Tuesday, May 31, 2011

"Iconic" travel bookshop put up for sale

The Bookseller31.05.11 | Lisa Campbell

An "iconic" London travel bookshop is being put up for sale after 32 years on the high street.
The Travel Bookshop, based in London’s Notting Hill area, has been run by its present owner, based in France, for the last 25 years. The shop's manager Saara Marchadour said staff were considering a management buy-out.
A spokeswoman for the shop said: "His adult children have indicated that they would rather not follow him into the business and so he feels that the continuance of the trade would be best served by selling it on for a new generation to look after one of London's iconic and special bookshops."
The Travel Bookshop was made famous by the Hugh Grant film "Notting Hill".

Penguin India appoints Chiki Sarkar as publisher


New Delhi: Chiki Sarkar, the former editor in chief of Random House India, has been appointed publisher of Penguin India, the largest English language trade publisher in the subcontinent.
Sarkar has worked with best-selling authors including Jhumpa Lahiri, Anita Desai, Salman Rushdie, Mohammed Hanif, Daniyal Mueenuddin and Rujuta Diwekar.
Before Random House, she worked for Bloomsbury Publishing in London for seven years. She is a graduate of Oxford University.
"We are thrilled that Chiki will be joining Penguin India on the eve of our 25th year. Not only is she incredibly bright, creative and driven but I believe she has the vision and passion to run one of the most exciting and prestigious publishing lists in the world. She is loved by her authors and widely respected on the international publishing scene and we feel lucky to have her join our team," Andrew Phillips, CEO and President of Penguin India, said.

Full story here.


Hardie Grant Books
RRP: NZ$59.99

  I have a lot of cookbooks ( great undersatement, I love them) but Keepsakes is unlike any other cookbook I own – it is a handmade, visual feast. Containing the well-loved recipes collected by Frances Hansen over time from family and friends, each spread is an artwork in itself. This is a highly personal scrapbook of memories, recipes and collected artifacts – with proven recipes that have been finessed over time and generations. This book is a study of collections; collected recipes and collected images – it takes the old and reworks them into something vibrant and new.

About the Author
Frances Hansen attended Art Schools in Sydney, Australia, and New Zealand in the mid-80s, gaining her Master of Fine Arts. During this time, Frances had many years’ experience cooking and working in the catering industry and later co-owned and operated a cafe in Northern NSW. She currently resides in Auckland, New Zealand, with her partner and two children. As well as being a regular exhibitor in Australia and New Zealand, Frances works at the Manukau School of Visual Arts, teaching painting and drawing. She is the sister of international clothing designer Fleur Wood.

To give you some idea of the interior design the publishers have allowed me to reproduce two pages below although I have to say the images do not do justice to this very special and hugely appealing book:

 The top recipe is for Ham & Pea Soup while the lower one features a Nicoise Salad. The book is a glorious cross between a cookbook and an art book. I love it. Do have a look at it at your local bookseller, you'll be impressed I am sure.

E-Book report: Nook is up, iPad still catching up

Boston Herald, Associated Press

Friday, May 27, 2011 - 

NEW YORK — As the publishing industry wrapped up four days of digital talk at its annual national convention, Amazon.com’s Kindle was seen as the clear, if not dominant, player in the growing e-market; Barnes & Noble’s Nook was considered a pleasant surprise and Apple’s iPad an underachiever.

"They had a respectable launch, but we think Apple can do better," Penguin Group (USA) CEO David Shanks said this week during BookExpo America, which ended Thursday at the Jacob Javits Center. "They still haven’t moved their e-books into their iTunes store, and they can have a much better search capability in their iBookstore."
"The iPad offers so many audio visual applications that reading is not given as much priority as it is in dedicated (reading only) devices like the Nook and Kindle," says literary agent Richard Curtis.

More than 20 million iPads and iPad 2s have been sold over the past year, and the iBookstore is also available on more than 160 million additional devices through the iPhone and iPod. But publishers and agents say Apple is not yet the balance to Amazon.com for which they had hoped. They estimate that Apple sales are around 10 percent of the e-market, far behind the believed 60 percent to 65 percent for Amazon. Publishers and agents say e-books are at least 15 percent to 20 percent of overall sales more than double from just a year ago.

Rest of story here.

'Selling books is what I do. I am a specialist'

As saviour-elect at Waterstone's he is greeted with near ecstasy, but can Daunt revive the ailing chain?
Judi Bevan meets James Daunt
The Independent on Sunday, 29 May 2011

Can James Daunt, favoured bookseller of London's chattering classes, singlehandedly rescue the traditional British book trade from the jaws of Tesco, Amazon and digital books?

