AWW 2014 Challenge

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awwbadge_2014What have I done!? I’ve decided to sign up for the Australian Women Writers 2014 challenge.

I only just found out about this challenge today. In 2013 I saw the icon on a few bloggers I follow and never really understood what it was about. Today as I was looking through a variety of blogs I stumbled across http://australianwomenwriters.com and learnt what it is all about.

Why have I decided to participate in AWW 2014? There are two main reasons:

  1. I have never really been taken by Australian writing. I don’t know if this is a backlash from some sub-par Australian authors I had to read in highschool, or because I feel that there aren’t a lot of great Australian Fantasy authors out there. (I would love for any one reading this to disagree with me, and point me to some great, female, Australian, fantasy authors). So what better way to try and get into Australian authors then to participate in a challenge like this, with a whole community of readers that can point me in the direction of quality writing.
  2. I really want to develop this blog. I am not the greatest writer, and I want to challenge myself to develop these skills. I have found that if I just leave it up to myself to blog I rarely do it, I feel participating in a challenge like this will give me the kick up the butt that I need.

So here goes. As this is my first year I have decided to stick with the Stella level (read 4, review at least 3).

Now I just have to find some Australian female authors. Any help, will be greatly appreciated…

2013 Reading

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It’s the 6th of January, the first day back at work for the year, and so begins another start of the year post by me. Every year I begin with good intentions, I must get better at blogging, I must post more often, I want to hone my writing skills and encourage myself to think about a variety of different things. Every year, this fades as life takes over and I worry too much over the fact that I haven’t written a blog post for so long that I choose not to write anything at all.

Not this year! I think part of my problem with blog post writing is that I have been too caught up on making this a library centered blog. Yes I want to write about library related topics, but my life isn’t simply libraries, so I am going to try and make this a more ‘Life of Laura’ related blog to see if this encourages more writing. Here’s hoping that it works!

To start off with here is a visual representation (thanks to GoodReads) of all the books I read in 2013. I aimed to read 35 and just got over the mark with 36 books. I feel I read quite a range of books (of course mainly on the fiction side of things as this is my preference). There are quite a few classics, a few young adults and a few contemporary fictions thrown in there, along with a few non-fiction books, mainly based around helping me in my Christian walk.

I came to an epiphany with my reading in 2013 (with thanks to B). For quite a few years I have forced myself to struggle through books in order to get to the end, even if I am hating them. However, this year I changed. B pointed out that reading is generally supposed to be an enjoyable activity, and it is certainly the main way I unwind, so instead of feeling guilty if I put a book down before it is finished, how about I accept that I am hating it and move on. Here’s hoping I continue this practice in 2014 and really ignite my love for reading!

In 2014 I have set my reading goal to 40 (eek). I have also started the year with the Luminaries, a beautifully written book, but also at 832 pages it is extremely hard work, so, so much detail! Wish me luck!

What are your reading goals for 2014?

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40 Books

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"Books" by dr_tr - Flickr CC Licence

“Books” by dr_tr – Flickr CC Licence

I can’t go past a good book meme, I love to see the books I’ve read, the books that are on my ‘to-read’ list and books that I have never heard of. Thanks to Con here is a list from the BBC Book Challenge. According to the BBC: “most people will have read only 6 of the 100 books below”. I don’t know about the state of the English syllabus in England but I feel that here in Australia simply doing English until Year 12 would mean that you have had to read more than 6 of these books.

What do you think? How many of these books have you read?

Here is my list, I also added a note to the books that I have marked in my ‘to-read’ list…I doubt I’ll ever complete that list.

Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
Harry Potter series – JK Rowling (all) 
To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee

6 The Bible (I can’t say I’ve read the ENTIRE bible, but I read it every day and constantly, so it’s included J )
7 Wuthering Heights
Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell 
9 His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations – Charles Dickens

11 Little Women – Louisa May Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy (‘to-read’ list)
13 Catch 22 – Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare (I would like to chat to someone who isn’t an English teacher or major and can claim this)
15 Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier

16 The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong – Sebastian Faulks 
18 Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger 
19 The Time Travellers Wife – Audrey Niffenegger 
20 Middlemarch – George Eliot (‘to-read’ list)

21 Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby — F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House – Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy (This was originally on my ‘to-read’ list but after struggling through ½ of Anna Karenina I became more realistic and decided to remove it)
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams

26 Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh (‘to-read’ list)
27 Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky (‘to-read’ list)
28 Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck (‘to-read’ list)
29 Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame

31 Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis
34 Emma – Jane Austen
35 Persuasion – Jane Austen

36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Berniere (‘to-read’ list)
39 Memoirs of a Geisha – Willaim Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh – AA Milne

41 Animal Farm – George Orwell (‘to-read’ list)
42 The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown 
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabrial Garcia Marquez (‘to-read’ list)
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney – John Irving
45 The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins

46 Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery
47 Far from the Madding Crowd — Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaids Tale – Margaret Atwood 
49 Lord of the Flies – William Golding
50 Atonement – Ian McEwan

51 Life of Pi – Yann Martell 
52 Dune – Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth

56 The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon (‘to-read’ list)
57 A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon
60 Love in the time of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez (‘to-read’ list)

61 Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
62 Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov (‘to-read’ list)
63 The Secret History – Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold (‘to-read’ list)
65 Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas

66 On the Road – Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick – Herman Melville (‘to-read’ list)

71 Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
72 Dracula – Bram Stoker (‘to-read’ list)
73 The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson
74 Notes from a Small Island – Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses – James Joyce (‘to-read’ list)

76 The Bell Jar – Sylivia Plath (‘to-read’ list)
77 Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal – Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession – AS Byatt (‘to-read’ list)

81 A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas – Charles Mitchell
83 The Colour Purple – Alice Walker (‘to-read’ list)
84 The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert (‘to-read’ list)

86 A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web – EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree collection – Enid Blyton

91 Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince – Antoine de Saint Exupery (‘to-read’ list)
93 The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks
94 Watership Down – Richard Adams (‘to-read’ list)
95 A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole

96 A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet – William Shakespeare
99 Charlie & the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables – Victor Hugo

The war for the free and open internet — and how we are losing it

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laurah88:

I saw Sue Gardner speak at NLS6 in February. She is an amazing speaker, very inspiring and what she fights for is excellent.

Originally posted on Sue Gardner's Blog:

Wikipedia Anti-SOPA Blackout Design

Below is the text of a talk I delivered Monday at the 2013 MIT-Knight Civic Media Conference in Boston. Republican Congressman Darrell Issa, Icelandic member of Parliament Birgitta Jónsdóttir and I spoke on the theme of “Insiders/Outsiders: what is the right approach to change.”

Unlike many of the people in this room, I’m not an academic or a public policy expert and so I won’t be bringing you statistics or analysis or theories today. I run a big website. I’m also a journalist. If we consider ourselves to be in a war for the free and open internet, I am here to tell you some stories from the trenches.

Wikipedia is pretty much the consummate insider-outsider: the #5 most-popular site in the entire world, read by a half a billion people every month, yet written by utterly ordinary people with no special power or authority at all. If they…

View original 1,647 more words

This is the end…

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The End by SteveNakatani CC Licence Flickr

So apparently I failed the end of #blogjune I was so proud of myself, I had written almost every day of June (much better than last year) and I had all intentions to write something on Sunday to finish up an excellent month, but the weekend came, and life became extremely hectic as I tried to fit all the things I can’t do in the week into two days, aaand the weekend was gone, which meant June had gone, woops!

Here are my reflections on #blogjune anyway…two days into July…who needs to follow rules anyway ;)

I loved #blogjune this year. It is such a great idea (thanks Con and Steph), not only did I love the challenge to myself to try and write something each day (I failed to write a lot some days, but still managed to get a post out). The main thing I loved, was reading everyone else’s thoughts, and feeling a part of a world-wide community of librarians. What a great bunch of librarians there is around the world, so many people have such great ideas and thoughts, and can articulate them so well. I have been led to a variety of different articles and ideas that will help to develop my job (such as Embedded Librarianship) and I have also made some great contacts over Twitter, and through commenting on a variety of blogs.

