30 January 2009
29 January 2009
"I loved it, but I was really surprised they put the whole face. There's a cover trend of the heads being cut off in the picture..." (gossip girl anyone?)
And it seems Teri's regard for the book design grew stronger over time.
"I ended up loving the font and the colors so much I had the title tattooed onto my ankle!"
And designers, clearly the challenge for you is to inspire our authors to get them to a body art emporium.
* Ankle, lower back, shoulder, hip... we are not prescriptive about body part.
Apparently everything breaks when the temperature is over 40 degrees Celsius (that's 104 degrees Fahrenheit) for two days in a row: trains, trams, electricity... brains.
So while we lie on the floor panting, here are some pretty/interesting/funny/educational things. (OK, none of these are educational.)
Vampires. We like them. We really like them when they are being staked, or when they are all dark and broody and have a soul, or bleached hair, an English accent and (eventually) a soul .
That's why we like this so much.
'But you know what they say: stakes don't kill vampires; girls with stakes kill vampires. Mr Sparkly, meet Mr Pointy.'
And this. It speaks for itself, really.
As has been stated before, most of the Onions are firmly Team Jacob (though we wavered temporarily after seeing the film), but the thought of snuggling up to an ice-cold vamp is actually mighty appealing in the midst of this heatwave. Although, come to think of it, I suppose Edward doesn't actually have an internal refrigeration device, does he? I mean, he's cold because he frequents cold climates. In this heat he'd just be room-temperature. ICK. Scratch that thought, still Team Jacob over here.
27 January 2009
There is manifold Celebration in the House of Onion.
Tales from Outer Suburbia by Shaun Tan has won the 2008 Aurealis Award for Best Illustrated/Graphic Novel.
The Judges said:
'Tales from Outer Suburbia was a standout that was chosen unanimously by the judges as this year's winner. The writing and artwork are tremendously accomplished and come together magically. A truly marvellous example of how text, image and layout can come together to make up a great deal more than the sum of their parts.'
We say: Well done, Shaun!
Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan is a 2009 Printz Honour Book.
The judges said:
We say: Hooray for Margo! *
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman has won the 2009 Newbery Medal .
The judges said: 'A delicious mix of murder, fantasy, humor and human longing, the tale of Nobody Owens is told in magical, haunting prose.'
We say: Three cheers for Neil!
* And well done Melina Marchetta for winning the Printz. Go Aussie!
23 January 2009
One of the wonderful things about working with kids books is having the opportunity to slip quietly into so many different worlds.
With a lovely long weekend of reading beckoning, here's our list of books to get lost in.
1: Wolf Brother by Michelle Paver
Set thousands of years ago in the cold far north when the land is one dark forest. 12-year old Torak and his wolf cub companion must find a way to destroy the evil bear demon that killed his father. Someone who shall remain nameless (Lili Wilkinson) called this 'Clan of the Cave Bear for kids'. Rawther less sex than Clan, however, and much more cool magic.
2: Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
Set in a future world where everyone has cosmetic surgery when they turn sixteen, making them into a Pretty - and supermodel beautiful. 15 year old Tally Youngblood learns to be careful what you wish for, and finds rebellion more appealing than her Pretty-head could ever have imagined. And oh hello - hoverboards!
3: Playing Beatie Bow by Ruth Park
14 year old Abigail is transported back 100 years to Sydney 1873. There she discovers a whole new world - and how difficult life was for the families struggling on the poverty line in The Rocks area of Sydney. If you studied it at school and didn't like it, try try again.
Garth Nix is a genius at creating completely believable, utterly compelling worlds. But I don't think you'd want to holiday in the Old Kingdom because the dead just won't stay dead. Awesome heroine, completely terrifying bad guys, and, best of all, Mogget - the small white cat with a shady past, dubious alliances and an uncertain future.
5. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle.
