Good Reading : April 2006
14 goodreading ı APRIL 2006 book trivia The magic bus reborn! ‘Further’, the legendary 1939 Inter national Harvester bus covered in psychedelic images, with Neal Cassady at the helm and Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters in charge of the fridge full of LSD- spiked orange juice, which crossed the United States in the sixties and inspired Tom Wolfe’s seminal book The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, has lain in a swamp on the Kesey family farm in California for fifteen years. Now Zane Kesey, the late author’s son, and a local restaura- teur are planning to scrape off the moss and rust and restore the bus to its for mer glory so that it can help tell the story of those weird and wonderful days. Said Ken Kesey – author of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Sometimes a Great Notion – in 2000: ‘When people ask what my best work is, it’s the bus. Those books made it possible for the bus to become.’ Growing children Publishers, authors and illustrators of children’s books from around Australia — members of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators — gathered at the lovely old Hughenden Hotel in Sydney in late February for what felt like a literary arts salon rather than a conference. Books launched at the conference included Felicity Pulman’s Rue for Repentance, Meredith Costain’s Doodledum Dancing and Krista Bell’s That’s the Trick. Publishers from Penguin, Random House and HarperCollins enter- tained the audience with funny, personal and lively discussions and answered tricky questions with style. Shona Martyn of HarperCollins spoke enthusiastically about the growth in sales of books — and while the general book market in Australia has grown 5% in volume, the children’s book market has grown 8.4%. A borrower be A way to get around the lack of space for books problem is to borrow books rather than buy them. But if you’ve ever been frustrated by the waiting list for new titles at your local library, a new online book borrowing service promises to come to the rescue. For either $20 or $28 per month, depending on the number of books you’d like to borrow, you can have new releases sent to your door. Once you’ve ﬁnished reading them, you simply return them in the enclosed book satchel and wait for the next books in a list of preferred titles you’ve supplied to arrive. Visit the website www.slimink.com.au to ﬁnd out more. Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind. Rudyard Kipling Pukka poets A 2004 poetry reading program featuring a Bengali poet, organised by the NSW South Coast Writers’ Centre, has resulted in an Australia–India Poetry Exchange. Three Australian poets, Lizz Murphy, Venie Holmgren and Ron Pretty, travelled to India in February 2006 to give readings and talks at Kolkata Book Fair as well as at universities. A special bilingual anthology of ten Bengali and ten Australian poets was launched by publishing house Nandimukh Samsad during the exchange. It’s hoped that more Indian poets will visit Australia in the near future.