Tuesday, 26 June 2018

52 Book Challenge - Week 26

It's Week 26 of the 52 Book Reading Challenge, which means we are now half-way through the year. I'll pause for a moment while you hyperventilate.

Are you reconciled with the inexorable passage of time? Good.

Now, this week's challenge is one you can work out on your own, but the second half of the year (i.e., next week) kicks off with a doozy, so we'll give you some ideas for that one, too.

The current challenge is:

26.  A book you were supposed to read in school but haven’t yet.

Look, only you know what homework you skipped in school, so this is on you. If you were the kind of person who read everything and then some, then ask other people for suggestions of books they were supposed to read, but didn't. Or, pick a book everyone else was reading that you decided was not for you. Hopefully you'll come up with something new and exciting.

Next week's challenge will take some planning:

27. A book with a character with your first name.

Some people have easy names, like "Jane" or "Emma" or "Tom", but for those of us who don't have a title character with a shared name, you'll have to get creative. Try using looking up your name in Wikipedia to see the list of fictional characters (like this, if your name happened to be Algernon). Or you could try a Google search like this: (Gwendolen AROUND character) - if your name happens to be Gwendolen.

Good luck, and hopefully you don't end up hating your literary doppelganger.

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

52 Reading Challenge Week 25 - An Award-Winning Book

If you've been keeping up with the 52 Book Reading Challenge so far, then you'll know we've been having a great time exploring our collection for interesting books to read and review.

This week's challenge was to find an award winning book, and since there are a lot of book awards and we have a lot of excellent books, the hardest part of this challenge was narrowing it down.

Karen Ryle read Saga Land, by Richard Fidler and Kári Gíslason.

Saga Land recently won the Non-Fiction category in the Australian Independent Bookseller's Indie Book Awards.

Long summer days and long winter nights swirl though the thousand years of the telling of one man’s story to find his family’s heritage. Richard Fidler and Kári Gíslason travel to Iceland, tracing the locations mentioned in the historical sagas; and of Kari’ ancestor, the legendary historian and poet, Snorri Sturluson. 

Past and present intermingle then separate, as their journey unfolds in gusts against the ever dominating sheer mountains, fiery volcanoes, ice and sea. The retelling of the Icelandic sagas emphasize the strength of character needed in a wild land, where honour is everything, and where women often played a pivotal role. 

Part travelogue, part memoir and part literary history hewn large out of the landscape, Saga land is best read in one sitting on a winter’s weekend, preferably in front of a blazing log fire...

Brenda Carter read A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness.

A Monster Calls, written by Patrick Ness and illustrated by Jim Kay, has won numerous awards, including the Carnegie and GreenawayMedals for writing and illustration in 2012, recognising the year's best work published in the UK. This was the first book to win both awards since the illustration award was established over fifty years ago.  It also won the BritishChildren's Book of the Year, the Red HouseChildren's Book Award and the Kitschies RedTentacle award for speculative fiction.

The novel was based on an idea by Siobhan Dowd, who had cancer when she conceived it and died before it was finished. In the story, a thirteen year old boy struggles to cope with his mother’s terminal cancer, a largely absent father, his well-meaning but strict grandmother and being bullied at school. In a recurring dream, the boy encounters a monster whose stories challenge him to confront and deal with his feelings and circumstances.

A Monster Calls has been described as "compelling ... powerful and impressive" and “a singular masterpiece”.  It is a quick read but benefits from multiple readings. There is plenty to ponder and the tale is beautifully told.

Sharon Bryan read Joe Faust, by Frank Brennan.

We have a lot of books in our Curriculum Collection that were finalists or winners for the Children's Book Council of Australia Awards. This isn’t one of them.

This book won the Language Learner Literature Awards' Adolescent & Adult: Upper Intermediate & Advanced category in 2012. What are the Language Literature Awards? They are awards given by the Extensive Reading Foundation (ERF) to books written specifically for language learners to reward the best books in their field. The ERF has a number of different categories depending on the target reading level and whether a book is an original text or an adaptation. The aim is to promote the fact that these books can be very well written, even if they are written for a particular purpose and have tightly controlled vocabularies and sentence structures.

These books play an important role in providing language learners a bridge to reading “authentic texts.” For that reason, it’s important to have Graded Readers (as these books are often called) that have stories which would interest adults, not just books for children.

