Tuesday, 30 January 2018

52 Book Challenge - Week 5

Well, we've read books from our childhood, books from other people's childhood, books from the past and books from the, er, more recent past.

The 52 Book Challenge is keeping us on our toes, and hopefully you're enjoying it, too. Remember, you can jump in and out of the challenge at any time, and as long as you're reading a few books this year that you might not have read unless "challenged" to do so, everyone wins!

In this week's challenge, things get real - or at least, non-fictional:

5. A non-fiction book

We may have a few of those in our library.

In fact, most of the books in our library are non-fiction, so knock yourself out.

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

Monday, 29 January 2018

Reading Challenge Week 4 - A Book Published in the Last Year (or five)

It can often take a while to read the 'latest releases', but here are a couple of titles we recommend that were published in the last five years.

Scott Dale read The narrow road to the deep north by Richard Flanagan

I am always glad to read something new and I love to read Australian stories. The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan (820A FLA(R) 1C NAR) snuck into the five-year newness criteria necessary for this week’s challenge.

This book won the Man Booker Prize 2014 and I have been meaning to read something from Flanagan for years but I had no idea of the journey ahead. The book takes readers to some dark places with much of the story set in a Japanese POW camp on the Thai-Burma death railway. Alongside the unthinkable hardships, there is a lot of love and light that comes through in what is a very powerful novel. The book is dedicated to Flanagan’s father who was himself a surviving prisoner who worked on the railway described in the book. 

Brenda Carter read Quiet by Susan Cain 

As an affirming read for introverts or a helpful guide to understanding introverts for extroverts, Quiet (155.232 CAI) explores the issues facing introverts "in a world that can't stop talking". Susan Cain argues that we dramatically undervalue introverts and shows how much we lose in doing so. She charts the rise of the Extrovert Ideal throughout the twentieth century and explores how deeply it has come to permeate our culture. Quiet has the power to permanently change how we see introverts and, equally important, how they see themselves. It has certainly changed the way I relate to the introverts in my life.

You can find these recently published books and many more by searching for New Books in the library catalogue, or by limiting your search results in OneSearch to the last 12 months or your desired time frame.

Sharon Bryan Read Twenty-one Australian Architects: Breaking New Ground, edited by Karen McCartney

Well, I chose this book for no reason other than the fact that it was published in 2017. Okay, and also because there were only about fifty pages of text in the whole book and the rest of it consisted of photographs of houses.

And I have to say, there ain't much new ground being broken in this book. I don't claim to have any real knowledge of architecture or architectural trends, but I have eyes, I look at buildings, and frankly I got tired of the whole "white concrete slabs off-set by grey concrete slabs" approach to architecture years ago.

This book supposedly showcased award winning residential buildings. I'd maybe consider a couple of these houses a nice place to spend a week (and I did rather like the house that had built-in bookshelves in almost every room), but I wouldn't particularly want to live in any of them. I'd like a house with a bit of charm, a bit of whimsy, but most of all, a bit of comfort. "Cosy" and "inviting" are two adjectives that seem largely at odds with modern architectural designs.

And why doesn't anyone believe in curtains or blinds anymore? I don't know if architects are fully aware of this, but window glass is usually two-way - people can see in as well as out.

Thursday, 25 January 2018

Australia Day opening hours

James Cook University Libraries in Townsville and Cairns will be closed for the Australia Day public holiday on Friday 26th January 2018. The Townsville 24 hour Information Commons will remain accessible on Australia Day.

The Libraries will reopen on Monday 29th January. See the full library opening hours online.

New students to JCU will find there are normally community events held on the public holiday. Check out the Australia Day website for Queensland to see if there are any events in your area.

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

52 Book Challenge - Week 4

Last week we challenged you to read a book published over 100 years ago. This week we're bringing it closer to home:

4. A Book Published In the Last Year

Now, we're magnanimous librarians. And we spend a lot of time teaching information literacy classes where we point out that information is "current" if it has been published within the last 5 years - so we'll open the challenge up a bit.

