Tuesday, 23 July 2019

"The wolf is not the only hunter........." SHEPHERD by Catherine Jinks

Whenever there are awards for books that grab your attention from beginning to end, then SHEPHERD by Catherine Jinks, has got to always be a contender!

Tom Clay is just a boy, just 14 years old, but the life he's led and the trials he faces, are so far from that of the average 14 year old today, it's hard to comprehend.

 At the age of 12, he became a convict, transported to New South Wales when caught poaching in Suffolk. He'd been taught to keep quiet, a necessary skill when poaching, and it was to stand him in good stead for all that lay before him. This seemed to be the only positive thing he got from his father, himself a poacher.

At 14, he was sent to a shepherd's hut out west of Sydney, to protect the master's sheep from wild dogs. Surrounded by violent men, he kept to himself, having greater affinity with his dogs...Gyp and Pedlar. 

I loved the depiction of the first encounter Tom had with kangaroos ... 
" Though I'd heard tell of 'em, I hadn't believed such wild tales. I thought the old lags were toying with fresh meat.  But when our rattling cart scattered half a dozen big grey beasts on the road and I saw 'em bob away like the bastard spawn of a deer and a rabbit -- well, after that, I was ready to believe anything I heard about this place."

The master was Mr. Barrett, not a man to get on the wrong side of, though he could be fair at times, but as a magistrate, he wasn't averse to handing out 50 lashes. Tom did his best never to draw attention to himself. Barrett trusted him, but how he could trust Dan Carver, was beyond Tom. Carver was a murderer and a vengeful man.. and set about ridding himself of all around him.

From then on, it would take all Tom's wits to avoid and out think Carver whenever he can... his life and that of Rowdy would depend on it. Sheer madness was pitted against a young boy in a foreign land, living off his knowledge of nature and trying to relate it to this strange landscape. I felt Tom's frustration when trying to keep Rowdy quiet, but also sympathised with Rowdy for having to voice his fears...

I found my heart in my mouth so many times and just when I thought the worst was over, the pace became even faster and more horrifying. There are moments of great emotion and of anger and sheer disbelief. Catherine Jinks is an artist of words and emotions and depicts a side of convict life in colonial Australia that most will not have encountered.

The byline on the cover couldn't be more apt.

I can't wait to read more of this award winning author's works and I thank Text Publishing for sending me the book.

Wednesday, 26 December 2018


Turkish Garbage Collectors Curate Their Own Library

The sanitation workers have already amassed a collection of more than 6,000 books

Books! (Wikimedia) 
Many bibliophiles shudder at the thought of tossing a book in the trash. But tons and tons of books are discarded globally each year, either pulped by publishers, shredded by libraries or tossed out when people empty old houses. Sanitation workers in Ankara, Turkey, however, decided to give some of those abandoned tomes a new life by collecting books off the garbage heap. The result, reports Spencer Feingold and Hande Atay Alam at CNN, is a more than 6,000-book library that now serves their community.
The project began when garbage collectors in Ankara’s Çankaya district began collecting books for fellow workers and their families to borrow. But the collection kept growing and soon there was interest from other people in checking out the growing list of nonfiction and fiction titles. “We started to discuss the idea of creating a library from these books. And when everyone supported it, this project happened,” the mayor of Çankaya, Alper Tasdelen, tells CNN.

You can read the full story here

Wednesday, 19 September 2018


Whether they be tiny.................
Anton Chekhov, Chameleon, 1996

Courtesy of Pixabay
  or very large....

books and libraries and bookstores continue to attract large followings...

Atlas Obscura often feature some wonderful book related articles.. enjoy.

 When a strange document appeared in her shop, an Australian bookseller turned detective. January 23, 2018 ...

Tuesday, 1 May 2018


Atlas Obscura, the site that delves into all manner of interesting things, presents some very interesting concepts...

"A LIBRARY IS, AT ITS most essential, a space that holds a collection of books. A dedicated room or building is not technically necessary. In his Book of Book Lists, recently released in the United States, author Alex Johnson offers examples of portable libraries—“sturdy wooden cases” of books and magazines that “were passed between lighthouses around the United States,” for instance. He includes the library Robert Falcon Scott took on board the Discovery in 1901, when the ship left for Antarctica, with a catalogue that specified which cabin a volume could be found in. Napoleon, he writes, had a traveling collection of French classics that was ported with him to war. It included five volumes of Voltaire’s plays and Montesquieu’s work on the Causes of the Greatness of the Romans and Their Decline.
But whatever form a library takes, someone had to have chosen the books in it, which reveal the secrets of heart and mind—their cares, their greeds, their enthusiasms, their obsessions."
To read on, go to The Tales of Libraries......
What is your library like, do any of these seem familiar?

Reasonably tidy 

Very tidy

A bit haphazard like this one from Italy

Or haven't quite got enough room on the shelves?

I think my collection is a mixture of all and it doesn't worry me a bit....Some shelves are tidy, some are not, some are more or less in some sort of order, others aren't. They suit me fine, I know where things are (mostly) and no one else has to bother with them.

I aim for comfort, tidiness and the joy of knowing that I am surrounded by things I love. Life's too short to be concerned with trivia, unless of course, it's in a good book!

Which are your favourites and what suits you best?

All images courtesy of Pixabay.

