Category Archives: eBooks, iPads & other technologies

Shakespeare’s Sonnets (eBook of the Month)

Coming full circle from my first choice of eBook of the Month in 2012, the Faber / Touch Press edition of Eliot’s The Wasteland. The same people have given Shakespeare’s Sonnets a remarkable makeover, enriching the poetry with video- recorded readings, facsimiles and literary criticism. And all in one app.


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Vietnam (Graham Greene)

The traveller / writer who accompanied me to Vietnam this year was Graham Greene; I read The Quiet American (1955) in Hanoi. Greene’s powerful novel about the war in Vietnam, set in the period of the French recolonization efforts against the Viet Minh,  was the perfect book to read on this trip. He wrote from experience as a war correspondent, and this ‘fictional reportage’ makes compelling reading.

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Penguin Specials (eBook of the Month)

This series of inexpensive eBooks is designed for short, quick reading: what Penguin describes as the duration of  ‘a long commute or a short journey.’ They are certainly a good use of new technology. With print books, size mattered. With eBooks, the format is flexible – Penguin can publish a single short story, or an essay,  rather than being obliged to print a whole collection or several chapters in a book.

There are short stories by a variety of Australian authors: Barbara Baynton, Peter Goldsworthy, Helen Garner, and young emerging writers from Monash University. For non-fiction readers, there’s a mixture of politics, humour and biography.

What a brilliant way to get readers to try something a bit different: just a taste of something short, easily and quickly available at the tap of a finger. Let me know if you try one!

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Children and Reading

A warm thank  you to the two Children’s Librarians, Debi and Janine, who shared ideas about the joy of reading to children with us today. (This was our third event for the National Year of Reading, coinciding with the Reading Hour and the recent Children’s Book Council Awards.)  Thanks also to my lovely, responsive audience of mothers, aunts, uncles, grandmothers, god-mothers and pregnant women!

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The Speckled Band (eBook of the Month)

And now for something completely different! From the ridiculous to the sublime, from E. L. James to someone who can really write.  Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote the best-sellers of his day, inventing one of literature’s most enduring characters, and writing with elegance and style. I have always loved his inventive Sherlock Holmes detective stories and strange gothic tales.

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British Library 19th Century Collection

This wonderful collection of 19th century books is one of my favourite apps. What’s not to love?  The British Library is one of the world’s great libraries, and they’ve digitized thousands of books and made them available ‘online’ for free. At the touch of a button and the tap of a finger, a reader can have the book that they want to read up on the screen –  in its entirety (no ‘selected pages only’  here) and as a facsimile (no bland, boring eBook pages that make every book look the same.) Continue reading

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The Stranger’s Child (eBook of the Month)

Alan Hollinghurst is a gifted English author, whose work I’ve only just discovered. I need your help for recommendations – which of his other books should I read next? The Stranger’s Child, his latest novel, impressed me with its clearly-articulated themes: what it means to be English, the place of literature in our lives, the vagaries of memory, the changes in social attitudes to gay relationships.  Continue reading

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