Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Photos of Christmas past in Newcastle

Newcastle Region Library would like to wish all our customers 
a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Would you like to see more photos like this? 
Check out Hunter Photo Bank here

Labourers’ Christmas Party held at the Wharf Labourers’ Hall, Wharf Road, Newcastle in 1950.

Newcastle Herald Collection, Newcastle Region Library (104 000871)
Christmas shopping in Hunter Street 1959

Newcastle Herald Collection, Newcastle Region Library (104 012684)

Child posting a Christmas letter at Ells Bookshop in Hunter St, Newcastle, 1961.
Ron Morrison Collection, Newcastle Region Library (00400494)

The famous Christmas lights in David Street, Georgetown, 1968, Newcastle.
Newcastle Herald Collection, Newcastle Region Library (c1264-1)

Alderman's (Councillors) wives Christmas Party, 1966.
Newcastle Herald Collection, Newcastle Region Library (104 006800-1)

The Store Choir entertaining customers during Christmas shopping at The Newcastle Store.
Newcastle Co-op Store Collection, Newcastle Region Library (10800031)

Friday, December 12, 2014

The Swedish Table Christmas : Traditional Holiday Meals, Side Dishes, Candies and Drinks by Jens Linder and Johanna Westman

Are you still planning your Christmas menu? Do you need recipes for a Glogg party? 

This charming book is by two self confessed "Christmas nerds" whose "passion for food reaches its devoted, joyful peak every month of December when gluttony and revelry are socially acceptable and the spirit of tradition is strong."

In this book you will find both traditional and modern recipes interspersed with beautiful Christmas themed collages and photographs. So if  you need a recipe for Gingerbread, molten chocolate, root vegetable salad or new ways with duck, turkey and fish try this book. I must say though, I will be giving the Baked fillet of Reindeer with Bleu Cheese a miss. What would Rudolph think!

The Swedish Christmas Table can be borrowed for free from our eBook collection by library members.

For assistance call library staff on 4974 5340.

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Zinio Magazine of the Month: Super Food Ideas

Australia’s top-selling food magazine, Super Food Ideas provides busy mothers and families with easy recipes and meal solutions, using readily available ingredients and simple techniques. With hundreds of recipes and tips every issue, you’ll never lack inspiration or ideas with Super Food Ideas.

Get prepared for the Christmas food festivities with December's edition of Super Food ideas. Get Christmas feast ideas that include traditional to meat free recipes, plus 15 great ideas for Christmas salads and starters! Discover recipes for modern recipes, including a delicious coconut and raspberry ice cream cake, as well as recipes for allergy-friendly cakes and cookies. This month's edition of Super Food Ideas will make sure your prepared for the celebrations ahead!

Download the magazine FREE from Zinio, simply visit Newcastle Region Library's Catalogue and Website.

Friday, November 07, 2014

Good Reading - November issue

Members of Newcastle Region Library can read Good Reading magazine for free. The November issue features a review of Revival - the new novel from horror master Stephen King, an extract from Margaret and Gough: the Love Story that Changed a Nation and a special feature on the battles and books of World War I. Visit eMagazines on our website and start reading!

If you need help call the library staff on 02 4974 5340.

Thursday, October 02, 2014

The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion

In exciting news for lovers of romance and comedy Professor Don Tillman returns in a sequel to The Rosie Project. Members of Newcastle Region Library can borrow The Rosie Effect as an eBook via our EBL collection.

If you're quick you'll have it finished in time to meet the author, Graeme Simsion, at Newcastle Library on Thursday 16th October 2014 at 12 noon.

See our website for details about the event or book your spot by phoning 4974 5300.

If you need assistance borrowing the eBook call library staff on
02 4974 5340.

 Visit Newcastle Region Library's Catalogue and Website.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Zinio Australia Magazine of the month: Australian Homespun

Homespun magazine is a place of inspiration; it combines creative techniques with a vast array of styles and themes taken from a team of leading craftspeople throughout Australia and the world. 

