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Join the #joyread discussion this month for #rwpchat

December 1, 2016
Christmas #1 Kevin Dooloey

Christmas #1 Kevin Dooley

#joyread

The act of reading is a particularly joyful one for many people, regardless of what is being read, and is the perfect way to achieve or enhance the joyfulness expected at this time of year. Joy may, for you, be watching the Dr Who Christmas special, playing board games with the family, or cooking up a storm using cookbooks released in time for the giving season.

Share your love of reading with children over some beautifully illustrated picture books, discuss the books that bring you the most joy with your book club, or at your office Christmas party, where cheesy eighties’ music plays.

Feel the joy with Underwater Dogs by Seth Casteel, and laugh at others’ expense with cat shaming. Continue laughing with P. G. Wodehouse or David Sedaris. If you find yourself becoming overwhelmed, pull out the pencils and start colouring, or get crafty in any way that takes your fancy.

Get back to nature, out on a bushwalk or watching David Attenborough documentaries, or explore non-fiction books about joy, happiness and motivation.

Don’t feel the need to conform to light and sweet, however, if horror brings you joy, then go for it! That goes for dark humour, too. How are you going to read, watch and play with joy this month?

There will be a twitter discussion on 20th December (no-one will remember on the 27th!) 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 #joyread and #rwpchat as you discuss the reading, watching playing that is your experience of #joyread, so others can join in the conversation too.

join the #flightread discussion today for #rwpchat

November 29, 2016

There will be a twitter discussion, today, 29 November 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 BST. Note this is a staggered discussion.

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

Photograph: Simon Dwyer (Flying out over Sydney, 2013)There are lots of opportunities to read, watch and play – up in the air.

For science fiction fans there are works about flying through space (classics such as Star Wars and 2001) as well as flying through time with Dr Who. For those who prefer their science without the fiction there are many examples that document the history of space as well as the history of the different space programs.

Fantasy has seen many characters airborne from dragons to the rescue, by eagles, of Frodo and Sam in The Lord of the Rings. Such escapes reflected in real life through flights to safety attempted by asylum seekers and refugees.

2014 witnessed numerous commemorations for the Centenary of the Great War, with 2015 marking the Centenary of ANZAC, prompting many readers to reflect on conflict. As marks of respect for the fallen continue to be offered throughout 2016 there are various #flightread works available for readers, watchers and players. Airborne conflicts were significant components of World War I and World War II as well as subsequent conflicts including Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and the ongoing ‘War on Terror’. Another anniversary, in 2016, is the 100th anniversary of the birth of Roald Dahl who, famous for a writer of children’s stories, was also a Hurricane fighter pilot during World War I.

There are also histories around the business of moving people through the air, including histories of innovation and invention, histories of travel, histories of great aviators and aviatrix, as well as histories of space and the rise of commercial carriers such as Qantas and Virgin (and the occasional fall Ansett and Pan Am). Sitting alongside these works are stories that tell of flight disasters – fiction and non-fiction.

The natural world presents lots of #flightread examples, think: bats; bees; birds; and insects; and those that almost fly – flying fish, flying lemurs and gliding possums in addition to fantastic creatures such as cherubs, fairies and devils. Flying is also about sport and recreation from balloons to kites, from fly fishing to quidditch.

Flying and flight inspires us from airline captain to superman, from meteorologist to metallurgist there are so many special interest groups in aviation, covering a wide range of applications. The ability to move people and goods great distances quickly fascinates us. Travel to exotic places, movie sets, quiet escapes, or ancestral homelands, once took months by sea, then weeks by early aircraft is now measured in hours. We travel to broaden our horizons and examine other places and cultures, some even travel just for the experience of flight. You can prepare for these adventures through a range of podcasts including: Airplane Geeks; Plane Crazy; and Airline Pilot Guy. Or, you could test your own flying skills with games such as Flight Control or you could try a Flight Simulator.

Most flights now feature some sort of entertainment – be it hundreds of audio visual programs, games or in flight wifi. There are two entertainment options that never need batteries, rebooting, new software or an upgrade: the aircraft window; and a good book.

Simon Dwyer @ausspin / Rachel Franks @cfwriter

Hot air ballooning over Sossusvlei in Namibia #flightread #rwpchat

November 13, 2016

 

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Hot air ballooning over Sossusvlei

I woke up early to do a balloon flight with my husband while on holiday in Namibia.  It was still dark and the stars were spectacular.  We hoped we would be lucky with the weather, as our flight the previous day had been cancelled due to strong winds, which would have blown the balloon off course either ending up over the Atlantic Ocean or stranded on top of a sand dune.  This had happened to a balloon flight several months ago and it had taken three days to rescue everyone as the Namib Desert where Sossusvlei is located is very remote and many of the sand dunes are 300 metres high.

We made our way to reception to meet the organiser of the balloon trip to see if the weather conditions were favourable, they were, we were going to fly over the sand dunes in a hot air balloon.  We got into the waiting vehicle and were driven to the take-off site.  As we approached we could see one balloon already in the air and the other two being inflated.

Soon our hot air balloon was fully inflated so we climbed into the basket.  The burners were switched on and we slowly rose up into the still morning air.  The view over the sand dunes was incredible.  As the sun rose higher in the sky they changed from pale pink to mauve then to vivid orange.  As we drifted over the desert we spotted oryx which were disturbed by the noise from the burners.

All too soon it was time to come back down to earth after an unforgettable experience.  We climbed out of the basket and the crew deflated the balloon. Then it was time for breakfast in the middle of the Namib Desert.  A sumptuous feast had been laid out on trestle tables complete with champagne.  All this before 9am in the morning – what an amazing start to the day.

Monique (Surrey Libraries)

 

It is November and time to explore #flightread for #rwpchat

November 1, 2016

#flightread

Photograph: Simon Dwyer (Flying out over Sydney, 2013)There are lots of opportunities to read, watch and play – up in the air.

For science fiction fans there are works about flying through space (classics such as Star Wars and 2001) as well as flying through time with Dr Who. For those who prefer their science without the fiction there are many examples that document the history of space as well as the history of the different space programs.

Fantasy has seen many characters airborne from dragons to the rescue, by eagles, of Frodo and Sam in The Lord of the Rings. Such escapes reflected in real life through flights to safety attempted by asylum seekers and refugees.

2014 witnessed numerous commemorations for the Centenary of the Great War, with 2015 marking the Centenary of ANZAC, prompting many readers to reflect on conflict. As marks of respect for the fallen continue to be offered throughout 2016 there are various #flightread works available for readers, watchers and players. Airborne conflicts were significant components of World War I and World War II as well as subsequent conflicts including Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and the ongoing ‘War on Terror’. Another anniversary, in 2016, is the 100th anniversary of the birth of Roald Dahl who, famous for a writer of children’s stories, was also a Hurricane fighter pilot during World War I.

There are also histories around the business of moving people through the air, including histories of innovation and invention, histories of travel, histories of great aviators and aviatrix, as well as histories of space and the rise of commercial carriers such as Qantas and Virgin (and the occasional fall Ansett and Pan Am). Sitting alongside these works are stories that tell of flight disasters – fiction and non-fiction.

The natural world presents lots of #flightread examples, think: bats; bees; birds; and insects; and those that almost fly – flying fish, flying lemurs and gliding possums in addition to fantastic creatures such as cherubs, fairies and devils. Flying is also about sport and recreation from balloons to kites, from fly fishing to quidditch.

Flying and flight inspires us from airline captain to superman, from meteorologist to metallurgist there are so many special interest groups in aviation, covering a wide range of applications. The ability to move people and goods great distances quickly fascinates us. Travel to exotic places, movie sets, quiet escapes, or ancestral homelands, once took months by sea, then weeks by early aircraft is now measured in hours. We travel to broaden our horizons and examine other places and cultures, some even travel just for the experience of flight. You can prepare for these adventures through a range of podcasts including: Airplane Geeks; Plane Crazy; and Airline Pilot Guy. Or, you could test your own flying skills with games such as Flight Control or you could try a Flight Simulator.

Most flights now feature some sort of entertainment – be it hundreds of audio visual programs, games or in flight wifi. There are two entertainment options that never need batteries, rebooting, new software or an upgrade: the aircraft window; and a good book.

There will be a twitter discussion on 29 November  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  #flightread and #rwpchat as you discuss the reading, watching playing that is your experience of  #flightread, so others can join in the conversation too.

Simon Dwyer @ausspin / Rachel Franks @cfwriter

join the #bookbitesread discussion today for #rwpchat

October 25, 2016

Join the #bookbitesread Twitter discussion today, 25 October, 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. Please include #bookbitesread and #rwpchat in your tweets so that others can join the conversation.

