Monday, 27 August 2012

John Marsden

In honour of 2012, The National Year of Reading, the Casey-Cardinia Library Corporation hosted John Marsden as a guest speaker on Sunday August 19th 2012. John spoke to the audience for well over an hour about his passion for writing and language, lots was said but here are some of the highlights.
John spoke passionately about the need for young people to have their own voice.
In school we learn all about the conventions of language but then as we grow older we throw the conventions away and make language do what we want it to do. There are no rules with language and it is important for everyone to have their own distinctive voice.
Correcting young people’s language makes them timid and does nothing to improve their language skills. Don’t filter what comes out of people’s mouths because doing so will not make people more fluent in language it will just make them more timid and lead to monosyllable responses.
Use language adventurously
John himself is fascinated by language especially effective and efficient language that can create places and people so vividly in the mind. John’s advise when writing is don’t use a long word when a shorter one will do.
Language in a book can help distinguish a character without them being identified. For example in Tomorrow when the war began the character of Fi was the only person under 60 who Ellie knows that says the word gosh, as such when that word was used in a sentence John did not need to clarify who had said it because the audience would already know that was Fi’s voice. This makes for a more fluid and enjoyable read. The voice can communicate so much information about who a character is.
Remember the key to every story is a change in status. A character must grow and develop over the course of a story otherwise there is no plot and no way to engage the audience.
John also recalled how as a young child he learnt to write but refusing to do as everyone else did and writing his own way. He recounted the tale of being the only child in class to never contribute a word on a topic to the board (i.e.: what words are associated with the beach). If a word appeared on the board John would not use it in his story. This made John work harder to find words to write with and created his passion for  words and stories.
John is working on his next book its in the very early stages at this point and probably won’t be released for another year or two
John also mentioned that at this point there will unlikely be a sequel to the movie version of Tomorrow when the war began because the production company that owns the rights are having financial difficulties. He did say there is a possibility of a TV series possible in the next couple of years.
And whatever you do…never ask a librarian for directions (John’s advice)

Courtney @ Hampton Park Library

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Cirque Du Freak

Cirque Du Freak is the first book in the Saga of Darren Shan by Darren O’Shaughnessy. The books are available in graphic novel format and have been made into a movie.

Darren Shan is just an ordinary schoolboy, until he and his best friend Steve get tickets to the Cirque Du Freak, a bizarre freak show featuring such arcane performers as Hans Hands, Gertha Teeth, the Wolf Man and Rhamus Twobellies.

Madame Octa, an amazing giant performing tarantula is one of the most spectacular acts in the show and upon first sight, Darren knows he MUST have it. Later, in a moment of insane daring, Darren sets out to steal the spider, an act which will have severe, tragic consequences for both Darren and Steve. Their lives will never be the same again ...

Cirque Du Freak

I did not expect this book to scare me as much as it did! I am afraid of spiders so this book really freaked me out. It is full of surprise twists and turns.

I recommend this book for girls or guys who don't get scared easily.

- Jess

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Slated- Teri Terry

Kyla’s memory has been erased

Her personality wiped blank

Her memories lost forever.

She’s been Slated.

To have been Slated means one has been found guilty of an act of terrorism. Kyla has been Slated, wiped clean of her memories, her personality of everything that made her an individual. Now after months of rehab she is ready to go home, back to the real world with her new family. However it is all conditional on Kyla playing by the rules the government dictate, which becomes all the more challenging for Kyla as time goes on. Somehow Kyla is different her memories are not all gone and instead they haunt her dreams. Can she trust what they tell her when everything within her tells her they’re wrong? Just what has Kyla done to be Slated and how far is she willingly to go to find the truth?

WOW!!! Slated utterly blew me away. What a wonderfully freaky and frightening concept; to be told your terrorist, to be completely wiped free of everything that defines you as an individual and forced to start all over again. Talk about scary. I absolutely fell in love with this book. Terry managed to construct a terribly frightening and captivating universe with an intriguing set of characters. Kyla in particular draws your attention as she struggles to find a balance between who society wants her to be and who she is really. The relationships she forms with the new people in her life, specifically her mum and Ben (love interest), also make for compelling reading. However what really held my attention was the mystery. Who is Kyla? What did she do? And who can she really trust? Slated is a standout novel that will undoubtedly set the tone for future dystopian fiction. It’s a tumultuous and emotional rollercoaster ride that succeeds on every level. This is one for any fans of Ally Condie’s Matched series or general dystopian fiction. A must read for 2012.

