Archive for February, 2012

Amazing dates

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

2012 is shaping up to be a year with plenty of notable dates. If you are following the Gregorian Calendar, today is a leap day. This means two things; firstly, that February really doesn’t know when to leave the party gracefully. (“It’s a year that’s divisible by four! Why don’t I just stay over? No, […]

Vampires vs Zombies vs Me

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

Someone asked me the other day if I was obsessed with vampires. The answer was a puzzled and resounding ‘no’. Prior to the recent glut of young-adult vampire fiction that I have delved into in recent years, I’ve never so much as looked sideways at a vampire book or film. The main reason for this […]


Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

This is the second part in our series of posts about the publishers – the people who make the books we read. Today we feature HarperCollins, publisher of many well-loved books for children and young adults. Melanie Saward from HarperCollins talks about the company and the wonderful books they are publishing. What kind of books […]

Review – Pompeii: A Roman Girl’s Diary AD78-79

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

Claudia is the daughter of a well-to-do baker, in the great city of Pompeii, southern Italy. She is an everyday teen living in a world so far removed from our own, it was entrancing to follow her on this dusty, rumbling journey. Living in the shadow Mt Vesuvius, Claudia has felt unsettled for some time. […]

A Feast of Books

Monday, February 27th, 2012

Last week I blogged about my desire find a house with a library (preferably one behind a hidden door), where I could pander to my love of reading and store my ever-expanding collection of books. I’ll cheerfully admit that my reach definitely exceeds my grasp on this one. House with libraries tend to come with […]

No Country/Place For Exclamation Marks And Semicolons

Sunday, February 26th, 2012

There are certain punctuation marks that irk us, whether by their overuse or the rampant misuse. For me, exclamation marks and semicolons fall into both categories. They are, after all, impossible to ignore and create all sorts of unintended meanings and unintentional humour/horror in the wrong hands. I may, if pressed, also admit that my […]

Down the Rabbit Hole (into the bookcase)

Friday, February 24th, 2012

My partner and I are house-hunting for a bigger place and I figure this is the perfect chance to select places that contain space for the ultimate home indulgence. Not a spa bath or sunroom or walk-in wardrobe (although they would be nice) – I’m gunning for a library. I’ve had a yen for a […]

BLOOD RUNNER – The long race to freedom

Friday, February 24th, 2012

Blood Runner is a thought provoking new novel by James Riordan about courage, hope and the strength of the human spirit. Samuel’s parents and sister die in a bloody massacre. His brothers retaliate by joining the anti-Apartheid movement, with guns and terrorism as their weapons. But Sam decided to fight prejudice in his own way […]

Moore extraordinary adventures

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

Last post I told you about Alan Moore’s graphic novel, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Vol.I. (see “Moore’s Extraordinary Gentlemen”) This time it’s on to Vol.II and more Victorian adventures. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Vol.II, sees the return of Mina Harker, Captain Nemo, Allan Quatermain, Dr. Jekyll/Mr Hyde and the Invisible Man, under the […]

Review – The Grouchies/Sometimes I’m Scared

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

I’m always wary of books helping kids through their nightmares or foul moods. Tending to be on the preachy side, I honestly think the message just gets lost, and schmaltzy storylines and substandard illustrations usually go with them, hand-in-hand. Not so here. The Grouchies is a gorgeously-illustrated picture book, and was one of the reasons […]


Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

Ladder to the Moon is written by US President, Barack Obama’s sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng. It is a magical tribute to their mother. The title comes from a postcard of the 1958 Georgia O’Keefe painting, Ladder to the Moon. In this beautiful picture book, the text and illustrations work as one. Illustrator, Yuyi Morales talks about […]

Moore’s Extraordinary Gentlemen

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

A number of years ago I saw a film called The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. I remember loving the concept, but lamenting the missed potential. It was an extraordinarily crappy movie that could have been so much better if only someone had bothered to write a decent script. I remember complaining about it to friends, […]

APA Book Design Awards

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

My posts of late have been long and text heavy, so this blog’s instead going to be short and text light. So short and light, in fact, I’m going to send you to another website. The shortlist has just been announced for the 60th Australian Publishers Association Book Design Awards, which means it’s time to […]

Review – A Bear and a Tree

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

It’s so nice to hold a new Stephen Michael King book in your hands. It always has that squeal-with-glee feel to it. The illustrations are so iconic, the language is always utterly heartfelt, and the characters that lovely combination of meltingly sweet, and strong. Ren is outdoors, sitting under her favourite tree. She is a […]

Ira Glass: Reinventing Radio

Monday, February 20th, 2012

I had grand plans to write a brilliant blog based on snippets of intellectual gold I’d gleaned from Ira Glass’ mouth. Instead I bring you illegible handwriting scrawled on my it’s-summer-in-Queensland sweaty hand (see Exhibit A, pictured above). I blame the lack of profundity on the fact that my seat was, through no deliberate booking […]


Monday, February 20th, 2012

My obsession with typography has reached fever pitch—I’m trying to work out how best to redesign my in-desperate-need-of-it freelance business’ logo. I’m not having a lot of luck (any excellent ideas are welcome), but I am really loving looking at fonts. Like I really needed any excuse. The search for the perfect has led me […]

Small Beer Press

Sunday, February 19th, 2012

I’ve long been interested in setting up my own small press, mostly because I’ve seen the way the industry is heading and at least partly because the free tools now exist to largely go it alone. I’ve been even more mostly interested (if you get my meaning) because I’ve admired how the uber-talented Dave Eggers […]


Friday, February 17th, 2012

2012 is the National Year of Reading. So at Kids’ Book Capers we’ve decided to profile the people who make the books we love to read – the publishers. Our first profile is Ford Street Publishing and today we welcome Paul Collins. What kind of books do you publish? Picture books through to young adult […]

Self-Publishing for Muppets

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

The article had me at ‘self-publishing’ for ‘Muppets’. It refers not to self-publishers being muppets as in the derogatory term, but rather a cash-strapped wannabe writer who self-published some books on Amazon in the hope of scraping together the cash to go see the Muppets. The rest, as they write, is JK Rowling-worthy history. Amanda […]

The Silent Sound of Deadlines Flying Past

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

Douglas Adams famously said that he loves deadlines and, in particular, the sound they make as they fly by. I’m not normally one who hears that whooshing sound, studious and OCD deadline-meeter that I am. But fatigue has gotten the better of me lately—it’s been an extremely big 18 months work-wise—and I’ve been swamped by […]

Review – Sydney Harbour Bridge

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

The construction of the Sydney Harbour Bridge (or Lang’s Coathanger) in the late 1920s/early 1930s was not only a feat in engineering but an economic miracle, as Australia was in the grips of the Great Depression and New South Wales was firmly in the grip of governmental mismanagement. Headed by controversial premier Jack Lang, costs […]

Mid-month reading list – the Sex edition

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

Regular readers will remember that I spent most of last month engrossed, entertained and occasionally utterly grossed out by John Long’s Hung Like an Argentine Duck, which literally digs up some of the weirdest evidence and facts from the evolution of sexual reproduction, including necrophiliac snakes and the possible inventor of sex from our very […]

The Iron Maiden/Lady

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

I saw Iron Lady (I’ve had to continually check myself to make sure I don’t accidentally type Iron Maiden) on opening night so I’m not sure why it’s taken me so long to blog about it. Actually, I kind of do. I thought the biopic of Margaret Thatcher so brilliant I didn’t know how to […]


Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

Sam Tully eyed the brumbies at the muster in the park and among them as they galloped he saw one that stood apart… a stallion, black as midnight, on his brow a jagged blaze. A gallant horse, a midnight horse, a horse called Lightning Jack Lightning Jack is a the gorgeous new picture book for […]

Review – Living Calm in a Busy World by Pauline McKinnon

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

Title: Living Calm in a Busy World: Stillness Meditation in the Meares Tradition Author: Pauline McKinnon Publisher: David Lovell Publishing, Melbourne, 237 pages Reviewed by: Louise Gilmore In the early 1980s a young wife and mother, who had been almost non-functional from the debilitating effects of severe anxiety for eight years, leading to agoraphobia, stumbled […]

The Valentine’s Day post

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

I’m not a reader of romance novels. But threads of romance often weave their way through all sorts of stories — from action/adventure to science fiction; from YA to grown-up stuff. So, in honour of today being Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d reminisce about some literary romances that I found to be particularly memorable. Aleksandar […]

Review – GRANTA 118: Exit Strategies by John Freeman

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

TITLE:  GRANTA 118: Exit Strategies EDITOR: John Freeman PUBLISHER: Granta (12 Addison Ave.London, W11 4QR, U.K.) (30 January 2012) ISBN: 9781905881550        256pages Reviewed by Ann Skea ( I always thought that Douglas Adams’s dolphins had the perfect exit line: ” So long, and thanks for all the fish” . But was that […]

