Thursday, July 16, 2009

Surprise book and smitten with Sunday

Gee, I love that feeling when I discover that a favourite author has a new book out. It's nice to have the anticipation leading up to the release of a new book and then finally getting your hands on it, but it's also ace when you had no clue one was even in the works and then you find out it's on the shelves Right Now and suddenly, it's yours! Wham, bam, new book!

That's what happened to me yesterday. I found out in a fairly random way (via Twitter) that Aussie writer
Nick Earls has released a new novel, The True Story of Butterfish. Oh, yay! Not only that, but I had a gift card in my wallet for the book shop near my work. No prizes for guessing where I went on my lunch break yesterday.

I love, love, LOVE Nick Earls' stuff - his books are so smart and real and laugh-out-loud funny, and his characters so appealing, quite often in a rather nerdy and inept way. I have read all of his books, including the young adult ones. I've read many of them more than once and some more than twice, including Zigzag Street, the first one I read. I clearly remember the day, in Dymocks at Collins Place in the city on my lunch break, when I picked up Zigzag Street and was amused to see the F word in the first line of the back cover blurb.

And now I have his new one. I cast aside the book I was already reading without a second thought and got started on it last night. So far so good.

Love at first sight

That wasn't the only book I left the shop with. I am now officially incapable of leaving a bookshop with only one book. As I was heading to the register with The True Story of Butterfish, I spied a kids' picture book on display called Sunday Chutney. Anyone know it?

At first I was smitten with the picture of the bespectacled Sunday on the cover - and the little flower in her hat and its little flower shadow - and then I picked it up and enjoyed the feel of the smooth, matte cover in my hands. I opened it up and the inky smell wafted up to my nose, transporting me straight back to childhood.

But my affection quickly grew beyond such superficial things when I started reading it. It starts off:

I'm Sunday Chutney... and I'm a bit unusual
You see, because of my dad's job I've lived all over the world.
Which is great. Trouble is, I'm always starting at new schools.
So I'm always the new kid.
And everyone thinks the new kid is a bit weird.
But guess what?
I don't care.
(accompanied by a pirouetting, laughing Sunday in red stripey tights)

Sold to the girl with the Nick Earls book under her arm!

I finished reading it back at my desk and fell completely in love with it by the end. It's cool and cute and funny and quirky and I love the message - it's OK to be a little bit different (at least that's what it says to me).

And it really strange for a 37-year-old to relate to a character in a book for very small children? I also have glasses, I've been the new kid in school, I enjoy my own company, I care about worthy cause and I love crumpets too.

It's written and beautifully illustrated by former Aussie actor Aaron Blabey. I even love the "About the author" bit inside the back cover:

The author of this book really likes:
old armchairs,
lovely sharp pencils,
the way trees look when their leaves fall off,
his unfashionable record collection,
and looking scuffy.

It's Blabey's second book too, so now I must buy the first one, Pearl Barley and Charlie Parsley too.


Anonymous said...

I must admit I had never heard of Nick Earls before, but perhaps I should try and read one of his books. I also love picture books and Sunday Chutney looks like fun.

Sam said...

Nick Earls is doing a talk in Melbourne at Readings coming up - check the events listing on their website.

Yes, I've most certainly heard of Sunday Chutney - Aaron Blabey is one of our best sellers and I sit right next to a huge collection of popular children's books. If you ask really nicely, I could get you the whole series for free.

Other recommendations - Fiona Roberton 'Wanted: The Perfect Pet" is immensely popular and gaining great vibes on the ground.

Tohby Riddle 'Bird & Butterfly' books or 'Great Escape from City Zoo" or possibly a Gus Gordon title such as 'Wendy'.

Also, not sure, but you might like 'Word Spy' by Ursula Dubosarsky given your love of mots. :)