Well, we are already into the last full week of July. While I am back in university mode, with my dissertation due at the end of August, I have been fortunate enough to enjoy a few wonderful days off. In addition to copious amounts of reading, I have seen an amazing live broadcast of Kenneth Branagh's Macbeth and was today completely blown away by a fantastic new play Josephine and I at the Bush Theatre. Since today is also Papa Clarke's birthday (his present obviously taking book form), it is amounting to a truly superb week! I hope that you are all having an equally brilliant July.
'Bank of England Plays It Safe With Jane Austen Quotation on New £10 Note' - The Guardian
This week has greeted us with the news that the Bank of England has decided to place Jane Austen on its new £10 notes. Long overdue, the decision is seemingly a partial response to critiques of the predominantly male representation on England's banknotes. It is interesting, however, that Austen's critiques of wealth and money are ignored in favour of a quote from Pride and Prejudice - "I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading." I am obviously a big fan of the sentiment and totally delighted that Jane Austen will be receiving such a well-deserved honour.
'JK Rowling Tells Story Of Alter Ego Robert Galbraith' - The Guardian
This article brings together a number of JK Rowling's FAQ answers regarding publication of new crime novel The Cuckoo's Calling, under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. After reviewing the novel on Sunday, I did a bit of digging around to see what I could find out about Rowling's decision to pursue an undercover publication. That Rowling was able to convince critics and readers of the author's identity as a military man is an impressive feat - and a testament to her skill in crafting the military background of her sleuth, Cormoran Strike. I was also excited to learn that Rowling's pseudonym was derived, in part, from our shared political hero, Robert F. Kennedy (not only do I have a poster of the man on my living room wall, I also had a fish named Robert F(ish) Kennedy - proving, once again, how contemporary I like to keep things). In addition, Rowling has stated that she has already finished a sequel to The Cuckoo's Calling, confirming the hopes of many readers that the novel was to be the first in a lengthy series.
'The Bookshop Band Pen Novel Songs Inspired By Authors' - BBC
Coming to you courtesy of my friend Sarah, who brought my attention to the article, this story details the work of The Bookshop Band - three musicians who take their songwriting inspiration from novels. Created as a means of developing engagement with literature, the band have developed a substantial fanbase and are currently touring UK bookshops. The BBC article contains a short video with some clips - well worth a view!
'A Beginner's Guide To Cormac McCarthy' - Book Riot
A couple of weeks ago, I reviewed Cormac McCarthy's The Road - my first McCarthy novel. A little post-review digging also inspired me to give my generally non-reading father a copy of McCarthy's All The Pretty Horses for his birthday (one, as I have written inside the book, to read with the cowboy boots on). This article by Cassandra Neace over at Book Riot is a great collection of interviews and information on McCarthy, serving as a perfect Beginner's Guide to the author and his work.
TOP IN BOOK FETISH
This week's theme is bookmarks. As I have said before, I collect bookmarks with true inattention. I am constantly finding them dotted around my flat, falling out of bags and cupboards, and under cushions. Yet, when I need one, it is as if every bookmark on earth has vanished - leaving me with no choice but to use whatever is near-to-hand. Perhaps if I were to indulge in one of these amazing creations, I would be a little better at keeping track...although, I wouldn't count on it.
'The Shire Map Bookmark' - Tie Dye Jedi
Aside from having a truly magnificent name, this seller clearly has his/her priorities right. Not only is the bookmark brilliant, it would be a great resource in case of sudden location confusion in Middle Earth.
'Jane Austen Bookmarks' - CastleOnTheHill
These are unbelievably cute. Given that the characters are hand-painted, they are some truly professional-looking pieces.
'Sherlock & John Bookmark Set' - BethyDesigns
Benedict Cumberbatch in bookmark form. Need I say more?
And to our final business item...
HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD!