Saturday, 27 August 2016

Miles to Go

Woohoo! The Miles Franklin Winner for 2016 has been announced! Imagine the drum roll for...

Black Rock White City
by A.S. Patrić

During a hot Melbourne summer Jovan’s cleaning work at a bayside hospital is disrupted by acts of graffiti and violence becoming increasingly malevolent. For Jovan the mysterious words that must be cleaned away dislodge the poetry of the past. He and his wife Suzana were forced to flee Sarajevo and the death of their children.
Intensely human, yet majestic in its moral vision, Black Rock White City is an essential story of Australia’s suburbs now, of displacement and immediate threat, and the unexpected responses of two refugees as they try to reclaim their dreams. It is a breathtaking roar of energy that explores the immigrant experience with ferocity, beauty and humour. 

And just because I can here are the judges' comments about the book from the Miles Franklin Award website

A fresh and powerful exploration of the immigrant experience and Australian life, Black Rock White City explores the damages of war, the constraints of choice, the possibility of redemptive love and social isolation amid suburbia.
Traumatised by the carnage and personal tragedies of war-torn Yugoslavia, Jovan and Suzana wash up in mid-90s Melbourne where, a former poet and an academic, they find themselves limited by language and cultural stereotype into roles as cleaners. 
A menacing sense of anarchy inhabits the hospital where Jovan works after an anonymous ‘Dr Graffito’ begins defacing the wards with cryptic, distressing messages. It is Jovan’s job to erase the evidence, all the while negotiating the blandness of a society that doesn’t see him, or the flashbacks of his former life and his dysfunctional marriage to Suzana.
In language as crisp and pungent as the chemicals Jovan uses to erase the graffiti, Black Rock White City submerges the reader in its unapologetic intimacy.  It is at times brutal, and frequently challenging, yet a deft poetry underlies its cinematic reach. Patric’s idiosyncratic awareness and sometimes disconcerting vision inhabits the margins between realism and fable as the novel’s invigorating vitality, astute wit and adroit observations on the links between language and identity gives us a roller-coaster read that pins the immigrant – and the wider Australian  - experience with an eye that is unflinchingly, and unforgettably, honest.

But what is the Miles Franklin Award? 
Established in 1957 to help foster Australian literature and talent, the award has seen some of the best writing that Australia has to offer. Alongside the Stella Prize, it isn't hard to see why Melbourne is a City of Literature!

Miles Franklin was a pretty cool lass but I'll let you do some detective work yourself...

Saturday, 20 August 2016

It's a Cath Kind of Day

We have suddenly gotten in stock some of Cath Crowley's collection of writings for young adults - including her latest WORD IN DEEP BLUE! Why you may be asking? Well the answer is that we've heard on the grapevine that one of the local schools are holding an author talk so naturally if you're going to meet an author you need a book to sign! And what better time to update your collection.

I love going to hear authors talk about their books, it's so easy to forget that someone is tapping away on their computers to write the story (or by hand if you're a bit old school). I've had the privilege of seeing Leigh Hobbs (thanks primary school), Cassandra Clare, Marcus Zuzack, Alice Pung, Melina Marchetta and Leanne Hall. I feel like there's more but I kind of can't remember... I'd love to meet Jaclyn Moriarty for one and ask her why she created a fictional character who I can never truly marry, I mean meet, in real life. It's hard not to have great respect for authors, especially those who write absolutely massive tomes, the sheer dedication. I struggle to write more than five thousand words. Practice! 

But back to Cath Crowley, we have 
- Words in Deep Blue
- Graffiti Moon
- The Life and Times of Gracie Faltrain
- Gracie Faltrain Takes Control & Gets it Right

Which author or illustrator would you meet if you could? 

Happy reading!

Saturday, 13 August 2016

You Look Like A Book

Woah, so there are these things called #bookface ! Basically, where people take photographs of themselves with a book but as if they're a part of it... Okay that was a terrible explanation, let me show you an example from the internet or more specifically the Burlingame Public Library in Washington USA

I think you get the picture! Haha, get it? Yes I am super lame sometimes. It's pretty cool though and lots of different libraries are getting on the band wagon. I feel like people have been doing this for years - with CD covers and Vinyl - perhaps with just a little less precision.

You can read an article from the New York Times about it here!

The YPRL has been running a pretty amusing social media campaign. But here are some of the best (and worst) collated from l'internet. Imagine a world without the internet. Without books! Photographs are from a number of different library and private social media accounts. Actually, it's really hard to find bad ones online because who uploads bad ones? 

Show us yours and tag us in the picture on Instagram or Facebook!

