Playing with Fire, Alice and Zombies

Two weeks ago I finally finished reading The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery which I had been reading since April (I ‘ll post a review soon to explain why it took so long) and so I chose a new book from my towering “To Read” pile.

The Girl returns

The book I chose through my usual process was the second book in the Millenium trilogy, The Girl Who Played With Fire by the late Stieg Larsson. I was slow to join in on the craze of these books, because I had so many other books I wanted to read, so I only read the first book, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo late last year. I thought it was a bit slow to begin with but once I got into it I found it highly engrossing so I was pretty excited to get stuck into the second one. However, from the tone of its predecessor I knew The Girl Who Played With Fire was going to be pretty heavy reading and for that reason I wasn’t ready to jump into it as most of the other books I’m reading are also pretty heavy: 2 Clive Barker’s and a very involved fantasy. The only exception is The Secrets of the Chess Machine which is great, but something I don’t want to read all the time.

So, even ‘tho I did start The Girl Who Played With Fire the other day, I have been craving something different, something a bit funny or ridiculous that I could easily read on the bus or train and have a bit of a giggle….and then I saw this book on the “New Books” display at Joondalup:

Now, regular readers of this blog (my beloved Bookbaggers) will know of my love for anything based on Lewis’s Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland/Through the Looking Glass as well as my recent love for zombie stories, so you can just imagine my delight upon seeing this title while I was tidying. I couldn’t borrow it at the time of course coz I was in the middle of work, but I put it neatly back on the display shelf and prayed that it would not be snaffled up by another Alice/zombie loving freak before 5 o’clock. Luckily the book gods smiled upon me and it was waiting for me when I finished and I made such a direct beeline to it and plucked it off the shelf that one of the staff commented in amusement.

I plan to start it tonight and you are sure to hear one heck of a review once Its been devoured 🙂

Happy reading and may the book gods smile upon you also!

Children’s Book Week

This week at libraries around Australia the sound and sight of school children could be found in the middle of the day. Why? Because it was Children’s Book Week, an annual initiative of the Children’s Book Council of Australia.

Children’s Book Week is the longest running Children’s festival in Australia as it’s been run for 66 years. Each year the Council compiles a shortlist of the best books for children that have been written by Australian authors or illustrated by Australian illustrators and published that year. From this shortlist a winner is announced for the following categories: Older Readers Book of the Year; Younger Readers Book of the Year; Early Childhood Book of the Year; Picture Book of the Year; and the Eve Pownall Book of the Year which is for non-fiction or informational books. Two books in each category also receive an Honour award.

Each year Book Week has a theme chosen by the council and promotional materials, including a poster designed by last years Picture Book of the Year’s winner, are available for libraries on the Children’s Book Council’s website. This year’s theme was “One World, Many Stories” which opened up a world of opportunities for activities, events and other fun stuff at libraries. At Joondalup Public Library where I’m doing my prac for Library Studies, CBW has been firing on all cylinders and as I’m a general dogs body I’ve been helping out with CBW stuff while I’m there on Thursdays and Fridays, which I’ve been loving 🙂

Firstly I helped to put up the CBW display but putting out all the shortlisted books Joondalup has (which was all but a couple of them), putting up posters, blowing up balloons and erecting a spinning globe with children from around the world surrounding it.

Joondalup Library's Children's Book Week display

Apologies for the slightly fuzzy mobile picture :S

To celebrate Book Week Joondalup held a series of exciting activities including a public event on its opening day (the 21st), author talks and fun workshops. On Friday I sat in on a wonderful talk by Western Australian author Norman Jorgensen and then helped clean up afterwards, and it was so rewarding to see the enjoyment on the faces of the two school groups that attended. I also was in charge of putting the medal stickers on the covers of the winning books and honour books; taking the Display only/CBW/Not for loan statuses off the books at the end of Book Week so they could be borrowed; and put aside all the books that were requested (all but 4 of them!!).

There was some great looking books this year, so if you are looking for some new books for your kids to read, or quality books to add to a library’s collection, the list would be a great resource. The winners this year were:

Older Readers Book of the Year
The Midnight Zoo by Sonya Hartnett

Younger Readers Book of the Year
The Red Wind by Isobelle Carmody

Early Childhood Book of the Year
Maudie and Bear written by Jan Ormerod and illustrated by Freya Blackwood

Picture Book of the Year

Joint Winner
Mirror by Jeannie Baker

Hamlet by Nicki Greenberg

Eve Pownall Book of the Year
The Return of the Word Spy written by Ursula Dubosarsky and illustrated by Tohby Riddle

There was some great books that received Honours too, so if you’re interested check out the entire list of  winners.

Stay tuned because I will also post about WAYRBA (the West Australian Young Reader’s Book Award) once the winners have been announced.