That is the question on everyone's lips from authors and publishers to independent booksellers since news broke that the Russian billionaire Alexander Mamut had bought Waterstone's from HMV for £53m, and anointed Daunt, who comes from a long line of Irish Protestant clerics, as saviour-elect.
Daunt certainly intends to try, and he believes passionately in the cause. "I am doing it because it matters," he says, dismissing motives of money or power with one of his diffident smiles. "Selling books is what I do. I am not interested in any facet of retailing apart from books. I am a specialist."

Daunt does things differently from the rest of us. The first time I met him we had both been skiing with our families. When I told him we had been to a British-run chalet in a top resort in the French Alps, Daunt looked at me pityingly. His idea of a ski-ing holiday was to fly to Geneva, hire a car and drive into the mountains until he found a pleasant base hotel. From there, he told me, he would drive up to a different resort every day – this with his wife, Katy, and two small children.

I realised then that Daunt is adventurous, enviably energetic and quite wacky. Tall and wiry, he has a manner both calm and quietly dangerous. Although unfailingly charming, there is an air of gentle disdain about him as if he holds a secret to life at which ordinary mortals can only guess. Yet he is surprisingly domesticated and a warm hands-on father, cycling with his two daughters to school, reading them stories and baking bread at weekends. He also enjoys cooking when friends come round – large, unusual fish a speciality.

Physically tough, he can be seen riding his bicycle round London in most weathers, rarely wearing more than a pullover. Motorists who cut him up get short shrift. Formal exercise would be vulgar but he plays tennis and swims in the North Sea near his country home in Suffolk.
He is certainly good at keeping secrets. Several times in the past year we have discussed the future of the book trade on social occasions, but there has never been the merest hint that behind the scenes he was working flat out on a feasibility study to buy Waterstone's with Mamut.
His appointment has been greeted with little short of ecstasy by the book trade, where tales of the inefficiencies of Waterstone's, Britain's largest bookstore chain since the collapse of Borders, are legendary. "It is dead, there is barely a pulse beating," commented one analyst. Sales have been steadily falling although it is still profitable.
"If anyone can save Waterstone's, James can," says Andrew Franklin, who runs Profile Books, a publisher. "He is a brilliant bookseller. He understands books and the customers and he is tough but fair with publishers."

Some, though, have pointed out that running seven Daunt Books stores in posh areas of London such as Hampstead, Notting Hill and Chelsea is a bit different to running 290 Waterstone's shops spread around the country. While that may be true, Daunt retorts that most of the Waterstone's estate is also primarily in middle-class areas – "because that is where people who buy books live", he says impatiently. And he believes that many of the same principles he uses at Daunt Books will apply, primarily the pursuit of excellence. "If the book shops are good enough, people will have a real passion for them," he says. "Plenty of Daunt customers use Amazon and have Kindles, but they still come into my bookshops."
His first task will be to revive staff morale, which had sunk to an all-time low as Waterstone's future under HMV hung in the balance. "In a retail business employing 4,500 staff, the people really matter. They must be empowered and engaged," says Daunt, who prides himself on keeping his senior people for a long time. "There are 24 people who have been with me between five and 18 years." That is why he has no fears for Daunt Books, which will be run by some of those people in the three to four years he estimates it will take to restore the Waterstone's patient to full health.

At Waterstone's, he hopes to foster a similar atmosphere: "The bookshops will become more autonomous so that people who work and shop there have a sense of ownership."
There are, though, some obvious differences. It will not be practical to end Waterstone's three-for-two books policy, and the range will be broader. In the past, Daunt has said he would never sell a book he did not like. He wavers a little: "I will still have thresholds. I would never sell porn or gratuitous violence."
There will also be more sheer celebration of books. At Daunt Books, something is always going on, whether it be a book launch, a talk by a local author, or a visit to a school. "A bookshop is part of the community," he says. "People buy tickets to hear an author talk, chat, have a glass of wine and afterwards everyone feels good about being in a bookshop."

Some of this can be injected into Waterstone's and he intends to make each store more geared to its local market – intriguingly just what Marc Bolland was saying about his plans for Marks & Spencer last week.
And what of the future of "The Hub", the hugely expensive centralised ordering system at Waterstone's into which orders to publishers disappear for weeks? He gives me a withering look. "I would fear for that, wouldn't you?"

Instead he intends to let each bookshop do its own ordering using sophisticated computer systems. "You know there are computers that manipulate data brilliantly." 

DEVONPORT : A Diary - Bill Direen

A video taken at the launch of Devonport is now on the Holloway Press website (www.hollowaypress.auckland.ac.nz) under Latest Titles: Devonport. 
Click on Latest Titles 3. Devonport is top of the list. Click on :[ more] 4. Scroll down to the black rectangle headed Devonport: Bill Direen; click on it. 

