Tuesday, February 20, 2018

52 Book Challenge - Week 8

From the overly simple, to the somewhat confusing.

This week's challenge in the 52 Book Challenge is:

8. A Book by Someone Who Isn’t a Writer

Now, we've been having some deep and meaningful discussions around the office about whether it is physically possible to read something that was written by someone who isn't a writer - after all, if they wrote the book you're reading, they must be a writer, right?

Hannah Braime (from whom we stole this challenge) suggests authors like Paul Kalathani or Richard Branson - in other words, people who don't write for a living. Just to make it easier (or more interesting), we offer the following ways to interpret this challenge:

A. A book by a person who is not a professional author

Such as someone who has written a how-to book, a textbook or a memoir, but has a "proper" day job.

B. A book that was written by a group of people (aka, not a writer)

You can use a book written by multiple authors writing together or something by a corporate author. For example, the APA Publication Manual was written by "The American Psychological Association". By the way, we're not giving points, but we will still give you extra points if you read a style manual for this challenge.

C. A book written by someone who writes under multiple pseudonyms (so the one person is kind of multiple writers)

Yes, that's cheating somewhat. It's still fun, though.

Are you new to the 52 Book Challenge? Catch up with what we've done so far.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Your Readings

So it's Week 1! We know you've been looking forward to reading all about the subjects you've selected to study. This year JCU is using something new to link you up with the readings your lecturer has assigned.

Have a look at this video to get a quick overview of how it works. We call it Readings, even though you might get videos or podcasts included, Readings & Listenings & Watchings seemed too long for a catchy name.

Readings is new for your lecturer too, so direct your questions (if you have any) to us at the library and we'll straighten it out.

Guide to Readings

Reading Challenge Week 7 - A Book By a Female Author

Well, it was O-Week (did you go to our workshops? Did you look at our online training?), so we didn't managed to get a lot of reading done this week.

However, we did rustle up a few likely suspects to give us some reviews of "A Book By a Female Author" for this week's Reading Challenge:

Brenda Carter Read Miss Peabody's Inheritance by Elizabeth Jolley.

(Monica) Elizabeth Jolley AO (1923-2007) was an English-born writer who settled in Western Australia in the late 50s. She was 53 when her first book was published, and she went on to publish fifteen novels (including an autobiographical trilogy), four short story collections and three non-fiction books, publishing well into her 70s.

I was introduced to Elizabeth Jolley’s writing as an undergraduate and her novels and short stories have become firm favourites. She takes ordinary events and relationships and adds a twist that is both unsettling and fascinating. I love her ‘voice’ and the way she plays with chronology and double narratives. Her plots are heavily influenced by her own rather unorthodox life, pushing the boundaries of conventional relationships, female sexuality, and the parallel existence of public respectability with the inner world of the imagination.

My favourites would probably be Miss Peabody’s inheritance (820A JOL 1C MIS) and An innocent gentleman (820A JOL 1C INN). Check the library catalogue for many more items written by and about this talented author.

Sharon Bryan Read Bedknob and Broomstick, by Mary Norton.

If I had to choose my favourite Disney movie of all time, Bedknobs and Broomsticks would probably be duking it out with Mary Poppins. I found our copy of P. L. Traver’s Mary Poppins in the Curriculum Collection years ago, but I only recently stumbled across Norton’s book.

It turns out that Disney made a few changes to the book (well, they practically re-wrote Mary Poppins, so that’s hardly surprising), but I have to say that I don’t mind all that much. The subplot of the 2nd World War, the evacuation of the children and the German invasion thwarted by magic were all added by Disney. The island of Naboombu, populated with talking animals in the movie, was originally an island called Ueepe, populated with “cannibals” (however, no one was even threatened with being eaten, so the accusation of cannibalism was entirely unfounded). And Professor Emelius Browne wasn’t exactly in the book either. Instead, we have a necromancer (******)* from the past called Emelius Jones.

The ending of the book is also unsatisfactory, in that it doesn’t make sense when you think about it. Having previously established that the past is a terrible place for a witch, and the present isn't so bad once you get used to it, Miss Price and Emelius Jones suddenly decide that the past is the only place for them. The characters have pretty daft reasons for choosing the location of their “happily ever after”, and it feels like Norton was just getting rid of them.

I did enjoy the book, but this is one of several books in which I'm glad I saw the movie first - it gave me the chance to enjoy the works separately and appreciate the changes between the two versions, rather than feeling like Disney had ruined the book.

* Norton gives her readers six stars so they have time to find out what a necromancer is, so I may as well give them, too.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

O-Week: Keys to Academic Success

Active learning is the key to success at university. Get a head start during O-Week with these library workshops:

Thursday 15 February
Power Up Your Assignment Research, 1:30pm-2:00pm 
Your assignment is only as good as your research. Come to this session to build up some serious research muscle. Find us in Building A3.1 (Cairns) or Sir George Kneipp Auditorium, Building 26 (Townsville). If you miss this session, you can take the Info Skills Road Trip online.

