Good books

More good reads…..

 

Australian Book Industry Awards 

These awards are decided by industry experts who select the best titles published in Australia each year. Last year the top award for Book of the Year went to the childrens’ book The 52-Storey Treehouse by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton. This year’s winners include:

Book of the Year and Biography: Reckoning – Magda Szubanski.

General Non Fiction: Island home – Tim Winton.

Literary Fiction: The other side of the world – Stephanie Bishop.

Book of the Year for Younger Children: The 65-storey treehouse – Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton.

Book of the Year for Older Children: Illuminae – Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff.

Publisher of the Year: Allen & Unwin.

Independent Bookseller of the Year: Readings.

http://abiawards.com.au/current-winners/

http://abiawards.com.au/general/announcing-the-abia-book-shortlist/

 

Australian Book Industry Innovation Award

Winner: The Best of Friends Social and Emotional Learning Program. The program is aimed at primary school students, with stories and illustrations by Connah Brecon, Barbara Gonzalez and Lisa Diebold. Topics include making friends, social expectations, compromise, empathy, peacemaking, conflict resolution.

http://bof.quirkykid.com.au/

The program is part of Quirky Kid Psychology Clinic http://childpsychologist.com.au/

Lots of good fact sheets and info re child psychology and wellbeing: http://childpsychologist.com.au/resources/

Books and resources: https://therapeuticresources.com.au/

 

7 books to read before they hit the screens

The girl on the train – Paula Hawkins. Last year’s bestselling mystery – a woman watches a couple on the train each morning and one day sees something shocking. Emily Blunt to star. Opens September.

Me before you – Jojo Moyes. A young woman becomes a carer for a young man and their lives are changed forever. Emilia Clarke to star. Opens June.

The light between oceans – M. L. Stedman. The award-winning tale of a lighthouse keeper and his wife who rescue a baby adrift in a boat and raise her as their own, with unforeseen consequences. Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander to star. Opens September.

Inferno – Dan Brown. Symbologist Robert Langdon must decipher codes within Renaissance artworks in order to save the world. Tom Hanks to star. Opens October.

Fantastic beasts and where to find them – J.K.Rowling. Set 70 years before Harry Potter; the adventures of writer Newt Scamander in New York’s secret community of witches and wizards. Eddie Redmayne to star. Opens December.

The BFG – Roald Dahl. The adventures of Sophie and the giant will be released as a film in June, directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Mark Rylance. Opens July.

Big little lies – Liane Moriarty. The lives of a group of middle class women and their partners start to unravel and many secrets are revealed. The HBO series comes out in 2017, starring Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon.

http://www.betterreading.com.au/book_list/seven-books-to-read-before-they-hit-screens-near-you/

Libraries, bookshops and makerspaces

The bookshop that bans mobile phones and tablets

London bookshop Libreria has declared itself a “digital detox zone”, banning customers from using mobile phones and tablets within the store. It is attempting to “immerse the visitor in the visceral joys of reading and the pleasure of physical books, as well as to reawaken the art of real-life conversation, debates and talks, a sense of conviviality and a taste of the unexpected”. Visitors can take photos, but if they are caught texting, phoning, using the internet or social media, they are politely requested to stop. Most people are happy to oblige. Libreria’s founders believe “we have reached a ‘cultural tipping point’ with book lovers rebelling against the ‘digital deluge’.” Other London bookshops are following suit. Libreria groups books according to loose themes rather than genre eg. the sea and the sky. Guest curators have also made selections eg. Jeanette Winterson.

http://www.bbc.com/culture/story/20160324-could-this-be-your-new-favourite-bookshop

 

Why the internet hasn’t killed the library (yet) – Donald Barclay, Deputy University Librarian, Uni of California, Merced.

Most reference questions in US academic libraries are now via email or web chat. Over 400 academic libraries provide 24/7 reference services as members of OCLC’s 24/7 Reference Cooperative. Circulation and in-person reference transaction numbers have decreased markedly, but there has been a steady increase in the number of people setting foot in academic libraries. These libraries have been reinventing themselves and converting printed book space to space for students to study, collaborate, learn and even socialise! Libraries offer consultation services and spaces for research, writing, analysing data, graphic design, presentation practice, digital media preparation, makerspaces, music practice, funding opportunities etc Some spaces are open 24/7 and many have relaxed food and drink rules (!)

https://theconversation.com/has-the-library-outlived-its-usefulness-in-the-age-of-internet-youd-be-surprised-58198

 

Create knowledge and other stuff at your library!

