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In Fiona Wood's latest novel, 'Wildlife', a bunch of year ten students are thrown together at the annual outdoor education camp. The experience lasts for one term, and involves self-sufficiency, team-work and physical exercise.
For Sybilla there is an added complication-her face has been displayed on a billboard for a perfume advertisement.
And..she kissed the gorgeous Ben Capaldi.
People are starting to notice her.
The teenagers in Sybilla's orbit are an interesting bunch. Holly, for instance, is supposed to be Sybilla's best friend. But with friends like Holly, who needs enemies?
Lou is the quiet girl in their group who is grieving for the loss of her boyfriend and is an enigma to the others until she can no longer contain herself.
And then there is Michael, Holly's best male friend who has always been there for her.
The teens are finding their way with their friendships and boyfriends/girlfriends.
Even though Holly has doubts and insecurities she is thoughtful and strong and able to work through issues of peer pressure to find the best path for her.
Recommended teen reading.


Quicksand -

DEAD BOYS CLUB  by Geoffrey Malone

Imagine dawn- a strange quiet,
no cockerels crowing.
You step outside your hut, curious.
Then you see them – children, with rifles.
Racing at you. Yelling. Firing.

This story is often hard to read because of its truth. Every year thousands of children are taken from their homes and families and used as child soldiers.  Children, boys and girls, as young as five are taken and forced into a dark reality.

This is Sam’s story. He is twelve when his village is attacked, his mother and sisters killed. Forced to become one of the soldiers in God’s Freedom Army, led by the deranged self proclaimed Colonel Dada.

Sam has seen what happens if you don’t obey. Death. Soon he is given a gun, taught how to fight, to kill, aware that any day could be his last. How can you dream of home and family when men with machine guns guard you day and night. Escape is impossible. Or is it?

A good read but be warned that it will make you shudder with what is happening out there in the real world.

Vicki @ Pakenham.

History's Greatest Mysteries

Reading Rewards - reviews -

History's Greatest Mysteries: and the secrets behind them by Bill Price

From the cover:  “… In reality, the world is full of grey areas and enigmas, of unsolved mysteries and unresolved stories, one which can fascinate, intrigue and occasionally annoy us in equal measure.  This book delves into these grey areas to examine the imponderable and sometimes unlikely stories of actual events and real people.

This book looks at 50 separate events and starts each chapter with a short column, “Unexplained Event, Unknown Purpose, Fact or Fiction?, Real or Fake?, Missing Person, Unknown People and Unsolved Crime.  One of these will be highlighted and underneath this are three sub-headings: what the mystery was, who are the protagonists and what is the outcome.  It is here, in this short half page that heads each chapter, I was alerted to the fact that this book is definitely not a serious read!  It’s actually not even a fascinating read despite the 50 topics which include the lost continent of Atlantis, Stonehenge, The Ark of the Covenant, The Shroud of Turin, Easter Island statues, the Yeti, the Mary Celeste, Jack the Ripper, Butch and Sundance, Loch Ness Monster, Glen Miller, Roswell, Harold Holt, Lord Lucan and, sigh, The Dingo Baby case.

The language is flippant, even derogatory in parts, and although some chapters whet the “oooh, I want to know more” appetite, the delivery is abject at best.  For example, the very first chapter, The First Australians, under the Outcome heading it says: “an earlier date for the invention of the barbecue than previously thought”.  OR … the Loch Ness Monster.  Outcome: “In recent years, sightings have become less frequent, perhaps reflecting the fact that the drinking and driving laws are now more strictly enforced in the Highlands than they used to be.”  OR … the Shroud of Turin.  Outcome: “Your guess is as good as mine”.  
And on it goes.   Good for a quick flip but not much else.

Never Fall Down

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Generally I'm not a fan of war books. I'm an emotional reader and I find them way too upsetting to read. However I have had my eye on Never Fall Down by Patricia McCormick for a couple of weeks because I saw that it was about the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia which I knew nothing about, apart from the phrase 'The Killing Fields', and a hazy idea of injustice.

I just finished Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher for out Teen Book Group at Narre Warren (which all are welcome to join by the way) and deciding I may as well continue with a bit of depressing reading I picked up Never Fall Down. It is a novel based on the real experiences of a man called Arn Chorn-Pond, a man who was a boy when the Khmer Rouge took power Cambodia in the 1970s. The narrative is told in the first person by McCormick based on interviews she undertook with Arn, and the other people mentioned in the story. It is a very powerful narrative, and feels very immediate for this reason. 
This is an amazing story of a kid who managed to survive while hundreds were killed around him. He survived initially by becoming part of a musical group that was taught to play revolutionary themed songs and eventually even joined with his oppressors in an effort to survive. This story is told with compassion but also does not flinch from the hard truths that those in terrible circumstances must face. You may not like this man after reading his story but you will certainly understand him and something of the terrible things the people of Cambodia went through during this period.

