I promise, I am working on a decent post. Just trying to find time. And energy. In the meantime, amuse yourselves with these (some are a little old – so sue me):
- ABC Radio National is now offering a podcast service for its Books and Writing program. Sigh. The four episodes on offer at the moment include interviews with Delia Falconer, Peter Smalley and Robert Drewe. Must. Buy. iPod.
- Austen afficionados are getting their corsets in a twist about the new film of Pride and Prejudice. Apparently the lead is no Colin Firth. They could always console themselves with a Jane Austen action figure.
- Poet Margaret Scott has passed away.
- And a Swedish library is taking it to the people by adding, erm, people to its catalogue. They are lending out members of minority groups to patrons so they can spend half an hour getting to know what their life is like. One of the offerings is a journalist. Obviously a member of a much feared and despised minority group.
As a keen library user and offspring of a family of librarians, I was amused to read Libraries for Dummies. Now I know it’s not all good to be dissing on the patrons, but some of the stories here are just to good to pass up. I was particularly pleased with this effort on the payment of (or refusal to pay) late fines.
Me: Ahem! Ma’am, it’s only 50¢ and you don’t even have to pay it right away. As long as your fines are under $5.00, you can still use the card.
Woman: No. I’m not payin’ it. Those books were back last week. I put them in the drive-up box. I know what you people do. You leave the books out there. You don’t bring ’em in and then you say we returned them late so you can charge us and make money. How can we prove we got them back on time? We can’t. You just keep charging as much as you want and leave the books outside for weeks!
I have not disappeared, I am still here. My life has recently turned, erm, upside down and I have had no time to read, let alone blog. I am also looking for somewhere else to host Stack as I have to move it from its current home. Any ideas welcome.
**25 August UPDATE: Stack has indeed moved and you are viewing it at its new home, thanks to the goodness of the Daily Flute. I owe you a beer Flutey.
Is this po-mo gone mad? (Hang on, what am I saying?) Myles Weber argues that we can read an author’s silences as much as we read their books.
“In 20th- and early-21st-century America, unproductive writers have been able to command serious critical attention and remain celebrities by offering the public volumes of silence, which have been read and interpreted like any other text.”
His book is reviewed in the Chronicle.
I’ve been out of Sydney for four days. My wonderful boss(es) agreed to allow me a week off at short notice so I took off on a cheap flight to a little seaside village on the North Coast. (It’s not THAT special – my family lives there!). Anyway, whenever I go home to visit the olds I insist on visiting a little bookshop in the town that always has something of interest. I don’t know where the hell this guy gets his stock but I can’t remember a time I have been there and not bought something. And cheap? Chickenfeed darlings. Having lived on a diet of inner-Sydney second-hand book prices for more than ten years I have to take myself outside and breath deeply to avoid hyperventilation when I visit my seaside bookshop. Such is my excitement.
This time I was quite pleased with my haul:
– Between Heaven and Hell: the story of a thousand years of artistic life in Russia (W. Bruce Lincoln)
– Johnson as Critic (ed. John Wain) *hardcover, with dustjacket
– Softly Tread the Brave (Ivan Southall) *hardcover, with dustjacket
– The Short Oxford History of English Literature (Andrew Sanders)
– The Three Golliwogs (Enid Blyton) * for curiosity value only
– Three volumes of Southerly
– Offside (Manuel Vazquez Montalban) *worth the asking price for one piece of dialogue, from a prostitute: “Excuse me, sir, could I interest you in the prospect of fondling a small pair of breasts with two big nipples like teenage heroines used to have in novels of the 1950s?”#
If this wasn’t enough I came back to Sydney and found a bookshop in Newtown smack bang in the middle of a half-price sale. I almost wet myself with excitement.
Here I picked up:
– The Colonial Poets (ed. G.A. Wilkes)
– Selected poems of Vivian Smith
– Shelf Life (Thom Gunn)
– Dog Fox Field (Les Murray)
– The Peasant Mandarin (Les Murray) *hardcover with jacket but unfortunately a library discard
And the whole lot cost me a pittance.
# I actually bought this book because it was about football, the literary prostitute was an unexpected bonus. Also, I try to get “nipples” and/or “breasts” into at least one post a week, I find my stats balloon magnificently when I do this.