All through the year, story-time is one of our favourite parts of the day. Come winter though, we look forward to it even more. We count down the hours until bedtime when we can snuggle under the blanket, get warm and enjoy reading our favourite books together. If we’re really lucky sometimes we stoke up the open fire too. We have many favourite bedtime books, but below are five recently published books we’ve being enjoying lately: A thoughtful plot and a heart-warming story make The Runaway Hug an ideal bedtime book. A mother gives her daughter a hug before bed which sets off a chain of hugs throughout the family. Nick Bland beautifully describes a range of hugs throughout the story, leaving you feeling warm and fuzzy. Freya Blackwood’s charming illustrations help capture the essence of a realistic, warm and loving family. Reading this book will ensure your children will always be giving you hugs, and is the reason you’ll also want to read this book over and over again. Suitable for ages 3+. Read a full review here.
WITH NEW BOOKS COME NEW FEELINGS
Hachette has created a gloriously inspirational video to promote their latest titles. Under the video are the words: “Great writing is an art form, and we are so very proud of all the authors we publish.”
Miles Franklin Literary Award
Congratulations to Anna Funder on winning the Miles Franklin Literary Award for her novel All That I Am. It completes a dream run for Funder.
Fifty Shades of Grey Breaks Records
Fifty Shades of Grey, I had to get to it eventually, continues to break all sales records, recording sales of 205,130 copies in one week for the first book in the trilogy.
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'I am not immune to food fashion, and some of it can be fun. But I aspire to something nearer to the ground, more elemental.'
Wood’s ‘ode to good food’ is more a look at the impact of food on our lives rather than the intricacies of dishing up gourmet food. Wood’s passion for food oozes onto every page of this book, which is aptly subtitled ‘Thoughts on the gift of food’.
We learn about the fabric of Wood’s childhood as she describes her family home, her artistic parents and her mother’s approach to food.
“Food, for my beleaguered mother, was a matter of filling up seven hungry stomachs every day in the most efficient and responsible manner possible before escaping into her beloved garden.”
Intertwined with Wood’s childhood story we are treated to recipes from her parent’s friends within their ‘Catholic circle’. Wood’s tribute version of Mrs Spain’s Hedgehog Slice is one recipe I intend to try out with my children this holidays – it has chocolate in it so it ticks all the boxes. ‘Reclaiming the hostess gift’ is one of my favourite chapters. The hostess gift being that almost forgotten gesture of taking a gift when you turn up to a friend’s place for dinner. We often take bottles of wine or even flowers, but Wood encourages us to take something a bit different, perhaps quince paste or salted caramels, homemade of course. The other ‘relative of the hostess gift’ as Wood describes it, is the homemade Christmas gift and there are some wonderful recipes included to tempt you.
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"It's a sign of your own worth sometimes if you are hated by the right people."
Congratulations to Anna Funder, winner of the Miles Franklin Literary Award. You can read the judges comments on their selection of Funder’s novel All That I Amhere. Stella Miles Franklin, author of My Brilliant Career, bequeathed the award in her will in 1954. Patrick White was the first winner of the Miles Franklin Literary Award for his novel Voss. He took home $500. Today Anna Funder will receive $50,000. Over the years the award has attracted both praise and criticism, but remains a highly sought after prize despite Alex Miller’s suggestions in 2010 that the prize was no longer relevant. Anna Funder was in outstanding company with a shortlist that included Tony Birch for Blood, Gillian Mears for Foal’s Bread, Frank Moorhouse for Cold Light and Favel Parrett for Past the Shallows. Anna Funder has certainly had a dream run with All That I Am. Yesterday All That I Am was included in a list of top ten books to read in a lifetime.
You really should read it.
I was recently asked to put together a selection of ten recommended books to read in a lifetime. My audience was 40+ and predominantly male. Here is the list I compiled.
Would you add any or take any out?
This epic poem was originally written in Ancient Greek. It is, in part, a sequel to The Iliad. 10 years after the fall of Troy Odysseus, the hero of the story, has still not returned to his native Ithaca. His wife, Penelope, fears him dead and the palace has been overrun. Their son Telemachus attempts to stave off suitors lining up for the hand of his mother. As Odysseus journeys home he battles numerous terrifying enemies including the Laistrygonians, the one eyed Cyclops and an angry Poseidon, God of the Sea. Loyalty, love, vengeance and journeys home are recurring themes throughout this epic poem. Homer explores humanity with all its obstacles and the redemption it ultimately seeks.
There have been so many references to The Odyssey it would be impossible to state them all, but C.P.Cavafy’s poem Ithaca and James Joyce’s Ulysses are two well known examples. More recently the Coen Brothers’ 2000 film O Brother, Where Art Tho
Some images from Vivid Sydney. The festival finishes on Monday June 11 and is well worth a trip into the city. A perfect outing for the long weekend.
Jojo Moyes is a British novelist. Her latest book, Me Before You, is, on the one hand, the love story of two people who find themselves in unusual circumstances, but underlying the entire novel is the controversial subject of assisted suicide. A full review of Me Before You can be found here. I am thrilled that Jojo Moyes has joined us today to answer a few questions. What prompted you to write this book? My books are often an amalgam of several ideas that are rattling around in my head - you have to go with the ones that won't go away. I had been thinking about quality of life for some time, given that I had two relatives in care homes at that point, and a friend who was entirely dependent on 24hr care. And then I heard a news story about a young rugby player who had persuaded his parents to take him to Dignitas after he was left quadriplegic, and it wouldn't leave my head. The more I read up about it, the more I realised the issue wasn't clear cut. It also had the "what would I do?" element shot through it, and it became the thing that I had to write about. How did you research Dignitas?
