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announcing the 2017 #rwpchat themes

August 17, 2016

A lot of hard work has gone in to planning to 2017 themes for #rwpchat, see the list below.  Have a look at them, and enjoy.

Themes for 2017
Flower vendor in Havana, Cuba

January – #firstread

February – #diverseread

March – #waterread

April – #biographyread

May – #playread

June – #epicread

July – #humourread

August – #nightread

September – #comfortread

October – #twistedread

November – #nordicread

December – #timetravelread

You may want to explore these topics so you can enjoy planning your reading, watching and playing.  If you work in a library you may want to think about how these themes can be used in your library for example, storytime, reading groups, displays, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

The work has been done by library staff in NSW and in Surrey, England.  A big thank you to all involved.

But first we have lots of exciting themes left this year, starting with the current #geekread and continuing on to

September – #historyread

October – #bookbitesread

November – #flightread

December – #joyread

H G Wells a Victorian #geekread

August 15, 2016

Martian tripod sculpture in Woking, Surrey

2016 marks the 150th anniversary of H G Wells’ birth and the 70th anniversary of his death. Sometimes called ‘The Man Who Invented Tomorrow’ H G Wells’ is most famous for his “scientific romances” or what we now call “Science Fiction.”


In 1895 he wrote The Time Machine – the machine is built and travels to a future where technology has not developed as the inventor might have hoped.

The Invisible Man  – marks a step from magical invisible characters of the past to what was to become the science fiction device of invisibility and cloaking devices. Chemistry provides the invisibility here but the villain cannot control the process as he would like.

In The War of the Worlds England is invaded by Martians in 1898. Centering on the Woking area, many Surrey towns were devastated in the Martian attack. The War of the Worlds captured the public imagination and has become more famous in film. Its effect was felt famously on radio as the USA was gripped by the idea that Marians had really invaded.

The threat from Mars became a staple of Science Fiction for years to come.

Woking is the Surrey centre of HG Wells find out more about the Wells in Woking celebrations.

H G Wells a true #geekread and an early steam punk writer in the age of steam!

Maybe you’ll be inspired by H G Wells to use your library as a Time Machine and show us where and when your Time Machine Reads take you.

Sue – Surrey Libraries

#GeekRead in Space – #RWPChat

August 6, 2016
Venus and Earth by byronv2 (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Venus and Earth by byronv2 (CC BY-NC 2.0)

This month’s theme is #geekread.  I have always been interested in astronomy and space: does that make me a geek?  Perhaps it was that visit to Jodrell Bank as a child and seeing the huge Lovell Telescope that inspired me.  As part of August heritage month, Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre, as it is now known, is putting on a centenary exhibition called The Station, The Story of Jodrell Bank to celebrate its contribution to scientific research which I hope to go and see.

I also remember a family visit to the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, seeing a show at the planetarium and being enthralled by the stars, planets and distant galaxies projected onto the dome.

While on holiday in Florida I went to the Kennedy Space Centre at Cape Canaveral which was awesome.  Having the opportunity to look at a space shuttle up close, see the massive Vehicle Assembly Building and the Apollo/Saturn V Centre was incredible.  There is also a mission control section where you can experience the countdown before launch and see the actual consoles used during the Apollo launches – it was as good as seeing a live launch.

Several years ago I visited the National Space Centre in Leicester which has the largest planetarium in the United Kingdom, a 3D Simulator experience and a 42m high Rocket Tower.

In February of this year I went to the Science Museum in London to see Cosmonauts: Birth of the Space Age exhibition which was about how Russia turned the dream of space travel into a reality and became the first nation to explore space.  The highlights of the exhibition were seeing Vostok 6 which was the capsule flown by Valentina Tereshkova who was the first woman in space; the LK-3 Lunar Lander which is a single cosmonaut craft built to compete with Apollo and a collection of gadgets that cosmonauts need to live in space.

Perhaps it’s no surprise that I married a rocket scientist.

Join us @ReadWatchPlay on Tuesday 30 August when we will be discussing #geekread.  Use the tags #geekread and #rwpchat so everyone can join in the conversation.

Monique – Surrey Libraries





August is the perfect time for #geekread for #rwpchat

August 1, 2016


“You know, “nerd culture” is mainstream now. So, when you use the word “nerd” derogatorily, it means you’re the one that’s out of the zeitgeist.” Ben Wyatt.

“Being a geek is all about being honest about what you enjoy and not being afraid to demonstrate that affection. It means never having to play it cool about how much you like something. It’s basically a license to proudly emote on a somewhat childish level rather than behave like a supposed adult. Being a geek is extremely liberating.” Simon Pegg

“Nowadays, people own their nerd-dom.” Neil Gaiman

“Being a geek is cool.” – Me (In the vain hopes I’m cool now)

#Geekread can be anything from the latest Brian Cox bestseller about the universe, to the world of Minecraft and everything in-between. It’s wanting to captain your own star ship but also wanting to travel Middle earth and fight a Balrog or becoming over excited when New Horizons flew past Pluto. Being a geek is difficult to define but what is universal across all geekdoms is passion.

