Friday, 20 January 2017

Hillary's America : the secret history of the Democratic party by Dinesh D’Souza

Both book and film, Hillary's America: the secret history of the Democratic Party was released at the peak of the US presidential election, with Democratic Party leader Hillary Clinton running against Republican Party leader Donald Trump. While the namesake of this book suggests a focus on Hillary Clinton, it devotes a good portion of the book delving into the relatively obscure history of the Democratic Party, exploring past events and personages such as Democratic Party founder Andrew Jackson, through the civil war and into the twentieth century. The latter half of the book focuses on the Clintons themselves, particularly the early influence of Saul Alinsky on Hillary Clinton, the couple’s business and political dealings through the Clinton Foundation and the multiple allegations against Bill Clinton.
Likely those drawn to this book will favour a right-wing political standpoint. But those on the fence or seeking to know more about the backroom political machinations of the US may glean new tidbits of knowledge that are unlikely to be analysed on mainstream media. It also serves as an exposition into the use of narrative as a tool to shape history, opinion and support, with the Democratic Party most successfully using narrative to obscure or outright deny an inconvenient and dishonourable past.

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Science is beautiful : the human body under the microscope by Colin Salter

Colin Salter is a history and science writer with a fascination for how things work. Salter wrote this book Science is beautiful with a stunning collection of the most wonderful microscopic images of the human body. It is a fascinating visual tour around our bodies and brains we take for granted.

It is a visual voyage through the cells, organs, microbes & molecules that make up our bodies. The main picture that I liked the most is the fat cells showing empty fat cells are amongst the largest cells in the human body. When we put on weight, the cells swell with additional fat, and eventually extra cells are added too, that’s amazing!! It made me think about diet and being healthy. It is educational and fun to read and a conversation starter. It is easy to digest and memorise by linking the pictures and the colours together as a piece of art.

This book has an effective introduction explaining in depth X-Ray radiographs, CT & MRI scans. It would be of interest to a medical student and anyone interested in knowing about the human body. Science books are hard to read and understand but Science is beautiful is a good source of information, is factual and scientifically sound and the pictures and the texts are engaging and capture attention. It is an excellent book worth reading, once you open it you will not put it down.

Monday, 16 January 2017

New fiction for January

Running out of books to read ? Get ready for the coming months with these new releases
About last night Catherine Alliott
Broken glass Virginia Andrews
View across the Mersey Anne Baker
Death of a ghost M.C. Beaton
Etched in bone Anne Bishop
Sinner man Lawrence Block
Vicious circle C.J. Box
Silence fallen Patricia Briggs
Ambulance girls Deborah Burrows
Dark serpent Paul Doherty
Power game Christine Feehan
Secret garden Katie Fforde
From the heart Susan Hill
Expecting to die Lisa Jackson
Stranger in Honeyfield Anna Jacobs
Bone box Faye Kellerman
Heartbreak hotel Johnathan Kellerman
Unmourned Meg and Tom Keneally
White tears Hari Kunzru
Takedown Stephen Leather
If not for you Debbie Macomber
Spindrift Tamara McKinley
Book of American martyrs Joyce Carol Oates
16th seduction James Patterson
All of a winters night Phil Rickman
Orange blossom days Patricia Scanlan
Dangerous games Danielle Steel

Simply click on your chosen title/s and you will be directed to The Vault, where you can place your holds. Can't see anything you like? Our staff can help you find your next great read.