It includes a clip of Bill Direen reading from  Paris.


Charlotte Randall now has a facebook page, where news and updates about her latest talks, courses, events and upcoming books can be found. :-)



The Michael King Writers’ Centre and The Depot join together to present a series of free literary events, workshops and an exhibition to celebrate Maori writing and art, starting this weekend.
Matariki: Exploring Our Stories
Saturday 4 June, 1.30–3 pm, The Depot
Stellar writers Ben Brown, Robert Sullivan and Reina Whaitiri join Carol Hirschfeld from Maori Television to talk about Matariki, oratory and story-telling.

Exhibition: Celebrating Maori Artists in the Maori New Year
4-16 June, Opening Saturday 4 June, 3–4.30 pm, Depot Galleries, Clarence Street, Devonport
Four Maori artists – Bethany Edmunds, Chanel Breen, Jenny Papa, Orewa Kingi – weave new ideas into contemporary and traditional styles.

A Million Poems for Matariki
Poetry workshops for schools, young people and individuals, led by top Maori and Pacifica poets: our own writer-in-residence, Ben Brown, Robert Sullivan and Selina Tusitala Marsh
(To register or for further information email phone (09) 445 8451)

Matariki and the New Stars
Sunday 12 June, 1.30–3 pm, The Depot
Our writer-in-residence from 2010, Bradford Haami, speaks about stars and navigation. Leading poets Ben Brown and Selina Tusitala Marsh celebrate the new stars on our literary horizon. Come along and share your Matariki poems!

Supported by the Auckland Council Creative Communities Scheme


Izzeldin Abuelaish's great humanitarian work has been referenced by President Obama in his recent middle east speech. Here is the transcript of the reference:

"I recognize how hard this will be. Suspicion and hostility has been passed on for generations, and at times it has hardened. But I’m convinced that the majority of Israelis and Palestinians would rather look to the future than be trapped in the past. We see that spirit in the Israeli father whose son was killed by Hamas, who helped start an organization that brought together Israelis and Palestinians who had lost loved ones. He said, “I gradually realized that the only hope for progress was to recognize the face of the conflict.” And we see it in the actions of a Palestinian who lost three daughters to Israeli shells in Gaza. “I have the right to feel angry,” he said. “So many people were expecting me to hate. My answer to them is I shall not hate…Let us hope,” he said, “for tomorrow”
That is the choice that must be made – not simply in this conflict, but across the entire region – a choice between hate and hope; between the shackles of the past, and the promise of the future. It’s a choice that must be made by leaders and by people, and it’s a choice that will define the future of a region that served as the cradle of civilization and a crucible of strife."

Izzeldin Abuelaish was recently in New Zealand as a guest of the Auckland Writers and Readers Festival and in Australia as a guest of the Sydney Writers Festival.



Hardie Grant Books
RRP NZ $34.99

From acclaimed writer A A Gill comes this collection of travel pieces selected from his monthly column in Australian Gourmet Traveller – ‘A A Gill is away’. Witty, acerbic and often moving, these pieces are far from standard travel writing fare. Touching on tourism, airports, world cuisine and countries including MadagascarIceland and Russia, Gill’s perspective is often controversial and always unique.

He ponders Italy’s ability to turn organised crime into a tourist attraction, stumbles upon lobster-shaped coffins in Ghana, contemplates the Darwinian drive of bastardised dishes around the globe, explains why Johannesburg is the luckiest place in the unluckiest continent and considers the great black lake of tears that immigration leaves behind.

With an introduction and extra piece written exclusively for this collection, Here and There showcases the very best of Gill’s hilarious and insightful travel writing, and is a must read for his many fans.

About the Author
A A Gill ,(pic right by Peter Marlowe), was born in Edinburgh. He is the TV and restaurant critic for the Sunday Times and is a contributing editor to GQ Magazine, Vanity Fair and Australian Gourmet Traveller. His books include two novels, Sap Rising and Starcrossed, both travel books, A A Gill Is Away and Previous Convictions, as well as The Angry Island and Paper View. He lives in London and spends much of his year travelling.  
A A Gill was in New Zealand for the Auckland Writers’ and Readers Festival and in Australia for the Sydney Writers Festival.
He proved to be an enormous draw card at both Festivals with the house full sign going up whenever he appeared. The Bookman was fortunate enough to see and hear him at both Festivals and I was most impressed. Surprisingly there was no duplication at all in his presentations. Unsurprisingly this book was a best-seller at the bookshops at both Festivals. It is a marvellous book to have beside the bed for dipping into.

