Cashel Street, 14 December 2009: Picturing Canterbury

Cashel Street - 14 December 2009.
File Ref:Cashel_Street_-_14_December_2009__DSC08393.JPG. Kete Christchurch CC BY-NC-SA 3.00 NZ.

The City Mall was opened on August 7, 1982.  Also known as Cashel Mall, it was reinvented following the 2010/2011 earthquakes as Restart Mall with retail businesses housed in recycled shipping containers. This image shows it as it was prior to the earthquakes, bustling with people and a new sculpture by Neil Dawson, whose Chalice also features on the banners.

Kete Christchurch is a collection of photographs and stories about Christchurch and Canterbury, past and present. Anyone can join and contribute.

Baaaaad sex time again!

2009 has been a year of cringingly cheesy and often physically implausible coitus, in books of course, and to celebrate the Literary Review has posted its annual shortlist for the bad sex in fiction award.  Auberon Waugh instituted the prize back in 1993 with the aim of naming, shaming and ultimately discouraging authors from excessive literary romping.  Melvin Bragg won the inaugural award with A time to dance  and Rachel Johnson last year gained the dubious distinction of being only the second female winner with her novel Shire Hell.

The bad sex award has for many authors become a bit of a badge of honour, 2009 short-listee Richard Milward said “I’ve been there before and I’ll be there again .. There’s so much bad sex in my book that this is a nice accolade…Sex is exciting stuff – it can be vey dirty and smelly, but you’ve just got to get stuck in, and I’m not afraid of doing that.” Indeed Mr “manky” Milward!

The short-list contains some unlikely names including Booker prize winner John Banville. Banville is better known for the lyrical descriptive qualities of his novels rather than louche or lurid love scenes, but he also writes noir mysteries under the name Benjamin Black so perhaps he is gearing up for a third career as a scribe of bonktastic bodice-rippers. Esteemed American novelist  Philip Roth also makes it onto the list but having read Roth’s Sabbath’s theater several years ago and still carrying the mental scars this comes as no surprise to me. The winner/fiction filth-meister is announced on November 30th, we’ll keep you posted!

The full uncensored, X-Rated short list is:

NZ Post Awards Finalists

The finalists have been announced for the 2009 New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards! They are :

Picture Book

Junior Fiction


Young Adult Fiction

What’s big in 2009: A stab in the dark.

At this time of the year you often find articles about what the most popular books or trends were for 2008, as well as the first ruminations about what might be the big sellers for 2009.  The Guardian Weekly, who are always up with the play, has a link to some publishers predictions.  They seem to be making stabs in the dark about what might be big, and so I thought there should be  no reason why I couldn’t have a go as well.

Obama – we can’t seem to get enough of him.  His inaugural speech was for sale the day after the event, which I thought was pretty impressive.  Books on his wife Michelle are also starting to emerge, and I’m sure that there will be a big pictorial of her “style” within the next few months.

Books about Iraq and Afghanistan are still very popular, and especially anything that concentrates on America’s role. By his own rules: the story of Donald Rumsfeld has obviously been sitting on a publishers desk waiting for a good opportunity to get the widest coverage, and what better publicity than a new President and a possible new approach to the Middle East?

Craft books are always popular, and personally I couldn’t be happier.  Emphasis seems to be on making do, using up those old scraps, creating masterpieces from junk and generally indulging ourselves in creativity.  What better way to cope with the doom and gloom by creating something that only your mother could like?

No longer are we getting the business books on how to be a millionaire in two weeks.  What happens to all these titles?  Should we keep them until there’s a turn around in the economy, or start using them for fire starters?  You can either choose to be an eternal optimist and read A Millionaires options: Unlocking the secrets of successful options investment, or perhaps  Sophie Greys’ ( The Destitute Gourmets ) new book,  Live well, spend less is more realistic.

Dieting books are still being churned out by the dozen. Fat: An appreciation of a misunderstood ingredient goes against everything we have been taught to believe in the last ten years, and The Writing diet: write yourself right-size has great possibilities for bloggers, I can feel the pounds disappearing already!

So don’t miss the opportunity for your say in what’s going to be big this year.  Any ideas for Fiction perhaps?  I’m going for more of the feel good genre, escapism, and less of the misery.  Perhaps even Science Fiction?