In an attempt to tame her ever-growing For Later list, Robyn has decided to share with us on a regular basis the titles that she has recently added to her list. The theory being that, even if she doesn’t ever get round to reading them, she can perhaps do so vicariously through you… So please do share your opinions of her picks – are they worthy, do you think, of inclusion in that lofty list?
Pink Up Your Life: The World of Pink Design Embarrassing but irresistible. Who knew there was such a thing as Pink Design? I’m game though. “Pink for old and young. Pink for everyone!” Perhaps a pink feature wall is just what I need.
The Hollow of the Hand by P. J. Harvey
Polly’s poetry combines with the images of photographer/film-maker Seamus Murphy to tell the story of their travels around the world between 2011 and 2014. Harvey wanted to “smell the air, feel the soil and meet the people of the countries I was fascinated with”. Should be interesting.
The Face of Britain: The Nation Through Its Portraits by Simon Schama Portraits and Simon Schama seem like a good match; Schama has a lovely light touch with art and history. This book has been produced to accompany an exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in London where Schama considers what makes a successful portrait, grouping portraits from the gallery’s amazing collection into themes: Power, Love, Fame, Self and People. According to The Times reviewer Schama’s approach here is “not systematic but wonderfully compelling” and the book is “entertaining and idiosyncratic”. Let’s see about that.
As followers of our blog will know, voracious reader Robyn has been sharing with us on a regular basis the titles that she has been adding to her For Later shelf. This time she reports back on some of the titles that have graduated to her Completed shelf.
An art theme to some books that came off the For Later shelf recently.
Gothic Wonder by Paul Binski A beautiful book. All the images are lovely to look at but my best ones are the gargoyles and the manuscripts. Favourite chapter is called the Pleasures of Unruling, featuring the unforgettable phrase ‘genitalia in marginalia’. Gothic Churches were so expensive the monks were “very eager to highlight any financially winning miraculous or semi-miraculous events”. Finding a cache of coins was popular – a sure sign that God would provide and it was O.K. to just keep building.
Everything Is Happening by Michael Jacobs It’s good to look at things in detail sometimes, but lots of words on lots of pages on one work of art can be very daunting. This look at Velásquez’s painting Las Meninas (‘the maids of honour’ in Spanish) is both detailed and short. But it still manages to say some fresh things about a work that has been analyzed more than most.
Francis Bacon in Your Blood by Michael Peppiatt
Francis Bacon is a great and terrifying artist. He is also reputed to have said: “Champagne for my real friends, real pain for my sham friends”. Two reasons to read a book about him.
What books have moved off your For Later shelf recently?
There will be lots of community involvement at the new CoCA and there will be all kinds of art forms related to the visual arts; film, installation and performance. “Will there still be flat work and sculptural work?” came a nervous question from the audience.
Yes, there will. In fact there will be quite a lot of sculptural work in the opening show, but beyond that Orrell wasn’t giving anything away. We’ll just have to wait and see.
Christchurch crime fiction fans are in for a treat when Michael Robotham, one of the best crime writers working, visits on Wednesday 26 August. He’s coming to Christchurch with his latest book, Close Your Eyes, but he’s got an impressive back list. His books Shatter and Lost won the Ned Kelly Award for Australia’s Crime Novel of the Year – good old Australia – a Crime Novel Award named after a criminal.
I always like a crime writer who started as a journalist. Even better if they started as a cadet rather than doing a post-graduate degree in Journalism (not that there’s anything wrong with that). It’s just that writers who have had to distill the facts of a story into a small space jostling with lots of other stories know how to grab your interest. And I fondly imagine cadets learning their craft by having their copy scrutinised by cynical hard-bitten reporters squinting through the smoke from the fag permanently attached to their lips. Probably an image that was way out of date when Michael Robotham was working on evening newspapers. If it was ever true. Perhaps I’ll ask him when he comes to Christchurch. I also have a question about going to school in Gungadai.
An evening with Michael Robotham Wednesday 26 August 6pm to 7.30pm South Library
Free event, complimentary tickets can be picked up from South Library or Paper Plus Northlands Mall. Books will be available for purchase courtesy of Paper Plus. For more info or to reserve tickets please call Kathryn Hartley Ph: 03 941 6649 or email:firstname.lastname@example.org
In the future everybody will be world famous for 15 minutes.
The man who could see into the future of The X Factor, Real Housewives, Come Dine With Me (insert your best or worst Reality Show here) was born on the 6th of August 1928. Or was he? For years there was confusion about exactly where and when he was born. After all he once said “I’d prefer to remain a mystery, I never give my background and, anyway, I make it all up different every time I’m asked.”
It doesn’t really matter whether we have the right date, what matters is that we do celebrate
one of the most influential artists of the 20th century.
There’s lots of stuff to read about Warhol and his art, but for a real sense of the man you can’t go past A: A novel a book he ‘wrote’ himself. Actually it’s transcripts of taped conversations he had with one of the Factory Superstars. And it’s hilarious, although calling it a novel is probably a bit of a stretch. It has been called Warhol’s Ulysses; at least I did manage to finish it, something I have never achieved with James Joyce’s Ulysses.
Interest in Warhol doesn’t wane; the latest trend is to pair him with other artists who don’t seem to be a natural match but turn out to be once the clever curators explain it all. Love is Enough is a show that looked at the similarities between Warhol and William Morris – repetition and celebrity apparently.
Next year there will be a big show at the NGV in Melbourne of Warhol and Ai Wei Wei. They share a liking for cats, but I’m sure there’s more to it than that.
The cast. You’re in safe hands with these old hands. Actually they’re not old hands, they’re experienced hands. And experience counts. It’s unfair to single anyone out they are so uniformly good, but Rima Te Wiata as Mrs Wilberforce, “the wraith in a pinny” is outstanding. Especially her feet. They have a life of their own. You’ll have to see it to see what I mean.
The bits of business. Stepping on a scarf, straightening a picture, being hit on the head with a rotating blackboard – yes it’s slapstick but there is still a place in the theatre for slapstick done well. Surely.
The parrot. You never see him but you don’t need to. Imagining a diseased washing-up glove is better (or worse) than seeing one.
Avid readers know that nervous start you get when you find out a favourite author has written a new book but you didn’t know about it. Or perhaps that’s just me. Addiction is the a-word that applies, not avid.
Anyway imagine my dismay when I noticed that Jonathan Franzen has a new book and I did not know about it. Which means there are four people ahead of me on the Holds list for Purity
So in order to help my fellow addicts (I mean avid readers) I am alerting you to the following books by popular authors on order at Christchurch City Libraries. Get your name down now and avoid disappointment. You’ll never be higher on the list.
Killing Monica by Candace Bushnell. Fiction or thinly veiled fact about Sex and the City? “If you think that you’re just cray-cray” says Bushnell. You be the judge.
A recent mover from the For Later List to the In Progress shelf provides some hope that I can become creative with very little effort. Viktor Wynd’s Cabinet of Wonders has thrilling chapters such as “The Collector as Artist”, and its even better companion “On the Joys of Mess”. Apparently finding and installing is as creative as actually making.
According to good old Viktor, “Collecting as an art form in in its own right is rarely given much thought.” So endless fossicking through every second-hand shop that presents itself is creative. Who knew?