Sunday, July 31, 2011

Fish Quill Poetry Boat

"From August 4th to August 13th – A group of poets is setting out on a ten-day reading tour by canoe down the Grand River from Elora to Six Nations of the Grand River Territory. The group, calling itself Fish Quill Poetry Boat, will be reading their work in cafés, arts centres, and heritage sites along the way.[...]

Friday, August 5th: Elora: 7pm @Bissell Park Pavilion"


Hardboiled with a soft centre

"Richard Hallas was a pseudonym for Eric Knight, an Englishman otherwise known, surprisingly enough, for penning the lachrymose novel Lassie Come-Home. Crossing continents as well as genres, Knight would only publish one hardboiled novel [...]. One can’t help but wonder how Knight could write a saccharine tale about a faithful dog, and, virtually at the same time, a hardboiled novel filled with murder, robbery, gambling, blackmail, scams, and suicide. Even more perplexing is the harsh critical reaction he received for You Play the Black [and the Red Comes Up]."
     [...] Whether thanks to Lassie or to his service record, Knight had attained such fame that Peter Hurd (Andrew Wyeth’s brother-in-law) painted his portrait. In it, Knight stands against a mountain range, wearing a blue shirt and a pencil moustache. He looks like an emaciated Errol Flynn. The portrait isn’t featured in any reference work for noir fiction. Nor does it hang in any World War II museum. Instead, it adorns a website devoted to — you guessed it — border collies, above a picture of a sculpture Knight himself carved of his favorite canine. In the biography and bibliography that accompany the images, You Play the Black is conspicuous by its absence."
— Woody Haut, Los Angeles Review of Books

(Woody Haut is the author of Pulp Culture: Hardboiled Fiction and the Cold War; Neon Noir: Contemporary American Crime Fiction; and Heartbreak and Vine: the Fate of Hardboiled Writers in Hollywood, all published by Serpent’s Tail.)

"Hard-boiled is attitude. Attitude to the core. It’s also a lot more. Some may think it’s only fiction about violence, often very brutal violence, but that’s not a necessary ingredient. Violence is there because we’re talking about realistic crime fiction when we talk hard-boiled, and that means you lay it out truthfully to the reader. Don’t sugarcoat the truth, don’t play it cute. The attitude comes from realizing that truth. No matter how truly rotten or violent it may be. Knowledge of that truth can not help but effect the writer, or his characters, and if done well, the reader as well." — Gary Lovisi, Gryphon Books

For books by Richard Hallas, Geoffrey O'Brien, Woody Haut and Harboiled Fiction writers like James M. Cain, Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler, check out Roxanne's Reflections Book & Card Shop in Fergus.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Sometimes soft is better than hard...

"Publishers say they have a new sense of urgency with the paperback, since the big, simultaneous release of hardcover and electronic editions now garners a book the bulk of the attention it is likely to receive, leaving the paperback relatively far behind. They may also be taking their cues from Hollywood, where movie studios have trimmed marketing costs by steadily closing the gap between the theatrical release of films and their arrival on DVD. [...]
     'It’s definitely making the consumer happy to have the paperback available sooner,' said Peter Aaron, the owner of the Elliott Bay Book Company in Seattle, an independent store. 'If there’s one form of printed book that will survive, if there was only one, it would be the trade paperback.' ”
— Julie Bosman, The New York Times

"Speaking of Pulp Noir stories, Stephen King wrote a book [...] called The Colorado Kid for Hard Case Crime, a book publisher who embraces the 1950s style pulp crime novel genre. Check out the awesome 1950s cover. Here's a great quote from the press release:
     ' "This is an exciting line of books," Stephen King commented, "and I'm delighted to be a part of it. Hard Case Crime presents good, clean, bare-knuckled storytelling, and even though The Colorado Kid is probably more bleu than outright noir, I think it has some of those old-fashioned kick-ass story-telling virtues. It ought to; this is where I started out, and I'm pleased to be back." '
Unfortunately, while the cheap trashy $5 paperback format fits the style, I always prefer hardback books with clean thick acid free paper. The presentation of a book is a big factor in my enjoyment of the book. [...]'
— Mike Shea

Get Stephen King books (hard and soft) here...

