OK, here's a few things which you might, conceivably, care to know or think about before we all go do something more interesting and useful. In no particular order.
Prudery lives on
Galleycat had a piece pointing us to an article in the Christian Science Monitor. Subject: book blogs. Not very much in it to detain anybody, frankly, but a few points worth a comment.
First, the Christian Science Monitor could not bring itself to refer to the blog which goes by the name of Bookslut. They quoted the blog's boss, Jessa Crispin, and then said that she was the creator of a high-profile blog with a risque name which they defined as: 'the word "book" plus a vulgar term for a woman of loose morals.'
Now, I mean, come on guys. I know yours is a Christian paper, but get real for heaven's sake. If it was Bookcunt I might conceivably have some sympathy. But to waltz all around the thing just makes you look ridiculous.
Fortunately, not my problem.
The Monitor also mentions the fact that, in the spring, Mark Sarvas of The Elegant Variation, and some 19 other bloggers, got together to try to promote a single novel. In the first instance they reportedly chose Kate Atkinson's Case Histories.
According to the Monitor, quoting the book's editor, a Ms Arthur, sales of the book remained steady for months after its release last year, despite the bloggers' intervention. But, she adds, 'it's anyone's guess why.'
Well, actually my dear, it isn't anyone's guess. Sales remained steady becaause Case Histories is not, sadly, much good. As I pointed out at some length on 14 February. It's just simply not the kind of book that makes readers grab their phone in order to tell all their friends to get hold of a copy. Simple. Nothing to do with bloggers. (Unless of course everyone is being influenced by my review. Which, instantly attractive concept though it may be, is highly unlikely.)
For better or for worse, English is the language in which most of the world's serious business seems to be conducted. (Don't confuse me with statistics about Chinese, French, et cetera; you get the point.) That being the case, it is perhaps not surprising, but nevertheless interesting, to find a web site called Kitaab (= book in Urdu/Hindi) which concentrates on Asian writing and conducts its business in English.
News, book reviews, links, et cetera, all related to Asian authors working in English.
Genres get respectable
Publishers Lunch reports that the New York Times is going to add a new section to its Sunday magazine, concentrating on genre fiction. The NYT strangely and ungrammatically makes reference to 'mysteries, detective stories and the like, which is having a particularly vibrant moment in popular culture just now.'
God, what an honour. Can us genre fans stand the excitement? Fittingly, the new section will be known by the elegant title of 'The Funny Pages'.
Personally I have more or less given up any thought of writing for the screen, whether big or small, but there are plenty of people with ambitions in that direction. If you are one of them, you could do worse than take a look at the Scriptwriter magazine web site.
This offers a great deal of information which would seem to be useful if you are that way inclined. They also have a free newsletter, the latest of which gives details of a conference entitled Narrative Now: Fact versus Fiction in Contemporary Culture. And it's to be held in Oxford University's Department for Continuing Education. Can't wait.
Bryan Edward Hill is a screenwriter who also writes short stories. His screenplay The Mechanic has been directed by the very active actor Dolph Lundgren (four films in 2004) and is currently in post-production. You can read some of Bryan's short fiction at his blog, Aggressive Fiction. Some stories do have what he describes as 'mature content'.
Asylum started life as a novel by Patrick McGrath. As I said in my review of his short stories, I found it well written and interesting, but by no means a bundle of laughs. And I noted that it was shortly to be made into a film.
Well, now the film is out. And the Times reviewer describes it as 'dour and depressing'. She adds that it is hard to feel sympathy for the leading character, 'or indeed anything other than profound annoyance.'
Well, see, I could have warned the producers that it wouldn't work as a movie. If only they'd asked.