May 7, 2013
The award for the inaugural Stella Prize was announced on 16 April and the winner is… Mateship with birds.
Congratulations to Carrie Tiffany for her story of loneliness and what a family can be among the rhythm of country life. Set in country Victoria in the 1950s, it begins with gentle farmer Harry as he watches a family of kookaburras through a year of feast, famine, birth, death,war, romance and song.
The $50,000 prize was established by a group of women writers from a perceived male bias in awards for Australian writing. This was highlighted in 2009 when the entire shortlist for the Miles Franklin Award comprised of only male authors. Consequently the Stella Prize, inspired by Stella Maria ‘Miles’ Franklin, was born.
Carrie, a Melbourne-based writer, said that she will share part of her win with the other five shortlisted authors.
The inaugural Stella Prize shortlist chosen from almost 200 entries, features a broad selection of writing by Australian women:
- The burial by Courtney Collins
- Questions of travel by Michelle de Kretser
- The sunlit zone by Lisa Jacobson
- Like a house on fire by Cate Kennedy
- Sea hearts by Margo Lanagan
- Mateship with birds by Carrie Tiffany
Kerryn Goldsworthy, chair of judges said….“The list contains a collection of short stories and a verse novel; it includes fantasy, speculative fiction, two historical novels and one that has been described as Australian Gothic. There are stories set in the past, the present and the future; there are stories set in both urban and rural Australia as well as in other countries and in imagined places.”
Her fellow judges were Kate Grenville, actor Claudia Karvan, bookseller Fiona Stager and broadcaster Rafael Epstein.
April 30, 2013
Join us for weekend family StoryTimes! StoryTimes provide parents with a wonderful opportunity to introduce young children to the joy of reading. The sessions are 30 minutes.
All sessions are held at 2.30pm.
First Saturday of the month
4 May, 1 June, 6 July
Second Saturday of the month
11 May, 8 June, 13 July
Third Sunday of the month
19 May, 16 June, 21 July
StoryTimes give children a fun and relaxed start to their reading development before school.
After the session children have time to select their own picture books to borrow and enjoy with the family at home. Preselected book bags are also available for families that do not have time to make their own selection.
April 4, 2013
We assume bestsellers are popular books, included in many publisher and bookseller lists and they are selling quickly, with sometimes millions of copies on the market. You can check current titles in New York Times Bestseller List and Publishers Weekly List, mostly for US publications. The Sydney Morning Herald has a bestseller list every Saturday based on a survey by Australian booksellers. There are bestsellers lists at Harper Collins Publishers and at Random House Books Australia. There are online bestseller lists on Amazon.com, Goodreads.com and many others sites.
The success of bestsellers is often sudden and unpredictable; it may be not based on literary merit, but on other factors. The reader is the one who decides - who buys, talks about the book and spreads it like wildfire through the market. Steig Larsson’s debut novel The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo became the number one bestseller in US and Europe, while many readers called it poorly written with too many difficult names to remember. A similar phenomenon is last year’s success of Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James. This book is still on the NY Times list in 2013.
Some bestsellers stay with us through history, with each generation rediscovering them as new and exciting. Many of us were brought up on the Adventures of Pinocchio, The Three Musketeers and Alice in Wonderland. We became fans of J.R.R.Tolkein and J.D.Salinger in our teenage years and cried reading Love Story and Thorn Birds.
In the new Information Age, the book market is transforming itself. There are e-books, self-publishing authors, on-line forums such as Goodreads.com and Librarything.com and we have much more say in our reading choices.
Come and join our Book Chats in April - we will introduce you to some of the latest bestsellers and help you find a great read at the library.
Written by Vicky and Catherine
March 26, 2013
‘In the middle of the journey of my life I found myself in a tent of mirrors.’
Paul Kelly’s beautiful words are not only reserved for his music. This start to his memoir How to make Gravy, draws us into his world, reflecting his experiences in sentences that resonate like the lines in his songs. It is a large book, an enormously rich life to talk about, and the many songs we all know are an integral part of his journey. He has structured the memoir into four chapters, like his famous four night concerts when he performs his songs in alphabetical order, each song prompting memories that illuminate the highs and lows of life.
