Crutches #blogdown

I have a new hip! It’s a month old today and I am negotiating the world with a crutch, a pick up stick and slip on shoes with a long handled shoe horn.

I occasionally feel like a toddler because I can’t tie my shoelaces, I will coast around a room holding on to furniture or benches and the special toilet seat is really high. Due to my inability to bend at the moment, I am also not doing any meaningful housework like laundry (I have a laundry fairy at the moment). However I can now drive, so yay me!

Lockdown 5 is different in that I’m on personal leave and currently not working from home as in the previous lockdowns. My limited mobility for the last month has also meant that today feels like I’ve been in lockdown for a while anyway, leaving home only for medical reasons.

In this month of recovery, I have relied on a few metaphorical crutches to get me though.

I have been lucky to have a family able to head to the shops for groceries, and the post office, and am thankful for my husband to pick up books from the library. Bart was also able to take time off work to help me in the first week with getting into bed, making me meals, and putting on and off the compression socks I have to wear.

My mum and dad, and sister and brother have visited from Geelong and Melbourne with food and well wishes, and numerous phone calls and messages. Dad and I have been comparing notes on our respective hip replacement surgeries, and has been a fount of advice 🙂

I am using my down time reading all the books I had been meaning to read and have a long list of books for which I am on the reserve list at the local library. Retreating into a book has been an escape from reality mechanism that I have long employed since a child.

Crocheting has been my crafty crutch and it has been a great time to continue with current projects, start new ones and *whisper* buy yarn for new projects. Currently I am doing Crochet Academy by Toni from TLYarnCrafts, which has been a great way to fill in the knowledge gaps about yarn, hooks and stitches so far. Toni has a YouTube Channel through which I discovered her, which mentions crochet hacks, and stitch demonstrations and discussions about yarn and hooks…all great stuff!

Finally, everyone who has messaged, called, sent flowers and cards, thank you- it has meant a lot and has been great to hear from you all.

Miss BG and the knitting Nancy #blogjune

Miss BG like me, enjoys to read. There are books scattered from one end of the house to the other that she has dipped into- craft books, nature encyclopaedias,  and Roald Dahl books, which she has inherited from her big brother.

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She is not, however, a great one for finishing a book. Many of her school readers are quite short, and she hasn’t developed the reading stamina to persevere with a longer book. When the twin distractions of TV and Minecraft are competing for her attention, it’s even more difficult to encourage her to finish a book she has started.

I resorted to outright bribery on the weekend, with an incentive- finish a book and get a Knitting Nancy. The book was George’s Marvellous Medicine and it was wonderful to see her want to stay up to read, or get up early to finish off a chapter.

She finished it today at school, with a great sense of achievement. I am hoping that this is the start of many more books finished, and that maybe next time, the incentive may be learning how to crochet, or to knit- my yarn stash seems to never decrease…

The Book Club

My friend Nardia is a fantastic person. She makes cheese, loves food and she introduced me to her book club, a group of ladies whom she got to know through being a ballet mum (there’s a lot of waiting around involved in being a ballet mum…).  It had been ages since I had been in a book club, way before kids, and it was nice to have a chance to talk about books and reading. I hate to spoil a stereotype, but being a librarian does not mean I sit all day behind a desk and read books, or talk books. I’d like to, but then I’d be out of a job :).

Anyway, we meet on the last Tuesday of the month at a local pub. where the publican graciously allows us the use of one of his rooms and we stay for around 1-2 hours, quaffing wine, or a tea or coffee and “talk books”. Honestly we do, but we also talk about our kids, what’s happening in our lives and trashy TV. Forgive me if I am not more specific, but what is talked about in book club, stays in book club.

This year, we were assigned a genre and we chose a book within that genre. As a result you get to read something you wouldn’t have even thought of picking up at a library or bookstore. It can be a classic like Catcher in the Rye, a popular title, or something a little bit saucy like 50 Shades of Grey- that evening was a hoot!

Some of the ladies buy the book selection at the start of the year, either from our local bookshops or online, or if you come to the book club a little bit late and are not the least organised (*cough cough*) you borrow from your kids, or from the library. My selection for book club this year was The Hunger Games, which saw a great deal of the ladies raid their children’s bookshelves for the title. (As a side note we all enjoyed it- young adult fiction is great fiction!).

