Saturday, 30 April 2016

Not So Wimpy Right?

For those of you who are absolutely crazy about Jeff Kinney's bestselling series DIARY OF A WIMPY KID, then you may know that he has a new book coming out!! According to his website it will be available in November of this year. So a little way to go yet but that time waiting can be filled with hype! 

It's called Double Down and looks something to do with cheese but that might be just a misinterpretation on my part.  Okay his website literally has no info about the story but this is from this website "Kinney gave this statement in the press release: “Greg Heffley has always believed there was something that set him apart from everyone else. In the new book, Greg discovers what makes him unique, and it’s not at all what he expected.”

I will admit that I have read one of his books before and did have a quiet chuckle to myself. But I just can't believe how popular a singular series can be! I suppose it's like the __ Story Treehouse series or Harry Potter but at an even bigger scale. I don't really know it was a tad before my time and I never really got into it...soorrryyy. 

And just a side apparently there's a musical in the works! I don't really know what to say to that but you can read more here and here. If you click the image you can watch the trailer!

Saturday, 23 April 2016

Top 10!

Have you ever noticed the selection of books sitting behind the counter? Labeled from 1 - 10? You may be wondering what this is or how it's decided. Well it's your lucky day because I'll tell you!

*If you have no idea what I'm talking about here's a photo:

So, as you may have guessed they're actually our top ten books! Of what I hear you ask, of bestsellers and they are changed every week! Yes, I know we are on the ball with this one. So how do we decide which ones are selling the best? By consulting the great computer that is mPOS which is pretty cool in that it can tell us exactly how many of any given title we have sold. 

So, if you want to see a book up there, I guess the way you can do so is to buy a billion copies of it...maybe :) 
So what are our top ten for this week? Because technology is cool we have it in an infographic for you. Enjoy!


Saturday, 16 April 2016

Raising Helen

With the release of her latest book Everywhere I Look, I am seriously loving everything that Helen Garner is writing! I will say that I'm a bit of a rookie still and have not read terribly much of her varied oeuvre but I've been scouting the shelves looking for titles. Some reasons why I love her:

1. She's from Melbourne
It's always great to find local authors as they have a distinctly Australian sort of feeling, can't really pinpoint why but maybe it's the I don't care sort of attitude. Plus, it's always nice when you can recognise the places she's talking about like I'VE BEEN THERE!!

2. She's a cool lady
Hear me out, this sounds like it could be sort of discriminatory/sexist in some way or another but she speaks about feminist issues with a real clarity. It's never 'feminism must be a b and c and if you don't believe that then not you're not one'. She articulates concerns and questions about the multitude of values and opinions that make up the mass that is 'feminism' - perhaps because I've just finished reading the First Stone...

3. Without bias (or as little as humanly possible) 
She has a number of books that follow criminal trials and through her skills, never makes you feel like you should be leaning a certain way - rather leaves it open to the reader which is nice in its non prescriptiveness. 

So here are some that I have read/want to read by her very soon! Thanks to the internet/Text Publishing/Goodreads for images and some blurbs. Some of the covers are old editions because they're the ones that I read and I had to pull them off dusty shelves at the student union library...

This House of Grief: The Story of a Murder Trial (2014)

Anyone can see the place where the children died. You take the Princes Highway past Geelong, and keep going west in the direction of Colac. Late in August 2006, soon after I had watched a magistrate commit Robert Farquharson to stand trial before a jury on three charges of murder, I headed out that way on a Sunday morning, across the great volcanic plain.

On the evening of 4 September 2005, Father’s Day, Robert Farquharson, a separated husband, was driving his three sons home to their mother, Cindy, when his car left the road and plunged into a dam. The boys, aged ten, seven and two, drowned. Was this an act of revenge or a tragic accident? The court case became Helen Garner’s obsession. She followed it on its protracted course until the final verdict.
In this utterly compelling book, Helen Garner tells the story of a man and his broken life. She presents the theatre of the courtroom with its actors and audience – all gathered to witness to the truth – players in the extraordinary and unpredictable drama of the quest for justice.
This House of Grief is a heartbreaking and unputdownable book by one of Australia’s most admired writers.

This was the first of her books that I read. It's hard to say that I enjoyed considering the circumstances and the fact that it was a murder trial but all in all a supremely interesting book. And while you get a sense of right and wrong there's never a feeling of judgement within the pages. She seems to capture all the feelings of being at the trial from curiosity to confusion and sadness. Highly recommend for an introduction to Garner's work. 

The First Stone 1995

In the autumn of 1992, two young women students at Melbourne University went to the police claiming that they had been indecently assaulted at a party. The man they accused was the head of their co-ed residential college. The shock of these charges split the community and painfully focused the debate about sex and power.

Whether or not you agree in partially, totally or not at all is part of what makes this book what it is - the opening of discourse and conversation in what is often a little spoken topic. Although it did cop quite a bit of backlash - as well as praise when it first came out, it's interesting to consider her points. I love how you can disagree as well as agree with authors to help formulate your opinion on multifaceted topics. 

