Archive for September, 2011

Happy Holidays!

Posted: September 23, 2011 in General

Funny things are happening around our school today.  For starters, large groups of Yr 12 students were observed eating pancakes and wearing pyjamas in the Performance Centre this morning.  Also, the bells for the end of class are ringing at funny times and the words ‘holiday homework’ are being bandied about.  VCE students are getting ready for exams and teachers are coming into the library requesting huge amounts of non-demanding fiction.  This can only mean one thing: it’s the last day of term!

 We at the library blog are big fans of school holidays because holidays give us more time for reading and also afford opportunities for travel.  At the moment we have a special display of interesting travel books in the library: perfect up for people who wish they were going somewhere exciting for their holidays but are actually just going to spend two weeks in Melbourne.  Remember that no matter where you are these holidays, you can travel to every corner of the universe via the magic of books!  Come in today to get your holiday reading material organized, and let us know what you will be reading during the break.

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Here at the library we often notice that students are reading books.  We like this because we love reading books too: in fact it is pretty much our favourite thing to do, along with having cups of tea and alphabetizing stuff.  But what are these young people reading?  And why?  Today we once again confronted some students in the library and demanded to know exactly what was going on with them and their books.

Oscar  (Yr 7)

I’m reading the fourth book in the Scott Pilgrim series, which is called Scott Pilgrim Gets It Together.  It’s a graphic novel about a guy who gets a girlfriend and she has seven evil ex-boyfriends that he has to kill if he wants to be with her.  I’m reading it because one day I was at the library looking at books over there where all the comics are, and I picked up the first book in this series.  After I finished it I looked for the second one but I couldn’t find it so I read the last one and now I’m reading this one.  It’s really funny but it’s kind of about relationships as well.  And also kung fu.  It’s a good book for anybody.

Frida  (Yr 9)

I’m reading Holes by Louis Sachar.  It’s about a boy who gets in trouble and is given the choice between going to a juvenile correction camp and going to jail.  He chooses to go to the camp: he’s never been to camp before because his family’s poor.  All they do at the camp is dig holes, one hole per day every day.  It’s about why they’re digging holes and if he’s going to escape or not.  I heard from people in primary school that it was really good.  It’s not really a girly book but that doesn’t mean that girls won’t like it.  It’s good for everybody.

Morgan  (Yr 10)

I’m starting to read  The Overcoat And Other Short Stories by Nikolai Gogol.  It’s a book of short stories.  I don’t really know what it’s about yet.  I’m reading it because I heard about it from my dad: he said it was amusing.  I’m not sure yet who I would recommend it to.


Sarah  (Yr 12)

I’m reading Dead Aid by Dambisa Moyo.  It’s about financial difficulties in Africa and why other countries shouldn’t give aid.  People think aid is good but it generally just goes to corrupt leaders who don’t give it to the people.  It also means that people become reliant on aid and can’t establish viable financial means.  The author proposes ceasing all foreign aid to Africa in the next five years.  I’m reading it because Ms Seeger gave it to me: it’s relevant to what we’re doing in International Studies.  I’d recommend this book to anyone who’s interested in the world and politics and making our world better.

Ellen  (Yr 12)

I’m reading The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery.  It’s a story about a little prince who comes from his planet to earth and brings his philosophy with him.  I’m reading it because earlier in the year I was feeling a bit down and my friend Gaby told me that if I read The Little Prince it would make me feel happy.  It worked!  I would recommend it to everybody: it’s a book for kids and adults and everyone in between.  It’s really beautiful.

Teachers Caught Reading: Episode 3

Posted: September 16, 2011 in Good reads

Once again the library blog is proud to bring you another installment in our series entitled Teachers Caught Reading.  It seems that reading continues to be a very popular pastime among Uni High staff and today we hunted down some teachers (and librarians) to find out more about them and their books.

Ms Fisher

I’m reading the Jerilderie Letter by Ned Kelly.  Basically it’s a document he wrote to describe the way he was treated by police and the reasons behind his shooting of three police officers.  It’s a great read because it’s a classic case of someone who writes like he speaks.  You really do feel like you’re listening to him talk: it’s riveting.  What prompted me to read it was the recent finding of Kelly’s bones at Pentridge Jail.  I think every Australian should read it.




Mr Beekman

As a teacher I’m always reading half of something: it’s been ages since I actually finished a book!  I’ve been reading heaps of philosophy for school.  Yesterday I read the whole Declaration of Independence.  At the moment I’m reading Karl Popper’s Science, Conjectures and Refutations.  Popper questions what makes something science rather than pseudoscience: how do we draw the line between the two?  And can humans ever really reach the truth about questions?  I’m reading this book because I teach philosophy but also because I’m really interested in it.  I’d recommend it to philosophy and science students but also anyone who’s interested in politics and humanism: Popper’s also a good political writer.



Ms Garra-Riley

I’m reading The Madonnas of Leningrad by Debra Dean.  It’s about an older woman who has dementia.  She and her husband are getting ready for their grandchild’s wedding.  As the dementia takes hold, her youth comes back in bits and pieces and she flashes back to her younger days when she used to live in Russia and work at the Hermitage.  I’m reading this book because I really like historical novels.  I had just finished reading Geraldine Brooks’ Year of Wonders when I saw this book in the library: it grabbed my attention because it had ‘Leningrad’ in the title.  I wouldn’t recommend it to a younger audience.  I think older people would enjoy it more.