Monday, 6 November 2017


Craigieburn Library, Hume City, Victoria, Australia

Award-winning Craigieburn library, Hume City, Victoria by Australian architects Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp. Photograph: Danish Agency for Culture

The Mortlock Chamber, State Library of South Australia, Adelaide, South Australia.
Mortlock Chamber, State Library of South Australia, Adelaide, South Australia. Photograph: State Library of South Australia

State Library of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland.
State Library of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland. Photograph: Jon Linkins/State Library of Queensland

State Library of Victoria, Melbourne, Victoria
State Library of Victoria, Melbourne, Victoria. Photograph: State Library of Victoria

Surry Hills Library, Sydney, New South Wales.
Surry Hills library and community centre, Sydney, New South Wales. Photograph: City of Sydney

State Library of NSW, Sydney, New South Wales.
State Library of NSW, Sydney, New South Wales. Photograph: State Library of NSW

Murray Bridge Library, Murray Bridge, South Australia.
Murray Bridge library, Murray Bridge, South Australia. Photograph: Sam Noonan/Hassell

Library at The Dock, Melbourne, Victoria
Library at the Dock, Melbourne, Victoria. Photograph: City of Melbourne

Barr Smith library at the University of Adelaide
Barr Smith library at the University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia. Photograph: University of Adelaide

Library at Edith Cowan University in Joondalup, Western Australia
Library at Edith Cowan University in Joondalup, Western Australia. Photograph: Edith Cowan University

I would love to know what your favourite library is. If you would like to share a photo and tell me why you like this particular library, I would be happy to share it.


Courtesy of  Barry York

National Library Australia, Canberra 
©Barry York

Foyer, Coffee Shop.. National Library Australia, Canberra
© Barry York

The bookshop and restaurant (Bookplate) are part of the foyer.
©Barry York

Entrance from the foyer. ©Barry York

'Bookplate' restaurant - with stained glass windows by Leonard French. ©Barry York

Looking from entrance to reading rooms across foyer to front entrance.... ©Barry York

©Barry York

Wednesday, 25 October 2017


11 of the World's Most Beautiful Libraries
Image Source: Flickr user Tony Webster
There's nothing on this earth like nestling into a cosy couch in the heart of a huge library, burying your nose in a book, and losing yourself in an enchanting, imaginary universe. Borrowing amazing books for free is a blessing we'll never take for granted. As tribute to libraries everywhere, here are 11 positively magical ones scattered throughout the world.
1 Stockholm Public Library, Sweden
Stockholm Public Library, Sweden
This library in Stockholm, Sweden, is one of the city's most significant structures and was Sweden's first public library to apply the principle of open shelves, where visitors could access books by themselves without the assistance of library staffers. In 2014, more than 4 million books were checked out.
2 Boston Public Library, USA
Boston Public Library, USA
Image Source: Instagram user j3nnn915
More than 3 million books and audiovisual materials were borrowed last year from the Boston Public Library, which was founded in 1848. More than 73,000 Massachusetts residents signed up for new library cards.
3 Biblioteca Vasconcelos, Mexico
Biblioteca Vasconcelos, Mexico
Image Source: Flickr user Omar
Biblioteca Vasconcelos spans a whopping 38,000 square meters, and it contains hive-like bookshelves, mismatched floors, and transparent walls, not to mention it holds more than 470,000 books.
4 New York Public Library, USA
New York Public Library, USA
Image Source: Flickr user Travis Wise
Founded in the late 19th century, the New York Public Library is the largest public library system in the United States. It assists more than 17 million patrons per year and holds more than 51 million items.
5 The Library of Parliament, Canada
The Library of Parliament, Canada
Image Source: Flickr user Tony Webster
Dating back to the 1790s, the Library of Parliament in Canada is considered a Gothic revival marvel, intended to serve parliamentarians and their staff. The library has been threatened by fire on more than one occasion, the most disastrous occurring in Montreal in 1849, when a Loyalist mob protesting the Rebellion Losses Bill burned down the Legislature and destroyed 11,800 books.
6 Admont Abbey Library, Austria
Admont Abbey Library, Austria
Admont Abbey was built almost 1,000 years ago by Benedectine monks. Today, the majestic librarywithin is the largest monastery library in the world at 70 meters long.
7 San Diego Central Library, USA
San Diego Central Library, USA
Image Source: Instagram user noweezus
With more than 6 million visitors and more than 5 million books, the San Diego Central Library is state of the art and the biggest cultural institution in San Diego, California, to offer free programming. Plus, there are more than 265,000 books in 25 languages besides English.
8 Handelingenkamer, Netherlands
Handelingenkamer, Netherlands
The Old Library was built in the 19th century, and since there was no electricity, the roof was constructed with a leaded glass dome to allow as much light in as possible. Although the library is four stories high, light filters through to the ground floor due to the open cast-iron staircases and balustrades.
9 Mortlock Library, Adelaide, Australia
Adelaide City Library, Australia
Image Source: Flickr user Jon Westra
The Adelaide City Library opened just last year and is designed for communal expression with a range of programs, events, and exhibitions.

Please note: a friend from Adelaide has advised the following..
 The image of the Adelaide City Library is actually a pic of the Mortlock Library which is part of the State Library of SA, and is different to the City Library.
10 The Leeds Library, England
The Leeds Library, England
With modest 18th-century roots, the Leeds Library is a captivating mix of the old and the new, with Joseph Priestley as one of its original subscribers.
11 The Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, USA
The Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, USA
The Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Connecticut, claims to be one of the largest buildings in the world devoted entirely to rare books and manuscripts. Construction of the building was completed in 1963, and the library has room in the central tower for 180,000 volumes.