Good Reading : December January 2005
● What are you reading now? Bill Bryson’s A Short History of Everything. ● Favourite authors? Jane Austen and Kazuo Ishiguro. ● Looking at the books on your shelves, is there a category that dominates? Art and art history. ● Author you would most like to meet? Why? Jane Austen: I think I would relate to her ability to create such diversities from such a limited palette;Thomas Hardy: so I could discuss landscape with him – he writes about landscape as Monet paints it. ● Book you loved best as a child and why? The Secret Garden : it was such a romantic mystery – so evocative of a garden that was unlike any garden I knew in Queensland. ● Favourite book title? The Shock of the New by Robert Hughes. ● Book you never finished or book you have not enjoyed? Can’t remember. I use the ‘first page test’ – if I’ve struggled on, I wish I hadn’t and quickly put it out of my mind. ● Book you have been meaning to read, but have never got round to? The whole of Proust’s In Search of Lost Time. ● Favourite film of a book and why? The Leopard I suppose, because I didn’t feel cross that the screenplay had ruined the book. ● Favourite fictional hero or heroine and why? Leopold Bloom.You know him better than you know yourself – and I don’t like offal! ● All-time favourite book? Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Unconsoled. ● Which books do you reread? James Joyce’s Ulysses. Like the Bible it needs to be read and reread to understand. ● Your favourite place to read? Bed. ● Do you use bookmarks or do you fold back page corners? I went to Somerville House in Brisbane: folding a page was a hanging offence! ● Favourite bookshops? (In Australia and overseas) Second-hand bookshops wherever they can be found. ● Where are most of the books in your home? In my study. ● How are the books on your shelves organised? They start in broad categories: Australian art – European – American, etc; then by artist: Picasso – Matisse. But it doesn’t last as books are added higgledy-piggledy, waiting for the final ordering – like the Last Judgement! goodreading 7 betty churcher me my shelf i Critic, historian, television presenter and gallery director – BETTY CHURCHER’S name is practically synonymous with art. So what does this award-winning Australian read when she isn’t looking at, writing about or lecturing on art?