Your father is regularly consulted by the president, your mother is a stunningly beautiful Nobel Prize-winning scientist, and you live in a beautiful old farmhouse somewhere in New England (where your mother cooks meals on her Bunsen burner). Your life is probably pretty perfect, right? Not if you're Meg Murray, you're mousey and defensive, you get into fights protecting your weird little brother and your father has disappeared. But if you thought you had problems to begin with, Meg, just wait until you discover that THERE IS SUCH A THING AS A TESSERACT. (And thank you, Calvin O'Keefe, for proving once and for all that orange hair can be hot.)
In the world of Tremaris, magic is fading away. Calwyn must discover her powers of chantment if she is to survive outside the Ice Wall of Antaris. We should have put this one on the YA Love List. Calwyn/Darrow URST = HOTT.
7. Anything by Philip Pullman, Ursula Le Guin, Diana Wynne Jones.
21 January 2009
Clearly this book does not have a punctuality fairy, perhaps it has an always-arrives-just-late-enough-to-make-a-grand-entrance fairy.
20 January 2009
19 January 2009
So far they've done love and crime.
On the Love List, the only book I was able to readily identify as what we might call YA is Dodi Smith's I Capture the Castle, but it does mention lots of others that I read as a teenager and loved (The Great Gatsby, Love in the Time of Cholera, Lolita, The English Patient)*,
or hated (Wuthering Heights**, Lady Chatterley's Lover***),
or thought I liked but wasn't 100% sure because I didn't really, and still don't quite, understand it (The Unbearable Lightness of Being),
or read recently and am sure I would have loved as a teen (The Virgin Suicides)
or read recently and am sure I would have hated as a teen (Death in Venice)
The Onions would start with:
And love it or hate it - Twilight is all about the luuurve.
* Pride and Prej didn't make the Love list, but we're betting it'll show up on the Family list. If not, we might have to write AN EMAIL to the Guardian.
** Other Onions would like to point out they loved this one . They are strange and wrong.
***We are willing to go on the record as saying no one should ever HAVE to read DH Lawrence.
15 January 2009
And it's always exciting when new ones are welcomed into the world.
Word of the Year is a relatively new innovation at Macquarie.
The inaugural winner in 2006 was:
muffin topWord of the Year 2007 was:
noun Colloquial the fold of fat around the midriff which, on an overweight woman, spills out over the top of tight-fitting pants or skirts.
pod slurpingAnd the 2007 The People's Choice Award was:
noun the downloading of large quantities of data to an MP3 player or memory stick from a computer.
no definition required. sigh.
noun Colloquial a backpacker who travels in relative luxury.
noun painful inflammation of the shoulder caused by excessive playing of virtual computer games involving movement.
(though we wonder if this one is a little behind the times as Onion encounters with Wii shoulder were way back in 2007)
noun Colloquial a non-sexual but intense friendship between two males.
PS: We Onions are very pro all the guerrilla gardening activities we have seen around town.
14 January 2009
This is bad news indeed for poor cinders and red riding hood et al. We have mentioned before the Gift of Reading Project and its hard-hitting campaign to keep our favourite characters alive.
More recently, of course, we were swept away by Margo Lanagan's achingly brilliant Tender Morsels which draws on Snow White and Rose Red for it's inspiration.
The Happiness of Kati by Jane Vejjajiva (translated by Prudence Borthwick) is a beautiful gentle sad-but-happy book. It was a HUGE bestseller in Thailand and now it's a movie. How exciting!
Here are some cover images from around the world (I don't know about you, but we always find the differences from country to country fascinating!)
13 January 2009
Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome. Camping on an island without parents, sailing, eating Pemmican, meeting and warring with Amazon pirates. What more could anyone want?
The Indigo Girls by Penni Russon. Self-reinvention, surfing, excellent daggy family camping ground action and the pain and glory of real friendships.
My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell. Not strictly summer holidays, but certainly with that flavour. Gerry: curious, patient, observant, obsessive and free to endlessly explore. The Durrell family: stark raving bonkers hilarious, but the sort of bonkers that seems to make complete sense. A hymn to the Corfu that used to be.
Storm Boy by Colin Thiele. Not strictly in the summer holidays, but qualifies because of its windswept beach setting. How can anyone forget the story of Storm Boy and his beloved pelican Mr Percival, a simple heart-breaking tale of love, loyalty, trust and friendship - guaranteed to get you weepy.
