Good Reading : February 2008
10 goodreading ı FEBRUARY 2008 book trivia Well done Betty Birskys! Last March gr published a piece about the Sunshine Coast Literary Association’s WARM (Writers’, Artists’ and Readers’ Month) inaugural literary awards being held in June (it’s on again this June, too).The fiction writer of the year award for 2007 went to the remarkable 82-year-old Betty Birskys for her novel At the Island, set n Queensland in the late 1980s. Betty is pictured below speaking at the aunch at Bribie Island Library last November. Betty’s first book, Homeland, which she describes as ‘a fictional memoir’, was one of three manuscripts on the short list for the 2004 Queensland Premier’s Literary Award.The QPLA judges described it as ‘a moving study of cross-cultural marriage and migrant life in Australia … a very personal and poignant story’. Find out more at Betty’s website: http://bettybirskys.ocker.info. A tale of two covers In the October 2006 issue of gr we ran a glowing review of a ripping yarn, The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield. It was published as a paperback here, as most books sensibly are, but in the UK it came out as a hardback and had disap- pointing sales. Now the UK paperback edition is zooming up the charts, and the publishers put it all down to the revamped cover.The original, which was the image used here, showed a row of books with one missing; the new image shows two little girls from the waist down, dressed identically.The publisher is quoted as saying: ‘Books about books are liked by publishers and booksellers but not so much by the general public.’ We wonder if that’s the case here? As far as gr’s concerned, a book on a book cover is a drawcard. THE MILK OF HUMAN KINDNESS Many of you will remember the M.I.L.K. (‘Moments of Intimacy, Laughter and Kinship’) images that celebrated humanity and were collected into a series of books a few years ago. Now these images are married with biblical quotations in a new series under the imprint of Grace Books: love is depicted in Heart; goodness in Salt; and wisdom in Pearls. Each book in the series retails for $24.95. CLOUDS FOR DREAMERS Many readers were intrigued by the story we ran in November 2006 onThe Cloudspotter’s Guide by Gavin Pretor-Pinney, founder of the Cloud Appreciation Society. Now Gavin has published a follow-up book, A Pig with Six Legs — the title is explained when you look at the front cover, left — which reproduces some of the astonishing clouds spotted by eagle-eyed members of the society. Take a look at these examples. Published by Sceptre, rrp, $25.00, it’s great fun. The last thing he wrote Roald Dahl’s last book, gr discovered in a recent issue of the UK magazine The Spectator, was a ‘slender volume’ called Roald Dahl’s Guide to Railway Safety, published posthumously by the British Railways Board. It was illustrated by Quentin Blake and contained alotof admonition to children to behave them- selves around railways and railway lines, all delivered in VERY LARGE RED CAPITAL LETTERS. Among Dahl’s sage advice was NEVER DANGLE ANYTHING FROM BRIDGES and NEVER NEVER NEVER STICK YOUR HEAD OUT OF A MOVING TRAIN. Left to right: Fusilli pasta, or Altocumulus undulates, taken by Fabian Klenk over Namibia, Southern Africa; A skateboarder doing tricks, or Cirrus, taken by Daniela Sarolo over Provence, France; A red snapper, or Cumulus fractus, taken by Andrew Edwards over Glencoe, Scotland.
December January 2008