Good Reading : December / January 2007
10 goodreading ı DECEMBER 2006/JANUARY 2007 ARC rises to the challenge Nearly 13,000 young readers, schoolchildren and adults across Australia have completed the ﬁrst national Australian Readers’ Challenge, raising urgently needed funds – some $130,000 – to address the literacy crisis in remote indigenous communities in the Northern Territory. The Challenge is a collaboration between the Fred Hollows Foundation and Ian Thorpe’s Fountain for Youth Trust, and the money will buy books and other literacy-connected materials for Katherine’s four communities. book trivia hahahahohoho A new Australian publishing company has launched its list with two joke books – one for him and one for her. Sample joke for her (under the subject Men Jokes): Q: Why does it take 1 million sperm to fertilise one egg? A: They don’t stop to ask directions. Sample joke for him (under the subject Shockers): A man walks into a bar with a slab of asphalt under his arm and says, ‘A beer please, and one for the road.’ Thousands more like these, celebrating the heyday of the great email joke exchange (which could be extremely irritating as they rained into your inbox, but also extremely funny), are in The Office Inbox Joke Book, in his and her versions, Drum Publishing, r rp $19.95 each. comic capers Long-time gr contributor Kevin Patrick has been a busy bee recently. He’s the curator of an exhibition that is on now at the State Library of Victoria and will run until 25 February 2007: Heroes & Villains — Australian Comics and Their Creators. The exhibition celebrates the colourful history of Australian comics from the 1940s until now, from Captain Atom and Fatty Finn to the latest zines, with workshops, talks, forums, tours and film screenings throughout the opening period. Visit www.slv.vic.gov.au for the complete program and online catalogue. the naked scientist Chris Smith is a medical doctor and a scientist at Cambridge University, best known to the public for his radio broadcasts and his popular website www.thenakedscientist.com Now he’s brought out a book of the same name that answers such puzzling questions as: Does sound travel faster in water or air? Why is the Eiffel Tower 15 cm taller in midsummer than it is in midwinter? And is it true that a child who doesn’t like eating vegetables may be genetically programmed to dislike the taste? (The answer to this last question is, sadly for healthy-minded parents, true.) Check out all Dr Smith’s questions and answers in The Naked Scientist:The Scientific Secrets of Everyday Life Laid Bare, Random House, rrp $29.95. ‘when two elephants tussle … …it’s the grass that suffers’. Maybe you have to live in Zanzibar to appreciate that one. A new book from leading linguist David Crystal is a survey of proverbs from around the world, including such gems as the following: Do not try to borrow combs from shaven monks (China) Don’t call the alligator a big-mouth till you have crossed the river (Belize) Never bolt your door with a boiled carrot (Ireland — where else?) A coconut shell full of water is a sea to an ant (Zanzibar again) Wise silence has never been written down (Italy) Where hands are needed words and letters are useless (Germany — pragmatic as ever) Learn to handle a writing-brush, and you’ll never handle a begging-bowl (China) A howlin’ coyote ain’t stealin’ no chickens (USA) As They Say in Zanzibar (now there’s a fine phrase to drop casually into a conversation) is published by Collins, rrp $32.99.