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August is a time to explore #urbanread for #rwpchat

August 1, 2018

#urbanread

August is the month for #urbanread – books, films and games set in any environment ranging from a densely populated city, towns (even small towns) to small villages. They may be set in any time period including the Victorian era or the distant future. The city itself may become a character, such as in books about urban places.

Consider reading author Ian Rankin or watch the My Place series by Nadia Wheatley to explore this. You may like to read urban fantasy, featuring magic and strange creatures, a great example is American Gods by Neil Gaiman, and make sure you include some Chuck Wendig too, with Dinocalypse now and Blue blazes, not to mention Cassandra Clare. Horror is brilliant for #urbanread as some of the most terrifying reading takes place in urban areas. Randa Abdel-Fattah, Will Kostakis and Benjamin Law have some great #urbanread suggestions.

This is the month to go local. Read something set in your local area-your place, where you recognise the landmarks, cafes, sights, maybe even the vibe of the town re-created in the setting of the books. Plan some urban travels to compliment your #urbanread. If you want some factual information about your environment, start your research in the local studies section of your local library. Incidentally, this is also a good place to find something to read by a local author. You may like to read further afield, for example, about slums, such as described in Slum Dog Millionaire. You might enjoy reading about buildings, urban planning or architecture.

Sustainability in our environment is another hot topic. In both fact and fiction there’s lots to read, watch and learn about. Choose something to read from the selection of Goodreads Sustainability book lists. Watch a movie, anything from Happy Feet or Wall- E to documentaries such as An inconvenient truth.

What about crime, including true crime? Crime stories can be set in any environment, usually urban. Read about underworld figures. Underbelly, Ripper Street, and Sherlock all present great watching for #urbanread.

While street art adorns the urban landscape, graffiti often poses the question – art or vandalism? You decide – try exploring the issue by reading some books celebrating the art of graffiti. You may enjoy some Graffiti in fiction.

Street literature is another upcoming genre to try.

Sometimes stories are based on an urban legend – why not scare yourself silly reading horror stories? Read something by these masters of horror – Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Edgar Allan Poe, Graham Masterton, H.P Lovecraft – they will leave you reading with the lights on. Many of these have also inspired film adaptations. Which is spookier, the book or the movie?

Think about urban wildlife too

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

There will be a twitter discussion on 28 August starting at 8.00pm Australian Eastern Standard Time. 8am – 10.30am, GMT. Note this is a staggered discussion.

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

Join the #classicread discussion today for #rwpchat

July 31, 2018

There will be a twitter discussion today, 31 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 BST. Note this is a staggered discussion.

Join the discussion this month about #classicread. We will be focusing on all things classic in this discussion. Mark Twain defined a classic as a book which people praise but don’t read. There are plenty of books thought to be classics that we wish we had read, but don’t ever seem to actually get around to reading; books like Moby Dick, Ulysses and In Search of Lost Time often end up on that list. Classics have a bit of a reputation as dull, long or simply hard work, but this is a reputation that needs testing! Try this list.

wuthering heights

Cumbres borrascosas-2

Great British classics like Bleak House, Persuasion and North and South not only make the most delightful BBC miniseries, and don’t even get me started on the endless joy that is reading and watching Jane Eyre, but they are surprisingly wonderful reads as well. How many of today’s popular books will still be inspiring people in 200 years?

Not everyone enjoys the language of older classics, or can cope with the amount of description in classic novels (remember that without television or easy travel, how would you know what the world looked, smelt or tasted like?). Graphic novel versions can be a great way in for reluctant readers of classics and just another way to enjoy beloved tales for the rest of us. Then there are even more innovative versions such as The Lizzie Bennet Diaries , telling the familiar story of Pride and Prejudice using Tumblr, Twitter and You Tube.

You might like to try some classic non-fiction such as The Man Who Mistook his Wife for a Hat or The Diary of Anne Frank, or children’s classics, such as Dr Seuss, May Gibbs and Beatrix Potter books and also those more recent books that have been read over and over such as Hairy Maclary and Possum Magic.

The classics can take you back much further than Mr Darcy’s time, too. Find the origin of many of our English sayings, and stories so familiar, in Shakespeare. Experience medieval times in the enduring Icelandic sagas or discover the strong influences in our modern culture and society found in the literature of ancient Greece.

There is plenty of classic television available on DVD, as well as classic films; how about some Hitchcock? Then there are classic games to play – Ludo, Monopoly, Space Invaders or the properly old-school, I Spy! And classic music albums. You may prefer to drool over some classic cars.

space invader

(c) Philosophia/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

A classic for me is not necessarily a classic for you, so we’ll have a great discussion about the nature of a classic. What makes a modern classic? Is the Harry Potter series a classic because it has been so widely read, or are there other criteria that are more important? What modern books would you call classics?

