Good Reading : November 2004
readers’ letters 6 goodreading Dear Editor Writing is the painting you do when you can’t play piano. Michael Smith Scarborough WA 6019 via email Dear Editor Agnes Nieuwenhuizen (gr September 2004) seems to have misunderstood the thrust of my June 2004 ‘Last Word’ piece, regarding Mr Latham’s idea to give every baby in Australia three books at birth. I’m not dismissing ‘local and national efforts to intervene early and produce confident, passionate readers’. Why would I, when it’s at the centre of my own efforts? Indeed, the rest of the Labor leader’s platform re the promotion of literacy is interesting and well-thought out, with fresh initiatives that might well work out. But the particular aspect I was writing about is the free-books-to- every-kid idea. Spectacular and ‘sexy’ though this idea might be, it is fraught with practical and other problems, which is what I was discussing in my piece. I do not think that Agnes Nieuwenhuizen’s piece, interesting and passionate though it is, has addressed the issues I mentioned. Yours sincerely Sophie Masson via email write on Each month, Good Reading will give a prize of a Parker Inflection Blue Ball Pen for the best letter we receive. The cool, brilliant colour of the Inflection Blue Ball Pen is achieved through the application of multiple layers of translucent lacquer enhanced with a subtle satin varnish onto a stainless steel base. Complemented with 14K gold plated trim and 23K gold plated nib, it is valued at $105.00. So get inspired and write to us at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 9 Stephen Street, Balmain NSW 2041 or fax us on 02 9810 2488. (Letters may be edited for clarity or length.) Dear Editor As a child I had one of those beds that had a bookshelf for a head and bed lamp attached. On this shelf I stored The House At Pooh Corner and my meagre collection of Golden books. I read all the books at the back of my classroom and was immensely relieved to discover the local public library from which I borrowed two books every week. When I left school, I began a Library Studies course because I naively believed I would get to sit around and read books all day. I was deeply bored when I discovered that the course primarily comprised of cataloguing, bibliographies and computing. I distinctly recall one late cold, wet Monday evening a Cataloguing lecturer challenging us with how we might catalogue a book by Walter de la Mare, ‘Do we catalogue it under Mare, or la Mare or de la Mare?’ I suspect this was a deciding moment for me and Library Studies; I wanted only to read his books, not catalogue them! I decided to teach literature instead and nothing calms the wee or even adolescent masses quicker than a good tale. On reading the July 2004 gr, I found myself musing on what a bibliophile I have become. I organise my fiction based on the nationality of the writer.What would the lecturers think? And yet it works for me. Non-fiction is organised on the basis of subject, of course, and no Dewey numbers! We have one whole shelf dedicated to reference books we use to do the weekend papers’ general knowledge crosswords. I have a small collection of old books and quite a collection of bookmarks. When I travel, I like to read a novel set in the area of my current adventure: A Town Like Alice in Malaysia, Fragrant Rice in Bali, etc. A friend and I visited Prince Edward Island in Canada for the sole purpose of imbibing the environment of Anne of Green Gables . I always have at least one book on the go. I always take a book with me (you never know when an idle moment begs to be filled by a book). I have a small book by the Dalai Lama per manently in my handbag. My idea of a shopping spree is a childless meander through a number of bookshops! And so the joyful jour ney continues. Yours sincerely Moira Neagle via email contributors WINNING LETTER Regular Contributors Jo Case Ali Cocksedge Birgit Collins Jennifer Copeland Kerry Foster Liz Gill Jane Gleeson-White Maggie Hamilton Grant Hansen Cecilia Hilder Ann Kendall Johanne Knowles Phillip Knowles Jody Lee Germaine Leece Val Lockerbie-Smyth Frances Love Caroline Lurie Paul Maley Merle Morcom Wendy Noble Judy O’Connor Alison Pressley Dina Ross Jasmine Salem Theresa Sjoquist Ruth Wajnryb Melissa Wilson Special Contributors This Month Desmond O’Grady is an Australian writer based in Rome. His biography of Raffaello Carboni, the chronicler of the uprising at the Eureka Stockade, Stages of the Revolution, is due to be published by Hardie Grant next month. David Smiedt is a freelance journalist and writes for numerous journals and newspapers. He is the author of Boom Boom: 100 Years of Australian Comedy, Delivering the Male and Prince Charming – How to Pick the Stayers from the Players. His latest book Are We There Yet? has just been published.
December January 2005