Year 12s at 8/9 Book Club

At lunchtime last Friday three of our Year 12 students – Lachlan, Kieran and Ashley – came along to Inside Story, our 8/9 Book Club, to talk to the younger boys about books they had enjoyed reading when they were the same age. They revisited a lot of old favourites (see our Year 10 Book Club post) and newer popular fiction choices, and afterwards one of the Year 9s commented: “I was rather inspired to read Across the  Nightingale Floor these holidays after listening to the Grade 12’s promote this book.”

The senior boys also recommended some more advanced books for the boys to try – more thought-provoking ones with more depth, ones that linger in the memory to ponder for a long time to come.  They also recommended non-fiction biographies to help boys engage with real-life examples of people overcoming great obstacles to achieve success and satisfaction in life.

A few of their recommended titles:

Farenheit 451,  The Book Thief,  Cloudstreet,  Animal Farm,  Brave New World,  1984,  No Country for Old Men Crossing the Ice, A Thousand Splendid Suns, The Kite Runner, Kane and Abel, Mao’s Last Dancer, Of Mice and Men.




Book Talks Entice Readers

During the first half of the year, we took each of our Year 8 Literature Circles classes down to the large Dymocks Bookstore in the City, where they were able to choose books for themselves, and choose books to add to our library collection. After a gunman was arrested in the Mall, however, we decided a better option would be to invite the children’s literature specialist from Dymocks to come up to the school instead, and promote the latest YA book releases to the boys.

This has proven to be a very popular event each time Abby has come to the school, with the boys avidly listening to her book reviews, and keenly adding reservations to the titles. Both of our libraries have overflowing fiction collections, and our boys settle easily into a culture of reading, with over 4000 books borrowed each term.


Ms Hunter and Ms Oxley working with groups of students.

During the second-last week of term, three of our teacher-librarians, Ms Oxley, Ms Hunter and Ms Ragen, and former teacher-librarian, Mr Howes, were involved in helping students from six Asia-Pacific schools to think ‘outside the box’ in a Festival of Dangerous Ideas.

This festival was part of the 2013 International Young Leaders Forum, hosted by Brisbane Grammar School, and made up of teams of students from Binus International School (Indonesia), Bugil Academy (South Korea), Hwa Chong Institution (Singapore), Suzhou Foreign Language School (China)  and Brisbane Grammar School.  Students from Brisbane Girls Grammar School also joined in this year.

Key objectives of the alliance are to encourage these future leaders to become socially responsible and globally aware, and this year they were encouraged to find ‘audacious, creative solutions to global issues.’  Topics suggested for exploration were: Oil and Energy Needs, Conservation and Sustainability, Urban Living, Poverty and Equity, Education and Opportunity, Race and Religion, Health and Medecine.

 See more photos of the IYLF on the BGS Facebook page http://on.fb.me/16z7bTQ

Below are some of the stimulus videos for Urban Living and Sustainability.

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2013 Brisbane Writers Festival

This week 25 lucky Year 8 students attended the Brisbane Writers Festival where they were fortunate enough to listen to Matthew Reilly speak, and then have their books signed by him  He spoke about The Hero’s Journey, and used lots of examples from movies and books to illustrate variations on this theme.

The boys also enjoyed listening to Scott Westerfeld, who spoke about why he chose to illustrate his incredibly popular steampunk series, Leviathan, Behemoth and Goliath. This series is set in the early 1900s, before the days of cameras, when novels and newspapers were all illustrated, so it seemed a logical extension to illustrate these books.




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Street Reads 2013 from BGS Library

For those who love reading and exploring, the Brisbane City Council, in conjunction with the Brisbane Writers Festival, is offering a different slant on a Choose Your Own Adventure story.

Beginning last week and running for two weeks only (4-15 September), you will be able to become a character in a story by scanning QR codes attached to the pavement. These will download part of the story, as well as the clue to the next part, depending on which adventure you choose to follow. You can choose the Hero’s story, the Zombies’ story or the Apprentice of Death’s story – or a combination of each.

All three stories begin at Reddacliffe Place, at the end of the Queen Street Mall , near the Brisbane Central Library.  Each story has been written by local Brisbane authors and each new action scene takes place at the location of the QR code: each new clue or twist in the story encourages you to explore parts of the CBD and South Bank that you might previously have ignored.

If you have a free couple of hours on the weekend, have a go and participate in this ‘location literature’ event.  Maps are available at both the Middle School Library and the Senior Library, or you can download one at streetreads.com.

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Inside Story on Zombie Books

Zombies have been used in literature for a long time and more recently in movies and computer games.  Some stories use zombies as metaphors for the decay found in society such as consumerism, sexism, racism, class structure.  Zombies also represent more personal fears such as the loss of control or individuality.  Zombie stories hold up a frightening caricature of ourselves: zombies are both us and a dehumanized monster,  making them both scarier and more comfortable.  Lastly, zombies dig right down to our most primitive subconscious, and expose our most basic fears and taboos: the inevitability of death, the instinctive revulsion of cannibalism and the visceral terror of being eaten.

A good zombie story, as any good story should, shows us the drama of people striving against extraordinary and overwhelming odds – people discovering the strength and ability, previously dormant in themselves and others, to survive and adapt to a world turned on its head.  It is this element, I think, that most appeals to readers of this genre – the ability to observe these extreme and frightening events from the safe distance of a reader, but also to share the triumphs of the characters.  Readers will often sit, warm and safe, and ask themselves:  What would I do …?

David Hills

Zombies in Literature from BGS Library


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