Category Archives: Writing and Literature

What’s Your Dewey? 080s – Quotations, And Not Another Word About It!

We are surrounded by words – we say them, write them, think them, read them, print them, sculpt and paint them, we use and abuse them and some of us, (although I don’t quite know why), eat them in the form of soup, biscuits and cake. We are so immersed in words that there are websites devoted to famous quotes and proverbs about them! The site https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/words.html is just one example.

Despite this, there are many times I find myself without a skerrick…


…and that’s when I resort to a book (or several).

If quotations are what you seek, the 080s is where you are most likely to find books devoted to the topic – in every language.

Daily mindfulness : 365 days of present, calm, exquisite living
is part of the recent collection of works devoted to the exploration of self-actualization, and presents daily quotations to let one pause and reflect on the moment at hand. The premise underpinning this title is that being more ‘in the moment’ calms the mind and ultimately leads to a richer, fuller life. A book for people seeking encouragement to ‘stop and smell the roses’.

 If discouragement is on the agenda, then Scorn : the wittiest and wickedest insults in human history by Matthew Parris might prove more appropriate. A quirky collection of repartee, quotes span the ages from ancient Egypt to Twitter. Organised in a way to simulate disparate voices conversing, the book explores ‘the feelings and ideas which links human expressions of scorn …in a verbal sport’ (from the Introduction). Those quoted include Donald Trump, Groucho Marx, Winston Churchill and Mae West, demonstrating that abuse can be an art both figurative and evocative… enough to ‘tickle’ the ‘mad mustachio purple-hued maltworms’. You can have a sneak peak here: http://www.booktopia.com.au/scorn-matthew-parris/prod9781781257296.html

 

If on the other hand, spreading happiness is more to your liking, The Bhutanese guide to happiness : words of wisdom from the world’s happiest nation by Gyonpo Tshering, edited by Margaret Gee
may be worth a look. The Bhutanese are renown for measuring their nation’s wealth in gross national happiness. This book is a collection of quotes, phrases, proverbs and philosophies that underpin and demonstrate its people’s approach to achieving national wealth. There are some wonderful insights into alternative stances to modern-world concerns – Showing your age? ‘You don t have to smile if you are pleased, nor do you have to frown if you are displeased. People who do this don’t get so many wrinkles!’

If your tastes move toward the eclectic and the clever use of words is of interest, then Jane Austen is certainly worth a revisit. Jane Austen: Illustrated Quotations is a great place to start. Well known for her novels depicting the dilemmas of very modern women (which manage to remain relevant to this day), Jane Austen was also a prolific writer of letters and commentary on a wide range of subjects. As well as highlighting the many quotable commentaries from her novels, this book also celebrates, in words and pictures, the many observations she made in her lesser known writings. She will challenge your understanding of words!
…Which brings us back to words.


If words are your thing and you wish to celebrate words with like-minded people, why not check out this year’s Adelaide Plains Festival of Words 28-30th July 2017. The Festival includes workshops for budding writers and publishing hopefuls, shared spoken and written word experiences and links to local writing opportunities including the Gawler Short Story Competition. You can find the complete program here:
http://www.festivalofwords.info/index.html

…that is of course if you choose to be surrounded by words.

Nola Cavallaro

What’s Your Dewey? 629.28 Driving Me To Distraction!

Next Week’s Start-up Mondays presentation on staying safe on the roads (presented by SAPOL), got me thinking about books that may have been written on the topic.

My first catalogue search on the topic ‘Driver Education’ yielded just one title Young drivers and road safety edited by Justin Healey. An Australian publication, it addresses the topic of young driver safety as a Social Issue (and consequently places the title in both the 360s and 629.28). The book states that despite an increase in Driver education in our schools, young people have a higher representation in road accidents and fatalities than any other group.  This book presents the latest attitudes, statistics and reports on road safety in Australia and examines the risk behaviours of young drivers. Aimed at educating young people and learner drivers, it contains a range of factsheet-style advice on how to avoid risks and increase personal road safety awareness.

