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Staff Favourites 2010

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 A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway

An absolute masterpiece!
Over the break I re-read an old favourite, Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms…I’d forgotten how hard the Old Man can be (as we get used to his densely detailed style) but soon enough the wonderful rhythms and cadences took over and I was back there in the north of Italy in that dreadful Caporetto aftermath, feeling just as cold and left out in the rain as our narrator – even though I was on Hamilton Island at the time… An absolute masterpiece! (Unlike, I should add, Geraldine Brooks’ agenda- driven potboiler Year of Wonders – but that’s another story…)
Mr Barrie Burton (Head of English)




book cover of The Girl Who Played with Fire  (Millennium, book 2)byStieg LarssonThe Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson

It’s such a joy to follow the unusual life-journey of Salander as she continues to discover her inner-self and more about her (family) background.
This is the second volume of the increasingly popular Millennium Trilogy, even though the author, a journalist called Stieg Larsson, had planned to write ten volumes. Unfortunately he succumbed to a fatal heart attack shortly after leaving the three volumes with his editor, never knowing the world-wide success of his crime novels. In this volume, the journalist Mikael Blomkvist’s enigmatic friend, Lisbeth Salander, ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ from the first volume, is the chief suspect in the murder of two investigative journalists. The plot is well constructed and contains many twists and turns which will keep you guessing. However, to my mind, the main strengths of Larsson’s novels lie in the quality of the main characters and their interactions. It’s such a joy to follow the unusual life-journey of Salander as she continues to discover her inner-self and more about her (family) background. Blomkvist’s quest to undercover the sex-trafficking trade parallels the author’s real-life experiences since he also was an undercover investigative journalist, thus rending the actual storyline more realistic and attention-grabbing. Detective novels always make great easy and relaxing reads, so even though the summer holidays are over, this could be the perfect book to take with you to the beach next weekend.
Mr Christophe Taylor (Teacher of English)

The Tall Man: Death and Life on Palm Island by Chloe Hooper
Captivating, gloomy and inspired, with its murder mystery style, ‘The Tall Man’ will fascinate you, while shining a light on a corner of Australia unknown to most of us.
Chloe Hooper has written a remarkable account of the circumstances and mystery surrounding Cameron Doomadgee’s death in 2004, an Aboriginal man who died while in police custody. The author meticulously explores and explains the specific environment of Palm Island, a rural isolated community where the power relationships between the white folk, in particular the police, and the Indigenous communities are tense, fragile and raw; a place where life is brutal and hope struggles to survive. Through her thorough investigation a la ‘In Cold Blood’, Cooper dissects the tragic living environment of the Aboriginal population, the devastating effects of alcohol as well as Indigenous traditions, myths and beliefs. However, the author also elaborates on the working and living conditions, as well as the inherent culture surrounding ‘the tall man’, which is a reference to Chris Hurley, the policeman accused of Doomadgee’s death. Captivating, gloomy and inspired, with its murder mystery style, ‘The Tall Man’ will fascinate you, while shining a light on a corner of Australia unknown to most of us.
Mr Christophe Taylor (Teacher of English)


Hard Times by Charles Dickens
... the people of Coketon reveal an often bleak and hypocritical existence as they struggle with the day-to-day issues of their lives.
Set in the smoke-stacked days of the Industrial Revolution, the people of Coketon reveal an often bleak and hypocritical existence as they struggle with the day-to-day issues of their lives. This is a very good read and its character development (Josiah Bounderby, Thomas Gradgrind, the very charming Mrs Sparsit, and others) is extraordinary. Dickens explores social and economic division with surgical attention to detail and manages, typically, to produce a sympathetic view of suffering and the individual’s place in a world constrained by judgment, prejudice, and discrimination. 9/10.
Mr Rob Hortin (Teacher of English)





The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown
This was a brilliant read that I could not put down.
I have just read the Lost Symbol by Dan Brown of Angels & Demons and the Da Vinci Code fame. This was a brilliant read that I could not put down. Dan Brown has the ability to put you there with the characters. You can visualize the room, the location, or the city. As you read there is no difference between fact or fiction, his style of writing just captures you. It contains references to architecture, technology, and CIA.
Mr Michael McKeown (Computer Centre – Tech Support)




