Eric Carle, the man who created The Very Hungry Caterpillar and many other children’s books has died.
His website gives his biography.
A small team of volunteers has spent the last three weeks sorting books for the Rotary Club of Oamaru’s Bookarama.
It’s a big job – we advertised we’d be open for drop offs from 10 to 12 from Monday to Saturday and most days it’s been nearer 5pm that we’ve closed.
We have thousands of books, jig saw puzzles, CDs, DVDs, videos, games, magazines and a few other items we’re not sure how to categorise.
All have been donated and many of the donors have told us they’ll be back to buy replacements.
It’s a lot of work but worth it as it’s also a wonderful fundraiser and all the profit goes to community initiatives.
We open at 10am today and if the past is any guide, buyers will be queuing to get in for more than an hour before that.
For the next five days – and possibly longer as we clean-up – blogging will be light as Bookarama will take priority.
Joe Haak washes up, naked, on a beach in Cornwall.
He’s an analyst for a city bank and fled the city in fear that he’d caused a global financial meltdown.
Then there’s a ‘flu pandemic. . .
I enjoyed this book the first time I read it. I enjoyed rereading it even more at the weekend.
This is a story about connections – human and financial.
It’s funny and sad and hopeful.
The writing is lyrical and the story is a heartwarming, and timely, modern fable.
Not Forgetting The Whale by John Ironmonger, published by Weidenfield & Nicolson, 2015.
Ronald Clark’s father was custodian of a branch of the New York Public Library at a time when caretakers, along with their families, lived in the buildings. With his daughter, Jamilah, Ronald remembers literally growing up in a library, creeping down to the stacks in the middle of the night when curiosity gripped him. A story for anyone who’s ever dreamt of having unrestricted access to books.
A holiday thought from Alain de Botton:
We wouldn’t need books quite so much if everyone around us understood us well. But they don’t. Even those who love us get us wrong. They tell us who we are but miss things out. They claim to know what we need, but forget to ask us properly first. They can’t understand what we feel — and sometimes, we’re unable to tell them, because we don’t really understand it ourselves. That’s where books come in. They explain us to ourselves and to others, and make us feel less strange, less isolated and less alone. We might have lots of good friends, but even with the best friends in the world, there are things that no one quite gets. That’s the moment to turn to books. They are friends waiting for us any time we want them, and they will always speak honestly to us about what really matters. They are the perfect cure for loneliness. They can be our very closest friends.
Oamaru Rotary Club is preparing for its annual Bookarama.
I’ve been going through my book shelves, weeding out books that could go to another home.
As always happen I come across some I haven’t read for ages, but still can’t give away.
Now I’ve read de Botton’s letter, I realise why. They’re old friends and even if we haven’t seen each other for years, they’re still friends.
Reading can make you a better conversationalist.
Neighbours will never complain you are reading too loud.
Knowledge by osmosis had not yet been perfected so you’d better read.
Books have stopped bullets. Reading could save your life.
Dinosaurs did not read. Look what happened to them.
Why do I bother saying I won’t buy any more books until I’ve got to the bottom of the ever-growing yet-to-read pile?
No matter how much I think I mean it when I say it, the strength of my resolution is never as strong as the lure of another book.
In spite of breaking the resolution I only rarely regret a book purchase even if quite a long time elapses between buying it and reading it.
And I always enjoy the ability to scan the pile and find a book that suits the mood of the moment.
Today I’m grateful for options available in my yet-to-read pile.
The Wonky Donkey, which has been delighting Kiwi kids and those who read to them for several years, has become a global hit thanks to a YouTube video of a giggling granny reading it to her grandson:
Scottish granny Janice Clark was caught on film reading The Wonky Donkey to her four-month-old grandson Archer and she couldn’t contain her laughter.
Since the video went viral days ago, book lovers all around the globe have been searching for the book, by New Zealander Craig Smith.
The Wonky Donkey is based on Smith’s song of the same name and tells the tale of a three-legged donkey. . .
A beauty, a brainwave, a brilliance?
I couldn’t find a collective noun for books, but any and all of those three would be an appropriate one for A Kaleidoscope of Butterflies by Kate Hursthouse.
The seed for the book was planted during a conversation about zebras in which she was told the collective noun for the animals is a dazzle.
The seed grew and blossomed into a book of collective nouns for animals, beautifully and creatively illustrated with pictures which reflect the words.
Each time I open the book I see something more.
It is described as a children’s book but will interest and delight adults too.
You can buy the book from the artist’s website.
There’s more about the artist and the book at: Renaissance artist – the Aucklander helping keep alive age-old art of calligraphy.
Funny People don’t always have funny lives.
Tom Scott’s life has had lots of unfunny times but in his autobiography Drawn Out his stilettos sharp observations and dry wit make for very funny reading.
Although he writes of his gauge being on full self-pity later, there is no trace of that with the light and witty touch he applies to his impoverished childhood with his angry, alcoholic father.
In his book he recounts stories of people and events which changed New Zealand and the world as well as touching on his own deprived childhood, and his student days, career and family life.
As a political columnist and cartoonist he mixed with politicians, media and other people, including Sir Edmund Hillary and John Clarke, who made, or covered, the news from New Zealand and around the world.
He also claims the line New Zealanders going to Australia raise the IQ on both sides of the Tasman as his own and says it was taken by Rob Muldoon.
The front cover describes it as a seriously funny memoir. It is and I recommend it as a must-read for anyone interested in politics, history or life.
Drawn Out published by Allen & Unwin.
Things to do, places to be, books to sell.
This morning I’m going to be helping at the Rotary Club of Oamaru’s annual Bookarama.
