The White Queen by Philippa Gregory. RRP $19.99. Published by Simon & Schuster
Richard III looks to remain firmly in the spotlight this year. York and Leicester are still at battle over the rights to his recently-discovered remains, the history books are being reprinted thick and fast, and the BBC has adapted Philippa Gregory’s The White Queen into a ten-part television series.
Ricardians can breathe easy, however, Philippa Gregory is one of the few historical novelists who doesn’t depict Richard III as the traditional Shakespearean tyrant we are so familiar with.
Earlier this year, Scholastic announced that they would be releasing a boxed set of Harry Potter books featuring new covers designed by critically acclaimed artist Kazu Kibuishi, author of the graphic novel series Amulet . The books will be released in September 2013 to coincide with the 15th anniversary of the U.S publication of the first book.
“The Harry Potter covers by Mary GrandPré are so fantastic and iconic,” said Kibuishi. “When I was asked to submit samples, I initially hesitated because I didn’t want to see them reinterpreted! When illustrating the covers, I tried to think of classic perennial paperback editions of famous novels and how those illustrations tend to feel. In a way, the project became a tribute to both Harry Potter and the literary classics.”
This is my small collection of Enid Blyton biographies. I also have two biographies written for children by her daughter Gillian, and an autobiography published in 1952, The Story of My Life. For one of the world’s most famous and prolific authors it may not seem like a lot. And it is not. And why?
I think there are two reasons for this. Firstly Barbara Stoney’s Enid Blyton – A Biography is considered the definitive biography, and deservedly so. Secondly there is a complete lack of personal papers to investigate much further. It’s likely everyone who has researched Enid Blyton had used this biography as a reference book. If you are interested in reading a factual account of Enid’s life then this is the book you need to begin with.
I was in a Salvation Army shop a few months back looking at some Enid Blyton books that were locked in the display cabinet. A young lady was serving me while I flipped through the stack (muttering the inevitable “got it, got it, got it”) and attempting to to strike up a conversation. I told her something about having a large collection of Enid Blyton books, but I was rather distracted as I usually am when looking at books and was talking to her with my head down. I was still looking down when she asked me if I had seen the movie on Enid Blyton, to which I replied was something along the lines of “rubbish”.
“Ooooh,” she exclaimed, making me look up “I didn’t think she could be that mean!”
I had to smile at her, seeing the relief emanating off her in waves. She has since, any time she has been working when I visit that shop, pointed out when they have new Enid Blyton books. I wonder if she is grateful that someone wiped the slate clean for one of her favourite childhood authors.
Terry Deary’s recent remarks to The Guardian on why libraries have “had their day” sparked outrage among librarians, authors and readers alike. There was another comment in that article that went seemingly unnoticed, but raised my ire
Books aren’t public property, and writers aren’t Enid Blyton, middle-class women indulging in a pleasant little hobby
Enid Blyton would have certainly disagreed with him, on both points. During the second World War publishing houses were subject to strict paper rationing, and despite her books being printed by more than a dozen publishing houses at the time, they were selling out in a matter of weeks. When inundated with letters from readers telling her they were unable to obtain copies of her books, her advice was to borrow either from friends, or from their local library.