Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Scandinavia, you've done it again.

It seems to be that Scandinavia is very successful at producing excellent dark crime dramas, or nordic noir. There are the TV shows The Killing, The Bridge, and Borgen; not to mention the books, such as Steig Larsson's Girl With the Dragon Tattoo trilogy, Henning Mankell, and Karin Fossum.

I never would have pegged myself as a lover of the crime novel, but these Scandinavian authors have been surprising me with thrillers that I can't put down. My latest favourite, and current addiction, is Norwegian author Jo Nesbo. He is the acclaimed author of the bestselling Harry Hole series, a series that focuses on Harry Hole, a detective working for the Oslo police force. Hole works to solve crimes involving serial killers, gangsters and many others, while also battling his own demons such as alcoholism. The plots of these novels are so tightly and deftly written that you will feel compelled to keep turning the pages, all the while being drawn further in to Hole's world with Nesbo's cleverly placed hairpin twists and turns.

I highly recommend this series, and it's not even necessary to read them in order, the first one I read was The Snowman, number 7 in the series, and I didn't feel like there was anything I was missing. I would recommend this book in particular as it started me on this path of Nesbo adoration, but I think any would do it!

Nesbo has also written a new stand-alone novel called The Son which has received so much buzz around it and rave reviews. I can't wait until the copies ordered for the library arrive! Reserve yours now! 

ANZAC

In celebration of ANZAC Day I thought I would share with you some of my favourite New Zealand and Australian items from our collection. I'd never really thought about how many of my favourite books are written by authors from this part of the world. Thankfully my school years introduced me to some really great books that I still treasure today.

To the Is-Land - Janet Frame (NZ) and The Book Thief - Markus Zusak (AUS)

To The Is-Land is another book that I was assigned to read in school and I really liked it. I hadn't really read anything like it at the time and I found Janet Frame completely fascinating. As I've said in previous blogs The Book Thief is my absolute favourite book so it was impossible not include it in this blog. Just read it, if you don't like it there is something wrong with you.

The Castle (AUS) and Boy (NZ)

Two of the most quotable, underrated movies to ever exist and both iconic to their home countries. They're equal parts funny and touching.

The Alex Quartet - Tessa Duder (NZ) and Tomorrow When The War Began - John Marsden (AUS)

These books had a massive impact on my early teen years and I re-read them fairly regularly. The first Alex book was assigned to me by my 4th form English teacher and I loved it so much I obsessively read the entire series in a week. I have read the Tomorrow series almost every year since I was 13 years old and I've spent most of that time wishing I was Ellie Linton. John Marsden is coming to the Auckland Writers Festival next month and I'm so excited to go and hear him speak and hopefully get him to sign my ratty old copy of Tomorrow When the War Began.

Outrageous Fortune (NZ) and Summer Heights High (AUS)

The Summer Heights High creator Chris Lilley is an absolute genius so it was hard to pick which of his TV series is my favourite. In Summer Heights High he plays 3 different characters all equally as cringe worthy and hilarious as the next: drama teacher Mr G, private school  girl exchange student Ja'mie King and a 13 year old Togan boy Jonah Takalua. I'm sure you've all heard of Outrageous Fortune by now, it's as great as they say.

I hope you all have a lovely ANZAC day.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

My favourite new movies

I've been sick the past week so all I've been doing is staying in bed and watching movies, they were all relatively new so I thought I would share with you a few of my favourites out of the pile I watched.

Frozen

I'm a huge Disney fan so I was super excited when Disney's Frozen came out. I love what they're doing with Disney Princesses now too, no more of this giving your voice away for a guy you don't even know shizz. Elsa and Anna are total bad asses and much more human than Disney Princesses of the past. This movie is so much fun that I went out and bought the soundtrack... I really like musicals.


Gravity

I wasn't expecting to like this movie but I really did! I kind of assumed it would be a tons of explosions, no plot line kind of movie but it was actually very interesting. I did find it quite stressful in parts because I was getting so into the story line but I think that's quite a good thing really. I can totally see why this movie got the Oscar for visual effects and other technical aspects of the film, it really is amazing to see what they can create these days.

The Heat

I watched this just a couple of days after watching Gravity and it was amazing to watch Sandra Bullock go from an Astronaut in the very serious and dramatic Gravity to an FBI Agent in The Heat which is pure comedy. This movie is hilarious. Melissa McCarthy is just as funny as Sandra Bullock and the two of them together is just magical. I really hope they do another movie together.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

The Undesirables: Inside Nauru



Life inside Australia's offshore asylum seeker processing centres is something that very few people know about. In his book The Undesirables: Inside Nauru, Mark Issacs offers a first hand account of what he saw and experienced while working for the Salvation Army at the Nauru Regional Processing Centre. Read this one with compassion in mind.


'How long will we be here?' one man asked.

Nobody could answer him. Nobody knew. The intention was clear: this was the No Advantage policy. Take them to a distant island, lock them away, punish them, forget about them. Criminals were given a sentence to serve; these men were not even given that. Lost hope ebbed out of the men in uncontrollable sobs and tears. 

Queue jumper, boat person, illegals. Asylum seekers are contentious front-page news but obtaining information about Australia’s regional processing centres is increasingly difficult. We learn only what the government wants us to know.

Mark Isaacs worked for the Salvation Army inside the Nauru Detention Centre soon after it re-opened in 2012. He provided humanitarian aid to the men interned in the camp. What he saw there moved him to speak out.

The Undesirables chronicles his time on Nauru detailing daily life and the stories of the men held there; the self-harm, suicide attempts, and riots; the rare moments of joy; the moments of deep despair.

Mark's eyewitness account humanises a political debate usually ruled by misleading rhetoric. (from Goodreads)

Monday, 24 March 2014

My emotions! The TFIOS trailer is here!

One of my favourite books is being made into a movie and I am equal parts terrified and excited! I talk about The Fault in Our Stars all the time but if you're not sure what the heck i'm talking about see my previous blog about books that John Green has written.



I really hope they do this amazing book justice but after seeing the movie version of The Book Thief I have hope! The book is always better than the movie though so I'm not going to get my hopes up too high.