The availability of makerspaces in many US public libraries has had many benefits. Libraries are now “places where people can not only consume knowledge, but create new knowledge” (Miguel Figueroa, ALA). 3D printers have allowed many people to create prototypes, models and parts far more cheaply at their library than through commercial manufacturing.

The Harold Washington Library Center in Chicago set up their Maker Lab to support 21st century learning, as a trial in 2013. It was very popular and current sessions are usually fully booked in advance. 68% of participants are women; 55% are 26-45 year olds; 70% visited the lab to try something new. Pop-up labs visit some neighbourhoods. 3D printing, the Laser Cutter and the Vinyl Cutter are all popular. Non-digital craft programs are also offered.

http://www.cplfoundation.org/site/DocServer/Maker_Lab_White_Paper_2015_web.pdf?docID=681

http://www.chipublib.org/maker-lab/

https://psmag.com/libraries-are-the-future-of-manufacturing-in-the-united-states-5509c61ac87f#.qk9t4rw6v

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2016/03/everyone-is-a-maker/473286/

Long but interesting: Will makerspaces last? Do they help their members earn a real living or to learn more than a smattering of skills?: https://placesjournal.org/article/makerspace-towards-a-new-civic-infrastructure/?gclid=CjwKEAjwyPW5BRCC3JaM7qfW_FwSJACM3jz9-nMuaAiFaYD46C0nOojQ9fFuvs37reC2tsLTlPOGwBoCi1fw_wcB

 

Tablets out, imagination in: the schools that shun technology

In Silicon Valley, California, the Waldorf School of the Peninsula does not use technology in the classroom but employees of the tech giants still send their children there. Innovative thinking skills and creativity are emphasised. At the London Acorn school, the internet is banned for everyone under 16 years – at home and at school. Computers are used only with those over 14 years. “The problem with instant information is that the ease with which you can get from A to B and find the answers doesn’t reflect real life” (Sarah Thorne, principal)

http://www.theguardian.com/teacher-network/2015/dec/02/schools-that-ban-tablets-traditional-education-silicon-valley-london

 

Kansas City Library, Missouri

How awesome…the façade of the parking garage of the Central Library is made of 8 metre tall book spines – the “Community Bookshelf”. The community voted on the 22 titles to be displayed, including Lord of the rings, Fahrenheit 451, Catch-22, A tale of two cities, Charlotte’s web, To kill a mockingbird, The invisible man, Romeo and Juliet….

http://www.atlasobscura.com/places/kansas-city-library-s-giant-bookshelf

http://www.kclibrary.org/community-bookshelf

More good films

Some more good films…..sci-fi, fantasy, human rights, environment, history, animated…..

 

Cleverman

Directed by Wayne Blair and Leah Purcell. Created by Ryan Griffen. Stars Hunter Page-Lochard , Rob Collins, Deborah Mailman, Jack Charles, Robyn Nevin. This Australian 6 part sci-fi drama looks excellent. In the near future, creatures from ancient mythology – the Hairypeople – live amongst humans in a world that wants to silence, exploit and destroy  them. Their only refuge is to live in The Zone. The Hairies live for more than 200 years and have a knowledge of land, culture and the past. Two estranged indigenous brothers know that there is one chosen being – the Cleverman – who has the power to bring the worlds of humans and Hairypeople back together before everything is destroyed.

 

In indigenous culture, the Cleverman is a conduit between The Dreaming and this world. The Hairypeople were inspired by identities in many stories across the country and creator Griffen consulted with elders from many communities. They were designed by Jake Nash, production designer for Bangarra dance company, and built by Weta Workshop (Lord of the rings) in New Zealand. Screens ABC1 and iview on 2 June.

 

“Cleverman is a thrilling and sophisticated drama filled with conflict, unrest and smart storytelling. The show presents an allegorical view of some of the timeliest and urgent discussions going on our world right now — our collective treatment of minority groups and what common values we share that make us a society.” – Joel Stillerman.

