And keeping with the subject, Edmund De Waal, a leading British ceramics artist has recently wrote a fascinating book about his family, following 264 Japanese netsuke (small wood and ivory carvings of people, animals and plants) which are owned by his ancestors, through time and countries. The Hare with the Amber Eyes is a memoir, a biography in a way, a travel and history book about a Jewish family in exile and a thing book, as the Guardian puts it. De Waal brings to life the things around us. One can nearly feel and seem to touch the objects he describes - the art of pottery, put in writing!
After a few more and more elaborate editions of this book including a luxurious illustrated version there now also exists an 'enhanced digital edition' (on ibook). Does it add a new layer? I am not sure since the original was not meant as an ebook to start with. I think digital storytelling might be considered a new literary genre altogether, simple adaptations might add a few more interactive layers, but not all books can or should profit from such enhancement. Reading De Waal's comment about the illustrated edition
Last year I found these fantastic city maps, and today I stumbled over the superb kid's version on Chocoralie's blog. An absolute essential in my eyes for a successful city tour with kids. You might even be able to leave your GPS mobile in your pocket and let the kids be the guides. Get ready for London, Paris, New York, Berlin and Amsterdam!
Have not quite arrived in London yet - this view we enjoyed from the cottage really makes you start daydreaming about your own little space in the country ...
... and the freedom the kids would have ... till you think it through and realise that we would spent most of our time in the car getting from A to B ... oh, and Internet its really slow or not available at all, mobile connection not everywhere ... we will find more sticky points if we think long and hard, and probably stay put ?!
Having visited Farmer's Markets and cooked an awful lot last week in the state -of-the-art kitchen at the little cottage we rented in West Sussex, I feel like not cooking for a while but still keep the spirit of the holidays going. So how about this
and Half Term Holidays are upon us. We will be wrapping up warm and planning to go for long walks in the countryside - probably always in search of the roaring fire in a nice pub! If you are staying in the capital here you will find a list of Pubs and Bars with real fire to keep warm!
There is quite a haunting exhibition on at the Hamiltons Gallery (till 25. 2. 2012) in London. 'Venice in Solitude' by Christopher Thomas shows the city devoid of people - beautifully shot in black and white, the photographs remind one of another area, another time.
I do think a city does take on a totally different kind of persona once the people have gone and is more than just a collection of buildings.
One can contemplate whether any city is there for its people, representation, inspiration or better be left alone but this could take us quickly enough into the realm of modern architecture and city planning and away from the magic of Venice.
If you cannot make it to the exhibition, Prestel Publishers is releasing the accompanying book with 75 photos and text by the German poet Albert Ostermaier.
Today marks 60 years since Elisabeth II ascended the throne. The main celebrations will happen in June but do listen out today for - 41 Royal Gun Salutes in Hyde Park at noon and 62 at the Tower of London at 13.00.
Check out this new App Dark London commissioned by the Museum of London. Illustrated by David Folvari with haunting images, Dickens' observations are narrated by actor Mark Strong, guiding us through the darker sides of the author's Victorian London.
An 1862 map can be overlaid by today's satellite images of the city, background information is also available. The App and the first Edition is free and more to come. Beautifully done!