Two more classics we haven’t mentioned yet are Frankenstein and Wuthering Heights – both gothic novels celebrate anniversaries in 2018. Frankenstein was published in 1818 and Wuthering Heights’ author, Emily Bronte, was born in the same year. To tie in with these anniversaries we’re running a challenge in July that anyone from around the world can get involved in. All we’d like you to do is to make something creative (eg story, poetry, art, game, music, soundscape etc) inspired by the gothic novel genre and share it with us. You can find out more details on the Gothic Novel Jam page.

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

 

Gothic Novel Jam is here – time to get involved #GothNovJam

July 1, 2018

It’s finally here! Gothic Novel Jam has launched!

It runs from 1st July until the end of the month. The deadline for uploading submissions to the site is the end of 31st July 2018.

As a reminder, it’s an online creative challenge with a gothic novel theme and it’s open to anyone around the world to participate in.

During July participants will be creating a whole variety of creative works on their own or as part of a team. Even though the theme is the gothic novel, they don’t have to limit themselves to a written submission. Writers, musicians, game makers, artists, crafters, makers of all ages and abilities have signed up from around the world to participate in the event, and we are anticipating contributions in all of these areas… and more besides. Submissions don’t have to be limited to these forms. Let your imagination go wild. If you want to bake a cake that looks like a Hound of the Baskerville – go for it! Or you want to make an origami Frankenstein – go for it! Or maybe even a knitted map of Transylvania – go for it! Contribute in whatever way you want to. All we ask is that you have something you can upload to the official host page over at itch.io. Digital works can be uploaded (eg writing, games, music, images). In the case of physical objects, such as a Hound of the Baskerville cake, you could take a photo and upload it to the site instead. You’ll retain the copyright of anything you upload. If you haven’t signed up yet, don’t worry you can sign up right until the last day here.

As we mentioned, the main theme is the gothic novel, but there’s also a sub-theme to give participants a bit more focus if they need it. This was selected from a shortlist of themes suggested and voted on by the jam participants.

And the chosen sub-theme is….

(ominous fanfare)

The monster within

We’re also asking participants to take inspiration from the images provided by our collaborative partners at The British Library on their Flickr account. There’s such a wealth of fantastic images on there – over 1,000,000 in fact – that you can freely use in your contribution or just as a way to get you inspired. We’ve also provided a link to smaller sets of gothic themed curated images on the official Gothic Novel Jam page.

For full details of how to participate and to sign up take a look at the official Gothic Novel Jam page on itch.io.

We’re excited to say that at the time of writing this post 144 participants have signed up already, and we can’t wait to see what they produce by the end of July.

If you want to share what you’re working on via social media don’t forget to use the hashtag #GothNovJam.

If you want to chat about the jam you can also join the discussion on Discord.

And if you want to work with others on your submission you can set up or join a team over on Crowd Forge.

So, it’s time to get gothic and have some fun!

Gary Green (Surrey Libraries)

July is a time to explore #classicread for #rwpchat

July 1, 2018

Join the discussion this month about #classicread. We will be focusing on all things classic in this discussion. Mark Twain defined a classic as a book which people praise but don’t read. There are plenty of books thought to be classics that we wish we had read, but don’t ever seem to actually get around to reading; books like Moby Dick, Ulysses and In Search of Lost Time often end up on that list. Classics have a bit of a reputation as dull, long or simply hard work, but this is a reputation that needs testing! Try this list.

wuthering heights

Cumbres borrascosas-2

Great British classics like Bleak House, Persuasion and North and South not only make the most delightful BBC miniseries, and don’t even get me started on the endless joy that is reading and watching Jane Eyre, but they are surprisingly wonderful reads as well. How many of today’s popular books will still be inspiring people in 200 years?

Not everyone enjoys the language of older classics, or can cope with the amount of description in classic novels (remember that without television or easy travel, how would you know what the world looked, smelt or tasted like?). Graphic novel versions can be a great way in for reluctant readers of classics and just another way to enjoy beloved tales for the rest of us. Then there are even more innovative versions such as The Lizzie Bennet Diaries , telling the familiar story of Pride and Prejudice using Tumblr, Twitter and You Tube.

You might like to try some classic non-fiction such as The Man Who Mistook his Wife for a Hat or The Diary of Anne Frank, or children’s classics, such as Dr Seuss, May Gibbs and Beatrix Potter books and also those more recent books that have been read over and over such as Hairy Maclary and Possum Magic.

