Just a quick note to share an excellent article by the always interesting Daniel Mendelsohn on three recent re-imaginings of Greek myths. One of the novels featured is Ransom by my great favourite David Malouf, which Mendelsohn calls subtle, extremely moving, rich and novel, all of which I’d wholeheartedly agree with.
Yes, I’m still breathing although unfortunately work and study have sadly cut down my reading and blogging. Just saw the Miles Franklin longlist for 2010 has been announced and thought I’d share it.
I’m delighted to see two favourites, Sonya Hartnett and Peter Temple on the list (the former for her painfully accurate study of female adolescence Butterfly, the later for his bloody brilliant crime novel Truth) and sorry to see Kalinda Ashton’s The Danger Game and Cate Kennedy’s The World Beneath omitted. Must get cracking on the other titles so I have a more informed opinion, in the meantime has anyone read any of the others and what did you think?
Updated 23.6.10: I’m happy to find that Peter Temple was announced as the winner last night! From the official release:
Temple’s winning novel is the much anticipated sequel to The Broken Shore and comprehends murder, corruption, family, friends, honour, honesty, deceit, love, betrayal – and truth. A stunning story about contemporary Australian life, Truth is written with great moral sophistication.
I’m back home after celebrating Christmas with family, and before I go out to watch the fireworks, I just need to say a quick thank you to Vasilly, whose book blogger holiday swap gift has been patiently awaiting me in the letterbox.
Vasilly gave me two books I’m looking forward to reading: Shiver which she wrote she really enjoyed, and The Wednesday Sisters which is literary fiction which has done well in the States.
The holiday swap is a way for book bloggers to connect and celebrate the holiday spirit by sharing gifts. It’s done secret Santa style; all of the participants are randomly assigned a blogger to send a gift to, and these assignments are kept secret until the gift has been delivered. So no one knows who their gift is coming from!
Now that I’ve finished sulking over the Ashes and Spring has bought the sunshine back, I thought I’d come out of hibernation. I’m currently re-reading Cate Kennedy’s short story collection Dark Roots before starting her debut novel and will post my thoughts later this week
In the meantime, as part of Book Blogger Appreciation Week I participated in an interview swap for which fellow book blogger Jenny‘s answers to my questions are below.
My answers to Jenny’s questions will be up on her blog today, and the BBAW site will link to everyone particpating. It’s a good opportunity to get to know people, so take a look!
1. Who are your favourite authors, and why?
Jane Austen: Her accurate descriptions of people, society, and behavior during her time, and her sense of humor.
2. Any authors you really don’t like? If so, why?
3. What is your reading comfort zone i.e is there a particular genre, subject, style that you read a lot of and usually enjoy?
5. Where’s your favourite place to read?
6. What do you do when you’re not reading? Any hobbies?
7. Do your family and friends know about your blog? If yes, what do they think?
8. I notice you’ve read some ARCs. Do you generally enjoy them? If there were any exceptions, did you find it hard to review them?
9. How do you work out what rating you give to each book?
After a tough day at work yesterday, I was delighted to come home and find my Book Bloggers’ Chrissie swap pressie in my letterbox. When I opened the envelope, I saw this:
Of course, I couldn’t resist opening it, and was rapt to discover:
1. A 2009 Library calendar, open to my favourite picture, the Francisco de Burgoa Library in Oaxaca, Mexico.
2. Love and Friendship by Jane Austen- a beautifully published Hesperus press edition of Austen’s juvenalia. I haven’t read this and look forward to doing so soon.
3. An unusual card/bookmark.
All courtesy of Tanabata, who blogs at In Spring it is the dawn. Thanks Tanabata for a lovely and thoughtful gift, I hope you and your family have a Merry Christmas.
I’ve just found out about the second annual Book Bloggers Christmas Swap, and as it sounds like fun I’ll be participating.
How does it work?
You sign up by sending an e-mail to xmasswap08 at gmail. You have until the 18th of November to do so. You will then be randomly assigned as another blogger’s Secret Santa.
What you have to do next is send that person a little something – it can be a book, a journal or bookmark, a box of holiday cookies, a mixed CD, whatever you can think of. It doesn’t have to be anything pricey, of course. Second hand books are perfectly acceptable, as are homemade gifts.
A different person will be assigned as your Secret Santa, and you’ll only find out who they are when you get their package in the mail.
Something to keep in mind: Because there are book bloggers from all over the world, this is going to be an international swap. I understand that not everyone can afford to send a package overseas, though, so if that’s the case with you, please don’t feel that you can’t sign up. Just include a note saying so in your e-mail, and we’ll make sure you get a blogger who’s near you.
What else should your e-mail include?
Other than your name, mailing address and willingness to send internationally, you should include your blog url and a short paragraph about what kind of gifts you like, so that your Secret Santa has an idea of what to get you. You could also include links to online wishlists, your librarything catalogue, etc. Anything that you think will make your Santa’s life easier!
Important dates: The most important date is the 18th of November. It’s very important that you sign up before then, because after that we’ll be assigning the Secret Santas, and once that has been done it would be complicated to include new participants.
As for when to mail your package, if you’re sending internationally it’s probably best to post it before the end of November. Last year, I suggested that people post theirs before the end of the first week of December, but that turned out to be a little late. If you’re sending within your own country there’s more flexibility, but remember that the mail tends to be slow around this time of year.
In any case, you should all know who your blogger is around the 20th of November, which leaves you at the very least ten days to get and mail your gift.
One more thing: if you could help spread the word by posting about this on your blogs, it would be very much appreciated!
Just a quick note to say I’m taking a blogging break, as I’ve just moved house and my Internet is not yet connected. With all the packing, moving, unpacking etc my reading has dwindled, something I hope to rectify this weekend with Framed by Frank Cottrell Boyce, The comfort of Saturdays by Alexander McCall Smith and volume II of the collected Paris Review interviews. I’m also going to a charity book fair, so it will be a blissfully bookish time after my recent deprivation.
Courtesy of Telstra, I am currently not connected to tne net at home so will be taking a blogging break. I’m told the external line fault responsible should be fixed within five working days i.e. by Friday so hope to be back posting then.
Just letting everyone know I’m still here! I’m working on reviews of two excellent literary novels published this year (Breath and When will there be good news?), which those jaded by the rather ho-hum Booker longlist might like to try.
In the meantime, if you are an admirer of E.M Forster, there is a wonderful review by Zadie Smith in the NYRB which you can read here. To whet your appetite, it begins:
“In the taxonomy of English writing, E.M. Forster is not an exotic creature. We file him under Notable English Novelist, common or garden variety. Still, there is a sense in which Forster was something of a rare bird. He was free of many vices commonly found in novelists of his generation—what’s unusual about Forster is what he didn’t do. He didn’t lean rightward with the years, or allow nostalgia to morph into misanthropy; he never knelt for the Pope or the Queen, nor did he flirt (ideologically speaking) with Hitler, Stalin, or Mao; he never believed the novel was dead or the hills alive, continued to read contemporary fiction after the age of fifty, harbored no special hatred for the generation below or above him, did not come to feel that England had gone to hell in a hand-basket, that its language was doomed, that lunatics were running the asylum, or foreigners swamping the cities.”
The only problem with it is it’s made me want to read not only the collected BBC talks, but also all of Forster’s novels again. So many books, so little time…
I also can’t resist pointing out (courtesy of Wikipedia) that on this day i.e. 29th August in 1882 Australia defeated England by seven runs in a test at The Oval in London, thus beginning The Ashes rivalry.
And now I’m off to visit the bookshop and see Persepolis at the movies.