4 October 2009
bookish, with cockatoos
It's the last day of the school holidays. Term 4 starts tomorrow, announced the littlest child this morning when he came and snuggled in bed with me. He wishes he could stay at home and read read read all day long, interspersed with the odd walk down to the river for ice cream and duck-watching, of course.
We can't keep up with Son #3's demand for books these days. He recently re-read the entire Harry Potter series, then moved on to re-reading all five Rowan of Rin books in two days flat. The mister took him to the library for some new reading material on one of my work days, and came home with four new books (names and authors forgotten, sorry) which he read the next day and then it was back to the library for more. The good thing about being the youngest child is that there are lots of books in the house ready for him to move onto, but honestly we just can't keep up so he's re-reading lots of his old favourites. He started re-reading the Lemony Snicket series, which he originally read a few years ago, but we don't have all thirteen books on our shelf so he came to a halt while we put the next few on hold at the library. In the meantime he picked up the Narnia series (which he also read a couple of years ago) and within two days has finished the first three. (He's 10. Is this normal?)
He started the fourth book, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, this morning, and is already a third of the way through. By happy coincidence, my parents, who live in Queensland, announced this morning during their regular Sunday morning phone call that there's a Narnia film being made very close to them right now, on the water, which Wikipedia later confirmed for us is indeed Dawn Treader. Son #3 is very pleased to hear this.
As for me, I've read some beauties these holidays. First up was thirdcat's book Black Dust Dancing which was as readers of her wonderful blog would expect, spare, thoughtful, elegant and simply lovely. Even though I've never "met" Tracy, I count her as a friend (which all of you will understand but people who don't read blogs do not) and it was lovely to be able to read something written by a friend, and know it to be beautiful and successful. Also just to hold the book as a physical object, see it in bookshops and libraries, and feel pride and pleasure for that friend - love it. Squee!
Moving on now because I'm getting a bit squishy am I not?
The Elegance of the Hedgehog was next. Apparently every bookgroup in Australia is currently reading this French book (translated into English only last year so still new on the circuit), and library waiting lists are up to the 70s. I bought it instead, thoroughly enjoyed it, and handed it straight to Mr Soup who started it last night. It's another thought-provoking book, and quite unusual, and I can recommend that you read it. You might cry at the end too. I did. It's touching and funny and any book that can combine Russian literature, philosophy, manga, kairos and music and make it flow seamlessly together in one elegant narrative has got to be worth $27.95.
Which brings me to a brief rant about how expensive books are here. On the way to the Pancake Parlour on Friday I dragged Son #3 sideways into Dymocks quickly to see if I could find a certain book mentioned earlier (I couldn't - it is obviously Only Available in All Good Bookshops) to send to a certain friend in the US because she can't get it there, and saw two new books I'd also love to buy - the new Philippa Gregory book which was only available in hardback at $35.00, and the new Sarah Dunant which was $32.95 in paperback! I don't know about you but I can't casually walk into a bookshop and drop nearly seventy bucks on two books. It makes me cross. Particularly as there is also the new A S Byatt to buy too, and the new Audrey Niffenegger although I didn't see either of those. Good thing too as I was wanty enough by then. Ok, [/ end rant] and thank heavens for public libraries.
And just quickly because really, is anybody still reading this ramble? I read Ann Patchett's Run this week and although slower to sink its hooks into me than her masterpiece Bel Canto, by the middle of the book I couldn't put it down. Patchett's characters always live right alongside me in my daily life when I am reading her books and this was no exception. I am eternally grateful to another dear friend whom I've never "met" but who I seriously think of as one of my closest pals these days, for putting me onto Ann Patchett (and many other amazing authors).
And to bookend this ramble, I bring you two photos of some of the seven cockatoos who flew in yesterday to lark about and raid the parrots' bird feeder and generally behave like larrikins for a while before conducting a similar search and destroy mission three doors up where the two great danes live.