Tag Archives: Anne Rooney

Pies

As a follow-up to last week’s post on how much authors earn, I give you pies.

The very kind and extremely hardworking Anne Rooney (who should be in the over £75K category, but probably isn’t) couldn’t settle until she’d made me some pies. And then she sent them over. Having studied Anne’s multi-coloured circles and pondered, I believe I need to share all of them with you. There is something starkly interesting about these coloured slices on how well people feel they do.

Graph 1

Are children’s books mostly written by women because junior citizens are more ‘women’s work’? Or is it that the low pay scale makes it a job for women? But then, why are so many the main earner in their household? They have certainly been at it for quite some time.

Graph 3

What makes them do it? Writing (a whole book) seems like hard work, so how come writers do it, as well as holding down another job? There is no mention of those other tasks, like childcare or ironing, which presumably comes on top of the two or more paid jobs.

Graph 2

But it’s that last pie chart that sends a chill down my spine. I’m aware that the no segment is twice the size of the yes, but even so…

We have a lot to be grateful for. That so many are not contemplating giving up, and that there are so many partners propping up the world of children’s books.

Thank you.

Bookwitch bites #114

Well, wasn’t that a week stacked to the gills with reviews of some of the excellent books published on the 5th? Don’t spread them out. Just send them in our direction all at once. Spacing your reading is so last century.

And Sophie Hannah is the new Agatha Christie. Will be. Sort of. Sophie is the latest in the recent trend of asking living authors to step into the shoes of their late colleagues. And whereas Agatha Christie did finish Miss Marple off, I think Hercule Poirot managed to avoid having a last case. Although, he is dreadfully old, even if we don’t bring him into the 21st century. Very pleased for Sophie, who writes extremely well. I look forward to seeing what she can do with the old French, oops, sorry, Belgian detective. (Maybe she’ll be less scary. Than her usual self, I mean.)

No sooner had Daughter and I returned from our travels, overseeing The New Window, but Mrs Pendolino called in to deal with hair that had grown too long. She’s on her way to Vegas, which apparently is the place to go this year.

Once shorn, we opened our doors to Botany Girl and Rhino Boy, who called in on their way past Bookwitch Towers, having inspected some scout hut or other. They weren’t going to Vegas. The Northwest – our Northwest – is good enough for them.

I have known Botany Girl for almost as long as I have known the Resident IT Consultant. I’ve not seen so much of her, however, so it was nice of her to remember my proximity to the scout hut. Rhino Boy I’d only met the once, over ten years ago. He wasn’t sure he’d met Daughter, but she was able to tell him what he had for dinner that evening (and somehow he knew she was right. It was a Quattro Stagioni…).

Before regaling us with tales of stuff that all happened when we were all less old than we are now, Rhino Boy looked round the room and his gaze fastened on Anne Rooney’s The Story of Physics. So I let him have a little look. Seems he knows about Physics. He also wanted the inside story on Stieg Larsson. (As if I’d know anything about that.)

Botany Girl and I agreed that it is possible to have a satisfactory quality of life even without advanced Maths, and I forgot to remind her I still owe her a session of washing up.

And I suppose now it’s back to ‘normal’ for maybe a week…

… and rock ‘n’ roll

This week we’ve mentioned the sex, and the alcohol. That leaves the rock ‘n’ roll. Wine, women and song. All bad stuff.

There’s so much music in novels these days. Perhaps there always was, and I’ve been deaf and blind. Adrian McKinty (yes, him again) puts lots of music in his books. Sergeant Duffy listens to a wide repertoire. He’s a bit of a show-off, that Duffy.

In Adrian’s YA novel The Lighthouse Keepers, which I’ve read but not yet reviewed, the young main character raves about music. Not so sure he’s not too precocious in his musical taste, but never mind.

Might be an Irish thing? When I first ran into John Connolly – outside the Ladies, before an event, and before he knew who I was – he pressed a CD into my hands. I gather he listens to a selection of music each time he writes a book, and those tracks end up belonging to that particular novel.

I added John’s favourites to my iTunes, and every time a track I can’t identify pops up on shuffle, I can be certain it’s one of his. I only added the CD because it contained a Lee Hazlewood track. I used to be a great fan.

A Jodi Picoult novel from a couple of years ago also included a CD. I passed the book and CD on to someone else, while making sure I put the tracks into iTunes first. I like them a lot.

It can be inspiring having an author’s choice of music for when you read. But what if you don’t like the music that helped them write? If every time the characters play their favourite tracks, you just can’t stand the music? Would you rather do without it?

Rather like when you find out which actor inspired someone’s character. If it’s the ‘wrong’ actor, you’ll have to quickly re-imagine them as someone you’d prefer. (Nobody tell me their heroine was inspired by that Keira woman! I’d have to burn your book.)

Music is an age thing, too. Adrian – again – is the wrong age for me. He doesn’t pick the music I listen to, nor the stuff forced on me – I mean, made available to me – by Offspring. I have a whole decade, that’s been almost completely blacked out. (When Son did a GCSE project on a decade in pop music, he was given the 1980s. Naturally. And we could offer no help.)

It’s not only the music behind a book, or the albums enjoyed by a fictional character. The whole book can be based on music. Obviously. Recently Son translated extracts from a couple of music based novels written by a Norwegian author. That was 20,000 words featuring an opera and all the backstage stuff. Luckily it was a made-up opera, so it ended up being less of a fact checking nightmare.

And we get YA books about pop groups, and wannabes. With the current talent programme epidemic on television we will probably end up with many more of them. It beats vampires, though.

Although having said that, I seem to recall that one of Anne Rooney’s vampires played in a band.

And Elvis lives.

Vampire Dawn

I know you felt safe from vampires over here, but there is no such thing as safe. And this new vampire series by Anne Rooney is no safe, pale, veggie kind of vampire series. Anne might count herself veggie, but it’s been a long time since I encountered so much blood in books. I’d recommend not reading and eating at the same time.

Intelligently written, with humour – and blood – and exciting and dangerous, this is a series of easy to read books for older readers. Seven books in total. You have to start with Die Now or Live Forever. It’s where the five teenagers Finn, Juliette, Omar, Ruby and Alistair go camping in the woods in Hungary. Almost before they can say ‘bat’ they have turned into vampires, much to everyone’s surprise.

The next five books are one for each teenager, and can be read in any order, as they don’t have much to do with the others after ‘the change.’ You find out what their lives are like afterwards. Not that they have much of a life, some of them.

There is blood. Did I say? And the books are quite scary in places. I think I found Drop Dead Gorgeous the hardest to digest. There is an aspie vampire, naturally. And all the teenagers encounter some famous people that we have erroneously believed to be long dead. Undead is what they are.

Anne Rooney, Vampire Dawn

Once you have covered In Cold Blood, Every Drop of your Blood, Life Sucks and Dead on Arrival, you can study the very useful Bloodsucking for Beginners.

Anne has evidently done a lot of research. I know she is brainy and all that, but I hadn’t realised it was possible to research vampirism.

And all that blood…

Higgs Force

I just knew the day would come. And here it is!

I have given the Resident IT Consultant permission to review a book for me. All will become clear if you read on. It’s the kind of book I’m not as qualified to review as I’d like to be. I know I covered Anne Rooney’s Physics book a while back, but this one takes me out of my comfort zone. And when I saw how eagerly the poor man grabbed hold of Higgs Force by Nicholas Mee, I came to the conclusion it would be a kindness to let him write a review.

My impression is that this is a really interesting book. It’s just that I couldn’t say anything relevant or intelligent even if I tried. (In order to possibly gain advantages of some sort, other family members have hinted I might just understand it.)

“Higgs Force is clearly designed (or at least, titled) to capitalise on the interest surrounding the impending confirmation of the existence of the Higgs particle. Although it devotes relatively little space to the work of Peter Higgs and the Higgs particle, this is not a weakness as it provides a well-written and clearly explained overview of the way in which our understanding of the fundamental forces in nature has developed over the last two thousand years. I very much enjoyed reading it.

Popular books on complex scientific concepts can approach their subject in two different ways; they can focus on human interest, describing people and incidents linked to the concept, or they can try to explain the science and how it has developed. Many popular science books today completely ignore the science. Others, like Simon Singh’s book on Fermat’s Last Theorem or Anne Rooney’s The Story of Physics give roughly equal weight to both. Nicholas Mee’s book concentrates mainly on the context and development of the science, with much less attention paid to the background and personalities of the individuals involved.

The book is well illustrated throughout. It provides a very readable account of developments in our understanding of natural forces, how these have led to our current view of fundamental particles and the role of symmetry in our understanding of the universe. Readers without any formal training in Physics will probably need a certain amount of intellectual curiosity and determination to complete it but I believe they will find it rewarding. It might be particularly suitable as preliminary reading for those intending to study Physics at university.”

And there you have it. Not our normal bookwitch fare but quite intriguing all the same. I suspect that Daughter is about to launch another review of the book over at her place, one of these days. Isn’t it nice when the generations grapple over a book?

The Story of Physics

‘There are even university level equations’ said the Resident IT Consultant. I’m ashamed to say that I wouldn’t recognise one of those if it came up and bit me, so will take his word for this. It could also be an indication he was moderately impressed by The Story of Physics, written by Anne Rooney.

As I was saying only yesterday, we have been living in the land of physics this last week. It’s exams time, and all that. (Not suggesting this book would stretch quite that far, but…) Anyway, TSoP is full of all those terms I was so unfamiliar with only a short time ago.

Like mechanics, which is not necessarily something that happens to your car. It even becomes maths at times. Thermodynamics. Relativity. All excellent stuff. And for the innocent bystander, this book can take them a lot closer to the real deal. According to Anne TSoP is primarily meant for adults, ‘for filling in those embarrassing gaps in knowledge and stumbling across fascinating nuggets.’ Fun reading, in other words. But she reckons teenagers will like the book, and that it can fill gaps left by GCSEs and even A-levels.

