In This Issue (May 2007)
Table of contents
Letters to the editor
In the early days of Good Reading magazine I wrote a letter to the editor that was published, telling readers about the reading project I began when I turned 50. The goal was to improve my geographical knowledge by assigning myself the task of reading a book set in every country of the world, and in every state of the USA and Australia and all the provinces of Canada, before my 75th birthday.
Now, several years later, I am happy to report I have regularly used gr to select books. I have ‘travelled’ now throughout Asia, many European countries, all of the United Kingdom, more than half of the United States, all the states/territories of Australia and even a few in Russia. My world atlas is quickly filling up with yellow colouring-in of various places, and it is most exciting to finish off an area of the world. I am about to embark on the African and South American countries before too long. I have to admit I have ‘visited’ a few countries such as Italy and France more than once. When I walk into my local bookstore in Hobart I am asked what country I’m now in!
Thank you again for such a great resource to help me along on such a marathon reading project. I hope your magazine is still in existence when I finish this project. I still have 18 years to go before I’m 75.
What a great idea! Pam’s first letter was published in the February 2003 issue of gr. Let’s hope you’ll be able to write to us again about the successful completion of your project in 2025, Pam! – Ed.
I want to say how sad I am for Jennifer, described as ‘newly retired from Melbourne’, whose response to Reginald Hill’s Good Morning Midnight was reported in the ‘Cars, caravans’ etc section of the February issue of gr.
Jennifer’s comment that there were ‘too many characters’, that she finds Hill a ‘pretentious writer’ and that he uses words that ‘send me continually to the dictionary’ left me gobsmacked. Reginald Hill is a truly great writer of crime novels – his plots are original and inventive and in recent novels revolve around contemporary events; his language is lyrical; his characters are real believable people; he writes wittily and with compassion and understanding of the human condition; and as for using words that require a dictionary to check out – so what’s wrong with a little intellectual challenge? He’s a very erudite man. My computer allows me to save documents in what is called ‘rich text format’ and that is precisely what Reginald Hill writes in – very rich text.
Sadly the TV series has of late degenerated into a poor, dumbed-down version of the books and has become unwatchable. Luckily Hill himself has admitted he has nothing to do with it any more.
I hope Jennifer will try again. He’s worth it, and now that she has retired she’s got the time to check the dictionary now and again.
Letter from the editorOur annual crime special issue (last year’s was in June) features articles on no fewer than three crime writers – although fans of Graham Greene’s more literary novels may take exception to his being so-named. But with works such as A Gun for Sale and The Third Man as part of Greene’s oeuvre, we think Roger Stitson is right on the money in his article, beginning on page 18, about Greene’s ‘entertainments’ – the author’s own rather disparaging name for his top-notch spy and crime thrillers.
On page 21 you’ll find an interview with the drop-dead gorgeous Leigh Redhead about her series of crime novels featuring Simone Kirsch, the stripper turned private eye who can kill with her bare hands (presumably, while the rest of her is clothed ...) And on page 14 there’s my conversation with Michael Robotham, whose intriguing career path has so far meandered from journalist to ghost writer to crime writer.
Crime of a very different sort – terrorism and torture – features in the new novel by Janette Turner Hospital, our cover story this month. Caroline Lurie last interviewed Janette for gr in May 2003, so she was delighted to talk once again to this award-winning, American-based Australian author. Find out what they had to say on page 10.
Jennifer Somerville was stunned by the range of bookshops she discovered in Torino (once better known as Turin), so she gives us a mini-tour of the Italian city and its shops and stalls for book lovers on page 9. Over the border in Switzerland, a glorious winter wonderland is revealed in Winter in the Alps, our coffee table book for this month featured on pages 46-7. As a bonus, we’ve run a soup recipe from the book to warm everyone up as winter approaches.
Our book bite this month is a story from an outstanding collection by a young Australian, Paddy O’Reilly. Only the constraints of length prevented me from having to agonise over which story to choose from The End of the World – and even then, there were two or three that could easily have been chosen instead of 'Armadillo'. It begins on page 50, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
The second instalment from Jane Gleeson-White’s Classics: Books for Life appears on page 22, this time putting the French classic The Red and the Black and its author Stendhal in context. Another second this month is the extract from Nick Hornby’s Believer column, ‘Stuff I’ve Been Reading’ on page 53 – as ever, thought-provoking, amusing and entertaining.
I appreciate getting to know what you think of the magazine, so do please keep your letters coming.
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.
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