Driver Distraction: Theory, Effects, and Mitigation edited by Michael A. Regan, John D. Lee, Kristie Young outlines the underlying theory of distraction, its effects on driving performance and safety, and strategies for mitigating these effects. It considers major sources of distraction both inside and outside the vehicle (communication devices and driver support systems); reviews factors that mediate the effects of distraction (age and driver experience); and outlines ergonomic guidelines, for minimizing driver distraction. Aimed at those working in transport related industries, the book provides some valuable insights for any driver interested in personal safety. You can preview the book here: www.crcpress.com/Driver-Distraction-Theory-Effects-and-Mitigation

Behavioural Adaptation and Road Safety: Theory, Evidence and Action, edited by Christina Rudin-Brown & Samantha Jamson, looks at the impact ageing has on drivers and the way changes to automobile and road engineering have impacted on driver safety for this group. A team of international experts in the field of transportation related behaviour sciences, address the issue of driver characteristics and the way they adapt to changes in their physical acumen, road conditions and vehicular developments. The book aims to provide easy-to-understand solutions for road safety intervention design. With a target audience of researchers and academics, this book is available through Google books in print and ebook format.

Be a confident driver by John Henderson.
Suitable for almost every motorist, it covers not only the basics but includes advanced driving techniques, and introduces mental strategies such as observation. Techniques for practical driving examples include bad weather driving and breakdowns, and tips for driving on rural roads, motorways and urban roads. The book includes supporting resources and further reading, and is designed as a motorist’s companion.

How to Drive: The Ultimate Guide – from the Man Who Was The Stig by Ben Collins
Former Top Gear star Ben Collins uses his extensive experience and knowledge to ‘tell you all of the things you didn’t learn on your [driving] test’ With wit and wisdom backed by illustrations and thought-provoking anecdotes, skills described include skid control and gear changes that top racing drivers take for granted. ‘The ultimate book for anyone who wants to be better at something they do every day of their life’.

Road safety by Christie Marlowe is a U.S.A. publication that attempts to alert children to the dangers of inattentive or inappropriate road use. The four sections of the book include real life examples of road safety issues, information on what makes roads dangerous and suggestions for staying safe on and around roads.  Preview here: http://bit.ly/2sTTAsp

 

Driverless : intelligent cars and the road ahead by Hod Lipson and Melba Kurman.
Although driving is often routinely repetitive and reactive (something robotics is known to excel at), it is also unpredictable and ‘commands complex social communication between other drivers and pedestrians'(chapter 1). These qualities alone make the task of designing driver-less cars difficult and challenging – software is not yet capable of responding as quickly and often seamlessly to unpredictable situations as the human brain (despite our want for distraction). The book points out that the development of software that can provide reliable artificial perception is still some time away, however there is a clear indication that anyone, at any time, could make that leap that not only makes the driver-less car more universally possible, it makes it likely. You can preview the book here: http://bit.ly/2sEOlL9
Nola Cavallaro

What’s Your Dewey? The 020s All Things Library

There is much talk about the relevance of libraries in an age when the world’s information is readily accessible in digital form – but is it true that the sum total of the world’s knowledge can be had by all, on call?  Does Google give us a level playing field when it comes to access?

There are many texts on this topic and  BiblioTech : why libraries matter more than ever in the age of Google  by John Palfrey
is one example that argues ‘anyone seeking to participate in the 21st century needs to understand how to find and use the vast stores of information available online’ and libraries are best positioned to facilitate this within our communities.

Palfrey discusses the threats posed to libraries (and therefore society) through funding cuts and argues libraries must work toward digitising print material and ensuring all digital material is readily accessible. Contents include sections on how libraries are used; what defines library spaces; librarians as networks; education;  copyright and what’s at stake if we lose libraries. Although there is a distinct USA bias to the text, anyone aware of the fate of libraries across the world will find food for thought.

Anyone who has studied the history and philosophy of knowledge, education and libraries will understand that the notion of universal access to the world’s knowledge is not new. Our attempts to manage human intellectual output can be seen in ancient times (Alexandrian Library for example) through to modern times (for example the British Library).

 

Cataloging the world : Paul Otlet and the birth of the information age by Alex Wright looks at the often overlooked contributions of Belgian Paul Otlet who first progressed the catalogue card as a means of bringing together records for everything recorded on paper. Otlet worked on creating a universal bibliography and developing a network of ‘electric telescopes’ that would allow anyone, anywhere, access to ‘books, newspapers, photographs, and recordings, all linked together in what he termed a réseau mondial: a worldwide web.’ A pioneering visionary, Otlet’s ideas seemed likely to come to fruition until  the Nazis took Brussels and seized his work. Cataloguing the world is an unexpectedly interesting introduction to recent library history.