Ultimately however, this is a story of hope. While the human race can do some truly despicable things, our capacity for forgiveness, of ourselves and of others, and our ability to continue to hope for the best in the direst of circumstances gives this story some light within the darkness.

- Celia


Links to our Past - history -

The Bunyip Historical Society has republished Call of the Bunyip: History of Bunyip, Iona and Tonimbuk 1847-1990, written by the late Denise Nest. This is a comprehensive look at the social history of the area and covers the Churches, Schools, the Hospital, Sport and Community Groups such as the Red Cross, Country Women's Association and Masonic Lodge. There is also a section on the War Memorial and the Returned Services League. Lastly, there is a section on local families. The present town of Bunyip owes its existence to the Railway line. The Gippsland line to Sale opened in stages - Sale to Morwell in June 1877; Oakleigh to Bunyip on October 8 1877; Moe to Morwell in December 1877; Moe to Bunyip in March 1878 and the last stretch from South Yarra to Oakleigh in 1879.

A reporter from The Argus did the trip to Bunyip, a few days before the official opening, and presents a fairly bleak picture of the township, as we can see from the article reproduced below.  Bunyip did overcome this bleak start and soon community institutions developed - the Bunyip State School opened in January 1880; the Anglican Church began services in 1879 in a hall and the picturesque St Thomas Church opened in December 1902. The Methodist Church opened in October 1899. A Mechanics' Institute opened in 1906. The Post Office had opened with the Railway Station and moved into town in 1906. A Police Station was erected in 1903.

 The Argus, October 4, 1877From Trove http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper
Both Bunyip and Garfield benefited by the drainage of the Koo-Wee-Rup Swamp which opened up thousands of hectares to farmland to the south, after settlement started from 1893.
Before the railways there were two other townships called Bunyip. In 1847  a road was surveyed from Dandenong to Gippsland along the edge of the ranges and when this proved to be impassable in places, a new road, which became the coach route, was surveyed in 1859.  Where this road crossed the Cannibal Creek, a small settlement was surveyed in 1860 and the township of Cannibal Creek was born and the Pig and Whistle Inn was established.  The road continued basically along the modern day road of Ellis Road to the old township of Buneep on the Bunyip River. The Melbourne to Sale telegraph line followed this route in 1865, which eventually gave the road the name of Old Telegraph Road (see mud map*). 
In 1867,  David Connor’s New Bunyip Inn was  built on the Bunyip River on the Gippsland Road, as the Princes Highway was then called. The coach route then changed direction at Cannibal Creek and turned south east to this Inn, and became known as Old Sale Road (see mud  map). A small settlement developed around the Inn, including the establishment of a bakery by William Snell.  However, with the arrival of the railways, the new settlement at Bunyip eclipsed the Old Sale Road settlement. 
You can buy a copy of the book from the Newsagency in Bunyip or you can email the Bunyip Historical Society on bhs@dcsi.net.au
* I made up the map and have no cartographic training whatsoever, so it is more a representation than a map. Heather

Ned Kelly Awards

Reading Rewards - reviews -

The shortlist for the 2013 Ned Kelly Awards for excellence in Australian crime writing has been released, with category winners to be announced at the Brisbane Writers festival on 7 September.

Best Fiction:
The Holiday Murders - Robert Gott
Web of Deceit - Katherine Howell
Blackwattle Creek - Geoff McGeachin
I Hear the Sirens in the Street - Adrian McKinty
Silent Valley - Malla Nunn

Best First Fiction:
The Marmalade Files - Steve Lewis & Chris Uhlmann
The Midnight Promise - Zane Lovitt
The Robbers - Paul Anderson
Murder with the Lot - Sue Williams
The Richmond Conspiracy - Andrew Grimes

Best True Crime:
The People Smuggler - Robin De Crespigny
Every Parent's Nightmare - Belinda Hawkins
The Devil's Cinema - Steve Lillebuen
Dead by Friday - Derek Pedley
Eugenia - Mark Tedeschi QC


Dork Diaries

Book Swamp -

Dork Diaries  by Rachel Renee Russell

Type of Story: Funny

This is a work of art peoples :-) !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

How good was it? Fantastic

Review by Nellie Kathleen Holder, age 9

Phryne Fisher news

Reading Rewards - reviews -

And now for something a little different ... Attention Phryne Fisher fans!

