May 12, 2010

AWRF10: Welcome Auckland Writers & Readers Festival!


The Auckland Writers & Readers Festival is about to kick off. Books in the City will once again be providing its fantastic coverage with everything you wanted to know about the events you couldn’t get to. Will we encore our famous footwear reviews? I can’t say. Who would dare to predict where inspiration will strike?

I read Lionel Shriver's new book So much for that in two days, 400 pages, staying up until 2:00 AM the first night, and yes, the next day was a working day. Do I need to say I really liked it? I am always a sucker for biting humour and for cleverness – and the book has both of these in spades. There’s a topical issue, the US Health Care system, and a non-topical issue (in as much as it’s an issue for all times and places) which is terminal illness, but it is definitely not "an issue book".

Sitting on my table I’ve got Yiyun Li’s two books, William Dalrymple’s Nine lives, John Carey’s biography of William Golding (noted for having to be subtitled The man who wrote Lord of the Flies) and Paul Millar’sNo fretful sleeper, a life of Bill Pearson. I’ve made inroads into all of them but what I really need would be a Read in Bed day. Had you heard of this fantastic initiative? In England, Jayne Ramage spent a day in bed in her bookstore to publicise the benefits of such a day, which she recommends be celebrated 4 times a year. I see that in Australia Kevin Parker has picked up the idea and promoted it on his blog.

Here’s his idea of how it might work:
"The National Read in Bed days would require that each of us retire to our bedroom for at least 24 hours with a novel, a non-fiction work, a poetry book, a children's book, a life style book, a biography / autobiography and one work translated from a language other than our own. Each hour a compulsory lap around the bed to keep the circulation flowing and a change of genre would be advised. If we are lucky enough to have a partner and a double-bed or larger, other exercise options might be available. A snooze every few hours is suggested."

(read the whole post, which includes a long list of expected benefits such as greater bonding with your cats).

We can’t get left behind on this one. So yes, if you see someone at the Festival soliciting signatures for a National Read in Bed Day initiative, that will probably be me. I might suggest to Festival directors Jill Rawnsley and Anne Rodda that they get some of the authors to talk from bed next year, as a start.

Ditulis Oleh : tosca // 02:30
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