It is well documented that the Nazis were responsible for ransacking and destroying many of Europe’s Libraries but in The book thieves : the Nazi looting of Europe’s libraries and the race to return a literary inheritance by Anders Rydell ; translated by Henning Koch, Rydell tells the hidden story of the Nazi appropriation of books from the libraries of Jews, Communists, Liberals, Catholics, Freemasons, and many other opposition groups, to be used as intellectual weapons against their owners. These books were not destroyed at the end of the war but found their way into the public library system from where a small team of librarians hope, to locate and reunite books to the decedents of the original owners.

Reading The book thieves… reminds us that one of the things that defines libraries are the people who work in them. In This is what a librarian looks like : a celebration of libraries, communities, and access to information for all by Kyle Cassidy, readers are presented with portraits and thoughts of 220 librarians of all ages, all backgrounds, all personalities and styles, to show us that librarians are not what we may expect. Through these vignettes, readers are treated to many perspectives of libraries over time and the people who have been influential in the field. Also included are original essays by well known authors, journalists and commentators such as John Scalzi, Nancy Pearl and Neil Gaiman.

Librarians have been known to defend the right to read throughout their history.  True stories of censorship battles in America’s libraries  edited by Valerie Nye and Kathy Barco tells the stories of several American librarians who have championed intellectual freedom and access to sometimes controversial material.  While the book addresses topics such as age-appropriateness, censorship, crime and cultural expression, some examples depicted can only be considered skirmishes. That being said, it is interesting to see ways in which we deliberately or inadvertently cull our library collections, restrict their access and thus diminish our community knowledge-base.

In this collection of stories, The book lovers’ anthology : a compendium of writing about books, readers & libraries by Alex Wright, offers answers to questions regarding the impact of books on humans and human society: Do books corrupt? and Do badly written books damage intellect? are just two examples being addressed through the thoughts, excerpts and essays of well known authors. Authors include Chaucer, Austen, Shakespeare, Milton, Eliot and Ruskin. ‘A treasure trove of apt quotations from more than 250 authors’ (Sydney Morning Herald); a bibliophile’s ‘essential anthology’ (Bodleian Library).

Of course there is more to a bibliophile’s obsession than just books, there is all the things that surround books – the paraphernalia and ephemera.  Letter to a future lover : marginalia, errata, secrets, inscriptions, and other ephemera found in libraries by Ander Monson  finds meaning in the objects and notations found in books. According to Monson, everything we’ve read, written, collected noted or discarded, defines us. This of course has implications for how we should deal with this ephemera and how in collected form, it contributes to our bank of knowledge.

Seed libraries : and other means of keeping seeds in the hands of the people by Cindy Conner is a reminder that libraries are not just about books but can be collections of items for preservation and education. Seed Libraries is a practical guide to saving seeds through community programs and includes Step-by-step instructions for setting up a seed library and ways to maintain the collection and attract patrons. It also provides examples of existing libraries. (www.newsociety.com)

Although Creepy libraries by Troy Taylor is aimed at children it provides an interesting view of 11 libraries around the world that are reputed to be haunted places. Readers ‘will discover one that is home to the spirit of a young girl who is depicted in its beautiful stained-glass window, one that is filled with ghosts who are distressed because it is built on top of their burial place, and one that has now turned into a bookstore yet is haunted by library patrons of the past—as well as a phantom cat. The creepy photographs and chilling nonfiction text will keep children turning the pages to discover more spooky stories’ (www.overdrive.com).

 While Creepy Libraries looks at ‘other wordly’ library occupants, Staff-less Libraries: Innovative Staff Design by Carl Gustav Johannsen considers the recent trend toward unstaffed libraries as a way to meet the challenge of decreased funding and increased demand. The book considers the pros and cons of this model and presents international experiences and examples. Contents include definitions of the ‘Open Library’ concept, historical perspectives, community profiling and technological implications. An academic text, this book is aimed at professionals and managers.

