July Calendar – Reading

Readers

I’m off to Readercon in July, which prompted this month’s calendar (although it’s a pattern I started sketching at World Fantasy last year).

Reading tree

You can print it in colour or to colour. Clicking on the images below will take you to a larger version of the image.

July Calendar - Colour July Calendar - Lines

Read and seen: January 2014

Books

There is a remarkable dignity and gentleness to Carolyn Morwood’s Eleanor Jones mysteries. Her Melbourne of the ’20s, and the characters in it, are much closer to the thoughtful, measured world of Dorothy Sayers’ post-WWI London than to (say) the madcap adventures of Kerry Greenwood’s Phrynne Fisher. The sort of books which move quickly and yet leave you feeling as if you’ve been immersed in them for much longer.

Movies

  • The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug
  • American Hustle
  • The Book Thief
  • 47 Ronin
  • Saving Mr Banks

I’m confused by 47 Ronin. It feels like someone said, “But you can’t make that story into a movie – look at the ending!”. And someone else said, “Then we’ll put in monsters! and Keanu! and remarkably tattooed Dutch pirates who will look awesome on the poster!” but didn’t actually change the hero or the plot of the earlier script. So the movie wasn’t about Saving The World From Ultimate Evil, but did a good job of looking like it ought to be. It did do two things I liked, and which oddly paralleled Monsters University (make of that what you will). It showed actions which had Consequences, and also that a predominantly male cast can still have colourful costume design.

Special events

The Queensland Gallery of Modern Art is currently showing a remarkable program of fairytale films. In January I went to:

  • The Adventures of Prince Achmed, the oldest surviving animated feature film, with live accompaniment
  • Jabberwocky
  • The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (the Gilliam one), which did many things very well – most Gilliam films fall short of what I wish they were, yet no-one else would have even tried to get that close. In this, I loved the Baron (the most appropriate ageing makeup I’ve seen), the opening titles (The eighteenth century… the Age of Reason… Wednesday), the importance of illogic and of course, “Everyone lived happily ever after, at least those who had a talent for it.”

Honourable Mentions

My housemate and I were doing 20/10s – 20 minutes art or cleaning, 10 minutes watching a show. Quite a bit of our productivity may be credited to these Barbara Cartland historical melodramas on YouTube:

  • The Lady and the Highwayman (with Hugh Grant!)
  • A Ghost in Monte Carlo

I wish there were more unashamed (I won’t say shameless, as it would give the wrong impression of what are pretty chaste stories) melodramas around. They are so much fun! No-one ever stops for introspection, shocking disclosures are followed by prompt action, quiet interludes interrupted by runaway carriages, cliffs and treasonous plots lurk around every corner…

Illustration Friday: Highlight

Illustration Friday: Highlight (and January Header)

When I read aloud to my father, he almost always asks for Pride and Prejudice. “Would you like me to begin at the beginning, or would you like the Best Bits Version?” I always ask, and he says, “Oh, start when they get to Pemberley.”

We have our Best Bits Versions of many novels. This Christmas he also requested The Wind in the Willows, so we read about when the Mole finds his way to his abandoned home and the field mice sing Christmas carols, and also “The Return of Ulysses” (when our heroes chase the stoats and weasels out of Toad Hall). We would have read about Christmas dinner from To Kill A Mockingbird as well, only we couldn’t find the book.

When we all still lived at home, and visitors came, we would set aside our usual reading for a favourite extract – the battle between King Pellinore and Sir Grummore in The Sword in the Stone, Henry Lawson’s “The Loaded Dog”, painting the fence or the beetle in church from Tom Sawyer.

The picture is pen and ink with digital colour and texture. Aimee modelled. The sofa is courtesy of Angela Slatter.

In other news: I am pleased to announce that a calendar was up on 1 January 2012 – it is painted through until May and is in colour. This is January, with a little milk jug I found (along with three sets of cups, saucers and cake plates) in an impenetrable second-hand shop on Ipswich Road.

January Calendar

Book Meme: Dodgy List*

 *I don’t know what the selection criteria are, but I think I disagree with them.

