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join the #epicread discussion today #rwpchat

June 27, 2017

#epicread

faith-no-more-epic-shaped-picture-disc-vinyl-001-800x780

Can feel it? See it? Hear it today?

Of course you can because this month’s Read Watch Play theme is #epicread!!!

There will be a twitter discussion today, 27 June 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 BST. Note this is a staggered discussion.

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

For people who like the challenge of a gargantuan tome the likes of Gregory David Roberts’ “Shantaram” or Leo Tolstoy’s “War & Peace”, a lengthy series like Stephen King’s Gunslinger/Dark Tower or Robert Jordan’s “Wheel of Time”, sonic pilgrimages like Kamasi Washington’s 3 hour Jazz opus called “The Epic” or knocking off ten years worth of TV episodes you always meant to watch (I recommend “The Sopranos”, “The Wire” & “Oz”), this month is all about the epic!!!

Epic films from the classic era, including “Lawrence of Arabia”, “Ben Hur”, “The Good, The Bad & The Ugly” & “Spartacus”, as well as more modern works, including “Dances With Wolves” & “Apocalypse Now” entertain with their scope and cinematography, as well as their running times.

Fantasy & Science Fiction (Speculative fiction?…) are the genres that make up the heavy weight class in terms of epic stories. Sometimes only short stories with the density of a neutron star, think Robert Heinlein & Arthur C. Clarke, or ongoing series to seriously bog you down or let you immerse yourself in alternative worlds, think J.R.R. Tolkien & George R.R. Martin, Alastair Reynolds & Isaac Asimov.

Round the world trips (Pole to Pole by Michael Palin), trekking the Camino (Walking the Camino by Tony Kevin), up the slopes of Everest (Maverick Mountaineer by Robert Wainwright), riding the rails in the Russia (Ghost Train to the Eastern Star by Paul Theroux), or cycling around France (French Revolutions by Tim Moore), books about epic travel may instil the bug in the reader or just allow people to tread a path they would not take themselves. Also, especially for Australians, there are plenty of big things on the roadside to explore (banana, pineapple, mosquito etc.) as well as the real epic adventures like the pyramids of Egypt, Stonehenge, Angkor Wat & the Maya & Inca Ruins of South America.

The exploration of the world & space, in various fields of endeavour, has yielded many stories of epic courage, striving and endurance. David Attenborough’s documentation of flora & fauna, polar exploration (Worst Journey in the World by Apsley Cherry-Garrard), scientific exploration and explanation of geology (The Map That Changed the World by Simon Winchester), physics (Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking) & anthropology (Guns, Germs & Steel by Jared Diamond) are great examples of #epicread.

For gamers there are the aptly titled MMO’s (Massively Multiplayer Online) like World of Warcraft & Elder Scrolls, online interactive first person shooters, app games and a plethora of console and PC based options for Epic gaming!!!

 

Harry Potter, 20th Anniversary!

June 15, 2017

*Sonorus!*

Rejoice! Muggles & Wizard folk, Giants & House Elves, Werewolves & Goblins alike, as we celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the epic series Harry Potter!!! The owleries will be empty as scops & screech, snowy & great greys wing their way alike, silently to deliver the news at devastating volume as howlers explode across the land in proclamation!!!

Raise your glasses of butter beer or pumpkin juice in salute to a character and series of stories which has had a massive impact on children, parents and adults who grew up in the time of original release, as well as through the release of cinematic productions and the excellent audio readings by Stephen Fry and Jim Dale.

Harry along with his friends Hermione Granger and Ronald Weasley took readers on an epic adventure through schooling at Hogwarts School of Magic where children faced many unusual challenges in gaining the skills required to become successful witches and wizards. The competition inspired by the allocation of school houses is familiar to many from the Muggle schooling world. The houses of Hufflepuff, Slytherin, Ravenclaw & Gryffindor were a little different to your run of the mill school houses with children being allocated by the magical sorting hat to a house most suitable to their personality and attributes.

The thump of the bludgers! The scream of the quaffle! The speed & broom skills of the chase for the Golden Snitch!!! Forget traditional ball games. The explosion of Quidditch onto the muggle world had non-magical children pining for a chance to saddle up on a Nimbus 2000 or a Firebolt Supreme broomstick and take to the air in the wizarding world’s greatest entertainment.

Concepts like magic flue powder, which allows wizards to travel through fire places; Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans, a confectionary which lives up to its name as you are as likely to get a vomit flavoured bean as a strawberry & Platform Nine & Three-Quarters, a magical platform at King’s Cross train station from which the Hogwart’s Express departs, are all examples that fire the imagination and make the Harry Potter stories such an inventive and entertaining world to become immersed in.

