28 August 2009

Onions. We're for books.^

We're for books.
Some people are for the sports, some for music.*
Onions? We're for books.

We're for the big ones

and the little ones.

We're for the fantasy

and the funny.

and the locals.

We're for giggles, geeks, and freaks.

We're for writing, reading, printing, clutching.

We're for bookmarks and book bags and long brave days.

And if there were an international holiday for books on which all books were universally recognised for their contribution to the quality of our lives, we'd be for that too.

Because we're Onions - we're for books.

^ We're for dogs, too, and have loved this Pedigree commercial long time - so we hope it's ok to borrow it for books.
*Of course we are also for the sports and the musics, but the biggest part of our hearts is for books.

27 August 2009

Coveting thy neighbours' new editions

Publishers can be very CLEVER and SNEAKY.
And we're not saying that as CLEVER and SNEAKY publishers, but as COVETOUS and EAGER book addicts.

The cleverest, sneakiest move of all is the beautiful redesign. Why so, you ask? Allow us to illustrate ...

We already own many of Peter Carey's books, so why on earth would we buy them again? Because now, thanks to Random House, they look like this:

Our shelves already contain Coraline, JS and Mr N, and Mr Poe, so why, for heaven's sake, would we fork out good money to own them again? Because now the dastardly minds at Bloomsbury have come up with this:

Most of us have at least two copies of P&P (each) as well as everything else Jane Austen ever wrote. So why, pray tell, would we consider buying them again? Because now, curse you Vintage Classics, they look like this:

We have no shelf space left for anything, so why why why would we want to buy all these books we've already read? Well, just look at them. Thanks for nothing, Popular Penguins.

Faber is one of the worst culprits at the moment, what with celebrating their 80th anniversary and all. How are we meant to say no to these?

Or these?


Are there any redesigns that have recently enticed you to buy a book you already own? We'd be keen to know, so we can buy buy buy ... *ahem*... avoid them at all costs.

25 August 2009

Battening down the hatches

'Severe weather warning for damaging winds,' says the BOM
'LEAVE WORK EARLY urges SES,' says The Age.
'Wild storms heading for Melbourne,' says the Herald Sun.

But we're a brave bunch of Onions, so we'll weather the storm in our big ole, rock-solid three storey Victorian Terrace.

In the spirit of the storm, here is a list of our favourite wild and woolly books.

1) The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
'I thought perhaps it always rained, or looked dark in England.'
The moor and Mary and the secret garden all start to blossom in the springtime - but it is in the cold and the dark that Mary first arrives at Misselthwaite Manor, and it is the wailing wind that is blamed for the desolate crying that Mary begins to be sure she has heard...

2) Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
Has there ever been a better weather word than 'wuthering'? (It's a Yorkshire word, so it pops up in The Secret Garden too.) But Heathcliff is stormy enough not to need any help from the weather. Also... we love to watch Kate Bush dance up a storm.

3) Somebody's Crying by Maureen McCarthy
Love, guilt, fear, desire: nobody does stormy emotions like Maureen McCarthy. And this time there's a heartbreaking climax in Warrnambool's driving rain and roaring wind.

4) Cicada Summer by Kate Constable
Sometimes storms can shake things loose... and that's not always a bad thing. Eloise's long, hot, life-changing summer ends in a fierce storm that has surprising consequences.
One of the best things about Melbourne is that even in the dead of winter you can get away with wearing a short denim skirt and long stripy socks. You might suffer blue knees, but you won't get actual frostbite. But this winter, Sunny Hathaway's got more to worry about than her socks. Her life is chock-full of (blended) family - so she's bound to encounter some stormy patches along the road to trying to make sure everyone is feeling sunny and warm.

6) Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen
The storm scene is just a device, you say? Just trying to cram P&P into any list that's going? Well, what would you have done, were you Jane Austen? How would you have got Jane Bennett to the Bingley's after the ball, and had her stay put with a cold that went on for long enough for her to become comatose, delirious and fall in love, in that order, and have Elizabeth join her and develop her own thing with Darcy?

7) Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
How would you like to be proposed to by Rochester, only to have darkness fall, the wind roar, and be soaked with rain under the giant chestnut tree ... and then in the morning, Adèle rush in to tell you the same tree "has been struck by lightning and half of it split away"? Not a great omen for any girl. Also... check out this lovely bit of cheese.

