Monday, October 24, 2016

Of Mice and Men: Book Review by Kate

John Steinbeck’s famous classic, Of Mice and Men, is an incredible novel set within the era of the Great Depression in California, United States. It follows the story of George Milton and Lennie Small, two migrant ranch workers travelling from place to place to earn their living, burdened by the childlike nature of Lennie, who inadvertently creates trouble wherever they go.

John Steinbeck is a well-known author of the early 1900’s, with many of his works becoming widely read classics, that continue to be celebrated in this day and age. His novel, Of Mice and Men, is a touching story that focuses on life within the Great Depression, with insight into the further inequalities of racism, the role of women and the understanding and treatment of the mentally disabled that are highly relevant to the context of the novel. Through a range of characters Steinbeck creates a confronting statement on the nature of society and its structure during the era of the Great Depression, elaborately intertwining the numerous aspects of civilization within the confined boundaries of a ranch. His focus on the difficulties surrounding the financial wellbeing of many working-class people within the era becomes a trigger for sentiment within the audience as the themes of friendship, struggle and hope create sympathy and an emotional attachment towards the characters of the novel. 

I found myself emotionally spent after reading Steinbeck’s sensational story through his detailed establishment of the protagonists, George and Lennie, and the interactions between the two. The patient and quick-witted George leads the audience to feel immediately attached to his caring and protective nature towards Lennie, and the hope that he creates for them through his dreams of creating a better life in a time where money is sparse. Lennie himself, who whilst mentally disabled yet physically strong, is an intriguing character that I felt to be unique and enthralling. His light hearted nature makes the audience immediately attuned to his presence, feeling both attached and concerned over his wellbeing and actions. Steinbeck creates a highly heart wrenching novel through his build-up of the realities of life with the Great Depression, exposing the nature of views and the position of people within the constructs of society, outlining the common presence of hope residing in the minds of many however becoming nothing more than a dream to most.

I highly recommend John Steinbeck’s classic, Of Mice and Men, to readers of any age. This touching novel will having you turning page after page and will leave you in tears. 

Kate, 2016

Monday, October 17, 2016

Percy Jackson and the Olympians: Series Review by Kate

Rick Riordan’s fantasy series, Percy Jackson and the Olympians, is a pentalogy following the mysteries and adventures of the demigod, Percy Jackson. The series explores the stories and myths of Greek mythology, bringing to life the creatures and monsters of Ancient Greek beliefs, in a modern day American setting.

Within the first chapter of the first novel of the series, Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief, I was hooked. Riordan employs entertaining and loveable characters who create a diverse range of personalities within the setting of the books. The integration of the mythological creatures is well planned and keeps the reader on their toes, entertained by the abnormality and craziness of each of the different legends of the myths. The intensive research behind the novel is evident through Riordan’s realist portrayal of the characters of Greek myths. He goes in depth into the world of Greek mythology, creating his own twists within the story with his own creative touch. From the dark Underworld, to the extravagant Olympus the creativity and detailed portrayal of the mythological places is intriguing.

Each of the novels within the series complements each other, building the mythological world further and further. The end result is an exciting and enjoyable pentalogy that keeps you turning each page, unable to put the book down. I highly recommend the Percy Jackson series to any young adult readers, fans of the fantasy world.
Kate, 2016

Check out the series

Monday, October 10, 2016

The Piper's Son: Book Review by Kate

Melina Marchetta’s sequel to Saving Francesca, the critically acclaimed novel, The Piper’s Son is the expressive and emotional story of Tom Mackee, who is struggling through working with the normality of everyday life five years after finishing high school. Burdened over the death of his uncle from two years earlier, having dropped out of his university degree and only recently having been kicked out of his flatmates apartment Tom is forced to reconnect with family and friends who he had worked to ignore over the years since his uncles death and slowly tries to pick up the broken pieces of not only himself but those of his entire family.

