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What space do you like reading in?

August 13, 2014
Two women reading, Japan.

Two women reading, Japan, from the National Museum of Denmark

The theme this month is #spaceread, so it would be great if you could photograph a space you enjoy reading, watching or playing in.

It can be the space, it could be with you reading, watching or playing in the space.

It would be great if you could share the photograph online.  Please tag it with #spaceread #rwpchat so we can see where people like to read, watch or play.

Ellen Forsyth

2015 themes

August 11, 2014

[text: Oh the places you'll go! by Dr Seuss; image:]

 Each year, as a diverse group of Librarians and Library staff, we sit down and discuss – over tea & coffee & the web – what reading themes would be good and interesting to discuss the following year. It’s an engaging and constructive process which allows many people to have a voice in determining the way the twitter reading group grows and flourishes. We have always endeavoured to be inclusive but what is fabulous about the 2015 themes is the overwhelming global nature to these themes and the way they suit the various cultural and geographic differences we share. Currently the #rwpchat twitter reading group has members from Australia, Denmark, New Zealand, Singapore, and Surrey in the UK; everyone from these countires has contributed to the discussion which has resulted in the following list of themes for 2015. For each theme there is a broad description which you can use in your own libraries to further the discussion and build displays, etc.

January – #wellread

February – #shortread

March – #poetryread

April – #reflectread

May – #migrantread

June – #legalread

July – #chillread

August – #watchread

September – #localread

October – #darkread

November – #technoread

December – #sweetread


I am really looking forward to these themes and to experiencing the different ways Libraries around the world express and share them – books, movies, music, games.

A big thank you to everyone who participated in the discussion and to building the theme descriptions.

@CatyJ on behalf of the Read Watch Play twitter reading group and the NSW Readers Advisory group.


My Space Age 1957 – infinity and beyond

August 5, 2014

1957 Sputnik arrived & so did I.  Meanwhile the first astronauts were being sought in The Right Stuff – Tom Wolf 

1962 Telstar the first communications satellite was launched. I was dancing to Telstar performed by The Tornadoes and watching FireBall XL5

1963 Dr Who crossed the space time vortex on to our little black & white screens. Daleks couldn’t go upstairs & female companions screamed a lot – but at least they were there.  The 12th or is it 13th Doctor materialises on our screens in August.

While in real life 1963 Valentina Tereshkova was the first woman in space.

1966 Star Trek! – Still Living long and prospering, nearly 50 years later.  Lieutenant Uhura brought us a strong black female character and the first inter-racial kiss on US TV.

Both series showed us with other worlds but used these to reflect problems on Earth – discrimination, care of the planet, Cold War.

Saturn 5 engines1968 Space is cool; fashion by Paco Rabanne clothed the future in foil and created the costumes for Barbarella – not everyone’s idea of women in space.  We were up there with Major Tom’s Space Oddity.

Books and TV programmes by Patrick Moore and Carl Sagan showed a generation the wonders of the universe and today the people they inspired Brian Cox, Maggie Aderin-Pocock and Chris Lintoff continue their work on TV and in print.

In 1969 aged 11, I bought 2001 a space odyssey by Arthur C Clarke which became possibly the most famous #spaceread  of all.  The Stanley Kubrick film sequence showing the flight to the space station and on to the moon accompanied by the Johann Strauss - Blue Danube is the a bench mark for later SF films.

Arthur C Clarke remains my favourite #spaceread author – try his amazing short stories as a taster. Try Summer time on Icarus, 9 billion names for God, and Into the comet

1969 The Moon!  45 years ago on our TV – Apollo 11 lifts off to the theme of Also sprach Zarathustra by Richard Strauss – previously used in the film of 2001 – life imitating art

Authors had already travelled to the Moon:  Jules Verne’s from the Earth to the Moon and HG Wells – First Men on the Moon  all valves, bellows, and sprockets:  steam punk from the age of steam?

Tintin was there in 1959 for Destination Moon, in 1969 the Clangers were already residents and may be back there in 2015.

By 1970 surely we would all be living on the moon soon?  – on TV UFO  showed us our future lives on the moon 1980 in purple wigs.

Maybe we can follow Curiosity on the #PathtoMars  – “Make it so”

Sue Applegate – Surrey Library Service @SurreyLibraries

August is time for #spaceread in the twitter reading group #rwpchat

August 1, 2014
NASA's Great Observatories Examine the Galactic Center Region - The core of the Milky Way at a distance of some 26,000 light years from Earth.

Stellar Shrapnel Seen in Aftermath of Explosion – A supernova remnant located in the Large Magellenic Cloud from Smithsonian Institution


We will be focusing on all things about space in this discussion.

What does #spaceread make you think about? Do you think about the space you are in, or the space which is faraway? Is it outerspace, space around you, or your inner world?

Last year Chris Hadfield captured the interest of many people by his photographs, videos and tweets from the international space station. This provided a different view of our world.

You can follow other astronauts on twitter, or connect with NASA through a very broad range of social media. You can even follow Curiosity.

Do you live near an observatory? Have a look and think about visiting one as a very different kind of spaceread. Or is astrology more for you?

Brian Cox,  Jocelyn Bell Burnell and Fabiola Gianotti provide science related spaceread. You might also like to follow New Scientist and Scientific American on twitter for a broad range of #spaceread. Make sure you explore Indigenous astronomy as well.

Spaceread is also an idea which connects us to science fiction. This month the World Science Fiction Convention takes place in London. If you can’t be there, you can follow #loncon3 on twitter. The Hugo Awards will be announced this month. You might read or watch one of these as a #spaceread

You might like to try, or rediscover, Douglas Adams, Star Wars, ET, Fred Watson, astrophotography, The dish, Cowboys and aliens, Space cowboys, Aliens or the graphic novels for Batman, Avengers and Captain Underpants. Will you be exploring Galaxy quest, Star Trek, Lost In Space and works by John Scalzi, Ann Aquirre, E Catherine Tobler, Connie Willis, Karen Travis, Johanna Sinisalo, David Weber, Jack Vance, or Patrick Tilley?

Not all space is far away. What is your favourite space to read in? We would love you to tweet, or post to Instagram a photograph of your favourite public space to read in? Do you like reading on trains, in parks or coffee shops? Please share a photograph and include #rwpchat.

What public spaces do you like? Have you seen the work of Jan Gehl?  Do you read or watch films or documentaries about parks, gardens and wilderness? These are all an excellent fit for #spaceread. Or is Horrible geography more your style?

Architecture and engineering can help us look at space, so reading about them would be other great topics to explore for #spaceread.

Are you imagining renovations, or rearrangement to make better use of space? Do you explore interior design books, websites and magazines for pleasure or for planning?

Are there novels you read because of how they describe space, inside and out. Or because they explore inner space of your mind? Are there films you watch because of how they show space whether outer or two countries away?

Future inventions and technologies can also help us think about #spaceread

While you are reading, playing or watching your #spaceread, you might like to tweet about it using #spaceread #rwpchat so that other people can have a conversation with you about your #spaceread. You can add to the discussion on Pinterest too. You might like to post your photographs to Instagram or Flickr and use #spaceread #rwpchat so others can share in your reading, watching and playing.

There will be a twitter discussion on 26 August starting at 8.00pm Australian Eastern Standard Time. 9.00pm New Zealand Time, 6.00pm Singapore Standard Time, 12.00 noon Central European Summer Time, 9am – 11am; 2pm – 4pm; 6pm – 8pm BST.  Note this is a staggered discussion.

Use the tags #spaceread and #rwpchat as you discuss the reading, watching playing that is your experience of spaceread, so others can join in the conversation too.

Digitised newspapers, photographs and #warread

July 31, 2014

Reading war reporting through newspapers gives a different perspective than reading an historical account written after the time.  Both provide different perspectives on what is happening.  Many newspapers around the world are being digitised so you can read contemporary accounts of wars and conflicts.  Trove provides access to a growing number of Australian newspapers and magazines which have been digitised.  You can read accounts of the Boer War, for example, or see how The Australian Women’s Weekly included coverage of the Second World War or find out about local knitting groups who provided handmade socks to service personnel.   You can also search European newspapers, and for information about the USA as well.  There are many other contemporary writing you can read, like the USA Civil War day books and diaries from the Minnesota Historical Society and from the University of Washington.

Deck of Gun Boat, Probably "Mendota."

Flickr Commons can be a very interesting place to explore this kind of history too. If you are doing research about people in the First World War, you can contribute the research to Lives of the First World War, to build up a global database.

find out what was discussed on the #warread discussion for #rwpchat

July 30, 2014

If you missed the discussion yesterday, you can catch up with the tweets about #warread on Storify.


join the #warread discussion on twitter today

July 29, 2014


28 July 1914: The First Day of the War to End all Wars

Trooper Bisdee and unidentified family members

Join the discussion this month about #warread. We will be focusing on all things about war in this discussion (and it will be great to see what ideas people include).

On 28 July 1914 the world found itself at war. The century leading up to the outbreak of war was a complicated one based upon numerous (and changing) alliances. Superimposed upon such alliances was an arms race that saw a competition for land-based, as well as sea-based, military supremacy. Tensions between the various powers of Europe escalated and, on 28 June 1914, the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, was assassinated. The Archduke’s wife was also killed. The crisis that followed saw Austria-Hungary declare war on Serbia on 28 July 1914. Soon after the Russian Empire mobilised, quickly followed by the mobilisation of the German Empire. On 2 August 1914 Germany invaded Belgium that resulted in the mobilisation of France and, two days later, the mobilisation of Britain.

There will be a twitter discussion, today. on 29 July starting at 8.00pm Australian Eastern Standard Time.   9.00pm New Zealand Time, 6.00pm Singapore Standard Time, 12.00 noon Central European Summer Time, 9am – 11am; 2pm – 4pm; 6pm – 8pm BST.  Note this is a staggered discussion.

Use the tags #warread and #rwpchat as you discuss the reading, watching playing that is your experience of warread, so others can join in the conversation too.


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