Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Further instalment

OK, let's see if we can catch up a bit more on last week's backlog, and, who knows, perhaps eliminate it entirely. There is also new stuff, of course.

Lost Girls

Galleycat, like me, seems to have been wondering whether the forces of darkness would prevent publication of Lost Girls, which was originally supposed to have been out by now. The Comics Reporter has an answer -- sort of.

Anatomy of a Malignant Blogger

Just occasionally I get a comment which takes me to task for something -- and quite rightly so, in the majority of cases, but I don't get anything that might even remotely be called hate-mail (is this tempting fate?).

Anyway, there are those who do. For example, here's a blog which was found by son Jon, and mentioned in his blog. It's called Dooce, or Anatomy of a Malignant Blogger, and it's run by Heather Armstrong.

The first thing that struck me is that Heather generates some serious traffic. If you read her piece about hate-mail you will see that there are 570 comments! Holy mackerel Sapphire, as someone once said.

In the About This Site section, Heather gives a lengthy and very frank description of herself. She says, for instance, the following:

My parents raised me Mormon, and I grew up believing that the Mormon Church was true. In fact, I never had a cup of coffee until I was 23-years-old. I had pre-marital sex for the first time at age 22, but BY GOD I waited an extra year for the coffee. There had better be a special place in heaven for me.
But perhaps the most interesting bit is where she says:

In October 2005 I began running enough ads on this website that my husband was able to quit his job and become a Stay at Home Father (SAHF) or a Shit Ass Ho Fuckingbadass. He takes both very seriously. This website now supports my family.
Higher up, just to counterbalance what she says about hubby, she describes herself as 'a Stay at Home Mom (SAHM) or a Shit Ass Ho Motherfucker. I do both equally well.'

Well, that's all very interesting (to me), but it's not a good start to this clearing the backlog business. I really must try not to get distracted.

Education and the teaching of English

Frank Kermode (big name in Eng. Lit.) talks to John Sutherland in the Guardian (link from booktrade.info). Universities, he says, 'are being driven by madmen'. And education in general 'is being run by lunatics'. My thoughts more or less exactly, except that the people driving the universities are not the academics but politicians. For an Eng. Lit. man, Kermode talks a lot of sense. Most of them don't.


The story is a little cold now, but worth drawing attention to if you missed it. Anonymous blogger writes about sex life, gets a book contract, maintains anonymity even from publisher, and then gets outed by national newspaper. Is this right? Anyway, she's still blogging. Maybe next year she will work it up into a show for Edinburgh. Thanks to Anastasia for the link.

More anonymity

Speaking of anonymous authors, here's another slightly cold story. It's about a man who started again in his wife's name -- in book world terms. Paul Garrison is the man, and he found what many another writer has found before him, namely that you're only as good as your last book. Thanks to Octavia for the link.

Brodie McHaggis

Helen Campbell had an unhappy experience with a publisher and so decided to go her own way instead. She set up Chloe Publishing (which all looks very professional) and put out a book aimed at the 8-12 year-olds: Brodie McHaggis and the Secret of Loch Ness. Despite being aimed at young readers, the book is proving popular with adults, the oldest of whom is 97. Brodie has his own official web site.

Further cores for concern

In this morning's Times a gentleman reports that he once had a letter telling him that the village church now had a cure it. Presumably appointed on the strength of a claim to have healing hands.

Productivity notes

The Book Standard has a link to an article about Nora Roberts in the New York Times. It seems that she is about to publish her 166th book, and that her output now exceeds that of Sidney Sheldon, Harold Robbins, Judith Krantz and Danielle Steel -- combined. Thirty-one of Nora Roberts's books have debuted -- debuted, mind you -- at number one on the NYT bestsellers list.

I haven't read any of the output, but a friend who has read quite a number says that certain plot patterns tend to be repeated -- which is scarcely surprising -- but that doesn't seem to have put my friend off reading more.

Banning those wicked, wicked books

Abebooks -- an organisation which is, naturally, always trying to figure out ways to get you to buy more books -- has a little feature on books that have raised hackles here and there. This list is compiled by the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression and includes some unusual candidates.


There is a new issue of StorySouth now available online, and the magazine is open to submissions for the fall 2006 issue -- which I find a bit surprising, since most of these places have their story slots filled for months if not years ahead.

Swedish book sales prosper

I once had a book published in Denmark (and in Danish at that), and it seemed to do OK, so I was not altogether surprised to hear that book sales in Sweden are rising steadily -- 40% up on 1999. Martin Rundkvist at Salto Sobrius has the gen.

