Feature Week 34: Senators
Senator Kate Lundy
In week 34 we shine the spotlight on two senators who appreciate the importance and pleasure of reading, Senator Kate Lundy and Senator Catryna Bilyk.
Senator Kate Lundy is a member of the Australian Senate representing the ACT and the Minister for Sport, Minister for Multicultural Affairs and Minister Assisting for Industry and Innovation. She is also a passionate advocate for the positive and creative role that information and communication technologies (ICT) can play in transforming our economy and our lives. Senator Lundy is an active sportswoman and enjoys playing hockey, soccer and rowing when time permits.
Kate's thoughts on reading and the National Year of Reading
I am very proud to be an ACT Ambassador for the National Year of Reading. As a mother I have always encouraged and motivated my children to pick up a book at every opportunity. My home is just like a library. I have books on shelves, in the hallway, on the kitchen table, by bedside tables and even books on the bathroom floor. With every page turned another world is discovered, a new skill is acquired, a bit of knowledge is absorbed.
My local library at Dickson is just a short walk from my home and every time I enter through its doors I relish in the fact that I too know that with every turn of a book's page I can be transported to a faraway imaginary place, immersed in a great adventure or be motivated and inspired by someone's life story.
Our local libraries are so much more than books. Currently the Dickson Library is coordinating the Longest Bookmark to celebrate the National Year of Reading. So to all you readers and knitters out there get those pages turning and needles clicking and help to reach the 19,000 bookmarks required to stretch the bookmark from the Dickson Library to the Civic Library.
The National Year of Reading is a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the place reading has in our lives. Congratulations to everyone involved!
Kate's reading habits
As for favourites? I really enjoyed 'Longitude' by Dava Sobel, and 'Gallileo's daughter'. Neal Stephenson's 'Baroque cycle' was phenomenal.
I found 'Shadow of the wind' by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, a memorable and moving read. Interestingly, it's about books and their power and mystery once again! It's a favourite and a perfect holiday read. (Although I am just as likely to tuck an old cold war spy thriller in my bag as I head out the door).
- When do you read?
I don't get too much time to read outside of work material but if I do it's at night in bed, or on a plane when my work is done. Holidays are the best chance and I try to save up a good book or revisit a favourite. I like being recommended books by people with similar interests and tastes and the last great read recommended by a friend was 'Accelerando' by Charles Stross. Again, a futuristic technological thriller.
- Which book is by your bedside right now?
Beside my bed at the moment is 'Enigma' by Hugh Sebag-Montefiore. This is not the novel, rather a non-fiction account of the sequence of initiatives and events that led to the successful breaking of the German Naval Code during WWII. I was inspired by a recent visit to Bletchley Park in UK where much of the work was done in secret, so this one got pulled out of the bookshelf again. I tend to chapter-hop, as I am pretty familiar with the history.
- Print books, e-reader or both?
I have a Kindle and the first book I downloaded was 'The girl with the dragon tattoo' by Stieg Larsson series. It's great for long haul flights but for holidays, definitely the paperback book. I still like to buy books. A good book shop inspires me to buy good books! We are lucky with Smiths and Paperchain in Canberra, and I like The Hill of Content in Melbourne.
- Do you remember learning to read?
I remember learning to read quite young. I was very enthusiastic and got into trouble by having too many readers at home. I remember being really embarrassed when mum had to bring a box full back to the school. My first book was a 'Dick and Jane'. I learnt to read through colour reading. Each letter had a colour and short and long vowel sounds had different colours. The short vowels were white a, blue e, pink i, orange o and yellow u. I remember magenta as well. It was fun and no doubt a passing fad in the early seventies!
- Was your family a reading family?
My family was a reading family and I really loved the Nancy Drew detective series from about 3rd grade. Now I have probably between 300 and 400 books at home and I have kept all my childhood books for my kids, and stored them again now that they have grown out of them! My brother's favourite book was one of mine, 'The house that Beebo built', but I must have lost it. I would love to find this book but efforts to date have failed! It had amazing illustrations too.
Three books that have most influenced the Senator
'Neuromancer' by William Gibson
I have read a lot of books over the years, but memorable ones include 'Neuromancer' by William Gibson because he described the digital world that we now know in a way that convinced me it was inevitable. It was written in 1984. I really enjoy futurist writers that weave scientific and technological trends into their narrative in poignant and thought-provoking ways.
'Snow crash' and 'The diamond age' by Neal Stephenson
I grew up just outside Geelong where much of this novel is set so feel a natural affinity for the landscape. As I remember it some of the passages in the book are simply breathtaking. I can't check as my copy was stolen on a bus in Collingwood in the late 80's - luckily I'd just finished it.
'The name of the rose' by Umberto Eco
In a completely different genre, but thematically consistent, 'The name of the rose' by Umberto Eco. The implications of the proliferation of knowledge and understanding through books is exquisitely contained in a gripping mystery set in an 14th century isolated monastery. The Internet and the democratization of digital information is the modern incarnation of the same phenomena, and is equally transformational.
Out and about for NYR
Senator Lundy has supported a number of National Year of Reading events. Here are three National Year of activities she would like to highlight this week:
- Canberra's Longest Bookmark - 1 Feb to 31 October
The Dickson Library knitting group have embarked on a giant task - to knit Canberra's longest bookmark to celebrate the National Year of Reading. To find out more about the book mark and how you can contribute take a look at the following facebook page:
- Word Pictures Exhibition - 7 July - 10 Feb 2013
National Gallery Australia
A picture is worth a thousand words, as the saying goes. Since the early 20th century when Picasso and Braque made their radical breakthrough with Cubism, there has been a flourishing of modern and contemporary art produced with text at its core. Alphabets with their infinite potential for words; the visual form of letters; the art of printmaking with its origins in typography; and the artists' book are some of the themes explored in this exhibition. Word Pictures is the National Gallery of Australia's contribution to the National Year of Reading. This selection of surprising and often humorous works of art reveals the artists' playful connections between our visual and written languages.
- COOL AWARDS - Voting open from Monday 17 September - Wednesday 24 October 2012
The Children's Choice Book Awards in the ACT
The COOL Awards are the annual children's choice book awards made by young readers in the ACT, choosing from amongst the Australian books they have enjoyed reading during the year. To take part in the voting process, go to the Libraries ACT website:
Want to know more?
- If you are interested in finding out more about Kate, go to her website, facebook page and twitter links:
- You might also be interested in taking a look at our other featured ambassador for this week, Senator Catryna Bilyk:
- If you want to find out about all the National Year of Reading ambassadors, go to our ambassadors page:
- Other featured ambassadors can be found on the ambassador feature week listing: