Happy Book Week!

It’s Book Week– a great time to celebrate books, writing and reading – in paper or digital form!
The winning children’s books have been announced by the Children’s Book Council of Australia. Books for Older Readers are very suitable for college students and other titles are used in Children’s Literature classes. We buy several each year. You might also be interested if you have young children.
Winners: http://cbca.org.au/winners2013.htm
Notable books: http://cbca.org.au/Notables2013.htm

In the library we are running a daily Trivia Quiz with 10 questions posted daily and prizes given to the first correct answers. We are continuing with the Sci-ku poetry writing competition so send us your haiku poems on a science theme.

Looking for good reads? Try these sites:

Dymocks’ best 101 books of all time: 2013 list
Looking for a good read? Try something from this list, as voted by 7000 readers. The Harry Potter series has regained top spot, followed by Pride and prejudice.

Australian Independent Bookseller
Weekly Top 10 bestsellers; book news, Indie Awards chosen annually. Winner of this year’s Miles Franklin Literary Award: Questions of travel by Michelle de Kretser. http://www.indies.com.au/
Indie Book of the Year: The light between oceans by M.L. Stedman.
Winners: http://www.readings.com.au/news/the-2013-indie-award-winners

Get Reading!
Formerly known as Books Alive, this is Australia’s largest annual celebration of books and reading, held in September each year. On 1 Sept, the 2013 list of the Top 50 Books You Can’t Put Down will be announced, as well as a list of Australia’s favourite books. The free guide will be available in bookstores and online.
Some great book suggestions – book lists from 2007-2012: http://www.getreading.com.au/50-books-you-cant-put-down/

Banned books
Various banned book lists – interesting and well presented: http://www.goodreads.com/list/tag/banned

Read about the secret history of Australian censorship and prohibited publications….Peyton Place, Brave new world, The catcher in the rye….intriguing! http://blog.naa.gov.au/banned/

Twentieth-century Australia had the strictest censorship of any democratic nation. Publications of all kinds were kept under surveillance and thousands of books were banned as seditious, blasphemous or obscene. Read more: http://www.lib.unimelb.edu.au/collections/special/exhibitions/bannedbooks/exhibition/

List of banned books in Australia: http://www.lib.unimelb.edu.au/collections/special/exhibitions/bannedbooks/exhibition/australia.html

More links: http://www.lib.unimelb.edu.au/collections/special/exhibitions/bannedbooks/

The best 100 opening lines from books: Click on the book covers to reveal the lines from excellent books, old and new.
100 best closing lines from books: http://www.stylist.co.uk/life/the-best-100-closing-lines-from-books
100 best films based on books: http://www.stylist.co.uk/life/top-100-films-based-on-books
The 8 darkest fairy tales: http://www.stylist.co.uk/books/the-eight-darkest-fairy-tales#image-rotator-1

Arts and Letters Daily
Highly regarded website with dailyreport of news in literature, language, philosophy, ideas, criticism, history, music, art, culture – includes reviews of new books, essays and articles. Excellent links to other cultural websites and blogs. Something for everyone! eg. A brief history of applause, the Big Data of the ancient world: http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2013/03/a-brief-history-of-applause-the-big-data-of-the-ancient-world/274014/

AustLit: the Australian literature resource
AustLit aims to be the definitive virtual information resource for Australian literary, print and narrative culture. It includes information about fiction, poetry, theatre & film writing, biographical & travel writing and reviews. Some full text creative and critical works are also available. All Aust. teachers have free access.
What’s in AustLit: http://www.austlit.edu.au/austlit/page/5961903
Full text collections: Poems, novels, criticism, reviews, children’s literature and early Aust. science fiction. http://www.austlit.edu.au/austlit/page/5960585
Full text search: http://www.austlit.edu.au/?ex=FullTextSearch

AustLit includes the BlackWords database. BlackWords provides searchable information about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander writers, storytellers and their published and unpublished books, stories, plays, poems and criticism. It includes works in English and in Indigenous Australian languages. http://www.austlit.edu.au/specialistDatasets/BlackWords

Sydney Review of Books
“Sparked by concerns about the dwindling space for literary criticism in Australian media, the Sydney Review of Books is an online review site focusing on Australian writers and writing”. It has reviews and articles about fiction, non fiction, poetry & other feature articles.

Happy Book Week!


Google, censorship and Assange

Interesting issues to discuss with senior students – censorship, freedom of speech, power, control, governments, corporations, global relations, ethics, religious animosity, tolerance…..


The controversial video The innocence of Muslims will stay on YouTube but Google has restricted access to it in 5 countries – India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Libya, Egypt. Google says this is consistent with its principles. Google operates in over 100 countries and handles the majority of search queries worldwide. 72 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute. Does Google have too much power to influence the course of world events?


What Google isn’t telling us about the video it banned in 5 countries – Bianca Bosker

“Censoring a video that doesn’t break local laws or violate YouTube’s terms of use marks an extraordinary, highly unusual move on Google’s part that underscores the responsibility tech companies are now shouldering, by virtue of their outsized reach, to arbitrate free speech, shape international affairs and export values from their home nations.”

Some interesting points are raised:

“Would the video have been removed if it was an article?
Would the video have been removed if it had sparked violence by pro-democracy protesters?
Does banning the video reward violence? Is this a lesson that controversial content can be snuffed out if enough people are injured, enough buildings are burned and government officials ask nicely enough?
When does Google listen to violence, and when does it ignore it? Is all violence created equal? Does Google get to decide when other countries are “ready” for free speech?”


Eva Galperin: Google’s move sets a dangerous precedent. “While their goal of trying to tamp down violence may have been sincere, the decision was misguided and opens the door for more censorship in the future.”

Jillian York: “By placing itself in the role of arbiter, Google is now vulnerable to demands from a variety of parties and will have to explain why it sees censorship as the right solution in some cases but not in others.”


Will Russia ban YouTube?

Innocence of Muslims film could get the whole site blacklisted under a new law.



Another interesting resource for discussing censorship – should appeal to high school students:


Underground: the Julian Assange story (90 minute telemovie; Channel 10; October)

The previews look great (great promo song) and the reviews are excellent. It has been invited to screen at the Toronto International Film Festival. Directed by Robert Connolly (Balibo). Stars Alex Williams, Rachel Griffiths and Anthony LaPaglia. The intriguing backstory of Assange’s early life – his gypsy lifestyle and mistrust of authority during his teenage days as a hacker. Assange is portayed as a flawed hero, railing against the establishment.