Rockers and Rollers: An Automobile Autobiography by Brian Johnson
I think maybe Mr Johnson should stick to singing!
Being a fairly big AD/DC fan I had high expectations of this book and author. Sadly, it was a disappointing read for me - I think maybe Mr Johnson should stick to singing! It felt a bit disjointed, with the stories he relates to the reader in no particular order. On the plus side, it gives a humourous insight into another side of Brian and of the lifestyle of the rocker. For me would be a 3-4 out of 10 read.
Mr Christopher Simpson (Design Technology Department)





The Complete Guide to Self-Sufficiency by John Seymour
... it is excellent and has loads of invaluable advise and very clear illustrations.
This could be classed as a “Bible for Self-sufficiency”. Both my wife and I love this book as it covers everything from laying out your garden (up to and over 5 acres), how to grow your own vegies and also keep your own animals. It also guides you through raising animals for food and how to butcher them. Guiding you through your garden, it shows you how to set it up and make it as sustainable as possible. Due to the “British” nature of the book, the seasons are out of alignment with ours, and the use of water is markedly different. Other than that, it is excellent and has loads of invaluable advise and very clear illustrations. I’d rate it 9.5 /10 Mr Christopher Simpson (Design Technology Department)




The 10pm Question by Kate De Goldi
De Goldi’s writing is engaging, her characters loveable and believable.
This is a delightful book about a boy with a plethora of worries - some faintly ridiculous and others bad enough to get me worrying about him worrying! Above all, though, Frankie Parsons had me laughing. His mother is afraid to leave the house, his new friend’s mother could arguably be labeled a prostitute and his aunts are downright eccentric. De Goldi’s writing is engaging, her characters loveable and believable. The10pm Question is a thoroughly enjoyable read.
Mrs Michelle Sweeney (Librarian)




Fromelles: Australia's darkest day and the dramatic discovery of our fallen World War One diggers by Patrick Lindsay
It is by far the greatest loss of Australian lives in any conflict and was quickly forgotten by all, probably out of embarrassment.
A story builds from the genesis of WW1 to deconstruct the reasons behind a suicidal push by allied soldiers in an otherwise quiet part of the Western Front against a grossly superior German force in July 1916. Tragedy awaits the 7,000 Australians who ‘hopped the bags’ in this attack which resulted in more than 5,500 dead, wounded or missing diggers. The story does little to enhance the leadership who planned and executed this fruitless attack, in particular the contribution of a former Dux of Scotch College. It is by far the greatest loss of Australian lives in any conflict and was quickly forgotten by all, probably out of embarrassment. Many of the missing were killed and remained unidentified until one man driven by passion pursued the matter in recent years. Some of those diggers who died and were buried by the Germans in a common grave are now being given the respect and honour which they have been long owed. The journey taken to achieve this has been arduous. The conflict also proved notable with the involvement of one lowly German private, the man who would later become Adolph Hitler. Throughout February 2010 allied soldiers will be buried in military graves and some may even be identified - all 94 years after they gave their lives in The Great War. Mr Ross Congleton (Bursar)


Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives by David Eagleman
Such a quick and exciting read, that I turned around and read all my favourites again a second time!
A clever collection of very short stories by neuroscientist, David Eagleman, who wonders, in each brief, funny and often wistful vignette: 'what happens to us when we die?' Are we consigned to replay a lifetime's worth of accumulated acts, as he suggests in "Sum," spending six days clipping your nails or six weeks waiting for a green light? Is heaven a bureaucracy, as in "Reins," where God has lost control of the workload? Will we download our consciousnesses into a computer to live in a virtual world, as suggested in "Great Expectations," where "God exists after all and has gone through great trouble and expense to construct an afterlife for us"? Or is God actually the size of a bacterium, battling good and evil on the "battlefield of surface proteins," and thus unaware of humans, who are merely the "nutritional substrate"? Mostly, as Eagleman underscores in "Will-'o-the-Wisp," humans desperately want to matter, and in afterlife search out the "ripples left in our wake." A very thought-provoking examination of what it means to us to be, to belong, to matter, and to live. Not for those who have already accepted exactly what their culture has told them awaits them after death. Such a quick and exciting read, that I turned around and read all my favourites again a second time! Mr Jamieson Kane (Media Studies Teacher)


Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
This is one of those books I didn't want to end.
This is a wonderfully written tale about the turbulent reign of King Henry VIII during the period when he is trying to annul his marriage to Katherine of Spain in order to marry Anne Boleyn. It focuses on the pervasive influence of Thomas Cromwell at the time, but is also crammed with fascinating anecdotes about daily life at all levels of English society during the 16th century. Mantel's dialogue is superbly witty - I can just imagine it transferred directly to the screen in a sumptuous BBC period serial. This is one of those books I didn't want to end. Mrs Michelle Sweeney (Librarian)






The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
The sense of injustice will make you revolt, the action will entertain you, the many twists will keep you guessing and the original characters, as well as the exotic settings, will take your imagination on an exciting journey.
Do not let the size of this book put you off! This captivating tale of vengeance will provide you with endless pleasurable moments of adventure. Due to a jealous acquaintance of his, a young man named Dant¨¨s, is wrongly accused of a crime and as a result, ends up spending many years locked up behind bars. After several harsh years of isolation, he manages to escape the island on which he was a prisoner and slowly plots his revenge... Alexandre Dumas is a tremendous story teller. The sense of injustice will make you revolt, the action will entertain you, the many twists will keep you guessing and the original characters, as well as the exotic settings, will take your imagination on an exciting journey. Do not miss out on this adventure and find out who the enigmatic Count of Monte-Cristo really is. It may not be the best literature in the world, but I guarantee that this story will certainly entertain you. It's a real page turner that clearly puts joy into reading and if necessary, there's always the abridged version! Mr Christophe Taylor (Teacher of English)



Q by Luther Blissett
If you like to read about the world turned upside down and reflect on mass violence, Machiavellian politics and utopian dissent in Reformation Germany, peasant-religious rebellion, then this novel is for you: Q by Luther Blissett (not the footy player but a multiple identity 'author'-a story in itself!)
Dr Mark Collins (Teacher of English)






Playing the Enemy - Nelson Mandela and the game that made a nation by John Carlin.
... a moving and inspiring story about how a man with vision and patience can make a difference.
Interesting story about Nelson Mandela's political struggle and final release from his 27 years in jail. The book highlights Mandela's insights and the method he used to gain his freedom and then how he went about uniting a nation divided for years. Using non violent protest and the power of sport over the minds of a nation, it tells the story of how Mandela soothed over a large portion of the population into coming together in a peaceful co-existence with the World Cup Rugby held in South Africa during 1995. It glosses over some of the racial violence of the era especially that which was perpetrated by the far right, although it does mention Eugene Terreblanche who was recently assassinated/killed. It also doesn't mention any of the controversy of the final between New Zealand and South Africa, which the latter won. But a moving and inspiring story about how a man with vision and patience can make a difference. It has now been made into a movie 'Invictus'. Ms Katrina Stalker (Head of General Science)


 
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
This is one of the great American novels and a must read for anyone interested in American social history.
I have read this text at least 25 times and never tire of it. Lee will take you into America's deep south as the country struggles to recover from the economic tragedy of the late 20s and early 30s. Told through the eyes of Scout Finch, we discover the layers of social pretence that binds a rural community together, and also drives it apart. This is one of the great American novels and a must read for anyone interested in American social history. Mr Rob Hortin (Teacher of English)






Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino
An enchanting and challenging wander through many cities described by Marco Polo to Kublai Khan.
An enchanting and challenging wander through many cities described by Marco Polo to Kublai Khan. Interspersed with conversation between the two characters, the reader is invited to consider the unique nature of each city, although at times it seems that these descriptions are but aspects of the one place. The city of Euphemia had appeal as it here that merchants gathered at night to exchange stories based on general words or themes such as sister, forest, wolves so that when they next experienced the loneliness of the journey they would revisit their memories for their stories but also the stories of others shared. Mrs Michele Linossier (Extension Studies)




