Australia

Stream-It Saturday: Dance Academy (TV)

Stream-It Saturday: Dance Academy (TV)

In my continuing selfless service to the world (ahem), I'm always looking for the next awesome thing to stream. And, of course, I must share my finds with you fabulous folks. Hence, Stream-It Saturday. Check out all my previous recommendations over here. 

This week's recommendation was pretty much inevitable: ABC Australia's charming half-hour teen ballet drama, Dance Academy. 

Here's the deal: Dance Academy is set in Sydney, Australia at an elite school for aspiring dancers. Just getting into the school is intensely competitive, and it's a feeder for the National Ballet Company. Over three years, the students train in hopes of being one of two or three students selected to join the Company. It's intense and brutal, physically. Amidst all that competition and training, these are still teenagers dealing with all the stuff that teenagers deal with. And, it's also a boarding school story, since they live at the school at which they train. 

 

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Guest Post: Small Things Become Big in Markus Zusak's I Am the Messenger

Guest Post: Small Things Become Big in Markus Zusak's I Am the Messenger

 

Note: This is a guest post from CEFS reader Anushree Nande, who blogs at Lost in Translation, and wrote this stellar tribute to Friday Night Lights aka The Greatest Television Show of All Time for Sabotage Times.

Interested in writing a guest post for Clear Eyes, Full Shelves? Drop Sarah a line!

My love for Markus Zusak is a very well documented fact (you can read my reviews for his other books here and here), so you can imagine my delight at receiving a reply to my tweet about his I Am The Messenger (simply The Messenger for the Australian editions).

This is a book I’ve been meaning to read for a few years now but couldn’t get around to before. In the mean time, I had managed to read Zusak’s The Book Thief, Fighting Ruben Wolfe and Getting The Girl and fall in love with his prose. Hence it was with a lot of (perhaps unfair) expectations that I started this book, and it says a lot about the quality that I didn’t feel let down. There were a few disappointing bits but we’ll get to that later. 

Read the rest--> 

 

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Review: Dancing in the Dark by Robyn Bavati

Review: Dancing in the Dark by Robyn Bavati

Dancing in the Dark by Robyn Bavati explores the double life of Ditty, a young Haredi Jew, when she discovers the beautiful world of ballet and the passion it invokes in her. Along with this passion the darkness of an invisible wall of fundamentalist religion held together by the rigidity of her family and community.

Bavati breathes life into Ditty's dream of dancing and the depth of deceit she had to descend into to bring her passion for dance into reality.

As a young girl, Ditty happens upon a DVD of The Nutcracker while watching television in a forbidden venue--her dear friend's mother had surreptitiously purchased a television that she hides far back in her closet. Ditty could not turn herself away from the transfixing dance before her.

The movements seemed to ripple through me as my  body flowed to the music, and my spirits lifted. I felt vulnerable and vibrant and intensely alive, bursting with feeling I hadn't know existed, couldn't name.

The  television and DVD player opens a door to another world.  Ditty and her friend become enamored with the life that spread before them. Ditty, at twelve begins to question the dictates of her faith that should, according to her religious parents and community, fill her with all the happiness and joy she could want.

But what, I wondered now, did they actually mean? I knew what I'd been taught – that happiness wasn't something a Jew should strive for, it was a bonus that came from keeping the laws and strictures that had been passed down from one generation to the next.

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Kirsty Eagar's Books Come to the U.S.

Am I worried about the future? I don’t know. When I think of the word it’s like seeing a cavity, a space where a tooth used to be.
— Kirsty Eagar, Raw Blue
Raw Blue by Kirsty Eagar - Made of 100% Awesome

Raw Blue by Kirsty Eagar - Made of 100% Awesome

Today marks a momentous occasion.

Brilliant Australian writer Kirsty Eagar's books are now much more accessible to readers in the United States, thanks to the ebooks finally appearing in the U.S. Kindle and Kobo stores.

I was lucky enough to get a copy of Raw Blue and Saltwater Vampires when the Kobo store had their shop misconfigured and they had no geo-restrictions (I bought so many incredible foreign books during that three-month time period). I haven't had the chance to read Night Beach yet, but I'm so excited to read it now that it's available for Kindle.

Eagar's books stand out because because of the brilliant characterization and rich settings. I wrote a bit about Raw Blue in the early days of CEFS. 

Sadly, it doesn't appear that they're available for Nook yet (BN seems slow to populate their store), but Nook users can buy epubs from Kobo and side-load them onto their Nooks.

If you have an ereader or tablet, Eagar's books should go to the top of your to-read list. Start with Raw Blue, even if you're not usually a contemporary fiction reader; it's a special book, one that won't likely leave you long after you've read the last page.

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