Wednesday, March 09, 2011

"She started to cry..."

At work, when we receive positive feedback from customers, we like to share them internally with staff. This one was quite powerful so I thought I'd share it more widely. (The note has been edited to protect people's privacy).

Just a note to mention a good news story that occurred this morning at the library. I signed a lady up as a new member and after explaining our free internet policy for members ~ including the wireless access as she had her own laptop ~ she started to cry. I asked if she was ok? and she said she was just so happy to hear of our internet service and cheap printing, as she has not been able to afford internet access or printer at home and was overwhelmed as she lives locally and can pop down here now when ever she needs to.

The services we provide do make a difference in people's lives.
If you're not already aware of Feel-good librarian, check it out for more positive stories.

Friday, March 04, 2011

2010 Reading

I've never kept a list of books I've read, until last year. I can't remember exactly why, but was partly due to encouragement by a colleague, and a desire to play around with an online service like LibraryThing.

I started many more books, but don't finish them if I'm not enjoying them.

So, for what it's worth (and publicly sharing) - my list of completed (and therefore recommended) books for 2010.

Sir Edmund Hillary: An Extraordinary Life by Alexa Johnston
I bought this at the Edmund Hillary museum at Mt Cook in New Zealand, after being inspired by his accomplishments. I only ever knew him for being famous for climbing *that* mountain, and didn't realise how much more he did with his life. Inspirational read.

The secret life of wombats by James Woodford
I wanted to read this book ever since it came out, and was reminded of it after seeing wombats at Cradle Mountain in Tasmania in 2009. I like James Woodford's writing style, relaxed and very informative. The opening chapters alone are worth reading, for the story of schoolboy Peter Nicholson who snuck out from the school camp at night, to follow and crawl down wombat burrows.

Pirate Latitudes: A Novel by Michael Crichton
An easy light-weight novel. About pirates.

Somnambulist by Jonathan Barnes
After reading this list of 20 core steampunk titles, I wanted to give a couple a try, and this was the first. I really liked it, and would try another novel by the author.

Mainspring by Jay Lake
The second steampunk title I tried, didn't like this one as much.

Legs on Everest : the full story of his most remarkable adventure yet by Mark Inglis
Also picked up from the Edmund Hillary museum. Mark Inglis was the first double amputee to reach the summit of Everest. Inspiring story.

Modoc: The True Story of the Greatest Elephant That Ever Lived by Ralph Helfer
Apart from a small gripe about the writing style (a bit over the top), this is one of the most moving, extraordinary true stories I have ever read. Moved me to tears quite a few times.

Red Dragon by Thomas Harris
The infamous Hannibal Lecter! Enjoyable reading.

Pay Off by Stephen Leather
I used to read a lot of this genre in high school and my early working years, and Jack Higgins was a favourite author. I think I've read better books by Stephen Leather, but this was a short, enjoyable read.

The Fat Duck Cookbook by Heston Blumenthal
The first third of this cookbook is a short autobiography of this amazing man's journey into food, cooking and science. The middle section is a cookbook with recipes and extensive, entertaining notes, and the final third contains a series of articles about the science behind food and cooking. Amazing reading. I've loved the few series we've seen on TV or DVD, including Heston's Feasts and Big Chef Take On Little Chef.

My Life in France by Julia Child
I picked this one off the library shelf on impulse, after liking the movie Julie & Julia. Julia Child's personality and style come through strongly as the narrator, and the book is the first things that has ever made me consider visiting France!

Chasers by James Phelan
Book 1 of a trilogy, aimed at young adults, in another old favourite genre / setting - apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction (some of my favourite books from primary school are John Christopher's Tripods trilogy and the Prince in Waiting trilogy). This book has a massive twist in the tail, totally unexpected. Can't wait for the next books!

David Attenborough's Life Stories by David Attenborough
Transcripts (but easily read, especially hearing David Attenborough's voice in your head) of a BBC radio show, covering all sorts of topics related to natural history. Plenty of illustrations. Very interesting.

The Great Barrier Reef by James Woodford
An interesting look at the state of the Great Barrier Reef.