Monkey Grip (1977)

Inner-suburban Melbourne in the 1970s: a world of communal living, drugs, music and love. In this acclaimed first novel, Helen Garner captures the fluid relationships of a community of friends who are living and loving in new ways.
Nora falls in love with Javo the junkie, and together they try to make sense of their lives and the choices they have made. But caught in an increasingly ambiguous relationship, they are unable to let go - and the harder they pull away from each other, the tighter the monkey grip.

Featuring a very cool and young Noni Hazelhurst from the film adaptation, I've just started to read this one. It definitely has the aura of the 70s (although I'm not really sure how I'd know) and that sort of Aussie feel. The jury is still out on this one. 

Everywhere I Look (2016)

I pedal over to Kensington just after dark. As I roll along the lane towards the railway underpass, a young Asian woman on her way home from the station walks out of the tunnel towards me. After she passes there's a stillness, a moment of silent freshness that feels like spring.

Helen Garner is one of Australia's greatest writers. Her short non-fiction has enormous range. Spanning fifteen years of work, Everywhere I Look is a book full of unexpected moments, sudden shafts of light, piercing intuition, flashes of anger and incidental humour. It takes us from backstage at the ballet to the trial of a woman for the murder of her newborn baby. It moves effortlessly from the significance of moving house to the pleasure of re-reading Pride and Prejudice.
Everywhere I Look includes Garner's famous and controversial essay on the insults of age, her deeply moving tribute to her mother and extracts from her diaries, which have been part of her working life for as long as she has been a writer. Everywhere I Look glows with insight. It is filled with the wisdom of life.

Haven't touched this one at all yet but soon soon.

Saturday, 9 April 2016


I don't really know why the craft and fashion sections are next to each other. It both makes sense and makes no sense. Well anyway! the point is that these two sections have now been reorganized and re-categorized - for your benefit (naturally). I shall now detail them here for what is the use of having categories if no one knows what they are? I shall also pick out a favourite books from each subsection. 



Actually no, you get no favourites sorry. That's because they're all too good! So come down and look at them for yourself! No it's not because I'm finishing my shift soon of course not. 

I also finished Charlotte Wood's THE NATURAL WAY OF THINGS which was quite good! Probably too intense to say 'enjoyable' but a great read nonetheless.

Saturday, 2 April 2016

I'm Gonna Sit, Write Down and 'Right' Myself a Letter... or Two

Only when one starts to *try* to write their own creative works does one realize how difficult can be. And when I say one I mean me. I'm currently in the beginning stages of a young adult targeted piece which in its fledgling stage has varying (wildly varying) degrees of success. I've heard from numerous people including a local author(!) that a common misconception about writing is that it happens when the spirit of creativity hits. You have to be IN THE ZONE. This, apparently is not true and its justification makes sense - just like any other skill, you need sheer practice. Of course natural talent and knack doesn't hurt but that alone is not enough. After all, if you are a very fast sprinter, you know that doing no training just isn't going to cut it. With that, I reveal my biggest challenges and roadblocks that I am determined to overcome!

1. The Story line
This seems like a no brainer but it can be seriously difficult thinking of an original story line that you yourself as the author won't get bored with! And with that, what sort of book will it be? A novella, novel or short story? By the way the difference between a novella and a short story. The answer is apparently that 'a novella is a “short book.” As such, a novella is considerably longer than a short story but shorter than a novel. A novella must be able to stand on its own as a book' at least according to this website anyway. 


2. Stamina
Second to the story line but yet another S starting word is stamina. I often tell myself that I'm going to do it, write the great American Novel! And then I remember that I'm not American nor is it likely that I'll remember the plot line two weeks from now to finish the story. In this modern world full of distractions it can hard to keep focused on one thing. And imagine when you read a book and there's some dead boring sections in it - now imagine if you had to write those dead boring sections. It's actually really impressive when people can finish books at all! It's such a long process I feel that vacillates between creative to total objectivity and deadlines. In order to combat this I am trying two methods. The first, actually having a plan for once and bulking up my characters! The second is to write the scenes that jump out at me first and then fill in the gaps later. I know it seems a bit weird because you'd think it'd get disjointed but this is supposed to appease the part of me that can't stand to sit through boringness and mundanity (neither of which may be real words). Surely I'm not alone in this struggle! But what I've found helps me to practice is by writing a blog because you force yourself to do it. That's right (and write) people, force yourselves! Before long you'd have written a massive as blog post that you're not sure everyone will read to the end! But please do..

3. Remaining in the same tense
Again, this is not as easy as it sounds people! I have the tendency to mix them up in a way that does not flow or make logical sense I fear. When you read it's easy to see how it all rolls along but when you write it yourself (myself) I always have to do a quick check to ensure I'm not suddenly splitting off into the subjunctive. I don't even know what that is in English - I mean I probably am familiar with it but just can't define it - although I know it in French (?) which is incidentally a mood not a tense. Go figure. 

I've also been describing my plot and characters to a friend as if they're real people. It's great. Although are you supposed to tell people? Meh, who cares it's your own story.Also thank you internet for all the pictures.

So there we have it. I sincerely congratulate anyone who has ever finished writing a book/been published or set their minds to making a contribution to the literary world. It's kind of hard!