I mentioned recently that I was reading The Graveyard Book to the kids (and Jenna) in the States. This inspired the aged photo here, having realised how much the young Bod is like Clark. Sadly I was too slow with recording the remaining chapters so Jenna and Karleigh gave in and continued reading themselves — disappointing, but not exactly unexpected.
As I mentioned to Jenna at the time, I really miss the opportunity to read out loud. I would occasionally read aloud to Kirsten while we were together, and even at school I liked the experience of bringing apparently dull words to life. There is something — not quite primal, but at the very least tribal — about the act of storytelling. It is an interactive form of entertainment in which both the storyteller and audience are complicit in conjuring a world from nothing; neither can operate alone since one can only inspire the imagination of another, not control it. It is, naturally, more rewarding if you can see the reaction from your audience as you progress (and that may in turn inform your own narration) but the Atlantic still has much for which it must answer.
So a new question: what else would people recommend as good children’s books I could read? Ideally these would be either British or older books which they otherwise might not come across, as Jenna will undoubtedly have a readily available stream of recent home-grown fiction to read Karleigh. And nothing that falls into the horrific apparently-this-is-now-a-genre-with-an-entire-shelf of “Teen Supernatural Romance”. I already have the first in mind (which I had been intending to buy for Karleigh in a year and a half or so, for her to read herself): the first of Diana Wynne Jones’ Chrestomanci novels, Charmed Life, which struck a chord with me as a boy when I first listened to it as an audiobook (or rather overheard it while my mother was listening).
Sort of a follow-up to yesterday’s post, this features the various bits and pieces I’ve come across in the last couple of weeks that are worth sharing. First up is an ingeniously innovative new use of the Nintendo Wii hardware for head tracking, with a great demonstration that ought to impress even those who are not gaming-inclined. Tycho over at Penny Arcade postponed his regular blog post to show off this video, and those who know the site also know he is never one to shut up!
The American cover for The Graveyard Book, Neil Gaiman’s next book, has been revealed. Of course following the standard trend this means we can expect something completely different here in the UK. His entire back catalogue was re-released in a single style with Anansi Boys a few years ago, with the Fragile Things collection continuing that design. It will be interesting to see if they follow suit with the new book or produce something divergent.
With a lot of buzz hovering around the imminent release of Cloverfield produced by Lost creator JJ Abrams, supposedly reinvigorating the monster film genre, people have apparently forgotten the film he is actually directing. The film in question is Star Trek, a prequel that looks at the roots of Kirk and Spock, and one that will make or break the future of the franchise. The cast list is impressive, including Heroes villain Zachary Quinto (Sylar) as Spock in an inspired piece of casting. Somewhat stranger are comedy actors Simon Pegg and John Cho as Scotty and Sulu respectively. A teaser trailer has now been released which, as is now expected, reveals virtually nothing beyond the exterior of the Enterprise. Hopefully some real footage will emerge before long.
Here at the flat we’ve upgraded our entire wireless network, replacing the old Netgear router with a Belkin wireless N setup. Far more robust and with massively increased bandwidth, this actually allows for smooth wireless streaming of video via the Xbox even in high definition. So yes, that means HD trailers displayed on the Bravia in the living room which looks stunning. Wall-E has actually been the most oft-played for its sheer level of detail in the junkyard sequences. Its left me very keen to get more HD content to play with and with the Blu-ray camp delivering a decisive blow at the beginning of this month at CES, seemingly ending the format war earlier than expected, it’s becoming very difficult to hold back. That is, until one looks at the prices. My wallet whimpers and I go back to looking at DVDs.