Banned Books in Australia – Stephanie Jaehring

Wow – who knew that Australia was more repressive than banned-exhibition_tcm16-70965the US?! People who worked in the creative industries did, that’s why they left for Europe in droves. Australia has still got a censorship regime, though not as extreme as it was. It all came to unravel when the White Australia policy began to crumble in the ’60s. This book has generated a lot of thought and discussion. Censorship was at its height during the ’30s through to the late ’50s. Boomers and their parents. This can explain in part why these generations are damaged culturally and politically, leading to the problems we have in Australian society today – racism, homophobia, and possibly others. Governments were very paternalistic and by their actions, coddled and kept the population in ignorance. Anti-Nazi information was prohibited, as well as the more well known Communist material. 1984 was banned for a long time. This was mostly to do with the fear of revolution and what if people got hold of seditious material?? What if people decided that the Australian government was just like the one depicted in 1984? This can explain why Australian politics has remained fascist and authoritarian country which now has a growing right ring entity. This is the generation that was born and grew up during the time when censorship was at its most extreme. It can also explain in part why the Australian public remains apathetic – no real information previously and now. Politics is still censored Australia through big media conglomerates like Murdock. This books has made me wonder if Murdock was always a tool rather than a manipulator. Medical books about sexual problems and how to treat them were prohibited – impotence for example. Contraception of course! Any hint of homosexuality was immediately banned. What about treating people who were raped? No medical books on the subject available! Anthropologic studies in sexuality was virtually impossible. Made me wonder about the worth of university degrees awarded to people during this time – restricted information makes some of these degrees almost worthless. Some imported books ended up bowdlerised in order to be imported – these were called Australian Editions. Australia was and still is dominated by Roman Catholics. Their influence is slowly fading though – thank their lord! Any information about anti-christianity was prohibited but the blasphemy law (only for christianity) was neutered before 1850 and therefore became unused. Pell tried to reactivate it but failed, hooray!! Interestingly – India has a blasphemy law that protects ALL religions. Euthanasia is still censored – read about Ruddock’s repeated blocks after Nitschke and Stewart found loopholes and immediately exploited them. Now that euthanasia has been legalised in Victoria, I wonder if this book will be allowed to be sold in bookshops?

 

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The Adventure of the Colonial Boy – Narrelle M Harris

This is the first fanfic that I’ve read. Harris does a great job emulating Doyle’s 9780993513626.inddwriting style in his Sherlockian stories. It is a good mystery that’s also written as a big adventure. This micro-publisher focusses on Sherlock and Holmes romance. The romance  is lovely but I felt there was too much emphasis on the physical nature of the relationship. This detracted from the erotic nature of the first encounters. I enjoyed reading about early Melbourne – Park Street which I regularly walk down and Bourke Street (now the location of a large mall). I’ve not visited Ararat, just passed through it on the train on the way to Adelaide. It is a fair distance from Melbourne so the long horseback journey is not fanciful (just a side note – it takes 12 hours by train to get to Melbourne to Adelaide). All in all, this was an enjoyable romp and if you like adventure stories with romance, this could be an enjoyable read for you.

The Infernal by Kim Wilkins

639895I started reading this early May but put it aside to deal with health issues. I had to have a tumour taken out of my face and was in hospital for a little over 2 weeks, so you can imagine I wasn’t in the mood for horror. Also, it was hard to read as my eyes were swollen and as they recovered, they got tired and on top of that, I didn’t have the concentration to read a novel. Magazines, short stories and collections of short journalistic pieces have been my latest reading materials. But I’m back (sort of) to novels! Hurrah!

I’m a fan of Kim Wilkins and own many of her novels. This is her debut novel and I chose this for the Read Harder challenge. I could even double-dip and count this for fantasy, but I think that would be stretching it as it is more urban horror. It is a good story and a really good debut. Plus I am glad to say that Wilkins novels has improved! This is a good scary story and even while it is a reread for me, I had forgotten who the reincarnated sorcerer was – I was sure it was either boyfriend or the would-be boyfriend, but it totally came as a surprise to me. Again!

I do have some quibbles (when do I don’t? Maybe I’m too harsh) but overall, a good story – atmospheric mixed with realism.

 

The Hidden Web: Finding Quality Information on the Net – Maureen Henninger

2034122This book is going straight into the recycling! Not because it is bad mind you. This was published in 2003 – reprinted 2004  (this book is 13 years old) and a lot has changed in the world of www resources since then. The majority of the resources listed are defunct. Does anyone remember the Altavista search engine? That is the problem with this sort of book – which should never be a published book in the first place because the speed of change makes it almost obsolete as soon as its published. Some of this was a trip down memory lane. I was goggling at the old PubMed interface. Hehehe! Lists of resources – these used to be called subject gateways, have now been taken over by LibGuides software. And there has been some noises from library land about whether subject guides are actually useful. It is a fact of life that the majority of people will go to Google first if they have an information query – and hopefully one of these guides will come up in the list of answers! But probably not. Google was built on the CLEVER model developed by IBM which used link analysis (bibliometrics and scientometrics) – concepts developed by Eugene Garfield and his company Institute for Scientific Information (home of the citation indexes). That’s the one useful thing I learnt from this book and seeing that Eugene Garfield died recently, it is sort of appropriate. I have yet to finish reading this book (it is very hard to read it actually, it is very didactic with lots and lots of screenshots). I’ll test out a few more resources before it meets its recycling end.

Anecdotes & Antidotes – Harry Cooper

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I finished this some time ago and I guess it is time for me to write a review before I pass this book on for another reader to discover. This was given to me some time ago, I forget by whom. It’s written by a vet working in country practice who achieved local fame by appearing on a home and garden program called Burke’s Backyard. Cooper then went on to star in his own program called Harry’s Practice. I don’t think I watched any of those (animal hospital and rescue programs make me cry so I avoid them), but I did watch Burke’s Backyard for a time. Cooper is what you’d call a very ‘ocker’ person and this comes through in his writing (off-putting for me). Some of the stories are quite entertaining though. His anecdotes about his time working in the UK after university, and his tussells with wombats are fun reads. However, there is a terrible poem at the back of this collection of autobiographical stories. I know it is a tribute to his beloved dog (featured on the cover) but still.

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