Sunday, March 8, 2009

old books, ava gardner in franger and the untimely poo

Went to Bentleigh Market this morning and found treasure! Thanks to Melita for the Bunyip of Berkeley's Creek - tackling the big issues: existential angst, identity crises, concepts of beauty, human indifference to animals ... by Jenny Wagner and Ron Brooks.

Nice to know that long before The Blue Day Book Wilbur D. Nesbit wrote The Good Cheer Books. The one we found today is The Value of a Smile ("it's worth a million dollars - and it doesn't cost a cent!") Actually it's worth about $150 on Bookfinder. Also: The Animals' Conference by Erich Kastner (who wrote the Emil books) and Walter Trier, from 1955, about the day the animals decided they could run things better than the human beings ("Luckily the walrus had a bright idea ...")

I love old children's books. It's all I can do not to tear the pages out and decoupage every agreeable surface in my house.

Did you know that fifty years ago Stanley Kramer was filming On the Beach with Ava Gardner, Fred Astaire, Gregory Peck and Tony Perkins right here in Melbourne? I didn't either until Philip Davey told me. He wrote When Hollywood Came to Melbourne, a history of the making of the film - and it's fantastic, full of photos and rich in detail. You can download an article about it here. On the Beach is one of my minor obsessions. A friend's mother had her photo taken with Gregory Peck during filming - aww, he was handsome. The film is based on the novel by Nevil Shute. It's about a group of disparate people spending the end of the world in humble Frankston after nuclear war has wiped out the Northern Hemisphere. The scene on the steps of the State Library still gives me shivers.

A nice thing that happend is that Everything Beautiful has been nominated* for a BBYA Award** (Best Books for Young Adults) from the American Library Association. It's a very long list, but I'm stoked because I was worried that some Christians might get uptight about their representatives: Roslyn, the jumpsuited maniac or Gay Nev with his collection of daggy Jesus badges. They still might I suppose. Some criticism of the book has been of the "stereotype stereotype stereotype" variety, but my whole point (and I can accept that it may not have worked to the extent I wanted it to) is that we're all stereotypes until you scratch the surface. Blah. Anyway. I'm excited, it's nice to have some recognition, for sure!

Another nice thing was emails from readers. Readers - I love hearing from you! Don't be shy or think it's nerdy. (Anyway, you are in good company for I am always writing to authors I don't know...) Readers - I have a mission for you. If you write, please tell me something of your week, just a little observation. My observation for today is that Hungry Jacks burgers smell like shit - they really do - I was on the train with my toddler-o and thought I had an untimely poo on my hands (mothers everywhere curse the untimely poo!) but it was just the lady behind us tucking into her lunch.

Speaking of - on the crap film count: I watched about 3/4 of Finding Amanda. I borrowed Sahara, but couldn't summon up the enthusiasm to watch it.

Okay, have a good week.

*For all I know anyone can nominate. Maybe my husband nominated me under a fake name. That would be a very Brady thing to do.
** Yay to Alison Goodman and Shaun Tan too!


  1. YAY!!!!!

    you must be very excited. i am! :D:D:D

    today i observed: a lot of things which i can't remember, as my brain is fried from double time tutorting. ahhhh my year 8 boy *shakes fists*

    hope you've had a great week!

    i had my 21st!
    yay for adulthood!
    even more of an adult than the teenager i was a few weeks ago *giggles*

    have a great this week too! yay for public holidays in Australia.

    the girl from MWF

  2. Simmone -

    You may like to link to my article about "On The Beach" - it's at:


    - Keith De La Rue