Sunday, March 31, 2013

New Guinea Moon by Kate Constable

It's interesting that there were two words written under the '1' on the first chapter of this book, that I didn't read.  It wasn't until page 31, where after dinner Barbara '...pushes back her chair and lights up a cigarette', at the table that I think...that doesn't sound right?  Lo and behold when I go back to chapter one, I see the words December 1974, and it all makes so much more sense!

The story of of 16 year old Julie, who is spending the summer holidays in Papua New Guinea with a father that she doesn't know.  Julie's Dad is one of many expats who have made Papua New Guinea their homes, but things are changing, as Papua New Guinea is about to become an independent nation in 1975.  In this summer Julie gets to know her Dad, she falls in love, and then out of it and then in love again, and she also starts to seriously think about what she wants to do with her life, in a time when so many more opportunities are opening up for women.

I had quite a personal connection with this book, as I lived in a small town in Sarawak called Miri for 4 years when I was 8 years old.  My time in Sarawak was a bit later than 1974, more like 1980, but I could really identify with the expat (expatriate) life.  In this book they have housekeepers (maids) called meri, while we had an ahma (excuse the spelling?!), and in both communities the locals and the expats live quite separate lives.  

It was an amazing place to grow up, and I feel so lucky to have had such a blessed childhood filled with such unique experiences.  I remember visiting and staying in a longhouse, trekking through the jungle to swim in pools beneath waterfalls, finding cobras in the garden, satays at the open air 'restaurant' by the sea, things that most Aussie kids in the 80s would never have experienced.

So this book is a coming of age story for Julie, but it's also a coming of age story for PNG.  I also like the fact that it's a glimpse into our recent history, a time that I can remember, where social attitudes were changing and women were beginning to realise they could be anything they wanted to be.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Lost World Circus Book 1 The Last Elephant by Justin D'Ath

Justin D'Ath is back with a new series, that has a slight twist on his popular adventure series Extreme Adventures and Mission Fox. This series is set 12 years in the future (no actual year mentioned, so it will always be 12 years from whichever year the reader is from). In this version of the future there are no animals. There has been a white rat virus that has wiped out every species of animal. One exception to this is Noah's Lost Animal Circus, where we has the last of a number of different species, the star of this book is the elephant, Lucy.

Our hero Colt, finds himself at the circus, and when a white rat infiltrates the circus tent and bites the elephant, he finds himself on an adventure to save this amazing animal. Being bitten by the rat means it has to be put down, but Colt is sure that his Mum's vaccine will do it's thing and the elephant will survive.

With the help of the circuses youngest acrobat Birdy, they endeavour to free the trapped elephant from it's inevitable death.

It's a series for animal lovers and adventure lovers alike, and I think it will appeal to girls and boys which is quite a rare find. There's also a quiz in the back of the book relating to endangered animals, which I like, because I like those little added extras in books.

Book 2 Out Now
Book 3 Due April 24th

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Excuses Excuses

I know I wasn't going to write everyday, but I really had intended to write more often than this!
It's not that I am not reading, I am, it's just getting back into the habit of writing about what I read. 

My other excuse is that we had the launch of Anzac Biscuits by Phil Cummings and Owen Swan at Pegi Williams Book Shop on March 8th.  It was an epic event, that was months in the planning and has taken a couple of weeks to come down from the high!  We were lucky enough to have the Governor of South Australia, His Excellency Rear Admiral Kevin Scarce AC CSC RANR launch the books, and I have attached the video below in case anyone is interested in seeing some footage.