Being a geek is so much more than the stereotyped kid with NHS glasses being socially inept. We geeks are inheriting the earth and showing the world that it’s ok to go crazy about that thing you love. Want to write fan fiction based in your favourite universe, or upload YouTube clips of World of Warcraft or collect every issue of X-Men? In the words of the ‘great’ Shia LaBeouf ‘DO it!’

Mrs. Bill Stagg with state quilt that she made, Pie Town, New Mexico. A community settled by about 200 migrant Texas and Oklahoma farmers who filed homestead claims ... Mrs. Stagg helps her husband in the field with plowing planting, weeding corn and harv

Mrs. Bill Stagg with state quilt that she made, Pie Town, New Mexico. Library of Congress on Flickr Commons

Being a geek is a state of mind. If you think you’re a geek, then you are one. You don’t need to be an expert in your fandom but you do need to have a devotion to it. (Don’t let anyone bully you because they tell you you’re not a real Star Wars nerd because you don’t know the name of the droid you saw for 5 seconds at the back of scene that one time).

‘Nerdy’ or ‘Geeky’ behaviour is way more common than most people like to think. You can be a gaming nerd, a book geek, a music fanatic, a keen quilter, knitter, maker of scalemail, garden geek, and RPG (Role Playing Game) freak and much much more.

It’s not just reading Lord of the Rings, it’s absorbing the world Tolkien has built by reading the 12 volume history of middle earth. It’s not just about who was the best Doctor (Tennant of course) but its understanding the biology of a time lord and exploring countless time streams and worlds with them. It’s the kind of person that sits in all day with the next sci-fi blockbuster by Ian M Banks. It’s the girl who wants to level up their Warlock Drow in Dungeons and Dragons so she can fight that last Boss Battle. And it’s the guy who likes to figure out if the science in Star Trek and Star Wars could actually work.

A geek is not interested in reality, we want an escape to a far off fascinating world. Being a Geek is cool. Have a look at some of the amazing #geekread stories at @iartlibraries

There will be a twitter discussion on 30 August starting at 11am and 8.00pm Australian Eastern Daylight Savings (Summer) Time. 6.00pm Singapore Standard Time, 12.00 noon Central European Summer Time, 9am – 11am; 2pm – 4pm; 6pm – 8pm BST (UK). Note this is a staggered discussion.

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

Join the #artread discussion today for #rwpchat

July 26, 2016

The Twitter discussion takes place, today, 26 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, 8am – 10.30am, 2pm – 4pm GMT. Note this is a staggered discussion.

This month the theme is #artread. Artists who are they & what do they do all day?

Try a biography John Piper, Myfanwy Piper : lives in art linking art, theatre and music. I, Leonardo : Ralph Steadman one artist portraying the life of another. The artist revealed by his studio 7 Reece Mews : Francis Bacon’s studio.

Reflect by Sue Apple

Reflect by Sue Apple

Who would you choose to paint your portrait? A S Byatt choose Patrick Heron but Lady Churchill hated Graham Sutherland’s portrait of Sir Winston.

Catalogues of art collections A way of life : Jim Ede at Kettle’s Yard. A home and gallery featuring many works by Alfred Wallis who epitomises the St Ives artists . You could collect art antiques yourself.

Artists real or fake? In Nat Tate : an American artist, 1928-1960 libraries had trouble deciding which. The artist’s character as subject for fiction The portrait: Iain Pears, Permanent violet: Ronald Frame, Sheer blue bliss: Lesley Glaister , Notes from an exhibition: Patrick Gale, The bird artist: Howard A Norman.

You may have visited places steeped in art, Charleston : a Bloomsbury house and garden or read of places becoming art after 100 years Still life : inside the Antarctic huts of Scott and Shackleton. Modern Architects became as famous as their buildings : Norman Foster or Le Corbusier.

Its interior design can have an impact on how we view a building too, just as graphic design has an impact on how we view other objects as well.

Art escapes into the wild, Andy Goldsworthy : a collaboration with nature, Anthony Gormley’s figures in the landscape. From Bodies in the landscape move to Body art, as in Tattoos. Or bodies shaped into art in ballet and modern dance. Other performing arts take to the stage in theatre or the cinema screen, including art house films.

Art from the wild, found objects, the artist recycling an object into art. Be inspired by Derek Jarman’s garden .

In the landscape photographer James Ravillious :an English eye is the son of artist Eric Ravillious. Different generation, medium, all art.

