Thursday, 29 March 2018

Special Collections Fossickings 51: Destruction and Decline (the Pied Imperial-Pigeon Story, Part 1)

After a hiatus in our Special Collections Fossickings, we return to this popular series with another tale from the Jean Devanny Archive. We hope you enjoy what our intrepid explorer uncovered in her fossickings:

Jean Devanny with Stan White and Dr Hugo Flecker examining a nesting site at Woody island
Jean Devanny Album, NQ Photographic Collection, ID 13965
Author Jean Devanny, the focus of our last two posts, became a keen naturalist while living in North Queensland writing detailed accounts of her observations. One such account, in her memoir Travels in North Queensland, described a 1944 visit to Woody Island (off Port Douglas) to see the colony of nutmeg pigeons (Ducula bicolor) which had arrived in thousands from PNG for their summer breeding season.

Image of pied imperial pigeon
provided by Yvonne Cunningham
These birds – also known as Torres Strait or pied imperial-pigeons – have captured the imagination of generations of naturalists and bird-lovers and fascinated many locals and tourists. Between September and March they can be seen feeding on palm and other native fruits in forests, parks and gardens along the coast before flying out each evening towards the distant islands. But their gentle calls and gleaming white plumage, which closely resembles images of the quintessential peace dove, belie a violent history.

For generations local Aboriginal tribes would have taken advantage of this bounteous food source, which arrived so punctually each year, and in 1901 ethnologist Walter Roth described several methods by which they obtained their catch. But this modest harvest would have had little impact on the birds’ abundant population. When Europeans arrived, equipped with firearms and a tradition of killing for sport as well as food, it was a different story.

Queensland Times, 1865.
Excerpt provided by Trove.
As early as 1865 the “Queensland Times” reported on a cruise taken by Queensland Governor, Sir George Bowen, along the North Queensland coast. In early October the Governor arrived in Cardwell, then the newest and most northerly settlement on the east coast. From here he made an excursion to a small offshore island for a day’s shooting which the newspaper later described: “The sport was excellent – eighty-two birds falling to three guns. The birds were all black and white Torres Straits [sic] pigeons, and afforded dainty food to the company for some days.”

But even this was on a small scale compared with what was to come. The birds were shot in huge numbers, and not just by locals. Steamers that travelled up and down the coast would stop for a day or two so their passengers could enjoy the sport, others came up from the south on specially organized shooting parties. As the slaughter continued some, like E.J. Banfield who had watched what he called “an uncountable host” of pigeons passing by his Dunk Island home, feared for their future.
Pied imperial pigeon playfully perched in a pretty palm tree.
Image provided by Bryony Barnett

Not all shooting was wasteful or wanton. The 1928-29 Great Barrier Reef expedition leader C.M. Yonge found pigeons a more reliable food source than fish (A Year on the Great Barrier Reef) but in 1936, TC Roughley was over-optimistic in claiming that protection had put an end to their “senseless slaughter” (Wonders of the Great Barrier Reef).

In fact, on paper the birds had been protected for most of the century yet despite Banfield’s warning in 1908 of the “immense destruction” that was taking place, it would be another sixty years before anything was done to stop it. Next month’s Fossickings will conclude the story.

Story by Miniata

Sources:


Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Easter 2018 Opening Hours


JCU library wishes everyone a happy and relaxing Easter long weekend. The libraries in Cairns and Townsville will be open for business during the following times:

Cairns



Building Opening Hours
Library Service Hours
Roving Security Patrol Hours
Friday 30 March
1:00pm-12:00am
No Library Service
5:00pm-12:00am
Saturday 31 March
1:00pm-12:00am
1:00pm-5:00pm
5:00pm-12:00am
Sunday 1 April
1:00pm-12:00am
No Library Service
5:00pm-12:00am
Monday 2 April
1:00pm-12:00am
1:00pm-5:00pm
5:00pm-12:00am


Townsville

In Townsville, the 24 hr InfoCommons will be open for the entire long weekend. Security patrol regularly.

The library will be closed on Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

We will be open:

  • Saturday 31st March - 1:00pm-5:00pm.
  • Monday 2nd April (Easter Monday) - 1:00pm-5:00pm.

You can find a link to the opening hours for the Cairns and Townsville libraries, as well as for the Information Commons, on the homepage of the library website.



