Good Reading : April 2009
book trivia ‘The time to read is any time: no apparatus, no appointment of time and place, is necessary.’ John Aikin: Letters from a Father to his Son, 1796. The Eye of the Storm year, a sister festival is held in Alice Springs: Eye of the Storm. The Eye of the Storm this year will run from May 1–4, and feature Kate Grenville, Linda Jaivin and Shane Maloney. Among Territorian writers are Jennifer Mills, Richard J Frankland and Andrew McMillan (winner of Territory Read 2009). The festival will be a celebration of Australian Indigenous and non-Indigenous writing, focusing on Centralian stories and voices. It will include poetry slams, workshops, children’s activities, panels and readings. For enquiries, email firstname.lastname@example.org or T call 08 8952 3810 (Alice Springs office) or 08 8941 2651 (Darwin office). Longest running reading group W e think we’ve found the longest running reading group in Australia. Comprising Mrs Anne White, Mrs Pamela Pizzey, Mrs Madeleine Pinninger and Lady Allison Hughes, this book club from Kew, Victoria, has been a group for over fifty years, and are proud to declare that nobody has left the group because they were unsatisfied. Those who are no longer in the group are either deceased or live interstate, which means that there are now only four members, when originally there were 12. For many years, the meetings followed an unusual plan. Each meeting someone gave a half-hour presentation on the book she’d read that month. None of the other members read the book before the meeting – the challenge was to make the book sound so exciting the others would want to read it. The speaker was expected to include photographs, maps, or anything else relevant to the presentation. Then, after a light lunch and a sherry, all the women then rushed off to pick up their children from school. These days, the group still meets to discuss books but the format isn’t so rigid, they just talk about the books they’d read that month: ‘We’re all still avid readers,’ says Mrs White. Her recent recommendations include The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, The Rug-Maker of Mazar-E-Sharif by Najaf Mazari and Robert Hillman and Where the Road Leads, by Jean Calder. According to Mrs White, the secret behind the longevity is simple: ‘We never discuss religion or politics much, or anything likely to upset people’. Do you know of a longer-running reading group? Write to us or email us at email@example.com. Low Self-Esteem H 12 goodreading i APRIL 2009 he Northern Territory Writers’ Centre holds a literary festival, Word Storm, every second year. Every other Hit the books V ampire fiction is suddenly fashionable again. (Sucking in young and old.) How do you fare in vampire-literature trivia? 1. Which character in Bram Stoker’s Dracula receives three marriage proposals in one day? 2. Which 1954 vampire book was the inspiration for George A Romero’s 1968 film Night of the Living Dead, as well as being made into a film starring Will Smith in 2007? 3. Which series of novels feature French nobleman and vampire Lestat de Lioncourt? 4. The character Ben Mears plans to write a book about the mansion Marsten House in which 1975 Stephen King novel? 5. In Stephanie Meyer’s ‘Twilight’ series, what is meant by a ‘vegetarian’ vampire? 6. Which vampire novel by a first-time novelist was purchased for US$2 million by Little, Brown Publishers and optioned for US$1.5 million by Sony in 2005? aving a bad day? Well everyone makes mistakes. If you want to feel better about yours you might like to read Bill Fawcett’s It Looked Good on Paper: Bizarre inventions, design disasters and engineering follies (HarperCollins, rrp $19.99). Read about Andrew Lloyd Webber’s ill-fated musical about P G Wodehouse’s Jeeves the Butler, ‘a well-dressed flop’. Or Scent of Mystery, the movie created for the bizarre invention Smell-O-Vision. Go on. Indulge in a little schadenfreude. You’ll feel better for it, we promise. Answers: 1. Lucy Westenra, but if you got ‘Lucy’ give yourself a point! 2. I Am Legend by Richard Mathesen. 3. The Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice. 4. Salem’s Lot. 5. A vampire who drinks animal blood instead of human blood. 6. The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova.