Archive for September, 2013


three days in chicagoland

In Book Reviews,E books & E readers,what i'm reading now. . . on September 13, 2013 by mrsdillemma

Three days in Chicagoland – R.J. Ellory, A story told in three parts, three e-book novellas. the sister. the cop. the killer. genius.

Ellory has used a new format to enhance his surprisingly simple story – an e-book short utilised in a surprising way. Ellory’s Three Days was released in three segments, each a month apart.

The trilogy uses three viewpoints to describe a single event, the death of a young woman in 1950s Chicago. It is an utterly intriguing tale, full of emotion, striking social commentary and to top it off, a killer punch.

Ellory has created a dynamic journey which forces us to consider how we deal with preconceptions and even how we deal with the hand we are dealt. His writing is creates an atmosphere that drags you in and you don’t want to leave, you become totally and utterly absorbed, there are elements that will enthrall any lover of crime fiction but others that will appeal to lovers of a damn good story.

The emotions Ellory puts on display here are tangible and heart wrenching, add to that an unexpected and almost perfect ending, and this is one of those stories that will stay with you long after you are finished. Don’t let this one pass you by.

Postscript: Ellory’s publishers created a trailer for the trilogy, it gives a glimpse of possibility, worth a watch.



Why Libraries are so important ( to me ) . . . .

In Libraries on September 13, 2013 by mrsdillemma

recently, here in Christchurch, there has been a substantial amount of discussion about a new public library and for me this seems like a discussion about my future, I feel that I have so much invested in this discussion and yet I no involvement in the process at all.

let me explain what I mean – I qualified with a diploma in Library and Information Science in October 2010. Six weeks previously Christchurch had been hit by a magnitude 7.1 earthquake that damaged our city, I was employed at the time and felt no desire to make a drastic change at a time when the city was constantly shaking – when we were hit again on February 22, 2011 we lost a lot more than buildings, we lost 185 lives.

We also lost library jobs, my employment prospects plummeted and I became thoroughly disheartened. I am still employed ( in a bookshop, so that takes away some of the pain. . . ) but now my qualification is 3 years old and I still have no on the job experience. So that’s why building new libraries in Christchurch is my light at the end of the tunnel.

Recently an article in the Christchurch Press questioned why we are spending $89 million dollars on a new central library at the dawn of the electronic book age?

The libraries and Information manager answered that question, but now I get to add my two pennies. Yes the internet has changed the world we live in but it has not dulled our thirst for knowledge, our sense of community or our desire to curl up in a comfy chair with a good book.

A new library isn’t just about books, or even things that look like books; magazines, newspapers, CDs and audio and e-books, its about the community meeting spaces, the council service centre, the free Wifi and internet, its about the programmes the library offers for the community; mums & bubs, pre-schoolers, afterschool-ers, homework clubs, computer skills. .  the list goes on.

The library isn’t about anything other than connecting people with information there is no hidden agenda. Its about teaching people how to find what they’re looking for,  its about providing a range of opportunities for individuals to learn, to grow, to engage and to rebuild ourselves as we rebuild our city. That’s where I come in. That’s all I’ve ever wanted to do, connect people with information, throw me a problem and I’ll find you the solution or at least some opinion pieces that will attempt to convince you of the merit of their solution!

The city needs a new library and I need a new job – perfect fit really.


There’s a whole lotta learning goin on. . .

In Tertiary Education,websites on September 13, 2013 by mrsdillemma

Recently I delved into the possibility that my brain was turning to mush and decided to do something about it.

I always loved being a student, I was the consummate researcher and dove headfirst into an assignment or research project like my life depended on it – I guess I missed that, so, I enrolled in an online MOOC; a Massive Open Online Course. The purpose of a MOOC is to learn through a multitude of different media channels, trading blackboards and chalk for digital tools that foster collaboration and interactive learning. MOOC’s are currently offered by a number of different providers; Coursera  ( ) and edX ( ) to name just a couple, they are bringing content from the worlds most prestigious universities to people anywhere there is an internet connection. Courses offered cover a broad range from Archeology through to Zoology.

I choose one through the Standford led provider –  Coursera and eagerly awaited the rapidly approaching start date. I stuck with a topic and time period I knew and loved; The Ancient Greeks. The course was outstanding… the exact remedy to my malaise.

Participating in a MOOC ( for free ) challenged me in different ways to what we would consider ‘normal’ study – time management is utterly key, the ability to just focus on the readings provided and not delve further was challenging for a research geek like me and the ability to re-sit a weekly quiz without penalty was frustrating. . . .

But it also got me thinking about tertiary education as a whole and how our institutions will have to adapt, change and transform themselves to keep up with technology and how we use it. Are the blackboard lectures we insist our students attend really vital? Can they be streamed online? Can tutorials be replaced by Google Hangouts? or is the conversation created by face to face communication so vital to our education system that we can’t do without it?

I hope we can find a middle ground that satisfies the need to keep students on campus, involved in university life and the digital separation MOOC’s can create. In a university city the discussion becomes much easier but in the rural heartland of New Zealand, outback Australia or a tiny tropical paradise the equation changes. I would like to see the same courses offered to these two disparate groups of students, and perhaps MOOCs offer an opportunity that each and every university should embrace and consider at each and every opportunity.

In 2013 where will online education go?  Will Universities consider the opportunities MOOCs offer – I think we will start to see the development of credit applicable MOOC’s and the creation of the powerful collaborative hybrid course – part MOOC, part face to face.

These are questions that I don’t have answers to but I am so pleased that we are in a situation that we can even ask them.

I have completed another course since and start my third next week, and I can’t wait. bring it on.