Tuesday, 27 March 2018

52 Book Challenge - Week 13

Adam and Misti Yerton's Book Clock
They say 13 is an unlucky number, and as numbers go, it has had a bit of a rough trot. After all, few other numbers are shunned on sight, or completely skipped over in hotels. For example, 43 is never treated as poorly as 13 - and there is very little physical difference between them. All because some people suffer from triskaidekaphobia, and some people just like to act like they do.

We're waffling on numerically at the moment because the theme for this week's part of the 52 Book Reading Challenge is:

13. A book with a number in the title

We've already read Seven Little Australians, 21 Australian Architects, Fahrenheit 451, Three Crooked Kings and Twelve Years a Slave, but that's no reason why you couldn't borrow these books - or, indeed, any other book with number in the title.

We're not going to rest on our numerical laurels, but will read and review some fresh numbered books this week.

Happy reading!


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


Reserve Online is Dead, Long Live Readings!

Our Reserve Online (Masterfile) system for managing course readings and past exam papers is not compatible with the upgraded version of Blackboard (inc. Ultra).  We have been migrating content since December 2017 and as of the 31 March 2018 Reserve Online will no longer be available to staff and students.



The new system Readings (Talis) has replaced Reserve Online. In addition to allowing a more streamlined digitisation (scanning) process to manage Copyright requirements, Readings also gives academic staff the ability to more effectively self manage and curate their Reading Lists and link to their LearnJCU site. The dashboard also offers valuable analytics to monitor student engagement.  Library & Information Services staff are working with LTSE and academic staff to ensure content (esp. digitised resources) is available before the commencement of SP2.

To find out more about Readings and how to create and manage lists we are hosting workshops (inc. F2F and webinars).  Make sure you check out the Readings LibGuide and FAQs.  You can also get in directly with the Library or your discipline Liaison Librarian.

Monday, 26 March 2018

Reading Challenge Week 12 - A book with a name in the title

Well, this week the challenge was to read a book with a name in the title. That, obviously left us with a temptation to read all of the Harry Potter books.

We resisted for this week. But mostly because there are other challenges coming up which are better suited to the Potter books.

Here are some books we did read:


Luc Brien read Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll.

This week was less a challenge and more an absolute joy, as I picked up one of my favourite childhood books: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (in the Curriculum Collection at c820 CAR). It’s been a while since I last read it, and plunging myself back down the rabbit hole with Alice was a hit right in the nostalgia feels. For the uninitiated, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland follows Alice, a girl about 7 years old, as she finds herself on an unbelievable adventure in Wonderland - a nonsensical fantasy world inhabited by, amongst others things, talking animals, magical food stuffs, a never ending tea party, a caterpillar with a bad habit, and a queen with an unhealthy fondness of decapitation. And a cat from Cheshire.

The strange, sometimes meandering, tale is full of whimsical twists (a baby turning into a piglet for no apparent reason) and absurd conversations (but why is a raven like a writing desk?) that I find delightful and often hilarious. However, not everyone thinks so. Other people I talk to about this book think that the prose is confusing and weird. They find Alice a frustrating character whose decisions while in Wonderland make no sense - which is kind of the point, due to the reveal at the end.

First published in 1865, Alice is very much a product of its time. The language, the structure, the characters (and the the views they present), as well as the overarching story are heavily Victorian, and that doesn’t resonate with some people - and that’s OK. For me, as someone who read it growing up, who learned most of Alice and its sequel, Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There, by heart, it’s a joyful romp through Lewis Carroll’s ridiculous imagination. I’m so happy that I took this opportunity to re-read it.

It’s hard to understate the importance of Alice in Western literature. It’s been a hugely influential book for generations, and we can still see tropes and the essence of Alice in many modern stories, songs, plays, and video games.


Sharon Bryan read A Dog Called George, by Margaret Balderson.

I found this book in the Curriculum Collection (at c820.94 BAL) a few weeks back when I was getting Bedknob and Broomstick for an earlier book in the challenge, and I simply had to borrow it. For a good 15 years or so (until she died a couple of years ago) I had a dog called George, so it seemed like an obvious choice.