Friday, July 29, 2011

Speaking Novels

Milton Dictating to His Daughter (1794) by Henri Fuseli

"More and more writers are using voice recognition software, which is constantly improving and even has an app for the iPhone. The novelist Richard Powers has explained his process of dictating novels to his PC tablet as a return to 'writing by voice' as authors through history have done.
But earlier writers—Milton, Dostoevsky, Henry James—used the first form of voice recognition software: women.
[...] Dostoevsky called his transcriptionist, Anna Grigorievna, his 'collaborator.' He hired her in order to finish The Gambler because of a desperate contract he had made with his publisher. [...] Although there is no way to measure her contribution, it is clear that she was aware that she was offering more than efficiency of production. With her help, Dostoevsky finished The Gambler on deadline. Then he married her and their collaboration continued."— Amy Rowland, Utne Reader

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Alison Pick long-listed for the Man Booker

2011 Elora Writers' Festival reader Alison Pick is one of only thirteen authors from around the world selected for the 2011 Man Booker Prize long-list.

"The list of 13 nominees includes [Canadians] Alison Pick of Toronto, author of Far to Go; Vancouver-born Patrick deWitt, now living in Portland, Oregon, nominated for The Sisters Brothers; and Esi Edugyan of Victoria, author of Half Blood Blues."

About Alison Pick's book Far to Go:

"[...] very deftly structured and the storytelling is seamless. [...] Far to Go appears poised to gain a wide and significant readership, and deservedly so."
- The Globe and Mail

"Weaving Czech history with a contemporary mystery, Far To Go shows terrific craft and emotional intelligence. A winner. " - NOW
Get Far to Go here...

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Books Be Gone

British Library gate (photo: Wikimedia Commons)

“[...] 'Closing libraries is the behaviour of a debased culture,' [Philip Pullman] adds. 'Libraries are not just a source of books. Many of us feel that they symbolise something more, that Britain is a civilised place. And when part of our civilisation is being destroyed, we have to stand up against the barbarians.'
Scathing talk from 64-year-old Pullman – a teacher who only took up writing full-time when his Dark Materials trilogy began to attract millions of children and adults – who admits he is 'apoplectic with rage' at the treatment of libraries in the current round of [UK] public-spending cuts. He is angered, above all, by the way more than 400 libraries around the country have been earmarked for closure." — Peter Stanford, The Telegraph
Read more here...
And here...

Library of Alexandria by Ania Gilmore

"At its peak, the Library of Alexandria may have had over a half a million items in its collection. The downfall of the library is unclear. Most say that part of it was destroyed by fire when Caesar invaded in 48 BC, and declared war. But in the end the library also deteriorated over time, at the same time the Greek Empire was beginning to fall during the third century A.D."— Celsus: A Library Architecture Resource

"As a passionate believer in the democracy of reading, I don't think it's the task of the author of a book to tell the reader what it means. [...] I'm not in the message business; I'm in the 'Once upon a time' business." — Philip Pullman

Buy books by Philip Pullman here...

See a related post here...

Back to the Future

From: Live Auctioneers

"One late-autumn afternoon I walked from the 7th down the Blvd. St.-Germain to the Librairie in the 5th, on the other side of the Boul Mich’, in the old Latin Quarter, at the foot of Notre Dame. The windows were dusty, the interior dark, there was no indication that the store was open.
     But the door was unlocked.
     I was greeted by an older man in a tweed jacket and a knit scarf. 'Greeted', perhaps, is not the right word. He acknowledged my presence with a small nod while I gazed — in rapture, in wonderment — at book after book after book. There were hundreds of them. All extraordinary. All by Jules Verne."
— Howard A. Rodman,  Los Angeles Review of Books

Friday, July 22, 2011

Curvature of the Spine

Photo: design345

"With the e-book revolution upending the publishing business, Madeline McIntosh, the president of sales, operations and digital for Random House, stood at the lectern on the opening day [of the Columbia Publishing Course] in June, projecting a slide depicting the industry as a roller coaster, its occupants frozen in motion at the top of a steep loop.
[...]'You never know what’s going to happen,' Carolyn Pittis, the senior vice president of global author services at HarperCollins, told a packed room of students several days into the course. 'So it’s very exciting for those of us who spent many years when a lot of things didn’t happen.'
[...] In the past year, e-books have skyrocketed in popularity, especially in genre fiction like romance and thrillers. For some new releases, the first week has brought more sales of electronic copies than of print copies."— Julie Bosman, The New York Times