Joe Faust is an original book written for the upper levels of a graded reading programme (it’s a level 10 book in the Page TurnersReading Library, which has 12 levels). It takes the story of Faust and Mephistopheles, and converts it to the world of high stakes financial trading. Joe Faust is a young trader who lives for the thrill of making money on the stock exchange. When he is offered a “deal” to give him a Midas touch, he takes it – signing his name in his own blood…

Well, it doesn’t end well. These sorts of deals never do, but it’s certainly a very interesting take on the subject. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book, even though I’m not in the target audience. By writing a graded reader that is enjoyable to read even if you weren’t trying to learn the language, I think Frank Brennan deserved his award.

Thursday, 21 June 2018

Save Your Searches in One Search!

Ever had a great search that you wanted to save within One Search? Now you can. You can save a search today that you can revisit tomorrow on any computer.

To use the Saved Searches feature in One Search, you will need to have a Google Account. If you have signed in to Google products like YouTube or Gmail, you may already have an account.

Have any eagle-eyed people noticed the star icons that now appear in One Search? That’s how you get started saving your searches.

Enter you search in One Search and select the star icon that appears within the search box to get started. Step-by-step instructions on how to save your searches can be found online.

*If you are using a public computer, we recommend signing out of your Google account when you have finished your session.

Happy searching.

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Advanced Endnote Training: Townsville Friday 22 June

Advanced EndNote training in Townsville 

When: Friday 22 June, 9am to 11am

Where: Building 142 (The Science Place), Room 020 & 021

This workshop is designed for all postgraduates, HDRs and researches, particularly those doing systematic reviews. The workshop will cover:
  • Organising records into groups 
  • Annotating records
  • Checking for duplicate records 
  • Creating custom fields in references 
  • Sharing EndNote libraries 
  • Attaching full text articles to records 
  • Exporting results to Excel 
Please note: You are expected to have basic knowledge of how EndNote works.

Registration for all workshops: https://libcal.jcu.edu.au/calendar/workshops

52 Book Challenge - Week 25

Do you know how many book/literary awards are out there in the world?  A lot.

There are the big guns like the Nobel, the Man Booker, the Pulitzer, the Miles Franklin, the Vogel... and that's just the type of the iceberg for the English language alone.

We usually make a point of getting the finalists for the Children's Book Council of Australia awards and the winners of the Miles Franklin and Man Booker prizes, and we tend to grab a few more award winners (and some of the short listers) from various other literary awards as well.

Which is handy, because this week's Reading Challenge is:

25. An award-winning book.

So find yourself a book that tickled some judges' fancies, and get reading!

World Refugee Day June 20th, 2018

June 20th is the United Nations World Refugee Day. UN statistics for 2016 had 65.6 million people as displaced both internally and to other countries, with the full report providing further detail. The Australia Refugee Council has Australian statistics around our national involvement and also the Australian Federal Government  website has national policy and details.

The United Nations official page states:

In a world where violence forces thousands of families to flee for their lives each day, the time is now to show that the global public stands with refugees. To do this, the UN Refugee Agency launched the #WithRefugees petition in June 2016 to send a message to governments that they must work together and do their fair share for refugees. On World Refugee Day, held every year on June 20th, we commemorate the strength, courage and perseverance of millions of refugees. This year, World Refugee Day also marks a key moment for the public to show support for families forced to flee.

Monday, 18 June 2018

Reading Challenge Week 24 - A Book Set Somewhere You’ll Visit This Year

Oooh! A Special Guest Reviewer! Kimberley Blyth has been doing a library placement with us in Cairns*, and she has chipped in this week with a review for the Reading Challenge.

This week's challenge involves finding a book set somewhere you'll be visiting this year. Did you find a book set in your chosen destination? Did it make you more or less keen to visit?

Kimberley Blyth read Gap Year in Ghost Town by Michael Pryor.

Somewhere I hope to visit this year is Melbourne. According to the Global Liveability Report for 2017, it’s one of the world’s most liveable cities, vibrant and full of culture, so I’d love to experience it for myself. Michael Pryor’s Gap Year in Ghost Town (820.94 PRY in the Curriculum Collection) showcases inner city Melbourne through the eyes of the narrator, Anton Marin. From the first scene, the reader is transported to the lively back alleys and attractions of Melbourne, and you can tell it's the author's hometown because the little details made the setting more realistic, and therefore, believable.

