Book reviews, new books, publishing news, book giveaways, and author interviews

Bookish links 5 Nov: old-fashioned editing, a new Holden Caulfield, publishers and Amazon more!

book news Bookish links 5 Nov: old fashioned editing, a new Holden Caulfield, publishers and Amazon & more!

RIASS stuff:

1Q84, The Midwich Cuckoos and Liz Jensen's The Uninvited'I love it when you can see homages and influences in a bookand theyre pretty well on display here!

Enlightenment and entitlement in Goethe's Faust'

Interview:'Charles Tan: 'There's a distinct lack of familiarity with non-Western literary traditions and voices.'

Other bookish stuff:

How self-publishers are in danger of losing the high ground to small presses'An interesting post on how small, independent presses are doing boundary-pushing, creative stuff with their books in terms of design, layout and the conceptualisation of what a book should be, and how self-publishers are losing ground to that by attempting to recreate the big publisher feel.

Into Shakespeare? You might want to check out this online program designed to revolutionise how Shakespeare is taught.'Run through the Royal Shakespeare Company and the University of Warwick, the program involves more than 100 films of the RSC actors and university academics breaking down and performing Shakespeare. Its pitched as a professional development program for teachers, but has widespread appeal. (NB, stay tuned for my forthcoming review of Shakespeare on Toast)

An interview with Ali Lavau, an editor who writes childrens books under the name Frances Watts'An interesting snippet on the use of the pseudonym:'I never wanted another author that I worked with to think of me as an author as well. When you work with an author it is their creative voice that you are working with and I never wanted to be thought of as another creative voice sitting at the table. She adds that editors need to be able to work in others voices, which is partly why her two personas have had to separate.

When bad books happen to good people'Bookseller Allison Hill talks about her experience reading truly terrible booksnot just the fluffy or the silly or the mundane, but truly terrible books. Fortunately, shes only come across three such books in her lifetime, but theyve definitely resonated with her. Have you ever read something excruciatingly bad?

Jane Friedman, former publisher of Writers Digest and current editor of the Virginia Quarterly Review conducts a fascinating publishing Q&A on Reddit. Grab a coffee and head over.

Some tips for shy authors on giving a reading'(The very thought of this makes me feel faint. I am excruciatingly shy.) These tips include marking up a manuscript with notes such as where to pause, and in rehearsing any difficult-to-say phrases ahead of time. Allowing your work the respect it deserves rather than rushing through it is another interesting insight.

A list of ten excellent multicultural ghost stories

and how about some girl power stories while youre at it?

Third person omniscient vs third person limited'The MS Im almost done with is in third person omniscientmy first attempt at doing soand Ive had a great deal of fun with it. My NaNo project is in alternating third limited, and theres a huge difference in the way that the story can play out in terms of sharing/withholding information and in what can or cant be emphasised. Omniscient can be tough to pull off without it feeling like head-hopping, but hopefully my use of a fairly strong narrator voice has helped. (We shall see!)

Have publishers been playing into Amazons hands for too long?'The author argues that publishing had made itself vulnerable to giants such as Amazon long before Amazon even came about. The reorganisation of bookshops to fuel the sale of the mass-market hardback, in addition with increasingly hungry agents resulted in the emphasis on the blockbuster book. Because of the skewing in sales of blockbusters vs other books, book stores cant support the long tailwhereas Amazon can. So if readers want to be able to buy books other than the current blockbuster du jour, were increasingly going to need to look to Amazon and other huge online stores.

Ive been hanging out in the FlickR Creative Commons area, and came across this photo of The Queensland Book Depot, Brisbane, circa 1940:

 Bookish links 5 Nov: old fashioned editing, a new Holden Caulfield, publishers and Amazon & more!

The Cats of Copenhagen, a newly discovered James Joyce childrens story

Mitali Perkins on old-fashioned editing and the collaboration between editors and authors'will the future be a world without small publishers like Charlesbridge who champion stories across borders, without editors like [Yolanda LeRoy Scott] who encourage and nurture broken-down mid-career writers, without the time a story needs between revisions to improve?'If so, Im never going to make it.

What did Jane Austen look for in a novel?'A short but thoughtful post on how Austen disliked the idea of life or people being perfect, and how her novels reflected that.

This is fascinating: a visual history of New York Citys destruction in 200 years of fiction'Projections of the city's end reflected and refracted the dominant social issues. Each era in New York's modern history has produced its own apocalyptic imagery that explores, exploits, and seeks to resolve contemporary cultural tensions and fears.

Is David Mitchells'Black Swan Green the new'Catcher in the Rye?'When a novel is implicitly endorsed by the culture, as'Catcher in the Rye'is, how radical could it be? In 2012, a teenager's parents are likely to have read'and loved'Catcher in the Rye'as young people. For most teenagers, an authority figure's approval is the kiss of death. Salinger's classic might still speak to a high schooler'and it still does to some teens'but it certainly won't be a private conversation.

Thinking about getting a lovely set of knuckle tattoos? How about these? Theyre pro-literacy!

Maggie Stiefvater on the ending of her book trilogy (obviously avoid if youre averse to spoilers), and on happy endingsbut all the possibilities that might come after. This is excellent viewing for those of us who are frustrated with the whole getting married and having babies thing at the end of so many YAs:


  1. Ah, thanks for the great links! Im excited to have lots of new things to read about :)


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