The Piper’s Son is an incredible novel filled with brilliant characters that brighten every aspect of the story. The depth within the background of Tom’s family creates a connection between the reader and each and every intricately detailed personality of the Marchetta’s novel. I personally found the characters extremely realistic through the nature of their interactions and the diversity between them. When characters were upset, I found myself feeling upset, when characters were angry, I was angry and when characters were happy, I was happy. Each emotion and action expressed through the pages of the story is explicitly conveyed, causing the reader to remain absorbed within the novel, feeling emotionally drained through the sentimentality of Marchetta’s writing.

The Australian setting of the novel, within the suburbs of Sydney focussed on a working class family, with an involvement in the Australian Worker’s Union and a love for the NRL holds a refreshing yet familiar environment that Marchetta utilises to convey the nature of Australian life during the early 2000’s. It is stirring to watch unfold the deep connections between family and friends thoroughly conveyed through Marchetta’s writing. She expresses emotion from a third person perspective and works to show the nature of characters and settings through showing the reader rather than telling, expressing personalities through actions and the memories of the protagonist, Tom Mackee, who often reminisces of times before he found himself in a predicament from which he struggled to escape.

Melina Marchetta’s writing is enthralling and the nature of her novel, The Piper’s Son, creates a basis upon which a story of struggle, sorrow and love emerges. It is a heart-warming novel that I highly recommend to young adult and adult readers, one that will leave you crying and laughing, both at the same time.
Kate, 2016

Check out more of Marchetta's titles

Monday, October 03, 2016

MegaGames: Gamers Review by Gabby

Mega games!

Have you heard?

There is a new mega game coming to Narellan Library again, and so soon too. Brave New World only seems like it was yesterday, but now in the making and in preparation for November and new game is on the horizon. Chaos on the Iron Sea, a game of pirates, fantasy; and well hopefully a lot of looting and ship sailing (of course not literally).

Now you may think what is a mega game? It’s like a tabletop game (board and cards games) and roleplaying (Dungeons and Dragons) put together to make a whole day of fun. With multiple people running the game and upwards for 50+ players there is not telling how many ways one game can go with so many different people. The ideas are endless for scenarios and storylines that could these games can take, because you get to influence every decision in the game. From Aliens invading to a game of thrones war, from fire breathing dragons to zombie survival.

I personally have attended 3 mega games in 3 different states and all have been a lot of fun. You meet a lot of people and create great friendship! I would recommend this to everyone to give it ago.

Gabby, 2016

More about mega game near you see: 

Previous mega games at Narellan Library (the game diaries are great!): 

Mega games in Australia: 

Also check out Dungeons and Dragons at the library

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The Hobbit: Book review by Kate

Bilbo Baggins is a hobbit who enjoys a comfortable, unambitious life, rarely travelling further than the pantry of his hobbit-hole in Bag End. But his contentment is disturbed when the wizard, Gandalf, and a company of 13 dwarves arrive on his doorstep one day to whisk him away on an unexpected journey 'there and back again'. 

The Hobbit, set in Middle Earth in a time before the Lord of the Rings, is an exciting story of the adventures of Bilbo Baggins, an ordinary hobbit who finds himself setting out on a quest to win a share of treasure, guarded by the malicious dragon, Smaug.

Within the novel, J.R.R Tolkein immerses the reader in an exquisite world of magical creatures and monsters, so meticulous in its creation that it creates an enthralling basis for the novel.

The detail with which Tolkein writes, paints an intricate picture of the story, introducing new creatures and challenges with every chapter. I found myself in love with the crazy personalities of the dwarfs and the riddles of Gollum. The story was filled with never ending twists and turns, enhanced further by the diverse range of characters that fill the pages of the novel with expression and excitement.

Whilst at times I found myself struggling to make it through sections of the story, it would not take long before I would become caught up all over again in Tolkein’s writing.

I highly recommend J.R.R Tolkein’s novel to both young adult and adult readers. Any fans of fantasy novels will find themselves in love with The Hobbit.
Kate, 2016

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