Maggie Counihan on travelling at any age

Posted on May 24, 2013. Filed under: Books | Tags: , , , , |

Recently Blaxland Library held an author talk with the inspirational Maggie Counihan, Author of Bring on the Birthdays: Ageing with Adventures. It was a great talk, but if you missed it, you can listen to our podcast with the author here.

Maggie Counihan

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Australian Women Writers’ NYR12

Posted on January 10, 2012. Filed under: 1 | Tags: , , |

The following was submitted on 2012/01/05 at 1:24 pm as a comment on the Library’s Readers in the Mist blog by Elizabeth Lhuede or

Perhaps there are some staff who would be interested in taking up the challenge this year?

Readers in the Mist is an exemplary blog and provides a model for other library’s social media personnel. (I’ve heard it mentioned in glowing terms on Twitter.)

 However, the last time I was in Katoomba library, the link to the blog was down. I was looking for recommendations for books by contemporary Australian women and having difficulty locating titles. Unfortunately, the weekend staff weren’t able to name more than a couple of well-known authors (such as Elizabeth Jolley).

The more I looked into it, the more obvious it became that local library and bookshop staff weren’t up on contemporary Australian Women Writers (nor was I, but I’d expected there to be a list, or something!). As a result, I went on to Twitter and asked for recommendations. I found many fantastic Australian female authors, many of whose books have attracted glowing reviews. Among these were my “amazing reads” for 2011: Charlotte Wood’s Animal People, Caroline Overington’s Matilda is Missing, Kalinda Ashton’s The Danger Game and Gail Jones’ Dreams of Speaking. I also enjoyed Leah Giarratano’s Black Ice, and can personally recommend Jaye Ford’s Beyond Fear and Christine Stinson’s It Takes a Village.

I’m looking forward to discovering many more amazing reads for 2012 and have on my “to be read” pile other books by Australian women: Claire Corbett’s When We Have Wings, Favel Parrett’s Past the Shallows, Anna Funder’s All that I am, Charlotte Wood’s Animal People, PM Newton’s The Old School, Gillian Meare’s A Foal’s Bread, Gail Jones’ Five Bells, Jaye Ford’s Scared Yet (forthcoming), Nicole Watson’s The Boundary, Melanie Joosten’s Berlin Syndrome, Margo Lanagan’s Sea Hearts (forthcoming(, Kirsten Tranter’s A Common Loss, Honey Brown’s The Good Daughter, Eva Hornung’s Dog Boy, Chloe Hooper’s The Tall Man, Fiona McGregor’s Indelible Ink, Kim Westwood’s The Courier’s New Bicycle, Paddy O’Reilly’s The Fine Colour of Rust, Helene Young’s The Shattered Sky, Angela Savage’s The Half-Child and Tansy Rayner Roberts’ Reign of Beasts (forthcoming).

Most of these books were published in 2011 and so far I’ve managed to find a good selection in Katoomba library, but only after a lot of effort on my part.

As a result of my experience, I decided to create a 2012 Reading & Reviewing “challenge” for the National Year of Reading. For this challenge, I’ve compiled (with help) lists of books, both fiction and nonfiction, by Australian women, including prize-winning and reader-recommended titles. These titles appear on the different “tabs” on the website/blog. I hope your staff will use this resource if they’re asked for recommendations in future.

Have the BMCC librarians decided on their reading lists for 2012? Would anyone be available to join the Australian Women Writers’ NYR12 challenge to read and review a self-determined number of books by Australian women throughout 2012 (and, hopefully, not only books for children)?

If so, please sign up at

I hope you’ll enjoy this challenge and help spread the word.

Happy new year, and happy reading!

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Are books dead, and can authors survive?

Posted on August 26, 2011. Filed under: Books | Tags: , , , , |

At the Edinburgh international book festival this weekend, Ewan Morrison set out his bleak vision of a publishing industry in terminal decline.  Morrison thinks that within 25 years paper books will no longer exist and that writing, as a profession, will cease to exist.

Read his argument here.

What do you think?

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20th century authors: making the connections

Posted on May 18, 2011. Filed under: Books | Tags: , , , |

Look at what I found doing a Google search for the International Man Booker Prize this evening.

This comes from the UK’s Open University and is a twentieth century author wheel showing the links between authors. I thought I’d explain it to you in person because it wasn’t immediately obvious to me how it worked. I was looking for a legend that told me what all those coloured lines meant and there isn’t one.

So, to get started Click here to get to this jumping off space pictured above.

Once there, click on the Click to launch button. Click on Start and then Next to get to this page.

Choose an author and explore the links he/she has with others.

Here is Iain Banks whose non-Sci-fi writing I enjoy. (When he’s writing Sci-fi he calls himself Iain M. Banks.)

If I click on one of the coloured circles I can see what it is that links Iain Banks with the authors at the other end of the coloured lines.

Here the orange dot is a link to other Sci-fi authors.

Iain Banks (with or without his M.) is tame compared with some. Just take a gander at old Kingsley Amis.

To find out about the author click on his/her name or to find out more about the connection, click on the coloured dot.

The only annoying thing about this wonderful gadget is that once you’ve clicked on a link you can’t page back. You’ll be taken out to the beginning again and it gets a bit wearing.

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Writers at work

Posted on May 13, 2011. Filed under: Books | Tags: , |

Key workers: writers at their typewriters – in pictures from The Guardian the other day shows some writers at their desks.

The photos are to mark the passing of the typewriter. Since Mark Twain became the first author to submit a typed manuscript with Life on the Mississippi in 1883, authors have been devoted to their machines.

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