies you enjoy have been adapted from classic, award winning or favourite books.
Have you ever seen a film and wondered where the original story came from? Or you may have loved a particular book but missed seeing the movie version. Our new Book to movie tie-ins list will guide you through some of the most popular adaptations so you can read and view to your heart’s content. Access the list from the Book to movie tie-ins link on the side panel just under the Vault Catalogue image. You can place holds for free on any of the titles via The Vault.
Happy reading and viewing in 2017