Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

A tongue not your own…

This morning I rode an early train to the city and not only enjoyed the rare pleasure of a seat, but also the chance of overhearing a conversation in Spanish I couldn’t understand – except for the occasional word.

As a fan of language and communication, I love Melbourne for the diversity of languages it’s possible to hear. Personally, I think one of the most satisfying things to experience is conversing, however poorly, with a stranger in their own language and for both people to be able to understand each other.

If you’re interested in picking up a new language and maybe one day practicing with a tourist or even a local, you might want to check out either The Foreign Language Bookshop in the CBD or Intext in Hawthorn.

Melbourne Tram Book


“Not everyone has warm feelings for the trams – for example. motorists may view them with impatience,” explains the introduction.

While some Melburnians will agree with that statement, most will appreciate the beauty and charm of our iconic box on wheels.

The 80-page paperback is largely a pictorial essay but also has a couple of history lessons. There is even a chapter called “What tram is that?” – so if you have ever wanted to know how the control panels of a W-series and a C-class (we’re entering serious tram enthuasiasts kingdom here), this is the book for you.

More than 40 photographers and artists have contributed tram-related pics to the book, and it’s fair to say that if you are a fan of the City Circle, you’ll be in rusty tram track heaven.

The Melbourne Tram Book is out now.

The Great Melbourne University Library Controversy – Style over Substance?

Melbourne university link:

Parts of the history collection at Melbourne University have apparently been under threat for the last few months, with University administration claiming they will move substantial parts of the collection to a storage facility in Bundoora. This will make many researchers work impossible; the Age today reported comments from academics explaining that research involving the threatened collections will become impossible if they move (you can’t browse through collections when you need to order each individual book to be shipped in, 24 hours in advance). My own thoughts are that it would be a pretty bad way to keep books – essentially doubling or tripling the handling of each individual volume, and exposing them to the risks of frequent transport.

Since staff and students raised concerns, the university has been re-organising it’s plans to free up space elsewhere for the threatened collections, and you can see what they’re up to at the moment through the link, above. They also seem to be placating the threatened researchers and students by finally providing funding for a catalogue system that should have been in place long ago.

Harry Potter fans gathering at Fed Square

The last Potter book is coming out this Saturday, July 21. Borders is having a launch event that starts at 8am, which includes magicians, dress-up’s, face painting and so on. At 9.01am the book launches… Admit it, you’re a fan – maybe I’ll see you at Federation Square?

Freebies from the Age

The Age has some free guides:
1. The Essential Guide to Aged Care
2. The Essential Guide to Home Renovations
3. The Essential Guide To Managing Your Professional Career
4. The Essential Guide to Queensland Luxury Journeys

All available from The Age.

Impressions: The Carlton Residential Association

I came back with a lot of thoughts from Melbourne Conversation, so at some stage I hope to write them all up. The topic was The Place of Students in Central Melbourne: Cash Cows or Community Members? and all I can say was that the research and the discussion in general was highly interesting. The room was at full capacity so much so it was a standing room.

First off, let me start by saying our very own Metroblogger, Janice was on the panel. She did a great job, and the audience roared in many praises after she was done. Her situation with regards to housing, was pretty dire – heck, the local newspapers picked it up over the weekend. Before the panel, she was a little fidgety (first public appearance?) but she held the crowd really well. Wish she’d use the microphone! Kudos Janice!

My first thought (in a series, I’m sure): the Carlton Residents Association. Wish their website was a lot more updated. A representative came there and spoke when the floor was open, and basically referred to certain buildings in Carlton as ghettos. Even the moderator had to tell her that she should be careful with her word usage. She tailed off, and basically said “there are too many of them” (sure, I’m paraphrasing). I don’t think many folk like her very much…

Personally, I think that the residents are not averse to change. Carlton is changing. Melbourne is changing. Saying there are too many students, is plain silly. If 37% of inner-city residents are foreign, and in the northern fringes it hits 50%, hello, do you realize what its doing for the economy in these areas? What about the surrounds. Sure, this is me supporting the cash cow argument, but have no international students, and suddenly realize the economy isn’t the same any longer.

Off the tangent of the Carlton Residents Association, the moderator did ask if anyone felt that students were not being treated like cash cows but actual community members. No one could support that statement. Everyone in the audience (and I’d say it was made up largely of the non-student population) agreed that they’re cash cows. That, is just plain, nasty.