The hulking presence of Hagrid, Hogwart’s game keeper and devotee of a menagerie of fantastical, mysterious & frankly downright dangerous magical fauna was a steady source of entertainment, as well as providing Hogwart’s school nurse, Madam Pomfrey, with a stream of hospital cases.

Many will be happy to revisit the world of Harry Potter and for those yet to experience it I can assure you that even the Dementors of Azkaban won’t be able to wipe the smile off your face!

There will be a twitter discussion on 27 June  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 BST.  Note this is a staggered discussion.

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

This month with be epic with #epicread for #rwpchat

June 1, 2017

#epicread

faith-no-more-epic-shaped-picture-disc-vinyl-001-800x780

Can feel it? See it? Hear it today?

Of course you can because this month’s Read Watch Play theme is #epicread!!!

For people who like the challenge of a gargantuan tome the likes of Gregory David Roberts’ “Shantaram” or Leo Tolstoy’s “War & Peace”, a lengthy series like Stephen King’s Gunslinger/Dark Tower or Robert Jordan’s “Wheel of Time”, sonic pilgrimages like Kamasi Washington’s 3 hour Jazz opus called “The Epic” or knocking off ten years worth of TV episodes you always meant to watch (I recommend “The Sopranos”, “The Wire” & “Oz”), this month is all about the epic!!!

Epic films from the classic era, including “Lawrence of Arabia”, “Ben Hur”, “The Good, The Bad & The Ugly” & “Spartacus”, as well as more modern works, including “Dances With Wolves” & “Apocalypse Now” entertain with their scope and cinematography, as well as their running times.

Fantasy & Science Fiction (Speculative fiction?…) are the genres that make up the heavy weight class in terms of epic stories. Sometimes only short stories with the density of a neutron star, think Robert Heinlein & Arthur C. Clarke, or ongoing series to seriously bog you down or let you immerse yourself in alternative worlds, think J.R.R. Tolkien & George R.R. Martin, Alastair Reynolds & Isaac Asimov.

Round the world trips (Pole to Pole by Michael Palin), trekking the Camino (Walking the Camino by Tony Kevin), up the slopes of Everest (Maverick Mountaineer by Robert Wainwright), riding the rails in the Russia (Ghost Train to the Eastern Star by Paul Theroux), or cycling around France (French Revolutions by Tim Moore), books about epic travel may instil the bug in the reader or just allow people to tread a path they would not take themselves. Also, especially for Australians, there are plenty of big things on the roadside to explore (banana, pineapple, mosquito etc.) as well as the real epic adventures like the pyramids of Egypt, Stonehenge, Angkor Wat & the Maya & Inca Ruins of South America.

The exploration of the world & space, in various fields of endeavour, has yielded many stories of epic courage, striving and endurance. David Attenborough’s documentation of flora & fauna, polar exploration (Worst Journey in the World by Apsley Cherry-Garrard), scientific exploration and explanation of geology (The Map That Changed the World by Simon Winchester), physics (Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking) & anthropology (Guns, Germs & Steel by Jared Diamond) are great examples of #epicread.

For gamers there are the aptly titled MMO’s (Massively Multiplayer Online) like World of Warcraft & Elder Scrolls, online interactive first person shooters, app games and a plethora of console and PC based options for Epic gaming!!!

There will be a twitter discussion on 27 June 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 BST. Note this is a staggered discussion.

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

join the #playread discussion today for #rwpchat

May 30, 2017

#playread

There will be a twitter discussion today, 30 May 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 BST. Note this is a staggered discussion.

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

All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;

This quote from William Shakespeare seems a timely way to start #playread. Watching plays, or films of plays is a perfect fit for #playread. Some theatre companies as well as offering live performances, provide streaming of performances. The (UK) National Theatre and Branagh Theatre provide performances this way. This may be the month to explore what your local theatre company is offering (or what you can watch online). You can read plays, but they really are meant to be watched, or at least listened to.

Black Children Play Outside The Ida B. Wells Homes, One Of Chicago's Oldest Housing Projects. There Are 1,652 Apartments Housing 5,920 Persons In 124 Buildings On The South Side, 05/1973

Children playing, photograph courtesy US National Archives

This month there is a key date, May the Fourth, Star Wars Day (say the date out loud and it will all become clear). You may want to cosplay (another kind of #playread) your favourite Star Wars character on this day (or every day). Cosplay could be another way to participate in #playread as you role play your fandom. You can even combine Star Wars and Shakespeare by reading the work of Ian Doescher.

Reading, watching and playing can be playful, and #playread explores these and many other interpretations for #playread, looking at whimsy, playfulness and word plays as part of reading, watching and playing. For some titles such as the Lord of the ring and the Walking dead you can read, watch and play as they are books, films/on television as well as games.

