Monday, March 26, 2012

butch aggie

night noises, written by mem fox & illustrated by terry denton (originally published 1989)

do you remember this book? i adore it*, because it combines two of my favourite things: old people and dogs.

the old lady, lily laceby - of droopy stockings and whispy hair - is snoozing by the fire and dreaming about her past. meanwhile her dog, butch aggie, is hearing some strange noises coming from outside - but lily laceby doesn't wake up.

if you haven't read it, please don't worry - lily laceby does wake up and the night noises are just all of lily laceby's friends and family coming to wish her a happy 90th birthday!

yesterday we celebrated my little granny's 91st birthday with homemade curry for lunch and a pink cake and heated discussion about politics and a game of croquet on the lawn (the little granny got quite ferocious and competitive).

and my parents' youngest dog - our very own aggie - has some of these:

*in spite of the font used on the cover...

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

reading for pleasure

since i started reading purely for pleasure (and do not have to recommend books for a living) i've delighted in skipping from one book to another, one genre to another, one era to another. and leaving books all over the house.

this is me capturing them in their current natural habitats.

yes! just get over it. i love this book. jeez. i'm so confused by the weather (is it summer, is it winter? why am i all sunburnt? do i need a scarf?) that i need a comfort read. plus i like to think i am actually irish, not just a phoney with an irish name.

but in circle of friends, this has just happened:
clodagh decided that she would not outrage the sensitivities of knockglen, so for christmas day mass she wore a short herringbone tweed coat with a black leather belt. she wore high black boots and a black leather beret pulled down the side of her head. it would have looked really good with big chunky flashy earrings. but for christmas mass clodagh showed restraint. she was unaware that her aunt knelt with her head in her hands and asked the mother of god why a girl so good and helpful as clodagh should dress like a prostitute.
rather boring booker prize winning literary fiction hanging out with its dust jacket untucked. i'm over halfway through the sense of an ending and while the idea that events from our individual pasts, like history-book-history, can be read objectively or subjectively and that the 'truth' of our past experiences can change over time as a person grows older and changes ... while i find this interesting, the prose is actually a little bland.

leanne's launch last night was lovely. almost as freakin lovely as this brilliant, dreamy, edgy, wonderful sequel to this is shyness.
i got this stamper, made for me in spain (!) and have been wildly stamping all the books.

friends, if you have lent me books, i apologise if i have now claimed them as my own.
i do that sometimes. (usually with the evil sister's dvds).

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Genre? Not really.

So mad about this article about The Hunger Games.

The following is one of the three things the author identifies as a theme that may not appeal to adults when reading The Hunger Games.
Clunky Pacing and Writing -- this is not quite a "theme" but I've seen this flaw in some YA books. (The first book was beautifully paced, but the other two books -- not as much.) YA authors don't aspire to be David Foster Wallace, but Hunger Games' prose can be a bit choppy at times.
I don't come in defense of HG, specifically, because I only read the first one and don't remember the quality of the writing. It was a fun read and I really enjoyed it. I'm just so mad about the whole YA authors don't aspire to be... comment. It's probably true that many or most don't aspire to be DFW. And that is probably a good thing. He met a pretty horrible end. But rawr! All the YA authors I know work damn hard to write beautifully, and produce absolutely wonderful works of literature.


The problem here is that most people just don't seem to realise that there are genres within YA. It's not a genre all by itself, even though it is usually shelved all together. Whatever the case, there's going to be a difference in writing styles if you compare a fantasy YA with a literary YA, or a chick-lit YA with dystopian-sci-fi YA. Just the same in the adult book world.

The author saying she's read a lot of clunky writing in YA is like saying she's read a lot of clunky writing in all books. Probably true. There's a lot of crap out there, as well as all the gems. I was going to forgive her, but then clicked through and read on her author profile that she is writing YA.

Quoi le fuck?

And perhaps another day I shall address the fact that this is a totally stupid question to ask in the first place - can an adult enjoy a YA book? The answer* is DERRRRRRRR! Read whatever you enjoy.

*(my friend, that's blowin' in the wind)

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

some music in your book, madame?


king dork, frank portman
We had been working pretty hard to get the band ready for the Festival of Lights. We weren't sounding too bad. It was still pretty rough, but, in our better moment, we sounded kind of like Buddy Holly meets Thin Lizzy with a punk rock sensibility and a slight psychedelic edge, like UFO playing Velvet Underground songs or something.
about a girl & mahalia, joanne horniman
When she'd played four songs straight she paused. She had kicked off her black rubber thongs and was sitting on a chair in the spotlight barefoot, bare-shouldered, dark-haired, with her white guitar cradled in her arms like a lover. She drummed her feet lightly on the floor, staring into space as though considering what to play next.

It was a simple, dignified song, sung with strength and purpose. Eliza improvised, and sang on, oblivious of Matt standing in the shadows, listening. She played with the notes, bent them and warbled them, whispered them, and cried them out, her whole body, her mouth and lungs and chest an instrument for the sound.
after january, nick earls
This is just another item on the growing list of things I am unlikely to tell the people I went to school with when I see them next. So what did you do at the coast? Well, one day I sat on a stool in the hinterland and a hippy family played pop songs for me.
That was great, Cliff says. What did you think Alex?
Yeah, really good.
So, do you sing?
Me? No.
I think you might, F says. I think you might be about to.

if you like a bit of music in yr books, there are many others i'd recommend:

if i stay, gayle foreman, just listen, sarah dessen, nick and norah's infinite playlist, rachel cohn & david levithan, queen of the night, leanne hall (wolfboy is in band), amy and roger's epic detour, morgan matson, rpm, noel mengel, the true story of butterfish, nick earls
(not a complete list)

(badges by Carrie the Excellent via the sticky institute, lyrics by mr darren hanlon and messieurs donald, monnone and white aka the lucksmiths)