book to the future bookmarks #6

bookmarksiiiMy name is Michelle, and it’s been…nearly one and a half months since I last posted a book review. Oh, the shame.

Things are hectic here lately. I was beginning to wonder if it was just me. It seems everyone else I know is run off their feet too.

If you’ve got a moment to spare, why not settle down with a few of my lovely literary links? I’ve got some good ones for you this time around! But because we’re all busy, busy people, I’ll try to keep it short.

My first two links have something to do with the number six…after all, this is my sixth Book to the Future Bookmarks post…

Available from NIFTShirts  on Etsy
Available from NIFTShirts on Etsy

Six Degrees of Roald Dahl

Everyone knows the names Augustus Gloop, Violet Beauregarde, Veruca Salt, Mike Teavee and Charlie Bucket…but chances are, you’ve never heard of Miranda Mary Piker.

Here’s a bit of literary trivia for you: Roald Dahl’s classic Charlie and the Chocolate Factory nearly starred six child characters! In fact, Dahl originally envisaged as many as ten children entering Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory.

Part of me knows that even a professional like Dahl would have struggled to keep the book’s momentum going as he disposed of ten horrible little children, one by one. But another part of me really wants to know how Dahl would have engineered their demise…

Who would have guessed there'd be so much cool Charlie and the Chocolate Factory stuff on Etsy? This is from goodnessclothing.
Who would have guessed there’d be so much cool Charlie and the Chocolate Factory stuff on Etsy!? This is from goodnessclothing.

There’s a new literary meme on the block, and it’s brilliant. Six Degrees of Separation is the brainchild of authors Annabel Smith and Emma Chapman. It encourages avid readers to form a link between six books – not to Kevin Bacon, but to any element that they might share in common.

I love this idea – I’m trying to find the time to sit down and write my own post!

Sgt. Peppers Clonely Hearts Club Band

This next link came to my attention on Twitter thanks to Walter Mason. I actually did a double-take to ensure this story wasn’t published on April Fool’s Day…

A Canadian dentist who bought a wisdom tooth reportedly belonging to John Lennon two years ago is planning to clone Lennon and raise the clone as his own son.

Here’s a quote from the article:

Explaining how he would raise the potential clone, Dr Zuk said: “He would still be his exact duplicate but you know, hopefully keep him away from drugs and cigarettes, that kind of thing.”

That kind of thing.

Fortunately, the technology to clone people doesn’t exist yet, but I guess tomorrow never knows…

“The Rosie Project” Project


Great news for everyone who loved Graeme Simsion’s The Rosie Project. Sequel, The Rosie Effect will be out later this year. You can find out more at Text Publishing’s website.

I have a fascination with the way books are presented and marketed around the world, and found this piece on Waterstones’ blog about the many different faces (and titles!) of The Rosie Project around the world really interesting.

A taste for good books

I’ve read and reread this article by Allison Gibson about the stories she craved during her pregnancy a few times now. It’s clever and moving – and funny.

I had always imagined that, as a pregnant woman, I would adopt a sort of Earth Mother persona: confident, innately nurturing, glowing from the inside out. It turned out that, in reality, I handled pregnancy with all the grace of George Costanza at a cocktail party.

When I consider the events of my own life, I find my memories have become irrevocably tangled with whatever book I happened to be reading at the time. And it works the other way around, too. Rereading a book will often bring back vivid memories of the last time I read that book.

And yes, book cravings: you don’t need to be pregnant to feel their pangs. I often find myself longing to read particular books – especially in times – times such as right now, for instance – when I have far too much to do to just abandon it all and spend all day with a book of my choosing.

“Daenerys rings like a bell through the night…”

So it turns out Stevie Nicks is a huge fan of HBO’s Game of Thrones. She’s written poetry about her favourite characters and wants to write music for the show. Go Stevie!

Stevie’s not the only one writing Game of Thrones poetry. Make sure you take a look Leah Umansky’s Game of Thrones poem, Khaleesi Says.

One more Game of Thrones link – in America, more parents are naming their newborns “Khaleesi” than they are “Nadine” or “Betsy“.

I approve.

Awards season!