In the film Blow Up a fashion photographer thinks he has filmed a murder. In the 1960s photographers David Bailey & Norman Parkinson were famous enough to be know just by their surnames.

Taxidermy has had a modern revival but knitted taxidermy may have more practitioners. See fashion as art – Zandra Rhodes : textile revolution . Cornelia Parker’s collaborative Magna Carta embroidery.

Books as art objects – have a look on Pinterest for book covers as art and book spines as poetry. Make your own poems and appreciate your existing books in a new way. Buy an old book and make it into art by illustrating and rearranging the text – one artist spent 40 years working on one book. Artist’s books are the ultimate in hand crafted texts.

Art therapy and creating all types of art are great for your well being. Some libraries run book folding sessions with their unsalable stock as an aid to mindfulness.

You could learn how to make art with conventional techniques and materials. Become a painter, sculptor or photographer.

Graphic artists like Alan Fletcher: Beware wet paint and turn fonts into art. Graphic novelists like Frank Quietly create in a comic or graphic format. Others reboot existing fiction for a new younger audience. Banksy brought graffiti from wall to gallery.

Illustrations convey the narrative in Shackleton’s journey: William GrillKate Greenaway award winner 2015. Children’s books illustrations can be a revelation. Other Art prizes include the Turner Prize often keeping art in the news with controversy and the Archibald.

Art and crime meet in the theft from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and in Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code book and film. Author Patricia Cornwall may have cut a piece from a Sickert painting in Portrait of a killer : Jack the Ripper– case closed. Ancient art and archaeology feature in the Jack West Jr novels of Matthew Reilly.

What is ART? Let’s try and find out in #artread.

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


knitting and other fibre arts for #artread

July 20, 2016

Knitting (and many other recreational activities) can be #artread.  Tom of Holland, highlights the #artread aspects of mending as through repair favourite items can be renewed. #visiblemending is another term to explore. Some of the results of this very visible mending are lovely. There are many wonderful blogs to read about knitting, including the work of Kate Davies, and Karie Westerman.

You can explore hyperbolic crochet, combining maths and making, by looking at the crochet coral reef.  Knitting or crocheting neurons may be more your thing, and you can explore it here.  These are lovely combinations of science and #artread.
Demokratiet har plads til os alleWhen knitting, crocheting or mending, there are options of listening to podcasts.  In our time can be an excellent inspiration for #artread.

I am avoiding the art/craft discussion as this is sometimes in the eye of the beholder.  You might want to explore ideas of craftivism as part of #artread.  If you are seeking community for knitting or crochet, consider joining Ravelry.

What do you enjoy making for #artread?  Please share photographs and include the tags #artread and #rwpchat.

Galleries and #artread

July 6, 2016
Image credit: Hartford Connecticut ~ Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art ~ Gallery (Onasill ~ Bill Badzo CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Image credit: Hartford Connecticut ~ Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art ~ Gallery (Onasill ~ Bill Badzo CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

This month’s theme is #artread.  I have always enjoyed visiting art galleries and can stand absorbed in front of a favourite painting for ages.  The Lady of Shalott by Pre-Raphaelite artist John William Waterhouse which is exhibited at Tate Britain in London is one of my favourites – I have a poster of it hanging on my wall at home.  I like the vibrant colours which stand out in stark contrast in the gloaming.

I also like the landscapes and night-scenes of cities depicted by Atkinson Grimshaw.  They are so vivid you feel you could step into the canvas and be in the scene which is portrayed.  I saw many of his paintings at the Painter of Moonlight exhibition at the Guildhall Art Gallery in London.  A favourite of mine is Silver Moonlight, the play of moonlight through the trees is magical.

Monet’s Water-Lily Pond is another favourite of mine and was included in Monet: The Water Garden at Giverny exhibition at the National Gallery in London.  I have also visited his garden at Giverny and seen the famous pond that Monet depicted in many paintings.  I could imagine him stood at his easel painting in the sunshine.

I also like the art nouveau work of Czech artist Alphonse Mucha and enjoyed seeing his advertisements, postcards, illustrations, paintings and designs at the Mucha Museum in Prague.  I particularly like the advertising poster he designed for Monaco – Monte Carlo, P.L.M. railway services and have a print of it in my kitchen.

I also like modern art and enjoyed seeing Joan Miró: The Ladder of Escape exhibition at the Tate Modern.  On a visit to Barcelona I went to The Fundació Joan Miró which contains many of his sculptures drawings and works of art.

The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York is one of the largest in the world.  I spent several hours wandering through the different galleries looking at sculpture, photography, prints, drawings, paintings, architecture and design.

Join us @ReadWatchPlay on Tuesday 26 July when we will be discussing #artread.  Use the tags #artread and #rwpchat so everyone can join in the conversation.

Monique, Surrey Libraries


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