Date Archives September 2009

Good review

On the Holloway Road got a nice review from a fellow writer and blogger, Helen J Beal. I found it particularly encouraging because she hates travelogues and Kerouac, so could have been expected to hate my book! Anyway, the site is worth checking out for more than just the review. It’s a good mix of reviews, poetry and tangential musings.

Miscellaneous facts about bees

Sorry, this has nothing to do with reading, or writing, or anything else this blog is supposed to be about. I just read an amazing piece about bees in the latest issue of the New Internationalist, and before I throw the magazine I wanted to record some amazing facts. To make a pound of honey, a bee flies about 55,000 miles, equivalent to going around the world twice. It visits 10,000 flowers on more than 500 foraging trips. A single bee-hive can produce as much as 1kg of honey every… Read More

Monday morning inspiration

“Close the door. Write with no one looking over your shoulder. Don’t try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It’s the one and only thing you have to offer.” Barbara Kingsolver (thanks to Amberdine)

“The Gentle Spirit” by Fyodor Dostoevsky

Dostoevsky is one of my favourite writers. I discovered him in my teenage years, read as many of his books as I could get my hands on, and to be honest haven’t read anything else by him in a long time. I still count him as one of my favourite writers, though, more on memory than anything else. His writing is so urgent and immediate, and began to open up a world for me beyond 1990s South London. The Gentle Spirit is very short – longer than a short story,… Read More

Monday morning inspiration

“Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it’s the only way you can do anything really good.” – William Faulkner (seen in The New Writer magazine)

American vs. British readers

Some interesting analysis of US and UK reading habits, courtesy of the summer edition of The Author magazine: American readers prefer romance; British ones prefer literary fiction Men make 35% of book purchases in the US; 42% in the UK In both countries, two-thirds of books are bought by people over the age of 42 In fiction, mystery and romance account for 58% of purchases in the US, compared with 31% in the UK In non-fiction, religious books do well in the US; celebrity biographies in the UK. Original source… Read More

“The Lazarus Project” by Aleksandar Hemon

There are three separate stories in this book: one is the killing of Russian Jewish immigrant Lazarus Averbuch by the Chicago Chief of Police in 1908; another is the struggle of the narrator, Bosnian immigrant Brik, to adapt to life in contemporary Chicago; a third is the 1990s war in the former Yugoslavia, as told mostly by Brik’s friend Rora. At first the different stories are told in separate chapters, but as the novel progresses they gradually merge, so that the narrative shifts abruptly between the different times and spaces…. Read More

Monday morning inspiration

“Everybody walks past a thousand story ideas every day. The good writers are the ones who see five or six of them. Most people don’t see any.” – Orson Scott Card (seen in The New Writer magazine)