Good Reading : February 2008
foreword Welcome to the first issue of gr for 2008. In between tripping over telephone wires and find- ing out where to take the recycling, we’re planning a year of coverage of all things bookish from the splendour of our new premises (see the new address opposite on page 6). Well, perhaps ‘splendour’ is not quite the right word, but we’re all thrilled with the extra space and of course plan to spread out to fill it accordingly. This month we seem to be covering many different aspects of reading life, from the books about books I’ve been scrutinis- ing (page 21), to the hard work that goes on behind the scenes at writers’ festivals (page 22) and the always fascinating musings of Nick Hornby about stuff he’s been reading (page 53). And Katherine Dorrington, the director of Perth’s writers’ festival, tells us about her favourite books and authors on page 8. Susan Hall, who showed us around Fremantle in the October 2007 issue of gr, takes a look at a couple of iconic bookshops in Venice, California and neighbouring Santa Monica on page 9. Our cover story this month is about the eagerly awaited new book from Australian author Geraldine Brooks, whose previous novel, March, won her the Pulitzer Prize in 2006. Read what Geraldine has to say about People of the Book, a great novel stretching over many centuries and countries in tantalising slices of the history of a single book, on page 12. Sir David Attenborough doesn’t really need any introduc- tion. I was thrilled to talk to him over the phone from his home in England about his life and his latest book, Life in Cold Blood, which celebrates the most successful animal order of all − the reptiles. But their cousins the amphibians are not faring so well, as you’ll discover on page 14. Regular contributor Dr Jim Leavesley is a retired GP who also writes. And this month on page 18 he tells us about some other members of his profession who wield the pen as well as the scalpel. Must be something about medical school ... Our coffee table selection on page 46 is a nostalgic − and potentially lucrative − stroll down memory lane as Australia’s ephemera (printed memorabilia) is showcased in Yesterday’s Paper. The book bite on page 48 is a complete short story from one of the annual collections that have proliferated in recent years, and, appropriately, on page 52 Susan Midalia, herself a short story writer with a recently published collec - tion, mounts a spirited defence of this sometimes overlooked and underappreciated art for m. Happy new reading year to you all.
December January 2008