Former leading New Zealand publisher and bookseller, and widely experienced judge of both the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the Montana New Zealand Book Awards, talks about what he is currently reading, what impresses him and what doesn't, along with chat about the international English language book scene, and links to sites of interest to booklovers.
Saturday, June 30, 2007
It is rather difficult to explain just exactly what the Cathedrale D’Images is all about but I shall try.
You enter the vast empty marble quarry, it is 30C outside but when inside the temp drops to about 15C so sweaters are immediately donned.
Inside some 4000 square metres of the smooth quarry walls act as great natural screens with some 50 projectors showing 3000 images ranging from 7 – 20 metres in height.
The previous year when Deb & Mark were here the subject was Cezanne and it was like a giant gallery of all of Cezanne’s work.
This year though the subject was Venice and it was absolutely stunning. Set to the music of Vivaldi (of course), Verdi, Handel and others we were treated as we walked through the vast empty underground quarry to a visual treat of Venetian art, opera, scenes from through the ages, and movie footage all on these giant natural screens.
I cannot do it justice but truly iIt was inspirational, magical and like nothing else we have ever witnessed.
The ballroom scene from Verdi’s La Traviata was especially impressive.
Guardian blogger James Brindle has this to say
Guardian blogger Beth Webb has this to say..........
Friday, June 29, 2007
This story in today from the Post Gazette.
I have just come across this interview with Anna David, party girl and author, that appeared in the Huffington Post earlier this month. Interesting to read what she had to say on the subject of chick-lit.
The Chateau has been converted into a 4 start hotel and is utterly gorgeous. A long tree-lined drive leads to the front of the Chateau and after unloading and checking in I parked our car about 100 metres away in a secure carpark. The we unpacked our cases and headed down to the pool-Annie to swim and me to read!
The grounds, several acres, comprise gardens, lawn, streams, mature trees and about 100 metres from the house the pool, pool house, sun loungers, thatch sun shades etc. All very very comfortable. 27-30C temps, no humidity and no wind. Glorious.
Thursday, June 28, 2007
From the New York Times today
Off the wires this morning.
SCHOLASTIC TO OPEN HARRY POTTER PLACE
This release from Scholastic NY.
This story in the Guardian Wednesday.
Here is a selection of reviews of crime fiction from globeandmail.com
Jeffrey Deaver, author of the first book reviewed, like many authors today has his own website.
Here is a short story from the forthcoming Woody Allen collection courtesy of the Daily Telegraph, London from where the author pic was also taken.
LE LAVENDOU, VILLAGE OF 12 BEACHES
We are spending 4 days in this beach town on the Mediterranean between Toulon and St.Tropez.
Once a fishing village, (there are still some fishing boats working from here and there is a large marina, see pic below), it is now largely given over to tourism.
The interesting thing to me is that almost all the tourists are French. You hear virtually no English being spoken, and the only American accent I have heard is that of my grand-daughter. Even the Germans, who are large keep European tourism going, are not here.
Our three start hotel, Roc Hotel, is a family run affair, it seems to have about 30 rooms on two levels, and is literally on the beach at Saint-Clair which is rated the best of the beaches. It is the low rise white building at the far end of the beach in the photo above right.
It is a mile away from the town iteslf and each night we walk along the coast to the town for drinks and then dinner.And then home again afterwards to walk off the meal.
After some experimentation we finally figured about the best restaurant - La Flamm. I have had two superb risottos there - lobster risotto, and prawn risotto - but all five of us have been most pleased with all that we have ordered.
Le Lavendou is a place for swimming and sunbathing, walking, reading, resting and generally just hanging out.
Photo left shows Bookman Beattie on morning walk on coastal path from our beach to the town centre. BB has the whitest legs to be seen in Le Lavendou. Most of the French tourists here are nut brown.
Picture below right shows Bookman Beattie with his New York-based daughter.
We have had a most relaxing time here and tomorrow afternoon will move on to St.Remy for more adventures.
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
And she reveals that after years of bad health she is well enough now to be working on a new novel.
Provocative piece from the BBC.
Photo of Ian Rankin also from The Times.
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Book being read, and GREATLY enjoyed, is THE YIDDISH POLICEMEN'S UNION by Michael Chabon, published Harper Collins.
30C max by day and 18C min at night, I can handle it!
Story from the Guardian.
This story from CNN Money
Doesn't look pretty does it? Read the story here.