So, what I should really do, is keep it somewhere close, so that every now and then I can reach out and read a suitably sized chunk, slowly learning all sorts of things. Because while reading it all in one go like a novel is possible, it’s not to be recommended if you actually want to take facts in.

It started with the old Greeks. Maybe even earlier. I’m always amazed by what they knew so long ago. In fact, mechanics is what keeps buildings from falling to pieces. The stones keep each other in place. (So not mortar, then?)

TSoP has lots of pictures and interesting bits about all these learned men and women. There was the woman who gambled, using maths to help her win, and using her wins to fund her science. Sad stuff like being frozen to death by a Swedish Queen, or having French revolutionaries chop off your head. Marrying some cleverclogs, who can’t even go on honeymoon without doing science.

So many discoveries took a lot of hard work. Some came about by accident when they weren’t even looking.

The thing is, I recognise many of these people. So I must have come across them before. Then there are all those who have given their names to things we all know about; like Hertz and Ohm. A tremendous number of Nobel prize winners. And 4xGreat Uncle Faraday. (Not mine, I hasten to add.) He is all electric.

I’m doing my best to believe that Eddington was not actually David Tennant, but it’s hard. There is a picture of yesterday’s birthday child, Stephen Hawking, floating in zero gravity. I had no idea the atom bomb was first thought up by H G Wells in a novel. And did you know Terry Pratchett didn’t make up those elephants on top of the turtle?

You know how you often feel that if only someone would write a book that explains a certain something intelligently and concisely, then you’d buy it? Well, this is it, if your certain something happens to be physics. I will definitely try to become more knowledgeable with its help, although it would have been easier twenty years ago when my grey cells were more agile.

Who’d have thought I could become all enthusiastic about a book on physics?

The second day

Here we are again. How did you get on yesterday? Did you have to queue for the toilets? No, I didn’t, either. Nor did I wear Lucy Coats’s pyjamas all day. (Not even part of the day, I’ll have you know.)

What did I do? I watched Mary Hoffman and Anne Rooney drink coffee. (It’s the personal touch that makes festivals such fun.) I watched Lucy Coats reading to three dogs.

And Sam Mills was interviewed by Tyger Drew (whoever he might be), and then she interviewed him back. I’m unsure of what Sam said to make Tyger want to poke his eye out, but there you are.

Tyger Drew and Sam Mills, ABBA festival

I entered competitions to win things. I never do, but then I seem to own most of the books on offer, so I’m best to let others, more needy than myself, win.

And here’s today’s programme for the ABBA online blog festival.

ABBA festival Sunday

I’ve got all my books ready to be signed today. It has to work!

And at least they aren’t starting too frightfully early. I might make it down to the kitchen for 10.30.

ABBA festival!

First they steal my idea, and then they put it into action on a day when I can’t even enjoy it. Pah.

It’s ABBA. No, not the pickled fish and not even those people who used to sing. I’m talking about the Awfully Big Blog Adventure and the festival they are running this weekend.

Yes, I know. It’s ridiculous. How can you possibly have an online book festival? Can I take pictures of my authors? Can I have my books signed? Are there even any tickets left to all these events, and how do they expect me to get around from one event to the next without a break in-between?

PhotobucketI’m busy today. Very busy. I can’t just sit there and commune with my beloved authors through a computer screen all day long. But I want to. I’ll have to make a timetable of sorts, to see if I can fit in my bestest people that way. Maybe eat with them? (Hey, do you object to crumbs and slurps?)

Just look at that programme!

ABBA festival Saturday

It sort of makes a witch want to skive off for the day. How are they going to pull it off, technically? (My idea was for a normal live kind of in person sort of festival…)

Oh well, see you tomorrow.

Bookwitch bites #19

I just have to point out the wonderful Mythic Friday Interview with Anne Rooney over at Scribble City Central. They have all been good up to now, with the possible exception of the witchy one in mid-May. But how to follow this one?

We have a Garth Nix alert. He’s coming. Garth will be in the UK for a short tour in August, starting with Seven Stories in Newcastle, and then going on to the Edinburgh BookFest and then to Bath and Norwich. I know very little about Garth, other than that he seems to have really keen fans. I’ll know more after his Edinburgh event. I hope.

Children’s Laureate Anthony Browne has been persuading the great and the good among his colleagues and other famous people to be creative with crayons and things. In other words, they appear to have gone all arty and the fruits of this artiness is offered in an auction which ends tomorrow. Check the piggybank and put in a bid before it’s too late. I’m afraid I have already missed the boat, so to speak.

To finish, a photo especially for Sara O’Leary. I’m ashamed to say that the mirror smoothness of the sea has been in shorter supply than previously. But the scene below was exciting, at least. And it did have the distinct advantage of getting us thoroughly wet without us going into the water. One has to be grateful for small things.

Surfing in the sand dunes