PS Storm Boy - if we hadn't already included it in a previous list, it would have taken pride of place here. We love you, Mr Percival.

24 August 2009

Sea World!

Bob Graham & Shaun Tan bring their books to a whole new audience.

21 August 2009

Friday Stuff and AWARD items

This just in from our correspondent at Seaworld on the Gold Coast:


Oh frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!
Congratulations, Shaun!

We will celebrate by showing off TALES in some of its finery from around the world.*

And congrats to all the other deserving winners.


The Queensland Premier's Literary Awards shortlist has also been announced. And we are very pleased and proud that it includes:

A Small Free Kiss in the Dark by Glenda Millard

Darius Bell and the Glitter Pool by Odo Hirsch

My Candlelight Novel by Joanne Horniman

Congratulations, Glenda and Odo and Joanne!

We like the cut of your jib, Queensland**. Keep up the good work.

*We may also celebrate by drinking champagne, but that's unlikely to be as pretty as these lovely covers.
**Although that may change if you poach so much as a hair from the head of any Geelong players for your 'GCFC'.

20 August 2009

Inkys Inkys Inkys! Oi Oi Oi!

The Inkys longlist has been announced.

And what a lovely list it is. Lots to get excited about. Lots to sink your teeth into (in a totally non-vampiric kind of way).

The list of all the longlisted books is up here.

And we're especially pleased to see these beauties holding court among them:

Silver Inky

The 10PM Question by Kate de Goldi

'Tuesday the fourteenth of February began badly for Frankie Parsons. There was no milk for his Just Right. There was no Go-Cat for The Fat Controller, so The Fat Controller stood under the table meowing while Frankie ate his toast.'

Gold Inky

My Candlelight Novel by Joanne Horniman

'This is my story. It will be about birth & death and love & sex. I will make it something after my own heart, tender and dark, a little candlelight novel, started this late summer night...'

Screw Loose
by Chris Wheat

'I can catch tennis balls in my mouth. Matilda
She's kinda cute but if she bites, try rubbing her tummy. Craig R
Sure, I threw up on his bedroom floor, but we're still an item. Joshua Y'

Worldshaker by Richard Harland

'I loved Worldshaker! A claustrophobic setting of rivets, iron and
steam, rustling silks and stiff collars and even stiffer manners; dark, twisting, bustling, brilliant. I was very, very glum when it came to an end.' D.M. Cornish

18 August 2009

Further adventures of open letters

Dear Corrections,

Why do you need me to check up on you all the time? It's unprofessional. You should be able to check yourselves by now.
Please implement this by our next meeting.

Howdy Proof Pages,

I understand that you are ready for my attention, but your cover is making its debut this week and it's a little more self-conscious in public than you are, so I need to beautify it first.

Thanks for your patience,
Editor (& Stylist)
Attention: Production Schedule

Please remain calm. All items are in a well-managed queue. We will make the deadline.

From: Eternally Optimistic Ed.
Dear Mini-chocolate-bars-from-the-charity-box-on-top-of-the-fridge.

I wish I knew how to quit you.

Dear Fanfare for a Witch (1954),

I only bought you at the op-shop yesterday because I liked your title and your cover design. I am unlikely to ever actually read you. I just wanted to make that clear from the outset so there is no misunderstanding between us.

Pathological Book-buyer

14 August 2009

Friday stuff and items

1) We haven't read very many of these. Oops.

2) We've mentioned Arthur Ransome's books quite a bit here. They are special to us. (One Onion and her mother even went on this outing a couple of years ago It was just the two tour operators, their two chocolate labradors, the Onion, her mother and the whispy traces of Nancy, Peggy, Titty, John, Susan and Roger.) Well, now we can read all about the bizarre and intriguing life of Ransome himself.

3) It's 'Kirsty Murray week' at Persnickety Snark. Hooray!
Kirsty's gripping, intense and totally wonderful Vulture's Gate is out this month.
One girl - could she be the last girl alive? How could you not want to read it immediately?

4) Apart from some dubious apostrophe choices, these are awesome!

5) And finally... Are some of the books in your library hideously out of date? Join the club. Some of these are absolutely hilarious!

12 August 2009

We need your help

In lieu of a blog post today, we are writing to our Federal member about the importance of retaining Australian Territorial Copyright.