While you're there, you can also read, in the right-hand column, a brief review of my 2003 collection of short stories, King Albert's Words of Advice.

Oops -- we missed it

Monday 21 August was the equivalent of Bloomsday -- at least in terms of Jew Girl by EminemsRevenge. Jew Girl was discussed here on 1 May. It is a book heavily influenced by the work of James Joyce, and hence the action takes place all on one day.

You can, theoretically, read more about Reuvensday on the author's blog post for 21 August. Be warned, however, that the blog is hosted on xanga, and you may have to fight your way into xanga by registering, which is fairly tedious.

Lyle Stuart

Obituaries sometimes appear in the Times well after the reported death of the person in question, and so it is with Lyle Stuart, who died on 24 June 2006, aged 83.

Lyle Stuart was a publisher with a passionate belief in the First Amendment to the American constitution; that is to say, he believed in the right of individuals to say what they think, regardless of how painful, embarrassing, or antisocial such opinions might be.

It made for an interesting life.

L Lee Lowe interviewed

Lee Lowe has been mentioned here in the past because of his online novel for young adults, Mortal Ghost. Clare Dudman, Keeper of the Snails, has been reading it with interest, and has interviewed Lee to find out more. Another interesting life.

Hotel Chelsea blog

The Hotel Chelsea blog continues to publish extraordinary stories about those who have stayed at the hotel. You might try, for instance, this piece about Stefan Brecht, son of the playwright, who maintained a writing studio at the hotel throughout the eighties and nineties.

The devil you know

Yes, I complain about Blogger. But guess what -- other blog-hosting services aren't perfect either. James Long took his New Tammany College to Wordpress and, er, well, that one's a bit of a bitch too.

Other problems about Blogger that I forgot to mention the other day are:

Control + z doesn't undo, the way it's supposed to.
When you create an inset block quote from some other source, you have to painstakingly reformat it so that you don't get short lines.
And doubtless a few others that I can't think of right now.

What a happy life the blogger's is.

Michael Cox

Today's Times has a short profile of Michael Cox, whose first novel has sold for a UK record (the Times says) of £430,000. It's an extraordinary story, but I suspect that this particular author would gladly give his book away for free if he could have his health back.

The Meaning of Night is due out in September, and Amazon.co.uk's previewers seem to like it.

Kitten Natividad survives

Finally some light relief. With an X certificate, so if that bothers you, you can click off now.

Some readers have long memories, and Kiana remembered that I have a lingering adolescent interest in the career of an obscure actress by the name of Kitten Natividad. Well, actually, actress is pushing it a bit. Stripper and porn star is more like it.

Kiana kindly sent me a link to a recent appearance by Kitten on a phone-in show called Ring My Bell. And behold -- there is a video clip.

This is great fun. She talks very, very frankly about sex, alcoholism, Russ Meyer, having bust-enlargement treatment in Mexico with industrial-standard products, breast cancer, and more sex. She is very funny indeed about George Michael.

Kitten was never remotely shy about appearing nude in films, and if you want a good example, try Takin' It Off from 1985. Oddly, however, nude photos of her on the web are hard to find. (And believe me, I've tried.) But you can get a glimpse of her here.

In 1989 Kitten had a double mastectomy for breast cancer, but she seems to be using prosthetics of roughly the same size as before, which I think is sensible. She sounds to have had a rough old life, what with one thing and another, but as a matter of fact she looks better on the video than when I last saw her, on German TV, shortly before the cancer.

I admire Kitten Natividad for two reasons. First, she never took herself very seriously, and everything she did (that I saw) was fun. Second, she was a woman whose sole asset was her breasts, and she lost them to cancer, but despite that she is still with us, and still cheerful. Neither of these is a negligible achievement.


Anonymous said...

With the exception of Kitten Natividad, I found myself depressed by the end of your post.

Maybe I'm getting grumpier than His Grumpiness. We swing from the millionth writer to mimic James Joyce (I've seen some dreadful writing excused by the author with, "Well, you obviously haven't read James Joyce") to some dingbat with a "Shit Ass Ho Fuckingbadass" blog.

Is His Grumpiness taking medications to where this stuff doesn't phase him? Somehow I now picture you sitting at your screen nodding and mumbling,"Oh, of course (sedated smile), Shit Ass Ho Fuckingbadass."

Anonymous said...

I couldn't follow the link to the Comics Reporter (not sure why: got a database error), but just thought I'd note that I stopped yesterday into a comic book shop, where I saw "Lost Girls" for sale.

Anil P said...

Blogger can be exasperating, at times, and terribly so. But it has stood up well, most times that is. :)