Monday, September 10, 2007

More accumulated stuff

There's a book out which is an anthology of material from Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet (recommended by Jessa Crispin at Bookslut). Should be good. It's the world's best title for a magazine, anyway.

Bet you don't know where the title comes from, do you? No, thought not. I think I did know once, but I've forgotten.

Cyberbook Buzz will publicise your book on the web. For a fee.

Lynn Lurie's Corner of the Dead is a novel, but an unusual one. Set in Peru, it is told from the perspective of a witness. More on the web site, including an extract.

Don't miss the latest Jimston Journal, just out and free online. There are quite a few things in it which you will have heard of before if you're a regular reader of this blog. There's some of Mr Losovsky's Doorbells, a bit of Mr Fenman, and some Gladys. If you can't find anything to interest you there, then I give up.

Here is a cultural announcement of considerable significance:

After the limited print-run of only 52 sold out last week, the forward-thinking publishing house Upside-Down-Then-Backwards is offering readers the opportunity to download Jean-Pierre Sertin’s experimental novel 'p.52' for free. This unique work contains 52 pages, each of them representing p.52 of 52 non-existent works. Hard to follow? Fortunately, Sertin has written an introduction in which he explores at length the process through which the novel was created. The full work can be found here.

As you may or may not know, Sertin is the co-creator of the literary form of ‘Intercuttings’ - various examples of which can also be found at Underneath the Bunker – the online home of Europe’s Premier Cultural Journal (as well as many other things).

May the treacle of culture continue to drip upon your faces.

Abebooks is celebrating the 50th anniversary of On the Road. That book never quite worked for me, but then I am English.

Worried about book coverage in newspapers? Then you must read Steve Wasserman's long article in the Columbia Journalism Review. (Link from Publishers Lunch.) Wasserman also has things to say about the conglomeration and digitisation of the book business, and changes in the culture of literacy. The author was formerly head of the Los Angeles Times's book-review section.

Mr Mahfouz gets his name in the Washington Times. And serve him right. (Link from Lori at Bonusbooks.

If you've been following the Sheikh Mahfouz story, you may wish to know that Dr Rachel Ehrenfeld, author of Funding Evil, is the director of the American Center for Democracy, which is a good place to go for news and information about this and similar issues.

John Heath and Lisa Adams have written a book about popular and bestselling books (Why We Read What We Read), and what such books tell us about their readers and the society we live in. If you like radio, you can hear the authors being interviewed by Steve Roberts. I'd like to say that you can also read a free transcript of the interview, but you can't. (Link from Dave Lull.)

To get a quicker flavour of this book, you might do better to read a good review.

Not that you and I care, of course, because we are much too grand for that kind of thing, but self-publishing services provider AuthorHouse has taken over the similar outfit iUniverse. You can read all about it in the press release (link from Publishers Lunch).

It seems that the guys who runs these businesses see no chance that people are going to stop writing books; neither do they see any likely diminution in the desire to see the books in print. What's more, they're going to open up a new competitor for, called Wordclay.

P. Viktor is an Englishman who once worked for Oxford University Press. Now he has a novel out (via Lulu). Its title is Veneer, and you can read the first three chapters online.

Abebooks are running an auction of 14 signed books, published by Penguin. Proceeds to English PEN, which, I am sorry to say, is not my favourite charity.

Redstone Press is an odd business, even by publishers' standards, but very professional despite its oddity. Go take a look. I can find no word about who runs it, but many of the books are by the artist David Shrigley, so perhaps he has a hand in it somewhere. The name Rothenstein also crops up regularly.

Charles Hugh Smith offers aspiring writers what he claims is the worst advice they'll ever read. Actually, most of it is quite sound. (Link from Jon.)

Reading Charles's stuff, you would be forgiven for thinking that he is a complete failure as a writer, but actually, if you explore his web site further, you will see that that is far from the case. He has written quite a lot of journalism. He's also had a novel (I-State Lines) published by the Permanent Press, an outfit which says that it receives 6,000 submissions a year and publishes 12 of them.

Back in August, I mentioned a novel by Wesley Carrington Greayer. In earlier life, Wes flew in a world-war II bomber crew. Now he has started a blog, on which he is posting some of the thoughts he has had about that experience.

For many years Wes's WWII memorabilia were locked away in a box in the attic; his memories and emotions from that period likewise. Now, while he still can, Wes is putting some of it on to paper, and into circulation. Well worth reading.

Everybody of any age has a story, I guess, and the men who fought in WWII have darker stories to tell than most. I met such a man recently, and quite unexpectedly he told me how much he was troubled, even now, by the memories of his appalling experiences in those days. I hope it helped for him to talk. All I could do to help was recommend that he read Marcus Aurelius.

Last Saturday's Financial Times provided an amazing experience, possibly unique in recent UK newspaper history. It contained, so far as I could see, not a single word about the McCann family. And if you don't know what I'm talking about, my advice is: stay ignorant.


Marti said...

I could spend all day clicking on the great links you provide! Thank you for your always-informative posts!

Hope this finds you well - best wishes for a wonderful day!

Anonymous said...

Another useful blog — thanks Grumpy.
The Jimston Journal is mentioned. What is not said about the journal is that it is run by Andrew O'Hara and that this month's journal has a free offer of reading the latest edition of his book 'The Swan' on line.
Of course, the book, with its stunning cover, can be purchased in hard copy. I can tell you, 'The Swan' contains fascinating tales of the Sacramento Valley. Some of them deeply moving. It is a book to treasure.

Gladys Hobson
signed in as anonymous because darned if I can get my password accepted!

Andy O'Hara said...

Thanks for the mention, Grumpy (and Gladys, another quite wonderful featured writer in the JJ).

About Wesley Greayer, it perhaps says something good about self publishing and the internet that veterans are given a wider format in which to release their trauma. Plato assures us that only the dead will know the end of war, and we will have much to hear from a new generation returning from Iraq.

Jon said...

Well, p.52 makes as much sense as most modern novels. It's a natural result of the current trend for writing-by-word-processor, where every sentence an author ever thought of is sitting on their hard disk waiting to be used, somewhere, somehow...

Raymond said...

Interesting comment Jon. This whole fragmentary cut-and-paste mix-and-match style of many modern (or postmodern) novels is certainly a symptom of the inability of modern writers to deal with big issues at length - in itself a reaction to the short attention span of the mediums with which both writers and readers are more familiar (mass media /internet /television /popular music). I suppose the real question is whether or not this is a good thing. Modern writers need to keep up with their readers, surely, and if they can't hack more than a page, who's to blame Sertin for giving them just that? That would, however, suggest that 'p.52' is tailor-made for the desires of the so-called 'i-pod generation', which I'm not exactly sure it is. Actually, I'm not too sure what it is at all... maybe it really is just scraps from the cutting room floor

Jerry Jimston said...

Raymond's point is well taken. p.52 is an encomium to the short attention span.

I would like to see this book read aloud simultaneously by 52 readers, all reading um, page 52. It could also make a fascinating choral piece. These could sell better than the book.

Heidi Kohlenberg said...

'It could also make a fascinating choral piece' - just the kind of thing to interest Paulo Zilotti, I fancy. I'd definitely buy a ticket to see that (What am I saying? I mean 52 tickets...)
As for Mr Jimston, I can't help noticing that he has been less positive about p.52 elsewhere (I direct your attention to the Letters page at Underneath the Bunker)

Anonymous said...

In perusing the links offered I cannot help to note that the GOB is entirely too modest, having failed to mention an excerpt of his book, 'Mister Fenman's Farewell to His Readers' is included in the Jimston Journal.

A very nice piece and I look forward to purchasing the book

clary antome said...

Interesting to observe that 'p.52' has received such attention from Grumpy-readers. It goes to show the power of so-called postmodern writing: it never ceases to puzzle a brain! Not bad for an author in need of word-of-mouth.

And many thanks for the link to Charles Hugh Smith's down-to-earth advice to writer wannabes (those poor deluded creatures!). It nicely supports your sobering essay "On the survival of rats in the slush pile" - although the latter does have the advantage of pointing to the possibility of self-publishing (for the more stubborn rats).

(Incidentally, just like Glady Hobson above, also my password was systematically rejected...)

Anonymous said...

P52 and all that.
Well, if doing something bizarre in print is the way to get noticed, I think I would rather stay appreciated by a small circle of readers who enjoy a good read, rather novelty fiction game-playing.

It's enough excitement trying to get my comment published without having to give up and become anonymous once more.
Now, here goes: hold my breath…ready, steady…go!

Raymond said...

Maybe this discussion doesn't need extending, but it always seems a little unfair to me to draw a line between 'novelty fiction game-playing' and 'a good read'. You can have both. Flann O'Brien is a good example - it's postmodern, maybe, but it's a damn good read. As for 'getting noticed', I don't suppose for a minute that this is what will happen to Jean-Pierre Sertin. His circle of readers will remain refreshingly minute

Jerry Jimston said...

I'm cheered at the prospect of Sertin's blatherings being confined to a "refreshingly minute" circle of readers, but there is much to be looked at that goes far beyond "novelty" in this 'p.52,' regardless of his audience.

I will not regurgitate the points I made with great concision in the Letters Section of "Underneath the Bunker." Suffice to say, however, that it does not take an abundance of perspicacity to pick up on the thinly veiled and disturbing agenda being pressed by Sertin.

We should all be concerned when this kind of propaganda appears on the market, available even to children and public servants.

Alicia said...

'I will not regurgitate the points I made with great concision...'

Your 'concise points' were a rambling hodge-podge of conspiracy theories that would baffle anyone. You forgot to include the JFK assassination, which happened eleven years after the first sex change operation (in '52).

I thank you for not regurgitating them, here or anywhere.

Anonymous said...

I think a bit too much is being made of Mr. Sertin's politics. While he might be a bit extreme (and yet not as direct as an Orwell), he's entitled to his views and the public expression of them. In fact, I applaud "Bunker" for providing him a forum for his ideas. Discriminating readers will decide best if his ideas are too radical, even dangerous.

Anonymous said...

Redstone Press was started by Julian Rothenstein and is still run by him and only him, though he does collaborate with other people. He is the son of Michael Rothenstein, the engraver and the painter Duffy Ayres. As a small child he lived with his parents in Great
Bardfield in Essex, along with a small coterie of other artists such as George Chapman, Kenneth Rowntree and Edward Bawden. His uncle was Sir John Rothenstein and his grandfather Sir William Rothenstein.

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