For next year we are doing book bingo. Rather than genre, we are selecting a book like A woman writer, An Australian Writer, Something New, or for myself, A Book based upon a True Story. The book group ruled out true crime, so I will have to go for a hunt.

What I  have loved about being in a book club is that usually at the end of the night we ask around the table what else are you reading? This is a great way to get recommendations for further reading- word of mouth is so often the best way to find a good book to read. One my to-read list is Richard Flanagan’s Booker Prize-winning novel The Narrow Road to the Deep North which rated a thumb up from one lady, and I put my two cents in for The Rosie Effect, the sequel to Graeme Simsion’s The Rosie Project.

Thank you to Nardia for helping me get my reading mojo back!

 

Thanks to Bookworld for supporting this post.

Miss BG and the case of the lazy Reader

There are times when I see Miss BG and I am slightly freaked by the resemblance. People joke about Mini-me and sometimes it is a mannerism, an arched eyebrow or catching her in a particular light which makes me think the apple hasn’t fallen far from the tree.

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We  share a taste for sweet things, dancing, and 80s pop music. She has a tendency to let things pile at the end of her bed and she can be a tad messy (no smirking, Mr BG).

There are some differences though. She is quite outgoing, much more so than I was at that age, and she is a lazy reader. In a household where both parents are librarians and her big brother is a reading know-it-all, that is not easy. She can read, and when she does, she’s pretty good- her fluency is coming along, as is her expression. But she doesn’t seem to have the love or passion for books that the rest of her family does. She will opt for the easy way out and that is to get other people to do the reading for her. Her big brother is apt to be a bit of a show off and will often try and show her up.

Miss BG is her own person- very headstrong and stubborn, but still an individual. I am glad for the differences between us. BUT, literacy skills are something which are essential and pretty much non-negotiable.

Talking to her teacher Rhonda, I am relieved that she is not at risk. Miss BG uses reading strategies and displays a good memory, it is just that reading is simply a means to an end, rather than a passion, or essential to life.

These are the strategies we have been using

1. We read together every night. It can be a chapter from a long book, or a short picture book. Occasionally she will read aloud a few sentences here and there, but this is something I am not pushing – it is something that Miss BG has to want to do herself.

2. We do her reader and her words religiously.

3. We have her try to read something, rather than have her ask what does that say.

So far her reading has improved, as has her confidence. I really enjoy the time before bed with her, as is she. Even if we never share a passion for To Kill a Mockingbird, we will always love ABC :).

#Blogjune 2013- unplugged, embedded, and over!

Blogjune is a challenge in the truest sense, and there is always a sense of relief when it ends. At the end though, I am always grateful as my RSS feed (thank you Feedly) expands with new blogs to read!

As a librarian who blogs, I don’t always blog about libraries, and I am always amazed at how people will maintain the momentum of publishing  great posts related to libraries.  Hoi’s library quiz, asking questions about librarianship was a great example, as was Peta’s A-Z of library terminology. Michelle’s Connecting Librarian’s reflective posts are always an inspiration. The concept of the embedded librarian was discussed with applications in information literacy provoked a great deal of interest.

Looking at the real world and discussing its applications to libraries is always inspiring. Ellen’s series on signage and its library applications and Janice’s posts on GovHack certainly made me reflect about the need to seek ideas from outside the library sphere.

People’s experience with MOOCs and online learning and the ANZm23things posts prove that we are still passionate about extending ourselves and enhancing our professional and geek skills.

While this is a challenge which is librarian driven, I really love the personal posts about people’s interests and their families. Seeing people’s families and pets (cue the emergency pet blog post), Tony and Penny’s learning to crochet, and people’s travel and shopping experiences are great to read. Fiona’s musical challenge is always a highlight of blogjune for me, and seeing and hearing about where people live is always a pleasure.

The inevitable book collection posts saw people show off their cookbook collections and show off their book collection, one book at a time :).

There were lots of posts on the craft of writing and wondering about what to write when your ideas dry up. The solution to keep on writing regardless and you will not only write your way out of a slump, but generate a blog post was done with gusto :).