It’s being held in the Loan & Merc building in the historic precinct and we’ve got books almost as old as the building as well as some published this year that look as if they’ve not been read and just about every age and category in between.
It’s a bibliophile’s paradise.
For books are more than books, they are the life, the very heart and core of ages past, the reason why men worked and died, the essence and quintessence of their lives. – Amy Lowell who was born on this day in 1874.
She also said:
In science, read by preference the newest works. In literature, read the oldest. The classics are always modern.
C.S. Lewis said if we could read only old books or new we should choose the old.
If you chose the old I guess in time the new would become old so you’d get to read them too.
But the idea that I might be dictated to so that I was able to read only one or the other feels like Hobson’s choice to me.
I have a lot of old favorites which I re-read and enjoy afresh but I also enjoy discovering new works by authors whose earlier volumes I’ve liked and encountering works by authors new to me.
I am fortunate to have the ability and, quite often, the time to read old books and new and I”m grateful for that.
Marlborough farmer Doug Avery had already faced more than his fair share of difficult times when successive droughts through the 1980s and 90s struck.
It got so bad that he hated to go outside and despair turned to depression. He treated that with alcohol and anger, neither of which helped.
The turning point was a meeting addressed by Lincoln University professor Derrick Moot.
Doug became a convert to lucerne and started working with the environment rather than against it.
He not only turned himself and his farm around, he used what he learned to help others become more resilient on their farms, in their businesses and their lives.
He’s told his story to many different audiences and now he’s written it in The Resilient Farmer, weathering the challenges of life and the land.
It’s an honest and simply written account of his life and troubles which could have sunk him and nearly did. It’s sad in places but far from being depressing, it’s an inspirational read.
It’s one of the best stories of or by a farmer I’ve read but that doesn’t mean it will only appeal to people interested in farming and farmers.
The book would make a great gift for Fathers’ Day but that doesn’t mean it would only appeal to men.
It would be of interest to a wide audience, men and women, country and town.
The Resilient Farmer is co-authored by Margie Thomson with a foreword by Sir John Kirwan.
It’s published by Penguin Random House with a retail price of $40.
Doug has a website Resilient Farmer.
Doug and Wendy are interviewed by Kathryn Ryan on Nine to Noon.
There’s more on Doug here
Saturday’s soapbox is yours to use as you will – within the bounds of decency and absence of defamation. You’re welcome to look back or forward, discuss issues of the moment, to pontificate, ponder or point us to something of interest, to educate, elucidate or entertain, amuse, bemuse or simply muse, but not abuse.
You are now the main character in the last book that you read. Who are you?
(For the record: I’m Jake Bailey, in What Cancer Taught Me.
Michael Bond, creator of Paddington Bear and author of more than 200 books has died.
What will be wanted on this voyage and will there be marmalade sandwiches when he arrives?
Reading could make people kinder and more empathetic.
Readers were more likely to act in a socially acceptable manner while those who preferred watching television came across as less friendly and less understanding of others’ views, British researchers said. . .
Researchers told the British Psychological Society conference in Brighton that fiction fans showed more positive social behaviour.
Readers of drama and romance novels were also empathic, while lovers of experimental books showed the ability to see things from different perspectives.
Comedy fans scored the highest for relating to others.
The study suggested reading allows people to see different points of view, enabling them to understand others better. . .
But there’s a but:
However, the authors warned the study did not prove cause-and-effect.
So it could be that reading causes positive behaviour, or it could be that thoughtful, well-mannered people are more likely to prefer reading.
Is it that better people read books or readers are better people?
Either way, book readers are better people.
I don’t know how you can understand other people or yourself if you haven’t read a lot of books. I just don’t think you’re equipped to deal with the demands and decisions of life, particularly in your dealings with other people. Sebastian Faulks who celebrates his 64th birthday today.
Quite casually I wander into my plot, poke around with my characters for a while, then amble off, leaving no moral proved and no reader improved. – Thorne Smith who was born on this day in 1892.
He’s the author or Night Life of the Gods, a book that still makes me laugh out loud after many rereadings. That might disprove the quote because laughing leaves me much improved.
I haven’t watched the film which was adapted from the book and having enjoyed the reading so much and so often I’m not sure I want to watch it, but should you wish to have a peek you’ll find it on here on YouTube.
Author and illustrator Babette Cole has died.
. . . Among her bestsellers were the Princess Smartypants series, which reimagined the traditional fairytale heroine as a motorbiking Ms; books about Dr Dog, a family pet who dispenses medical advice, which were turned into an animated cartoon series; and The Trouble With Mum and its sequels.
Never conventional in appearance, conversation or lifestyle, in person Babette was a highly entertaining companion, a brilliant raconteur of stories true or fanciful, told in a breathy voice and with theatrical manner. Her life as she relayed it seemed to be a series of entertainingly optimistic plans combined with disasters or near-disasters; and her picture books had a similar sense of high-octane drama underpinned by an anarchic sense of humour.
Despite the fun, Babette was no lightweight. She created books on the kinds of disgusting topics that children love and adults mostly do not, and then, emboldened by their success, she went on to more controversial subjects, partly because she liked to shock and partly because she felt she had a duty to make sure children were properly informed. . .
The Trouble with Mum is a delightful book.
The trouble with Mum is that she’s different. She wears funny hats, makes funny cakes and the other parents don’t like her. This makes her sad. Then one day the school goes on fire and Mum, who is different because she’s a witch, magics up some rain and saves the day.
One of the lines I remember from the book is Mum was sad.
Shortly after one of the many re-readings of the book when my daughter was about two, she found me in tears, gave me a hug and asked, why Mummy sad? I explained I was reading a sad book and was grateful for the story which had taught her to recognise the feeling.