Trist for tackle: 1902

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We have digitised a rather splendid 1902 publication Tourists’ guide to Canterbury.

Kathy Reichs really does know everything

Cover of Bones of the lostWith a capacity crowd at the aptly-named Legends Lounge on Monday night, the amazingly over-talented Kathy Reichs kept the audience at The Press Christchurch Writers Festival event  well entertained. Missy T and I arrived early, and it was just as well, as the room filled rapidly with adoring fans both young and old.

Most of what she said should have come as no surprise to fans. The questions from both QC Chris McVeigh and the audience were good and she graciously took every lead and followed it well. I’d not heard her speak before, and she looks like one of those frighteningly well-put-together women who manages everything and everyone into submission.  She is, however, warm and witty, charming and very easy to listen to.

She told stories of life both real and fictional, and I have to say sometimes I forgot whether it was Kathy Reichs or Tempe Brennan we were talking about, which was a bit disconcerting. For those who aren’t as familiar with her work, Dr Reichs is as fully qualified in real life as her main character is in the books, and she always uses a real-life case as the basis for each one of her books (albeit changing all details on the way). She explained that in real life her job is always about answering the same two questions – identity (who is this person?); and cause of death; and for both of these questions, it’s always about the bones.

So what can we tell you that might be new?

  • Contracted to write 19 Tempe Brennan and 5 Virals books, she is currently working on numbers 17 and 5 respectively.
  • The Bones TV series is now in its 9th season, with no sign of slowing down, but as with all TV there are no guarantees.
  • There’s an episode coming up called The Dude and the Dam, which will contain easter eggs – 5 clues from the book Bones of the Lost. Those who watch the episode and read the book will be able to enter an online competition to win stuff.
  • She knows the TV series has a different feel from the books, and gracefully accepted criticism from the audience suggesting that sometimes the show can seem a little flippant and Hollywood-y. She said everyone can see that the two storylines (book and TV) are different, and for those who are worried by this, it might help to see TV Tempe as being a younger, less polished version of Book Tempe – like a prequel.
  • She really loves working with her kids. She co-authors the Virals series with her son (who has been known to proclaim after a particularly brutal editing by Kathy “Mom, you’re murdering my art!”; and works on the TV series with one of her daughters.
  • Kathy often finds character names by reading local obituaries – if the book is set in a specific town or city, she will read past newspapers from that town and gather names from there.
  • The idea to do the Virals series came about after a conversation with one of her children, who suggested that teens would also love to read about forensics. The more unusual aspects of the books (what Kathy calls ‘elements of grounded fantasy’) were added because her publisher noted that teens nowadays seem to be obsessed with the supernatural, and she really didn’t want to do vampires. Or werewolves.

So a good night all round, really, with dozens lined up afterwards for what looked like it might be a long wait for book signing. And as always, a great big thank you to the The Press Christchurch Writers Festival team for another sterling event!

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The truth about yachting

Cover of Three men in a boatThe truth about yachting is that it is wet. All the time. And cold. And you do it all at an angle of 45 degrees. Then, just as your balance has adjusted to that, they tack and you have to do it all again from the other side. Oh, and it’s windy and when it’s not windy (aka The America’s Cup 2013), the skipper, probably your best mate or lover will be grumpy, grumpy, grumpy. He may put on the diesel engine. And then there’s the seasickness.

So I am mystified by the zealousness with which the nation has taken to The America’s Cup. And I should know, because back in the 70s, I was raised on a diet of glamorous Peter Stuyvesant sailing adverts – all beautiful women in bikinis and gorgeous tanned men, went on a date with a yachting man to a Thor Heyerdahl (KonTiki) film. And married him.

The first yacht was a thing of great beauty belonging to the Dragon class. Sleek, wooden craft with no facilities whatsoever, they are famous for having been the favoured yacht of Royalty. But Royalty has minions and Dragons need to be recaulked and varnished every year. My husband only had me.

Then he said: let’s build a yacht and take part in the Cape to  Rio race. The word “No” never crossed my mind. And that is how I came to be pregnant, wearing a bright orange lifejacket like a giant Oros man and  sailing the seas of the Cape of Storms without the comfort of sherry (the acknowledged best thing to drink on yachts because it tastes the same coming up as it does going down.)

The baby, my daughter, was born and I continued sailing with children. Such Fun – Not. Then, one day on a rough trip, breastfeeding her down below, I burped her. She vomited down my back and I threw up in the bucket between my knees. Everyone agreed it was time to quit. I have never been back on a yacht since.

That said,  the library has loads of sailing books and resources for all the innocents out there. But I am sticking to narrow boats and ocean liners from now on. But for all of you who are getting up the crack of dawn to support Emirate Team New Zealand and who are considering buying a dinghy for Christmas, I say stick to a rubber ducky and if you don’t believe me, surely this quote will convince you!

Sailing – The fine art of getting wet and becoming ill, while going nowhere slowly at great expense (equivalent to standing in a cold shower, fully clothed, throwing up, and tearing up $100 bills, while a bunch of other people watch you).

Time to put on my red socks. Go Team New Zealand!