Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Cutting up books

Usually defacing, tearing, cutting and so forth of books is regarded as near criminal - if not actually criminal. In one of our recent classes, there was active debate about the question of dog-earing pages and cracking spines and whether we mistreat some books out of love or simple carelessness. Too rarely in literary studies do we stop to think about the books as physical materials, which is where artists like Su Blackwell take away my breath. You can see articles and examples of her work here and here. The latter link takes you to her copy of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and the effect is amazing.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Emperor Has a New iPhone

"In a move expected to revolutionize the mobile device industry, Apple launched its fastest and most powerful iPhone to date Tuesday, an innovative new model that can only be seen by the company's hippest and most dedicated customers." The Onion

Monday, July 13, 2009

A challenge

One of the great challenges of teaching Fantasy Literature is that most fantasy works tend to sprawl across a range of very thick books. In the middle of a semester, when there are countless books to be read, notes to be taken and studied, this just isn't feasible. However, that is just one aspect of fantasy. Fantasy is an incredibly varied genre in which you can read Fforde side by side with Hobb. Nevertheless, the heart of fantasy remains the great quest with someone riding into danger.

In The Guardian, there is a series on reading all the winners of the British Fantasy awards. This might be one of the 'cheat's' ways of getting a grip on the genre!

Not great literary tourism

However, the real town of Forks is experiencing a boom thanks to the Twilight novels. You can read about it here. I was particularly amused to read about the literary symposium/prom. There's a thought to store away for the future...

Even better, though, after our last vampire lit. symposium, our venue was struck by lightning.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Coraline - 21 July

I have the worst conference timing... I'll be missing this event.

The Melbourne Writer's Festival is having a special viewing of Coraline, introduced by Shaun Tan.

I may now mumble 'life isn't fair, it's just fairer than death, that's all' for the rest of the day.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

It was a dark and stormy night.


I love it when the Bulwer-Lytton awards roll around. Inspired by Bulwer-Lytton's classic opening line, staring with "It was a dark and stormy night" (read the whole sentence - it's worth it), the award goes to the worst first sentences that can be invented.

My favourite this year is Stuart Greenman's take on a fantasy epic: "A quest is not to be undertaken lightly – or at all! – pondered Hlothgar, Thrag of the Western Boglands, son of Glothar, nephew of Garthol, known far and wide as Skull Dunker, as he wielded his chesty stallion Hralgoth through the ever-darkening Thlargwood, beyond which, if he survived its horrors and if Hroglath the royal spittle reader spoke true, his destiny awaited – all this though his years numbered but fourteen."

I really, just really really, want him to write more so I can find out about royal spittle readers!

Andrew Manosk is also a worthy runner-up, although I think he's been watching The Simpsons: "Towards the dragon's lair the fellowship marched -- a noble human prince, a fair elf, a surly dwarf, and a disheveled copyright attorney who was frantically trying to find a way to differentiate this story from Lord of the Rings."