Mr Browning

I’m reading The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera.  It’s set in Eastern Europe during the spread of communism, and it’s a story about a couple who flee their homeland to live this really decadent, upmarket lifestyle in Switzerland: but it doesn’t make them happy.  Their real happiness comes from being at home on their land, even though their country is really war-torn.  It’s about love and friendship and the search for happiness: it’s based on Nietzsche’s philosophy of happiness.  It’s also about the idea of learning through experience and the fact that suffering gives you perspective.  I’m reading it because I’m interested in philosophy and the human condition.  I’d recommend it to people who are over twenty-five.  Mr Foster said that he read it when he was too young and he didn’t get it.

Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards

Posted: September 9, 2011 in Good reads

This week some of your devoted librarians attended a very fancy celebratory dinner at the Plaza Ballroom where the winners of the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards for 2011 were announced.  These are, as the name suggests, Victorian awards whose purpose is to ‘honour and reward literary achievement by Australian writers’.

The category we were most excited about this year was the Prize for Literature for Young Adults.  The three short-listed books were all cracking efforts by great Australian YA authors:  The Life of a Teenage Body-Snatcher by Doug MacLeod, Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley and  The Three Loves of Persimmon by Cassandra Golds.

The winner of this year’s Literature for Young Adults award was Cassandra Golds’ book The Three Loves of  Persimmon, an novel set in an underground railway station in ‘a fantastical world where the poetry of flowers speak to the heart, where an ornamental talking cabbage called Rose is a true friend, and where pink scented envelopes arrive from beyond the grave’.  Look out for this book coming soon to the school library!



Library Blog Spring Quiz Winner!

Posted: September 9, 2011 in Competitions

Well done to everyone who entered last week’s spring-themed library blog quiz.  (Incidentally, we had a great time Google image searching spring pictures for the quiz and found an adorable photo of a mouse climbing a flower that we posted over on our Facebook.)  This week’s quiz winner was the lovely Bernadette Hall of Yr 11, who will be handsomely rewarded for her quiz-answering prowess with a voucher from Readings book store, purveyors of quality literature.  Congratulations and happy Spring!

We at the library blog recently read and loved a new YA book by Karen Healey called The Shattering, and because there is nothing we like more than talking about books, we are here today to share it with you!

The Shattering is set in Summerton, an idyllic seaside holiday town in New Zealand.  The story is told from the points of view of three teenagers: tough but troubled Keri, wannabe rock star Janna and the super-smart-yet-constantly-kind-of-anxious Sione.  The three main characters don’t have a lot in common except for one pretty massive thing: each has lost an older brother to suicide.  Could the tragic deaths of their brothers somehow be linked to the almost eery perfection of beautiful Summerton?  Has their been some kind of foul play?  Is there weirdness afoot?

This is a fantastic read with a well-paced plot and complex characters whose interactions are painful, funny, sweet and tragic.  (One Uni High librarian who shall remain nameless was in floods of tears during the second-last chapter.)  It has some fairly heavy themes around suicide and adolescence, but it treats these sensitively and doesn’t sensationalize.  You can find more reviews here  and here.  We highly recommend this book! 

Also, if you enjoy The Shattering you might like to check out Karen Healey’s other YA novel, Guardian of the Dead.

PS:  If you have read The Shattering and are curious about what happens to the characters after the novel ends, you are in luck!  Karen Healey has written a post on her LiveJournal where she spills the beans about the future lives of Keri, Janna and Sione.  Obviously this link comes with a HUGE SPOILER ALERT.

Library Blog Quiz: Spring Edition

Posted: September 2, 2011 in Competitions

Today is the second day of Spring!  We in the library love Spring as the days are getting longer which gives us more reading time.  Also, the warmer weather means that we can read in bed without our hands getting cold.  To celebrate the change of seasons, this week’s library blog quiz is all about Spring. 

How to enter:  Fill in the form at the bottom of this post with your name, email address and the correct answers to all ten questions.  Entries which answer all questions correctly will go into the draw to win a book voucher from our literary friends at Readings book shop.  This competition will close at 10am on Friday September 16th, and winners will be announced on the blog later that day.  You must be a Uni High student to enter this competition.  Good luck!

 Quiz questions

1.  Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring had a huge impact when it came out in 1962.  In ten words or less, what was the book about?

 2.  Who is the author of the book Await the Spring?

 3.  What’s the Spanish word for ‘spring’?

 4.  In India there is a festival called Holi that happens in the spring.  What do people throw at each other to celebrate Holi?

 5.  What is the name for the day in Spring where both the Earth’s poles are the same distance from the Sun and the day and night are of equal length?

 6.  Starting with ‘N’, what is another name for the daffodil?

 7.  Who is the author of the book The Peacock Spring?

 8.  What is the last day of spring in Australia?

 9.  The Irish national holiday St Patrick’s Day happens during the Irish spring (our autumn).  According to legend, what animal did St Patrick banish from Ireland?

 10.  Another fun spring festival is the Ivrea Carnival which happens in Turin, Italy.  What fruit is traditionally thrown as part of the carnival celebrations?