The publishers have given me permission to publish an edited extract from Here and There, from his Introduction, and this follows:

Here and There wasn’t my idea.
Here and There sounds a bit now and then, hot or cold, red or white, window or aisle. It’s a bit hostess binary.
I wanted to call it Aussie Tucker Walkabout, because that’s the name of the file I keep these articles in.
My little joke.

I told Pat, my editor at Australian Gourmet Traveller, that I wanted to call the collection Aussie Tucker Walkabout, and across a dozen time zones, 20 weather systems and 10,562 miles I could hear his eyeballs roll in their sockets. ‘That’s funny,’ he said in the measured tone we keep for foreigners who copy our accents.

I’m lousy at titles. I’ve had bad reviews just for the titles of my books. And, actually, Here and There isn’t bad. I’m here, you’re there. Or perhaps you’re here and I’m there. If there’s anything that connects this collection of disparate and syncopated streams of peeved whimsy, then it is the hereness of there, and the thereness of here.

These are night-time thoughts, opinions and observations. They come out of the dark, are written last thing and filed to Australia as they or you start work, and I or they go to bed. I turn the lights out, check the locks and enjoy that peculiar, particular frisson of knowing that my chilly, damp words are now sunny, dry words; that a ten quid thought can emigrate to become a better idea, to be free and work hard and grow up to be a theory that it could never have been back here, or there. There’s a sense of playing truant, a leave of absence in writing something for the next day, for people I don’t really know, and better still, who don’t know me. I have this alter ego now, this doppelganger.

Recently read and much-enjoyed non-fiction titles:

Rob Lowe
Bantam Press - $39.99

Intimate, honest, wryly funny, and sometimes deeply moving, Rob Lowe’s autobiography is his personal account of his life, both in show business and with his family, of sobriety and of fatherhood.  The actor, political activist and now writer looks back on his travails as a fledgling and misunderstood child actor in Ohio, his transition to the rough, counter-culture free-for-all that was Malibu in the mid-1970s, his wild ride from as teen idol to movie star at the beginning of today’s youth movement in entertainment to his current status as one of Hollywood’s top actors.
Included are sixteen pages of photos which I found fascinating.

Rob Lowe is a film and television actor who has played such diverse characters as a teenage rebel (The Outsiders) and a White House senior staffer (The West Wing). Outside of acting, he is involved in politics. He lives with his wife and two sons in California.

Gabrielle Hamilton
Chatto & Windus - $37.99

 A sharply crafted and unflinchingly honest memoir that follows Gabrielle Hamilton's culinary education - from growing up in a food-centric rural home in New Jersey with a French mother and bohemian father, to killing her first chicken, to backpacking around the world alone at nineteen, to the vagaries of finally opening her own restaurant in New York City. In between are the often beautiful and sometimes coarse stories of all the places and people who shaped her journey.

Gabrielle Hamilton is the chef/owner of Prune restaurant in New York’s East Village. The author received an MFA in fiction writing from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, GQ, Bon Appétit, Saveur and Food & Wine. She has also authored the eight-week “The Chef” column in The New York Times, and her work has been anthologized in six volumes of Best Food Writing. She has appeared on Martha Stewart and the Food Network, among other TV. She currently resides in Manhattan with her two sons.

HEROES & SPARROWS – a celebration of running
Roger Robinson
Streamline Creative - $34.95

First published in 1986, Heroes & Sparrows has been hailed by reviewers and the worldwide running community as a major contribution to the understanding and appreciation of the sport. It has been called one of the best running books of all time. 

This 25th anniversary edition includes introductory essays to each section, where Roger Robinson relates the original chapters to the 21st century running movement. 
A Postscript keeps this classic of the first running boom as fresh and inspiring as a morning run.

These days my morning runs have become morning walks but I often think back fondly to my running days in the YMCA Harriers in Gisborne as a schoolboy and then years later running three marathons and countless half-marathons in the 1980’s, and some 14 Round-the-Bays runs. Roger’s wonderful collection of essays and articles took me happily back over the years. Thanks Roger, great stuff.

Roger Robinson’s  Postscript to the 25th Anniversary Edition, 2011:

Heroes & Sparrows is not an autobiography, but its varied writings grew directly from my involvement in running and racing at all levels in the 1980s. Twenty-five years later, there seemed one major personal omission – my best marathon, run in May 1981. I had never written about it, probably because it was only later that year that I began to write regularly for Tim Chamberlain's New Zealand Runner. Preparing this 25th anniversary edition happened to coincide with an invitation to write about that Vancouver race for the first 
time, for its 30th anniversary in 2011.