National Year of Reading Launch at the National Library of Australia

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

Today I had the privilege of attending the national launch of the National Year of Reading 2012, held at the National Library of Australia, Canberra. The National Library was abuzz with superstars from the literary world – but the NLA wasn’t the only literary hot spot. All around the country, at libraries and halls and […]

Guerilla Girl Writers

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

I’m not normally a proponent of sass or swearing (although I may, ashamedly, bear a striking resemblance to a truckie when it comes to the latter), but the Guerilla Girl Writers website is, well, just too no-holds-barred refreshing to bypass. I know not who writes it, although the fact that they do so anonymously both […]

Mugshot or marriage material?

Monday, February 13th, 2012

Recognise this rather guilty-looking face? Srs Rochester is srs. If you’re a fan of Gothic romances or if you’ve studied the Brontë sisters’ novels, you probably should. Let’s see if some text can jog your memory a little. “I knew my traveller with his broad and jetty eyebrows; his square forehead, made squarer by the […]

RIP John Christopher

Monday, February 13th, 2012

Christopher Samuel Youd died on 3 February, aged 89, of complications from bladder cancer. To science fiction fans around the world, he was better known by the pen name John Christopher. It was as Christopher that he wrote his most enduring works, including The Tripods trilogy and The Death of Grass. Youd was born in […]

Review – Alice-Miranda in New York

Monday, February 13th, 2012

Alice-Miranda Highton-Smith-Kennington-Jones may live in a hoity toity world of mega wealth and out-of-our-league boarding schools, but this down-to-earth seven-year-old (seven and three-quarters, actually) has the wisdom and clarity of a Buddhist monk. This sweet little girl is daughter to Hugh and Cecelia, owners of the stunning Highton department store – a luxurious establishment about […]

A viable model for journalism + the Longform app

Saturday, February 11th, 2012

I can’t pretend to be unbiased when it comes to longform journalism ebooks (see previous post on Fairfax Media’s move into ebook publishing). I’m a journalist who always writes more than she needs to (and feels frustrated at the waste when precious sentences, and even entire interviews forming part of a feature, are cut to […]

SMH joins longform journalism ebook push

Friday, February 10th, 2012

Fairfax Media has published Australia’s first newspaper-driven longform journalism ebook. Framed, by Sydney Morning Herald Asia-Pacific editor Hamish McDonald, is available to Kindle and Kindle app users via the Amazon website, and is priced at $1.99. It’s a hard-hitting piece of investigative journalism, examining a shocking incident in Australia’s history deemed the equivalent to Britain’s […]

QUEENIE – One Elephant’s Story

Friday, February 10th, 2012

There was a time when for tuppence you could ride on the back of an elephant at a zoo. Queenie was one such elephant. In Queenie, One Elephant’s Story, award-winning team of author Corinne Fenton and illustrator, Peter Gouldthorpe tell the remarkable true story of this special elephant. Until her death in 1945 Queenie carried […]

The Third Aughhh

Thursday, February 9th, 2012

It’s not my usual form to bag a book about volunteering, but The Third Wave irked me on levels I didn’t even know I had. This book was so goddamn bad I want my money back. And then some. I ordered The Third Wave the moment I heard about it because, well, we all know […]

Review – Seen Art?

Thursday, February 9th, 2012

I am falling head over heels with the work of John Scieszka. Lane Smith’s work is already close to my heart – but combining these two talents into one book (which has thankfully happened on more than one occasion) is true book bliss. In Seen Art?, Scieszka takes images from the Museum of Modern Art […]

Lover Husband Father Monster part 2

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

In my last post I interviewed Elsie and Graeme Johnstone, the husband-and-wife author team behind the novel Lover Husband Father Monster. And they’re back again today to answer a few more questions… Lover Husband Father Monster is a story about family breakdown, written from two perspectives — that of the husband (Stuart) and that of […]

It’s Better In Black And White

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

I’ve never understood but have always been impressed at how everything seems to look so simple but good in black and white. How for all the technological advances in the world that have brought us vibrant, CMYK-perfect colour, old-school black-and-white photos are still more striking and more flattering. That’s also the case with these iconic […]


Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

Maya and the Crystal Skull is a story of intrigue, family loyalty and challenging your beliefs. 12 months ago, Maya’s mum died in a car accident. Now it looks as though she might lose her dad too. He’s been in Mexico looking for the crystal skull and now he’s disappeared. Uncle Peter is supposed to […]