Thursday, July 29, 2010

Stellar Visitors!

The week becomes worthwhile when you get a chance to meet talented writers such as Isobelle Carmody. Forty or more fans met this afternoon at The Children's Bookshop to listen to Isobelle discuss her new junior fantasy novel The Red Wind, part one in her new series, Kingdom of the Lost. We were charmed by Isobelle as she shared insights, read from her novel and answered a range of questions. Isobelle never patronises the reader and I love to see junior novels such as this using great descriptive language that draws you further into the world of the novel.

The week was also memorable because I read a brilliant new novel, Room, by Emma Donoghue.This is a remarkable novel that has just been long-listed for the Man Booker. I won't say much about this novel except to say that it is narrated by a five year old boywho has lived within a single room for his entire life. This is an absolutely compelling read!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Book Clubs for Adult Readers

Our original Book Club Members (that's our Book Club for Adults) have now been meeting for three years! We now have two groups, the Second Tuesday Book Club and the Last Tuesday Book Club, both groups meeting in the evenings at 7-30pm.

Last night, the group discussed The Hand that First Held Mine by Maggie O'Farrell. We have never had such universal praise for a book- members loved it! Our meeting distinctly lacked conflict and argument (which I normallyl love) since all agreed that Maggie O'Farrell is indeed a fine writer. Is she one the greatest contemporary writers as some critics have advocated? Our last meeting focused on Cormac McCarthy's The Road. Many greeted the book with trepidation though all agreed that McCarthy's book is indeed one of the great novels of the past decade.

What books lies ahead? In coming months we are reading Brooklyn by Colm Toibin and Truth by Peter Temple. Great books ahead!

Paul Macdonald

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

More Visitors to The Children's Bookshop

At The Children's Bookshop, our philosophy has long been that we are more than a bookshop! Our goal is to bring readers together to enjoy the experience of books and that includes opportunities to meet authors and illustrators.

Yesterday, twenty five primary school kids were lucky enough to experience a writing workshop with author Belinda Murrell. Belinda is the author of The Ruby Talisman and many other novels for young readers. She is not only a writer to watch but she is a great teacher of writing skills. The group focused on character, setting and other aspects of narrative and they had fun- and were challenged! Today, a younger group of five to seven year olds enjoyed a Pirates and Princesses workshop with our regular workshop leader Jocelyn Shute. We started in a darkened pirates' cave (we had to improvise because of the blackout many Sydney-siders experienced) and Jocelyn again was a fantastic presenter.

I am looking forward to next week when illustrator Sarah Davis is visiting for a drawing workshop.

Paul Macdonald

Friday, July 2, 2010

Some Great Reads!

Anthony Browne is back with his new picture book Me and You, a re-working of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. This book is vintage Browne and schools will love playing with this book as part of a visual literacy focus. A post modern reading of a known tale, Me and You shifts the reader's empathy and we are left to think about class, family and parallel lives. I love this book!

One of the best YA novels this year must be Dark Water by Georgia Blain. Amanda Clark is found dead, floating facedown by the riverbank. This begins a beautifully written book about family, politics and murder in an idyllic Sydney suburb. This book starts and ends brilliantly and is a great page-turner. I loved the way the protagonist's name is introduced to the reader. Highly recommended for teens! Thanks to Linsay Knight from Random House for pointing me in the direction of this book- I wasn't disappointed!

Paul Macdonald