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Reading

Which Australian Cities Are The Most Well-Read?

Bookworld, Australia’s biggest bookstore, has released the annual list of the most well-read cities in Australia for 2013-14, with some interesting results.

Canberra topped the list for the second year in a row, with Melbourne, a UNESCO City of Literature, making the most movement from last year jumping from #7 to #2. New additions to the Top 10 list, which is compiled using sales data of over 500,000 Australian customers over the past year, include Newcastle and Sydney.

Australia’s most well-read cities, in the correct order, are:

  1. Canberra-Queanbeyan
  2. Melbourne
  3. Geelong
  4. Newcastle-Maitland
  5. Brisbane
  6. Toowoomba
  7. Sunshine Coast
  8. Sydney
  9. Adelaide
  10. Hobart

Some quick and interesting facts from our research:

  • Canberra was again the literary capital of the year, as the only city to have 4 literary titles making the top 10, with Eyrie by Tim Winton topping the sales list
  • In a marked departure from last year’s trends, the only city still reading 50 Shades of Grey is Brisbane
  • Perth and Darwin dropped out of the Top 10 to #13 and #17 respectively
  • The Sunshine Coast was the most interested in health and food books – with The Fast Diet and Make Peace with Your Plate the two bestselling books
  • Toowoomba proves its family focus with the most kids book sales for any of the cities
  • Newcastle-Maitland debuted onto the list at #4 with sales of Boganaire: The Rise and Fall of Nathan Tinkler about the Hunter Valley Region self-made billionaire, boosting their position
  • Geelong moved up one position to #3 thanks to Hold the Line: My Story by Matthew Scarlett, local Geelong Cats superstar
  • Save with Jamie was the number one book overall, appearing in the Top 10 for every city and topping the list in 5 cities
  • The most popular kids book was Diary of a Wimpy Kid Book 8: Hard Luck, followed by YA novel The Fault in our Stars
  • Burial Rites was the clear superstar in ebooks, coming in as the most downloaded eBook ebook in 7 out of the 10 cities

Image via giveagradeago.com

Why Reading To Your Child Is Crucial

Reading is one of the most important skills we can teach our children.  It sets the foundations for a child’s ability to succeed in school and later on in life.  It is never too early to start reading aloud to your child – even while your baby is still in the womb it’s learning to recognise your voice and once your baby is just a few months old they will begin focusing their eyes on patterns and colours on the pages.

As your child grows so do their skills and abilities.  Reading aloud to your child gives them an opportunity to develop listening skills, it enhances concentration, and it improves their vocabulary and memory retention.  All of the above are invaluable and crucial for children when they start school.

Reading aloud to your child brings you closer together and helps to improve the communication between you and your child.  When you finish reading a book quite often other issues, thoughts or feelings arise opening the door for discussions.  The discussions you have will ultimately lead them to expand their understanding of the world they live in.

Reading aloud to your child also helps to stimulate imaginative play.  When a child watches television they don’t need to use their imagination – everything is happening right in front of them but when we read a book and look at pictures the child needs to use their imagination to determine some elements of what is happening in the story.

Certain situations including the loss of a loved one, potty training or divorce can be extremely confusing for children.  A story that explains the position your child is in can be a great aid in making these situations slightly easier to understand.  If your child is struggling with a stressful situation or major milestone consider finding a book that relates to that milestone to read to your child.

So now that we understand how important reading aloud to our children is, the next question might be how do we make it fun and engaging?  Here are some tips to help keep your little ones from wandering too far during story time:

  • Create a unique space especially for reading. Set up a ‘cuddle corner’ with pillows or cushions on a rug, in a tepee or underneath some hanging paper lanterns. It should to be somewhere your children feel comfortable and cosy.
  • Don’t be shy. Vary your voice for different characters, be loud or whisper and use appropriate sound effects to bring the story to life.
  • Buy or rent books that you know will interest your child. For example if your child loves dinosaurs then select books that feature dinosaurs in them.
  • Let your children choose the book. Your children are more likely to be interested in the story if they have chosen it from the shelf themselves. Don’t be worried if you’re reading the same book time and time again – the fact that you are reading at all is the most important thing.
  • Select books with colourful illustrations or touch and feel textures. Toddlers are stimulated by sight and touch, so select books where your child can pull or push tabs, feel different textures or be excited by the pictures.
  • Board books are great for toddlers because they’re easy for them to hold and they can learn to turn the pages without ripping them to shreds.

Reading to your child shouldn’t be a chore – it should be fun, a time to bond and an activity that you never deny your child from doing.  The next time your child picks up a book and asks you to read it consider this quote from Dr Seuss:

“The more that you read, the more things you will know.  The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

Image via betterparenting.com

By Karyn Miller

Top 5 Romantic Winter Reads

Winter is the perfect excuse to take the afternoon off and cuddle with a good book and a warm cup of tea. It’s often difficult to find a book that has an engaging storyline, with characters that you can invest your time in as the series goes on. We’ve scoured through some books which will leave you swooning for days after you’ve finished reading them.

The Bronze Horseman

The classic tale set in Leningrad, Russia just as World War II starts to take it’s first casualties. Amongst the chaos, Tatiana meets Alexander Belov, a soldier in the Red Army who is completely enamoured by her during their first meeting at a bus stop. The story follows their journey to escape the Leningrad blockade and finally be together. A great read for someone that is interested in anything related to World War II. The book is followed by a sequel called The Bridge To Holy Cross, and a prequel called The Summer Garden.

Atonement

This popular book by Ian McEwan was made into a successful movie starring Keira Knightley who brought her character Cecilia to life. The story starts off on a hot day in the summer of 1935, where a young girl Briony suspects her sister Cecilia is with their landscaper, Robbie. He is subsequently arrested and Briony must live with the lie she fabricated as a child, for her entire life. A spectacular read, which is engaging right up the the last page.

A Single Man

A middle-aged professor is in the midst of a mid-life crisis after the death of his partner, for which he slowly begins to ease into single life. He begins to rely on his friends and students at university to overcome his obstacles, and get his life back together after losing a loved one. The book explores the major themes of love, acceptance and loss. Designer Tom Ford made A Single Man into a film in 2009, which was portrayed wonderfully by Colin Firth.

White Gardenia

Author Belinda Alexandra has created a novel which highlights the delicate relationship of mother and daughter overcoming difficult familial obstacles through life. From the harshness of Cold War Russia, to life in post-war Australia the book uses love, family and romance to create an intense storyline which anyone could relate to.

The Other Boleyn Girl

You’ve probably heard about this one before, the story of two sisters competing for the greatest prize they could think of, the love and power of a king. Mary and Anne battle it out to secure the position of wife to King Henry VIII, but this comes at a price. A thrilling read which will keep you interested long after you’ve finished reading.

Which books are on your next reading list?

Image via Olicious Life

By Felicia Sapountzis