Referencing Bootcamp, 2:00pm-2:45pm
Learn the nitty gritty details of referencing and how to avoid plagiarism. The library website also has guides on different referencing styles, and of course our friendly staff can offer support at the Infohelp desk or via online chat. This session follows on from Power Up Your Assignment Research in the same location.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

52 Book Challenge - Week 7

As you might have guessed, this week's challenge is:

7. A Book Written by a Female Author.

Or, as with last week's challenge, "a book written by an author who identifies as female".

Once again, the field is waaaayyyy open, so long as you'd refer to the author as "she" when discussing "her" work. Any topic, any genre, all of time and space (you've got to love these challenges).

Are you new to the 52 Book Challenge? Catch up with what we've done so far.

Special Collections Fossickings 50: Treasures of the Devanny Archive.

Read our previous post, Discovering Jean Devanny before you enjoy this one.
Jean Devanny's cottage in Townsville. Photo Credit: Peter Simon
When you drive along Woolcock Street do you ever ponder the origins of the concrete-lined drain that runs between the road and the Townsville showgrounds? Can you imagine it as a winding mangrove creek, alive with birds, which at high tide almost invaded the gardens of cottages along its banks?  In one such cottage lived the remarkable Jean Devanny who, fearless in this as in so many other ways, swam regularly in the creek and rejoiced in its diverse life. And it was from here, as our previous post described, that the library acquired the assemblage of personal papers, manuscripts, articles and correspondence which constitute one of the most valued and most used archive in Special Collections.

The most extensive user of the Devanny archive must surely have been Carole Ferrier, editor of Jean’s previously unpublished autobiography, “ Points of Departure” (1986), and author of the definitive biography, “Jean Devanny: Romantic Revolutionary” (1999). Several drafts of the autobiography are among the manuscripts held in the archive, as is much of the material used by Ferrier in her research for the later work. It seems fair to say that, without the careful preservation of this archive, the story of Devanny’s turbulent and controversial life may never have been so fully, or so well told.
Books by and about Jean Devanny retrieved from the North Queensland Collection.
And what a life it was!  Correspondence with contemporary writers – Miles Franklin, Eleanor Dark and Mary Gilmore among them – along with passionate articles in defence of racial equality, sexual freedom and social justice speak of a character in whom the twin passions for literature and politics are fused.

More modestly, much interest also lies in material relating to her time in the tropics, particularly Cairns, the Tablelands and Townsville. It seems to have been here that her interest in natural history developed and flourished. Introduced to the Queensland Naturalists by her friend Dr Hugo Flecker (after whom the box jellyfish, Chironex fleckeri, was named) she became a contributor to their newsletters.  And among carefully saved natural history newspaper clippings we find Devanny’s own writings on everything from trees to butterflies and the strange behavior of crabs. Her long letter to the “Cairns Post” calling for rainforest protection and fire control appeared years before these became mainstream issues.

Two unpublished manuscripts are of particular interest. She firmly believed her last novel, the unpublished “You can’t have everything”, was her most important. Like her very successful “Sugar Heaven” (1936), it too featured the conflicts and characters of north Queensland’s sugar industry.  Changing tastes in fiction surely mean that any chance of publication for this work has long passed but its preservation in manuscript form means that it is not completely lost.
Jean Devanny (right) and friend on Magnetic Island, Jean Devanny Album, NQ Photographic Collection, NQID 13769
But for Townsville locals perhaps the most fascinating unpublished work is the descriptive account of  Magnetic Island where she lived for many months in the 1950s. While she also adapted much of this material for a romantic novel, it is the non-fiction work that is so captivating.  Jean’s knowledge of natural history and her delight in natural beauty, and her close observation and sense of kinship with the islanders who became her friends, would resonate strongly with anyone who remembers the island in simpler times. It is arguably one of the most engaging books ever written about our familiar “Maggie”.  Could there be an editor out there willing to bring this book into the public domain?

Monday, February 12, 2018

O-Week Library Workshops

O-Week starts on Monday 12 February. Feel free to drop into the library, meet our friendly staff and get to know our wonderful resources and spaces. The library offers a number of useful workshops to get you off to a flying start.

Monday 12 February
Go wireless - Drop in session - 2:00pm-3:30pm
Head to the first floor of the library in Cairns or the Eddie Koiki Mabo Library, Building 18.002A where our friendly Library Rovers will help connect your portable devices to the JCU wireless network. Look out for the Library Rovers in the red (Cairns) or blue (Townsville) shirts. You can also find help on getting connected on the JCU website.

Tuesday 13 February
Go Wireless - Drop in Session  - 2:00pm-3:30pm
If you missed Monday's session, join in today.

Library Tour - 5:30pm-6:00pm
Did you miss the Library during your campus tour? If so, come along for a short tour. Meet in the foyer.

Top 10 Assignment Tips - 6:00pm-7:00pm
Learn how to successfully find information for your assignments. You will be able to solve the assignment case by dissecting your topic, flushing out good resources and referencing. Please note, if you are attending the “Keys to Academic Success” program on Thursday, you do not need to attend this session. Join this session in room B1.104 (Cairns) or Building 18.002A  (Townsville). If you miss this session, you can catch up on the library website.