It’s a strange book, because it’s hard to say who the intended readership is. The book features a primary-school aged boy (probably 12 at the oldest) who is a reluctant reader, but I don’t think it’s targeted at primary school aged boys – and certainly not reluctant readers. The language is too complex, and there are a a lot of subtle undercurrents layered throughout this ostensibly straight-forward story. The language would probably be more comfortable in a book for early-teenaged girls who are confident readers, rather than primary-school aged boys who are not.

The plot centres around a boy in Canberra who finds a dog and, as a result, develops some social skills and finds an activity he’s good at. On his way to school one morning, Tony comes across an Old English Sheepdog sitting under a tree. Somehow, he ends up taking it home and calling it George. His mother, who loves dogs and wishes her husband would let the family have one, is delighted with the temporary guest – although she tries to make sure Tony knows that the dog’s owners will have to be found so the dog can go home.

In it’s own way, the book is almost about Tony’s mother as much as it is about Tony and George. Although the story sticks with Tony, we come to know the mother’s character really well – and all through indirect references. It’s amazing how much her character becomes clear without the book ever once stopping to look at her directly.

While I was reading the book, I started to feel it would go down really well with readers of The People’s Friend – a magazine that publishes short stories and serials whose readership is largely women over the age of 40. That magazine occasionally features stories written from the perspective of children, but for an adult readership. And perhaps that’s the best audience for this book: people who are no longer children themselves – perhaps people who have raised their own children – but are happy to read a book set in a child's world and in which the protagonist is a child.

Endnote workshops


JCU Library invites all students and staff to attend our upcoming EndNote workshops:

Cairns
Tuesday 27 March, 1:00pm-2:30pm, Room 104, Building B1 - Library

Townsville
Wednesday 28 March, 2:00pm-3:00pm, Room 18.002A, Building 18 - Eddie Koiki Mabo Library 



These sessions are 1 hour introductions to the EndNote programme, and cover the basics of:

  • setting up a library;
  • importing references from the databases;
  • using EndNote with Word; and
  • using EndNote to coordinate your research.

The workshops are highly recommended for postgraduate students and academics (especially those working with postgraduate students), but are open to all.

If you are bringing your laptop, please have EndNote installed before the class. You can download Endnote from the Endnote Libguide on the library website

The guide also contains a wealth of information to help you master Endnote, including online tutorials and FAQs, information specifically for Mac users, guidelines for setting up and synchronising your Endnote Online account and much more.

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

52 Book Challenge - Week 12

We're 12 weeks into our 52 Book Challenge, and the theme for this week is:

12. A book with a name in the title

Now the obvious choice would be to pick a book with a person's name in the title, like "Rebecca" or "My Cousin Rachel" or "The Infernal World of Branwell Brontë", or even books that weren't written by Daphne Du Maurier.

However, there's no reason why you can't choose a book that has the name of a ship in the title. Or the name of a dog. Or a horse. Or a river....

How creative do you feel like being?


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

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Harmony Day! 21 March 2018


Wednesday, March 21 2018 is Harmony Day.

According to the Australian Government's Harmony Day website:

Harmony Day is a day to celebrate Australian multiculturalism, based on the successful integration of migrants into our community. Australia is the most successful multicultural country on earth and we should celebrate this and work to maintain it. 

Harmony Day is about inclusiveness, respect and belonging for all Australians, regardless of cultural or linguistic background, united by a set of core Australian values. 
Held every year on 21 March. The Day coincides with the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. Since 1999, more than 70,000 Harmony Day events have been held in childcare centres, schools, community groups, churches, businesses and federal, state and local government agencies across Australia.

JCU will be celebrating our cultural diversity with music, food, dance, entertainment and activities in Cairns (Library Lawns) and Townsville (Education Central Amphitheater) on 21 March between 10:30am and 1:30pm.

Monday, 19 March 2018

Reading Challenge Week 11 - A Book Set in Your Hometown/Region

The challenge for this week was to read a book set in your hometown or region, which gave staff and students at JCU the scope to read books from all around the world, when you think about it.

Luc read a mystery novel set in Melbourne, Sharon read a fictionalised account of historical events set in Townsville, and Scott read a classic Australian novel set amongst the South Australian fishing communities.

Did you find a book to take you close to home?


Luc Brien read Murder on a Midsummer Night (Phryne Fisher #17) by Kerry Greenwood.

