Tag Archives: Reading

Harry Through the Ages : Seven New Covers for Harry Potter

harry-potter-sorcerersEarlier 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.”

Three Faces of Enid Blyton

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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 really isn’t. Why is that?

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.

BBC’s Enid Blyton

446enid2I 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.

On Enid Blyton’s “Pleasant Little Hobby”

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

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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.

I Can’t Believe You’ve Never Read…

little_womenI have long since lost count of how many times I have heard this. Last year I remember deciding to read Little Women, to the shock of several people I know who all said the same thing “I can’t believe you haven’t read it” Well I hadn’t, never seen the movie either, so I read the book. I also spent most of the book waiting for Beth to die, because at least three people told me “Beth is so sad” Well, she didn’t die, she got sick, and recovered.  I won’t say I felt cheated though. Only a bit baffled. I haven’t read on yet.

His Dark Materials and The Golden Compass (es)

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This is an excellent addition to my dragon’s-hoard of books, which I was very pleased to find today. Considering I have just finished re-reading His Dark Materials it was nice timing. This is the first omnibus edition of the trilogy from 2001. It has my favourite cover art featuring the Alethiometer.

Tales from The Perilous Realm – and Perilous and Not-So-Perilous Dragons

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I love getting side-tracked. I’ve been keeping up with my Tolkien reading this month, but after discovering my friend Travis hadn’t read His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman after he asked me if I had seen the Golden Compass movie, I’ve re-read the whole trilogy again. He’s finished book two but I cheated (couldn’t help myself) and finished book three a couple of days ago. I’ve got the short stories Lyra’s Oxford and Once Upon a Time in the North to read, which I haven’t read before. But is there anything better than seeing someone else discover books that you love for the first time? It’s only the third time I have read them, and each time I read them they amaze me.

2013 Reading List – The Return of the King

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I am still suffering some severe Hobbit-fever.

history-middle-earthOf course January usually begins with Tolkien for me, and I’ve finished my yearly read of Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. This year for the first time I’ve gone straight into further reading, and a few days ago I finished reading The Silmarillion for the first time in many, many years (and seemingly no less difficult than the first time I read it). Last year I painstakingly collected the massive 12-part-plus-index History of Middle Earth, plus the two-part History of the Hobbit to add to my collection. After checking out an article from the Tolkien Library on Recommended Reading Order I’ve decided to continue on with Unfinished Tales and The Book of Lost Tales part One and Two for this month.

2012 The Year in Reading and Other Bookish Things

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 “I am in fact, a hobbit in all but size” J.R.R Tolkien

I have been enjoying a rather Hobbity holiday. This is usually the time of the year I start reading Lord of the Rings, and watching the movies (my new Blu Ray boxed set this year) but I don’t always read The Hobbit before I start LOTR, in fact I will usually read it later. Having read it directly before I started Fellowship of the Ring I was able to enjoy it more as a prequel, more than usual in any case. I sometimes forget the references to Dale and the Mountain during Bilbo’s birthday party, the last chapter in The Lord of the Rings in which we are still allowed to be children.

Creature Comforts

It has been a terribly long time between blogs, and it is rather too late to blame Spring (as it is now Summer), which always appears very suddenly in Melbourne, and is always followed by a mad dash attending to everyone who has woken up from their Winter sleep, demanding food, water and new digs. While I’ve been taking a much-needed break from history books, I found the last two historical fiction books I read pretty uninspiring and reverted back to some of my favourite things, children’s books of course.

A Dangerous Inheritance by Alison Weir

England’s Tower of London was the terrifying last stop for generations of English political prisoners. A Dangerous Inheritance weaves together the lives and fates of four of its youngest and most blameless: Lady Katherine Grey, Lady Jane’s younger sister; Kate Plantagenet, an English princess who lived nearly a century before her; and Edward and Richard, the boy princes imprisoned by their ruthless uncle, Richard III, never to be heard from again. Across the years, these four young royals shared the same small rooms in their dark prison, as all four shared the unfortunate role of being perceived as threats to the reigning monarch…

Sister Queens Katherine of Aragon and Juana Queen of Castile by Julia Fox

Katherine of Aragon, Henry VIII’s first bride, has become an icon: the betrayed wife, the revered Queen, the devoted mother, a woman callously cast aside by a selfish husband besotted by his strumpet of a mistress. Her sister, Juana of Castile, wife of Philip of Burgundy and mother of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, the most powerful man in Renaissance Europe, is still more of a legend. She is ‘Juana the Mad’, the wife so passionately in love with her husband that she could not bear to be parted from him even by death, keeping his coffin by her side for year upon year. They were Sister Queens – the accomplished daughters of Ferdinand and Isabella, the founders of a unified Spain.