OK, before we get started…
EDINBURGH VINTAGE IS HAVING A HUGE SALE! This is for July only, so get in there and rummage! New items are being added all the time, too!
When you announce that you’re a ghost-writer, people look at you askance. Some say, “You’re writing about ghosts?” Others, with some condescension, ask you when you’re going to write your own book, the inference being that ghost-writing is for those who can’t make it up. And whilst there is a grain of truth in that, to my mind, ghost-writing is a skill and an art of its own.
I was fascinated by these confessions of a ghost writer, Sue Leonard, who does it for a living.
If you click nothing else in this post, click this fabby series of portraits: booksellers in their natural habitats. (As my collague Danny wrote when he emailed me about it “it’s a lovely series and it’s lovely.”)
This guy plants his self-published book in bookstores… and people buy it.
My loyalty to Levin in Anna Karenina is of an entirely different nature to my loyalty to, say, Paul Newman’s caesar salad dressing, which I like very much: it is not a preference but an affinity, an encounter so genuinely self-revealing that the relationship required me first to work and then to alter. My relationship with Levin cannot be improved upon or reproduced.
So I just finished reading Eleanor Catton’s “The Luminaries” [SPOILER: it is amazing, read it], and I am just as enchanted by this excellent essay she wrote about literature and capitalism. (Side note: I cannot believe this woman is only one year older than me. She is a total genius and makes me feel like a failure at life.)
As someone who works a lot with literacy learners, I loved this video of just a few learners describing their literacy journeys.
19 Dilemmas Every Book Lover Has Faced At Least Once
Not buying from Amazon is less a tactic of starving Amazon of a sale, they’re hardly going to miss it. Not buying from Amazon is taking those missed sales to other venues; Waterstones and independents. I’ve had people say to me off-handedly that they don’t expect Waterstones to be around in 5 years. That thought upsets me. So I’ll happily impulsively buy a nice hardback, a slightly overpriced cup of tea and cake as an investment. Please don’t squander my investment, Waterstones.
One woman’s vow to boycott Amazon: her end of year review!
And speaking of which… got a problem with Amazon? No matter what it is, here’s the cure.
Have you checked out Scottish Book Trust’s Opportunities for Writers page lately? Loads of good stuff there at the moment!
I drew plans of my protagonist’s house, her daughter’s house, her brother in law’s, and her friend’s houses. I also printed out, cut up and glued together images from Google maps to create my own picture of her local area.
Also at Scottish Book Trust this week: Novelist Emma Healy lists five practical ways to get to grips with writing your novel.
I can’t wait to read this.
Are you writing a book — fiction or non fiction — that’s somehow about medicine or health? The Wellcome Prize is now accepting entries!
I realise now that I am neither normal nor ordinary, and I become less and less ordinary as time passes. I don’t want to be told that I’m not allowed to react negatively to Paxman’s demand that I speak to everyone except people like me; people who have been historically excluded from poetry events by definition, by default; and who, when they raise that issue, get lumped in with a “pellety nest” by those who refuse to see their privilege
That’s the excellent Mark Burnhope, responding excellently to recently-retired, flailing-against-his-own-irrelevance Jeremy Paxman. (Buy Mark’s new book!)
Have you been to Looking Glass Books? You should go!
Poetry prize culture rewards “competent but unambitious verse lauded as the best our art-form has to oﬀer”? Interesting reading in Poetry Review (via).
And speaking of poetry prize culture… the always-brilliant Dave Coates reviews John Burnside and Hugo Williams and, refreshingly, finds them wanting.
Going through some old bookmarks I found this great poem.
And this one.
There is an oversupply of PhDs. Although a doctorate is designed as training for a job in academia, the number of PhD positions is unrelated to the number of job openings. Meanwhile, business leaders complain about shortages of high-level skills, suggesting PhDs are not teaching the right things. The fiercest critics compare research doctorates to Ponzi or pyramid schemes.
I first read this just as I was starting out on my PhD. Yesterday I graduated. Turns out, the Economist was kinda right.
Have you, like me, ever wanted to escape the tyranny that is hair care? Check this out!
Aaaand while trawling old bookmarks I also discovered this My Mad Fat Diary gif, which may be the best gif ever. (SHARON I LOVE YOU.)
HIPPOS ARE BETTER THAN HUMANS. The end.
…and people say animals have no feelings. (Look how when she falls, he’s like, ADULTS, ARE YOU DOING SOMETHING ABOUT THIS?!)
All by myself from Richard Dunn on Vimeo.
You guys saw this, right? A dude got stuck overnight in an airport in Vegas… so he single handedly shot an epic music video on his phone.
Finally, I kinda want to be friends with these weird guys. (Apparently, so do all the MRAs in the world, because they’re hanging out in the video’s comments. Weeeird!)
Have a great weekend!
Like shiny things? Check out Edinburgh Vintage, a totally unrelated ’sister site’ full of jewels, treasures and trinkets. If you want to get in touch you can follow OneNightStanzas on Twitter, or email claire[at]onenightstanzas.com. I reply as swiftly as I can!