Being a Melbournian, it was a wee bit difficult to find a book set in my home city amongst JCU’s extensive collection of North Queensland literature. However, with a bit of searching, I found that we have a few Phryne Fisher novels by Kerry Greenwood. I’ve seen several episodes of the TV series and enjoyed them, so I thought I’d look at Murder on a Midsummer Night (820A GREE 1C MUR/GRE) for my first outing with the Honourable Miss Phryne Fisher.

The setting in this book is both familiar and strange to me. While it’s set in Melbourne - a city I know very well - it’s a 90-year-old fictional version of the city, and there are many references to places and buildings that no longer exist, if they ever did. For example, Phryne lives at 221B The Esplanade, St Kilda. The number is an in-world nod to Phryne’s favourite detective, Sherlock Holmes, but here’s the real problem: The Esplanade, home to Luna Park, the Espy (the stories I have…), and the St Kilda Market only goes to number 32. It’s not a long enough street to have 221 houses on it. It’s a discombobulating experience - even accounting for poetic license.

Murder on a Midsummer Night was a challenge for me. While I do read and enjoy mystery novels, the detective stories that I consume generally have some paranormal or supernatural element, and there was a disappointing lack of eldritch terror or things with tentacles in this one. However, challenge is the name of the game, and I quickly grew used to the world Kerry Greenwood has created for her lady detective.

Speaking of Kerry Greenwood, once I got past the flowery and overly descriptive writing (there is a lot of telling in here), it turns out that Greenwood is a giant flapper era nerd which, being a nerd myself, I love. I might not have the same interests, but I can appreciate good nerdery when I see it. This book, with all its flaws, is an immensely well-researched piece of historical fiction. And I absolutely respect that.

The plot follows a fairly standard and predictable formula: Phryne is given two unconnected mysteries to solve (investigating the apparent suicide of a successful merchant, and then trying to find a dead woman’s illegitimate child), but as several fans have pointed out, if you’re reading a Phryne Fisher book for the story, you’re going to be disappointed. The real joy lies in Greenwood’s world-building; her alternative version of 1929 Melbourne and the people who inhabit it. For her part, the eponymous Phryne Fisher is a bit dull. In scenes that I felt should be dripping with tension, Phryne is cool, collected, and unflappable. She is good at everything, especially detective-ing, and she seems to float through the story, being largely unaffected by the various goings on around her, and occasionally wandering into Mary Sue territory. While Mary Sues are not inherently bad, they’re very hard to do well. In this case, Phryne is not well done.

While I learned to enjoy this book and its idiosyncratic prose, I think I’ll stick to TV series for now


Sharon Bryan read Affection, by Ian Townsend.

Somewhere out there in the world is a list of “conversation points” for book clubs who are reading this book, and one of the questions on that list must surely be:  “What is the significance of the title?”

For the record, I have no idea.

The title of the book and the blurb on the back jacket made me think this book was going to go in a particular direction, but it never did. It didn’t even threaten to. Which is unnecessarily misleading, because I have previously picked up the book, read the title and the blurb, and decided that it fits into a genre that doesn’t particularly interest me so I put it back down again. They say you should never judge a book by its cover, but you have to admit that the title and description do provide some first impressions.

My first impressions of this book were completely wrong. I thought it was going to bore me, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. I can’t say for sure I would have read it anyway, even if it had been more descriptive, because it’s still not the kind of book I usually read.  This is why I’m grateful that the Reading Challenge prompted me to pick it up.

Affection (820A TOWN 1C AFF) is set in Townsville during the plague scare of 1900, and it was fascinating reading descriptions of the town back then. Townsend clearly did a lot of research (he included the JCU library in his acknowledgements), and part of me wants to go trawling through old maps of the city to see some of the places he mentioned that are no longer here. It’s a gripping telling of a story that was worth reading, and I highly recommend it.



Scott Dale read Storm Boy, by Colin Thiele.
Storm Boy cover 
I made this week’s challenge a little easier for myself by deciding to revisit a book I’d known about since I was a child. I grew up in Adelaide and spent many days down at Goolwa and the Coorong region fishing, twisting for cockles, and surfing.

I saw the movie Storm Boy, based on the Colin Thiele book that I read this week (820.94 THI), when I was in primary school. Hearing Storm Boy shout out to his pelican Mr Percival has always stayed with me (just like hearing the cries of “Miranda!” from Picnic at Hanging Rock).