#playread may be grim, when options such as the Hunger games are about games to the death, or if you are watching, rather than reading this stories, the films can be played (another way of looking at #playread). #playread may be a time to explore writers such as Ernest Cline, whose two recent novels feature games as part of the stories. They also feature game related skills which is a reminder that read watch play is about reading, watching and playing.

Playing dvds (or streaming) is another way to try #playread. IMBd can give you lots of ideas to explore.

For #playread you can play boardgames and obtain inspiration from places such as BoardGameGeek and Tabletop. If live action role playing is more your thing, explore Nordic LARP. For another view of #playread that of exploring the past, you could consider historical reenactment or play the past (exploring the connection of games and cultural heritage).

There are lot of other games to consider including video games. You can explore the Museum of Play, and the history of electronic games. You can play some of these games online via the Internet Archive. Perhaps app based games are your thing – what are your favourites?

Reading about sport and fitness are #playread too, and lead to other activity. #playread may be what you listen to while you are getting fitter. You might like reading about sports people to find out their stories or be reading about fitness (or watching videos) as a step to improving your own health and fitness. Make sure you take an evidence based approach and not one of fake science. This might be the month the explore playgrounds as part of the #playread experience. These ones in Denmark are very beautiful.

You may play music or enjoy listening or watching music being played. Music brings a huge area to #playread as you may read the history of music and musicians, as well as explore historic and contemporary music. This may be the month to explore music from different cultures. Music is far too wide a field to link to or describe here, but share your favourites with #playread online.

There are other creative options such as Playing for time (exploring community based art). You may even find gardening, or reading about gardening a #playread as it lets you explore creativity. Cookery could also be a #playread option as you may be playful with a recipe. There are many creative options for #playread. For you it could be carpentry, bee keeping or 3D printing. Share your favourites through using #rwpchat #playread.

It may be the month for whimsical, playful reading. Steampunk could be a good fit for this (including The watchmaker of Filigree Street and The aeronaut’s windlass) as well as another good reason to explore cosplay. Reading about a character like Lord Peter Wimsey or those created by Elizabeth Edmonson or James Runcie could be a #playread.

Fantasy also has much #playread potential including the Gentleman bastard series by Scott Lynch and there are many more.

There will be a twitter discussion on 30 May 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. Note this is a staggered discussion.

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

Odyssey Jam – a follow up #WaterRead

May 19, 2017

horseserpent-tweak

In March, as part of Read Watch Play, we ran Odyssey Jam, a themed digital game jam with a literary twist. The idea behind it was to encourage people to create a text based game or piece of interactive fiction based on Homer’s The Odyssey over a 2 week period. One of the purposes of the game jam was to tie in with libraries’ core objectives of supporting literacy and supporting the development of readers and writers.

After the 2 week period we encouraged entrants to upload their entries to itch.io so that others could play them. Anyone around the world was able to enter, and at the end of the game jam we had 10 entries, including entries from people who had…

  • Never made a game before!
  • Never created a piece of interactive fiction before!
  • Never been involved in a game jam before!

It was great to see such a variety of style and content in the entries and how each developer had interpreted the theme – no 2 were the same. Some game developers chose to create pure text games (ie The Long Ing Blink; Islands and Witches), other focused on creating entries that were more visual but still included text (ie Taith; A flower from Hermes). There were humourous games (ie 108 suitors; The Perils of Penelope), games set in their original setting, and others re-set the Odyssey in a new context (ie Come Back Home; Hyperions Wake).

Game developers were also encouraged to share their work in progress on Twitter as well, and a few did just that, and it was great to see how their games were taking shape and how enthusiastic they were about their involvement in the jam.

A college in Milan also encouraged students on their creative writing course to participate and a couple of their entries were submitted to the jam.

It was great that this literary theme capture people’s interest.

I’m also aware that at least one of the developers is still continuing to develop their game, Hyperion’s Wake.

As part of Odyssey Jam we also encouraged entrants to make use of digitised images on Flickr that The British Library had released under a creative commons license [link]. We pulled together a small collection of ancient Greece themed images from the much larger collection. A couple of entries made use of these images (ie No one; 108 suitors)

The games are still available to play online, so please try them out and share.

You can also watch short play-throughs of the entries thanks to video game blogger Jupiter Hadley.

Emily Short also wrote about the game jam.

Thanks to all the game developers who got involved in Odyssey Jam (it was fun playing the entries), and thanks too to all who helped promote it.

Gary Green (Surrey Libraries)

Happy Star Wars Day, enjoy #MayTheFourth for #rwpchat

May 4, 2017

How will you be celebrating Star Wars day?  You can read, watch and play your way through the day.