Homespun is a publication that is at the forefront of the industry, made by people who are passionate about craft. Each issue of the magazine features step-by-step easy-to-follow project ideas and accompanying pattern sheets, a variety of crafts including quilts to bags to dolls, inspirational photographs of fantastic finished products plus interesting reads to engage and entertain.

This month’s edition ensures you will ‘accelerate into spring!’ with craft projects inspired by the beautiful weather, including beach-bound embroidery and fabric flowers just to name a few! Plus, find out which fabrics are the most popular right now, along with spring-inspired designs and patterns.

 Download the magazine FREE from Zinio, simply log onto Newcastle Region Library's Catalogue and Website to find out more.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Anne Frank: a history for today

The travelling exhibition tells the story of Anne Frank set against the background of the Holocaust.

Newcastle Region Library has the privilege of hosting this wonderful exhibition in our Lovett Gallery.

When: 3rd October - 29th November 2014 (click here for gallery opening hours)

Where: Lovett Gallery, Newcastle Region Library, 2nd floor, Laman St.

Amsterdam 1942

On her 13th birthday, Anne Frank is given a diary. A few weeks later her life is turned upside down. The Nazis want to arrest her, only because she is Jewish. Together with her family she goes into hiding.

For more than two years she will use her diary to record what she thinks, feels and experiences.

She cannot foresee that - long after she perished in the Holocaust - millions of people all over the world will be reading her diary.

To find out more about the exhibition itself visit the website here

 Visit Newcastle Region Library's Catalogue and Website.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Spring Fling

Wallsend District Library is getting ready to celebrate all things SPRING with our annual spring festival.

Once again, you will see some amazing floral arrangements around the library, such as those from Peter Herd and Silk Gardens. We will have displays from groups, such as the local Men's Shed: Blue Gum Hills Men's Shed and Ladies Auxiliary, and Crystal Palace Community Garden. You can also enjoy photography by one of our very talented staff members, who took the beautiful photos featured in this post. We also have a couple of talks and demonstrations planned, so stay tuned!

Spring Fling
13-27 September 2014
Bunn Street, Wallsend

Keepers of Light by Christopher Salmon

A note was found in this book, from one of our readers:

This is the debut novel for Australian author Christopher Salmon. You can read another review of this book here.
Category: Australian Fiction

Publisher: Acadia Press

Visit Newcastle Region Library's Catalogue and Website.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Liesel Meminger, daughter of a communist, Germany, 1939. Travelling on a train, with her brother and
mother, towards Molching. Liesel is heading towards foster parents Rosa and Hans Hubermann in Himmel Street. Her brother is heading towards a frozen grave. Her mother is not entirely relevant to this story.

Liesel Meminger is the book thief. The first book she steals is at the graveside of her brother. She can't read, but that isn't important.

Death is the narrator of her story.

I am struggling to describe this book, for a few reasons. The main reason is that this book has such beautiful descriptions, Markus Zusak's masterful use of words and language renders any attempts I may make, pitiful. I have not yet seen the movie adaptation, and although assured by my aunt that it does indeed do the book justice, I cannot imagine it. Descriptions like "unit blocks that look nervous" and "empty hatstand trees, and grey air."

Just a small tip for you, though. Don't read the ending in a public place.

Category: Fiction

Who'll want to read it? People who love language, people who are interested in Nazi Germany

Point of no return: I had been told to read this book by so many people whose judgement I trust, that it's hard for me to pinpoint a point of no return. I was going to read it anyway. But perhaps it came with the list, on page 6, of what the narrator says the "small story" is about, "amongst other things:

  • a girl
  • some words
  • an accordionist
  • some fanatical Germans
  • a Jewish fist-fighter
  • and quite a lot of thievery."

Classic line: page 38: "She would grin herself stupid, watching the lines drawing themselves down his face, and the soft metal of his eyes - until the swearing arrived from the kitchen."
page 39: "Papa's bread and jam would be half-eaten on his plate, curled into the shape of bite-marks, and the music would look Liesel in the face."

Publisher: Picador (Pan Macmillan Australia)

This book is also available in large print, as an audio book, an e-book, and an e-audiobook.

