A way with the fairies: the lost story of sculptor Ola Cohn, an autobiography: edited by Barbara Lemon

R W Strugnell, 2014

R W Strugnell, 2014

This delightful book is a distillation of a rather more rambling autobiography left unpublished by local sculptor Ola Cohn at the time of her death in 1964. Born in Bendigo in 1892, Ola’s impact on sculptural practice in Australia stems both from her embracing of modernist forms early on in her career as well as her more popular traditional wood carving approach, developed later and exemplified by her charming Fairy Tree in the Fitzroy Gardens, created in the 1930s. If, like me, you grew up in Melbourne the Fairy Tree is well embedded in your earliest memories, and it is doubtless as popular today as it was when she first created it. Great to see also that this book comes out of the Library’sĀ  Creative Fellowship program.

Eminem and rap, poetry, race: essays: edited by Scott F. Parker (ebook)

McFarland, 2014

McFarland, 2014

King of the “white rappers”, Eminem’s rise as one of the most important performers in any popular music form seems beyond doubt. As Talib Kweli writes in his foreword: “In order for him to be accepted and respected when he got in the game, he had to be better than damn near everybody. As he grows, his subject matter and interest will undoubtedly change, as it should. But his dedication to technique will remain the same no matter what he raps about.”

Anime: Colin Odell & Michelle Le Blanc (ebook)

Kamera Books, 2013

Kamera Books, 2013

Japanese art has a long tradition of narrative storytelling so it comes as no real surprise that they should be such masters of animation. This concise introduction discusses the history of graphic storytelling in Japan from woodblock prints to manga and anime, and goes on to detail some of the most important creators of anime as well as some of the classic film titles.

Rednecks, queers, and country music by Nadine Hubbs (ebook)

University of California Press, 2014

University of California Press, 2014

The very title of this book is a study in unlikely juxtapositions, but far from being an expose on how inherently homophobic American country music is, the author actually uses American class politics to demonstrate how middle class values since the 1970s have been used to demonise this most working class of musical forms; and in the process unjustly equate it and its audience with “queer-hating” stereotypes. This really fascinating approach to the subject of country music manages to challenge a whole raft of assumptions which have been made over the years, and the author is relentless in her quest to demonstrate that there is no natural correlation between the working class (aka “rednecks”) and homophobia, and least of all in the music that has come to define them.

Photography of the Age: newspaper photography in Australia, from glass plate negatives to digital by Kathleen Whelan

Brolga Publishing, 2014

Brolga Publishing, 2014

This is the author’s second volume focusing on photography from The Age newspaper, the first one published in 1993 didn’t encompass digital photography, now so omnipresent. What remains standard across all technolgies is the importance of the photographer’s eye and the ability to recognise those moments worth capturing.

If you’re a registered Victorian user of the State Library you can read these ebooks, and plenty of others from EBL and EBSCOhost, at home.

 

A picture of the old place from our collection of Argus newspaper photographs, held in the Picture Collection and available online

State Library of Victoria after a storm: The Argus, c. 1934

State Library of Victoria after a storm: The Argus, c. 1934

.…and an irresistible photograph of Ola Cohn chiselling away at the Fairy Tree

Ola Cohn at work on her Fairy Tree: Argus photograph

Ola Cohn at work on her Fairy Tree: Argus photograph

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