I read a lot of news stories about it, and there was a long feature in the Guardian newspaper by someone who had been there and followed the whole procedure. I also watched a documentary
Mulberry recently took out the award for best fashion video for 2012 in the Vimeo Festival Awards. Skirt was directed by Amanda Boyle and features Game of Thrones actress Natalia Tena. It is a brilliant video with terrific humour.
Mulberry 'Skirt' from Academy Plus (A+) on Vimeo.
Caroline Eshak Liuzzi is the founder and managing director of The Art Cabriolet.
An accomplished artist with a Master’s degree in Architecture, Caroline’s life experiences and awe of the human spirit’s ability to rise above adversity has launched her on a philanthropic journey. Caroline’s compassion and understanding of children facing and enduring trauma, set in motion the founding of The Art Cabriolet.
Able to communicate with a paint brush and engage children enduring various levels of hardship has meant that Caroline has been able to emotively move and inspire children to express themselves and communicate through art. Caroline has invested relentless commitment, passion, dedication and loyalty to serve her mission to give back to the community through children, and in the very least, put a smile on a child’s face. The Art Cabriolet is holding its annual fundraiser, DIAMONDS IN A PAINTBOX, on June 30 at 7pm at The Atrium, Federation Square.
We are delighted that Caroline has joined us today to select her Five Books of Influence.
The Diary of Anne Frank by Anne Frank
Congratulations to Patrick Ness and Jim Kay. A Monster Calls won the Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medal. Writer Patrick Ness and illustrator Jim Kay talk to The Guardian about their collaboration. Several Australian writers were recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List including Peter Carey who became Officer in the Order of Australia. Congratulations to Kate Eltham. She takes the reins at the Brisbane Writers Festival in October following outgoing Festival Director Jane O’ Hara. Christopher Paolini has arrived on Australian shores to kick off his book tour. This weekend he is in Sydney as a special guest of Supanova. Supanova is Australia's biggest pop-culture expo and fans come to be surrounded by the wonderful worlds of science-fiction, pulp TV/movies, toys, console gaming, trading cards, animation/cartoons, fantasy, comic books, entertainment technology, books, internet sites and fan-clubs, the result is an amazing atmosphere tailor made for expressing your inner geek. Supernova is on this weekend at The Dome, Homebush Bay, Sydney Olympic Park. Tickets can be purchased here.
If you have seen the trailer for Prometheus or even the two minute viral videos that were released on YouTube, it is incredibly easy to then line up for this movie expecting big things. Indeed, the hype has implied a similar awe-inducing experience as that of Avatar or Lord of the Rings.
Alas, the trailer and viral videos are more provoking than the movie itself.
has a lot of things going for it. Directed by Ridley Scott, the mastermind behind such movies as Gladiator
and Blade Runner
, and co-written by Jon Spaihts and Damon Lindelof, Lindelof being one of the main writers for the hit TV show Lost
. The movie also boasts an adept cast with Noomi Rapace, of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
(the Swedish version) fame, Charlize Theron, Guy Pearce, Logan Marshall-Green and, one to watch, Michael Fassbender.
The stunning visual effects, art direction and cinematography, specifically the beginning overhead shots of an Iceland landscape, coupled with the exceptional performances of Rapace and Fassbender, were almost enough to make Prometheus
a stand-out movie. Almost
The movie begins in 2089 with a team of explorers who set out to discover the origins of mankind on Earth. Accompanied by an android (Fassbender), a corporate overseer (Theron) and a handful of other prime alien-fodder characters, paleo-biologists Elizabeth (Rapace) and Charlie (Marshall-Green) set off on the spaceship Prometheus to a distant planet. Here, things take a turn for the worse. Not only for the characters in the film, but for the audience watching.
To put it simply, Prometheusis unable to evoke feeling. In the Third Act, when suspense and fear are suppose to have reached unbearable heights, we are left feeling apathetic. An insufficient amount of time is given to the lead up to events, leaving everything feeling very rushed. It is almost as though Scott quickly gets through this movie in order to get to its sequel. There is little depth in the characters (who, despite landing on a al
I came late to this movie. I wanted to see it, but just couldn’t get past the textbook title – Salmon Fishing in The Yemen. Fishing has to be one of the singular most boring occupations. Why would I put myself through watching two hours of fishing? It was only after everybody I knew had been to the film, including my 21 year old daughter, and informed me that it was worthwhile that I bothered seeing it. The title did this film a great disservice. It certainly reflects the subject matter of the film, but I am sure has kept droves away. Not even the surreptitious charm of Ewan McGregor or the elegant Emily Blunt could save the film from its title. Directed by Lasse Hallström of Chocolat fame and written by Simon Beaufoy, writer of The Full Monty and Slumdog Millionaire, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen is full of the humour we would expect from such a writer. Ewan McGregor is the typical Civil Servant, as Dr Alfred Jones. He is unhappily married, but unable to escape the convenient monotony of life. As he sits at his desk with his duck liver pate sandwiches dutifully packed by his wife, his boss enters to tell him he must meet Harriet Chetwode-Talbot (Emily Blunt), an investment consultant representing a sheikh with a keen interest in bringing salmon fishing to the Arabian Peninsula. As Harriet, still pining for her boyfriend who has been sent to Afghanistan, and Fred spend time together at the Sheikh’s estate in Scotland and then in the Yemen, their initial argumentative state turns inevitably to romance.
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