“With Fred (and I have blogged about this before) I have always found the boundaries ambiguous, where she ends, where I begin. We are more similar but also, simply, she was my first and my mother-identity was born with her. Frederique is the name of the piece of me that broke off, and became her.”—
What: Knockabout, adversarial readings with a deliberately chaotic feel. When and where: Anywhere and everywhere. Coming up: Edinburgh (10 August), London (11 August), San Francisco (13 August), New York (19 August) and Beijing (31 August). Find out more: literarydeathmatch.com
SHOREDITCH HOUSE LITERARY SALON What: Hip evening promising that ‘not since the Marquis de Sade has reading been this sexy’. When and where: Monthly at Shoreditch House, Ebor Street, London; plus weekends away, including a Reading Weekend with Louis de Bernières at Tilton House, East Sussex, 3-5 September. Find out more: Shoreditch House Literary Salon Facebook page.
What: A night of ‘literary miscellany’ featuring poetry, prose and video. When and where: At the Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club, Pollard Road, London. Season 3 runs from May-October; forthcoming events include How to Write Badly Well (25 August), The Last Barman Poet (20 September) and My Worst Gig (27 October). Find out more: aisle16.co.uk
TO HELL WITH THE LIGHTHOUSE
What: A monthly literary ‘party night’ hosted by independent publisher To Hell with Publishing. When and where: The second Monday every month at Peter Parker’s Rock’n’Roll Club, Denmark Street, London. Find out more: tohellwith.wordpress.com
What: Readings and music in a relaxed, informal setting. When and where: Usually on the last Thursday of the month at the Tabernacle, Powis Square, London; occasionally elsewhere and on other days. Podcast also available. Find out more: bookslam.com
What: Five writers perform for 15 minutes each, with a musical interlude. When and where: Usually at the Tabernacle, Powis Square, London. Forthcoming events on 20 and 27 September (at the Union Chapel, Compton Terrace, London); and 18 October. Find out more:5x15stories.com
THE STORY SLAM
What: Storytellers compete to be named Slammer of the Night. When and where: Various locations throughout the country; Mary’s Extraordinary Story Club is at the Edinburgh Festival, 5-29 August. Find out more: thestoryslam.co.uk; maryjlockwood.co.uk
THE FIRESTATION BOOK SWAP
What: A chance for readers to exchange books, hosted by novelist Marie Phillips and publisher Scott Pack. When and where: Usually at the Old Firestation Arts Centre, St Leonard’s Road, Windsor; at the London Review Bookshop, Bury Place, London, 5 August. Find out more: Via Facebook and Twitter; firestationartscentre.com; lrbshop.co.uk
THE BOOK CLUB
What: Multi-arts venue featuring ‘Thinking and Drinking’ events. When and where: Frequent events in Leonard Street, London. Find out more: wearetbc.com
What: Literary magazine produced by publishers Hamish Hamilton. When and where: Online, via subscription; launched live at literary events throughout the world. Find out more:fivedials.com
“One of Vineland’s strengths, it becomes obvious second time round, is its ability to hold opposing themes in balance: a defiant optimism that some communal instincts had survived the end of the 60s, alongside a deep pessimism about the behaviour of the state. Even the book’s heroes and villains, defined with romantic simplicity at first glance, blur together more interestingly as you get to know them properly. Frenesi is still half in love with the counter- culture she is betraying. Zoyd, the anti- Reagan dissident, is dependent on regular government disability cheques. Brock, the conservative zealot, is out-manoeuvred by rival Washington players. And the counterculture which Pynchon seems so to venerate? There are suggestions it always had a spivvy capitalist side: in Vineland “Prairie worked at the Bodhi Dharma Pizza Temple … twelve-grain crust with the lightness and digestibility of a manhole cover.” All these hypocrisies and mixed motives and contradictions, as well as being a good source of comedy and plot twists, have the feel of political lives as they are actually lived. This gives Vineland much more depth than most political novels.”—
They have probably already seen it, but there’s some great feedback for the Wheeler Centre on their speed dating exercise over at The Scrivener’s Fancy. I think Michael, like some others, would have appreciated a bit more time and a little more dividing of (ahem!) livestock.
