Date Archives May 2010

Monday morning inspiration

Read, every day, something no one else is reading. Think, every day, something no one else is thinking. Do, every day, something no one else would be silly enough to do. It is bad for the mind to be always part of unanimity. – Christopher Morley

“Stone in a Landslide” by Maria Barbal

One of the things I have always loved about a good book is the way it takes you into places and times you’d never otherwise have a chance to experience. This book conveys utterly convincingly the experience of growing up in a small mountain village in early 20th century Catalonia. I really felt as if I was there with Conxa and Jaume and their children and the aunt and uncle. This is a historical novel that spans several generations and takes in major historical events like the Spanish Civil War…. Read More

Women

Sometimes you think things are not so bad really, and then you see a statistic like this and it just makes you really angry: Women perform 66% of the world’s work, produce 50% of the food, but earn 10% of the income and own 1% of the property. – New Internationalist magazine, March 2010 issue

Monday morning inspiration

Remember you don’t know the limits of your own abilities. Successful or not, if you keep pushing beyond yourself, you will enrich your own life – and maybe even please a few strangers. AL Kennedy The Guardian, Feb 2010

“Invisible Cities” by Italo Calvino

I thought I would have liked this more than I did. I like most of Calvino’s books, and in this one the writing is absolutely beautiful, the observations on cities are clever and insightful, and the structure is innovative. But somehow, for me, all of these ingredients didn’t add up to a very rewarding whole. I think the problem was the lack of plot. The structure of the book is a series of one- or two-page descriptions of different imaginary cities, with occasional philosophical conversations between Marco Polo and Kublai… Read More

“So Long, See You Tomorrow” by William Maxwell

I love Harvill Press. Normally I don’t pay a lot of attention to the publishers, because I find most of them produce roughly the same mix of books I love, books I hate and books I don’t care about. But with Harvill, I know for sure that every time I see that little panther symbol, I can be assured of enjoying the book. I think the first Harvill book I read was The Leopard by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, and then there was Broken April by Ismail Kadare and Doctor… Read More

Luke Bitmead Writer’s Bursary 2010

My publisher, Legend Press, just announced that submissions are open for the 2010 Luke Bitmead Writer’s Bursary. This is the contest that gave me my break into publishing when I won it in 2008. The prize is £2,500 and a publishing contract. You enter the first three or four chapters of your novel and a personal statement – full details are here. If you are an unpublished novelist with a manuscript ready to submit, I’d really recommend entering. Winning changed my life completely, and it’s been fantastic to see On… Read More

Progress in Microsoft world

In most areas of technology, things have changed quite significantly since the year 2000.  Look at the latest iPod next to an early MP3 player, for example. Or websites whizzing with Flash and Java and Ajax and all that, next to a basic HTML site designed for a 56k AOL dial-up connection. In my own life, the year 2000 seems ages ago – I was a corporate banker then, working on Wall Street and day-trading dot-com stocks in my spare time. Since then I’ve been a graduate student, a journalist… Read More