Not overly convinced of the staff-less library approach,  Improbable libraries by Alex Johnson provided an inspiring account of how librarians around the world are undaunted in overcoming financial, geographic or political challenges to reach out to those in reading need. The book showcases the changing nature of library structures and functions, with insightful interviews and over 250 colour photographs. Open-air garden libraries, pop-up libraries, mobile libraries (using bikes or camels) and the Little Free Library phenomena are all included in this exploration of these communal spaces and places that bring us together. The simple truth is … people like going to libraries. Indeed, going to the library is like getting a pay rise, according to a survey conducted in 2014 by the UK’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport. (www.theguardian.com/books)

Nola Cavallaro

 

Gawler Short Story Competition Now Open

The 2017 Gawler Short Story Competition is now open for entries. This year’s theme is Freedom, to tie in with the Gawler Festival of Words held in July this year. Details are on the entry form below.

To download the entry form, select each page separately and either save/print, copy/paste/print or email them to yourself. You can also pick up an entry form from the library or the library website.

What’s Your Dewey? 573s – Senses (As I See It).

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, ‘sense’ is an ability to understand, recognize, value, or react to something, especially any of the five physical abilities to see, hear, smell, taste, and feel. When we talk about our senses, we generally refer to the mechanisms by which our bodies react to internal or external stimuli which are many and varied within the animal kingdom. Most books that deal with the generally understood topic of the senses are to be found in the 573s – Specific physiological systems in animals, regional histology & physiology in animals.


There are many children’s books devoted to the 5 human senses. They are either sense organ specific (devoted to each of the ear, nose, eyes, skin or tongue) or general and refer to all of the 5 senses. While they are all very informative and a requisite topic for growing young minds, the ones that most intrigue are those which look at lesser known animal sensorial abilities.


Top 10 Super Senses by Virginia Loh-Hagan
This title includes many interesting facts about animals and their senses including the 15,000 taste buds of pigs, the tarsier’s exceptional night vision; and the 25,000 touch receptors in the star-nosed mole’s nose.  It is written with high interest, low complexity text and includes clear illustrations, glossary and simplified pronunciation. Preview here: http://bit.ly/2oyrj8A


A Natural History of the Senses
  by Diane Ackerman
Ackerman’s book, variously described as inspiring, charming, intriguing, knowledgeable and even pure ecstasy, has received many accolades. Each of the 5 senses are presented as realms for discovery with unique takes. Smell is named the ‘mute’ sense  with a personality that can be mapped; the skin has ‘eyes’ in the section on Touch; earth calls us in Hearing; and the walls are round in Vision. The New York Times says of it ” Delightful . . . gives the reader the richest possible feeling of the worlds the senses take in.”
Quick Look: http://amzn.to/2ooxBW4

A Tour of the Senses: How Your Brain Interprets the World by John M. Henshaw
A tour of the senses takes readers through the common understanding of the senses that help us interpret our surroundings, to the science behind the process underpinning Stimulus, Sensations and Perception. Henshaw explains how we see, feel, taste, touch, and smell. Making reference to Aristotle’s classification of the five main senses and examining sensory research today, Henshaw argues well for a reinterpretation of the number of senses available to living organisms. An interesting approach to the topic, well researched and easy to read.

We have the technology : how biohackers, foodies, physicians, and scientists are transforming human perception, one sense at a time by Kara Platoni.
Bioscience, metaperception, neurobiology, metasensory experiences, AI and augmented reality are all topics addressed in this witty, candid, intriguing and disturbing book by Platoni. An academic and science reporter, Platoni researches the ways we extend our ‘sensory experiences to make the world more real’. There is much food for thought to enlighten and challenge in this book.

Neurocomic by Matted Farinella & Hana Ros [graphic novel]
Farinella, graphic jounalist and scientific illustrator and Ros, neuroscientist  and documentary writer, introduce the complexities of the brain in graphic novel format.  ‘Neurocomic is a journey through the human brain: a place of neuron forests, memory caves, and castles of deception. Along the way, you’ll encounter Boschean beasts, giant squid, guitar-playing sea slugs, and the great pioneers of neuroscience. Hana Roš and Matteo Farinella provide an insight into the most complex thing in the universe.’ (Abebooks.com)