Visit Newcastle Region Library's Catalogue and Website.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Author visit - Bruce Venables

Bruce Venables is an actor, musician, poet and novelist, and is married to well-known actress and author, Judy Nunn. You may recognise him from TV shows, such as Home and Away, Wildside, and Water Rats, among others.

His fourth novel, Scattered Monkeys, is the third book in the ‘Hong Kong’ trilogy, and is inspired by his own time working in the Royal Hong Kong Police Force in the 1970s.

From Hong Kong’s glittering mansions to its shady opium divans, from its wealthy elite to its brutal triad societies, from warrior monks to merciless politicians, Scattered Monkeys is a heart-stopping, exhilarating thriller.
Wallsend District Library is delighted to be hosting Bruce Venables, as he tells us more about Scattered Monkeys. Please join us for this FREE author talk:
Monday 21st July 2014
Bunn Street, Wallsend

 For bookings phone:  Wallsend District Library
4985 6680

Visit Newcastle Region Library's Catalogue and Website.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Bird Box by Josh Malerman

What started as a bizarre news story of violence in Russia, quickly becomes more and more common, all over the world. Maybe it was something they saw.
People start shielding their faces in public, locking their doors, and covering their windows. Soon, no one is going outside unless they have to. No one is looking outside. Then people stop going to work. The Internet stops working. Television and radio stops.
Malorie is raising two children. Alone. Doors locked, windows covered, blindfolds for when they have to go outside to get water from the well. A complicated system of checking nothing comes inside when she does have to open the door.
But today, today they are leaving the house for good.

This is the most compelling book I have read in quite a while. When I wasn't reading it, I was thinking about it. Wondering. I read it in three days, which says a lot, considering those three days included a sleepover of three six year old girls, on top of the usual weekend activities, and my husband was working.

Category: Fiction, Anti-Utopia, Horror

Who'll want to read it? Horror readers, and anyone interested in the psychology of fear, or anyone who wants a thought-provoking novel. It does have an element of supernatural to it, but that is not the focus of the book.

Point of no return: page 1: "The children sleep under chicken wire draped in black cloth down the hall."

Classic line: Page 281: "Then she feels it. Just like when they let Tom and Jules back into the house. Just like when they thought they were letting Gary out.
The Moment Between.
Between deciding to open her eyes and doing it."

Publisher: Ecco

Visit Newcastle Region Library's Catalogue and Website.

Sunday, June 08, 2014

The Reading Hour 2014

Put Tuesday 19 August 6-7pm in your diaries and stay tuned for updates on events, competitions and how your family, business, school or library can help celebrate the importance of reading again this year.
The Reading Hour initiative reminds parents and caregivers that reading together doesn’t have to be a massive undertaking in their busy lives, and that sharing a book with a child for 10 minutes a day - or just over an hour a week - will still give that child the best chance of becoming a good reader later in life, along with all the social and educational benefits it brings.

How do I join in?

Register your library, business, school, pre-school or community centre by signing up online, and get started by downloading The Reading Hour promotional items from the website:
  • Download your DIY promo kit – Inspire your community with engaging promotional display material – available now on the website for your convenience
  • Celebrate The Reading Hour, Tuesday 19 August, 6–7pm – host an event, throw a party, read a story with your kids, and join us in celebrating this important national event!
  • Spead the word in your community! 
  • Borrow a book or download an eBook from your local library
  • Stay tuned for what's happening at Newcastle Region Library

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Letters from Skye by Jessica Brockmole

This is a first novel for Jessica Brockmole, a beautiful romance spanning the two World Wars. I picked it up because I have a fondness for letters, and I love that this is written solely in letter format. The language used feels appropriate to the times in the story, but purists will be upset by the length of some of the letters. No-one, in those times, would have wasted postage on sending a single sentence, often crossing the paper on both sides, to get more onto a single sheet.

People seem to reveal more of themselves in letters. It seems to be a contemplative exercise, almost meditative. More of your hopes, dreams, and observations come out when you are writing, and if you are writing to someone you have never met, it is easier to write things that you would never tell someone.