Courtney :)

Friday, 10 August 2012

The Future of Us

[Cover]Imagine a time before Facebook. A time before our lives were so monopolized by that almost enigmatic social-network. In the first collaboration from Jay Asher and Carolyn Macker called ‘The Future of Us’, that time is a reality for Josh and Emma. It is 1996, and a time when less than half (compared to the majority today) of all high school students have ever used the internet. That is a thought almost unthinkable to the teenagers of today. No internet! How did they ever survive? But, in this enjoyable romantic comedy, Josh and Emma use the internet for the first time and stumble upon their profiles on Facebook of them fifteen years in the future. The two tentative friends are then swept into a rapid journey of realising their future and the impact that their actions today have on their destiny.
Jay Asher and Carolyn Macker have produced a fun and modern story which delves into the almost ‘Back To the Future-esque’ concept of how our actions affect the outcome of the future. The combined efforts of the two authors give a vivid insight into the highly-believable lives of their main characters. Unlike some authors, the world they portray is authentic and realistic and it is not hard to imagine Josh and Emma going about their daily activities.
The characters are interesting and layered. Emma is seen sometimes to be quite controlling and selfish towards Josh and that tends to portray her in an egotistical light. The overly manipulative nature of Emma, in my opinion, becomes a bit too prominent at times and makes out Josh to be a victim of her acts. Josh doesn’t seem to be a victim to me; he is just someone who is trying to do the best he can with what life throws at him. He never lost his true personality throughout all the book and I think the stark contrast between him and Emma is shown in that respect. She becomes so immersed and obsessed by her dismal future that she starts to use others, especially Josh, towards her advantages. She loses the sweet and kind person she used to be before she discovered her destiny. Josh, on the other hand, was constantly someone she could rely on and it is quite clever how the authors are able to use Josh to assist Emma in bringing back her true self. The character development of Emma and Josh is clear and allows the story of them falling for each other to be smooth and quite fun and enjoyable to see.
Overall, this is a great read and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys sweet romantic comedies.
Four stars from me! 

Jordyn @ Endeavour Hills Library

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Meet John Marsden

Multi-million selling Aussie author John Marsden will be making a personal appearance to celebrate the National Year of Reading and Children's Book Week.

John Marsden is the author of titles including So Much To Tell You, Letters from the Inside and the much celebrated Tomorrow When the War Began series adapted for film in 2010.

Sunday 19 August
 2.00 - 3.00pm followed by book signings

City of Casey Council Chambers.
Bookings essential on 9704 7696 or click here to book online.

Friday, 3 August 2012

Garth Nix - NYOR Event

As part of the National Year of Reading, we were fortunate to have Garth Nix visit the Cranbourne library last Friday night to talk about his writing.

Looking around the room I was instantly struck by Garth's wide appeal. His audience was made up of people ranging in ages from 10 yrs to sixty and with good reason. His writing spans junior fiction to adult and occupies the realm of the fantastic. Genre fiction, especially fantasy, is the ideal way for us to leave the real world behind. There is nothing I love more than being persuaded by a great writer to suspend my disbelief for a time and enter the world they have created.

When writing, Garth said he often starts with something visual - an image, "one slide inside a frame" - rather than with words or a title. He had some initial advice for any would-be writers in the room (and there were a few). First - "Finish things. You never know what might happen." Second - "Be too dumb to quit." His second novel was rejected by the publisher of his first. If he had quit then, well...

He described his first published novel The Ragwitch as a darker, scarier Narnia. He submitted this novel to five different publishers and three automatically rejected it. The other two asked to see the rest of the manuscript and of those, one failed to get back to him at all and the other published the novel. He was 25 years old at the time and admits to listening to the message on his answering machine many many times, and why not! This is an exciting time for any writer.

When asked what advice he'd give to young writers his advice was simple.

Read everything. You learn a lot subconsciously. The more you read, the more you learn.

Write a lot. Garth is surprised by how many supposed writers he meets who don't actually want to write, but rather want to 'have written'.

Revise a lot. Garth said he didn't believe people who claimed to write perfect first drafts.

Submit. "It's perfectly all right if you want to write purely for yourself," he said, "but if you want to be published you must send your writing out." Do your research. Find out who publishes books like the one you have written then send it to them.


Then there was the advice he'd given earlier - "Finish things. You never know what might happen" - and I think this advice applies as much to life in general as it does to writing.
Garth Nix is the New York Times best-selling author of the Keys to the Kingdom series, and the acclaimed novels Sabriel, Lirael and Abhorsen. His books have appeared on the bestseller lists of The New York Times, Publishers Weekly, The Guardian and The Australian, and his work has been translated into 37 languages.

Find out more about Garth here.

~ Lisa

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Love notes from Vinegar House

'Love notes from Vinegar House' is another top novel by Australian author, Karen Tayleur.
The books begins with an introduction by Freya Jackson Kramer.
'There are three things you should know about me if we're going to be friends' she writes.
1. Don't tease her about her middle name.
2. Freya is ambivalent about ghosts. 'Sitting on the ghost fence' she says.
3. Freya believes in karma, and after interfering with some love notes in Vinegar House she knows she is due for payback.

So we enter Freya's world in a small seaside village. Freya has had an argument with her peers at school and is ignoring Facebook due to a certain ...incident.

She is relieved to escape to Vinegar House for the holidays, until she discovers her foe and cousin Rumer will be there.
Further complicating matters is the arrival of Luke, who used to be Freya's best friend and neighbour until matters became tricky and he hooked up with Rumer.
Freya tries to ignore Luke, but it is not easy!

Then mysterious things happen : weird plumbing, unexplained love notes and secrets in the attic.
Freya is determined to get to the bottom of the situation.
Freya is a delightful main character; vulnerable and funny.
The novel is part humour and part ghost story.


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