Today we were lucky enough to host a wonderful author talk at Blaxland Library with the adventurous author and traveller Maggie Counihan, who truly embodies her own motto that “Age is no barrier”. Her first book, Backpacking to Freedom: Solo at Sixty details how, at the age of sixty, Maggie went on her first solo trip to India – and has never looked back. This book, as well as her latest book, Bring on the Birthdays: Ageing with Adventures, are now available from her website: http://www.maggie-rollo.com. This website also has a selection of great travel photos and insightful travel tips from Maggie and her partner Rollo.
If you couldn’t make it to the talk at Blaxland today, never fear because Maggie had some time to chat with us for our ‘Indigi-Read’ podcast for May. Click here to listen as she discusses her early life and her life-changing decision to follow her dreams and experience the world on her terms.
In our latest podcast episode, host John Merriman is joined by Shamala Ratnesar, author of ‘The Total Life Diet’ and recent guest speaker at Springwood Library. Click here to listen online, or search for ‘Listeners in the Mist’ in iTunes.
Shamala is a leading Australian dietitian, author and speaker based in Sydney. She started Omega Health Solutions – now known as The Total LIFE Diet Centre – because she wanted to make a difference. With diabetes and obesity having reached epidemic proportions and cardiovascular disease being the world’s biggest killer, there was a real need for truly effective programs that would give people long-lasting results for life. You can visit her website here for more information.
Over the evening Hazel gave great advice about writing an interesting family history and it wasn’t all just listening. Hazel was into audience participation and several writing and thinking exercises were set and under Hazel’s guidance some lovely pieces of writing were completed. I just hope some of the audience publish their stories because there were some very intriguing snippets; love letters that may or may not be published; cousins who aren’t really cousins; gypsy blood queries. My interest was well and truly piqued.
At the end of the evening Hazel was available with more advice and to sign copies of her book, How to Write a Non-Boring Family History.
Oh, and we also learned how to sign “I love hippopotamuses” – well, you never know when it might come in handy.
Here’s some news we got via the folks at Goodreading magazine. Some of you might fancy going – great stories, great wines, lovely country . . . I’m packing my bags now!
Mudgee Readers’ Festival has been established to celebrate the joy of reading.
On Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 August, 12 authors will share their stories in conversation as well as participate in thought-provoking and often hilarious panels.
We strive to create a relaxed and friendly atmosphere where all readers are welcome regardless of their reading passion. Chat with the authors, ask them a curly question, and learn what makes them tick.
Our stars this year include:
Lucy Neville (travel) * Margareta Osborn (rural romance) * Leslie Cannold (fiction & social commentary) * Hannah Richell (new Australian fiction) * Susan Johnson (Australian fiction) * Susan Duncan (memoir & fiction) * James Roy (young readers) * Gail Jones (Australian fiction) * Paul Ham (military history) * Sulari Gentill (historic crime) * Barry Maitland (crime) * Nigel Marsh (social commentary & humour)
Come along for 10 author/panel presentations, a huge secondhand book fair and dinner with war historian Paul Ham on the Saturday. Sunday will feature four author/panel presentations, local authors in a Local Lines display and a long literary lunch with Nigel Marsh. Author signings and new book sales will take place all weekend.
Tickets on sale now! Session tickets from $10.00.
For more information go to the Mudgee Readers’ Festival website (warning: this link seems to be very slow to load)
Australian author, Patrick Victor Martindale White, was born 100 years ago on 28th May 1912.
Patrick White was born in London but his family moved to Sydney when he was just six months old. Initially sent to a boarding school in the Southern Highlands, NSW, he was sent in 1924 to Cheltenham College in England, something he described as “a four-year prison sentence”. After a period of time back in Australia working as a jackaroo, White returned to England to study French and German Literature at Cambridge University.
Not initially a favourite with the critics in Australia although overseas he was well-regarded, Patrick White perservered with his writing and eventually won the inaugural Miles Franklin Literary Award in 1957 for his novel Voss and in 1973 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.