On the web
The internet retail juggernaut………is apparently losing some steam. That’s according to a recent report in the New York Times. The boom in web-based sales hasn’t exactly gone bust – sales are still growing – but the rate of growth has begun to slow. According the article in last Friday’s Technology section, the increase in sales has dropped dramatically from the 25% rate of the last few years. The decline, which has been seen in almost all sectors, including books, is due to several factors. Partly, it’s simply that, with internet sales approaching 5% of all sales, there’s now less room to grow. But another factor, one that is especially encouraging to small bricks and mortar stores such as Dutton’s Brentwood, is that shoppers are increasingly finding they miss the old-fashioned personal touch that a “virtual” store can never duplicate. But, interestingly, another factor is that “real” stores have found they can learn from the internet experience by retooling their environments to be hipper and flashier – more likely to appeal to the technology savvy consumer of today and tomorrow. As for Dutton’s, don’t fear – we’re not about to become too tech-oriented. The nice thing about books is that the quintessential shopping experience is still picking up a book, cracking open its pages, and getting lost in the words.
Always tinkering……………in order to improve the Dutton’s Brentwood web site. After having changed very little on our store’s home page in the previous five or six years, we’ve recently been on a crash course to catch up with all the developments in internet technology and design. Most recently we’ve added extra navigational aids on the bottom on each page for “power users,” directed external links to new browser windows rather than within the frame (eliminating the “Russian nesting dolls” effect) and, lastly, added a printable version of our calendar of upcoming events so you can stick it on your refrigerator. Hopefully the result is a more easily navigated and site. If you’d like to visit, please stop by at file:///C:/Documents%20and%20Settings/Jay%20Clark/My%20Documents/www.duttonsbrentwood.com, and be on the lookout for more improvements in the coming months.
Picture of the week -(Sadly Bookman Beattie could not upload this spelndid picture of the most handsome author! But you can go to their website and check him out)
Khaled Hosseini speaking in front of a small portion of what was actually a very large crowd.
Signing his new novel, A. Thousand Splendid Suns, in the West room.
On behalf of Michael Moynahan, President of BPANZ, I am advising you that the AGM of BPANZ will be held on Sunday 29 July at 10.30am in Marlborough Room 1 at the SkyCity Convention Centre, 88 Federal St., Auckland.
Please see attached notification and agenda. Also attached is a nomination form for election to the Council as we have two vacancies.
We look forward to seeing as many of you as possible at the AGM and also attached is a Proxy Form if required.
Anne de Lautour
Book Publishers Association of NZ (BPANZ)
Private Bag 102902
North Shore 0745
PH: +64 9 442 7426
FAX: +64 9 479 8536
This message in this am from Rotorua, many thanks Micheal, greetings from Le Lavendou, on the coast in the south of France.
Graham, Reed have just published A Wild Wind from the North, Don Stafford's account of Hongi Hika's invasion of Rotorua. The launch last Saturday (23rd), in Rotorua, was also the ocassion of a reconciliation between Ngapuhi and Te Arawa.
Its a handsome little hardback which is published as part of Reed's Raupo series (one hundred years of publishing). Hongi Hika (not to be confused with Heke, who chopped down the flagpole), was certainly an interesting figure.
Ruthless and intellegent, the raid on Te Arawa surprised everyone - not least because of the sudden appearance of muskets.
Like Michael King Don Stafford makes history accessable. It is first and foremost a story and acts as a window onto a world we still dont know.
Very readable. Highly recommended.
P O Box 623, 1269
Tutanekai StreetRotorua, New Zealandph
0064 7 348 5388fax 0064 7 349 0288
Monday, June 25, 2007
Story from the Sydney Morning Herald.
Collection to be published in the US in August.
HACKER CLAIMS TO HAVE PUBLISHED END OF FINAL IN HARRY POTTER SEQUENCE.
Read and decide for yourself..................
Full story and author pic fro the Guardian.
CILIP CARNEGIE MEDAL WINNER OF ALL TIME
HAPPY 70TH BIRTHDAY TO THE CILIP CARNEGIE MEDAL!
At the CILIP Carnegie 70th Anniversary Gala last Thursday Mariella Frostrup declared Philip Pullman the decisive winner of CILIP’s Carnegie of Carnegie Medals for ‘Northern Lights’. Pullman received 40% of the total votes cast by the public in the on-line poll and wins a specially commissioned 70th Anniversary Medal.
“This accolade is an enormous pleasure to receive,” says Pullman. “I want to thank everyone who voted for ‘Northern Lights’ and in particular to thank the librarians who awarded me the Medal in the first place. It is without any question the most important honour I have ever received, and the one I treasure the most. I am humbled and honoured that ‘Northern Lights’ has been chosen from among so many wonderful books.”
“Personally I feel they got the initials right but not the name,” continues Pullman. “I don’t know if the result would be the same in a hundred year’s time; maybe Philippa Pearce would win then. All we do know is that librarians will continue to choose well and to celebrate the best of writing for children and young people.”
