30 September 2009

Lookalike covers

We were on a bit of a covers junket before I went away, my cover, then different covers for the same book. Next I thought I would look at the flip side of different-covers-same-book, here we have same-covers-different-books (okay, not the same but very similar).

With the popularity of Twilight I decided to start here.

Some effort here to change what is clearly the same photo.

Identical photo.

Again some effort made to change original photo.

Same photo, second one zoomed out further.

Here's a three-for-one deal.

And a four-for-one. This one intrigued me because one of these is the New Testament of the Bible (guess which one).

Finish on this one because it amused me. The second picture is not actually a book cover, it's an add for cold sore cream.

If you know of any classic lookalike cover feel free to share :)

Music: St. Germain
Currently reading: 'Loving a Lost Lord' by Mary Jo Putney

23 September 2009


I'm back from Australia and already missing not being on holiday - isn't that always the way.

We went to South Australia (Adelaide, Barossa Valley, & McLaren Vale). Had a beautiful time. The weather was superbly kind to us, as was the wine.

I liked this picture - vines as far as the eye can see :) We tried some of the wonderful, full Shiraz that this region is famous for. The full fruity Barossa variety and the more earthy McLaren Vale ones.
As you can see from the picture the vines are only just into bud burst and not as green and lush as they'll be later in the year. Not sure what varietal these vines are, although I'm a fan of Shiraz it's not all they produce.

I liked this picture as well. A semi-sunken courtyard. You get the sun in winter, and a fantastic sunshade in summer when the vines get their leaves.

I'll leave you with that last picture while I get back to catching up on all the things that have built up in my absence.

Music: Sneaky Sound System
Currently reading: 'Hawkspar' by Holly Lisle
Stand alone but set in the same world as 'Talyn'. Some wonderful fantasy worldbuilding. I re-read 'Talyn' before starting this one and I couldn't tell you which I prefered.

07 September 2009

Life vs. Art

Those of you who follow my reading list (at the end of each of post) will have noticed a little while ago I read and enjoyed 'The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie' by Jennifer Ashley. A Victorian romance about a hero who suffers from Asperger’s or high functioning autism. The story touches on the sometimes narrow gap between obsession and madness.

Lord Ian Mackenzie has been out of the asylum for a few years. His father had him committed at the age of nine, ostensibly for his uncontrollable rages, inability to meet another's gaze, and obsessive tendencies. His brother released him after their father's death, and now Ian uses his uncanny knack for finance to keep the family in wads of cash. Not only in finance does Ian have savant like capabilities, he is incredibly gifted in languages, mathematics, and music. He is also capable of memorizing documents, maps, and conversations word for word, despite not necessarily understanding them.

Despite his problems he is surprisingly well suited to the role of hero. His mental issues highlight a common romance trope : a hero who is physically strong yet emotionally vulnerable, passionately devoted to the heroine yet tortured inside, determined to protect those he loves yet firmly in need of rescue himself.

Something that struck me while reading this story came home again after reading a BBC magazine article on the portrayal of autism in fiction. Does art really imitate life? Do people with autism always have an amazing intellectual skill?

The article discusses how autistic characters are always shown to be specially gifted in some way. Rainman is perhaps the most well known example I can think of, and Lord Ian the most recent. The answer of course is no. "By far, the majority of people with autism do not have any kind of savant ability." The article continues, "the current estimate is that one or two in 200 people with an autism spectrum disorder have a savant talent, according to the National Autistic Society, although the exact numbers are still unknown."

So why are they portrayed that way?
Jonathan Kaufman, president of Disability Works in the US sums it up: "It doesn't seem to be as bad to be severely autistic if you're also skilled at maths or music. If it seems to be that with your disability comes an extraordinary ability, it takes away the worst aspects of being disabled."

Which then raises another question: how does the depiction in art (movies & books etc...) effect the public, and closer to home, the parents of children with some level of autistic spectrum? Particularly parents whose children have no savant expertise?
The end of the article, in particular the comments section of the article, address more on this last question and is an interesting read.

Music: Jarvis Cocker
Currently reading: 'Atlantis Unleashed' by Alyssa Day