"Believe me. There's no-one like Jane in a tight place." Nicholas Freeling, The Janeites, page 43
Where has Nicolas Freeling been all of my life? I recently finished The Janeites, the last book he wrote before he died in 2003. Oh woe. Now I need to track down the rest of his books, starting with Love in Amsterdam starring Inspector Van Der Valk.
When I started The Janeites I thought I'd stumbled upon a weird or badly edited novel. So I slept on it and started again the next day. Within two chapters I never wanted to the leave the world of Dr Ray Valdez and William and Josephine Barton - Janeites all three. Ray is "no Superman ... but has a talent for winning. In the research world, where they seek to grip on the crab he is not thought of as an unusual technician. The Oncology people hold him in respect because he has a talent betimes thought uncanny: he can often outguess them when the crab - a champion at this game - looks to be winning.".
This comic novel touches on the political worlds of Paris and Strasbourg, with a dash of romance and intrigue. Josephine has left William because he is "too good", but later she finds out he has "the crab" (cancer). "Crab" genius Dr Ray Valdez prescribes green tea and readings from Jane Austen. The crab recedes. Many adventures for the three are entwined in this story. Affairs of the heart, a dangerous descent, jealousy, a bashing, retribution and naïve misplaced revenge. It doesn't end well for everyone...
Library members can borrow The Janeites as an eBook. For assistance call any of our branches.
Founded in 1988 by physicist Larry Shaw, π (or pi) Day celebrates a constant and irrational number which has fascinated mankind for over 4000 years.
π represents the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter. It is commonly represented as 3.14, hence π day is celebrated annually on March 14th. π is a constant number because regardless of the size of the circle the value for π remains the same. It is also irrational as it can not be expressed as a fraction nor be calculated precisely as a decimal. To date, π has been calculated to over 10 trillion decimal places, taking a computer 90 days to perform the calculation.
Presently, Newcastle is home to a world renown π expert; Jonathan Borwein is a Laureate Professor at the University of Newcastle who regularly publishes academic articles on π, exploring its mathematical uses and meanings as well as its place in popular culture. You can find out more about Borwein and his publications here.
π can be found just about anywhere. We seem to have an endless fascination with this number, referencing it over and over in popular culture. Explore the following items available at Newcastle Region Library and see if you can uncover the π references within.
Life of Pi by Yann Martel (book, DVD movie)
Probably the easiest place to find a π reference, Martel names the protagonist in his prize winning novel Piscine Patel, shortening his name with direct mathematical reference to π.
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (book, DVD movie, DVD series)
The first in a 'trilogy' of 5 books, we follow Arthur Dent and his best friend Ford Prefect as they escape the demolition of Earth and set out to locate the President of the Galaxy with the aid of a computerised guidebook called the 'Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy'. If you struggle to find the π reference, you may need to look closer at the ultimate answer to life, the universe and everything. The reference is fairly obscure but given Douglas Adams' playfulness with all things obscure, it is unlikely to be a coincidence.
Matrix Reloaded (DVD movie)
Neo races against the clock to save the inhabitants of Zion from a machine army of sentinels set on destroying them. Whilst negotiating the unusual and complex characters of the Matrix, Neo must find the Keymaker in order to save the last of the free humans.
Twin Peaks (DVD TV series)
This series follows the FBI investigation into the murder of popular teenager Laura Palmer, but the real draw is the quirky vision of creators David Lynch and Mark Frost and their ensemble of curious characters. It is often suggested that a certain character's fondness for a particular pastry is a direct reference to the mystery that surrounds π.
Torn Curtain (DVD movie)
This cloak and dagger mystery from Alfred Hitchcock depicts an American Scientist defecting to the Eastern Bloc during the Cold War. Whilst embroiling the audience in the political and military intrigue of the Iron Curtain, the protagonist is actually on a secret mission to steal a mathematical formula and escape back to the West.
The Simpsons (DVD TV series)
With many of this show's writers holding advanced degrees in mathematics, it follows that 'The Simpsons' is chock full of mathematical innuendo. So much so that a book, 'The Simpsons and Their Mathematical Secrets', was published to shed light on many of these references. For π, check out the episodes 'Bye, Bye Nerdie' (season 12, episode 16) and 'Simple Simpson' (season 15, episode 19).
You can find the above books and DVDs at Newcastle Region Library. Check them out on the catalogue
We have new books arriving all the time in our libraries, here's a selection of what's new right now. Click on the link to access our catalogue, and while you're there why not browse through all our latest titles? Don't forget, you can login to reserve titles and access your online account.
Haunted houses, mysterious Counts, weeping widows and restless souls, here is the definitive anthology of all that goes bump in the night. Hand-picked by award-winning author Louise Welsh, this beautiful collection of 100 ghost stories will delight, unnerve, and entertain any fiction lover brave enough...
Here are gothic classics, modern masters, Booker Prize-winners, ancient folk tales and stylish noirs, proving that every writer has a skeleton or two in their closet.
The all-star cast of authors inlude: Hilary Mantel, William Faulkner, Kate Atkinson, Henry James, Kazuo Ishiguro, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, Franz Kafka, Ruth Rendell, Edgar Allan Poe, William Trevor, Helen Simpson, Haruki Murakami, Dylan Thomas, Bram Stoker, H.P Lovecraft, Lydia Davis, Sir Walter Scott, Annie Proulx, Bram Stoker, Angela Carter and Stephen King.
In this sequel to A Thousand Pieces of You by New York Times bestselling author Claudia Gray, Marguerite races through various dimensions to save the boy she loves.Ever since she used the Firebird, her parents' invention, to cross through to alternate dimensions, Marguerite has caught the attention of enemies who will do anything to force her into helping them dominate the multiverse even hurt the people she loves. She resists until her boyfriend, Paul, is attacked, and his consciousness is scattered across multiple dimensions.The hunt for each splinter of Paul's soul sends Marguerite racing through a war-torn San Francisco, the criminal underworld of New York City, and a glittering Paris where another Marguerite hides a shocking secret. Each dimension brings Marguerite one step closer to rescuing Paul. But with every trial she faces, she begins to question the one constant she's found between the worlds: their love for each other."
Bunny just wanted to be different. He was always dressing up in silly clothes, trying to impress his friends.'Written and illustrated by a new talent in children's picture books, 'That's not funny, Bunny!' is a warm and beautiful story about learning to be happy with who you are.Distinctive illustration style makes 'That's not funny, Bunny!' stand out from the crowd.
The story of Joan of Arc, the young peasant girl who rallied French rulers against British invaders in 1428, has fascinated artists as diverse as Shakespeare, Voltaire and Mark Twain. Was she a divinely inspired saint or a demonically possessed heretic? Kathryn Harrison's insightful work deftly weaves historical fact, myth, folklore and centuries of scholarly interpretation into a compelling narrative.