So here are my memories of that race, drawn partly from the race diary I always kept, with some thoughts and advice about marathon running that might be of service to the new generation of runners and readers this edition is intended to serve. In my own career, it partly fills the gap between my belated marathon debut at New York in 1980 (‘A Field Full of Folk’), and my Boston record in 1984 (‘Boston from the Inside’).
Anyway, every runner will understand that it's nice to end with a good race. And I wanted to make the book's last word “life.”  

Two of my favourite photos from the book follow: 
Alison Roe winning the New York Marathon in 1981, and Round the Bay Run in 1978.

A Fine Prospect
A History of Remuera, Meadowbank and St.Johns
Jenny Carlyon & Diana Morrow
Random House NZ - $55.00

In this richly illustrated and comprehensively researched history the authors (both with PH’D’s in History) record the sense of noblesse oblige that has long pervaded Remuera life.

I have had such fun dipping into my advance copy of the book over the past week (publication date 17 June). It is a fascinating account of this part of Auckland’s eastern suburbs with the most readable text being complemented by hundreds of photographs and illustrations., some of which appear below.

For many Aucklanders, not just Remuera residents, Jack Lum is the number one source of fresh fruit and vegetables. Lum started his business in the early 1970s at 365 Remuera Road, on the Clonbern Road corner, in premises previously owned by the Wong family, moving to the current Clonbern Road shop in the 1990s. Born in New Zealand, he is the son of a Chinese couple who immigrated to New Zealand in the 1920s. They worked as market gardeners in Mangere, where Lum grew up. He and his wife Carrie, who live in St Johns, are shown here in their very popular shop with their son Michael, who also works in the business.

The bottom of Victoria Avenue in the 1930s.

This photo, taken between 1910 and 1919, looks south from Mount Hobson along Remuera Road. The newly built Arts and Crafts houses are on the right-hand side, with King’s School and Ladies’ College on the left

Tuesday Poem takes you to the stars

At Tuesday Poem this week is a poem by writer and film-maker Kathryn Hunt of Port Townsend, Washington, called Travelling at Night. It is selected by this week's editor Seattle poet T Clear and includes a video of the poet reading. T Clear says,

'I've long enjoyed Kathryn Hunt's work, beginning ten+ years ago when she joined my writing group. There exists in her work an elegance and richness that defies her unadorned use of language. In this poem, especially, we are asked to examine the close-at-hand details of a life lived in intimate contact with the earth -- from "his sideways gimp" to "the missing finger" -- while at the same time standing in awe of the greater vault of the nighttime sky and the profound mysteries it offers. It's a modern and yet age old interpretation of Blake, where he impels us to "Hold infinity in the palm of your hand." '

After reading Kathryn's poems, Tuesday Poem readers are directed to the sidebar on the blog where links take you to the blogs of a the group of Tuesday Poets with their offerings - poems by themselves and poets they've selected for Tuesday. Amongst them, are two poems which like Hunt's poem lifts the reader skywards: Tuesday Poet Zireaux, whose epic novel-in-verse Res Publica was read recently on National Radio's Nine to Noon, is posting the whole poem stanza by stanza on a daily basis and is up to Stanza 20 inspired by the flying figures in a Marc Chagall painting Bestiaire et Musique. Zireaux has also posted a poem by March Chagall (in translation) which deals with the same themes. To read the whole of Res Publica to date, the reader just has to click on the May archive in Zireaux' sidebar and then roll back to May 10 where the poem begins. 

Philadelphian poet Eileen Moeller's poem this week also seems to have been inspired by a painting - a whirl of colour that whirls inside the poem and the person at its heart. And then Jen Compton (Australia/NZ) has posted a link to a poem called Lies by Yevgeny Yevtushenko that made a huge impact on her as a child. She talks about what happened when she met her poetry hero once which included her being tongue-tied. 

Almost as if in reply to that, NZ poet and publisher Helen Rickerby has posted on her blog The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind from her 'Nine Movies' sequence which has at its core some wonderful lines about the weight of the great writers :

Running through the passages, tunnels of us
all made of books, stacked floor-
to-ceiling, and if they should topple
we’d be trapped beneath Brontës and Eliots
Dostoyevoskys, Tolstoys
Atwoods and Couplands and Greenes
Living in constant danger of being crushed
by the weight of Western literature
is just one of the risks we take

And there is so much more in the Tuesday Poem site to stimulate and entertain and move you. Why not reach for the stars?  Visit a poem today. Here. 