When did you first see Star Wars?  What is your favourite quote?  Who is your favourite character?

You may want to celebrate with some Star Wars inspired food (the apple Yoda is amazing) or through knitting or crocheting something.

Let us know by adding #maythe4th to your #rwpchat #playread tweets and images.

May the 4th is a recent addition to the Star wars universe (see Wookipedia and Wikipedia).

4 May is Star Wars Day. Say #maythe4th if you are wondering why.

The characters are a powerful part of Star Wars…and is powerfully evocative of memories of watching Star Wars. You can explore Star Wars on twitter, instagram, and more.

There is lots of wonderful reading in the Wookieepedia, and suggestions on Goodreads too. If you are bold enough for William Shakespeare meets Star Wars, try this series by Ian Doescher, and the Star Wars sonnet generator. Enjoy #maythefourth.
Fitting for today. Some spray paint stenciling from the weekend. (Not my stencil, just my sprayin') #atat #maythefourth #art #stencil

play around with #playread this month for #rwpchat

May 1, 2017

#playread

All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;

This quote from William Shakespeare seems a timely way to start #playread. Watching plays, or films of plays is a perfect fit for #playread. Some theatre companies as well as offering live performances, provide streaming of performances. The (UK) National Theatre and Branagh Theatre provide performances this way. This may be the month to explore what your local theatre company is offering (or what you can watch online). You can read plays, but they really are meant to be watched, or at least listened to.

Black Children Play Outside The Ida B. Wells Homes, One Of Chicago's Oldest Housing Projects. There Are 1,652 Apartments Housing 5,920 Persons In 124 Buildings On The South Side, 05/1973

Children playing, photograph courtesy US National Archives

This month there is a key date, May the Fourth, Star Wars Day (say the date out loud and it will all become clear). You may want to cosplay (another kind of #playread) your favourite Star Wars character on this day (or every day). Cosplay could be another way to participate in #playread as you role play your fandom. You can even combine Star Wars and Shakespeare by reading the work of Ian Doescher.

Reading, watching and playing can be playful, and #playread explores these and many other interpretations for #playread, looking at whimsy, playfulness and word plays as part of reading, watching and playing. For some titles such as the Lord of the ring and the Walking dead you can read, watch and play as they are books, films/on television as well as games.

#playread may be grim, when options such as the Hunger games are about games to the death, or if you are watching, rather than reading this stories, the films can be played (another way of looking at #playread). #playread may be a time to explore writers such as Ernest Cline, whose two recent novels feature games as part of the stories. They also feature game related skills which is a reminder that read watch play is about reading, watching and playing.

Playing dvds (or streaming) is another way to try #playread. IMBd can give you lots of ideas to explore.

For #playread you can play boardgames and obtain inspiration from places such as BoardGameGeek and Tabletop. If live action role playing is more your thing, explore Nordic LARP. For another view of #playread that of exploring the past, you could consider historical reenactment or play the past (exploring the connection of games and cultural heritage).

There are lot of other games to consider including video games. You can explore the Museum of Play, and the history of electronic games. You can play some of these games online via the Internet Archive. Perhaps app based games are your thing – what are your favourites?

Reading about sport and fitness are #playread too, and lead to other activity. #playread may be what you listen to while you are getting fitter. You might like reading about sports people to find out their stories or be reading about fitness (or watching videos) as a step to improving your own health and fitness. Make sure you take an evidence based approach and not one of fake science. This might be the month the explore playgrounds as part of the #playread experience. These ones in Denmark are very beautiful.

You may play music or enjoy listening or watching music being played. Music brings a huge area to #playread as you may read the history of music and musicians, as well as explore historic and contemporary music. This may be the month to explore music from different cultures. Music is far too wide a field to link to or describe here, but share your favourites with #playread online.

There are other creative options such as Playing for time (exploring community based art). You may even find gardening, or reading about gardening a #playread as it lets you explore creativity. Cookery could also be a #playread option as you may be playful with a recipe. There are many creative options for #playread. For you it could be carpentry, bee keeping or 3D printing. Share your favourites through using #rwpchat #playread.

It may be the month for whimsical, playful reading. Steampunk could be a good fit for this (including The watchmaker of Filigree Street and The aeronaut’s windlass) as well as another good reason to explore cosplay. Reading about a character like Lord Peter Wimsey or those created by Elizabeth Edmonson or James Runcie could be a #playread.

Fantasy also has much #playread potential including the Gentleman bastard series by Scott Lynch and there are many more.

There will be a twitter discussion on 30 May 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 BST. Note this is a staggered discussion.

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