In 1981 an autobiography, Flaws in the Glass: a self-portrait, was published in which Patrick White explored issues about which he had publicly said little, such as his homosexuality, and his refusal to accept the Nobel Prize personally.
Late last year Fred Schepisi’s film The Eye of the Storm was released . Surprisingly, this was the first time a White novel had been brought to the big screen, although many years previously White had been in negotiations with Harry M Miller for a film version of Voss.
Click here to see what we hold of White’s fiction.
Books and Reading
Is your favourite book in the top 10 most read books in the world?
I don’t know how To Kill a Mockingbird didn’t make the list ;(
We’ve all chuckled over children playing at being some character out of a book they’ve read but have you ever thought about the influence of fiction in your [adult] life? According to a new study from researchers in the US, “when you loves yourself inside the world of a fictional character while reading a story, you may actually end up changing your own behaviour and thoughts to match that of the character.” As this Guardian article by Alison Flood speculates, that may be a dangerous thing!
I really like this graph showing the colour distribution of YA book covers published in the US during 2011.
The author, Michelle Andelman, has gone to a lot of trouble analysing YA covers further for representation of gender and minority groups. It makes for fascinating reading and you can persue the topic here.
It’s come as a bit of a shock to me that Johannes Gutenberg did not invent the first printing press using moveable type. Apparently, Chinese and Korean inventors had been producing printed books for centuries before Gutenberg was born. There you go!
Here’s a challenge I bet you won’t be able to resist! What speed do you read at? How do you compare with the US average? Click on the red Start Reading button in the graphic below and take the test. Don’t cheat and skim the text because there are a few questions to answer to check.
Source: Staples eReader Department
According to the produceers of this test, 3rd grade students read about 150 words per minute, average adults read about 300 words per minute, and college students read about 450 words per minute. After 3 goes, I’ve been able to get into the 500s. That means I’d be able to read War and Peace in 16 hours and 12 minutes! But before I get all big-headed I need to put things into perspective; Anne Jones, six times winner of the World Speed Reading Championships (why was I never invited to that one?) reads an awe-inspiring 4700 words a minute!
This article, The millionaire author’s club, discusses the vagaries of the writer’s lot – according to this only 68 books have sold more than 1 million copies since Nielsen BookScan started keeping the stats in 1998. Can you hazard a guess at who’s made the 1 million mark? According to a survey by the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society, the median annual income of a writer in Britain today is just £4,000 ($6400).
Libraries and Librarians
Librarian-turned-detective and historian, Kevin Morgan, helped gain a pardon for a man more than 80 years after his execution. Colin Campbell Ross was hung in 1922 at the Old Melbourne Gaol for the rape and murder of a 12 year old girl. Morgan’s book, Gun Alley, which was instrumental in Ross’ 2008 pardon, has been followed up by the newly released Detective Pigott’s Casebook based on the scrapbooks of the detective working on the case at the time. Piggott was an outstanding policeman of his era and his scrapbooks document the first example of blood-spatter interpretation in Australian forensic history. “He uses an interpretation of the scene and where the blood landed, where the body was found in relation to where the shotgun was found and he was able to put those factors together with mathematical precision”, said Morgan. “It’s illustrated with photographs that are only here in this album. Read more here.
Now in double dip recession, Britain is having to economise hard and for some time Libraries have been under threat all over the country with many having been closed already, others scheduled for closure and some going over to the community to run using volunteer labour. So it’s heartening to know that in a recent surveyby the Carnegie Trust, the first such survey of public attitudes towards libraries across the UK and the Republic of Ireland, it was found that people in value their libraries highly.
Books on Screen
My friend Sharon was saddened when I told her that Charlaine Harris has announced that she will only be publishing one more Sookie Stackhouse novel. And my other mate Janet will be devastated for what this will mean for the True Blood TV series. This Guardian article explains how the True Blood author can suck no more out of the vampire series.
Filming has begun on Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s harrowing novel about the Nigerian-Biafran War 1967-70, Half of a Yellow Sun. The novel won the Orange Prize for Fiction in 2007 and was included in the New York Times ’100 most notable books of the year’ in 2006.