Books in the wild

Posted on by vicbooks

There’s a joke amongst publishers that the second book off the Gutenberg press was about the death of the book. Now, in the face of the e-Onslaught predicted to overwhelm book collections, digitising them into an ethereal state, I’m potentially left with a living space that will require alternate interior design. This induces panic. With all that banging around my head (and many other book-heads) it’s refreshing and uplifting to see people reading actual books – you know, the ones made of paper. I’ll miss the joys of literary voyeurism on the bus, at cafés or sunny spots around the city when the digital demons banish books to Kindles and Nooks and Kobos (which all sound like Pokémon characters to me).

We’ve decided to honour the corporeal existence of books with occasional posts dedicated to books in the wild, those living in hands and bags and heads of people around campus. So here are some books we’ve seen around the campus lately.

The Great Hunt by Robert Jordan
Part II of the Wheel of Time series, in which Lots of Stuff happens. Then a Lot more Stuff happens in the following 12 books. Originally intended as a trilogy but surprised everyone by outlasting even the author – who died in 2007. Jordan left copious notes so Brandon Sanderson could finish the series.
Interesting Facts:
  • Jordan served two tours in the Vietnam War as a helicopter gunner.
  • Wrote several Conan the Barbarian books.
  • Was a nuclear engineer.
  • The Wheel of time series amounts to over 11,300 pages, 4,000,000 words and, if read out loud, would take 2 and a half weeks to read.
The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
Tells the story of twins raised in southern India, set against a background of political turbulence. Arundhati Roy’s first and only novel is much celebrated and won the 1997 Booker Prize. Since its publication she focussed on political activism and social advocacy.
  • Has written 12 other books, all non-fiction.
  • Is a qualified architect.
  • Lived homeless in Delhi at the age of 16.

Glamorama by Bret Easton Ellis
A satire of 90’s consumerism and celebrity culture featuring fashion models that have turned to terrorism. Can be described using cool words like synecdoche, solipsism and designer-terrorism.
Interesting Facts:
  • Ellis went to university with future bestselling writers Donna Tartt and Jonathan Lethem.
  • There was a literary conspiracy theory that Ellis wrote Donna Tartt’s bestseller, The Secret History.
  • In his youth did stupendous amounts of drugs.
What have you seen around the place?

Thanks to Marcus Greville at Vic Books for allowing me to reproduce this item from their blog.



THURSDAY 9 June 8pm
Raye Freedman Arts Centre, Epsom Girls Grammar
TICKETS $15 from The Women’s Bookshop
To book tickets CLICK HERE or phone 376 4399 

We are thrilled to be hosting an event with the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Year of Wonders, March, and People of the Book. She is in NZ with her stunning new novel Caleb’s Crossing, a fascinating exploration of early contact between Puritan settlers & the Native American inhabitants of Martha’s Vineyard (where Geraldine now lives.) It brilliantly imagines the life of the first Native American to graduate from Harvard University & his childhood friendship with feisty Bethia who is not permitted to study because of her gender.




TUESDAY 14 Junein the bookshop, $5 at the door

  • She’s a New Zealander, married to Billy Connolly
  • She writes a regular ‘Sexual Healing’ column for The Guardian.
  • She’s been a psychotherapist for many years 
  • She’ll dispel the myths, guilt & mystery surrounding sex.
  • She’s a lively presenter who will be frank & entertaining.

Drinks and nibbles from 6pm, Pamela will speak at 6.30

The Women's Bookshop
105 Ponsonby Road, Auckland
(09) 376 4399 | 

Book launch invitations

The Friends of Takapuna Library invite you to a lunch hour with Jill Worrall

 Jill will be speaking about her book Two Wings of a Nightingale: Persian Soul, Islamic Heart

Wednesday, 8 June 2011, at Takapuna Library

Light refreshments served from 12.00 noon, Author talk 12.15 pm

Admission is $2.  Friends of the Library – free

For catering purposes, please RSVP to Helen Woodhouse, ph. 486 8469 or email helenw@shorelibraries.govt.nz

The Booklover will provide books for sale and for signing

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

The Friends of Takapuna Library invite you to the launch of

Daniel: A Tale of Courage and Determination of Love and Loss

By Vicki Adin

At Takapuna Library, Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Light refreshments served from 6pm, book launch at 6.30pm

Please RSVP to Helen Woodhouse, ph 486 8469 or email helenw@shorelibraries.govt.nz

Gallipoli novel on PM short list

WHEN former New Zealand soldier Stephen Daisley published his first novel, Traitor, one of his old army mates emailed him.

"Dais," he wrote, "I see you are an author now. Read your book. Didn't understand a f. . .king word of it. But good on you, mate."

Daisley, who now lives in Perth, remembered that critique yesterday when his novel was shortlisted for the Prime Minister's Literary Awards. "It's a huge honour," he said. "A fine Australian nod for this Kiwi."
Traitor, a novel about patriotism and friendship that starts on the beaches of Gallipoli, is one of five finalists for the fiction prize, worth $80,000 tax-free.