Back to Carlton. Anyone read Carlton: A History? I’d be interested to see what Fay Woodhouse wrote in the chapter titled Students. I’m sure a lot has changed in Carlton from 2004 (publish year), like rent might have gone up 100%, but it’ll still be interesting to see what was said then.

Speed dating at the library

speeddatingbook.jpgAre you single and like to read books? The State Library of Victoria on Swanston Street has introduced a speed dating program for lovers of classic texts. Each person brings a book they like and a book they hate. This is the ice breaker for the 5 minute speed dates. The first time it was tried, it sold out with 52 people participating.

Text Appeal: Literary Dating!
Looking for love this summer? Bring a favourite book to the Library, and try a new angle on dating. A book you love or loathe will get the story started. Austen meets Kerouac, Rushdie falls for Zadie and JK Rowling can probably take her pick… Who will you find?
Time: Wed 17 and Wed 31 January, 7-9.30pm
Venue: Experimedia
Bookings: 03 8664 7555 or
Cost: $20 per session (three for the price of two, drinks and entertainment included)

Seems like a great way to meet people. Has anyone tried speed dating?

State Library of Victoria: January Events
Library takes novel approach to romance [via Digg]

Picture via

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On the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me……

metropolis.JPGI love books… much as I love my laptop – reading/browsing a screen will never replace the joy of opening a beautiful book.

And as much as I love books – I can’t STAND “super” book stores.

There’s just something about the rows and rows of pulp that chills me.

Give me a hole in the wall dusty store – piled high with 2nd handers (you can find amazing publications if you’re up for the hunt) or a carefully curated independent filled with crisp and clever volumes any day.

One of my absolute favs is Metropolis.

These guys used to be on Acland St, St Kilda way back when St Kilda was belle of the bay.

Don’t get me wrong, I still love the area but it’s just not quite the same anymore – the departure of Metropolis, its replacement a “mega” chemist, heralded a new era for the area.

more after the jump

Macquarie Dictionary gets classy.

When someone comes into the bookstore I work in asking for a dictionary I always recommend the Macquire Macquarie.
Why? Because it’s Australian of course! And recently, the Macquire Australian Encylopedic Macquarie Australian Encyclopedic Dictionary have taken a step forward in becoming even MORE Australian, by adding some new Ozzie slang. Here they are folks!

Muffin Top (Apparently added due to Kath and Kim’s popularity)

Door bitch: (A woman stringently checking the age of people wanting entry to a drinking club and that their dress is appropriate.)

Chick Flicks: (Films with a feminine skewer. Think Pretty Woman.)

Mouse potato:( A coach potato who now scans the internet incessantly.)

Biblical diet: (Strictly vegan fruit and nuts sustenance as expressed in Genesis 1:29.)

Rural Sexual: (A metrosexual living in a country area and forced to dress more conservatively than his counterparts in the city.)

What do you guys think? I think the ‘Biblical Diet’ is a bit weird – I’ve never heard of that before! Any words that you think can be added? I think Dick Flick should be one – Definition should be – “Movies that are intensely blokey and are filled with violence, explosions and big breasted women who need to be saved. Think Die Hard, Terminator, Rambo.”

see> Where are the Wild Things?

monster%26sam.gifAfter posting Mischievous Mambo I decided to go visit the Jewish Museum of Australia in St Kilda to learn a little more about the holocaust.

Curious as hell, neomein is also prone to suffer from ADD on the odd occasion. This was one of them.

To my absolute delight, there was an exhibition on Maurice Sendak – he who wrote Where the Wild Things Are, undeniably one of mini neomien’s favourite books.

It was a facinating exhibition, a mini retrospective on his works – video footage, notes and first editions – his influences of growing up with a Jewish heritage.

Great for the kiddies with little “wild thing” costumes to jump into – unfortunately neo couldn’t fit.

There was even a slide which landed you in a “bowl” of chicken noodle soup – again…..neo was a bit big there…..the mini neo inside watched enviously from the side at the little people frollicking in the “noodles” and one lone rubber chicken.

Too cool….all this reminded me of a lil rumour of a VERY accomplished director sniffing around melbourne……

Turns out those rumours are true!

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