Tuesday, 7 August 2007


I feel I've neglected book reading lately.

We subscribe to some fantastic magazines, which are SO cheap here, and SO good, that they sometimes are all I have time to read. Recently, for example, I've started receiving the 'New York Review of Books', which is heaven on a stick. Just take a look:

The size of a tabloid newspaper (I had to scan it in two bits) and printed on newsprint, with very few photographs or illustrations of any kind, it has page after page of articles by brilliant writers. Lots of recommendations and lists.

:: Because this is the summer of A Very Important Harry Potter Book, and because I cannot for the life of me remember what happened in the earlier HP books I read, I have started again at book one. Loved it and finished it yesterday with the morning's tea and toast in bed. So I'll be off to B&N this morning to get the second volume. My guess is that by the time Lily gets back, early next month, I'll have caught up enough to discuss the latest one with her!

:: HP has interrupted my reading of Monica Ali's Brick Lane, which I was also thoroughly enjoying. It's about a Bangladeshi woman who finds herself in London after an arranged marriage to a much older man. Well-drawn characters and a fascinating picture of England. Why do I, an English-born Australian living in the US, enjoy these novels about transplanted people so much?

:: I recently finished yet another mind-bogglingly excellent book by Barbara Kingsolver, Animal Dreams. I find that when I read her stuff, like Ian McEwan's, i want to w-r-i-t-e. It's a bit like how really great paintings make me want to p-a-i-n-t!

:: Talking of great paintings, David and I were up at the Getty Center again yesterday (we had time to kill in LA before meeting another of our Australian recruits at the airport). On loan, and on display in its own beautiful room, is Manet's A Bar at the Folies-Bergere. Oh bliss!
In adjoining rooms there was a big exhibition of 1800-1900 Modernist drawings from the G collection, by artists like Turner, Delacroix, Seurat, Daumier, Van Gogh, Degas, Toulouse-Lautrec ... Just edible!
We didn't have time to see the main show, The Painted Menagerie, of life-size paintings of animals by Louis XV's court painter, Jean Baptiste Oudry.
So exciting at the Getty. There's this vast treasure trove of priceless art, and they make it such fun, and so accessible. There were huge tables set up on the marble tiles in the beautiful courtyard so kids and parents could paint and make stuff inspired by items in the galleries; and on the other side of this outdoor space, an artist had set up a classroom to demonstrate how the old masters had painted animals, and explain their techniques. Wonderful stuff!

:: Okay - now I want to hear from you all what you are reading. I miss your book chat!

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