The National Trust of Australia (Victoria) is holding a Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries Costume Exhibition at Rippon Lea House in Melbourne from 7 September to 27 October, 2013.

There will be costumes from Series 1 and a selection of upcoming costumes from Series 2!

Events surrounding the exhibition include an Author's talk with Kerry Greenwood and a 1920s inspired Tea Dance with a five-piece band! Bookings can be made via the National Trust website and for more announcements regarding these events head to their Facebook page.

Acid (the most brutal police force in history...)

Quicksand -

ACID- the most brutal police force in history
They rule with an iron fist
They see everything. They know everything.
They locked me away for life.
My crime?
They say I murdered my parents.
I was fifteen years old.
My name is Jenna Strong…and this is my story!
Survival of the fittest is often just a saying for Jenna Strong it’s a philosophy. As the only female in an all male prison, she murdered her parents at 15, Jenna is tough ass. Nobody messes with her without suffering serious and painful consequences. That is life for Jenna always on the defensive always looking to survive but when a mysterious rebel group breaks Jenna out of prison not even Jenna will be prepared for what is to come. Survival is still number one for Jenna but just what will she have to do to survive. The truth is coming and Jenna will have to make some heart-wrenching choices is she wants to survive. Just what happened that night when her parents died? And how far will Jenna go for the truth…and revenge. Nothing will be the same.

What I loved most about ACID was the protagonist Jenna, she was strong, independent and fierce, which in YA fiction can be hard to come by, yet she had a sense of vulnerability about her that just melts your heart. I couldn’t help but compare her to Katniss Everdeen; you love Katniss then you’ll love Jenna. Pass does a good job of delivering a well paced and suspenseful plot, never leaving a time for a dull moment its go go go from the very start. The character development and world building is well constructed and I really enjoyed the secondary characters, specifically Max who you only see through Jenna’s eyes but can’t help but sympathise with. And while Max does play a role as the love inertest he is more than just that, as is Jenna, their emotional feelings and relationship is simply a fact of life, falling in love is something that happens, and doesn’t at all dominate the plot nor define the characters. The plot twists were amazing and very unpredictable and it made for a nice change to read a dystopian novel set in Britain rather than the ever popular US. One critique I will make was that Pass didn’t take the time to explain the technology of the futuristic world, what exactly were the pulse guns was a bit lost on me, and as such some of the action scenes weren’t as visual as other parts of the novel. There is also one aspect of the novel, has to do with how Jenna hides from ACID no spoilers, that didn’t sit well with me but overall a beautifully and intrinsically constructed novel that goes everywhere but where you expect and some places you don't expect. ACID is a wonderful story, one to put on your must read list, and one that  doesn’t disappoint.     Courtney :)

Mixed Vegetables Volume 1

Book Swamp -

Mixed Vegetables Volume 1 by Ayumi Komura 
Hanayu can't forget the delicious taste of the egg roll sushi she had when she was a small child. Although her parents own a bakery, Hanayu dreams of owning her own sushi shop. She will have to take over her parents' bakery instead, or her parents will be disappointed in her. At Oikawa High School in cooking classes she meets Hayato Hyuga, the son of a sushi chef. Hyuga - kun wants to run a bakery. They both have dreams for their futures, but how will they make their dreams come to life?

How good was it? Fantastic

Review by Kumiko Chiba, age 13

Hitmaker - The man and his music

Reading Rewards - reviews -

Hitmaker: the man and his music by Tommy Mottola

Anybody who loves music will enjoy this book. Tommy Mottola was a kid who grew up in the Bronx and was a college dropout, he went on to become one of the music industry's most creative and controversial CEO's of the Sony Music Corporation.

I was amazed to read just how many recording stars he was responsible for - Hall & Oates (who I love), Celine Dion, Gloria Estefan, George Michael, Tony Bennett, Bruce Springsteen, Carly Simon, Michael Bolton but to name a few, and of course Michael Jackson. He also was credited with discovering (and marrying) Mariah Carey even though he was a generation older than her. In fact, he has been married three times and changed religions each time!

The stories of these artists are fascinating especially Michael Jackson, who surrounded himself with people who said "yes" simply to be around him or because they were cashing his cheques. That put Tommy Mottola in somewhat of a unique position, he was in charge of Sony Music and Sony was writing Michael's cheques, but might have been the only person in the world who was able to say "I don't think that's right" to Michael Jackson, and from the beginning, part of him resented that, but mostly respected that. This part of the book is quite interesting to read and confirms a lot of the controversial stories surrounding Michael Jackson.

