Category Archives: Old stuff

Hello from not Melbourne!

Hey everyone! This is Fay, checking in. I haven’t died or been arrested or anything, I’ve just stopped checking and updating this blog obsessively. This is probably healthy, as Steven told me. But don’t worry, I’m still obsessively checking and updating mine, and I just posted about some books we (probably) have in stock. (Unfortunately I am not able to monitor Sunflower stock in real time. Otherwise I would probably end up doing a lot less sightseeing.) So if you want to hear my thoughts on The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz, Sea Hearts by Margo Lanagan and Things We Didn’t See Coming by Steven Amsterdam then come on down to 1001booksimustread.wordpress.com. (Check it, Ste, I finally figured out how to link!)

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Things in the Shop that You Should Buy: Money

Welcome to (what will possibly become) a new feature on this here blarg, Things in the Shop that You Should Buy, in which I, Steven Z. Helfenbaum, recommend to you, I don’t know your name, books, not necessarily new, that we have in the shop and that you totes owe yourself to read.  Starting today with Martin Amis’s classic, Money.

Money by Martin Amis

“It must be the booze, it must be the junk, it must be all the pornography

Money tells the story of John Self, a successful ad executive turned movie producer, and the perfect consumer of fast food, drink, drugs, and pornography.  Throughout he travels between New York and his home in London, making a semi-autobiographical film (his father, Barry, hilariously and terribly, sent an invoice to John on his maturity for expenses involved in raising him) with young, tanned, athletic producer Fielding Goodney.  Money is a satirical look at all the excesses of late 1980s ‘greed is good’ capitalism (and not surprisingly it works just as well today).  Self is a hideous character concerned only with gratification and a desire for greater riches, and is the very embodiment of his self-centred age.  But he’s also very funny.  Consumerism and pornography saturate everything, creating an oppressive, ugly mood that Amis can create so well (see also London Fields, which is amazing), and the book rife with clever literary allusions to Shakespeare, in particular Othello.  Important to the book is the question of motive, or rather the lack thereof in late modern society.  Money is also very clever: Amis writes himself into the novel, in doing so implicating himself (and the reader as well) in the hyperconsumerist monster, and also allowing some interesting meta-fictional exchanges about Amis’s role in the novel (as character and author).  As vital today as it must have been 30 years ago (I’m too young for the 80s buddy), Money is a fantastic novel.  It’s in our shop and you should buy it.

Money by Martin Amis, $12.95

Happy Friday!

It is the end of the working week, huzzah! Unless you are me.

So what’s been happening at Sunflower this week? I hear you ask. Lots of things!

On Wednesday night we went to the Elliot Perlman event at the Jewish Holocaust Centre and listened to him speak warmly and eloquently. Dominic, their Austrian intern, and I fetched lots of chairs. And then we sold some books! And then Elliot signed them! More on that tomorrow. Not that there’s a whole lot more to be said, but still. In fact when I said ‘lots of things’ I think that was it really.

What else…. I have resolved to stop complaining about the size of 1Q84 so I will just say that I am getting there. I will write a crazy long review when I finish to make up for all my writing. Crazy long to match the CRAZY LENGTH of 1Q84. Sorry. That’s it, I promise.

So today I was working with the charming Vivienne, our newest employee. Have I told you guys about her yet? She’s great! Maybe I’ll get her to post something next week.

We were talking about some people’s aversion to teen books and how it isn’t necessarily fair because great teen fiction can cross into adult fiction just as lots of great fiction can be read by teens. And now I’ll stop saying teens.

For instance, on the longlist of THAT Miles Franklin last year was a novel written by Melina Marchetta, ostensibly written for young people but in fact chosen by judges as some of the best fiction in Australia. Sonya Hartnett was shortlisted the year before, and she is recognised as one of Australia’s best writers.  So take that, teen haters!

On the other hand I think that Geraldine Brooks books tend to flip back well for younger audiences and I won’t say more than that because it would probably turn out mean. I’m not her biggest fan (obvs) but I do think she tells good stories. The Phryne Fisher series is also a great young person idea, I listened to them on tape as a kid and they were fun and exciting and not too racy or scary but full of Melbourne history and murder!

Lots of classics came up too, like Catch 22, Catcher in the Rye, Travels with my Aunt, The Great Gatsby, 1984.

But then you want to be careful too, because no matter how good a reader you are at 14, there are some things that young people shouldn’t have to think about or deal with in too much agonising detail. Like rape and violence and stuff. The most inappropriate book I read as a young teenager was The Bride Stripped Bare and it honestly freaked me out for a while. I don’t know though, I was (and still am) particularly sensitive.

End of rambling! Happy Friday!

Love Fay

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