There are shortlists and longlists all over the place right now. I can’t keep up. The Stella PrizeThe Kibbles and Dobbies. The Miles Franklin. The NSW Premier’s Literary Awards. I’m sure there are a few I’m forgetting. It’s a literary lollapalooza. Lisa from ANZLitLovers has fantastic coverage of all these awards (and more), as well as reviews of nearly every nominated book.


That’s it for this instalment of Book to the Future Bookmarks. If anyone needs me, I’ll be writing like a maniac. Fingers crossed, I’ll have new reviews online very soon.

and the winner of the inaugural stella prize is…

I spent my entire train trip home tonight huddled over the screen of my iPhone, frantically refreshing my Twitter feed over and over again, waiting impatiently for the announcement of the winner of the very first Stella Prize.

When the result came through, I couldn’t have been happier.

The winner of the Stella Prize is my favourite novel of 2012, Carrie Tiffany’s Mateship with Birds!

2012Here’s Kerryn Goldsworthy’s lovely analysis of Mateship with Birds over on the Stella Prize website. My review is right here.

Congratulations to Carrie Tiffany (who announced in her acceptance speech that she’s giving ten thousand dollars of her fifty thousand dollar prize money to the authors shortlisted for the award – what a incredibly generous gesture!) as well as all the other short- and longlisted authors. Also, congratulations to the Stella Prize team on the successful launch of an award that’s already giving the Australian literary scene a much-needed shake.

Will I finally stop raving about Mateship with Birds now? Not likely. Especially now that it’s made the longlist for the Miles Franklin award. Could Mateship with Birds take out Australia’s “most prestigious” book prize as well as Australia’s newest literary award? Only time will tell.

Mateship with Birds is also nominated for the New South Wales Premier’s Literary Award (along with Charlotte Wood’s Animal People and Gillian Mears’ Foal’s Bread – another two of my favourites from 2012!) as well as the Kibble Literary Award.

It’s an exciting time to be a reader, and an exciting time for Australian women’s writing!

stellaaaaa!!! and other awards

notebookSo. Once again, I find myself struggling to find the time to keep up with blogging, reading, writing and my full-time job. Blah blah blah, the usual. It’s becoming abundantly clear that I’m going to have to take a step back from something. A little hint – it’s not going to be blogging, reading or writing…

Anyway. I wanted to write a very quick update to my previous review.

When I really love a book, it makes me very happy to see that book receive the recognition it so deserves. Hence, I was very pleased to see that Carrie Tiffany’s Mateship with Birds was named on the longlist for the inaugural Stella Prize. The shortlist will be announced at midday this Wednesday, and I’ll be online for the announcement, holding my breath.

(Edited to add: and here’s the Stella shortlistMateship with Birds made it! Brilliant!)

In the meantime, I’m reading a few other books from the longlist. I’m completely, utterly mesmerised by Amy Espeseth’s Sufficient Grace right now, and Margo Lanagan’s Sea Hearts is next on my Australian Women Writers reading list. After that, I’m reading Cate Kennedy’s Like a House on Fire.

As pleased as I was to see Mateship with Birds on the Stella longlist, I was overjoyed when it made the longlist for the 2013 Women’s Prize for Fiction. And another of my favourite books of last year, Zadie Smith’s NW is also nominated. Many of the titles on the longlist are new to me but it’s such an exciting list. If only the pile of books I want to read wasn’t already so large it requires its own postcode, I’d read them all.

As a quick aside, I’m completely thrilled that my review of Mateship with Birds was selected as one of three winners of the Scribe Books Giveaway over on the Australian Women Writers Challenge blog. Thank you so much to the judge Annabel Smith, to Danielle, who was kind enough to nominate my review, to Elizabeth Lhuede – and huge congratulations to the other two winning reviewers.

Also on the subject of awards, Jessie Cole’s amazing debut novel Darkness on the Edge of Town made it to the shortlist of the ALS Gold Medal today, Brilliant news! I’ll be reviewing Darkness as soon as I can find the time – err, see the first sentence of this post.

And finally – the Miles Franklin Award longlist will be announced next week and it looks like exciting things are gearing up over at the Miles Franklin website.

Okay. Back to writing…