Anton is experimenting with the family business for his gap year, which, as the title suggests, is ghost hunting. Ghost stories and paranormal literature are not my favourite genres, but this book surprised me. Anton can see ghosts, making him a perfect fit for the family business, but he isn’t so sure he wants to spend his life chasing down ghosts. However, as a surge in ghost sightings and crime hits the streets of Melbourne, Anton meets Rani, a visiting hunter from England, who disagrees with Anton’s peaceful methods of ghost hunting. Despite their differences, the two must work together to keep supernatural forces at bay.

Full of witty and sarcastic banter, the story is complemented by undertones of strong friendships and violence versus compassion. While the stakes never really rise to an alarming level, the story itself flows well, with a great mix of characters and a setting that adds to the lively atmosphere of the story.

I hope to get to Japan this year. It’s really easy to get to from Cairns and I used to live there so I’m always interested in catching up with friends. This week I’ve been reading another author who was was Japanese born and received the Nobel Prize for Literature (see last week’s blog to for a review on Kazuo Ishiguro).

This is a collection of stories that say a lot in a small space. Each story is small enough to fit into the palm of your hand. Yes, yes, I know. Most stories can fit into the palm of our hands these days, regardless of how many pages they have (you could probably read something terribly long like Don Quixote on your phone these days if you were brave/silly enough). But then, with our modern ways of being quick to click and fast to scroll and swipe, these palm of the hand stories might be the perfect form of literature for today.

While perhaps better known for his novels, Kawabata always returned to this unique form of storytelling, the Palm-of-the-Hand-Stories (895.6 KAW 2B TEN). If we use the obvious comparison and say that these stories are to the novel what the haiku is to the longer form of the poem, we are probably just being lazy. Although, like haiku, these stories do give us a strong sense of season. We know that the action is taking place on a warm summer evening, a rainy autumn day, or a snow covered night.

These stories take you to what feels like very regular, everyday places. It's like going on a holiday to Japan and avoiding the tourist haunts. Whether they are set on a bridge over a stream, in a bath house, a mountain town, or by the sea, the stories have a way of transporting you to that place. For all their brevity, these stories are unhurried and offer glimpses of ordinary life in Japan across many decades before and after the Second World War. 

Back in the days before the internet, computers and blogs, I used to go on annual holidays with my family to the Blue Mountains in NSW. The Blue Mountains have remained a favourite haunt of mine and I will be enjoying its icy delights again this year.  Given that you may short of time for reading for pleasure at the moment, The Blue Mountains and Jenolan Caves: A Camera Study by Frank Hurley could be just the thing. This gem was published in Sydney in 1952 (“Also Obtainable Overseas”). Although originally a guide for tourists, it is now a fascinating historical record with over 60 full-page prints by Hurley and articles written by Frank Walford, Paddy Pallin (of the adventure store fame) and Andrew Mayne.

In his Foreword, Hurley writes:

For those lusty of limb who have a yearning for distant horizons, there are hundreds of miles of bushwalks and tracks…Unless you are an experienced bushwalker don’t wander off the tracks. If you do, don’t panic; stay where you are and wait for the rescue party, which will turn up sooner or later…
I have done my best with my camera to give you some glimpses of Blue Mountains grandeur and Jenolan’s wonders. My colleagues with their pens have joined me, in the hope that…you may be one who,
      exempt from public haunt,
     Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,
     Sermons in stones, and good in everything.

The Blue Mountains and Jenolan Caves: A Camera Study is a literary and historical treat, whether you have visited the Blue Mountains or not. You can find it on the shelves at 919.44500222 HUR C. A.

*Yes, librarians have to do placements as part of their degrees. Yes, librarians have degrees in library sciences. Yes, "library sciences" is a real thing.

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Have you found APO yet?

APO (Analysis and Policy Observatory) contains a wealth of documentation relating to Australian public policy research. Subject areas covered include:
  • Health
  • Education
  • Indigenous
  • Politics
  • Science
  • Culture, and more.
APO is updated daily, so you will be able to access the latest in policy knowledge and evidence. The platform is a great sources for grey literature.

You will also find the APO weblink in JCU Library's A-Z Database list.

Systematic Reviews Workshops, Townsville: 13-22 June

JCU Library is facilitating a series of workshops to support beginning a systematic review or literature review using a systematic protocol. Workshops will be held from 13-22 June on the Townsville campus.

Who should attend? 

  • HDRs (contributes to professional development) 
  • HDR supervisors 
  • Researchers considering conducting a systematic review 
  • Academics teaching systematic reviews 
  • Staff interested in systematic reviews 

To get the most benefit from the workshops, please have a topic ready to work on; you should have a working protocol established after attending all sessions. The Advanced search methods and Test your protocol workshops are split into qualitative and quantitative review sessions. These workshops are open to staff and HDRs only and are face to face.

Click on the poster below to see more information regarding topics, dates and how to register. Register now as places are limited. For further enquiries, contact the library; or email Sam.Rannard@jcu.edu.au, Claire.Ovaska@jcu.edu.au or Stephen.Anderson@jcu.edu.au.

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

52 Book Challenge - Week 24

How has your holiday planning been going? Are you going somewhere interesting this year? Or, at least, somewhere that someone might have used as a setting for a book?

The 24th challenge in the 52 Book Reading Challenge is:

24. A book set somewhere you’ll visit this year.

As with all of these challenges, we strongly recommend having fun with it.* Feel free to turn it upside-down and inside-out to get the most interesting, fun or just plain enjoyable book you can find.

Oh, and we're willing to be flexible - it can be a place you have already visited this year, so you don't have to limit yourself to future holiday locations.

Have fun (both with the book, and on your trip)!

*We recommend finding as much joy as possible in all of the assignments you'll be given during your time at university - it's always best if you can figure out how to get the most out of them for your edification and personal growth.

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

Reading Challenge Week 23 - A Book by someone from Another Country

Ah, other countries. There are quite a lot of them. At last count, there were an in-determinant number of countries (a few haven't been officially recognised) over the 190 mark. That's at least 190 options for finding an author who isn't from here. Wherever "here" is.

A good reading challenge will give you the option to broaden your horizons, so whether you chose a writer from far away or right next door, we hope this challenge gave you a chance to explore something new.

Scott Dale read The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro.

English readers of this book who don’t know Ishiguro might assume they are reading something translated from Japanese but that is not the case. Kazuo Ishiguro was born in Japan but moved to England with his family at an early age. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2017 with the Academy acknowledging that Ishiguro, “in novels of great emotional force, has uncovered the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world”.

That sounds very deep, so it is fitting that the first time we meet our characters in The Buried Giant (820J ISH 1C BUR), they are living underground. The story takes place in ancient England, not long after the time of King Arthur and the battles between Saxons and Britons. Yes, this is a fantasy novel complete with ogres, dragons and knights but Ishiguro does not rehash Tolkien or go after the action (and gore) of Game of Thrones.

The story follows an old couple who decide to travel between villages to visit their son who they don’t seem to be able to remember very well. The couple are not alone in having difficulty remembering things – all of the people in this world seem to have trouble with their memory. We do learn the cause of this forgetfulness but I won’t spoil that for you now. I will say that there is adventure (ogres and dragons and sword fights) and there is heartbreak. 

I really enjoyed reading this book. Ishiguro writes very simply while looking very directly at big subjects. There are often things in the past that we’d rather not remember but should we willingly forget them? And what happens when communities and counties make that choice? 

Brenda Carter read Anne of Green Gables by Canadian author Lucy Maud Montgomery.

In anearlier post, I confessed to watching film or television adaptations as a way of easing myself into reading very long novels. Although Anne of Green Gables by Canadian author Lucy Maud Montgomery isn’t very long, the 1985 TV miniseries spawned a generation of new ‘Anne with an E’ readers, and the series remains among the highest-rated programs of any genre ever to air on a Canadian television network.

But enough of the miniseries. Since its publication, Anne of Green Gables has sold more than 50 million copies and has been translated into at least 36 languages. The novel recounts the adventures of Anne Shirley, an 11-year-old orphan girl who is mistakenly sent to Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert, a middle-aged brother and sister, who had intended to adopt a boy to help them on their farm in the fictional town of Avonlea on Prince Edward Island

Despite enduring abuse and hardship in her early life, Anne makes an impression on everyone she meets with her optimism, imagination, energy and honesty. Montgomery’s memorable cast of characters portray aspects of 19th century school, family and social life with warmth and humour.  Anne of Green Gables is considered one of Canada’s best exports. You can find it in the Curriculum collection at 820.71 MON.

