Monday, July 22, 2013

All the things

Phew, I've been all over the place the last couple of weeks - sorry, no time to write! I hope you've been reading something good!

As I've been all over the place, this is going to be a post with a whole lot of things included.
Firstly, last Thursday I went to the opening of Rare Books Week, Beautiful Books at the Wheeler Centre. It was such a great night, hosted by Steve Grimwade, the former Head of the Melbourne Writers Festival. I volunteered for the festival when Steve worked there, but of course he wouldn't remember me - that was years ago, and there were hundreds of us! But it was still nice to feel a connection to someone on stage. The talk was really wonderful, lots of pictures of beautiful books, both historical and more modern. The cover is what gets most of us to pick up a book in the first place, but it's interesting to think about the inside as well - what font is used, how much white space is there, are there illustrations or decorations at the start of each chapter? How much does the beauty of a book influence your willingness to buy it, or how much you love it?

I've been reading the Game of Thrones series on a e-reader recently, and although I love the books, the e-books are some of the ugliest things I've ever seen. No care has been taken with them, they are really just electronic versions of the paper book - blank pages and all. Blech, not attractive. I think it's the lack of care that gets to me. But it's much easier than lugging those 1,000 page behemoths around!
I've had to re-think going to the Bendigo Writer's Festival - I couldn't get the leave I wanted, and I've accidentally booked myself into some events here in Melbourne. I think I'll still try to see my friend Megan's panel on Sunday, but it will just be a day trip.
I came across this article over the past 3 weeks, and was not surprised to hear that Jamie Oliver has never read a book - he's dyslexic, and he pointed out he gets bored quite easily. That's cool - get into audio books, Jamie!

But what if a friend of yours came to you and said that they had never read a book, or hadn't read since high school (over 10 years ago for me), and they would like you to recommend what they should read first. What responsibility! Your choice could either turn them off reading forever, or help them fall in love with reading, a love that will last the rest of their life. What books would you recommend?

For me, it would depend on the person. This was something I loved when I worked in bookstores, talking to someone, asking what they liked - not books, just tell me what you like. If they had just read something they loved, or hated, sure, that helps to narrow down the possibilities to suggest, but it's not really necessary to talk about books to find the perfect book for someone.
Speaking of bookshops, the Australian Booksellers Association is running a poll for people to vote for their favourite bookstore. You can win book vouchers worth $500, and you can vote here. I voted already! And I'm planning what I'll buy with my $500, so I hope I win!
One of the genres I wanted to get into this year was comics and graphic novels. I'm stalled on the graphic novel area, but I'm powering ahead with comics! One of my very lovely friends works at Classic Comics, at the top end of Bourke Street, so I dropped in one Sunday afternoon and had a delightful time getting a personalised recommendation. I was so excited to see that The Phantom is still in production, as I have fond memories of reading this series as a kid - I used to spend $1.50 of my $2 pocket money on a Phantom comic every week, and still get a giant bag of lollies to read. I laughed to see that the price had hardly gone up at all - a regular issue is still just $3.50!

I also bought a Captain America comic, The Winter Soldier, which I was excited to read. I loved the movie that came out in 2011, and decided then that I wanted to read the comics, and I'm finally getting round to it.

My friend recommended Green Lantern too - I haven't seen the movie, and the comic was so interesting. A really fascinating story, which led to a lot of talk the next time I visited - yes, I am now one of 'those' people, who argues in comic book stores about whether Green Lantern or Batman is better! Green Lantern all the way!

I'm hardly a regular yet, but I am loving seeing more of my friend, and talking about comics. They are really such a fascinating area of literature, and I'm really in awe of some of the fans I've met at the store, and the staff, who can reel off Green Lantern's oath, and all the names of Batman's sidekicks, and tell you the Kryptonian names of Superman's parents, and so on. The depth of knowledge and passion some people have around comics is just fantastic!
Finally, I'm going to another Rare Book Week event on Wednesday night (24 July), Never Do That To A Book. I think tickets might still be available, but you will definitely have to book. Get onto it! Love to see you there.

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