Homer and Langley by E. L. Doctorow
... another wonderful tale from a modern master.
Yet another wonderful tale from a modern master. Very loosely based on a real story about two reclusive, affluent brothers renowned for their extraordinary hoarding - Langley and Homer Collyer. Set in a glorious mansion on upper Fifth Avenue, New York, Doctorow provides a wistful, engaging and thought provoking mini- history of twentieth century life through the visually impaired (and very aptly named) Homer. As per usual, Doctorow manages to pick his subjects accurately as he meditates on consumerism, the importance of historical awareness and the essential desire to narrate and make sense of complex lives swept along by tumultuous change and restless progress. Mr Nick Konstantatos (Teacher of English)




The Salmon of Doubt: Hitchiking the Galaxy One Last Time by Douglas Adams
It was particularly enjoyable to read his (lesser known) non-fiction work which is just as engaging as his fiction.
A great collection of short pieces of writing by the sorely missed author of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. It was particularly enjoyable to read his (lesser known) non-fiction work which is just as engaging as his fiction. A must-read for DA fans! Mr Lloyd Johnson (Education Support)






What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriaty
If you want a no-think relaxing book for your next holiday this is it¡­ definitely one for the "chicks"¡­
A light, easy-read - set in Sydney - Alice falls and bumps her head at the gym - hey presto, the last 10 years of her memory are wiped out when she wakes up in hospital¡­ and in that time it seems she's become quite a nasty person. She's lost friends, fought with her young children, lost 10 ks through aggressive dieting and gym work and is also on the way to losing her marriage¡­ can she and Nick reconcile, or will she waft off with the handsome school principal Dominic? If you want a no-think relaxing book for your next holiday this is it ... definitely one for the 'chicks' ...
Mrs Jan Dunn (Maintenance)




Wanting by Richard Flanagan
Flanagan does re-create the period in an interesting way and some of his prose is beautifully crafted.
If you liked Gould's Book of Fish then you are likely to enjoy Flanagan's Wanting. In this historical fiction, Richard Flanagan uses two parallel narratives: one is set in England during the latter part of the 19th Century, and tells the story of Charles Dickens coping with the collapse of his marriage, and the other is set during the English settlement of Tasmania. In many ways both of these narratives are about a lack of belonging. But above all, Flanagan uses this historical backdrop to explore the corrupting potential of desire. He seems to be commenting on the potential emotional consequences of wanting too much. At times, I found the characterisation difficult to believe. If, however, you enjoy layered narrative and if you can suspend your disbelief, then Flanagan does re-create the period in an interesting way and some of his prose is beautifully crafted. Ms Ophelia Hopkins (Teacher of Drama)




Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives by David Eagleman
Such a quick and exciting read, that I turned around and read all my favourites again a second time!
A clever collection of very short stories by neuroscientist, David Eagleman, who wonders, in each brief, funny and often wistful vignette: 'what happens to us when we die?' Are we consigned to replay a lifetime's worth of accumulated acts, as he suggests in "Sum," spending six days clipping your nails or six weeks waiting for a green light? Is heaven a bureaucracy, as in "Reins," where God has lost control of the workload? Will we download our consciousnesses into a computer to live in a virtual world, as suggested in "Great Expectations," where "God exists after all and has gone through great trouble and expense to construct an afterlife for us"? Or is God actually the size of a bacterium, battling good and evil on the "battlefield of surface proteins," and thus unaware of humans, who are merely the "nutritional substrate"? Mostly, as Eagleman underscores in "Will-'o-the-Wisp," humans desperately want to matter, and in afterlife search out the "ripples left in our wake." A very thought-provoking examination of what it means to us to be, to belong, to matter, and to live. Not for those who have already accepted exactly what their culture has told them awaits them after death. Such a quick and exciting read, that I turned around and read all my favourites again a second time! Mr Jamieson Kane (Media Studies Teacher)



Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
This is one of those books I didn't want to end.
This is a wonderfully written tale about the turbulent reign of King Henry VIII during the period when he is trying to annul his marriage to Katherine of Spain in order to marry Anne Boleyn. It focuses on the pervasive influence of Thomas Cromwell at the time, but is also crammed with fascinating anecdotes about daily life at all levels of English society during the 16th century. Mantel's dialogue is superbly witty - I can just imagine it transferred directly to the screen in a sumptuous BBC period serial. This is one of those books I didn't want to end. Mrs Michelle Sweeney (Librarian)







The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
The sense of injustice will make you revolt, the action will entertain you, the many twists will keep you guessing and the original characters, as well as the exotic settings, will take your imagination on an exciting journey.
Do not let the size of this book put you off! This captivating tale of vengeance will provide you with endless pleasurable moments of adventure. Due to a jealous acquaintance of his, a young man named Dant¨¨s, is wrongly accused of a crime and as a result, ends up spending many years locked up behind bars. After several harsh years of isolation, he manages to escape the island on which he was a prisoner and slowly plots his revenge... Alexandre Dumas is a tremendous story teller. The sense of injustice will make you revolt, the action will entertain you, the many twists will keep you guessing and the original characters, as well as the exotic settings, will take your imagination on an exciting journey. Do not miss out on this adventure and find out who the enigmatic Count of Monte-Cristo really is. It may not be the best literature in the world, but I guarantee that this story will certainly entertain you. It's a real page turner that clearly puts joy into reading and if necessary, there's always the abridged version! Mr Christophe Taylor (Teacher of English)



Q by Luther Blissett
If you like to read about the world turned upside down and reflect on mass violence, Machiavellian politics and utopian dissent in Reformation Germany, peasant-religious rebellion, then this novel is for you: Q by Luther Blissett (not the footy player but a multiple identity 'author'-a story in itself!) Dr Mark Collins (Teacher of English)








Playing the Enemy - Nelson Mandela and the game that made a nation by John Carlin.
... a moving and inspiring story about how a man with vision and patience can make a difference.
Interesting story about Nelson Mandela's political struggle and final release from his 27 years in jail. The book highlights Mandela's insights and the method he used to gain his freedom and then how he went about uniting a nation divided for years. Using non violent protest and the power of sport over the minds of a nation, it tells the story of how Mandela soothed over a large portion of the population into coming together in a peaceful co-existence with the World Cup Rugby held in South Africa during 1995. It glosses over some of the racial violence of the era especially that which was perpetrated by the far right, although it does mention Eugene Terreblanche who was recently assassinated/killed. It also doesn't mention any of the controversy of the final between New Zealand and South Africa, which the latter won. But a moving and inspiring story about how a man with vision and patience can make a difference. It has now been made into a movie 'Invictus'. Ms Katrina Stalker (Head of General Science)


Anonymous Lawyer by Jeremy Blachman
It was really funny and an interesting look into high powered lawyers' professional lives ...
I read this over the holidays. It was really funny and an interesting look into high powered lawyers' professional lives and what goes on at work. It is written as a secret blog and emails that he exchanges with his niece. Worth a read. Ms Emily Macdonald (Science Teacher)






To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
This is one of the great American novels and a must read for anyone interested in American social history.
I have read this text at least 25 times and never tire of it. Lee will take you into America's deep south as the country struggles to recover from the economic tragedy of the late 20s and early 30s. Told through the eyes of Scout Finch, we discover the layers of social pretence that binds a rural community together, and also drives it apart. This is one of the great American novels and a must read for anyone interested in American social history. Mr Rob Hortin (Teacher of English)




 

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Today's Date

Sat, 30 August 2014

Newsflash

Book Chat for Parents - run by the Library Auxiliary

Come and join a group of parents and a couple of librarians for an informal discussion about books we have enjoyed, plus find out what the Scotch boys are borrowing and studying.
Where and when?
At 8.30am in the comfy Reading and Discussion Room in the library,
on these dates:
Monday March 17
Thursday May 22
Friday August 15
(Term 4 date to be advised)
We hope to see you there!
 

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