Category Archives: National Year of Reading

Last orders

Time, ladies and gentlemen, please! This is the last post for the Reading Women blog.  Created to celebrate the National Year of Reading 2012, the blog has drawn on the rich and wonderful collections of the University of Adelaide’s Barr Smith Library. As Research Librarian for English and Creative Writing, it’s been a pleasure to promote reading from South Australia’s oldest university, with the support of my colleagues in the library and in the university’s Women’s Professional Development Network (WPDN).

Reading Women can still be used as a source for books and reading. Check the What to Read Next category for a year’s worth of ideas and inspiration. Use the Search box to look for authors, titles and themes by keyword.

A word of warning: in 2013, the University of Adelaide Library will close its catalogue and move to a different system, so many of the links to our collection on this blog will cease to work. You can re-do your search for a particular title or author from the library’s home page.

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Library of the Month

At the end of the National Year of Reading, let’s celebrate all of the libraries that participated in NYR.  From creating lovely reading cafés to organising non-stop reading relays, librarians gave their readers opportunities to truly enjoy their books. Major programmes included adult literacy projects, The Reading Hour and Our Story (designed to raise awareness of Australian fiction.)

Public libraries were the major participants in NYR, but a handful of university libraries joined in as well. Literacy is seen as a public and school library issue rather than an academic one, but we are all engaged in the ‘business’ of promoting the benefits and the joys of reading.

This is one of the issues that I will talk about at the New Librarians’ Symposium early next year, when I give a session on the role of the embedded academic librarian. Libraries are not flourishing in a rapidly-changing, Google-ized world. We need to be very sure of the core values of our profession as we face the 21st century and all the changes that this will bring.

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Writers’ Week 2013

Something to look forward to after the National Year of Reading 2012 is over: the Adelaide Festival’s  Writers’ Week in March 2013.  Laura Kroetsch, the director, spoke to us in the library last night  ; her passion for reading and her enthusiasm for Writers’ Week were contagious.

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Kerryn Goldsworthy

The last event for our National Year of Reading programme here at the University of Adelaide is another Read the Book, Meet the Author session. Kerryn is a Research Fellow in our discipline of English and Creative Writing; she is also a critic, freelance writer and a prolific book reviewer. Her latest book is Adelaide, published in NewSouth’s City Series. Read about Kerryn’s book here and join us in the Barr Smith Library if you can!

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Banned Books Week

Celebrate our freedom to read by reading a banned book this week! The National Year of Reading is also the 30th year of Banned Books Week, a time to acknowledge one of the great freedoms of democracy: the right to read.

There are plenty of choices for banned books : try this list here. All of these books are available in the Barr Smith Library, and all of them are well worth reading. Choose from a wonderful story like Gone with the wind ( I can’t imagine why that was banned, perhaps because Scarlett O’Hara was so unladylike?) – or try the work of D. H. Lawrence, George Orwell or F. Scott Fitzgerald.  Alternatively, pick a title from the Australian Censors’ Library: there are many great books to choose from here.

I’m going to re-read To Kill A Mockingbird, one of the most beautifully-written and powerful statements ever made against racism. Our world would be a poorer place without the integrity and conviction of women like Harper Lee.  Let me know which banned book you decide to read.

Happy Reading over the long weekend! 🙂

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End of the Night Girl

Next month I will have the pleasure of introducing Amy Matthews, the award-winning Australian author of End of the Night Girl (Wakefield Press, 2011.) Amy works  at the University of Adelaide; she is a Research Fellow of the discipline of English and Creative Writing. As the Research Librarian for this group, I’ve had the opportunity to discuss Amy’s novel with her, and to sit in on some of her lectures, when she discussed post-modernism, creative non-fiction and the work of Michael Cunningham ( particularly The Hours, both text and film.)

Amy’s debut novel won the Adelaide Festival Award for Best Unpublished Manuscript in 2010; it was also nominated for the Australian / Vogel prize. The book was short-listed this year for the Dobbie Award, a prize that celebrates Australian women’s writing. It is currently short-listed for the Colin Roderick Award.

The novel is a powerful narrative about the long shadows cast by the Holocaust. It begins in late 20th-century Adelaide, where Molly, a young waitress, is struggling to make sense of her life (marked by dead-end jobs, unsatisfactory love affairs and a strained relationship with her family.) Molly’s secret life as a writer is a vitally important part of the story: she is consumed with the need to write about the Holocaust, taking the life of a Polish woman, Gienia, as her starting-point. Gradually, the character of Gienia comes to dominate Molly’s life – in a kind of sinister haunting that makes for deeply unsettling reading.

End of the Night Girl is a brilliant novel: highly recommended.

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The Library Book (Book Review)

One of the best books that I’ve bought recently celebrates the joy of reading in libraries. The Library Book has a cast of excellent authors – Alan Bennett, Stephen Fry, Zadie Smith and others -writing about their experiences of using libraries. As children, adolescents and adults, these people  enjoyed and benefitted from their reading;  in this slim, elegant book they celebrate the library as sanctuary, as a source of creativity, as a place of education and self-discovery. You can read an edited version of Alan Bennett’s lively and entertaining contribution here 

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