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Cool breeze for the Summer heat

I thoroughly enjoyed watching Force Majeure, a Swedish family drama placed in the most beautiful scenery of the French Alps.
This film was shortlisted for the Oscars and is a winner of the Jury Prize at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival where it was a big hit.
It is a story about a perfect Swedish family – successful businessman Tomas, his lovely wife Ebba, and their two perfect blond children on a luxury skiing holiday.
This idyllic life was suddenly interrupted one morning as they enjoyed their lunch on a hotel terrace – the beautiful mountain view changed into a horrific avalanche that brought everyone in mortal danger.
As people were panicking around them, Ebba tried to reach for the children, while Tomas simply decided to run.
This event changed everything, and from a model family, they became a couple who was struggling to continue living together.
Force Majeure is full of beautiful nature shots and it is very enjoyable to watch.
Actors are excellent, and although the storyline starts as a quite simple one, there are many side characters that are “thickening” the story which becomes more complicated and deeper with every minute.
This psychodrama full of humour and wit is completed by Antonio Vivaldi’s Four Seasons - Summer, a powerful musical motif that reflects the ups and downs of the characters and the thrilling plot.
Force Majeure is refreshingly clever and entertaining, smart and funny – it will not fail to impress.

Monday, 9 January 2017

English - have a go (DVD series)

Volumes 1 - 7
(English Language Learning Resource produced by ABC Commercial)

The English – have a go DVD series provides learners with a clear model of how the English language works and how it is used in a variety of everyday situations.
Each short episode follows a family as they go through their daily lives. The program has a lovely mix of cultural backgrounds and lifestyles supported by a combination of age groups.
Episodes feature issues based around relationships, work, study and health followed by comprehension questions so that the viewer can check his/her understanding of the storylines.
What I like most about the series is that each presenter remembers not to rush and speaks slowly and clearly. The scripts are designed to repeat words and sentences, usually with visual cues. This helps the student to not only remember the words and how they work together but also to place them in understandable situational contexts.
The grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation sections at the end of each episode are also paced to suit the early learner. They use well-designed repetition to give the viewer plenty of time to listen, consider and repeat.
The English – have a go DVD series would suit post-beginners.

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Books that inspire movies

Happy New Year everyone.
Summer is a great time for movies, whether catching up on DVDs or seeing the latest blockbuster at your local cinema. Many of the movies you enjoy have been adapted from classic, award winning or favourite books.
Have you ever seen a film and wondered where the original story came from? Or you may have loved a particular book but missed seeing the movie version. Our new Book to movie tie-ins list will guide you through some of the most popular adaptations so you can read and view to your heart’s content. Access the list from the Book to movie tie-ins link on the side panel just under the Vault Catalogue image. You can place holds for free on any of the titles via The Vault.
Happy reading and viewing in 2017

Thursday, 29 December 2016

Fast Asleep, Wide Awake by Dr. Nerina Ramlakhan

For anyone who has experienced persistent insomnia, this book may be just what you need. Dr Nerina Ramlakhan has divided the book into four sections:
1. Awareness and background information
2. Getting started with the non-negotiables
3. The Pure Sleep Programme
4. Wide Awake: the big picture
Initially I was sceptical about the first section. It sounded like a ‘big sell’. Not that there aren’t interesting and important points but there’s also a fair bit of self-promotion. Of course other readers may not see it that way. There are certainly interesting opinions about sleeping tablets, the healing properties of sleep and the impact of feeling ‘safe’ on our ability to sleep soundly.
Once I actually tried the ‘non-negotiables’ I was quickly on board. These are specific strategies that seem to have a rapid impact. Almost immediately I was sleeping better.
1. Eat breakfast every day within 30-40 minutes of rising
2. Drink 2 litres of water
3. Reduce your caffeine intake or abolish completely
4. Start an electronic shut-off 1 hour before getting into bed
5. Aim to get at least 4 pre-midnight sleeps per week
The next section outlines some strategies that assist particular problems: not getting to sleep quickly, waking during the night and waking early. Some I found very helpful were:
1. Not referring to the clock when waking during the night because it starts a measuring and comparing stream of thoughts
2. During the day, taking time to be mindful as often as possible including watching the breath for 3 inhalations and following steps towards grounding and being ‘in one’s body’
3. Practising gratitude at intervals during the day
The final section proposes the examination of all aspects of life to determine why sleep is difficult to achieve. There is discussion about personality traits which may impact and the changing tides of stress and anxiety which affect us during different stages of our lives.
I recommend Fast asleep, Wide awake. It has made a real difference to me.