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“The Great Book Scare”

So let’s be honest!!

Have you ever had a squirmy feeling when you’ve seen a student in your library sneeze or cough while holding a book?  What about when you’ve noted that a particular student appears to be super unwell ….. almost probably running a temperature …. while browsing through books in the library?

Have you ever wondered, as the sneeze hits the book or the coughed on hands flip through the pages of the book, whether it’s possible for other students, or heaven forbid, for you yourself to ‘catch’ the germs deposited on the book if you should be the next one to touch the book?

No reason to laugh here, because this was exactly the thinking during the ‘Great Book Scare’ when it was thought that an infection could be caught just by borrowing a book from the library!

During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, fear sprouted in both the US and England that contaminated books, particularly those lent out from public libraries, could spread deadly diseases.  At a time when epidemics of tuberculosis, smallpox and scarlet fever were rampant, this frantic panic instilled a fear of public libraries.

Joseph Hayes, writing for the Smithsonian.com, has written a fascinating and comprehensive article outlining the history of the Great Book Scare:  When the public feared that library books could spread deadly diseases (August 23, 2019).

Well worth a read!

 

 

Year in year out, we all get busy around April when the year’s shortlisted CBCA books are announced.  Invariably, it’s a race to read through them as quickly as possible so that we can then start inspiring students to have a read.

While all six novels shortlisted in this year’s Older Readers section were really excellent, I was sure I had picked a winner when I settled on Clare Atkin’s “Between Us”.  Apart from the poignant subject matter, the characters and plot were both gripping and uplifting.   I was thrilled when the announcement was made a couple of weeks ago that this one was crowned 2019 Book of the Year: Older Reader’s Winner!! 

Following are the notes I made after reading the novel:

Short listed for the 2019 CBCA awards, this gripping novel gives us an up-close look at the plight of asylum seekers: their fears, their day-to-day life in detention and their frustration with their ongoing incarceration.  When Ana, an Iranian asylum seeker, is escorted out of the detention centre to attend a local secondary school, she meets Jono, the son of one of the guards at Ana’s detention centre. As their friendship flourishes, complications inevitably arise.  An excellent read which is my tip to win this year’s Book of the Year for Older Readers!

Rating: *****
Theme Fiction:
Person to Person
Suitability: Year 9-12+

I’m back …..

It has been a while …..  I’m not sure I know how to write any more.  I’m not even sure I know what to write.

I feel like I have been living in a vacuum – tucked far away from my usual life, floating somewhere in the universe.

Life is so unpredictable, full of twists and turns we can never anticipate.  Challenges crop up and hit us seemingly out of left field.  Unexpected and unplanned events, circumstances and situations can so quickly take over.  Value judgements can be upturned in an instant.  Days that quickly run into weeks and months take us in a different direction.  When it happens though, it’s easy to decide what is important.  It’s easy to decide where attention must be focused.

I hadn’t planned to have more than a year and a half away from my weekly blogging here on NovaNews and BevsBookBlog but it happened.

I’m back now though.

I hope I will be able to find the spark to reignite my love of learning, my thirst for knowledge, my desire to walk with others on the path of discovery.

My desk is weighed down with much to read.  My virtual desk is even heavier!  Getting back into it is made that little more enticing by knowing that many of you have continued to peek at my blogposts during my absence.

Thanks for your loyalty.  I truly appreciate it.

As they say:

STAY TUNED”

I hope to be up and running again real soon.

As we set about winding down for the year here in Australia, have a think about the precious tradition enjoyed in Finland in which books are given and received as Christmas presents.

How nice to know that books are a coveted item.

christmas-tree-iceland

I can think of nothing better than curling up with a book and some chocolate.

Heaven!

With my bags packed full of as many books as I could squeeze in, I look forward to lots of rest and relaxation as I race around the world via the pages of many a book.

See you back here in 2018!

 

Eeek!! What do I do?!?

Even though I’d been working in libraries for a while, it had never happened.

I’d never had to deal with a wet book!!

But ….. it happened!

Just a few weeks into my new job (now some years ago!) it was with the flick of my hand that my cup of tea went flying and literally drowned the precious novel I was in the middle of reading.

Fortunately, an experienced colleague was on hand to smother my embarrassment and calm my nerves by showing me just how easy it was to save a wet book!

A recent post on Open Culture brought memories flooding back!!

And yes – we went through a very hefty bundle of paper towels that day, but the book was saved!!

Books on the Rail

I just love the notion of sharing books – especially when there’s no cost involved!

Books on the RailBooks on the Rail arrived in Melbourne around a year ago and is somewhat similar to another initiative –  BookCrossing which I had fun exploring a few years ago with students in my school.

Although this initiative incorporates a business aspect – you must purchase stickers to be able to participate – it also includes a subscription option, an initiative not offered by similar free book sharing  schemes I’ve explored.

The bottom line though is very simple:

  1. Attach a Books on the Rail sticker to the front of a book.
  2. Read the book.
  3. Once finished return to the book to any train, tram or bus in Melbourne for others to enjoy!

A great way to promote the love of reading and to share many of those fabulous books collecting dust on your bookshelves.

Founders – Ali and Mich have also created a very slick website which will appeal to many a book lover!

Sometimes I come across stories which are simply intriguing!

This one, written by Susan Falciani and published on Atlas Obscura on July 20, 2017, titled:  The Rare-Book Thief Who Looted College Libraries in the ’80s is well worth a read!

James Richard Shinn - book thief.jpg

Recounting the history and eventual capture of James Richard Shinn, whose  love of books may have classified him as a bibliomaniac if only he’d not been so intent on  stealing rare manuscripts from libraries across the US, reads like a ‘who-dunnit’!

Incredible!!