30 October 2008
But it's not actually true that we haven't had cake treats. We have been holding out on you. We did have cookies in the near past, and they were sweet and round and melt-in-the-mouth and full of chocolatey goodness - and they disappeared from the kitchen in such a flash that there was no time to photograph them.
And speaking of all things cake - the most excellent cake-maker-in-waiting (Hilary) baked one of the most impressive of our occasion cakes. It was this one.*
But for real - with fresh strawberries and layers of yum. And she baked it for the day Shaun came in to sign our staff copies of Tales From Outer Suburbia. Omnom. Oh happy day.
So perhaps there's a message here for all our illustrators:
if you draw it, we will bake.
*Thanks Shaun - for letting us share Eric's cake.
PS: If you haven't already discovered Eric - you can find him here.
28 October 2008
'Book. I'll see you there.''That new guy is so book''I can't believe how book it is that there is a long weekend next week.'
This book is book.
The Urban Dictionary - one of my favourite things on the interwebs - has loads of other meanings for book. Including to 'leave in a hurry' or 'run' ('See you guys, I gotta book.' 'I booked it when the cops arrived.'). But my favourite recent UD find is 'book hobo'. Apparently it's a noun (someone who hangs out in bookstores reading but never buying) and a verb (to hang out in bookstores and read but never buy).
'What did you do on Saturday?''Oh, I book hoboed at Readings for a while and then wandered down to Brunetti for a latte.'
This is my new favourite word for my long-favourite pastime.
24 October 2008
We loved Teen Inc - a fast-paced read, part comedy, part The-Firm-style espionage adventure.
(Interjection: A Melbourne Onion ran downstairs to look at a copy of Teen Inc after reading the draft of this post, started reading it by accident and is now totally hooked. The premise is completely awesome: boy is raised by a corporation - his 'parent company' - after the corporation is responsible for the death of his parents. Poor old Jaiden has to suffer through hideous things like board meetings designed to 'facilitate' his dating options.)
We longed for a cover that would say something a little different to Australian readers. Lisa White designs beautiful books for adult Onion titles. And happily she sometimes moonlights on YA and children's books as well. So with a vague brief, a minuscule photo budget and a whole heap of plastic toys and gadgets sourced from the local $2.00 shop, Lisa came up with this for the Oz edition:
* The illustrated jacket is the UK edition. The photographic image is the US edition.
23 October 2008
Hillary Rodham Clinton: Dreams Taking Flight
What do you think, people, have I identified a gap in the Australian kids book market? Are you clamouring for KRudd: Cow Farm to Kirribilli ? Would you bust down bookshop doors to buy 32 pages of full colour celebrating Malcolm Turnbull's rise from his grim boyhood days of living in rental accommodation? Are any illustrators out there dying to draw Julia Gillard?
PS: Searching Amazon in this vein has also opened up a whole new world of Christmas presents. Did you know you can buy 'Richard M. Nixon and His Family Paper Dolls', or 'George H Bush and His Family Paper Dolls' (featuring W as a boy). You can also get the Reagans, the Clintons, the Kennedys or, most mystifyingly, the Carters.
21 October 2008
This Onion is a big fan of Spring (yes - even with all that annoying wind) so is not struggling with any seasonal blues, but we do love a list.
So here's a list of Items We Are Not Prepared To Do Without:
16 October 2008
One Onion particularly related to the stressed-out boarding schools boys going home to the comfort of books they'd loved as younger children. While supposedly on swot vac in her final school year (and hello to anyone currently going through that torture) she worked her way through her entire Noel Streatfeild collection. (This editor. Stressed about HSC exams? No!)
Unexplained mystery for the day:
Why does the url spell it "defense" but in the article it's "defence"?
Is his website designer American??
Would anyone other than an editor have noticed???
15 October 2008
Here in the mothership (in Sydney) we, too, are passionate about cake. Not just passionate: competitive! At our recent fiercely contested Bake-Off, legendary Marketing Designer Anthony was recognised for his rich chocolate and hazelnut tart. Other awarded selections included a basil and marscapone tart (yes, we do savoury too), shortbread biscuits and an American baked cheesecake (mmm, cream cheese and sour cream …).
We even had celebrity guest judges for the day: food judge, radio presenter and author Barbara Lowery and the esteemed bookseller David Gaunt from Gleebooks. And those who partook donated a gold coin to the Indigenous Literacy Project.
1. The 10PM Question, Kate de Goldi's wonderful new novel, which the Onions are working on for February. Ostensibly for young teenagers, it also has loads to say to adult readers.
2. Literary villains on the screen
Flicking channels on Sunday night, I caught the end of Holes. The film is good, though it has nothing on Louis Sachar's original. But I do admire Sigourney Weaver's turn as the wicked Warden. She certainly does a nice line in crazed.
In other villain news, coming soon (March in Australia) is the stop-motion animated film of Neil Gaiman's wonderfully creepy book Coraline, and I for one can't wait to see the wicked Other Mother on the big screen (with the voice of Teri Hatcher). Gives me shivers just thinking about those button eyes. There's a fabulous website to keep us busy in the meantime.
