What’s Your Dewey? 090 Hooked on Books – in whatever form.

Some may claim they do not read and therefore do not own a book – or, they may have a book or two floating around the house – but for lovers of books, for bibliophiles, there is simply no such thing as ‘a book or two’.

In Ex Libris: Confessions Of A Common Reader author Anne Fadiman shares her life-long passion for books in 18 essays that explore her inextricable connection to the written word. She talks about relations (she and her husband only married after they managed to combine book collections); explores the reader’s treatment of books (calling those that underline text, tear pages out or read books until they fall apart – carnal lovers);  and theorises about the scarcity of editions (first editions of Alice in Wonderland were eaten by children). A witty, insightful look at one person’s passion for books that spans an eclectic view of their history.

Since early times when humans learned to communicate with symbols , they have sought ways to preserve and disseminate the written word.

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In The Book : A Cover-to-Cover Exploration of the Most Powerful Object of Our Time,  Keith Houston follows the path of the 2,000 year old history of universal information technology. Houston looks at the book’s development from cuneiform tablets to today’s paperbacks, presenting a vibrant and rich history of civilisations. This sometimes surprising history is attractively packaged with full-colour illustrations.

Books about books come in many forms, from the text that will inspire the casual reader to academic titles designed for intense study.

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The Cambridge Companion to the History of the Book edited by Leslie Howsam provides an extensive account of the book’s history and the way humans have viewed it over time. Taking a thematic and chronological approach, the first section of this title considers ‘book’ cultures from ancient inscriptions to e-books.  Part two, looks at the relationship of the physical book and it’s content, from early manuscript production to the globalization of publishing, and the introduction of e-books. Part three is largely academic and includes bibliographical, archival and pedagogical strategies for studying books. You can take a look here: Camdridge Companion to the history of the book

Despite the enormous number of books printed over time, there is the view that the history of books can be encapsulated in the choice a select few.

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The History of the Book in 100 Books by Roderick Cave & Sara Ayad is one such book. They look at 100 books they believe have played a critical role in the creation and expansion of books that have brought literacy, numeracy, knowledge, and ultimately liberation to many in the world. Themes discussed include ancient times in the East and the West; the Medieval world; print technology and the Information explosion led by Public Libraries. The size of the book may be prohibitive to some (a coffee-table book) and the beginning of the book is far stronger than the end, but the abundant photographs and inclusion of some lesser known titles make it interesting nonetheless.

 There are many claims that the e-book has all but destroyed the popularity of the printed book, and that book publishing in Australia is all but dead.

Publishing Means Business: Australian Perspectives

Publishing Means Business: Australian Perspectives by Aaron Mannion, Millicent Weber & Katherine Day shows us how in fact the ‘Australian publishing industry has transformed itself from a colonial outpost of British publishing to a central node in a truly global publishing industry’ (readings.com). The book examines the current state of an unpredictable industry that has seen government cuts, the rise of boutique and e-publishing houses and the flood of international titles into the Australian market. It questions the broader role of publishing in Australia and looks to its future. It includes contributions from academics, writers, publishers and economists, and can be considered an authoritative book on the topic.

Of course if you are the sort of bibliophile I tend to be, the whole point of books is to read them, enjoy them and most likely own them. If book collecting is your thing, there are many websites and many books, devoted to the topic. Rather than go through an apparently, inexhaustible list of guides on the topic, I thought I would leave with a picture – or two…

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What’s Your Dewey? 808.5 Public Speaking And The Power Of Words.

Speaking in public can put fear in the bravest of people. Known as glossophobia, symptoms of speech anxiety can be physically debilitating and affects as many as 75% of people. Despite this, there are many demands on us to speak in public – at work, social and special events, family occasions, celebrations and ceremonies. When asked to give a speech, it’s important not to panic – there is help about and 808.5 is a good start for some great oratory tips!

Part of the Life Skills series, Panic-free presentations by Greg & Elisa Paulk, is aimed at younger would-be orators, and provides practical tips and a stepped guide for presenting to an audience. Although the book approaches the topic from a student’s perspective, the layout, coupled with clear simple text and easy pace, makes it a useful entry-level introduction to the topic of public speaking.

