Good books abound…..
What a great book by Emily St John Mandel – dystopian but different – winner of the 2015 Arthur C. Clarke Award and listed on many ‘best book’ lists. The novel follows the players in the Travelling Symphony, as they perform music and Shakespeare’s works in a world devastated by a flu virus, with few survivors. Their motto: “Survival is insufficient”. This haunting and compelling novel makes you appreciate what we have in our society and how beauty and art are vital for human existence. The backstories of the characters are intriguing and add to the emotional depth of this novel as their lives intertwine and play out.
“Visually stunning, dreamily atmospheric and impressively gripping….Station 11 is not so much about apocalypse as about memory and loss, nostalgia and yearning; the effort of art to deepen our fleeting impressions of the world and bolster our solitude.” – Guardian.
“Mandel’s message is that civilisation – and just as importantly, art – will endure as long as there is life. She tells us that when humanity’s back is against the wall, decency will emerge.” Independent.
“At once terrible and tender, dark and hopeful, Station Eleven is a tragically beautiful novel that both mourns and mocks the things we cherish.” –Neal Thompson.
Loved it – and fascinating to follow the development of the graphic novel “Station 11” within the novel. A film adaptation is in development. Recommended for Year 10 onwards.
Wolf by wolf
YA novel by Ryan Graudin (female author). The novel has been compared to The book thief as well as The Hunger Games and is based on the premise: What if Germany had won World War 2? Set in an alternate Germany of 1956, it is the story of a young woman on a dangerous mission to kill Hitler. Experimented on at Auschwitz, Yael can now change her appearance at will – although she always leaves the 5 wolves tattooed on her arm to remind her of lost loved ones. Using her abilities, she transforms into Adele Wolfe, a famous long-distance motorbike rider.
Themes include history, love, loss, courage, heroism, hope, race, identity, community, human monstrosity and vengeance.
‘Ryan Graudin opens one of the darkest chapters in history and spins a what if
into an incredible tale of survival, identity, and purpose.’ – Victoria Schwab.
Amazon opens real bookstore
Amazon’s first brick-and-mortar bookstore has recently opened in Seattle (Amazon’s hometown). The store “integrates the benefits of offline and online book shopping.” (Offline indeed – what a term!). Amazon will use real people and also data from its website to decide which books to stock eg. customer ratings, sales, Goodreads ratings. All books will be presented face out with a sign for each with its Amazon rating and a customer review. The store will also sell Kindles. Amazon commands a market share of 30% of books sold in the US, however, the largest US chain, Barnes and Noble, has reported recent increases in core book sales. In 2015, ebook sales have fallen dramatically in the US. There are now more bookstores and some publishers are expanding their warehouses.
What would Mark Zuckerberg read?
This year the Facebook CEO decided he would read a book every 2 weeks……hmm maybe he’s not as addicted to Facebook as we thought he was 🙂 He believes that “books allow you to fully explore a topic and immerse yourself in a deeper way than most media today. I’m looking forward to shifting more of my media diet towards reading books.” He started A Year of Books book club in Facebook, where he discusses the books with other Facebookers. His selections focused on different cultures, beliefs, histories and technologies. The 20 books include: The three-body problem – by Cixin Liu (Chinese sci-fi novel– winner of the 2015 Hugo Award); The Muqaddimah – by Ibn Khaldun (Islamic history of the world from 1377); Sapiens – by Yuval Harari (history of humankind); The better angels of our nature – by Steven Pinker (why violence has declined).
Yes Zuckerberg is super rich but Bill Gates is still the richest person in the world ($84.7billion). Mark is number 16 ($47 billion), with Google guys Brin and Page at 17 and 18. Philanthropy is a high priority with Gates (Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation) and also Zuckerberg. In 2014, Zuckerberg and wife Dr Priscilla Chan made a $120 million donation to improve education in the San Francisco Bay area, particularly for low-income students. In 2010 he donated $100 million to schools in Newark.
Science fiction horror film. Directed by Paul McGuigan. Stars James McEvoy as Victor Frankenstein and Daniel Radcliffe as his assistant Igor Strausman. The story is told from Igor’s perspective and shows his dark origins and his redemptive friendship with medical student Victor von Frankenstein. Working together on experiments to resurrect the dead, Igor witnesses Frankenstein’s journey to legendary status. Rated PG. Opens March 2016.