No villains to speak of, but we were delighted to see a preview of Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, the film of our very own book. Kat Dennings is delicious in it, and it's already receiving praise for transcending the teen movie mold.
14 October 2008
Here is a small quiz:
a) hot quarter back, or b) class clown.
a) amoral money lender, or b) good-hearted, if simple, hero.
a) slightly drippy best friend of main character, or b) outgoing gorgeous prom queen.
Sir Leicester Dedlock
a) old and crusty baronet or, b) impetuous and handsome young man.
Caddy Jellyby and Prince Turveydrop
a) ravishing, 'perfect size 6', blonde twins, or b) amusing minor characters who live a hard but happy life.
Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield
a) ravishing, 'perfect size 6', blonde twins, or b) amusing minor characters who live a hard but happy life.
The other day I came across My Name in Books: A guide to character names in children's literature. According to the Amazon description: 'Because youngsters delight in reading about characters with the same first names as their own, this guide is a great way to motivate them to read!'
It does seem a leetle strange. Will 10 year-old Gilbert Blogs who is into trains and extreme sports really be motivated by reading Anne of Green Gables? But then again, I do remember the frisson of delight I felt on reading my own name - spelled correctly with an 'h' at the end and everything - in Playing Beatie Bow. (It was suggested by the mother as a possible witch's name - Coolest. Thing. Ever.)
PS. The author of My Name in Books is Katharyn E. Tuten-Puckett (for real).
10 October 2008
She used to be an Onion, and now that she has left the fold (the larder? the pantry? where do you store onions?) we lure her back as often as we can.
Here is a selection from our Sadokierski library.
Isn't she clever?
Zoe has an online folio here for your viewing pleasure. And here she blogs about book design, with examples of two of our all-time favourites: The Great Gatsby and The Red Shoe.
Sadly, we are to be without her services for three long months, as Zoe has adventure on her mind.
Using a world map, the internet, her flatmate Katherine and lots of red wine, she cobbled together a travel itinerary that includes: drinking breakfast cocktails on a plane to Tokyo, travelling from Beijing to St Petersburg on the trans Mongolian rail, visiting Santa under the northern lights in Lapland, finding her Grandma's village in Poland, pursuing Dracula in Romania, floating around some hot baths in Budapest, eating her way through Germany to Berlin at Christmas, and heading home via London and NYC. She will not have a mobile phone or laptop.
Colour us envious. Sigh.
Happily, she has exciting new projects to work on when she returns...
09 October 2008
Oh the deliciousness...
07 October 2008
- I am, pardon the pun, a sucker for a vampire. (Anyone watching True Blood? So hot.)
- The great-grand-nephew's name is Dacre. (Which, in case you hadn't spotted it, is very close to Dracula. Although apparently it means 'trickling stream' in old English.)
- Dracula was originally called Dracula: The Un-dead, 'before an editor changed the title'. (*This editor becomes drunk with power and goes off to see if she is working on any potential classic novels that will spawn a new genre/angsty obession, which she can change the title of and thus win eternal fame.*)
- Dacre Stoker 'formerly coached the Canadian Olympic Pentathlon team.'
- Is this, like, for serious?
- 'Our intent is to give both Bram and Dracula back their dignity.' Where did their dignity go? I, personally, have never thought, 'That original telling of the Dracula legend, man that's undignified.'
- 'Maybe even more important is to give the novel's legions of loyal fans what they have been waiting over a century for...the return of the real Dracula.' The real Dracula? Is character authenticity hereditary? Can you put it in a will? And are the fans who have been waiting over a century un-dead themselves - or just really, really old?
Evidently we weren't the only people to find this amusing. The Guardian article has been changed; there is now an explanation of the indignity of Hollywood, no reference to the 'real Dracula' and no mention of fans waiting over a century. Thankfully, Dacre Stoker still formerly coached the Canadian Olympic pentathalon team. (Of course, the un-dead nature of the internet means you can still dig up the cached original article if you want to.)
03 October 2008
Go little ballot paper, go!
In about three minutes, Sarah (I can see Russia from my house) Palin will take on Joe (I, also, was once parodied on Saturday Night Live. No really I was.) Biden.
02 October 2008
See ... his pants are orange and his beak is yellow, just like Brian's.
Andrea - any chance of a Special Kev cake?
01 October 2008
- It's 23 degrees in Melbourne.
- Tender Morsels. Our Margo's new novel is out in the big wide world. And we all get to talk about it at our next in-house bookclub.
- The American Library Association's Banned Books Week - celebrate the freedom to read.
- When we surveyed the house about what they were reading for our Pile Beside the Bed list, the most common response was: 'Do I have to choose just one?'
- The improvements to track changes in the new Microsoft Word.
- Footlet socks designed for the stylish low-cut shoe.
THEY DON'T STAY ON.
- Repaired boot zips that stick.
- No voicemail and a phone that won't accept calls.
- Not having the new Microsoft Word.