According to Stand, speak, deliver! by  Vaughan Evans, ‘conquering the fear’ of public speaking involves ‘feeding like PACman’, that is, Practising (at every opportunity); Attracting (by engaging with the audience); and Chilling (taking your time). Evans aims to give readers the essentials of public speaking from the perspective of an experienced Toastmaster. The book is divided into five parts, which can be categorized as preparing, structuring, delivering, speaking and presenting. It is designed to both instruct and entertain, and includes sample speeches and notes in seven Appendices.

While many may focus on the fear associated with public speaking, key to successful speaking is focusing on the message, be it a wedding speech, a thank you, a lecture or a pitch for funding. What’s your message : public speaking with twice the impact, using half the effort by Cam Barber is based on the premise that all other titles on public speaking work on the ‘performance of the act of speaking’,  rather than the reason we speak in public. He argues that this approach adds unnecessary pressure to speakers, forcing them to be what they are not. By focusing on the message, Barber asserts speakers can be more relaxed and therefore more engaging, improving their communication. The book is structured into two parts – The Power of Messaging with examples from great leaders, public figures and company CEOs; and  The Vivid Method for Public Speaking which demonstrates a 3-part method to prepare and deliver speeches.
You can sample the e-book here: Whats-Your-Message-Public-Speaking-ebook



What’s Your Dewey? 641.5 Wintery food easy and quick!

It’s officially winter in South Australia and the term ‘comfort food’ springs to mind when thinking mealtime. Often this is linked to the term ‘easy’ because the thought of protracted preparation and cooking time after a cold, wet wintery day away from home, is less than inviting.
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Paul Gayler's Little Book of Salads : Stunning, Healthy, Ready in Minutes - Paul Gayler
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A Winter Harvest with Maggie Beer 1
Those who are familiar with Barossa Valley chef and identity Maggie Beer will no doubt be drawn to Maggie Beer’s winter harvest : recipes (photography by Mark Chew).  This is however not a new title but a ‘title extract’ from her popular Maggie’s Harvest released in 2007. While the stories and recipes are not new, the format and size (a 208 page paperback), more easily allow for kitchen use than the glossy 2007 full edition, and reinforce Maggie’s philosophy on sourcing, cooking and sharing local seasonal food.  Maggie’s winter theme is citrus so many of her recipes include some form of citric fruit, vegetable or herb. Anyone interested in Maggie’s ideas can read a short interview here:  A-Winter-Harvest-with-Maggie-Beer
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Many family chefs seek their recipes on the internet and there is no denying that this can sometimes be a quick and easy way to find that illusive ‘what can I cook with these ingredients’ recipe. It also serves to protect valued, beautifully illustrated coffee-table cookbooks from nasty kitchen accidents. The downside is – it’s difficult to browse a theme, it chews up your data and the ads are annoying! So… why not try an ebook! There are plenty out there and one that caught my attention was Winter Food by Sally Wise. Wise’s recipes focus on flavour, quick and easy preparation and fresh, easy to access ingredients. Recipes include pies, soups, curries and casseroles, and there are over 90 recipes to choose from. You can view a sample from the Soups and Starters section here: Winter Food by Sally Wise

Of course, this is only one example of eCookbooks available – there are many, and if you are a member of a South Australian Public Library, you can freely download a range of ebook titles from searching our catalogue here: Winter food Recipes
It’s easy!


What’s Your Dewey? 305.26 Ageing: or, as Dewey likes to call it, People in Late Adulthood!

A brief walk through the local Ageing & Disability Expo where our library had a stall, reminded me that the concept of ageing is ever changing and notions of what it is to be an ‘older person’ or ‘senior citizen’ are not what they once were. As our population ages and the number of people claiming senior status increases, so do our perceptions of what it is to be old, change. Like the many and varied stalls showcasing the different services aimed at seniors, you can find books on ageing shelved in the psychological, medical, spiritual, financial, fitness and biographical shelves, making the topic a grand tour of Dewey. Personally, the titles I find interesting are those that explore the concept of ageing through the collective experiences of those who’ve gone before… people in their late adulthood!

