Good Reading : August 2007
10 goodreading ı JUNE 2007 book trivia Sounds good Anew audio book venture backed by actor Bill Nighy and a couple of his friends has begun as a website from which you can download classics read by some of Britain’s best-known, and best-loved, actors. Go to silksoundbooks.com and browse their launch list, which includes The Cricket on the Hearth by Charles Dickens, read by George Cole (Arthur Daley in ‘Minder’); The Dupin Mysteries by Edgar Allen Poe, read by Bill Nighy; Nursery Rhymes read by Jane Horrocks (Bubble in Absolutely Fabulous – now that should be interesting!); Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson, read by Timothy West; Silas Marner by George Eliot, read by Siân Phillips; and A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle, read by Richard E Grant. And the best news is that these downloads are available for £7.95 or about $20 each – in Nighy’s words, ‘ridiculously cheap’. Roses for Rosen Popular children’s poet and author Michael Rosen has been chosen to be the new (fifth) Children’s Laureate in Britain, taking over from novelist Jacqueline Wilson. The role, appointed every two years, is a promotional one: to make sure that as many children as possible hear and arn about the books written specially or them. Rosen, who has written fiction, on-fiction, picture books and poetry, is erhaps best known for We’re Going on a Bear Hunt and his collaborations with illustrator Quentin Blake, such as Quick, Let’s Get Out of Here and Mustard, Custard, Grumble Belly and Gravy. He’s also a passionate advocate of children’s books and a great critic of the way literature is taught in schools. Take a look at his website www.michaelrosen.co.uk to read some of his opinions and learn more about his life and work. Full circle Children’s author Paul Collins’s thirty-year literary journey has taken him back to where he began: a dual career in publishing and writing. Rather than a backward step in time, he says that, like good brandy, some things take time to mature. Collins, a well-known author in his own right (see the article on his ‘Quentaris’ series in gr May 2006) published Australia’s first heroic/ high fantasy novels in the early ’80s, back when major publishers sneered at the genre. Ford Street Publishing, an imprint of Hybrid Publishers, will be publishing not only Collins’s favourite genres, fantasy and science fiction, but also ‘good writing no matter what the genre’. Ford Street kicks off its young adult list with Sean McMullen’s time-slip Before the Storm (see David Johnson’s review on page 44) and Justin D’Ath’s magic realist novel Pool. Go to www.fordstreetpublishing.com for more infor mation. That’s rich A list of Britain’s richest authors was published by The Sunday Times recently. No prizes for guessing who topped the list – JK Rowling. The runners-up? At number 2 is Barbara Taylor Bradford, number 3 is Jackie Collins and number 4 is Jeffrey Archer. Australian screen classics Currency Press, the performing arts publishing house, in conjunction with the National Film and Sound Archive, is publishing a series called Australian Screen Classics. Each film is discussed by a writer who is passionate about that particular screen classic. Fans of award-winning writer Gail Jones’s books (Black Mirror, Sixty Lights) will no doubt be intriuged to read what she has to say about Jane Campion’s The Piano. Other titles in the series include Puberty Blues, The Rabbit-Proof Fence and Looking for Alibrandi. At $16.95 these paperbacks are a terrific way to revisit a much loved film and get to know a bit more about some of your favourite writers.