1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2) Italicize those you intend to read.
3) Underline (or mark in a different color) the books you LOVE
4) Reprint this list in your blog.
5) Strikethrough those you hated or couldn’t get through (addition of Fatadelic, via whom this meme came)

1 Pride and Prejudice- Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte

4 Harry Potter series – JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee

6 The Bible –
7 Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell (I’m more of a Fahrenheit 451 girl)
9 His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman (books one and two only)
10 Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
11. Little Women – Louisa M Alcott

12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 – Joseph Heller (started and mislaid)
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare (several)
15 Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien

17 Birdsong – Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch – George Eliot (it was set for a subject, but I wrote about Kim instead)
21 Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald

23 Bleak House – Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

26 Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh

27 Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll

30 The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis

34 Emma – Jane Austen
35 Persuasion – Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – CS Lewis

37 The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh – AA Milne
41 Animal Farm – George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez

44 A Prayer for Owen Meany – John Irving
45 The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables- LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies – William Golding
50 Atonement – Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi – Yann Martel
52 Dune – Frank Herbert

53 Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen

55 A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth

56 The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World – Aldous Huxley Don’t remember if I finished it
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
62 Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History – Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas

66 On The Road – Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding

69 Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie

70 Moby Dick – Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
72 Dracula – Bram Stoker

73 The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett

74 Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses – James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath (unless I read it at uni)
77 Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome (I think I have it somewhere)
78 Germinal – Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession – AS Byatt

81 A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple – Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web – EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

90 The Faraway Tree Collection
91 Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery

93 The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks
94 Watership Down- Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute (unless my mother read it to us and I am not confusing that with the movie)
97 The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet – William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables – Victor Hugo

 

Book Askance

I mentioned in my last post that Making Money Made Simple is an embarrassing book to be seen reading on public transport. I wish to qualify that statement. I see no point in being embarrassed by books I am reading. If I am reading them, I have no problem being known to be doing so, with very few exceptions.

The embarrassment happens when the books I am seen reading are those by whose covers one cannot tell them. By this I do not necessarily mean books with resoundingly bad covers, because we are living in an era of beautiful cover designs (though that is not a blanket statement – google bad romance covers at your own peril), but books whose covers or titles conjure up in the mind of the beholder quite a different book than the one I am actually reading. Though I might be happy to be seen reading a get-rich-quick book if I were deliberately reading one, I object to being presumed to be engrossed in one when in fact I am reading Noel Whittaker, and obviously fascinated by his explication of the inner workings of superannuation funds.

Here are some more books that are, or would be, embarrassing to read on public transport:

Dark Lord of Derkholm, Dianna Wynne Jones – this is solely on the basis of the cover, which (in the edition I have) is decidedly not tongue-in-cheek. It is in fact the cover for the book Dark Lord is not, and I find myself wanting to hold a sign explaining that the glowing-eyed villain and flying horses should be read ironically.

Georgette Heyer novels – two reasons for these. One is that they are such delightful puffery that I get a little embarrassed myself about the extent to which I enjoy the best ones. Anyone who recognises the author would probably understand, and this is a good, guilty-pleasure embarrassment which is, however, better accompanied by tea and chocolate than by council bus passengers. The other problem is the new covers which scream “Romance!” And while I hope if I were reading modern romance on the bus I would do so boldly, this is inaccurate. Heyers are very romantic, but almost more so in the old sense of adventure and daring than in the modern one. Misunderstanding! Pistols at dawn! Secret identities! Masked betrayers! Blackmail! Almacks! Highwaymen! Kittens!

Meg Cabot novels – Glitter! Pink! But they probably wouldn’t sell if they featured lists and horse-shampoo on the covers, which are the real appeal.

Anything by Jodi Picoult, Dan Brown or anything that sells well in airports except maybe Tom Clancy. This is an image thing.

The Feminist Gospel. I have to explain this to everyone, from the Christians (it’s an examination, not a statement) to the feminists (why is it pink?).

Anatomy for Artists. The pictures must be from the ’20s, it starts orange and gets worse from there. There’s a worse one out now, though – a reference guide for fantasy artists. I want to buy it just to bring out when I need to fall about laughing. But not on the bus.

The Satanic Verses. People try not to look at you.