“Cleverman marks a new era for Australia’s production sector, inviting audiences to experience a bold new story-world where Aboriginal storytelling meets high concept genre drama. With an 80% Indigenous cast, Cleverman sets the benchmark for diversity on Australian television and its contemporary themes set in the near future will resonate widely amongst diverse audiences” – Sally Riley, Head of Indigenous, ABC TV.

https://studentedge.com.au/article/why-abc-cleverman-is-2016-most-exciting-new-show

http://thescreenblog.com/2016/02/10/a-new-kind-of-tv-cleverman/

http://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2016/feb/18/with-80-indigenous-cast-cleverman-becomes-first-australian-show-at-berlinale

 

Midnight special

Science fiction-drama. Directed by Jeff Nichols. Stars Michael Shannon, Joel Edgerton and Kirsten Dunst. A father and son flee a religious cult in Texas, pursued by the government and a cult drawn to the child’s special otherworldly powers. “Jangling, darkly addictive and super-mysterious…” -Tim Robey. Sounds intriguing! Rated M. Out now.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2649554/

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/film/midnight-special/review/

 

Free state of Jones

Directed by Gary Ross. Stars Matthew McConaughey, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Brendan Gleeson. Based on the life of Southern farmer Newton Knight, who, after surviving an American Civil War battle, led a group of farmers and slaves in an armed rebellion against the Confederacy in Mississippi. He later married a former slave and established a unique mixed community in the south which seceded from the Confederacy – the Free State of Jones. Opens June.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1124037/

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/true-story-free-state-jones-180958111/?no-ist

 

Alice through the looking glass

Directed by James Bobin and produced by Tim Burton; sequel to 2010’s Alice in Wonderland. Stars Mia Wasikowska, Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway, the voices of Alan Rickman and Stephen Fry, and Sacha Baron Cohen as Time (a part human, part clock creature). After travelling for 3 years, Alice returns to Underland via a magical looking glass and travels back in time to save the Mad Hatter. Rated PG. Opens May.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2567026/

 

The BFG

Fantasy adventure directed by Steven Spielberg, based on the book by Roald Dahl. Stars Mark Rylance, Ruby Barnhill, Rafe Spall. Sophie befriends the Big Friendly Giant who is treated as an outcast by other giants because he refuses to eat children. Trailer looks amazing! Opens July.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3691740/

http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/movies/steven-spielberg-shows-off-giant-country-in-full-trailer-for-the-bfg-20160406-gnzm98.html

 

Finding Dory

Sequel to 2003’s Finding Nemo. Written and directed again by Andrew Stanton. Stars Ellen DeGeneres and Albert Brookes. After suddenly recalling her childhood memories, Dory sets out with Nemo and Marlin to find her family in the ocean near California. The film’s ending was revised after executives viewed Blackfish (orcas in captivity) and characters now have an option to leave a marine park. Nemo is now voiced by a younger actor than the original. Opens June.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2277860/

 

The legend of Tarzan

Directed by David Yates. Stars Alexander Skarsgard, Margot Robbie, Samuel L. Jackson. After living in London, Tarzan returns to his jungle home to investigate activities at a mining camp. Rated PG-13. Opens July.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0918940/

 

Kubo and the two strings

Animated fantasy action-comedy. Directed by Travis Knight. Stars Charlize Theron, Matthew McConaughey, Rooney Mara. In ancient Japan, a spirit from the past ignites an old vendetta. Gods and monsters chase young Kubo, who must locate a magical suit of armour once worn by his legendary Samurai father. Opens August.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4302938/

http://www.theverge.com/2016/3/10/11195104/kubo-and-the-two-strings-trailer-watch-laika

 

And there’s also Captain America: Civil war and X-Men: Apocalypse. And that means battle scenes. Lots of them. Early reviews of X-Men say that it has reverted to too much CGI destruction and loss of life, rather than developing the humanity of the superheroes. Disappointing, as there is a great cast – James McEvoy, Michael Fassbender, Oscar Isaac and Jennifer Lawrence. Captain America: Civil War has received great reviews, as the superheroes question their powers and the collateral damage they have caused. And if you haven’t seen Deadpool….you must…hilarious…but forget about Batman vs Superman.

http://www.theverge.com/2016/5/11/11653190/x-men-apocalypse-review-marvel-fox

http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2016/05/captain-america-civil-war-is-marvel-at-its-best/481539/

Good films

 

Some good films….useful for biography, global studies, music….