One post which struck a chord with me was Con’s first post on being unplugged. It’s definitely something I have to do more often, if only for my eyes which get a wee bit strained looking at a screen. I feel significantly calmer if I haven’t been in front of a screen all day as well.

I loved reading everyone’s posts and looking at people’s image posts on Tumblr. I did find it tricky to comment sometimes (grrr with captcha and other blogger hoops), but I find the interaction of commenting fosters collegiality. I thank everyone that took the time to leave comments on my posts :).

I was thankful for other people’s post to inspire me and memes certainly helped. I was also able to finish off several drafts in my folder- most of the book reviews were for #AWW2013, so my posts had a double purpose for being published.

The last week was hard for a myriad of reasons. I wasn’t so much losing my desire, but I was operating out of my comfort zone. I was staying at my parents and blogging from my tablet or my phone. A close family member also passed away and much of the blogging energy was diverted.

The strange thing was, blogging had become a habit and and I needed it. It helped me escape from the week that was quite tumultuous. I have always found reading to be a refuge and reading people’s posts was a part of that refuge.

So thank you for reading, and thank you for blogjune.

Brave new world

Tomorrow Miss BG becomes a school girl. She has been counting down the sleeps to the big day, and I have been labelling books, hemming dresses and getting everything ready. We have visited her classroom and saw where she was going to put her bag, and we have spotted her name on the wall outside her room. She has a big brother there already, and knows half the children in her year already, through siblings and through kindergarten and creche. She knows the ropes. She knows her letters and her numbers, and she is so ready to read and learn!

She is one of the lucky ones. Our school is walking distance and is a great local primary school, with a committed community of parents and teachers supporting it. We chose to send them to a government school, because it’s a good school with a good reputation.

We didn’t get the $300 school start bonus as we did 2 years ago (which definitely helped in kitting out Master BG in his uniform), but a lot of his polo shirts and school jumpers will be handed down to her. Hopefully when she gets to Grade 1, she won’t need a reading recovery teacher, because there won’t be one, due to funding cuts.

However there are a great many families at the school that are greatly affected by this slash of the bureaucrat’s pen, and which will impact upon their capacity to learn. I know of a mum who is quite worried about the reduction of reading recovery time for her child, who desperately needs it.

It is really concerning when programs and financial assistance to disadvantaged families or young people with learning disabilities are cut. It has a disproportionate affect upon the more disadvantaged members of the community and creates an even wider gap between the haves and the have nots.

I’m not calling for handouts or middle-class welfare- I mean it’s nice when you have it, but it kind of smacks of the whole ‘bread and circuses’ that Roman emperors were fond of dishing out to the plebeians. All I would like is a properly funded, public education system, that helps the helpless and guarantees those who have had a poor start to life a chance to catch up. I’d  like to see some return on the tax I have paid over the years, and I would rather it be spent here than lining the pockets of a diminutive Brit :).

5 lessons I learned today

Today I learned

  1. How to fight off food cravings thanks to the Wall Street Journal. Chocolate was one of the more popular food to crave, as was salty snacks, pizza and ice cream. My favourite craving is usually for fresh bread…mmm, carbs…
  2. That my local Member of Parliament was one of 42 who voted for Marriage Equality. Sadly she was outnumbered by the 98 who voted against the Bill.
  3. That there is no shame in leaving a book unfinished, because you find it a bit dull and somewhat self-serving. Life is too short to finish books you don’t like, drink bad wine or eat that crappy Easter chocolate.
  4. That a person who reads in bed is a librocubicularist. Thank you to Mr. S  for sharing that.
  5. The phrase “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others” is an apt way to describe current happenings at work.

 

 

 

7 Dirty Reading Secrets

A confession of my reading habits, inspired by kris wehipeihana

1. I will leave books anywhere in the house, with the book opened face down. This causes untold anguish and irritation from the other more mature members of the house who come across my book, and irritation from me when said members close the book and I lose my place.

2. If a book does grab me, I will suspend everything to read it, including all parenting, domestic and wifely duties. I read A Suitable Boy at uni, despite having several assignments due- I simply HAD to finish it!

