Pop up Library – Sisters empowering sisters

This week the MSM Library went mobile! We held a POP UP Library event over four break times on November 19 and 21. It was great to take part of our collection closer to the students on the Grantuly verandah and outside the Sophia Centre. Our volunteers came from a group at the College called “Sisters empowering sisters.” They really enjoyed helping us find some feminist fiction for their peers to borrow.

What makes feminist fiction? It’s not simply that the author is female or that the female characters are strong women (although that helps). What really makes feminist fiction is the fact that it engages in social commentary. These novels usually allow their characters to go on a journey of awakening which allows them to see the world in which they live from a different perspective.

This is what happens to Tris in Divergent, to Katnis in The Hunger Games and to Offred in The Handmaid’s Tale. In the beginning of these stories these characters may not like the societies in which they live but they accept the status quo. However, at the end of their tales they have been awakened by the events that happened to them and driven into rebellion and sometimes leadership roles.

You will notice that all of the books mentioned so far are Dystopian. This new genre presents us with societies that are a bit like our own but also wildly different in some ways. By reading about them we get to reflect on what the world is like for us. Margaret Atwood has said of the world of The Handmaid’s tale that she didn’t include anything that has not happened to women at some point in history.

Older feminist books focused more on realistic stories and the small details of women’s lives. They empowered women by giving them voices and giving readers insight into their interior lives and the frustration and difficulty of being female in society.

‘Tis the season to be spooky

This week is Spooky Stories week at MSM Library and there are various ways to join in the fun.

  1. Borrow some “spooktacular” fiction.
  2. Gather a team of friends and create a spooky drawing or scene on our interactive TV during morning tea or lunch each day. Sign up at the Circulation Desk in the Library.
  3. Enter our Spooky Poetry competition to win fabulous prizes.

To enter our poetry competition write a haiku or sonnet and post it in the Comments section.
You might like to use a site like Poem generator to help you.

Haiku do not have to rhyme. They are composed of three lines with a syllable pattern of 5,7,5. Here is an example:

It’s spooky season
A cold wind moves the bare trees
Warm in bed I read

A sonnet is more complicated, it has 14 lines with 10 syllables each. The rhyming scheme is ABAB // CDCD // EFEF // GG. The example below has been inspired by this form.

Ode to the Vampire

My dark vampire, you inspire me to write.
How I love the way you fly, hang and bite,
Invading my mind all day and all night,
I am dreaming of taking to flight.

Let me compare you to a sanctuary
You are more ominous and looming.
Ice bites the debris of February,
And wintertime has no flowers blooming.

How do I love you? Let me count the ways.
I love your assuming eyes, teeth and form.
I am always thinking of your sleepy gaze.
My love, you are a drug like chloroform.

Now I must away with melancholy heart,
Remember my true words whilst we’re apart.


Change drives drama

In this week’s crop of new books we have three novels that follow a time-worn trope.
They all start with a character at a moment of change or crisis. We have three heroines dealing with different dramas: a mother’s death, a change in country, moving in with step-parents and starting at a new school. It’s an interesting way to start a story because then the rest of the novel can explore how the character meets these new challenges. The times when things change are some of the most memorable of our lives.