The first thing which springs to mind is the vast array of cook books that pervade most bookshelves. The earliest version dates back to the 1st century and written in Latin. These are also matched by a multitude of books about diets and dieting, either for specific health conditions or because of our hunt for the perfect figure.

vegetables

Vegetables by Martin Abegglen

The number of cookery books on the shelves is also matched with our enthusiasm for cookery programmes, from the Great British Bake-off to a number of travel cookery programmes such as the Rick Stein and the Hairy Bikers.

Knowing where our food come from and sustainability has become an increasingly hot topic with many towns now boasting Farmers markets, promotions such as Good Food Month in Australia and The Food and Farming Award in the UK and many, many other regional food awards promoting where their produce comes from. You can also buy food directly from some farms, and market gardens.

Recently the publishing industry has seen a surge of books about all things that bite – whether you are fans of Stephanie Mayer’s Twilight saga, or prefer the slightly less glamourous Darren Shan vampire books, there are many to choose from, as well as some with werewolves, such as Harry Potter and the Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy. (Or maybe you are a fan of Murnau’s classic Nosferatu film!)

You might also want to discuss real-life biters from very small bugs like mosquitos and fleas, to larger sets of teeth like snakes and sharks, which I suppose, might lead to a discussion about travel fiction such as Paul Theroux’s writings, as well as classics like The Jungle Book and Life of Pi.

From steamy jungles where the bugs bite to the frozen wastes where the frost bites; there’s may cold adventures to be had from the very real biographical work of Sir Ranulph Fiennes to the fictional but still chilling A Christmas Carol, Call of the Wild, Frankenstein, and Marcus Sedgwick’s Revolver which also features the law being taken into the character’s own hands (so some biting revenge!).

From cold places to comfort eating, there are also many fiction books that delight in describing the food in the story, such as Donna Leon’s Guido Brunetti stories to Joanne Harris’ series Chocolat, Blackberry Wine and Five quarters of the Orange, and Mouse-Proof Kitchen by Saira Shah, where food is definitely used as therapy.

Short stories and Biographies are a good way of getting a quick bite of story or someone’s life. If you’re looking for a quick bite, Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories were published as a serial in the newspaper as was Helen Fielding’s eponymous heroine Bridget Jones.

For a more literal reference to book bites you can follow the adventures of Tony Chu, a graphic novel series about an America Food and Drug Administration Agent solves crimes by receiving psychic impressions from comestibles, including people.

So there is plenty out there to satisfy everyone’s taste and we’d love to discuss your favourite bites.

While you are reading, playing or watching your #bookbitesread this month, you might like to tweet about it using hashtags #bookbitesread #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 #bookbitesread #rwpchat so others can share in your reading, watching and playing.

Join us for #bookbitesread in October for #rwpchat

October 1, 2016

#bookbitesread is the mouth watering topic for discussion in October.

The first thing which springs to mind is the vast array of cook books that pervade most bookshelves. The earliest version dates back to the 1st century and written in Latin. These are also matched by a multitude of books about diets and dieting, either for specific health conditions or because of our hunt for the perfect figure.

vegetables

Vegetables by Martin Abegglen

The number of cookery books on the shelves is also matched with our enthusiasm for cookery programmes, from the Great British Bake-off to a number of travel cookery programmes such as the Rick Stein and the Hairy Bikers.

Knowing where our food come from and sustainability has become an increasingly hot topic with many towns now boasting Farmers markets, promotions such as Good Food Month in Australia and The Food and Farming Award in the UK and many, many other regional food awards promoting where their produce comes from. You can also buy food directly from some farms, and market gardens.

Recently the publishing industry has seen a surge of books about all things that bite – whether you are fans of Stephanie Mayer’s Twilight saga, or prefer the slightly less glamourous Darren Shan vampire books, there are many to choose from, as well as some with werewolves, such as Harry Potter and the Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy. (Or maybe you are a fan of Murnau’s classic Nosferatu film!)

You might also want to discuss real-life biters from very small bugs like mosquitos and fleas, to larger sets of teeth like snakes and sharks, which I suppose, might lead to a discussion about travel fiction such as Paul Theroux’s writings, as well as classics like The Jungle Book and Life of Pi.

From steamy jungles where the bugs bite to the frozen wastes where the frost bites; there’s may cold adventures to be had from the very real biographical work of Sir Ranulph Fiennes to the fictional but still chilling A Christmas Carol, Call of the Wild, Frankenstein, and Marcus Sedgwick’s Revolver which also features the law being taken into the character’s own hands (so some biting revenge!).