The first submission to Cabinet will be complete by the middle of August, with the Cabinet making a decision about whether the recommendations of the Productivity Commission will proceed to legislation or not by the end of September.

So the time to leap into the boat is now.

If you are passionate about this issue we urge you to write to your Federal member and the Senators representing your state to make your views clear. You can find your local Federal member using this handy locator.

Write well. Let your fingers do the talking.

10 August 2009

For Alison

Dear Mr. Vernon, we accept the fact that we had to sacrifice a whole Saturday in detention for whatever it was we did wrong, but we think you're crazy to make us write an essay telling you who we think we are. You see us as you want to see us... In the simplest terms and the most convenient definitions. But what we found out is that each one of us is a brain ...and an athlete...and a basket case...a princess...and a criminal…

Sincerely yours, the Breakfast Club

John Hughes. Your films are celebrated by many in the House of Onion. Who will ever forget the joy of watching Ferris for the first time? Certainly not the younger brother of an Onion, who, at sixteen, was dragged kicking and screaming to the Moonlight Cinema at the Royal Botanic Gardens to see what he was convinced was an arty-farty film that his sister was forcing him to watch for his birthday. Imagine his surprise.

John Hughes. The actors you brought into our lives.
Molly Ringwald, Andrew Mcarthy, James Spader (oh James Spader), Anthony Micheal Hall, Emilio Estevez, Judd Nelson, Ally Sheedy, John Cusak (swoons), Jennifer Grey, Matthew Broderick, Alan Ruck, Jon Cryer, Mary Stuart Masterson…

John Hughes. The teenagers you gave us to believe in.
We loathed Benny and Steph and Claire (at least to begin with)
We longed for Bender and Blane.
We loved Ferris and Cameron, and Kevin, and Andie and Duckie.

John Hughes. This post about your correspondence with Alison, a plucky teenage fan, gives us just another reason to celebrate you and your approach to the world. (via)

John Hughes. One of the things that shines through in your letters to Alison is the seriousness and respect with which you treat her and the rest of your young audience.

That’s what we, as publishers and editors of books for young people, strive to do too.
We are so proud of our wonderful authors who take seriously and joyously the very intense business of being a kid, being a young adult, growing up.

So while the Ed Rooneys of the world breathe a sigh of relief, the rest of us take a deep breath, stare confidently into the camera and say: "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."

John Hughes. Thank you.

07 August 2009

But wait, there's more...

Oh. My.

A new trailer for the Where the Wild Things Are.

Let the wild rumpus start.

06 August 2009

World Fantasy Awards Ahoy!

And the nominees are...

It's our Margo and our Shaun (twice!) and our* Neil (again with the twice!).


* Okay, so he's not officially ours, but as we do with Harry, we are ever-delighted to usher him into the always-welcoming hands of Oz readers on Bloomsbury's behalf.

04 August 2009

Two birthdays and a graduation

It's been a busy few days in the House of Onion.
Aside from all the editing and the publishing and the designing and the administrating and the whatnot, that is.

It began on Friday last week with a Significant Birthday for SB. (Many happy returns, SB!) The Rogue Cake-maker (not the Cake-maker-in waiting, nor her Understudy) produced a rhubarb and mascarpone tart that was absolutely delicious. And there's no better proof of that than the fact that it went so fast we don't have a photo of it. It was scrumptious!

And the revelry continued today with EJ's birthday - not Significant, but still celebratory. (w00t, EJ, w00t!) So the Cake-maker-in-waiting stepped up to the plate...

and laid on top of it a magnificent chocolate tart.*

Dark, rich, smooth. Perfect pastry. All round a delight.

With this amazing tart, we reckon our Cake-maker has proved she is in-waiting no longer! She must claim her rightful title of the Cake-maker-in-chief.** If only we had a sceptre and a mantel with which to invest her. As it is she must make do with our thanks and our awe (and our anticipation for the next creation).

*Those of you who were addicted to MasterChef will remember this creation. Most people saw that and thought, 'Wow, that's mental, glad I'm not having to cook that under pressure.' Not our Cake-maker though, she went, 'Yeah, I reckon I can give that a redhot go.' And she did!
** And we're sure the not-late, but still much-lamented, Cake-maker-extraordinaire agrees.