“I do feel like I’ve written good books in my life, and if I quit now those books would be credible books. I guess I’m interested in the things that I have in front of me to write about. That’s one thing. And the other thing is that I have been lucky enough to attract, through good publishing, a readership for the books that I’ve written. Although it’s not an earth-shattering number of readers, it’s a good number of readers. And just as I have for the last 15 or so years, I’d like to write books to give a readership something. In other words, I always think of imaginative writing as an act of generosity, and I would like to still be able to perform a couple more acts of generosity: make something for someone I don’t know where before there was nothing.”—Richard Ford speaks to the National about his new book, Canada, out next year sometime.
“I’ve long been convinced that if you could somehow snap your fingers and destroy every sonnet on the planet, and wipe every sonnet from every human mind, it would reappear in almost exactly the same form by teatime tomorrow.”—Don Paterson hath a book on the Sonnets. Indeed. This is a bracing article and I think I just might have to buy it after seeing him on Owen Sheers’ lovely poetry show the other night, talking about George Mackay Brown.
As reported at Ampersand Duck’s blog, this podcast records Caren Florance on Radio NZ National discussing her recent residency at Otakou Press , where she created a limited edition of seven prints, Prime, using the rare iron handpress there, the works of seven New Zealand and Australian poets, and her considerable experience and imagination.
You can see some of the prints here. All posts on the residency at the &D blog, as usual, provide a full account of the delights of letterpress and art printing.
John Williams of The Second Pass provided the link to this post by Lane Smith about his lovely new children’s book about digital publishing. I found it in a bookshop the other day and enjoyed it enormously. Didn’t realise he was the Stinky Cheese author at first (and yes, I have been to this blog before I think.)
“In the mid-18th century thousands of poor women, similarly at the end of their tethers, deposited their newborn babies at the hospital. A sign instructed them to leave some kind of identifying token pinned to the child in the event they were one day in a position to take it home. Neither the name of the mother nor the baby would be recorded, so this token needed to be memorable and distinctive.”—
Researchers at Griffith University and the University of Southern Queensland are creating a database ‘combining large scale historical synthesis and intensive qualitative analysis of the act of reading.’ More at the link in the header. From Austlit’s October news.
Constance Wiebrands (@flexnib) tweeted this link describing an impressive e-publishing development. Booki.sh is a browser based e-reader that brings us all one step closer to breaking down barriers between e-publishing formats.
Okay, C didn’t win the Booker. (And we still don’t have it in paperback down here.) There are a heap of other letters still available for book titles, according to Abebooks.com. From Language Log.
Researchers at Griffith University and the University of Southern Queensland are creating a database, AusRED, ‘combining large scale historical synthesis and intensive qualitative analysis of the act of reading.’ It is based on a British ‘reading experience database’, and will be interoperable with the British project and other projects like it. More in Austlit’s October news.
I must hide Colm Toibin’s words on bridge from my mother, who used to drive around Heathmont with a sticker on her car claiming her superior bridge playing credentials:
there is no one more despised in the world of bridge, or maybe in the world itself, than a bad or lazy bridge player.
Launched earlier this year by translator Stefan Tobler, And Other Stories is a Community Interest Company, which in our case means that we’re a not-for-private-profit publisher. We gather circles of people, virtually and physically, who are also into reading powerful and unusual literature from around the world; we track down books in some of the languages that we can read between us (Spanish, French, German, Lithuanian, more soon); we translate samples and pass them around; eventually we pick the best, the novels and stories that we think good enough to demand full translation and publication in English.
We’re already near the end of this process with our first book – about which I can tell you nothing because the fine print is being worked out in Frankfurtas you read this. But soon you’ll hear all about it and the other three books we’re planning to publish next year.
Cursor, Richard Nash’s new company, is publishing Lynne Tillman’s new novel and also putting her backlist back in print.
“While Cursor’s aim is nothing less than the reinvention of the publishing business model,” said Nash, “all publishing begins with the writer, in our case three writers, all women, one an internationally-celebrated novelist, the other two thrilling debuts by writers with long careers ahead of them. They are powerful representatives of the kind of writing Red Lemonade will foster, house, and promote.”
Red Lemonade holds translation rights for all the titles—French rights to Zazen have already been licensed to Zanzibar Editions. Erin Edmison will be representing these titles at the coming Fair.
All three writers will enjoy the benefits of the provocative new set of terms Cursor is offering—three year licenses, instead of life-of-the-copyright.
“Being helpful may lose its virtue if you tingle with superiority, or resentment. That doesn’t make it bad so much as human, although probably it also means this is less a friendship of equals than power game. To avoid such pitfalls and aid a friend, let her know you’re there and leave gifts you see a clear need for. But knock on the door. Don’t force it.”—
“In his classic Appreciations of Japanese Culture, Keene lists the typical virtues of Japanese art – virtues exemplified in the bonsai: suggestion, irregularity, simplicity and perishability. And each of these offers something to the Zen mind (or lack of it). Suggestion gives the impression that there is something more; that our perception does not capture the whole. Simplicity affords focus and intensity – it neither overloads nor underwhelms the curious psyche. Irregularity offers something other than abstract perfections: a glimpse of life in its transience and unbalanced motion. And perishability intensifies this, affirming the decay and death of all things, and the vanity of seeking anchorage in what must fade or crumble.”—
I’m only just finding out what I have inherited from the unspoken grief of my mother, who had a child stolen from her as a young woman. A constant vigilance, for one thing – that there would be no more lost children, but also a watchfulness over the happiness of others. I have inherited a magical thinking that convinced me for a long time – it still can – that I am personally responsible for the physical and emotional safety of my entire family. Mainly my children, though they are now adult and one is a parent himself. Odd that I could give myself so much power, but there you are.
From the current issue of that excellent mag, Island, comes this letter exchange/essay, Conversation, co-authored by Matt Condon and Kristina Olsson. These words made me sit up: you cannot, of course, give yourself as much power as Olsson describes, unless you are running an orphanage or living in a compound with very high fences and very strong gates.