Such is the case between David Graham, a cocky young American, attending University, and Elspeth Dunn, a young married poet, living on the Isle of Skye. They start writing to each other in 1912, and continue right through WWI.

Every alternate chapter focusses on Elspeth's daughter, Margaret, who is embarking on a wartime romance in WWII. Her mother is concerned about her, saying "a letter isn't always just a letter. Words on the page can drench the soul." (page 16)

Category: Fiction

Who'll want to read it? People who love letters, who love delving into stories of the past. Romantics.

Point of no return: page 9: "Dear Rumpelstiltskin, If you teach me to play the cornet, I'll teach you to dance!"

Classic paragraph: page 173: "The whole back of the cottage, the side facing out to the sea, glowed with colour. It was like an Italian fresco, caught in the Hebrides. The lime-washed wall was covered with whorls and curves of paintings, some straight out of the Gaelic legends and lullabies Mother would rock me to sleep with. Selkie women slipping from their sealskins on the beach. A ring of fairies dancing around a shuddering green flame. A woman dressed in rose petals on top of a crag, her tears running down to the sea. The pictures merged and overlapped. A couple waltzing. A bowl of oranges. A pink pearl gleaming within an open oyster. Then images I knew could have come only from the last war. An ambulance hurtling past an explosion, while rows of boys marched by. The driver of the ambulance leaned out of the window, his face tilted towards the lock, and  I swear there was a gleam in his brown-green eyes."

Publisher: Ballantine Books

Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion - ABIA Award Winner

Congratulations to Graeme Simsion for winning Book of the Year 2014 at the Australian Book Industry Awards (ABIAs) this year. The Rosie Project was my favourite book last year and one I recommended to many many people - and still do. 

If you haven't read The Rosie Project yet now is the time to pick it up and join Professor Don Tillman on his hilarious and poignant quest to find the most compatible partner he can.

The publishers, Text Publishing, have provided some excellent book club notes and questions.

For a bit of fun you can also take part in a couple of quizzes - find out what character you are, and if you dare, your compatibility with Don Tillman. I am 48% compatible with Don myself!

If you can't get enough of Don after finishing the book you can also follow him on Twitter via @ProfDonTillman.

Congratulations also to the following authors who won in other categories:

Literary Fiction Book of the Year: BURIAL RITES by Hannah Kent (Macmillan)

Illustrated Book of the Year: I QUIT SUGAR by Sarah Wilson (Macmillan)

Book of the Year for Younger Children (age range 0 to 8 years): THE 39-STOREY TREEHOUSE by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton (Macmillan)

Book of the Year for Older Children (age range 8 to 14 years): WEIRDOby Anh Do (Scholastic Press)

International Book of the Year: THE LUMINARIES by Eleanor Catton (Allen & Unwin)

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

More Favourites from Pat

Our "Pat's Picks from 2013" post proved so popular Pat has given us an extended list complete with star ratings. Once again I have highlighted titles you can access freely as eBooks from our eCollections. For assistance with eBooks call 4974 5340 or see our help sheets.

The amateur science of love Craig Sherborne ***1/2
Blackout and All Clear (e) Connie Willis ****
The troubled man Henning Mankell ***
The unknown terrorist Richard Flanagan ***1/2
Wanting  Richard Flanagan ****
People of the book Geraldine Brooks ****1/2
Millenium trilogy (e) Stieg Larrson***** (all 3 books)
The beauty of humanity movement Camilla Gibb ***
Whispering Death (e) Gary Disher ****
The Blasphemer Nigel Farndale ****
Flock Lyn Hughes ***
Exposed Liza Marklund ***
End of the wasp season Denise Mina ****
One summer David Baldacci **1/2
The school of essential ingredients Erica Bauemeister ****
The revisionist Thomas Mullen ****
The hand that trembles Kjell Eriksson **1/2
The secret river Kate Grenville ***1/3
The colour of tea Hamnah Tunnicliffe **1/2
The keeper of lost causes Jussi Adler-Olsen ****
The dovekeepers Alice Hoffman *****
The vault Ruth Rendell ****
Still riding on the storm Robert E Barrett ****
A room full of bones Elly Griffiths ***1/2
Before ever after Samantha Sotto ***1/2
All that I am Anna Funder **** 1/2
The fine colour of rust P.A O'Rielly ****
The Key Simon Toyne ***1/2
The woman who went to bed for a year Sue Townsend ****
The best exotic Marigold Hotel Deborah Maggoch ***
Zero Option (e) David Rollins ****
The killing (e)  David Hewson ****1/2
The light between oceans M L Stedman****1/2
The Boundary (e) Nicole Watson ***
The midnight promise (e) Zane Lovitt ****
All my enemies (e) Barry Maitland ***1/2
The first cut Ali Knight ****
The casual vacancy J K Rowling *
The tour Denise Scott ***
Port Villa Blues Gary Disher ***1/2
Bill the Bastard Roland Perry ****
Habits of the house Fay Weldon ****
Two Brothers Ben Elton ****1/2
Munster's case (e) Hakan Nesser ***1/2