With 70 past winners in contention for the Carnegie and 50 for the Greenaway a panel of children’s experts selected a Top 10 from each medal’s backlist. On 20 April the Top 10s on-line public poll was launched at Seven Stories Children’s Book Centre in Newcastle, since when CILIP’s dedicated Carnegie & Greenaway website has been buzzing daily as thousands cast their votes.
Pullman not only took 40% of the total votes but also received the highest number from overseas: a total of 36% from North America, Europe, Asia and Australia combined. The other front runners illustrate the enduring quality of past CILIP Carnegie winners: ‘Tom’s Midnight Garden’ by Philippa Pearce came second, ‘Skellig’ by David Almond third, with Mary Norton’s ‘The Borrowers’ and Eve Garnett’s ‘The Family From One End Street’ tying in
“It was clear that Pullman was in the lead from early on,” says Top 10 judge, and Director of the National Literacy Trust, Jonathan Douglas. “The competition was formidable: the Top 10 list includes some of the greatest children’s writing of the 20th & 21st centuries. However Pullman’s ‘Northern Lights’ is a deserving winner. The Dark Materials Trilogy is imaginative, intelligent story telling of outstanding quality: these books have redefined children’s literature and changed the way we think and talk about children’s books. They are classics.”
Further information for the media from (please do not publish these numbers)
Becca Wyatt, CILIP Carnegie/Greenaway Media Officer
Tel: 01403 780 383 Email: email@example.com
Caroline Sanderson, CILIP Carnegie/Greenaway Media Officer
Tel: 01453 759 889 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mark Taylor, CILIP Marketing Executive
Tel: 020 7255 0650 Email: email@example.com
The 10 CILIP Carnegie Medal Winners in contention were:
Skellig David Almond (1998)
Junk Melvin Burgess (1996)
Storm Kevin Crossley-Holland (1985)
A Gathering Light Jennifer Donnelly (2003)
The Owl Service Alan Garner (1967)
The Family From One End Street Eve Garnett (1937)
The Borrowers Mary Norton (1952)
Tom’s Midnight Garden Philippa Pearce (1958)
Northern Lights Philip Pullman (1995)
The first book in the Dark Materials Trilogy ‘Northern Lights’ won the CILIP Carnegie Medal in 1995. Pullman’s books have sold over 12 million copies worldwide and have been translated into 37 languages. The first of the film adaptations of the Trilogy, The Golden Compass, will be launched in December this year and stars Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig.
Choosing the all-time Top 10s were: Nicolette Jones, author, journalist, and reviewer of children’s books for The Times and Sunday Times (chair); librarians Sharon Sperling, Colin Brabazon and Teresa Scragg, all former chairs of the CILIP Carnegie & Kate Greenaway judging panel; Wayne Winstone, Children’s Category Manager for Waterstone’s and Jonathan Douglas, Director of the National Literary Trust.
CILIP: the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals is the leading professional body for librarians, information specialists and knowledge managers. It forms a community of around 40,000 people engaged in library and information work, of whom around 22,000 are CILIP Members and around 18,000 are regular customers of CILIP Enterprises. CILIP members work in all sectors, including business and industry, science and technology, further and higher education, schools, local and central government, the health service, the voluntary sector, national and public libraries. For more information about CILIP, please go to http://www.cilip.org.uk/
The Youth Libraries Group (YLG) is a Special Interest Group of CILIP. It works in a “pressure group” role, independently and with other professional organisations, to preserve and influence the provision of quality literature and library services for children and young people, both in public libraries and school library services.
Anniversary Sponsors & Partners: CILIP would like to thank all the organisations that have generously sponsored the anniversary celebrations. The organisations include: Arts Council England; The Authors’ Licensing & Collecting Society (ALCS); Carnegie UK Trust; The Children’s Literary Trust; Peters Bookselling Services.
Hay-on-Wye is a small market town in Wales close to the Wales/England border with a population fewer than 2000. These days it is probably best known for the Guardian Hay Festival which is held in May/June each year, runs for 10 days and attracts literati by the tens of thousands from all over the UK and around the world. Bill Clinton famously called it The Woodstock of the Mind when he attended in 2002, a quote the organizers have used ever since, of course.
But when I spent a couple of days there in May 1983 (back in my Penguin Books days) it was known solely for its numerous second-hand bookshops (38 at last count) and indeed one of them in particular was, and I gather still is, the largest second-hand bookshop in the world.
When I left, weary and slightly disoriented from too much browsing, much of it in musty rooms below ground, I had three large cartons of books, mostly dating from the 19th century, and the whole lot had cost me about forty pounds. Fortunately I was able to take them to the Penguin Books warehouse (then in Harmondsworth) where they were shipped back to New Zealand with the next container load of Penguin paperbacks.
