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.

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