Sharon Bryan read Wake up Bear by Linley Dodd.

Here's a fun way to while away an afternoon after a stressful exam: head over to the Curriculum Collection (where all the best books are), and take a look at 820.93 - that's where we keep the New Zealand children's literature.

I went to this section with the intention of reviewing Hairy Maclary from Donaldson's Dairy, but when I saw Wake up Bear on the shelf next to it, I thought I'd read something new, rather than revisiting an old friend. Hairy Maclary is one of the most beloved children's books in the Antipodes, and is one of those books that can, quite naturally, be described as an "absolute gem", an "instant classic" and a "must read". Wake up Bear is, well, not quite in the same league.

Okay, let's be honest, it's kind of boring and nonsensical (and not in a good way). There's this bear, you see, and it's sleeping in. All of the other animals in the wood/forest/jungle/farm think that hibernation time is over, and Bear should wake up. They try to wake Bear up but, in spite of their best efforts, Bear doesn't wake up. And that's the story. Bear actually does wake up at the end of the book, just in case you were worried this book had a dark twist. The actual twist is not so dark. Or twisty.

The weird thing about this book is that Bear really does appear to be sleeping in the middle of a wood/forest/jungle/farm. Lions, monkeys, squirrels and goats all try to wake up the slumbering ursine, to no avail. Any kid old enough to know that hippopotami and bears don't live in the same areas will be asking "what is a hippopotamus doing there?" and they will get NO answer. There's no reasoning given for the weird mish-mash of animals, and it makes me uncomfortable. 

Where is this story taking place? One of those weird private zoos where they have animals from all over the place in alarmingly close proximity? Is it all a dream in Bear's head? And why does Bear appear to be hibernating in a hollow in a river bead? The book says it's a "cave under the Bulbul tree", but there's no such thing as a Bulbul tree (bulbuls are a type of bird), and the made up tree along with the incongruous animals make this book unsettling. This book raises more questions than it answers.

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Systematic Reviews Workshops, Cairns: 14 - 27 June

JCU Library is facilitating a series of workshops to support beginning a systematic review or literature review using a systematic protocol. Workshops will be held from 14-27 June on the Cairns campus.

Who should attend?
  • HDRs (contributes to professional development)
  • HDR supervisors
  • Researchers considering conducting a systematic review
  • Academics teaching systematic reviews
  • Staff interested in systematic reviews
To get the most benefit from the workshops, please have a topic ready to work on; you should have a working protocol established after attending all sessions. The Advanced search methods and Test your protocol workshops are split into qualitative and quantitative review sessions. These workshops are open to staff and HDRs only and are face to face.

Click on the poster below to see more information regarding topics, dates and how to register. Register now as places are limited.

For further enquiries, contact the library; or email Janet.Catterall@jcu.edu.au or Bronwen.Forster@jcu.edu.au

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

52 Book Challenge - Week 23

It's time to think beyond your shores! Wherever you are right now, there's one simple truth that cannot be denied: there are other countries out there, and those countries have writers.

The Reading Challenge for this week is:

23. A book by someone from another country

Pick a country, any country! Just not the one you happen to be standing in right now. 

Unless you are in Antarctica. We're happy to accept any book written by a native Antarctican, just because we've never read a book written by a penguin before.

By the way, the next challenge requires you to get your holiday or conference plans sorted out, as you'll need to read a book set somewhere you'll visit this year. So get cracking!

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

Monday, 4 June 2018

Reading Challenge Week 22 - A Memoir or Journal

Memoirs, journals and diaries - they're all true stories, told from the perspective of the person who lived through those events. A memoir looks back at those events from older eyes, but a journal or a diary was probably written right in the thick of it, so the formats provide different perspectives.

Autobiographies are a step removed again. They tend to tell the story in the bigger picture of a person's whole life, while memoirs are sharply focused on a particular part of that life, or on particular events that happened. Depending, of course, on who wrote them, they can all be thoroughly fascinating to read.

Which is why we hope you found something fascinating for this week's Reading Challenge. We did.

Brenda Carter read The illustrated Pepys: Extracts from the diary, by Samuel Pepys (edited by Robert Latham).

These days memoirs are usually written for public consumption, but Samuel Pepys wrote only for himself.  Written between 1660 and 1669, The illustrated Pepys: Extracts from the diary edited by Robert Latham (942.066092 PEP/LAT) offers a rich account of everyday life, with a personal and uncensored perspective on royal, government and social affairs. 

