Good Reading : December January 2008
10 goodreading ı DECEMBER 2007/JANU Books to filmIn January the film version of Karen Joy Fowler’s 2005 bestselling novel The Jane Austen Book Club will open across Australia. gr has had a sneak pre- view and can tell you that the film is funny, affecting and very engaging. Apart from the stellar performances by the six main characters, there’s a wonderful cameo by Lyn Redgrave playing an ageing hippie. A tie-in edition of the book will be released by Penguin, rrp $24.95. Also hitting the big screen in January and previewed by gr is a magical film adaptation of Dick King- Smith’s 1998 book The Water Horse. Made by the same special effects team that produced The Lord of the Rings an The Chronicles of Narnia , this wonderfu version of the Loch Ness Monster story stars Emily Watson and an incredibly lifelike water horse. Pure magic! A film of Jay Parini’s The Last Station (reviewed on page 26 of this issue) is being made, starring Meryl Streep and Anthony Hopkins, to be released in 2008. When Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer was published in 1996, Sean Penn immediately wanted to film it. It’s the story of Chris McCandless, an idealistic, naïve young American who in 1990 set out on an epic but ill-advised p across America into laska, where he died of arvation in the summer f 1992. Penn finally ot permission from McCandless’s parents nd his film is showing now; a tie-in edition of the book is out from Pan Macmillan, rrp $24.95. book trivia SPOOFY SPOTS Calling everyone who is heartily sick of the domestic guilt induced by cooking and cleaning goddesses! Embrace your inner slob with James Valentine’s hilarious Spotfull (ABC Books, rrp $16.95). It’s full of useful handy hints such as ‘When lying on the couch, be careful when you reach down to take a sip of tea: don’t drink from the cup you left there last night’ and ‘It’s cheaper to stay in five-star hotels than it is to renovate , and problem solving advice such as ‘Problem: Egg stains on pan. What to use: Legs. How to apply: Walk to bin. Throw pan in bin. Walk to café. Order eggs’ and ‘Problem: Black bugs in bathroom. What to use: Large can with skull and crossbones on it somewhere. How to apply: Shake can. Spray at bug. Buggie die’. So ditch those dusters, bin that bicarb, chuck those Chux, sit back and enjoy your gloriously mucky vermin-infested hovel. Just don’t su e us or the ABC if you come down with the lurgy! SLOWLY DOES IT The words ‘slow’ and ‘Sydney’ are rarely juxtaposed, but a brave new guide to the Emerald City does just that: The Slow Guide: Sydney is (equal) first cab off the rank in a new guide series that’s an exhortation to city dwellers to pull over from the fast lane, slow down, live more and fret less. The Slow Guides are the brainchild of Martin Hughes, who also wrote the companion volume, The Slow Guide: Melbourne . Coming next are Slow Guides to Brisbane and Adelaide, all published by Affirm Press, rrp $29.95 each. Being Sydneysiders, gr can’t vouch for the Melbourne guide, but the Sydney one is spot on. Its suggestions include visiting hidden bays and beaches, parks, farmers’ markets, going on nature trips, taking art and music lessons, bike rides, reading ooks set in Sydney and a host of other gentle, stress-free activities. So even though you live in a city, join the seachangers and treechangers and rey nomads: step off the treadmill, stop, look around, arouse your senses, connect ith your community and appreciate the natural world that flourishes even in the eepest, darkest concrete canyon. A book is like a sandy path which keeps the indent of footsteps. Graham Greene, The Human Factor (1978) Sydney Live more , f Melbourne Live more , fret less Do try this at home! Those wonderful folks from New Scientist have another winner to stuff many a Christmas stocking this year, How to Fossilise Your Hamster.With this and 99 other amazing experiments to try at home, you can have a whiz-bang Christmas turning eggs green, bouncing rice, growing spikes of ice, washing your clothes with horse chestnuts and, yes, starting the process of fossilising your (deceased) hamster or other pet. Published by Profile Books, rrp $24.95. In the same vein, only for children, omes The Surfing Scientist by Ruben Meer man, subtitled ‘40 Cool Science Tricks’. t contains instructions on sticking two books together without glue, spearing a raw potato with a straw, and lots of experiments involving ice, rice and balloons. Definitely cool and ungeeky. Published by ABC Books, rrp $12.95.