In the book In praise of ageing by Patricia Edgar, Edgar introduces her topic by asking: ‘Why do some people live an active and rewarding life while others die early or live miserably?’ Rather than focusing on the assumed ‘burden of the ageing’, (which she explores in Part One – The gift of age), Edgar begins to tackle this conundrum by interviewing eight people who have lived beyond their 80s (Part Two: The elders). They include teacher, biochemist and artist Muriel Crabtree (aged 102), and Jim Brierley, octogenarian skydiver. Through these stories, Edgar demonstrates that ageing brings with it opportunities to reshape our thinking and our lives by reaffirming what we care about and staying motivated to remain creative and connected to the world. Look inside here: www.booktopia.com.au

The importance of maintaining a sense of humour can not be over-emphasized by many and 1,000 unforgettable senior moments : of which we could remember only 254 by Tom…uh…Friedman is just one book that highlights the lighter side of age-related gaffes, from the ridiculous to the ridiculously worrying. Examples include: The team of astrophysicists who believed they had discovered proof of alien life–only to discover the signals were coming from the lunchroom microwave; the bank robber who wrote a holdup note on a cheque stub that had his name and address printed on it; and the president who left the nuclear launch codes in a suit at the dry cleaners. 1,000 Unforgettable Senior Moments is entertaining, witty and very accessible.
You can sample it here: 1001 unforgettable senior moments

Over 60 : living life to the full edited by Joy Noble and David Bennett is another book filled with examples of what is increasingly called ‘positive ageing’. The book is a compilation of 25 essays written by Baby Boomers as they approach their 60s and 70s; individuals who have the freedom to pursue their life passions and are changing the nature of retirement. While travelling and volunteering feature in many essays, there are also examples of grand-parenting, late career changes, creative pursuits and learning; embracing new technology to be both independent and connected.


Aging : an apprenticeship  edited by Nan Narboe looks at ageing from the perspective of 54 contributors including Judy Blume, Andrew McCarthy, Gloria Steinem, Ursula Le Guin and William Maxwell. Contributors draw from their own experiences as they navigate each decade of their late adulthood  from Nearing 50 up to The 90s and Beyond. Divided into decades, each essay lists the author’s birth year along with his or her subjective age (the age they feel or think). There are many thought-provoking approaches to ageing contained in these pages. Here are just two:  ‘There is no universal guidebook on aging… We have to learn about old age on the job’, (Jan Slepian, born in 1921); and Narboe who states: ‘I think aging tends to refine who the person is… an intellectual becomes more so, a sensualist becomes more so, an adventurer becomes more so.”
Read more about the book here: aginganapprenticeship.com

Aging starts in your mind : you’re only as old as you feel  by Notker Wolf, with Leo G. Linder ; translated by Gerlinde Buchinger-Schmid is a lighthearted, anecdotal approach to life as an ageing adult. While Wolf acknowledges that ‘The body is counting years, and it’s an incorruptible chronicler’ he also states: ‘The body and soul experience time differently… the soul measures itself by a different standard… it doesn’t grow old; it’s timeless’. Wolf encourages readers to focus on the ‘state of our soul- a soul which is resolutely vibrant, cheerful, and full of zest for life.’ Translated from German, this autobiographical book covers many ageing related topics in 22 chapters. You can preview it here: Aging starts in your mind

Staying active, connected and with a positive approach to getting older is a message that resounds in many of the interviews and stories included in the books just viewed. There are an abundance of ways people in their late adulthood can benefit from the diverse activities and support systems available to them in the community, as demonstrated at the Expo. This includes support to enter the modern world of technology with the Be Connected program being offered through the library.  An Australia wide initiative to empower all Australians to thrive in a digital world, it provides online learning resources and in-person support, so you can develop your digital skills and confidence. To find out more, contact the library on 8522 0123 and let staff know you want to Be Connected to make the most of your late adulthood… (and while you’re there, check out the shelves at 305.26).