He was also present when the classic "We are the world" featuring many of his artists was filmed 28 years ago (I found that hard to believe that it was so long ago).

This book is also interesting describing the progression of recording media from vinyl, to cassette, to compact disc, to MP3's to the modern era reflecting on downloading and piracy.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone with a love of music for a trip down memory lane.

~ Janine


Book Swamp -

We can’t tell you who we are. Or where we live. It’s too risky And we've got to be careful. But everyone is in danger. Yeah…even you!
Series: The invasion, The visitor, The encounter, The message, The predator, The capture

Sometimes strange things happen. Just ask Jake. One night he and four of his friends take a short cut through an abandoned construction site only to find themselves face to face with a real life alien. Now nothing will be normal again. Earth is under attack, being invaded by slimy slug aliens who crawl into your brain and control you. Now it is up to Jake and his friends to be the only form of human resistance against this invasion. Their only weapon…morphing; the ability to morph into any animals whose DNA they've acquired through touch. Can five kids save the world against an evil greater than anything they ever imagined?

The Animorphs series is an adventurous and exciting read. The books alternate between points of view with each Animorph narrating, so it never gets boring as each of the Animorphs have unique characteristics. The reader not only gets to enter a world of action and adventure but also the animal kingdom as the kids morph into everything from a lizard to a Siberian tiger. I originally read this series when I was a kid and now with the reprints I am re-reading and enjoying the adventure all over again. This series is defiantly a classic and worth a read.

Happy reading,

Courtney :)

Bunyip aerial photographs 1985

Links to our Past - history -

Last week I posted some aerial photographs of Garfield, taken by the Shire of Pakenham in November 1985. Click here to see these photographs. This week we will look at aerial photographs of Bunyip, taken at the same time also by the Shire of Pakenham.

 Bunyip, looking south, towards Recreation Reserve. The intersection is of High Street, Princess Street on the right, A'Beckett Street on the left. High Street then continues as Nash Road.
Bunyip, looking north. The intersection is of Bunyip-Modella Road with the Nar Nar Goon-Longwarry Road and the railway line. Bunyip-Modella Road becomes Hope Street, north of the railway line. 

Almost the same shot as above - Bunyip, looking north. The intersection is of Bunyip-Modella Road with the Nar Nar Goon-Longwarry Road and the railway line. Bunyip-Modella Road becomes Hope Street, north of the railway line. 

Bunyip, looking east. This is the intersection of Hope Street and Princess Street (running off the left) across to High Street. 

 Bunyip is on the Gippsland Railway line to Sale. The line runs from top to bottom, on the left of the picture (or west to east). Further left is the Nar Nar Goon-Longwarry Road. On the right of the line are the shops, hotels and Public Hall in Main Street. 

Bunyip Recreation Reserve. The road to the west of the Reserve is the Bunyip-Modella Road. You can see the Railway line, running from the top (west) to the right. 

Man Booker Longlist

Reading Rewards - reviews -

The longlist for the 2013 Man Booker prize for fiction, announced today (24 July 2013), has a diverse and international flavour with authors from the UK, Ireland, Malaysia, Zimbabwe, New Zealand and Canada. Three Irish writers have been selected, including Colum McCann, Donal Ryan, and Colm Tóibín whose novels have been shortlisted twice before. The best known of the four British authors is Jim Crace, 67, who has announced that his shortlisted novel, Harvest, will be his last.

The longlist will be cut down to six in September and the eventual winner, announced in October, will receive £50,000.

Five Star Billionaire Tash Aw
We Need New Names NoViolet Bulawayo
The Luminaries Eleanor Catton
Harvest Jim Crace
The Marrying of Chani Kaufman Eve Harris
The Kills Richard House
The Lowland Jhumpa Lahiri
Unexploded Alison MacLeod
TransAtlantic Colum McCann
Almost English Charlotte Mendelson
A Tale for the Time Being Ruth Ozeki
The Spinning Heart Donal Ryan
The Testament of Mary Colm Tóibín

Welcome to Book Swamp!

Book Swamp -

Welcome to Book Swamp, Casey-Cardinia Library Corporation's NEW kids' blog, for news, reviews and other stuff of interest to kids in the Casey-Cardinia region.

Best of all, we want you to submit your own reviews, to help us get the word out about the great books, cds, movies and more that you are enjoying. You can do this, by clicking on the big submit button on the Book Swamp blog homepage.