 

The man who knew infinity

Biographical drama based on the book by Robert Kanigel. Directed by Matthew Brown. Stars Dev Patel and Jeremy Irons. Srinovasa Ramanujan, a young man from Madras with almost no formal mathematical training, earns attendance at Cambridge University during WW1, where he becomes a pioneer in mathematical theories with the guidance of his professor. “Mathematics plays a key role in the story, but in a way that is entirely accessible, allowing the viewer to comprehend the advances that Ramanujan made and why his legacy remains so important almost a century after his death.” (Allan Hunter). In cinemas now.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Srinivasa_Ramanujan

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/film/the-man-who-knew-infinity/review/

http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/movies/the-man-who-knew-infinity-review-melodrama-doesnt-do-justice-to-mathematicians-life-story-20160504-golpxn.html

 

Eddie the Eagle

Stars Taron Egerton and Hugh Jackman. The story of Michael “Eddie” Edwards, a British ski jumper who represented Britain at the 1988 Winter Olympics. Although he finished last in his events, he became famous for his perseverance and as an “heroic failure”. He was also totally self-funded and needed to wear thick glasses under his goggles. Hugh Jackman plays his fictional coach. Eddie the Eagle was actually a good downhill skier, narrowly missing selection for the 1984 Games – he changed to ski jumping to better his chances at selection in 1988. Rated PG – a great feel-good movie. In cinemas now.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1083452/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eddie_%22The_Eagle%22_Edwards

 

Where to invade next

Documentary by Michael Moore, who explores  how countries such as Finland, Tunisia, Italy, France and Portugal deal with social and economic challenges – usually very differently to and more successfully than the US. Moore plans to “steal” these good ideas and bring them back to the US. In cinemas now.

http://www.rollingstone.com/movies/reviews/where-to-invade-next-20160211

http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/where-to-invade-next-2015

 

Wide open sky

Directed by Lisa Nicol. The inspiring story of a group of children in the remote outback of NSW who follow their dream to sing in the Moorambilla Voices choir under the leadership of Michelle, a choir director with high expectations. Set in a beautiful landscape, the film explores how the children learn about themselves and their talents and also shows the exceptional teaching of Michelle. Winner Audience Award Best Documentary, Sydney Film Festival. Out now.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4085484/

http://www.urbancinefile.com.au/home/view.asp?a=21586&s=Reviews

 

The jungle book

Live-action CGI film directed by Jon Favreau, inspired by Disney’s animated film based on Kipling’s stories. Mowgli sets out on a  journey of self-discovery while evading the tiger Shere Khan. Features the voices of Neel Sethi, Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Idris Elba, Lupita Nyong’o and Christopher Walken. The story is a balance between the Disney version and Kipling’s works. The film is not a musical but includes several songs from Disney eg. The bare necessities. Critics’ consensus at Rotten Tomatoes: “As lovely to behold as it is engrossing to watch…it is the rare remake that actually improves its predecessors”.

“An unusual blend of lifelike imagery and otherworldly animal action. The visuals are compelling, as is the story. Kudos to director Jon Favreau (Iron Man)” (R. Roten). In cinemas now.

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/the_jungle_book_2016/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Jungle_Book_(2016_film)

 

Snowden

Biographical political thriller directed by Oliver Stone, based on the books The Snowden files by Luke Harding and Time of the octopus by Anatoly Kucherena (Snowden’s Russian lawyer). Stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Shailene Woodley. Follows the life of Edward Snowden, who leaked classified information from the National Security Agency in 2013, revealing numerous global surveillance programs and invasion of privacy. Some see Snowden as a hero, others as a traitor. Stone met with Snowden multiple times in Moscow and made the film outside of the US. Opens late 2016.

http://www.indiewire.com/article/snowden-trailer-joseph-gordon-levitt-oliver-stone-20160427

 

The happiest refugee

The bestselling autobiography by Anh Do will be made into a film to be directed by Russell Crowe. Crowe is a big fan of the book, which tells the story of Do’s family coming to Australia as Vietnamese refugees.

http://www.heraldsun.com.au/entertainment/confidential/russell-crowe-to-turn-anh-dos-book-the-happiest-refugee-into-a-film/news-story/ce826e28e0ff6a0d8fa0dd64ba30f38b