The Great Fire and Plague of London, as well as the return of Charles II, are described in vivid and compassionate detail. Although the progression of Pepys’ career as a civil servant in the Admiralty features strongly throughout, Pepys is primarily an observer of people – his family, friends and the personalities of the day. He wrote in shorthand for privacy, and took extra precautions when writing about his sexual adventures, adding elements from different languages.

It is uncertain why Pepys wrote the diary. He stopped due to problems with his eyesight (probably astigmatism), fearing that too much writing would send him blind. One editor has described him as “obsessively and compulsively systematic”, with “a passion for order” and a “concern for arranging his books in size”. Is it any wonder he appears on this blog? 

He also left an impressive library of over 3000 volumes. Pepys’ optimism, spontaneity and curiosity shine through. He was what one would call a ‘cultivated man’, with an interest in books, music, the theatre and science. This collection of selected entries (obviously translated) is an enjoyable and somewhat voyeuristic read, complemented by prints from the period.

Sharon Bryan read Persepolis 2, by Marjane Sartrapi.

When I reviewed Persepolis back in Week 19, I mentioned that the book fit into multiple categories in our Reading Challenge - including "Memoir". I had wondered if I should save it for this week, because it's not very often you get to review a graphic memoir ("graphic" as in "illustrated", not as in "graphic violence" and/or " graphic sex"), but then I remembered there was a sequel, so now I get to review both books!

In the first Persepolis, we followed Marjane's life as a pre-teen girl in Iran during the cultural revolution and the war with Iraq. At the end of that book, when she was 14 years old, her parents shipped her off to Austria to try to keep her out of trouble, because they didn't want her to be less feisty, but they knew her feistiness could get her killed. Persepolis 2 (955.054 SAT) picks up with the 14 year old Satrapi in Austria, as she struggles with finding a secure place to stay and a stable environment to grow up in - not a good situation for a young girl going through a formative period of her life.

After a series of misadventures and failed relationships sends her into a spiral, Marjane returns to her family in Iran. There she discovers that society has become even more oppressive than it was when she left. She grows older, she grows up a bit more and she eventually comes to realise that she doesn't really belong in Iran any more (at least, not the way the country has become), and by the end of the book she realises she has to leave again - but this time on more sure footing.

It is a more "grown up" story than the one we found in the first Persepolis - because it has to be. The first book was told through the eyes of a child who was growing into a teenager. The second through the eyes of a teenager who was growing into a young woman. It's a different world, in it's own way, but I can't imagine reading the first book and not following through to the second.

Nathan Miller read The tears of strangers: A memoir by Stan Grant.

Stan Grant is a journalist. He has worked internationally for networks like CNN. He is articulate and poised. Stan Grant is also from a rural and poor background, like many of our students, and he was the first in his family to go to university. He is also an Aboriginal person.

I like Stan Grant for a variety of reasons. I agree with much of what he says - not all - but the thing I greatly admire is he is happy to have an open debate and reveal his weaknesses, his moral traps and binds, his own personal conflicts that create his understanding. In essence, I enjoy the honesty of his opinions and the way he grounds them, even when I disagree.

I read Stan Grant’s memoir (which can be found at 305.89915 GRA) partially as my family and friends (mainly other Aboriginal people) always held up Stan Grant, and his wife at the time, Karla Grant (another Aboriginal journalist), as role models of successful Aboriginal professionals. There is often an idea that some people, because of their racial background and modest beginnings, are not able to be successful, but Stan and Karla disproved this.

The first few pages of the memoir blew me away with Stan clearly pointing out the ambiguities inherent in being a successful Aboriginal Australian. The later pages resonated both with successful survival of his family, hard personal decisions made, but in the end choices that make the difference between struggle and comfort, and the acknowledgement of his white ancestry. He didn’t steer away from noting when his personal choice was a reason for bad outcomes. Other issues, like lateral violence and identity politics, are also touched on. 

It is a great read because it touches frequently on the questions from both other Aboriginal people and other Australians: Why do you say you are Aboriginal? Why are you successful but other people aren’t? Why do you look the way you do? What do you think?  Where are you from? Stan Grant not only has an interesting life and family story, but as a professional fact based story teller - a journalist - he keeps you interested, enlightens you, but stays frankly truthful.