My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George. Again not set entirely in summer, but it has the right feel when Sam Gribley runs away at the start of summer to the Catskill Mountains to live in the wilderness and fend for himself - another survival story with a bird best friend, this time a peregrine falcon called Frightful.
Stride's Summer by Jenni Overend Boys and birds - clearly a sub-genre. When his father dies, Stride adopts his pet cockatoo, Ferd. They develop a strong bond in the summer that sees Stride struggle to survive a bushfire and learn about grief and acceptance.
What have we missed?
12 January 2009
And the one that landed today is A Croc Called Capone
by the always entertaining Barry Jonsberg.
Barry made a big splash in the YA world with his very first book (known in the House simply as Kiffo). Since then he's been busy, writing three more terrific YA novels, a great Girlfriend Fiction and the fast and funny The Dog that Dumped on My Doona for younger readers. So in celebration of The Croc, we have a guest post from Barry. Take it away Barry:
A keen sense of audience is important for a writer.
So I would like to say at the outset that book editors are, in my opinion, the most talented, charming, brilliant, gifted, diplomatic and wonderful people I have ever known.
This self-evident truth was brought to my attention immediately after my first book, The Whole Business With Kiffo and the Pitbull, was accepted for publication by Allen & Unwin. Given that I live and work in Darwin [“somewhere up there”], personal meetings were impossible, so the whole editing process was conducted primarily by email. I was thrilled to be informed, in the first email contact, that my manuscript was ‘brilliant’, ‘hilarious’, ‘immaculately written’ and ‘the greatest work of fiction in the English language’ [okay, I’ve lost that email, but it was words to that effect]. My ego inflated to the size of Uluru, I read on to the second paragraph which hinted there were just one or two, very minor, hardly-worth-bothering-about, teensy-weeny, minuscule areas where the manuscript could be marginally improved. As it turned out, these areas were:
- the beginning
- the middle
- the end
and involved eighteen months of re-writing.
Some writers have a reputation for being unreceptive to criticism [“Take out the word ‘the’?. I chose that word after months of agonising over alternatives. Remove it and you might as well rip my heart out.”], so this diplomacy is both practical and generous.
I just think it’s fantastic.
If I’m feeling bad about myself, I only read the first paragraph. If I want to get something done, I go straight to the second.
Words and editors, editors and words. I love ’em both.
09 January 2009
08 January 2009
Clever. We applaud.
07 January 2009
05 January 2009
I'm sure Caspian is described in the books as being blond. On the front cover of the book I had he's wearing a helmet, so that's not much help. But he's a full-on goldilocks on the front cover of Voyage of the Dawn Treader.
Here he is in all his Narnian finery:
Although it does seem as though the illustrator of this Puffin edition was having a bet each way:
In fact, why did they change.... um, you know... just about everything?
I know you have to change things when you adapt a book to the screen (drama, pacing, visual storytelling blah blah) so I'm not whingeing about that per se. (I mean, I love Tom Bombadil, but I can totally see why Peter Jackson didn't want him clogging up the plot with all that striding and singing. And beefing up Arwen's role: awesome! And all those extra Wind in the Willows happenings in the TV show that aren't in the book: love them! ) But why adapt a book at all if the only thing you're keeping are the characters' names and the setting and a few broad plot points?
Or am I being unfair?
- Were [almost] converted to Team Edward (Movie Edward - he actually has a sense of humour!)
- Started reading some new books, but cheated on them with old favourites
- Played frisbee in the park
- Ate, ate, ate, ate, ate
- Didn't receive a SINGLE book for Christmas
- Saw a sunrise
- Watched gentlemens in white, wielding willow (thwack!)
- Dog-walked in the late afternoon sun
Things Onions are excited about in the shiny new year:
- 29 degrees and sunny
- New diaries
- New production database program thingy (no really, this IS exciting!)
- New Harry Potter movie (at some point)
- Advance copies of all those books we toiled over late last year