30 April 2010

Friday Stuff and Items

The Bumper Book Trailer Edition

1) It seems that HarperCollins UK have made the World's Longest Domino Rally with Children's Books. This is a noble and worthy endeavour.*

It also seems that HarperCollins UK is staffed entirely by cute and funny boys. Maybe The House of Onion and HarperCollins could, you know, like, hang out sometime.

2) While we're flirting with talking about HarperCollins, here is the book trailer they produced for Lord Sunday. It's kind of hard-edged and steampunky. Cool.

3) In order to stop ourselves from making eyes at HarperCollins, we shall turn our gaze to the Mothership. Look at this atmospheric trailer for Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey**

4) What's that you say? You want another view of the mountains. Ok, very well then...

* Perhaps we could attempt the World's Longest Domino Rally with Cake. Might get messy. Biscuits? Biscuits shaped and decorated to look like dominoes? Biscuits shaped and decorated to look like books? Now we're cooking.
**That's the Miles Franklin Short-listed
Jasper Jones, you know. *modest cough*

28 April 2010

Holiday reading

Everyone loves a holiday (don't they?). And this year it seems that several Onions have decided 2010 is the year for adventures abroad, which means plenty of time for holiday reading on planes, trains, automobiles and mountainsides. And, depending on the size of the suitcase, it means decisions, decisions, decisions about which books to pick off the pile.

Of course, a user-friendly e-reading device* would considerably ease the decision-making process as it could be loaded up with all manner of holiday reading material. However, some places in the world are incompatible with even the most user-friendly of e-reading devices, due to their reliance on, you know, a power source. For example, if one were to choose the Himalayas as the destination a (lightweight) printed book is still the most practical option.

So, in the spirit of helping others to select satisfying reading materials to accompany them on their adventures, here is a list of books that accompanied this Onion almost to the top of the world.**

1. Breath by Tim Winton
A surfing book about much more than surfing, set in a coastal Australian logging town. The allure of the spirit of surfing, and the ocean as a powerful all-consuming force of nature, the fragility the human condition and (the fraying) of personal limits. The Australian ocean setting might seem an unlikely companion for the reality of tackling Himalayan peaks, but it was unexpectedly complementary. And so beautifully written. Effortless (much unlike the actual mountain-climbing).

2. The Keeper by Mal Peet
A football book, about much more than football, set in a South American jungle logging town. The allure of the spirit of football, and the jungle as a powerful all-consuming force of nature, the agility of the spirit and the nature of personal triumph and the fates. And compelling. Recommended to be read by head-lamp in the dark nights in the Nepalese jungle with a thunderstorm closing in.

3. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows***
Oh! A book of letters! Set in the post-war period as the Channel Islanders recover themselves and their sense of the world after the lows (and unlikely highs) of the German occupation during World War II. Charming, with a hopeful and courageous spirit despite the undertow of atrocity and despair. A lovely change of pace for a mountain-weary trekker.

4. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Survival-of-the-fittest as a truly life-or-death reality show contested by 12-18 year olds who are selected through a lottery system. Oh my goodness this book is good. A page-turner that leaves you breathless (so not ideal to be read at altitude) and desperate for book two (not ideal when book two hasn't hit the shelves of Kathmandu yet). Get your hands on it. Read it.

5. In lieu of being unable to acquire Catching Fire (book two of The Hunger Games), it seems likely that another book may have been purchased instead. However, I am sadly unable to reveal what it was because of literary lies I may have prepared earlier.

What books on your pile would you take on your trip?

*And May isn't far off now so perhaps help is almost at hand.
** This was the view from my Yak herder's hut.

*** This one had been on the pile for a goodly while and I am grateful to my fellow trekker for bringing it along (and, of course, to our porter for, you know, lugging it up those steep, steep mountain trails) so it was at hand to read when the need arose.

21 April 2010

Drawing Out, Drawing In

Didn't get to Supanova last weekend?

Never fear! Why don't you head down to the Wheeler Centre for Drawing Out Drawing in: Spotlight on Graphic Novels?

It's going to be wonderful. Look, The Age even says so!

The panels are chock full of terrific, interesting, talented, thoughtful people who are passionate about comics and graphic novels, including Fearless Leader Onion Erica Wagner and our very own Bernard Caleo, Nicki Greenberg, Bruce Mutard, Shaun Tan, Andrew Weldon and Zoe Sadokierski. (We claim Zoe as our own because she makes us look so good.)

At least one other Onion is about to bust with excitement. You will recognise her by her lovely long hair... and because she'll be the one jumping up and down, waving her arms and squealing with joy for the whole weekend.

And did we mention that it's free? Free!

16 April 2010

Friday afternoon question time

  • Do you own a stormtrooper helmet?
  • Or a superhero outfit?
  • Do you think Laura Roslin is the best president this galaxy has ever seen?*
  • Are you bummed because the iPad's release in Australia has been delayed for a month and you were busting to get the Marvel app, because have you seen how good comics look on that screen?
  • Are you keen to meet the brilliant minds (and pencils) behind such works of genius as The Great Gatsby, The Silence and Tango?
  • Looking for somthing to do tomorrow?

If you answered Yes! to any of these questions, then Supanova Pop Culture Expo is for you. It looks like so much fun.

A contingent from the House of Onion with envoys from the Mothership will be running an Allen & Unwin stand where we'll be chatting about, and waving around, many fine things from our awesome list of fantasy and graphic novels. Two areas where we *ahem* excel.

We'll be showcasing Nathan Jurevicius, Shaun Tan, Garth Nix, Karen Healey, Catherine Jinks, Neil Gaiman, Celine Kiernan, Nicki Greenberg, Bruce Mutard, Jon Walker and lots of others.

Possibly even more exciting is that some of our finest graphic novelists will be appearing LIVE AND IN PERSON at the Borders stand.

You can catch:

Bruce Mutard on Saturday from 11.30 to 12.30
Bernard Caleo on Saturday from 2.30 to 3.30
Nicki Greenberg on Sunday from 11.30 to 12.30

So say we all!

*Or maybe you just want to get near someone who has been near Starbuck and Apollo.

15 April 2010

Well would you look at that...

It appears that our ask has been answered; someone has written a poem about Gary Ablett's possible move to the Gold Coast.

*editor sidles from the room making no further comment*

12 April 2010

Kombi Kake! (and some favourite road-trip books)

The Tall Designer had a birthday on the weekend.

And just look at the genius with which he was presented today...

That, my friends, is a cake. A cake shaped like his Kombi van.
Best. Thing. Ever.
Happy birthday, Bruno! Nice work, SB!*

And who can look at a Kombi van without thinking ROAD TRIP? Here are some of our favourite road-trip books.

Rose by any other name by Maureen McCarthy
What could be better than a road trip to unkink your thoughts and smooth yourself out? Well, just about anything it turns out, if your Mother decides she's coming too. Prickly, tangled-up Rose is such a wonderful character. And Nat? Be still my beating heart.

Paper Towns by John Green
The road trip in this book is pants-wettingly funny. Or, perhaps more accurately for the characters, funnily pants-wetting.

Guitar Highway Rose by Brigid Lowry
Just read it. It's wonderful. That is all.

Going Bovine by Libba Bray
Cameron embarks on the mother of all road trips into the dark (yet hilarious) heart of what it means to be alive. The strapline pretty much says it all really: Love. Death. Microwave popcorn. And a wild trip to save the world.

Lord of the Rings (and The Hobbit) by JRR Tolkien
Of course, this isn't a road trip in the sense of a car and tunes and hitchhikers and freedom and first love and getting into exciting kinds of trouble (OK - now I want to go on a road trip. Who's with me?), but these guys are literally on the road the ENTIRE trilogy. I mean, Bilbo even has a song about it.

The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.

Now far ahead the Road has gone,

And I must follow, if I can,

Pursuing it with eager feet,

Until it joins some larger way

Where many paths and errands meet.

And whither then? I cannot say.

And while we're in that spirit, let's include The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame. Not for Toad's obsession with the motorcar, but for Mole and Rat and Toad (and the long-suffering horse) on the open road in their canary coloured caravan.

Any others favourite road-trip books we've missed?

*You might remember her from such previous cakes as The Gingerbread House

08 April 2010

NSW Premier's Literary Award shortlist of Awesome

We are sqealing in the corridors again!
Look look look at the NSW Premier's literary Award shortlist...

The Ethel Turner Prize for Young People's Literature

Vulture's Gate by Kirsty Murray

Liar by Justine Larbalestier

Worldshaker by Richard Harland

A Small Free Kiss in the Dark by Glenda Millard

Patricia Wrightson Prize for Children's Literature

The Hero of Little Street by Gregory Rogers

And the Mothership are also much pleased...

Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey - shortlisted for the Christina Stead Prize for fiction
Kill Khalid by Paul McGeough - shortlisted for the Douglas Stewart Prize for non-fiction
The Striped World by Emma Jones - shortlisted for the Kenneth Slessor Prize for poetry
Document Z by Andrew Croome - shorlisted for the UTS Glenda Adams Award for New Writing for fiction

Congratulations to all our clever authors - and to everyone else on the shortlists!

01 April 2010

O Delicious Ode [***UPDATED***]

She that asketh receiveth; she that seeketh findeth, and to her that knocketh it shall be opened.

No sooner had we expressed our longing for a poet-in-residence, than one stepped up to the plate.

We leave you over the break with the magnificence that is...

Ode on a Missing Pencil
by An Anonymous Writer (more versed in prose than verse)

O pencil with thy heart of lead
Sharpened to your sweetest point
Can it be that thou art dead?
Or lying greyly in some faint?
When I about the desk have made
A hunt for thee
Upon the ground?
What is this?
Oh mercy me!
Behind my ear I had you laid!
O pencil mine, at last you're found!

Happy Easter or Passover
or non-denominational holiday, everyone.
Rest up. Eat well. Drive safely.

The Mothership has just alerted us to the exciting fact that WE distribute several collections of Carol Ann Duffy's peoms, including this most gorgeous collection New and Collected Poems for Children. The cover is very lovely, and the wee bird seems somehow paschal - so here's this to enjoy over the break as well...

*Editor disappears to make sure her staff account isn't maxed out*