In This Issue (December/January 2006/07)
Table of contents
Letters to the editor
I have never lost the feeling that libraries are magical places since I was taken to the Children’s Lending Library in Adelaide when I was seven years old. This was in 1956. Until then, the only book lending I knew was a small subscription library run by two elderly ladies at the back of a local shop. These were adult books, so I read those my mother borrowed. I skipped through most of them when I couldn’t understand the content. (This is a bad habit I have to this day). The words themselves were fascinating and I acquired a large vocabulary.
The Children’s Library was behind the main buildings on North Terrace, I believe in the old police barracks. I remember the first time I went there; the access was down a lane and then under an archway. This was part of the magic, as the archway seemed like the fairytale entrance to an enchanted kingdom. I could hardly believe that I could choose from so many books, borrow without cost then bring them back and get more! Books were precious things that I was given as birthday and Christmas presents. The books we had to read in school were only snacks to feed my reading appetite.
I am collecting, via the internet, photos of libraries throughout the world. The photos range from ancient ruined libraries to private libraries, state libraries in classical buildings and, my favourite, small local libraries. I am now looking for photos of the public libraries featured in the gr September article about the inaugural New Zealand Book Month. Thank you for bringing these to my attention.
I have a suggestion for your Writers’ Resources page: perhaps you might list the various competitions (in Australia) for first-time manuscripts and young authors. I wonder how many readers have felt inspired to take pen to paper or dust an old manuscript or two after reading gr? You might just nudge that great Australian novel into existence.
Main Beach, Qld
Thanks for this suggestion, Niki, but alas the list of competitions would fill the magazine each month! Would-be writers interested in finding out about all the competitions available both locally and nationally should contact their nearest writers’ centre, which will have all the details. - Ed.
First at all, I would like to let you know how much I love your magazine.
There is one suggestion that I would like you to consider. The world is full of great authors! I was hoping that gr could dedicate once every few months a few pages for authors from different languages, countries, etc.
I speak Spanish and I miss not being able to be up to date with the new writers.
We take your point, Marianela, but as Javier Sierra (The Secret Supper) said in his interview with gr earlier this year, only 2 % of the books published in English each year have been translated from other languages. - Ed.
Letter from the editor
Have we got a busy holiday issue for you! Not only are more than seventy books reviewed this month in all our usual genres, but we’ve also covered the 2007 wine guides, some lovely (and practical) new gardening books, and a fiendishly brain-taxing memory improvement book. The puzzles from this last (see pages 54-55) and our own literary crossword (see page 60) will keep your mind active while your body digests the festive feast!
I’ve always thought of myself as not being a particular fan of science fiction or fantasy – and then I start to think of some books that have stayed in my mind for years and years (The Day of the Triffids and The Lord of the Rings spring instantly to mind) and I realise that I’m a fan after all. This issue pays tribute to some of the wonderful fantasy writers Australia has produced; see the article by Kate Forsyth (no slouch herself in the fantasy stakes) on page 24 and the extract from Fiona McIntosh’s new book, Emissary, on page 56.
I can certainly say I’m a great fan of pop-up books. I still have all the ones I bought for my daughter when she was little, and although some of them look a bit the worse for wear they still give me great pleasure. Gill Souter has looked at the whole genre and its history - which dates back to 1236! - and picks out some really special new examples, starting on page 22. Gill has even devised a simple pop-up card for you to make.
We have some great authors for you to meet this month, too. Ben Naparstek (brave man) profiles Gore Vidal, Melissa Wilson talks to Paullina Simons, Siobhan O’Brien tells us what it was like to write the biography of Jeanne Little, Edel Wignell introduces Jill Morris, and Joe Bennett ponders the pros and cons of reading reviews of his books.
I wonder how many of you have secretly nursed a literary
crush - a ridiculous but nevertheless real yen for a fictitious character in a book? Wendy Palmer ’fesses up to hers on page 20, and I have to congratulate her on her choice of Strider. Couldn’t agree more.
All those heading off to Tasmania for the summer are in for a treat in Hobart, where a ‘book walk’ has been devised taking in eight of the city’s delightful second-hand bookshops. Christopher Bantick guides us through on page 20. It’s an idea other cities could perhaps contemplate copying.
If you’re heading for an area that contains vineyards (and that takes in a fair chunk of Oz) take a look at our coffee table book on page 52 for inspiration from James Halliday’s new, updated Wine Atlas of Australia.
Happy holiday reading (and puzzle-solving) to all our readers!
If your letter is published, you will receive a MightyBright XtraFlex 2 LED Booklight vakued at $26.95! The wonderfully useful and stylish booklight has 2 LED lights on one head on a flexible arm.
The manufaturer Arnott's of Australia (who's tagline is 'Not the biscuit co'), says the globes will never need replacing.
Submit a letter to the Editor by posting it to
Or simply fill out the form below
or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org