As I stated in an earlier post in June, working in a small, specialised library (after being in a fairly sizable academic library)  I can sometimes get a little bit lonely, but with challenges such as #blogjune I feel so connected to the many great people we have in our profession.

I now have to challenge myself to continue this blog, I may even find another challenge to follow – as they seem to really give me the kick up the butt that I need-.

So thanks everyone that participated in #blogjune it was great to read and reflect on so many of your thoughts. Can’t wait for next year…

Quote

“In its silence…

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“In its silence, a book is a challenge: it can’t lull you with surging music or deafen you with screeching laugh tracks or fire gunshots in your living room; you have to listen to it in your head. A book won’t move your eyes for you the way images on a screen do. It won’t move your mind unless you give it your mind, or your heart unless you put your heart in it … To read a story well is to follow it, to act it, to feel it, to become it – everything short of writing it, in fact. Reading is not interactive with a set of rules or options, as games are; reading is actual collaboration with the writer’s mind. No wonder not everyone is up to it”

- Ursula K. Le Guin

Another excellent quote today, read thanks to Beau. It really does sum up why I love reading more than any other ‘past-time’ activity.

Quick & Easy Weeknight Pasta

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The finished product

I realised today that I have hardly shared any cooking adventures during #blogjune. As someone that loves to try and discover new recipes I thought it was about time. This is just a quick post to inform any one that may want to know of a super easy, rather delicious pasta recipe I made last night.

I adapted the recipe from Lottie + Doof (an excellent foodblog if you’re interested in that kind of thing). I basically followed the entire recipe, except I used real chili rather than chili flakes. It was amazing, you throw all the ingredients into one Frypan, cook for about 10-15min and you have a delicious pasta meal. The great thing about this recipe was that due to the fact that the pasta cooks with all the ingredients it has so much flavour.

I have to admit I was a bit skeptical about this recipe (how could you possibly make the sauce and the pasta at the same time, in one pan) but it worked! So if you’re looking for a simple, quick and delicious weeknight dinner I highly recommend this one.

Feedly Wins

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ImageSince mid March many of us who follow a lot of blogs have been searching for a new reader. I lamented the fact that I had finally organised my Google Reader and began the search for the replacement, needed by next week, July 1st.

Over the past few months I have researched, experimented and asked for advice on a variety of different platforms. There are a lot of great options out there, and I feel that a lot of blog readers have really stepped up their game to try and win those at a loss with no more Google Reader.

The winner for me was Feedly, although a lot of people don’t like the ‘bells and whistles’ that Feedly brings, I actually don’t think it is that bad:

  • It has a simple web layout (with an add on for Chrome),
  • Feedly were quick to jump on the fact that many people would be searching for a new reader and over the months have made the transfer quick and painless – they have now implemented the use of the cloud and with one click you can migrate everything
  • Their Android app is great, easy to use and was also easy to move to the cloud (and I enjoy the colour…something to brighten up my waiting at the train station ;) )
  • They continue to update their program to ensure those who have migrated from Google Reader are satisfied: http://techland.time.com/2013/06/19/feedly-adds-new-features-ahead-of-looming-google-reader-shutdown/
  • They seem to be quite open with everything they are doing, and seem to ask the community for feedback, particularly when they make large changes, or have received a variety of similar complaints (I say seem, because you never really know what’s going on behind the scenes, but for now they seem to be fairly transparent)

These are just a few of my initial thoughts on my use of Feedly. Over all, despite the fact that there was a huge uproar in March when Google announced the end of their reader, I feel that the transition has been easy, and I am satisfied with my decision to go with Feedly. If you are still lost in a world soon to be without Google Reader, this article provides a pretty good summary of some of the options that are out there: http://www.theverge.com/2013/3/19/4119006/the-best-google-reader-alternatives

Have you found a Google Reader replacement? What did you decide to go with?

Two Months Time…!

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I am sorry I had grand plans for my Monday post, but I’m tired and don’t feel very well.

Instead this is an excited post…In two months time, I will be married!! Yaaaay! I can’t wait to marry my bestfriend, and celebrate with our family and friends!

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Wedding Dress For Happy Couple in Love – By epSos .de CC Licence

Now…to get everything done….

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