The 83rd Academy Awards

The Academy Awards (also known as the Oscars) is an award bestowed by the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to recognise excellence of professionals in the film industry including directors, actors and writers.  But do you know that 4 movies out of the 10 nominated for Best Picture were adapted from books?  They are:

The Social Network – originally from the book The Accidental Billionaires by Ben Mezrich.

127 Hours – originally from the book Between a rock and a hard place by Aron Ralston

True Grit – originally from the book True Grit by Charles Portis

Winter’s Bone – originally from the book Winter’s Bone by Daniel Woodrell

Winners will be announced today from the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, California.


The following is a trailer for my pick for Best Picture!

India Dark – Kirsty Murray

A strong and vivid novel based on the fascinating true story of a group of young Australian performers – children aged from seven to seventeen – who toured Asia and India early in the twentieth century before mounting a strike against their manager and precipitating a sensational court case.

Daisy opened her mouth and lies flew out. Her face so pink and white, her lips so plump and sweet, her lies so vile. I had to cover my ears. I shut my eyes, wanting to block out the courtroom, to neither see nor hear the evil: but Tilly grabbed my arm and twisted the skin on my wrist in a Chinese burn. ‘Poesy Swift,’ she whispered, her breath hot IndiaDarkagainst my neck, ‘open your eyes, and take that look off your face. We will never get home if you ruin everything.’ Madras 1910: a troupe of child performers are stranded, having staged a strike against their manager. Their fate now depends on the outcome of a court case, and an alliance with gentlemen of the British Raj. Based on a true story, India Dark recreates shifting friendships and loyalties and the clash of innocence versus experience against the backdrop of India’s seductive mysteries



Hit List – Jack Heath

HitListAsh and Benjamin are teenage mercenaries. They find stolen artefacts and return them to the owners – for a fee. But when they are hired to rescue an imprisoned girl, they realise they’re in over their heads. Because there are others looking for the girl too: corrupt governments, ruthless corporations, rogue assassins. As these forces converge on the place where the girl is trapped – the headquarters of the world’s biggest intelligence agency – Ash realises she’s made a terrible mistake; one that may cost her and Benjamin their lives…


Iraqi Girl (Diary of a Teenage Girl in Iraq) – Edited by Elizabeth Wrigley-Field

Iraqi GirlI forgot what peace looks like. What the street looks like. What the sky in the night look like. What my relatives look like. Sometimes I just think that if you could see what my eyes see, if you could hear what my ears hear, you would be able to understand what I mean.

These are the words of IraqiGirl, a teenage girl blogging from the city of Mosul, Iraq, as the chaos and violence of military occupation unfold in the aftermath of the American invasion. In a narrative charged with anger, IraqiGirl wants her readers to understand what life is really like under military occupation. Let’s go back, she writes, to my un-normal life. And here IraqiGirl allows us to discover a story the Western media rarely allow us a glimpse of: the story of how the Iraq War has shattered lives and broken hearts. But we also discover, in her personal reflections on family, friendship, and community, the resilience of one girl to not only survive, but to discover, amidst the devastation of war, a future worth living for.

As she writes: For the sake of the smile that was given to no one but me, for the sake of my grandpa and for the sake of my country and for the sake of my religion and for the sake of my God . . . I want to know my destination.

IraqiGirl was fifteen years old when she began blogging from her home city of Mosul, Iraq, in July 2004. The book follows her story through 2007. Presently IraqiGirl attends college and continues to struggle for a better future. The address for her blog is http: //


The Local News – Miriam Gershow

When fifteen-year-old Lydia Pasternak’s popular older brother Danny disappears late one summer night, she unwillingly becomes a celebrity in her community and an afterthought to her bereaved parents. In Danny’s absence, Lydia blossoms from a bookish outcast to the centre of attention, all while grappling with her grudging grief for a TheLocalNewsbrother she never particularly liked. When an intriguing private investigator enters the picture, Lydia finds herself drawn into the search for clues to Danny’s whereabouts. The shocking end to that trail of clues – an end that Lydia never prepares for – will haunt her for the rest of her life.

An authentic and at times surprisingly funny dissection of public and private grief, The Local News is an accomplished, affecting debut.



Eat Pray Love – Elizabeth Gilbert

It’s 3 a.m. and Elizabeth Gilbert is sobbing on the bathroom floor. She’s in her thirties she has a husband a house they’re trying for a baby – and she doesn’t want any of it. A bitter divorce and a turbulent love affair later she emerges battered and bewildered and realises it is time to pursue her own journey in search of three things she has been eatpraylovemissing: pleasure devotion and balance. So she travels to Rome where she learns Italian from handsome brown-eyed identical twins and gains twenty-five pounds an ashram in India where she finds that enlightenment entails getting up in the middle of the night to scrub the temple floor and Bali where a toothless medicine man of indeterminate age offers her a new path to peace: simply sit still and smile. And slowly happiness begins to creep up on her. A funny tender utterly beguiling story about a woman’s search for happiness.




The 10 Facebook Privacy Settings You Need To Know

Like just about every person on this planet, many students at Strathmore Secondary College have a Facebook account.  But do you really know who and how people view your information?  The following link sets out 10 ways to edit and customise your account so that you have more control as to to who sees what.