The classics can take you back much further than Mr Darcy’s time, too. Find the origin of many of our English sayings, and stories so familiar, in Shakespeare. Experience medieval times in the enduring Icelandic sagas or discover the strong influences in our modern culture and society found in the literature of ancient Greece.

There is plenty of classic television available on DVD, as well as classic films; how about some Hitchcock? Then there are classic games to play – Ludo, Monopoly, Space Invaders or the properly old-school, I Spy! And classic music albums. You may prefer to drool over some classic cars.

space invader

(c) Philosophia/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

A classic for me is not necessarily a classic for you, so we’ll have a great discussion about the nature of a classic. What makes a modern classic? Is the Harry Potter series a classic because it has been so widely read, or are there other criteria that are more important? What modern books would you call classics?

Two more classics we haven’t mentioned yet are Frankenstein and Wuthering Heights – both gothic novels celebrate anniversaries in 2018. Frankenstein was published in 1818 and Wuthering Heights’ author, Emily Bronte, was born in the same year. To tie in with these anniversaries we’re running a challenge in July that anyone from around the world can get involved in. All we’d like you to do is to make something creative (eg story, poetry, art, game, music, soundscape etc) inspired by the gothic novel genre and share it with us. You can find out more details on the Gothic Novel Jam page.

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

There will be a twitter discussion on 31 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 BST. Note this is a staggered discussion.

Join the #technoread discussion today for #rwpchat

June 26, 2018

There will be a twitter discussion today 26 June starting at 11am and 7.00pm Australian Eastern Time. 9am – 11am BST. Note this is a staggered discussion.

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

You might like to share your #technoread on facebook, or instagram.

June is #technoread time. This month we will be talking about reading, watching and playing with a technology and science focus. You might like to explore this post while listening to techno.

AkvoFLOW Post-Pam Vanuatu Response

AkvoFLOW Post-Pam Vanuatu Response thanks to Aul Rah

Have you tried the crowdsourced science of Zooinverse? You can help with the exploration of outer space, or under the ocean, all from the comfort of your computer. Will you be exploring science experiments for children, or the work of Brian Cox?

Are you interested in using technology to tell stories, in reading ebooks, or app books, in crowdsourcing stories, or stories written on twitter and twitter fiction?

Do you enjoy technology as part of the story, such as Matthew Reilly writes, and other techno thrillers. Do you like older, imagined technology, such as Steampunk, alternate history, or new technology from cyberpunk? Or the technology of science fiction?

Do you enjoy the technology of archaeology which can lead to the identification of Richard III, and the discoveries of other forensic archaeology.

Are you interested in the stories from New Scientist, CSIRO, The Verge and Scientific American with the technology and inventions of real life. It might be time for a reread or a rewatch of Hidden figures.

Do you enjoy computer games, board games, and the work of Wil Wheaton? Will you be exploring photographs taken from drones, or building your own drone. What else will you be making? The Library as incubator project has some lovely ideas to explore, as does the blog for Make Magazine. You could visit your local maker space.

Wearable technology, smart homes, engineering news, and architecture news, can all be #technoread territory. The lighthouse Stevensons by Bella Bathurst is also a #technoread. Are you interested in imaginary technology such as can be described in fantasy or science fiction? Or do you want to find out more about Digital Humanities?

What about the technology of Pixar (with links to technical articles so you can read about the Artistic simulation of curly hair). Read about Indigenous science, and the concept of streams.

What will be your favourite #technoread this month? Oh and don’t forget …while you are reading, playing or watching your #technoread, you might like to tweet about it using #technoread #rwpchat so that other people can have a conversation with you about your #technoread. You can add to the discussion on Pinterest too. You might like to post your photographs to Instagram or Flickr and use #technoread #rwpchat so others can share in your reading, watching and playing.

There will be a twitter discussion on 26 June starting at 11am and 7.00pm Australian Eastern Time. 9am – 11am BST. Note this is a staggered discussion.

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

You might like to share your #technoread on facebook, or instagram.

 

June is #technoread time – join the discussion at #rwpchat

June 1, 2018

June is #technoread time. This month we will be talking about reading, watching and playing with a technology and science focus. You might like to explore this post while listening to techno.

AkvoFLOW Post-Pam Vanuatu Response

AkvoFLOW Post-Pam Vanuatu Response thanks to Aul Rah

Have you tried the crowdsourced science of Zooinverse? You can help with the exploration of outer space, or under the ocean, all from the comfort of your computer. Will you be exploring science experiments for children, or the work of Brian Cox?

Are you interested in using technology to tell stories, in reading ebooks, or app books, in crowdsourcing stories, or stories written on twitter and twitter fiction?

Do you enjoy technology as part of the story, such as Matthew Reilly writes, and other techno thrillers. Do you like older, imagined technology, such as Steampunk, alternate history, or new technology from cyberpunk? Or the technology of science fiction?

Do you enjoy the technology of archaeology which can lead to the identification of Richard III, and the discoveries of other forensic archaeology.

Are you interested in the stories from New Scientist, CSIRO, The Verge and Scientific American with the technology and inventions of real life. It might be time for a reread or a rewatch of Hidden figures.

Do you enjoy computer games, board games, and the work of Wil Wheaton? Will you be exploring photographs taken from drones, or building your own drone. What else will you be making? The Library as incubator project has some lovely ideas to explore, as does the blog for Make Magazine. You could visit your local maker space.

Wearable technology, smart homes, engineering news, and architecture news, can all be #technoread territory. The lighthouse Stevensons by Bella Bathurst is also a #technoread. Are you interested in imaginary technology such as can be described in fantasy or science fiction? Or do you want to find out more about Digital Humanities?

What about the technology of Pixar (with links to technical articles so you can read about the Artistic simulation of curly hair). Read about Indigenous science, and the concept of streams.

What will be your favourite #technoread this month? Oh and don’t forget …while you are reading, playing or watching your #technoread, you might like to tweet about it using #technoread #rwpchat so that other people can have a conversation with you about your #technoread. You can add to the discussion on Pinterest too. You might like to post your photographs to Instagram or Flickr and use #technoread #rwpchat so others can share in your reading, watching and playing.

There will be a twitter discussion on 26 June starting at 11am and 7.00pm Australian Eastern Time. 9am – 11am BST. Note this is a staggered discussion.

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

You might like to share your #technoread on facebook, or instagram.

 

May 29, 2018

There will be a Twitter discussion today 29 May starting at 8pm Australian Eastern Standard Time, 9am – 11am BST. Note : This is a staggered discussion.

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

Join the discussion this month about #localread. We will be focussing on all things local, or with a strong sense of place, in this discussion. What do you think about for a #localread? Is it in your town or suburb, state or county, country, region…?

What are your favourite local haunts? Are they world-famous attractions, or secret places you cherish for personal reasons? Are there local foods, local land sharing schemes or ways to find out about local harvests in your area. Is it local industries like craft brewing and distilling, or local insects like urban beekeeping? It can be local wildlife.

Does your local area have a Local Studies or Local History service? You’ll find they are a wonderful local resource, often collecting books, artefacts and ephemera which are unique. They are invaluable resources for authors, film-makers and family historians, among many others. Look up local stories in digitised newspapers (Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, England (fees apply) and Denmark)

Has your local area got a ‘What’s on’ page on Facebook, Twitter or another social media site? Mine does and it’s a great source of information and inspiration on local events and local characters. The local newspaper, tourism body, local shops and businesses and local people all post and cross-post and you’re never stuck for somewhere to go or something to do – farmers markets, craft markets, local theatre productions, art gallery exhibitions, book launches and author talks, bush walks, meetings of various local groups, rallies and demonstrations, picnic places, information sessions, sporting events, music performances, poetry slams and so on.

The League of Gentlemen built a whole show around various nutty and slightly disturbing characters in the fictional town of Royston Vasey. Other popular TV shows with disturbing settings include the other great comedy show full of grotesques, Little Britain, and the dangerous town of Midsomer which has way way way more murders than a country town should.

When you need to escape your local place you can borrow someone else’s. Some authors too create strong associations with places, often their local places – Ian Rankin in synonymous with Edinburgh, Tim Winton with Western Australia, Bronwyn Bancroft, Will Kostakis, Randa Abdel-Fattah and Benjamin Law with urban Australia, the Brontes with northern England, Jane Austen with Bath, Thomas Hardy with the West Country in England, Stephen King and Joe Hill with New England, USA, Dickens with London, CS Lewis with Narnia – the places don’t have to be real. Who are the authors associated with your place?

We play a board game called Carcassonne, based on the French walled city (also World Heritage listed). It’s great fun and we should have bought shares in the company because everyone we’ve played it with has gone out and bought their own. Carcassonne locals may not think the game anything like their town, but there are a whole lot of people I know who’d love to visit the town now. What other games are based on a locality? Sim City? World of Warcraft?