Monday, June 11, 2007

Relatively short bits

The blogger at It's a crime! (or a mystery...) has been to the Hay Festival and was most impressed by the joint presentation by Neil Pearson (actor) and Rick Gekoski (rare-book dealer). The link to this post came from Maxine at Petrona, who thought I might be interested in it, and I certainly am. I won't steal the thunder by telling you too much about it, but if you're interested in rare books, the history of banned books in general, and so forth, you won't be disappointed.

The Emerging Goddess is looking for a publisher.

Four years after its publication, Amanda Stern's novel The Long Haul has been has been chosen by fashion collective LOLA New York as the inaugural title to be sold at the trend-setting Southampton clothing boutique, Blue&Cream.

'In a creative move to make literature cool,' says the press release, 'LOLA New York will use their brand as an innovative platform to disseminate risk-taking literature to their Generation Y peers.'

See? You just have to keep plugging away.

M..J. Rose is reprinting two articles that she wrote four years ago. Part one on 11 June and part two on 12 June, with more to come. These articles summarise what a continuing joy it is to live the life of a writer published by a big-time publisher. Read them, and revel in the thought of what you can look forward to.

The paperback version of Richard Dawkins's The God Delusion came out in the UK on 21 May, and last week it was the single bestselling book, fiction and non-fiction, in the UK, shifting more than 25,000 copies.

The nineteenth century was, of course, the age when the machine really took off. We didn't yet have cars or aeroplanes, but we had plenty of mass-produced goods. And when writing about William Powell Frith, last week, there was one story that I forgot to mention.

Frith specialised in producing large pictures crammed with scores of human figures, and the story goes that one little old lady spent some time gazing at one of his pictures in awe. She then turn to one of the gallery staff and said, 'Excuse me, but can you tell me whether this picture was painted by hand?'

Ray Atkinson is yet another writer who has resorted to a form of self-publishing. Ray's The Black Tea Experiments is described by the author as an airplane book -- i.e. pure entertainment, to be read and discarded; and it's a bite-size book. Fair enough, and of its kind it sounds tolerably interesting.

Worth noting, however, is the publisher of this novel: American Book Publishing. The firm's own web site is, by my reading, remarkably coy about precisely how it operates. However, you don't have to google very hard to find lots of complaints and warnings about the company. Preditors and Editors says it's Strongly not recommended. The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America have had lots of complaints. You can clearly do better elsewhere.

Meanwhile, word reaches me of a writer who is published by a totally mainstream company, Kensington, and who has done something completely original. At least I don't know of another novel which attempts the same thing.

Come 28 August of this year you will be able to buy Andre W.M. Beierle's First Person Plural. This is a novel about Owen and Porter Jamison. These two are an extremely rare set of conjoined twins of the type dicephalus (literally “two-headed”). They are separate individuals from the neck up, but share a single body.

'As children,' says the press release, 'they’re seen as a single entity—Owenandporter, or more often, Porterandowen. As they grow to adulthood, their differences become more pronounced: Porter is outgoing and charismatic while Owen is cerebral and artistic. When Porter becomes a high school jock hero, complete with cheerleader girlfriend, a greater distinction emerges, as Owen gradually comes to realize that he’s gay.'

Now that, you have to admit, is one hell of a concept. Whether you actually wish to read the novel or not... Now that's a different matter. But it comes with loads of advance praise, and you can read the first chapter online.

* is a site which invites writers to 'join the community' and thereby get the opportunity to promote their books. I don't know why, but whenever I'm asked to join a community I find myself making signs of the cross and backing off fast. I guess I'm just not the joining sort.

Peeledballoon has had an unusual life and is blogging his new novel.

Had a hard time recently? Haven't we all. Write it up and win a $300 prize.

America is currently obsessed with Tina Brown's new, and apparently very dull, book about Princess Diana. But as Abebooks points out, there are already more than 200 books about the lady, so what's one more?

Hang Fire Books is a newish, and well above average, blog, associated with a secondhand-book seller and zombies and all sorts. And it's got pictures too. Makes a change.

Meanwhile, Abebooks has some very interesting data on bookdealers in general. Seems there is almost no such thing as a young online used-book seller. Of course there may be some young people who act as dealers in other areas of life -- who knows? Certainly not I.

You may think it's hard work getting a novel published, but consider the travails of selling a book to an academic press. In a recent post by Maxine Clark (she gets everywhere -- see first para of this post), Mary Scriver provides some wry comments on her experience.

The book in question is Bronze Inside and Out: a Biographical Memoir of Bob Scriver. Mary Scriver was the late sculptor's wife. Note: the reference to 'Western art' in this post uses the word 'Western' as in cowboys and indians. The first two paragraphs of the post are taken from Brian Dippie's introduction to the book, and Mary Scriver's notes follow.

Mary Scriver also blogs as Prairie Mary. And she reads the GOB, which is nice. (Link from Dave Lull.)


ivan said...

The emerging goddess.

Good luck.

What is it about the California sun that bakes people's brains?


Anonymous said...

Re: 'First Person Plural'.

I own 'Brothers of the Head', by a Brian Aldiss, in which two seperate brains on one body thing was already explored. Mind you, I only bought it for its dazzling illustrations.

If I recall it right, 'Brothers of the Head' has been made into a film.

Anonymous said...

Darn, and here I thought literature was already cool.

Anonymous said...

Most grateful for the mention, Michael, thank you. Now why did I instantly think of you when I read that post? Can't imagine.
Glad you liked it.

William Smith said...

Thanks for the plug Michael. And just for the record I am one of the--apparently 3--under 40, full-time bookdealers. Greatly enjoying your posts on Victorian smut. You made me dig out my 3-volume Fraxi.

Hang Fire Books