The story of Storm Boy has some longevity with the 1970s film, a remake of this film on the way (starring Geoffrey Rush), and multiple theatre productions.

Reading Storm Boy took me back to those cold, windswept shores and I enjoyed reminiscing the landscapes of my oh so distant youth. I identified quite closely with Storm Boy not wanting to go to school up in Adelaide and especially enjoyed the scene where Mr Percival shows what a pelican can do, saving some men in trouble at sea with a bit of coastal ingenuity.

Reading Storm Boy is a nice way to spend an hour or two.
 


Sunday, 18 March 2018

Upcoming Library Workshops March 2018: Endnote, APA Referencing & Finding Journal Articles

Do you need to improve your assignment research skills? Are you confused by APA referencing? Do you need to learn about EndNote to manage references for your research project? If so, you need to attend a Library workshop.

Upcoming workshops for Cairns and Townsville campuses include:


If you have any queries about researching, referencing or Endnote, please contact the Library InfoHelp desk.

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

52 Book Challenge - Week 11

Last week, we gave you some advice for how to search our catalogue or One Search for finding books set in your local area (which is harder than it sounds if you live outside of the major cities).

We did this because the challenge for this week is:

11. A book set in your hometown/region

Now, just to shake things up, this week we'll tell you how to search someone else's catalogue for our books:  The National Library of Australia's.

Trove is a catalogue that covers most libraries in the country - including ours - and you can try searching Trove to see what we have.

Why would you use someone else's catalogue to search our collection? Because different tools are designed to have different strengths, and because they focus on different things.

In Trove, head over to the Advanced Search option. If your home town isn't Townsville or Cairns, type in the name of your town or region (e.g. Innisfail) where it says "Keyword", then scroll down the page to find the part where it asks you what library you want to search. Type in James Cook University, and hit Find Locations, then tick our name.

On the next page, click the link to narrow to books.

Now, this isn't as useful if your home town is Townsville or Cairns (although it will work to an extent) because most of our books have the words "Townsville" or "Cairns" in the record (for the location of the book). In this case, change the search from "Keywords" to "Subject".

You can also narrow it down further by adding more "Subjects" like "history" or "biography" or "fiction".

Try it, and see what you can find.


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

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Upcoming Workshops

Now that semester is in full swing, one of our information skills workshops might be just what you need to help find and organise relevant resources for your assignments:
  • EndNote - Learn how to use EndNote, an application to manage references and use referencing in your essays.
  • Finding Journal Articles - How to search the Library’s online databases and retrieve scholarly full-text journal articles
  • Go Wireless - Learn how to connect your device to the University network. Configure your device to access the wireless network, and set up wireless printing for your laptop
  • Referencing - Learn about referencing your sources of information in your assignments
  • Top Ten Assignment Tips - Learn how to successfully find information for your assignments. Unpack your topic, Find your subject readings, Search for print and online resources using One Search and Reference your work to avoid plagiarism
Workshops are available in both Cairns and Townsville. To reserve your place, go to our Workshops page, click on your preferred session/s and register. We look forward to seeing you!

Monday, 12 March 2018

Reading Challenge Week 10 - A book published in the 20th Century

Special treat this week! For our Reading Challenge round-up, we've got four stellar reviews of 20th Century Books (as opposed to 20th Century Blues, which is a Noel Coward song), and one was provided by none other than Jennifer Nicholls, who has been doing work experience with us in our Cairns branch.


Jennifer Nicholls read Pigeon Poo, The Universe & Car Paint, and Other Awesome Science Moments, by Dr. Karl Kruszelnick.

Dr. Karl Kruszelnicki, or Dr Karl as most people know him, is a quirky and popular Australian science communicator. Many would have tuned in to Dr Karl answering the pressing science questions of avid Triple J listeners on a Thursday morning (which, incidentally, he has been doing in some form on Triple J since 1981) or one of the other many radio and television programs he frequents. His first book, Great Moments in Science, was published back in 1985 and since then he has written more than 40 books including titles such as 50 Shades of Grey Matter, Headless Chickens, Bathroom Queues and Belly Button Blues and more recently Karl, The Universe and Everything

Pigeon Poo, The Universe & Car Paint, and Other Awesome Science Moments (500 KRU), first published in 1996, is Dr Karl’s 13th book. In typical Dr Karl form, science is interwoven with energetic storytelling and interesting trivia – did you know that Elvis’ jumpsuits could weigh up to 14 Kilograms? – to create an engaging collection  of stories on a wide variety of topics. 

