What Library Staff are Reading Uncovered – July 2012
So what are we Library staff reading on these chilly days?
- Don’t Panic: Douglas Adams & The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Neil Gaiman – a great history of the HHGTTG series and all of its various spin offs
- Preincarnate by Shaun Micallef – a good attempt at sci-fi and humour, not as funny as his best television, but funnier than his bad television
- The Mongoliad: Book One by Neal Stephenson, Greg Bear and a bunch of others – I am a massive fan of Stephenson’s work and unfortunately this book didn’t live up to his solo work. There were about 5 or more collaborators for this and, while the story wasn’t terrible, the writing style just wasn’t what I like about his novels. Aside from that it is an interesting tale of crusaders and Mongols that I wouldn’t have even considered reading if it didn’t have Neal Stephenson’s name on it.
- Experimental Music: Audio Explorations in Australia – very academic however I enjoyed it more than the last academic music book I read as I was familiar with most of the music referred to and had been to a lot of the events. The Blue Mountains even gets a few mentions.
- Open Source Democracy: How Online Communication Is Changing Offline Politics by Douglas Rushkoff
- A Time for War: Australia As A Military Power by John Birmingham
- Julian Assange – The Unauthorised Autobiography
- Graphic novels – Batman: Death And The Maidens by Greg Rucka, Batman: Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader? by Neil Gaiman, Superman/Batman, Vol. 7: The Search for Kryptonite, Crime and Punishment: A Graphic Novel by Dostoyevsky, The Zen of Steve Jobs and The Walking Dead (multiple volumes) – I’ve Been on a big graphic novel binge lately and The Walking Dead series kicked it off. After the second season ended on TV I needed more zombies so started these. Lots of the story has been changed for TV but it’s understandable translating it to a different format, can’t wait to see how they tackle some of the later plots. The comics are much more graphic also, much more than you can be on prime time TV. Excellent black and white comic series.
- I read Blood Kin by Ceridwen Dovey – a book that acts as a fable, dealing with an imaginary presidential coup which take place at an unspecified time and location. While in some ways a cold novel, it is engaging and interesting right until the end.
- Untested Cures for modern-day ailments is the latest book of poetry by local writer Mark O’Flynn. Mark wrote Grass Dogs, a favourite novel of mine, and I find his poetry luminous, the language graceful, his view of modern life often sardonic. I don’t always understand his cryptic bringing-together of disparate ideas, but sometimes you don’t read with the intellect but with some other mysterious faculty that allows understanding in
- Foal’s Bread by Gillian Mears is the next book on Katoomba Library’s Book Group reading list, so I’m re-reading this before our meeting next week. I love Mears’ writing, her Gothic temperament, her close understanding of the horse-jumping fraternity at that time in Australia’s history (between the wars), and the sensual, honest texture of her writing.
- Emily Rodda’s Bungawitta , suitable for primary school age children. Shortlisted for Children’s Book Council Book of the Year: Younger readers 2012. There’s not been any rain in Bungawitta for years and there’s only twelve people left in town so things are desperate. A festival is planned to bring tourists and money to the town. Children should enjoy this, I did
- Frankie is an Australian magazine with all the latest news and events in fashion, travel, food, music, craft, art and more. I find it light, entertaining and informative. It’s a new edition to Lawson Library’s magazine collection this year.
- A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness – when historian Diana Bishop opens a bewitched alchemical manuscript in Oxford’s Bodleian Library it represents an unwelcome intrusion of magic into her carefully ordinary life. Though descended from a long line of witches, she is determined to remain untouched by her family’s legacy. She banishes the manuscript to the stacks, but Diana finds it impossible to hold the world of magic at bay any longer. For witches are not the only otherworldly creatures living alongside humans. There are also creative, destructive daemons and long-lived vampires who become interested in the witch’s discovery. They believe that the manuscript contains important clues about the past and the future, and want to know how Diana Bishop has been able to get her hands on the elusive volume. Chief among the creatures who gather around Diana is vampire Matthew Clairmont, a geneticist with a passion for Darwin. Together, Diana and Matthew embark on a journey to understand the manuscript’s secrets. But the relationship that develops between the ages-old vampire and the spellbound witch threatens to unravel the fragile peace that has long existed between creatures and humans—and will certainly transform Diana’s world as well
- Split Ends by Zoe Barnes – took this away as my holiday reading and read it on the plane. I left it lying around for someone else to grab. Cute little story of Hannah, originally a struggling single mum, Nick Steadman seemed like Mr Right and Prince Charming rolled into one. Kind, strong, reliable – and the perfect step-dad to Lottie. While their relationship was never been based on passion, it did have plenty of respect, friendship and trust. Trouble is, after eight years together they’re beginning to realise that friendship isn’t enough. The solution? An amicable divorce. Which would be just fine if it wasn’t so hard to explain to nine-year-old Lottie. And if Hannah didn’t find herself a teeny bit annoyed at Nick’s ability to move on so quickly. Not that she isn’t happy for him and his new lover. Of course she is. After all, they agreed they’d be mature, grown-up and rational about their separation. They may be divorced but they can still be friends. Can’t they? Read it to find out . . .
- I have gone back to some comfort reading and yesterday started 44 Scotland Street – it takes me back to my old stomping ground, Edinburgh, and lets me peek into the lives of the residents of a tenement building in the New Town. I used to love to sit on the top of a double decker bus in Edinburgh and keek through the windows at night and wonder who lived there and what they were like. With Alexander Maccall Smith’s lovely, funny Scotland Street series you get the answer to some of those questions
- I was escaping Joanna Trollope when I moved on to Alexander. I was trying to read Brother & Sister but could not understand the motives behind most of the characters in this story of adoption and families and gave up, completely frustrated and quite cross. It is a book group book and one of our members is an adopted person so maybe she can provide some insights
- I am also dipping in to Life Class: the Selected Memoirs of Diana Athill by Diana Athill – a collection of stories chosen from the half dozen or so memoirs this classy lady has written. I’m still in her 1930s priveleged childhood but she’s fascinating
- I’m looking forward to reading The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson – for my other book group but I happened upon a podcast with this man and it sounds very interesting.