From cold places to comfort eating, there are also many fiction books that delight in describing the food in the story, such as Donna Leon’s Guido Brunetti stories to Joanne Harris’ series Chocolat, Blackberry Wine and Five quarters of the Orange, and Mouse-Proof Kitchen by Saira Shah, where food is definitely used as therapy.

Short stories and Biographies are a good way of getting a quick bite of story or someone’s life. If you’re looking for a quick bite, Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories were published as a serial in the newspaper as was Helen Fielding’s eponymous heroine Bridget Jones.

For a more literal reference to book bites you can follow the adventures of Tony Chu, a graphic novel series about an America Food and Drug Administration Agent solves crimes by receiving psychic impressions from comestibles, including people.

So there is plenty out there to satisfy everyone’s taste and we’d love to discuss your favourite bites.

While you are reading, playing or watching your #bookbitesread this month, you might like to tweet about it using hashtags #bookbitesread #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 #bookbitesread #rwpchat so others can share in your reading, watching and playing.

The Twitter discussion takes place on 25 October, 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.

Join the #historyread discussion today for #rwpchat

September 27, 2016

Join the Twitter discussion, today, on 27 September, 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.

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

While you are reading, playing or watching your #historyread this month, you might like to tweet about it using hashtags #historyread #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 #historyread #rwpchat so others can share in your reading, watching and playing.

Fish washing indoors. Reykjavík.

Fish washing indoors. Reykjavík.

September is the month of #historyread, where there’s hundreds of potential themes to be discussed; from fact and fiction books, representations of history in film and a variety of history plays. This month’s theme also ties in with History Week (5th – 13th September), when the History Council of New South Wales member organisations collaborate to showcase the history of the state.

Every country and community has moments of its history which have been represented in some artistic form. Will you be exploring historical crime fiction with CJ Sansom’s Dominion series or perhaps reading into China Mieville’s science fiction worlds? Or do you prefer your historical fiction with a touch of romance, a 19th century steampunk twist, or an alternate history in a world that took a slightly different path? Though it isn’t an alternate history we can see from Tony Horwitz’ Confederates in the Attic that the American Civil War still has a legacy many people may be unaware of.

There’s also local history to explore; this will be different for everyone, so what’s local for you? Perhaps you’ve experience in genealogy and have an interest in family history, all of which can be done using books tracing your family history. Through the development of photographic techniques in the 19th century and later, moving pictures, we can see what life was like in the past, as well as reading about it.

We’ve got the history of everything from food, art and photography to sport and changes in the weather, through which we can all see a wide range of books and documentaries on these topics. We can go down an even narrower subject route with micro histories such as Simon Garfield’s Mauve.

Language has also changed over time, with new words always being introduced into the English Language including Melvyn Bragg’s The Adventure of English. Languages have travelled across continents over the centuries, sometimes as a result of colonialism, but what was the impact on the Indigenous languages of those continents, and what is the resulting legacy for those languages?

What about the studies of archaeology, anthropology and geology, which all give us further insights into the history of the world and how earth was formed.

A Little History of the World or Bill Bryson’s A Short History of Nearly Everything should get you started in everything you need to know about the world, or there’s plenty of other ways to explore the history of science and developments in technology and industry.

For online and digitised resources take a look at the National Library of Australia’s Trove site or Europeana.

Who provides us with a history of events though? We need to be mindful of apologist histories defending controversial activities.

Going back even further in time is the study of palaeontology- what child doesn’t love a book on dinosaurs!? Jurassic Park fits into this, and whilst not a true story (!), it brings to life this magnificent creature of history. Kids also love learning through the Horrible Histories book, which can also now be seen represented on our TV screens. Historical fiction is represented in children’s fiction including Michelle Paver’s Chronicles of Ancient Darkness series.

Who can forget books on time travel such as H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine, books by Connie Willis, and everyone’s favourite time traveller, Doctor Who. Biographies and memoirs explore the history of individual famous figures, some of which have been brought to life through film such as Nelson Mandela’s The Long Walk to Freedom.

How many books can you name with the word ‘history’ in the title? The Secret History by Donna Tartt is a clear frontrunner, but there must be many more to be discussed.

And who doesn’t love to play at historical re-enactment? Dressing up in costume and recreating famous battles is a long forgotten pastime of many.