“I remember the day we were summoned to Glenn’s office to explain why we had decided to do an album with Mushroom, rather than with Wheatley Brothers. ‘I can’t believe you wouldn’t come and see me first,’ he said, adding ‘If this deal goes through, I will cry real tears. You will see a grown man crying real tears.’ We all felt awful. The idea that Glenn would have wanted to put out a comedy album had never occurred to us. And nobody wanted to see the real tears, certainly not the enormous laminated John Farnham standing in the corner. We quickly agreed to do the album with Glenn but, somehow, after a meeting with Michael Gudinski, the record (and cassette) came out on Mushroom after all. I’m assuming there must have been a fistfight.”—
“The highly wired nature of Africa (which has much less in the way of the infrastructure that includes landlines) mean e-readers can connect. The wireless telephony that characterizes much of the content means, the group discovered, that students who’ve never used a computer can nonetheless quickly master the e-reader. “The infrastructure already in place for mobile phones supports e-readers: Low-power Kindles successfully charged from solar-powered car batteries in an hour, we were able to download books via the satellite internet link in 45 seconds, and there was cell phone coverage in the village.”—E-Readers Bring The World’s Library to Rural Africa - This article at ReadWriteWeb, on a report from Worldreader.org on e-reading in a Ghana village, is inspiring.
“Q&A etiquette: Don’t thank the panel for the opportunity to ask a question. Don’t provide a review of the film. Don’t ask a multi-part question. Don’t use your air time to demonstrate your own wit and sophistication. Don’t continue to hold the microphone to your mouth and breathe heavily while your question is being answered.”—
Sam Chater & Simone Ubaldi offer festival advice that is equally applicable to those attending writers’ fests. Go Team.
“The screen mimics the sky, not the earth. It bombards the eye with light instead of waiting to repay the gift of vision. It is not simultaneously restful and lively, like a field full of flowers, or the face of a thinking human being, or a well-made typographic page. And we read the screen the way we read the sky: in quick sweeps, guessing at the weather from the changing shapes of clouds, of like astronomers, in magnified small bits, examining details.”—
writing the blog backwards (apologies to Paul Grabowsky)
I am looking forward to blogging backwards!!! YES.
I will be working back through 435 or so tagged articles in Delicious. Being a chronological kind of girl, I may well go from the earliest and forward, so the title here just might be a misnomer. Or not.
Dang it, that Google reader is going to be flushed clean once or twice a week, and I’m going to be completely out of the loop.
If you really need me to know you’ve done something special, you’d better post a comment or send me an email.
The brainchild of uber-agent Andrew “The Jackal” Wylie, Odyssey Editions launches today. It offers 20 modern literary classics as ebooks for the first time, exclusively via Amazon.com’s Kindle store. The books, all priced at Amazon’s usual ebook rate of $9.99, range from Amis’s London Fields, Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children, Roth’s Portnoy’s Complaint and VS Naipaul’s The Enigma of Arrival to titles from the estates of dead authors such as John Updike, William S Burroughs, Saul Bellow and Hunter S Thompson. The authors all share Wylie as their agent, and the move makes good on his threat last month that, dissatisfied with the terms publishers have been offering for ebooks, he would remove them from the equation.
The deal with Amazon to sell these titles exclusively as e-books will last two years, which is consistent with some digital publishing solutions that others, like Richard Nash, have been touting.
If I may draw your attention to the operative noun: hardcovers. Hardcovers. As readers, writers and publishers know, hardcovers are generally no longer a viable print option. They’re expensive to produce and there’s not a great demand outside of collectors or fetishists. Hardcover production has been on the decline for some time; most books, in fact, no longer have a hardcover print run, rather, it’s straight to the paperback route.
In view of the general decline of the hardcover format, ebooks vs hardcovers is a peculiar comparison. Some specificity would be appreciated (from a company that won’t reveal exact numbers of Kindles sold): does Amazon mean ebooks outsold books available in multi-format - with a paperback, hardcover and ebook version?
As Marion Maneker at Slate’s The Big Money brazenly asks, ‘Here’s a riddle for you: At what point will Amazon (AMZN) have to quit being so coy with its sales figures of Kindle editions and start offering the world real information?’
Via Craig at TPUTH, I am alerted to what he would call Flash for Dummies.
The Wired reader for the iPad was a very pretty thing and an early cab off the rank in magazine publishing technology, however there were iss-ews with Apple wishing to keep iPads Flash-free. Read about it here.
“In 2005, I ran into a health problem that seemed to be walling me in for a life sentence of chronic pain. It took me two years to realise that at the heart of it, behind all the symptoms and treatments, was a collision between word and world. Now, like a fool, I’ve returned to my old word habit and told the story.”—Sticking the world together with words | Tim Parks | Books | guardian.co.uk
the kingdom of God may be in your e-reader somewhere
'My old dream of a possessionless library, unencumbered and mobile, seems possible again. The very meaning of the word “book” has become something more powerful, dynamic, and accessible than ever before.'