The judges have described it as "brilliant, poignant and provoking". It won the best first novel prize at the NSW Prime Minister's Literary Awards last week.

Full story at The Australian.

Poem of the week: The Cuckoo Song

Carol Rumens Monday 30 May 2011- The Guardian

This jolly 13th-century poem is made all the better for not having its old spellings translated into modern English

Feel good hit of the sumer ... The Cuckoo Song was all the rage in 1260

The 13th-century round known as the Reading Rota or, more informally, The Cuckoo Song, isn't about the approach of summer, but its arrival. "Sumer is icumen in" is frequently mistranslated, but "icumen" means it has come, as the presence of the cuckoo implies, and it's here, nu (now). Summer, that is. If this thought is nu to you, if your bank holiday skies are grey, and cold raindrops falling down your neck, you might not be in the mood for such a loud, sweet, jolly Poem of the Week.
On the other hand, The Cuckoo Song could cheer you up. Especially if you can find a group of people to sing it with you – in a gorgeous West Country accent.

There are numerous versions in print and online: here's a rather nice one. The variations between the different modern texts available are small, and mostly connected to the decisions made by later editors confronted by 13th-century orthography. I don't know why different editors modernise different words: perhaps they're guided by assumptions about their readers' understanding. Nevertheless, which version you happen to discover first can make quite a difference to the way you savour the poem. For instance, doesn't "lhude" sound ruder and louder than the "loude" some editors prefer? And "murie" seems worlds away from "merry". The old spelling pushes your lips and tongue to a different pronunciation, while charming your eye with an unfamiliar pattern of letters that has nothing in common with the cliches of "Merry Christmas" or "Merrie England".

Joyce Meets Twitter: Boiling Down ‘Ulysses’

By JULIE BLOOM in The New York Times, Art Beat.

“Stately, plump Buck Mulligan came from the stairhead, bearing a bowl of lather on which a mirror and a razor lay crossed.” Seventeen characters left to complete a tweet. It just might work. What would James Joyce think of Twitter? More important, what would his handle be? It’s impossible not to imagine the inherent fun the great English-language experimentalist would find in translating his voluminous ideas onto the 140-character template, or at least the irresistible challenge.

On June 16, Bloomsday for those not in the know, lovers of Stephen Dedalus, Leopold Bloom (no relation) and Molly will have the opportunity to dip into the mind of Joyce and try to tweet his thoughts. Ulysses Meets Twitter 2011, a project created by one “Stephen from Baltimore,” invites devotees of the approximately 265,000-word work to recast the novel through tweets from start to finish within the 24-hour period that the novel’s odyssey through Dublin (on June 16, 1904) takes place.

“Would it be horrific? Beatific? Hence this experiment,” Stephen asks. We’ll find out, but for now the call is out for a global-volunteer army to tweet “Ulysses” on the @11ysses account. All volunteers need to do is choose a section, or several, from the 18 episodes, structured loosely on Homer’s epic, “then thoughtfully, soulfully, fancifully compose a series of 4-6 tweets to represent that section.” You have until May 30.

More information is available at 11ysses.wordpress.com. Circe is taken.

Hay Festival 2011: Handshake ends a famous literary feud

The Nobel Prize-winner VS Naipaul and his former protégé Paul Theroux, who had not spoken for 15 years, had an emotional reunion at the Hay Festival yesterday, helped by the novelist Ian McEwan.

The Nobel Prize-winner VS Naipaul and his former protégé Paul Theroux, who had not spoken for 15 years, had an emotional reunion at the Hay Festival yesterday, helped by the novelist Ian McEwan.
Paul Theroux and VS Naipaul shake hands at the Hay Festival  Photo: DANIEL MORDZINSKI

Mr Naipaul and Mr Theroux, the travel writer, first met in Uganda in 1966. Their friendship spanned three decades but came to an abrupt end after Mr Theroux discovered that one of his books, which he had inscribed and given as a present to Mr Naipaul, had been put on sale for $1,500. Mr Naipaul had apparently been angered by an exchange between Mr Theroux and his wife Nadira and broke off all relations with his former friend.
Deeply hurt, Mr Theroux wrote a memoir of their friendship, Sir Vidia’s Shadow, which portrayed the older writer as a brutal, unforgiving man who referred to Arabs as “Mr Woggy” and Africans as “bow-and-arrow men”.
Mr Naipaul claimed not to have read the book but took to damning Mr Theroux in interviews, saying they had barely known each other. He also dismissed his work as “tourist books for the lower classes”.
Festival-goers were intrigued to see that both men were scheduled to appear at the event within in a day of each other, with some joking that they might need to be kept apart. However, yesterday the old friends turned bitter enemies did see each other in the festival green room and – with some help from Ian McEwan – there was a moving rapprochement.