It was with a great sense of nostalgia then that I read chapter 6 of David Crystal’s altogether entertaining and diverting new title, By Hook or By Crook – a journey in search of English.
Crystal is, of course, Professor David Crystal, OBE, one of Britain’s foremost authorities on English language learning & teaching, forensic linguistics, language death, language play, Shakespeare and lexicography. He is a widely published academic known for his editing of the Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language and other encyclopedias and for his 2004 book The Stories of English, a general history of English language.
His says his entire career has been spent “trying to make valid statements about language and languages and about the English language in particular”. He has been described as “a latter day Dr.Johnson”.
In his new book he bring an entertaining and often humorous Bill Bryson type of approach as he tours first Wales and then parts of England and Scotland recording and celebrating the range of present-day British English accents and dialects. The book is littered with bits and bobs of language lore and intriguing revelations.
Here then is how chapter 6, Book-Browsing Syndrome, begins:
If you are searching for something that has been written in a book, you will probably find it in the second-hand and antiquarian bookshops of Hay. All you need is time, stamina, and a strong constitution. It is usually the lack of the last that lets you down. The symptoms of HBBS (Hay book-browser syndrome) are well known: sore eyes from too much title-gazing, torn fingers from too much page-turning, wobbly legs from too much haunch-sitting, and an inability to raise the head from a right-leaning neck-angle of forty-five degrees. It is fortunately a temporary condition, which for many people manifests itself during a visit to the ten-day Hay Literary Festival.
His description transported me happily back 24 years to my one visit to the town.
In his book much more on Hay, its bookshop and its festival, follows.
David Crystal is so passionate about words and language that he is frequently held up and distracted on his travels by pub signs (lots of fascinating stuff on this subject), mispelt and unsusual signposts, names of theatres and ships and trains, the names of streets and
towns and bridges and valleys and churches, and in fact almost anything where words appear. He is endlessly fascinated by things I suspect most of us would not even notice.
There are five pages on the origin of “by hook or by crook”, but not a word of it is superfluous, naturally much about Shakespeare and his influence on the English language and an amusing section on collective nouns under the heading “A rash of dermatologists” . My favourites were an annoyance of mobile phones, a mass of priests, a crash of software and a muckingfuddle of spoonerisms
When he comes across a small village in Worcestershire, called Bricklehampton, he is fascinated because he observes it has the longest isogrammatic place name in English.
An isogram he explains is a word in which the letters turn up an equal number of times. In a first order isogram each letter appears just once: dialogue is an example. In a second order isogram, each letter appears twice: deed is an example. In a third order isogram, and they are very rare, each letter appears three times e.g. deeded (conveyed by deed).
As I noted he is easily distracted.
What is reinforced throughout is that language is in a constant state of change and I suspect that those New Zealanders who write to their newspapers complaining about the misuse of the language by young people with words such as random, sweet, hot, blues, mean, mint, genius, wicked and cool, would get little sympathy from David Crystal.
He concludes his foreword by supposing his book might be called “stream-of-consciousness linguistics” and I think it is exactly that.
I would certainly like to have been a student in his university English classes.
This is a title I reviewed in the Sunday Star Times on 17 June reproduced here for those who live outside the paper’s catchment. It is published by Harper Collins NZ$35
WILD LATITUDES Barbara Else Vintage NZ$28
Barbara Else has ventured in to new territory with Wild Latitudes. Known and admired for her contemporary novels of love and deceit, passion and betrayal, this time she has turned to historic fiction. Whether her many fans will be pleased with this move or not remains to be seen but she has produced a substantial, rollicking albeit at times somewhat
The story is set largely in Dunedin at the time of the Otago gold rushes. Dunedin, a somewhat pious Presbyterian church settlement is transformed by the arrival of huge numbers of seekers of fortune and it is in to this melee that teenage siblings, Adele and Godwin, arrive from England on separate ships and begin a series of misadventures.
The book is peopled with a variety of well-drawn, colourful, and sometimes rather motley bunch of characters and for me this is Else at her very best. I found the story somewhat incredulous in places and felt that one adventure near the end could have been omitted, perhaps used as the kernel of an idea for a separate novel
An interesting touch at the end of the story is a 12 page afterword which includes presumably fictitious newspaper accounts from the time along with entries from Adele’s journal
For me a good read, a pass mark for the author but I am not convinced that historical fiction will prove to be her long suit.
On Thursday last we visited this magnificent chateau which dates back to the 14th century with extensive rebuilding in the 17th century and the reconstruction of a wing in the 18th century. The Rochefoucauld family still live in the chateau although the current Duke lives and works in Paris using the place as a holiday retreat. His mother, the dowager duchess lives permanently at the chateau.
It is a magnificent structure with many interesting architectural features including tall round towers and Renaissance galleries.