If there's a book you really want to read this week that was published within the past 5 years, we'll allow it. Aren't we nice?

Did you know that you can use One Search to find books published within a certain date range? It's on the Refine Your Search column down the side of the screen. You can select a particular publication date range, or you can hit one of the quick options to narrow to the Last 12 Months, the Last 3 Years or the Last 5 Years.

Have you missed out on hearing about the 52 Book Challenge? Catch up here.

Monday, 22 January 2018

Reading Challenge Week 3 - A book published over 100 years ago

It's always good to engage in a spot of time travel when you can. Fortunately, with books, you've got a ready portal into the past.

This week's challenge was to read a book published more than 100 years ago. Did you find an interesting book to read? Here are some of the books the librarians have been reading:

I chose to read A Journey to the Centre of the Earth as it was a favourite childhood book of my husband’s and I thought I would give it a go.  The challenge this week was a book more than 100 years old and A Journey to the Centre of the Earth was first published in 1864 so fitted the bill perfectly.

The story involves an eccentric professor Otto Lidenbrock and his nephew Axel who travel to Iceland after discovering a secret document telling about the delights and intrigues of the tunnels under the earth.

After descending into the tunnels they have many amazing adventures, nearly die from thirst and discover an underground ocean.  They encounter prehistoric animals and plants and live through a horrendous lightning storm which nearly destroys their raft before abruptly coming to the surface again at Mount Strombali in Italy.

The book is thrilling and dramatic and draws you in to Otto and Axel’s adventures.  A great read at 840 VER in the Curriculum Collection.

Looking for something short, easy to read and laugh-out-loud funny? Is there such a book written over 100 years ago? The Importance of Being Earnest (820 WIL 1C IMP/HAR) by legendary playwright Oscar Wilde may just fit the bill.

Wilde’s farce of charades, mistaken identities and satire of 19th century upper class society is brimming with many of his most well-known and timeless witticisms:

“All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does, and that is his.” 
“In matters of grave importance, style, not sincerity, is the vital thing.” 
“Never speak disrespectfully of Society, Algernon. Only people who can’t get into it do that.” 

While Earnest has been adapted many times for radio, film, opera and musicals, nothing beats the original play as “a trivial comedy for serious people”. You may even forget it was first performed in 1895.

Sharon Bryan read Seven Little Australians, by Ethel Turner

Seven Little Australians (c 820.94 TUR) has been on my “I should read that, someday” list for decades. Seriously. It was first recommended to me when I was in primary school. It just took me a while to get around to it. This reading challenge is doing me some good.

The book concerns the seven children of the Woolcot family: Meg, Pip, Judy, Nell, Bunty, Baby and the General. Most of those names are inexplicable nicknames – or at least Turner didn’t try to explain them in this book. These kids manage to get up to all sorts of high jinks, although nothing they do is particularly naughty or rascally – it just seems specifically designed to annoy their father, who fancies himself a disciplinarian.

The book is essentially divided into four episodes. There’s the bit where the kids are all just a bit unruly, and it culminates in Judy (the smartest and most troublesome of the children) being sent away to boarding school. Then there’s the part where Meg falls in with the wrong “crowd” (okay, actually just one teenage girl) and starts toying with corsets and boys (oh, the horror!). Then there’s the bit where Judy sneaks home from school and everyone runs rings around the adults to keep her presence secret. And then there’s the part where they go off to their stepmother’s parents’ property out west and… well…

Somehow I had managed to avoid having the ending of this book spoiled for me. I don’t normally care about spoilers, but I was glad that I encountered this particular event “organically” in the book, rather than expecting it all along. So, just in case you haven’t read the book, I won’t spoil it for you by talking about it here.

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

52 Book Challenge - Week 3

Okay! Well, it's time to move away from books you encountered in school or childhood, and pick up a book that has been around for a while.

This week's challenge is:

3. A Book Published Over 100 Years Ago

Now, that includes everything written before 1918, so you've got a few to choose from.

By the way, you'll notice that most of these challenges don't specify "fiction book" or "novel" - so you can choose any kind of book you like, so long as it's a little long in the tooth.

And we've had a few people say the idea of all 52 books is a bit daunting - but never fear! We don't mind how many books you read this year. The challenge is just designed to encourage you to think about reading a book you might not have read without the prompt.

Feel free to jump in and out of the challenge as you go along, and see how many books you can fit in.

Have you missed out on hearing about the 52 Book Challenge? Catch up here.

Monday, 15 January 2018

Reading Challenge Week 2 - A Book From Your Childhood

We're still valiantly struggling on with the 52 Book Challenge, and finding some interesting books in our Curriculum collection to help us with the second book on the list:

A Book From Your Childhood.

What have you been reading? Here are some of the books we've been reading:

Brenda Carter read Tales from the Arabian nights by James Riordan.

On my last day of primary school, I surreptitiously left a small pile of “the best books I had ever read” on a bookshelf in the school library, as a silent recommendation to other students. One of these titles was an edition of Tales from the Arabian nights (C398.210953 RIO).  My preference for fable and magic was beautifully catered for by this small selection of tales , and I have since purchased the complete version which includes elements of crime, horror, fantasy and science fiction, as well as plenty of suspenseful adventures.

One thousand and one nights is a collection of Middle Eastern folk tales compiled in Arabic, collected over many centuries by various authors, translators, and scholars across West, Central, and South Asia and North Africa. Some of the more well-known stories include  "Aladdin's Wonderful Lamp", "Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves", and "The Seven Voyages of Sinbad the Sailor".

What is common throughout all the editions of the Nights is the initial story of the ruler Shahryār and his wife Scheherazade. After discovering that his wife has been unfaithful, Shahryār has her killed. Shahryār decides that all women are the same and begins to marry a succession of virgins, only to execute each one the next morning before she has a chance to dishonour him. Finally, a woman named Scheherazade offers herself as the next bride and, on the night of their marriage, Scheherazade begins to tell the king a tale but does not end it. The king, curious about how the story ends, is thus forced to postpone her execution in order to hear the conclusion. This continues for 1,001 nights.

For those who think the 1001 night challenge might be too much, our copy of Tales from the Arabian nights would be a good place to start.

Full disclosure – I thought this was a book from my childhood, because the title was so darn familiar when I saw it on the shelf (at C810 BLU). However, I didn’t remember any part of the book other than the title, so I think I actually read this book for the first time this year.

And I have to say, if I had read this book in my childhood, I wouldn’t have liked it. Then again, I remember that I didn’t like most of the other Judy Blume books I read when I was young – the characters were too mopey, and seemed to spend most of the time worrying about a) puberty and b) some other thing (in this case, Margaret worries about which religion she should follow) and doing very little else.

Allow me to summarise the plot of this book in haiku form (because I can):

Dear God, I would like
Religious guidance and boobs.
Hooray! Periods!

Alice Luetchford read Miss Happiness and Miss Flower, by Rumer Godden

Miss Happiness and Miss Flower (C820 GOD) is one of my favourite stories from my primary school library.

Written in the 1960’s and set in England, this book is about a small girl a long way from her home on an Indian tea plantation. The small girl feels very lonely and unable to settle in to her new life with her English cousins, until a beautiful wooden box arrives revealing two wooden Japanese dolls. The story then unfolds around how the mysterious Japanese dolls entrance the small girl and set her on a quest for their happiness. The girl and her cousins are aided by their local bookstore proprietor as they learn all they can about building a Japanese dolls house featuring rosewood, cherry blossoms, lattice screen sliding doors and walls, scalloped niche alcoves for flowers boughs, Japanese scrolls, tea ceremonies, pencil boxes and beautiful satin kimonos.

During my own childhood this story opened my eyes to the wonders of Japanese culture, art, design, houses, etiquette and nuances. Re-reading this simple story with a happy ending has been very nostalgic and once again captivated me with its visual imagery and artistic delight.

Martin Luther King Day

Senior Airman Jarad A. DentonReleased 
2018 marks 50 years since the death of social activist Martin Luther King. Martin Luther King Day is commemorated on 15 January this year. As a leader of the civil rights movement for negro people, King travelled over six million miles and spoke over twenty-five hundred times, appearing wherever there was injustice, protest, and action.

King was arrested more than twenty times and assaulted at least four times; he was awarded five honorary degrees and was named Man of the Year by Time magazine in 1963. At the age of thirty-five, Martin Luther King, Jr., was the youngest man to have received the Nobel Peace Prize. He was assassinated on the evening of April 4, 1968, while standing on the balcony of his motel room in Memphis, Tennessee.

You can read more about King's inspirational life, including his speech,"I have a dream" in the library catalogue.

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

52 Book Challenge - Week 2

We hope you enjoyed revisiting a book you read in school for last week's part of the 52 Book Challenge.

This week, we're still revisiting books from the past:

2. A Book From Your Childhood

We've got a great range of children's books in the Curriculum Collection (which is designed to be a miniature school library), but if you were the kind of kid who liked reading books like Dracula, or the Lord of the Rings trilogy, you might need to check out the 810s and 820s to find your old friends.

We'd love to hear from you about the books you are discovering (or rediscovering). Feel free to use the comments section in our posts (or on Facebook) to share.

Next week the challenge is to read a book that was published over 100 years ago. What would you like to read?

Monday, 8 January 2018

Reading Challenge Week 1 - A book you read in school

How have you been going with the 52 Week Book Challenge?

Last week's theme was "A Book You Read in School", and here are some books we've been reading:

Brenda Carter read Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen:

It is a truth universally acknowledged...that everyone should read Pride and Prejudice at least once in their life.

Pride and prejudice (820 AUSTE) by Jane Austen was one of my Year 12 texts and has since become my favourite novel. In fact, Pride and Prejudice is cited by academics and booklovers as the bestselling novel of all time and has never been out of print (Powell, 2017). Austen's wry social commentary, expert characterisation and timeless wit make this book my go-to read.  From a 90's rom-com (Clueless) and Colin Firth's 'wet shirt' (Andrew Davies' 1995 screenplay) to a Bollywood musical (Bride and prejudice), the novel's many adaptations demonstrates its continuing relevance in the 21st century. Already hooked? You might consider joining the Jane Austen Society or attending the Jane Austen Festival.

If you missed celebrating the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen's death in 2017, reading Pride and prejudice would be a great place to start. You can find all of Austen's works and much more in the library catalogue.

Samantha Baxter read The Gathering by Isobelle Carmody:

I remember The Gathering (820.94 CARM, Curriculum Collection) by Isobelle Carmody being one of the books assigned to me in high school that I actually enjoyed, at the time I wasn’t a big fan of young adult fiction. So when I rediscovered it recently and this challenge came up I decided to re-read it. It had been awhile since my original reading but I remembered certain parts of the story, funnily enough it was things like Nathaniel’s description of ‘the pain barrier’ that had stuck in my mind as opposed to actual plot points.

The story centres on Nathaniel Delaney, who has been shuffled around by his mother since his parents’ divorce. Now finding himself in the town of Cheshunt, a place that automatically sets him on edge. He feels a negativity around him, especially at his new High School, Three North High. What follows is a horror/fantasy story, including wild dogs, and magical talismans. As well as more mundane ‘evils’ suffered by Nathaniel’s schoolmates.

The story is fast paced, but with a depth that keeps the characters interesting and with regular revelations that are sometimes expected and sometimes out of the blue. I am glad to have re-read this story from my adolescence.

Rachael McGarvey read The Silver Sword, by Ian Serraillier:

I was first introduced to The Silver Sword (820 SER, Curriculum Collection) when I was in primary school, it was read to the class by our teacher, and I have loved it since.