3. I read all of the Twilight books, even though I didn’t get the whole Edward/Bella thing. And it pretty much confirmed they were crap.

4. I would read Mills and Boon books at the end of each semester when I was at uni to switch my head out of academic mode and into holiday mode.

5. I forget to return library books- a lot. In 1984, I moved from Ararat to Geelong and did not return a book I had borrowed from the Ararat library. Getting a library job has somewhat lessened the whole library fine thing…

6. I haven’t read 50 Shades of Grey, but I do read erotica and have since I was a teenager.

7. I am not a reading snob and will happily read anything, including the back of cereal packets!

Let the reader’s voice honor the writer’s pen

I have the greatest respect for authors, artists, musicians and creative souls who make my world a beautiful place in which to live. To read a book, listen to music, or to look at stunning photography can often turn a bad day into a better one. From an early age, we are taught to share, and it is an ethos which has served us well on the World Wide Web.

Which is why this article just left me wondering if the world has gone completely mad. A Belgian rights group SABAM have been contacting local public libraries to inform them they will be claiming fees for the reading of books to children. Storytime at the library, a way in which to engage and create young readers, is under threat because reading aloud to children in the library is considered a breach of copyright. SABAM, through its hardline approach to protecting the creative output of its members, is effectively limiting their future income stream for a short-term grab for money.

This seems to be the extreme end of what is occurring elsewhere for those who hold the copyright and publishing rights to books, songs, articles, films, and TV programs, but if organisations keep on restricting creative content, this may be a sign of things to come.

Librarians have often played a role in helping protect copyright. Through being aware of what can and cannot be done with the information we have in our library’s collections, we advise our users, and hope that we are not infringing copyright. Librarians are generally very nice people and don’t really like getting in trouble with the law. We also have a role in fostering new readers, to providing quality information for them and guiding them into finding information by themselves. We like to share our knowledge and our own love of information and reading with other people. I want to connect people to the right information and the best books.

So when the sharing of information and the protecting of information are at odds with each other, what do you do?

A recent article in Brain Pickings on the inscriptions found on the margins of illuminated manuscripts by monks helped answer my question. One inscription  stood out:

Let the reader’s voice honor the writer’s pen

Literally, words written are often meant to be spoken, and there can be no greater pleasure than reading aloud to another person. Public libraries’ most popular programs involve big people reading to little people. Half my time at kinder is spent reading books to four year olds, who LOVE IT.

The phrase also had another meaning for me. What is the point of writing something if there are no readers to honor it? Even the private act of writing a journal has an initial readership of one and a potential readership of many. The very act of restriction only serves to dishonour the creator in the first instance.

I will share my information, read my books out aloud and be damned.

Australian Women Writers Challenge 2012

Last year I read  about the Australian Women Writers Challenge from @flexnib’s blog.

Given that this is also the National Year of Reading, it’s also a good opportunity to promote women writers- and there are so many great writers too! A recent article in The Age recounted the issue of literary sexism, where women’s writing is not considered good enough to merit literary awards. The challenge’s purpose is to widely promote Australian female authors through the review process.

The challenge period is between January 2012-December 2012. Quoting from the site:

Goal: Read and review books written by Australian women writers – hard copies, ebooks and audiobooks, new, borrowed or stumbled upon by book-crossing.

Genre challenges: 
Purist: one genre only
Dabbler: more than one genre
Devoted eclectic: as many genres as you can find
 
Challenge levels: Some readers have complained that the original challenge levels were too easy, so “casual” and “dedicated” levels have been added here.

Casual:
Stella (read 3 and review at least 2 books)
Miles (read 6 and review at least 3)*
Franklin-fantastic (read 10 and review at least 4 books)*
* The higher levels should include at least one substantial length review

Source http://www.australianwomenwriters.com/p/australian-women-writers-book-challenge_25.html accessed 22/1/2012

Blog posts can be posted on GoodReads, on the Australian Woman Writers Website and will also be promoted on Twitter at @AusWomenWriters. I’ll be reviewing on the blog and posting on the website, as well as on Twitter.

I’m more of a devoted eclectic and am aspiring to be a Franklin-fantastic!