In the documentary Paul Kelly: Stories of Me, available in blu-ray and DVD at the library, Richard Flanagan describes Kelly as the last great Australian songwriter to be influenced by literature. Kelly talks of reading Proust, Baudelaire, the beat poets and his prized possession the complete works of Shakespeare. He reveals how the Bible has inspired him just as Raymond Carver has. In his memoir he describes songs and short stories as very similar, ‘They’re lean, clipped, mysterious, with a lot happening around the edges.’
Another unique reflection on life and the Australian music scene is Shots, by Don Walker. It is a personal perspective on how his musical life evolved, revealed through snapshots and memories that are detailed and atmospheric. These descriptive windows are about places, people and the small wondrous experiences that colour moments in time.
Written by Lisa
March 20, 2013
I’ve always loved reading about history so perhaps that’s why some of my favourite novels of late have had a historical flavour. Both of these books are tales of childhood set in the past and full of vivid imagery.
Ragnarok: the end of the gods by A. S. Byatt is based on the author’s experiences as a young girl in World War II. She becomes obsessed with a book of Norse myths, and biographical detail is interspersed with vivid retellings of the traditional tales. She finds the stories strangely comforting, their connectedness to nature affirming her own love for the creatures around her, and the darker themes helping her to make sense of the war. We witness the myths and the child’s experiences shaping the writer to be, her imagination, love of nature and views on religion.
Konstantin by Tom Bullough is another tale of the trauma of childhood shaping the adult life. Konstantin Tsiolkovsky (1857-1935) was a brilliant Russian scientist and philosopher who practically dreamed the Space Age into existence. His visions inspired scientists and artists, and he developed the theoretical basis for many of the key technologies of spaceflight. The novel deals with Konstantin’s childhood, when scarlet fever left him nearly deaf, and the resulting isolation led to the marvellous expansion of his mind. The action takes place before an extraordinary 19th Century backdrop of teeming cities, broad rivers, and crowds of religious pilgrims marching through the wilderness. The effect is overwhelming, like standing before a series of vast historical paintings.
March 15, 2013
The Melbourne Food and Wine Festival has presented a vast array of events to tempt and tantalize the senses. The fun continues at Glen Eira’s libraries with the topic for our March Book Chats: Secret Ingredients: Food and Fiction. Come along and share your favourite foodie reads – you might be surprised to discover just how much food features in the novels we read, and how it can shape both characters and story.
Reading and eating are inexorably linked as activities that provide pleasure and comfort. Just like a perfectly cooked pasta can conjure up impressions of Italy, so too can well written culinary biography transport us to places all around the world. Then there are light bites like Kerry Greenwood’s Corinna Chapman mysteries (also available as e-books), delicious romances such as Like Water for Chocolate, and literary feasts like Muriel Barbery’s The Gourmet. No matter what your palate, there is a book for every taste!
Our Book Chats run at each library on different days and are a place for book lovers to meet and share the books they’re passionate about and to discover new great reads. For a complete list of the days our chats are running on click here. No bookings are necessary.
March 11, 2013
Canberra celebrates its 100th birthday on 12 March 2013.
To commemorate this and the centennial year, the National Library of Australia is hosting an exhibition, “ The dream of a century: the Griffins in Australia’s capital” from 8 March until 9 June. This exhibition gives an overview of the works and lives of Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony Griffin in Australia and focuses on the National Library’s E. A. Nicholls collection.
The National Library is also joining with the Canberra Times to make Canberra’s stories digitally accessible to all Australians and the wider world. The library has already digitalized the Canberra Times issues from 3 September 1926 to 31 December 1954 and this year the aim is to bring it up to 1995. This initiative gives family historians, students and communities free access to added local and family history content through Trove, the National Library’s free resource discovery service.
We have many wonderful books in our libraries about Canberra and its history such as Canberra 1820-1913 by Lyall Gillespie and Canberra by Paul Daley. The junior books are also very informative - The story of Canberra by Barrie Sheppard and Australian Capital Territory, by Robert Gott. Paul Daley’s book is by far my favourite book on Canberra and it is part of a brilliantly produced series exploring Australia’s capital cities through the eyes of prominent authors. A feel for Paul’s writing style can be gained from the dust jacket quote, “Canberra is a city of orphans. People arrive temporarily for work, but stay because they discover unanticipated virtue and opportunity in a place that the rest of Australia loathes but can’t do without.”
Happy birthday Canberra!