The laughing clowns William MacGinnes ****

Friday, January 17, 2014

Seven Flowers and How They Shaped the World by Jennifer Potter

I believe I have stumbled upon both a book and an author who is going to send me off reading at tangents for some time to come. Jennifer Potter writes fiction and non-fiction - I want to track down everything she has written. One of Jennifer's previous works was The Rose - a result of five years tracking "the rose's evolution as a flower and as an idea, struck by how central it has been to so many cultures." She concluded that "who you are dictates how you see the rose; and that each age and each society has reinvented the rose in its own image. Through the rose we tell our stories, both personal and collective... if the rose can do this, what about other flowers?" Her new book looks at the lotus, lily, sunflower, opium poppy, rose, tulip and orchid - untangling the botanical and cultural evolution of each one - "Here are the flowers of healing, delirium and death; of purity and passion; of greed,envy and virtue; of hope and consolation; of the beauty that drives men wild."

Classic line: "I remember a field of sunflowers ... deep in rural France. Whenever you stepped outside you felt they were watching you. 'Do you know what faces they have?' asked the painter Edward Burre-Jones, 'how they peep and peer, and look arch and winning, or bold and a little insolent sometimes?' Some people find this creepy: 'They got Van Gogh and now they're after you ..." pg 99

Seven flowers.. is available from the library as an eBook and can be accessed via our EBL Collection.

Published in 2013 by Atlantic Books, this title will appeal to lovers of words, flowers and history. And if you enjoy this you may want to read The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh, reviewed by Natasha on this blog in 2012.

As a special treat you could follow up some of our other titles, including The Language of Flowers, illustrated by Kate Greenaway, published in 1940. It's a little gem from our stack, or "the vaults" as we sometimes say. Being such an old book, it is not for loan but can be viewed by request - just phone 4974 5340, or drop into the Information & Research Centre on the First Floor at Newcastle Library.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

December Diversion - Summer of '63

Library staff in '60s apparell
To some, it was history; to others, it was a mystery. 1963 was a year of momentous change. Kennedy died, Tim Tams appeared on the shelves, Dr Who whirled onto our screens, The Beatles and Bob Dylan hit the music scene.

Wallsend District Library's annual December Diversion celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Summer of '63, with lots of colour and laughter. With the tables decorated with leis, beach buckets filled with Minties and Fantales, and placemats made by staff members, 40 people gathered to test their memories of all manner of things from the 1960s.

The room decorations
Photo courtesy of Linda

Photos by Ron Morrison graced the walls, from the Local Studies Collection. Dresses from the era were on display, along with an impressive picnic set, a 50 year old teddy bear, and other quintessentially '60s items.

Picnic set, in pristine condition
Photo courtesy of Linda
Our writing competition (I didn't have a yellow polka dot bikini, but I did have...) attracted some very interesting entries, including nudists, but the clear winner was a touching story of young romance.

For those wishing to further indulge their nostalgia, there is a fantastic exhibition at the Lovett Gallery until Saturday 8th February 2014: Those were the days - Australia in the sixties