So get reading, listening and watching and let us know what you think about it when you're done.

Cenza and the Youth Team

The Day Of The Triffids

Quicksand -

The Day Of The Triffids by John Wyndham. 

I loved this book, it's a classic must-read for sure. It's about a man who wakes up in hospital with his eyes bandaged over from an optical related surgery. It was caused by an attack from a 'Triffid', a new species of walking plants that have invaded the world. Whilst in the hospital, a meteor shower occurs with the eyes of the world upon it. This causes everyone who had seen this spectacle to go blind. The man in the hospital is one of only a few sighted people left. 

His adventures are heart-racing and page-turning. It's very rare for me to be interested in something like this, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. You can just imagine and feel the desertion and loneliness that John describes. Not only does the story line hook you until the last page, it makes you think about what the world could be like if an event like this really did happen, who would survive? If I were blind, would anyone help me?
It's a fabulous read and I highly recommend it. 

Chantelle Your age: 17

Manuscript found in Accra

Reading Rewards - reviews -

"‘Speak to us..,’ the people call again and again of the Copt. And so the wise man of the city of Jerusalem speaks on the topics they set in the hours before they will all fall at the hands of the Crusaders."
The author creates a premise of a manuscript left undiscovered for 700 years that is found and shared with the world. Though it is a fictional premise it is written as though fact in the introduction of the book.
The people ask the wise man to speak on topics related and seemingly unrelated to the invasion they await, being more an opportunity to reflect upon the questions of life rather than to find some resolution in them.
The topics range from defeat and solitude, beauty, love, sex, elegance, luck and the future. The Copt reflects on each in a sense of spiritual philosophy and gives the answers as he knows them.
The book is very easy to read and takes little time to finish. Some of the images and ideas are very beautiful and clear, while others are less so. Manuscriptfound in Accra, is essentially a dialogue between a philosophical author and his audience; we the reader.
As in many of his other books, Coelho has the talent to make the world appear a much bigger and more beautiful place in all its mystery. There were words written in this book that spoke directly to me and I would expect that anyone with similar philosophical questions, could find on some level the same.
However there were also passages that I found too obscure. The entire chapter on uselessness felt ironically clumsy in its expression and the one on elegance quite irrelevant to the story.
I did not feel that the topics linked as well as they might have but enjoyed greatly the discussion of them and the new ideas to take away with me. This is the gift of Coelho, that he gives a new way to see the world that may lead to new questions of your own and new answers. Sound obscurely philosophical? Well, just ask Copt.
~ Sam

Garfield aerial photos 1985

Links to our Past - history -

These photographs are from our Archive collection and were taken by the Shire of Pakenham and are dated November 1985.

The road that comes in from the centre left is Garfield Road, which runs out to the Princes Highway. It intersects with the Gippsland railway line; the south side of the railway line is Nar Nar Goon-Longwarry Road. 

Garfield, looking south. Garfield is on the Gippsland railway line. North of the line is Railway Avenue and that's Campbell Street running of Railway Avenue. South of the line is Nar Nar Goon-Longwarry Road. The road that is parallel to the strut of the plane wing is Fourteen Mile Road, with the Recreation Reserve beside it. The little street on centre right is Beswick Street and the building to the right of it is the Garfield Picture Theatre. 

Aerial photograph of Garfield, looking south east. Garfield is on the Gippsland railway line to Sale and the Nar Nar Goon-Longwarry Road. The road that comes in on the centre right, at right angles to the railway line, is the Thirteen Mile Road 

 Photograph showing the Nar Nar Goon-Longwarry Road, which runs next to the Gippsland railway line. Photograph labelled 'Cr Matthews, Garfield', presumably the property of Cr Jeune Matthews which was on the Tynong side of Garfield. 

Author Event - Julia Quinn

Reading Rewards - reviews -

Award-winning Regency Romance Writer, Julia Quinn, is heading downunder next month.  
The American best-selling author is keynote speaker for the Romance Writers of Australia conference in Fremantle, and has agreed to do two events, one in Melbourne, one in Sydney, for the Australian Romance Readers Association (ARRA).
Julia's Melbourne appearance will be on Monday 19 August at the QV Women's Centre, 210 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne from 5-7pm, where she will chat about her work, hold a Q&A session and follow up with book signing and sales with Rendezvous Books.  
There is an entry charge of $6 but if you're an ARRA member, it's free.  Light refreshments will be served.  Bookings are essential at http://australianromancereaders.wordpress.com/jq-event/


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