Five things we loved this week
Our literary round-up of the last seven days
1. Johnny Five Is alive!
Hollywood certainly has a lot to answer for when it comes to humanity's fear of robots - but so too does Mary Shelley. Isaac Asimov named the fear of artificial humans the ‘Frankenstein complex’, after all. In the presense of an advanced robot, people tend to need reassurance, which explains why scientists are using novels to teach artificial Intelligence machines human behaviour and empathy. That’s right – lots of ‘Johnny Five’-style robots are whizzing through pages as we speak, processing the finer points of Jane Austen and The Little House on the Prairie. Although, let’s hope no one gives them Frankenstein to read. Or In Cold Blood. Oh, Or The Shining…
2. Colour your own TARDIS
The Doctor Who: Travels in Time Colouring Book is available for pre-order now. If it is anything like its predecessor, Doctor Who: The Colouring Book, copies of the book will materialise suddenly, as though out of nowhere. Oddly, a huge number of them will seem to spill from an old-fashioned, dark blue police box (that we could have sworn was not there a second before), and, in each shop, copies will fly off the shelves. Colouring is everybody’s favourite new, incredibly relaxing, pastime; as you colour, you will find your worries melt away and you will drift off, as though, perhaps, to another dimension. Other notable additions to the world of colouring books are: the Harry Potter Colouring Book, Sherlock: The Mind Palace The Official Colouring Book and the official A Game Of Thrones Colouring Book.
3. Too Naked For the Nazis (is a book title!)
Want to read a list comprising seven of the strangest book titles you have ever seen? Good, so does The Bookseller, which is why it ‘hosts’ The Diagram Prize. Now in its 38th year, The Diagram Prize is awarded to the book with the oddest title, published in the last year and nominated by the public. I would say more, but I think the list speaks for itself – so here are the seven titles on the 2016 shortlist: Reading the Liver: Papyrological Texts on Ancient Greek Extispicy, an academic study on sacrificial sheep; Too Naked for the Nazis, a biography of a musical hall troupe; Paper Folding with Children, a craft book that appears to assume children are extremely flexible; Transvestite Vampire Biker Nuns from Outer Space: A Consideration of Cult; Behind the Binoculars: Interviews with Acclaimed Birdwatchers; Soviet Bus Stops; and last but not least Reading from Behind: A Cultural History of the Anus.
4. Free tickets? Aye Write!
At the Aye Write! Festival speakers come from an array of backgrounds to discuss all things literary and political too, the whole thing characterised by fiery wit and a thirst for debate. The festival runs from March 10th – 20th and is held at the iconic Mitchell library in Glasgow. As well as the usual wide variety of fiction and non-fiction events, this year, Aye Write! has a new strand of programming for comics, gaming and 'unsettling fiction' called Aye Con which will feature Christopher Brookmyre, Kirsty Strain and Metaphrog amongst many others. To top it off, the organisers are giving away 300 free tickets for Aye Write! events to deprived local residents. Not bad, ay?
5. Remember the dear departed
This week saw the commemoration of two great literary figures, Harper Lee and Umberto Eco; two writers remembered in two very different styles by fans, friends and family. On Tuesday, hundreds of Eco’s followers gathered at Sforza Castle in Milan to pay homage to the great and gregarious orator, brilliant lecturer and award-winner author. Crowds cheered when his coffin, decorated with white roses, was carried to the 15th century citadel and laid in state, while musicians played Arcangelo Corelli’s sonata La Follia, his favourite piece of baroque music . It was a beautiful, warm outpouring of affection for the great man.
In contrast, but according to the writer’s wishes, Harper Lee’s funeral was a quiet, private affair. It was a modest service attended only by a few dozen of those closest to her. The eulogy was a speech by her old friend Wayne Flynt entitled ‘Atticus Inside Ourselves’. Lee is, of course, remembered in monuments and tributes all over her home town of Monroeville. Two very different authors, remembered in styles that befitted their personalities; both will be equally and greatly missed.
The sun-kissed prairie stretches out around the Ingalls family, smiling its welcome after their long, hard journey across America. But looks can be deceiving and they soon find that they must share the land with wild bears and Indians. Will there be enough land for all of them?
Franciscans in a wealthy Italian abbey are suspected of heresy, and Brother William of Baskerville arrives to investigate. But his delicate mission is overshadowed by seven bizarre deaths. He collects evidence, deciphers secret symbols and digs into the eerie labyrinth of the abbey where extraordinary things are happening under the cover of night.
Mark Avery and Keith Betton, passionate birdwatchers and conservationists, interview members of the birdwatching community about the lives of famous birdwatchers. They take you behind the scenes, and behind the binoculars, of a diverse range of birding and wildlife personalities.
In Cold Blood: A True Account of a Multiple Murder and Its Consequences - Penguin Essentials (Paperback)
On 15 November 1959, the small town of Holcomb, Kansas, a wealthy farmer, his wife and their two young children were found brutally murdered. Blood all over the walls, the telephone lines cut, and only a few dollars stolen. Heading up the investigation is Agent Al Dewey, but all he has are two footprints, four bodies, and a whole lot of questions.
Over twenty fun paper folding projects for children, fully illustrated with diagrams and tips.
Scout has returned to Maycomb from New York to visit her father Atticus. She is forced to grapple with issues both personal and political as she tries to understand both her father's attitude toward society, and her own feelings about the place where she was born and spent her childhood.
The perfect gift for fans of George R. R. Martin's A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE and HBO's GAME OF THRONES, this one-of-a-kind colouring book features more than forty-five exclusive illustrations!
With a celebration of the visual landscape of Sherlock, this book recreates classic scenes, adds colour to intricate interiors and illuminates the fascinating world of Sherlock with the power of your imagination.
A colouring book that is packed with Doctor Who art. With 45 images to colour and quotes from the beloved TV show, it is suitable for any creative Doctor Who fan.
A staggeringly unique and insightful exploration of the anus, challenging us to move away from paranoid phallocentric critical examination, towards inclusion.
Packed with stunning pieces of artwork from the Warner Bros. archive, this book gives fans the chance to colour in the vivid settings and beloved characters of J.K. Rowling's wizarding world. Containing intricate line drawings used in the making of the Harry Potter films, this colouring book includes all of the fan-favourite scenes.
A colouring book that lets you experience the timey-wimey travels of Doctor Who. Allowing you colour in kings and queens, Romans and Egyptians, Viking villages and erupting volcanoes, it features the Doctor's greatest friends and foes from throughout all of history, along with illustrations of Churchill, Shakespeare, Van Gogh, Dickens, and more.