Serraillier's book is based in Poland during the second world war and it is about a family who are separated due to their opposition towards the Nazi regime.  The story follows each of the members of the family in their struggles and difficulties to escape and survive the conflicts of war and reunite with each other.

The Silver Sword is an amazing story that will stay with you long after you have closed the book.

Sharon Bryan read Pastures of the Blue Crane, by H.F. Brinsmead:

I remembered enjoying  Brinsmead's Pastures of the Blue Crane (820.94 BRI, Curriculum Collection) in high school and, reading it again 20 years later, I can see why I liked it.

It’s basically a “Girl’s Own Adventure”, in which 16-year-old Ryl Merewether (who has never known life outside of boarding school) suddenly acquires A Life - involving a run-down dump of a farm, a grumpy grandfather she never knew existed, and a group of friends she might never have spoken to in her "old" life. From a prim, stuck-up school girl who doesn’t know how food gets onto the table, she grows into a resourceful young lady who would be the match of any action heroine, even though her “adventures” consist of planting a banana patch and learning to surf.

But this coming-of-age story is also an exploration of attitudes towards race – particularly concerning the South Sea Islanders who came to Australia via “blackbirding”. The "twist" in the story has less impact now that it would have in 1964, but it's still well worth reading, to see this slice of life from Australia's recent past.

Thursday, 4 January 2018

2018 - the year of...?

Each year, the United Nations seeks to raise awareness of a global issue by designating an International Year dedicated to the topic, however no theme has been advertised for 2018 as yet. We are, however, still in the midst of the Decade of Action on Nutrition, which runs from 2016 until 2025.

UN statistics reveal that 155 million children are stunted and 1.9 billion adults over 18 years of age are overweight. With health targets relating to mental health and wellbeing, substance abuse, road traffic accidents, sexual health, and chemical use, there are many ways individuals can get involved and make a difference.

Improving personal health and wellbeing is a popular new year's resolution, so why not check out WHO's goals and commit to one or more this year?

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

A Reading Challenge for 2018 - Week 1

Click on the picture for a bigger view.
The full list is also in the comments under this post,
if you find the picture hard to read..
Happy Tuesday, everyone! And welcome to the first week of 2018!

Just to liven things up this year, we've decided to adopt Hannah Braime's 52 Book 2018 Reading Challenge.

Every week, for the next 52 weeks, we'll be inviting you to make use of our books (eBooks as well as print books) to complete the challenge.

We'll be reading along, and posting some reviews of the books we've read as part of the challenge.

You don't have to read every book - just what you can (although the more the better) - and we'd love to hear about the books you have read as part of the challenge, either in the comments on the posts we write, or on our Facebook page.

We'll be issuing the challenge for the week each Tuesday, and catching up on Monday to see who has been reading what.

Think of it as a giant book club, only with everyone reading different books....

This week's challenge should send you to our Curriculum Collection (where all the best books are):

1. A Book You Read in School.

Happy Reading!

Monday, 1 January 2018

Welcoming the New Year

The library has been closed for an entire week, can you believe it?

Well, we open again tomorrow (Tuesday, 2nd January, 2018), and we're looking forward to a great year, where we'll get to see a lot of wonderful people (that's you).

We're still on Summer Time - this means we open from 8.00am-5.00pm during the week, and we're closed on the weekend. We'll change our opening hours again when Semester 1 starts.

Why not spend the rest of summer exploring our collections? You'll find we have all sorts of interesting things scattered around the place. Is there a topic you've always wanted to learn more about? Now's your chance. Do you have a favourite classic author, and you want to read more of their work? We've got your new favourite book sitting on our shelves, we're sure of it.

If you are a returning student or staff member, you can still access all of our resources as per normal. If 2017 was your last year at JCU, then we wish you luck in the future - but you don't have to say goodbye. Alumni still have borrowing privileges (with some restrictions), so you're always welcome to come in and see if we have something interesting.

So, for 2018, why not resolve to spend more time at your library?