Spotting the man he once worshipped as a literary titan, Mr Theroux said to Mr McEwan: “Oh God, that’s Naipaul, I should say hello but I really don’t want to.”

“Life is short,” said Mr McEwan. “You should say hello.”
Mr Theroux walked forward and offered his hand. “I miss you,” he said. Mr Naipaul glanced at his wife – and then shook it. “I miss you too,” he said.
“After so many years, we’ve finally spoken,” said an excited Mr Theroux later. “I’ve had an experience today with a capital E.”
And Mr Naipaul, after delivering the London Library lecture to a packed audience at the Hay Festival, was gracious. “It was very nice to see him. And I’m pleased things have worked out the way they have.”  

Whitcoulls workers pushed to sign away rights, says union

NZ Herald Monday May 30, 2011

Photo / Dean Purcell.
Photo / Dean Purcell.

Whitcoulls workers are being asked to sign away redundancy rights, under job contracts being rushed through by the chain's new owners, the National Distribution Union has claimed.
Union general secretary Robert Reid said the union was seeking legal advice on the contracts which staff were handed on Friday.

Project Mark, a company in Anne and David Norman's James Pascoe Group, purchased the troubled Whitcoulls and Borders book retailing chains from receivers last week.

The National Distribution Union said its 'cautious optimism' about the sale turned to outrage at the weekend after it viewed contracts which workers are being asked to sign by the end of today.

"Whitcoulls workers are being asked to sign away any entitlement to redundancy compensation, notice of termination of employment and any claims or grievances from their previous employer."
The current Whitcoulls redundancy agreement gives workers four week's pay for the first year of service and two weeks for every year after that up to 20 weeks redundancy pay.

"Under this agreement, James Pascoe could take on a worker for one week and make them redundant the next week with no redundancy compensation pay whatsoever."
"Even at a conservative estimate, the 900 Whitcoulls workers in the sales process could have lieu payments and redundancy entitlements of $5000 each. This means that Whitcoulls workers are being forced to contribute almost half a million dollars of entitlements to the sale. It could well be double that."

The Normans could not be reached for comment.
Reid said the union was seeking advice on whether the actions of the administrator and the buyer were legal.
"Never in my 30 years of working as a trade unionist have I ever seen such a blatant ruse to force workers to sign out of their rights and entitlements in a business transfer situation."

The NDU said it still believed the sale for good for the future of book retailing in New Zealand, but should not be premised on the 'slashing' of working conditions of loyal staff.
- Susie Nordqvist

How to Be a Domestic Goddess is an 'important feminist tract', says Nigella Lawson

May 30, 2011 - Sydney Morning Herald
    'A male province to be celebrated' ... Nigella Lawson. 'A male province to be celebrated' ... Nigella Lawson.

    When Nigella Lawson brought out How To Be A Domestic Goddess, it appeared to be a not-altogether-serious take on the 1950s housewife.

    According to the author, however, it was something rather more profound.

    "I think it's a very important feminist tract in its own right, and I'm not being entirely ironic," Lawson said of her 2000 best-seller.

    "Baking is the less applauded of the cooking arts, whereas restaurants are a male province to be celebrated. There's something intrinsically misogynistic about decrying a tradition because it has always been female.

    "I'm not being entirely facetious when I say it's a feminist tract."

    Lawson, 51, joked that the worst thing to happen to cooking was the rise of Simon Cowell. "Something which so undermines a lot of people when they cook for friends is this terrible feeling that you're going to be judged.

    "The way television is going, with more and more reality shows, is that there is this false gloss of perfection. My cameraman makes everything look wonderful and the lighting is just perfect, and I'm aware it can give a glamour that doesn't exist.

    "But reality programmes create this environment in which you feel everybody is there to criticise you and send you away. You feel that when you cook it's going to be given the Simon Cowell treatment."

    Fans of Lawson's cooking do not include her husband, the arts patron Charles Saatchi. She told her interviewer, the Uk's Hay festival director Peter Florence, of an occasion on which she served Saatchi a dish of prawn curry.

    "He ate it all and at the very end he said, 'That was the most disgusting thing I have ever eaten. I wouldn't have said anything but I was so frightened you were going to give it to me again'.

    "He says there is nothing I could cook that could compare favourably with Weetabix."

    Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/books/how-to-be-a-domestic-goddess-is-an-important-feminist-tract-says-nigella-lawson-20110530-1fc4j.html#ixzz1NrTbpQT3