This is a thoughtful essay on the implications of future reading practice. After discussing the Kindle and iPad’s proprietary formats, Schneider tells us about his uncle’s home made catalogue, which sounds to me like a forerunner of a fulltext database:
If my non-luddite credentials aren’t fully in order, let me say this: The most remarkable memory theater I’ve ever known is on a computer. It is the work of my uncle, once a biologist at the National Institutes of Health, a designer of fish farms, a nonprofit idealist, and a carpenter. Now he has devoted himself full-time to his theater. A “Cartesian theater,” he calls it, subverting the philosopher Daniel Dennett’s epistemological derision; it’s a digital environment he has built to manage his life and, among other projects, to present a never-to-be-finished play called The History of the World.
His theater consists of a series of computer programs written in Turbo Pascal, running on DOS and Windows 98. They revolve around an ingenious text editor, which also functions as a file manager, a viewer, a jukebox, and a programming environment. It is truly, as they used to say, hypertext—text and computer code are one and the same there. Words perform actions. Form is content. A powerful search engine follows you everywhere you go. You feel close enough to the machine to sense its electric pulse behind the two-color display with its blocky, fixed-width characters.
My uncle does most of his reading on that screen. As he reads digital books and articles, he formats them in plain ASCII text, adjusted to fit into his editor and his screen. In the process, every text (or image or sound), whether it be a letter from his daughter describing a dream or Tolstoy’s The Kingdom of God Is Within You, becomes a part of this single, searchable, integrated organism. When he tells me about it, he uses evolutionary metaphors cribbed from his years researching genetics. The creature mutates and adapts. It learns and grows. Guiding its progress is my uncle’s frenetic brilliance and his awareness, like my mnemonic terrors, of running up against the limits of his own mind.
Once, he called himself a “biologian,” merging the subject matter of life with the method of a theologian. More recently, he told me that he is an alchemist.
Almost a decade ago, Elmore Leonard published his 10 Rules of Writing in the New York Times (he later expanded it to a book). Many of his rules and Fitch’s coincide, but she’s a much bigger fan of description than he is — if you like using an adverb once in a while, stick with Fitch.
— Carolyn Kellogg at the Jacket Copy blog for the LA Times
“The comparison to Pynchon is not made lightly. On the surface, Kid’s wanderings in Bellona look as loosely strung together as that other Kid’s wanderings in Purple Rain. His poetics tend toward the Beatnik, his observations toward the dreamy and spontaneous: the flashbulb-red that keeps appearing in the eyes of certain characters; the holographic exoskeletons in which the book’s street gangs armor themselves… But in the monologues by various Bellonians that punctuate and comment on the action, we can feel Delany synthesizing history, mythology, aesthetics, epistemology, systems theory, and the philosophy of language into a singular vision of the human condition on the cusp of postmodernism. It should also be said that Delany’s sinuous prose, by turns fragmentary and efflorescent, is a major attraction.”—
“Now the sun is struggling to penetrate thick cloud cover, and the Sweet Alice is spilling out onto the driveway. Storm water is running a creek down to the Swan River through the wetlands opposite, and ducks and ibis are feasting gloriously. It’s a good day to be alive if you’re not sleeping rough.”—
ReadWriteWeb has excerpted ten minutes of an 80 minute talk given by Vint Cerf recently inside Google, on Reimagining the Internet.They’re content merely to talk about Augmented Reality, the Internet of Things & the Interplanetary Web.
Never tell how long or dark someone’s road is or what might lie around the next bend…
…you can’t forget that highway, not for a minute, because, let’s face it we are all on a journey. At different stages in our lives that road may be rocky, lonesome, smooth, downhill or twisted. The only thing keeping us going might be the little brightly coloured stones we find along the way. And that’s when it hit me. Bread Run is not about the bread (or the doughnuts), the time, logistics or the legalities, it is about – dropping stones.
About putting something bright down on a dark path, and somehow lightening the load.
Dear me. The minute he describes this child who doesn’t speak, I know what my reaction will be when he does. I am somewhat annoyed he made a book out of it at first flush, but now I’ve pulled myself together, I might just read it.
“A certain amount of staginess is the price he pays for this in-depth look at American capitalism, but he’s steered an honourable course between Tom Wolfe and Rick Moody, the Scylla and Charybdis of this kind of thing.”—