In this book Dr Karl tackles topics such as traffic jams in the middle of nowhere, the origin of the word ‘hello’ and why men have nipples. Although somewhat dated in sections there is enough of interest that, even after over 20 years since being published, many will have an u-huh moment when reading.

Although not for everyone, Dr Karl does have a way of bringing science to the masses in a way that is engaging and informative. There is enough of interest to keep you reading or at least flicking through to brush up on your trivia. Who knew pigeons make milk to feed their babies?

You can find 6 different Dr Karl titles in the JCU library catalogue.


Brenda Carter read Animal Farm, by George Orwell.

So many great books were written in the 20th century – it’s hard to choose just one to read and recommend. If you are short of time, George Orwell’s Animal Farm (820 ORW 1C ANI) frequently appears on ‘Best books of the 20th century” lists and packs a punch at only 120 pages. 

Animal Farm is Orwell’s satirical attack on the Stalinist regime, shaped by his experiences in the Spanish Civil War. Although it tells a fairly simple story of barnyard animals trying to manage themselves after rebelling against their masters, the novel demonstrates the power of totalitarian propaganda and how easily good intentions (socialism) can be corrupted.   "All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others".

Animals, history, politics, allegory…there’s something for everyone here. If you didn’t read Animal farm at school, now’s your chance.


Nathan Miller read For Whom the Bell Tolls, by Ernest Hemingway.

Ernest Hemingway is considered an essential man’s man of writing. He worked as a journalist, war correspondent and had an adventurous life traveling, hunting and going on safaris, deep sea fishing, attending bullfights and living a bohemian lifestyle with the artistic and intellectual class of his time. I get tired just reading about things he did in life.

For Whom the Bell Tolls (810 HEM 1C FOR) is set during the 1930s in the midst of the Spanish Civil war between the Nationalist, Royalist, Catholic, Conservative and Fascist forces on one side facing the Republican, Communist, Socialist, Unionist and Anarchist forces on the other. We follow Robert Jordan - one of many international fighters on both sides - who joined the war in Spain. Robert has joined a left wing guerrilla force of peasants and has to blow up a bridge. 

The main point of the novel for me is the famed Ernest Hemingway writing style: short and to the point without losing any interest for the reader. Hemingway wrote other war novels and drew on his personal experiences in World War One and his active hobbies to provide the detail for his writing, but he writes in a noticeably direct style. I came to Hemingway via his large number of public accolades and via Wilbur Smith novels, which share the outdoorsy, war and 19th and 20th century male adventurer themes. Other writers who cover similar genres and style would be Robert Louis Stevenson, Cormac McCarthy and, interestingly, the author Robert Jordan - who took his pseudonym (Robert Jordan) from the character in this novel.


Samantha Baxter read Danse Macabre by Stephen King.

I actually intended to read this book for the non-fiction challenge, but ran out of time. I am a big fan of Stephen King’s style and I enjoy his fiction and non-fiction equally. 

According to Wikipedia (Shock, horror, gasp!):
Danse Macabre is a 1981 non-fiction book by Stephen King, about horror fiction in print, radio, film and comics, and the influence of contemporary societal fears and anxieties on the genre. It was republished on February 23, 2010 with an additional new essay entitled "What's Scary". 
Danse Macabre examines the various influences on King's own writing, and important genre texts of the 19th and 20th centuries. Danse Macabre explores the history of the genre as far back as the Victorian era, but primarily focuses on the 1950s to the 1970s (roughly the era covering King's own life at the time of publication). King peppers his book with informal academic insight, discussing archetypes, important authors, common narrative devices, "the psychology of terror", and his key theory of "Dionysian horror".
For a fan of the horror genre in general and King in particular this book (which can be found at 791.436164 KIN) is interesting and insightful to read the thoughts of the master himself on horror and why so many are drawn to it. 

It is a fairly dated tome, with many of the references being from the 30s to 50s creeping into the 80s. It would be interesting I think to read an analysis of modern horror by King, but for now this is what we have. It is particularly interesting to hear his analysis of radio horror, something that is somewhat making a comeback with podcasts.

This is a must read for anyone interested in horror as a genre in its many and varied depictions from books, to films to radio.