Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Covered again...

It's been a crazy, busy time - NZ Book Month has been full on for me, last week it was the Book Lovers' Quiz Night that I organised at the Mornington Tavern. It was a fun night out, with a team from the Dunedin Library taking out the top honours for the quiz. A blokes' book group took the title for the best team name with The Novel Gazers.

Next week I'm off to do a three day tour of the West Coast for NZ Book Month, I love the West Coast, so was rapt to be invited over. The fellas here will have to survive by themselves for a few days. Mind you, Mr Eleven-Year-Old cooked the perfect roast chicken dinner the other night, so I'm sure they'll cope.

I mentioned in the last post I've now acquired all of Ngaio Marsh's novels, so I've started collecting specific cover artists, because a girl has always got to have something she wants to buy. The two I'm really interested in are Justin Todd and Philip Hood.

Here's a few of Justin Todd's...

Scales of Justice. I love this, especially the bullet hole in the man's forehead, very tasteful. Dead fish, dead man, fabulous.

Dead Water. This is one scary lady. That look says I've been sucking lemons for years, don't mess with me. But we all know Miss Emily Pride is going to ruffle a few too many feathers...

The Nursing Home Murder. There's something about a surgeon with a monocle and a hypodermic needle...

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Under Cover

As many of you will be aware, I'm rather fond of Ngaio Marsh and her books. A while back I undertook to find a copy of all her books, and had such a great time trolling bookshops and Trade Me that I completely forgot to stop when I had then all. So consequently I have multiple copies of some of them. Part of the reason for that was a love of cover art.

You'll probably think it is a little over the top to own five copies of The Nursing Home Murder (1935),  by Ngaio Marsh, but I did some academic study on this book, and also it's quite interesting to see the progression of the cover art over a few decades. I should tell you in those days a nursing home was a private hospital, nowadays we think of them as geriatric hospitals. Also, this book is the only novel Ngaio wrote in collaboration with someone else, Irish physician Henry Jellett. I find it sad that none of the more modern editions mention him on the cover, although the earlier four here name him on the fly-leaf. The 1999 version doesn't mention his name at all!

This is the 1965 Fontana edition of The Nursing Home Murder. This is my second favourite cover.

1970 edition (Fontana) - it's awful! What were they thinking?!!!

1976. (Fontana) This is my favourite. In fact I've grown so fond of the cover art of Justin Todd that I'm now trying to find all the Ngaio Marsh books he did work for!

1983  (Fontana) Simple, but graphic, if a touch boring.

1999 Completely boring. Boring, Boring, Boring. And they didn't mention the co-authors name in the book anywhere! Naughty, naughty Harper Collins.

Which do you like best?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Book Lovers' Quiz Night

March celebrates New Zealand Book Month, so we get out there with lots of fun book related events for young and old.

It's been busy, busy, busy, so far I've given a talk at the Mosgiel Public Library, and been a part of two events I organised for NZ Book Month along with Bridget & Jo at Kings High School, for year 9 and 10 students.

Called Teens Face Book, the first was a panel discussion with myself, Kyle Mewburn and Ella West, in front of an audience of school kids bussed in from around Dunedin. It was great fun, with lots of interesting questions from the kids. Below is a pic of some of the darlings along with the bewildered writers.

We also held writing workshops for some of the kids a week later, which was a first for me! (I was more than a little nervous at being teacher to a pile of high school students, but they survived me and I survived them, so it was all good! You can read their report on it here. )

Next up is a pub quiz with a difference, and you're all invited! OK, it may be easier if you live in Dunedin, but get your teams organised for the Book Lovers' Quiz Night. This is a pub quiz with a difference - all the questions relate to books. I'm doing MC duty - so once again, I get a microphone and to inflict myself upon an unsuspecting crowd...

Book Lovers' Quiz Night

Thursday 17 March
The Mornington Tavern
7.30 pm.

Lots of prizes and raffles, and a prize for the best team name.

$20.00 per team of four.

Registrations to

Let's see if you know your Rowling from your Rushdie!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

A birthday gift...

I celebrated a birthday this week, it was an even numbered one - which I always prefer for some odd reason, don't ask me why. I was thoroughly spoiled.

One of my favourite children's picture books is this... Cloudcatcher by Sue Wootton and illustrated by Carla Braun-Elwert...

One of my favourite pages in that book is this...

And look what I got... the original...(the glass reflections were tricky, so the colour didn't photograph so well)

Happy Vanda!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

A Vintage Gift...

A lovely friend came across this treasure when sorting out her late Aunt's things and thought of me...

The Listener is New Zealand's radio and television guide, and it's been around a while. This edition is dated July 8 - 14 1978. Back then there were only two television channels to choose from! As well as having a great interview with Ngaio Marsh, it has the fabulous portrait by Murray Webb, one of our premier caricaturists. I didn't know this article or the picture existed, so I'm utterly rapt.

I also got to have a jolly good laugh - there are an extraordinary number of advertisements and they have provided a lot of entertainment - some things haven't survived the test of time...thank god! Looking at the television programming was great - a real trip down memory lane with my favourites of the day - The Muppets, The Tomorrow People, and Wonder Woman!

So thanks, Amanda - a treasure trove in many ways!