Saturday, 6 August 2016

National Bookshop Day!

That's right folks, next weekend (Saturday 13th to be exact!) We'll having a bit of a smaller affair this year but still have plenty of giveaways! Come in and see us, we'd love to have a bit of a chat! Somethings that have happened since last Bookshop Day:

Our number of Facebook Likes has grown to 170

We started an Instagram account which has over 100 followers already! 

 We sell posters! And films! The last Harry Potter was released! So many good things.

Thank you everyone! 

Saturday, 9 July 2016

Spelling Bee

I have a small confession to make. I sort of hate the names that are specifically found in American teen and children's books. I apologise if any of these names are yours but they do seem extremely American and less common here. This was brought to my attention in more recent days as I was putting out some books on the shelves. I won't tell you the book but bonus points if you can locate it when you come in. So I was reading the blurb when it struck me. Why does everyone's name have additional and somewhat arbitrary letter y's?

I get that there are different ways to spell names but other than Adrienne, what is happening here?! Maybe because I have a friend called Mikaela I always think of it spelt that way but I see Michaela pretty often too. McKeyla just seems sort of unnecessary. I think of Mc-key-la. Then there's Bryden which is sort of both Bridie, Braden and Hayden. It's a wonderful mix. And finally Camryn. With a Y!!! Why!!! Or Y!!! I wonder if kids with really irregular spellings take longer to learn how to spell their names because they're often the less common pronunciations of letters. 

In other obscure book ranting news, I always wonder why books are titled 'Not just ____' for instance, hypothetically, 'Not just potatoes'. This seems sort of useless to me because I'm counting on the title to tell me what the book's about. I'm not automatically looking at it and thinking 'oh this is about potatoes' if there's nothing to suggest it on the front cover. Just name it 'Root Vegetables' because that's less vague than the former. If you say 'not just' then what else will you be talking about? This is real in depth bookshop thinking. I'll let you chew on that for a while ;)

Saturday, 2 July 2016

Banyule Bestbiz Awards!

It's that time of the year again! No, not Christmas - not yet anyway, but it's time for the Bestbiz Awards put on by the lovely Banyule Council. Electorates are slightly different to the local councils but I've realised that both Jagajaga and Banyule are actually pretty big.

There are eight categories to vote for ranging from fashion and wellbeing to produce and retail of course! Every entry goes into the draw to win $1000 so you've got nothing to lose :)

We'd love if you gave us a vote n the general retail section to show your support for local businesses!

You can vote here or grab hold of a flier at most Banyule businesses - including ours :)
May the odds be ever in your favour! (for the $1000... and just life in general)

Saturday, 18 June 2016

I Really Should Have Bought It

Only recently did I experience something quite sad - not really in the grand scheme of things but in the book realm definitely. As some of you dear readers may know, I have a slight obsession with Maureen McCarthy (the author - although I don't really know any other Maureen McCarthy). It's sort of a weird, complex relationship - albeit one sided because although we have fleetingly met and she signed my books I don't think we had enough time to truly connect. But I digress. So I suppose the relationship is between me and her books rather than the person which in all honesty makes more sense because she's an author and I'm reading her books not her duh. But I digress (again!). I think what I've realised I like about her books are not so much the stories per se, but the manner in which she writes them and how they're not the conventional teen reads. I mean they're young adult reads but without being cliched and tacky. Sorry that was harsh. I'm at the point where I just read her books because it's by her and I know it'll be good - not necessarily the plot appeals to me. Although that is not true for her book and indeed one of the earlier one's I read called When You Wake and Find Me Gone.

First published in 2002, it really got me interested in Ireland, Irish history, people, language, food - you know the drill. Anyway, this brings me to the crux of my problem... IT IS NOW OUT OF PRINT!!! Why I never bought it before I'll never know and now it's gone. Especially as it's a Melbournian author, it's never really that easy to get a hold of overseas as well. So it's not available from the distributors, I eBayed it and found *one* copy (please don't buy it I may cry) and none on Gumtree. I'm sure there's a few copies floating around secondhand stores and garage sales but it's so nice. This just goes to show, if you really like something then just go and do/get it. I realise that can be applied to so many things so within reason obviously. She is so underated. But yep, now the quest begins to find my out of print book. 

If there's a book you're umming and ahhring about, maybe it's time to snap it up! Who knows when it'll be the last time it's IN PRINT! I've learned my lesson. Sadly.

In other Maureen McCarthy news, I found this podcast she did concerning her second most recent novel 'The Convent'. It's always fascinating diving into Melbournian history. read it here.