Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Searching for Sugar Man

Searching for Sugar Man, a documentary released in Australia in 2012, charts the uneven career of musician, Sixto Rodriguez. The Mexican born American, released two albums in the seventies in the U.S. without any success and was largely forgotten over there. Meanwhile in Australia and South Africa, his albums without any significant backing or fanfare were hugely popular and influential.

But what of Sixto Rodriguez? Rumours circulated about an untimely death and could easily have remained as much if not for two South African fans who decided to do some investigating into someone who was seminal not only in their lives but spoke for an entire generation of South Africans; a soundtrack to their lives.

And so begins the documentary, directed and written by Malik Bendjelloul who charts the quest by, Stephen "Sugar" Segerman and Craig Bartholomew Strydom to uncover the fate of the Sugarman – a reference to the artist from one of his best known songs.

The documentary is unusual in that it examines its subject from the point of view of two of its fans and consequently proceeds like a mystery. This approach illuminates the artist as much as the effect that he had on a generation and one as far removed as apartheid South Africa of the 1970’s. Perhaps the most remarkable thing that the documentary shows is that while all of this was taking place, the artist himself was completely oblivious. Rodriguez was in fact working in construction and sunk in obscurity until the late 90’s when he was finally located and began to tour in South Africa first and subsequently the world, as his music was re-released, this time to more popular appeal.

The discovery of the man Rodriguez was one of more than just a gifted musical communicator but of a wonderfully spirited man; humble and congenial and without a trace of bitterness or regret but one of utter acceptance.

The documentary is triumphant in its humanity, primarily of Rodriguez but also of those fans who once they had discovered his existence were largely influential in returning him the success that he now enjoys.

If you enjoy documentaries and especially musical documentaries, then this is fantastic tribute to a very talented musician and a wonderful person.


Monday, 22 August 2016

The winners of the CBCA Book of the Year Awards 2016

The Children's Book Council of Australia has announced their Book of the Year award winners for 2016. Now in their 70th year, the awards celebrate the best of Australian books for readers from early childhood up to young adult readers.

Here are the winners for each category:

Cloudwish Fiona Wood (Older readers)
Soon Morris Gleitzman (Younger readers)
Mr Huff Anna Walker (Early Childhood)
Flight Armin Greder (Picture Book)
Lennie the Legend: solo to Sydney by pony Stephanie Owen Reeder (Eve Pownall Award for Information Books)

For more information on the awards please visit the CBCA website.

Congratulations to all the winners!


Wednesday, 17 August 2016

The shortlist for the 2016 Inky Awards has been announced!

The Inky Awards are an annual literary prize for the best new Young Adult books as voted for by teen readers. There are two awards: the Gold Inky Award for an Australian book, and the Silver Inky Award for an international book.

Gold Inky Award Shortlist

The Flywheel by Erin Gough
Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Sister Heart by Sally Morgan
Green Valentine by Lili Wilkinson
Cloudwish by Fiona Wood

Silver Inky Award Shortlist

Simon vs the Homo Sapiens agenda by Becky Albertalli
I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness
The Marvels by Brian Selznick
Made You Up by Francesca Zappia

Voting will be open until 18 September and anyone aged 12-20 can vote via the Inside A Dog website. The winners will be announced on 4th October. Over the next few weeks our Children’s and Youth Services team will be reviewing various titles for you.


Monday, 15 August 2016

Coming of Age : Growing up Muslim in Australia

This honest and engaging book explores youth identity through the eyes of 12 different young Australian Muslims.

There are some funny, honest, warm and determined stories which I found intriguing to read. There is the footballer, the atheist, the lesbian, the writer, and many more contributors to a great collection of short stories about growing up Muslim in Australia. There are stories with themes of body image, discrimination, faith, gender, romance and career to name a few.

Reading over the accounts of these teenagers transported me back to my adolescent years, and I found it remarkable how there were so many similarities and at, at the same time, differences.

I think this book has helped me understand this chapter in the journeys of the young writers’ lives, and shown me how whatever faith (or not), teenage years are all about discovering who you are.


Friday, 12 August 2016

Gotta catch 'em all!

Have you or your kids been caught up in the Pokémon Go craze? Are you desperate to catch an elusive Pikachu, Farfetch’d or Ditto? Well you're in luck as we have the perfect magazine to help you!

The complete guide to Pokémon GO explains everything you need to know about Pokémon Go. Brought to you by the editors of PC Advisor and Macworld UK it outlines how to play Pokémon GO, shares essential tips and tricks and reveals how to find gyms and catch rare Pokémon. It also lists new features coming to Pokémon GO, explains Pokémon GO Plus, and has a beginner's guide to Pokémon GO.

To download this magazine FREE from Zinio, simply click on the magazine cover. Click here to view our entire Zinio collection. If you need further assistance with creating an account, please don’t hesitate to contact library staff for additional help.

Happy hunting!


Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Not that Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham

For fans of the TV series Girls, Lena Dunham’s semi-autobiography/advice manual follows in the same vein. Her humour is blatant and sometimes over-the-top, a far-cry from my usual reading material. But it is testament to her creative skill as a writer that I am always curious to continue reading the next chapter.

Some might find her manner crude, others may enjoy her forthright and often embarrassing use of personal anecdotes to illustrate the sometimes sad, often complex nature of being a female, paralleling fellow funny female, Mindy Kaling in her book Why not me?

From boyfriends and sibling rivalry to therapists and becoming famous in America, Dunham plumes the depths of her experience, offering it up for criticism, empathy and enjoyment.


Monday, 8 August 2016

My Dead Bunny by Sigi Cohen

“My dead bunny’s name is Brad;
His odour is extermly bad.
He visits me when I’m in bed,
But Bradley wasn’t always dead....”

Presenting another nominee shortlisted in the picture book category for a Children’s Book Council of Australia award... with a ghoulish twist.

My Dead Bunny presents as a dark but humorous rhyming tale, about a pet rabbit turned zombie bunny taken to haunting its former family. Due to the slightly deranged narrative and somewhat skewed illustrations, I think this book would particularly appeal to boys aged 7+. It may be a good book for a Halloween theme. Or, sharing a spooky story around the camp fire. Or, if you simply like zombies. The illustrator James Foley has paid homage to horror like visuals by using a black and white palette, looming shadows, and slime green for anything scary-like. The storyboard effect is reminiscent of a graphic novel.

This is Sigi Cohens first book, and a ‘freakishly’ good effort in collaboration with Foley.

Keep a lookout for many more CBCA book reviews on the Read and Relax Blog! You can also visit the CBCA website for more information.

Happy Reading!


CBCA book reviews