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Canadian Giants of the Twentieth Century (2) Marshall McLuhan — Born 100 Years Ago Today

From: Marshall McLuhan Speaks

"[...] He distilled his genius, including phrases that became and remain part of the daily lexicon, such as 'the medium is the message,' into sometimes puzzling aphorisms, an early form of the sound byte. [...] In honour of the centenary of his birth, take this special Globe and Mail quiz, assembled by Dominique Scheffel-Dunand, co-chair of McLuhan100 and director of the McLuhan Program in Culture & Technology at the University of Toronto."
The Globe and Mail

"One of the most charismatic, controversial and original thinkers of our time whose remarkable perception propelled him onto the international stage, Marshall McLuhan is universally regarded as the father of communications and media studies and prophet of the information age."

"Herbert Marshall McLuhan was a visionary educator of mass media. 'The medium is the message,' perhaps his most often quoted phrase, was one of his many advanced perceptions. In media, he studied both their overriding effects on society and their character as extensions of the senses of the individual."
Digital Lantern

"As boys at bedtime in the dark, Marshall McLuhan and his brother Maurice huddled listening to the crystal radio set Marshall had built. Even as a child living in Edmonton, Marshall was always interested in the latest technology, recalls Maurice about his brother."
CBC Digital Archives

Get books by Marshall McLuhan here..

Scene from Woody Allen's Annie Hall:

See: "Canadian Giants of the Twentieth Century (1)" here...

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Write Out of Nothing

Photo: Michael Hale

"What should you do to help your child pursue her dreams of becoming a writer?
     First of all, let her be bored. Let her have long afternoons with absolutely nothing to do. Limit her TV-watching time and her internet-playing time and take away her cell phone. Give her a whole summer of lazy mornings and dreamy afternoons. Make sure she has a library card and a comfy corner where she can curl up with a book. Give her a notebook and five bucks so she can pick out a great pen. [...] Give her some tedious chores to do. Make her mow the lawn, do the dishes by hand, paint the garage. Make her go on long walks with you and tell her you just want to listen to the sounds of the neighborhood.
     [...] Let her go without writing if she wants to. Never nag her about writing, even if she’s cheerful when writing and completely unbearable when she’s not. Let her quit writing altogether if she wants to." — M. Molly Backes

"Start by doing nothing while you are waiting in line, at the doctor’s office, on a bus, or for a plane. Wait, without reading a newspaper or magazine, without talking on the phone, without checking your email, without writing out your to-do list, without doing any work, without worrying about what you need to do later. Wait, and do nothing. Concentrate on your breathing, or try one of the relaxation techniques above. Concentrate on those around you — watch them, try to understand them, listen to their conversations." — zenhabits

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Boom Books

From: More about Kirlian photography here...

"Call them the Big Five. Game hunters have their wish-list of trophy animals, and rock music has its own – the elite group of rock stars yet to be bagged for publishing deals. This month, after HarperCollins snapped up the autobiography of Pete Townshend of the Who after a bidding war, publishers' sights are firmly set on the few remaining major talents to have held back from a book deal. Paul McCartney, Elton John, Robert Plant and Bruce Springsteen are on that list, but at the top for many in the book industry is David Bowie. [...]
     Music writer Luke Bainbridge says the appetite for these [Big Five] books is enormous. 'It is because you have got a set of rock stars and of fans who have reached the right age. These are the bands doing the classic album tours, whether it is Primal Scream or Suede.'" — Vanessa Thorpe, The Observer

"One of the hottest properties making the rounds at that annual festival of literary wheeling and dealing, the Frankfurt Book Fair [2010], isn't some tome by the hot young author du jour. It's a hard-to-classify work of nonfiction by a veteran rock star. Call it a book oddity.
     To hear it from reports coming out of Frankfurt over the last four days, David Bowie's mysterious secret project, Bowie: Object, has been generating a hive of buzz.[...] 'We still don't want to give too much away just yet, suffice to say that David Bowie has been working on a book called Bowie: Object, ' a post on the [Publishers Weekly] site reads." — all about jazz

"Bowie: Object features 100 fascinating items that give an insight into the life of one of the most unique music and fashion icons in history. The book's pictorial content is annotated with insightful, witty and personal text written by Bowie himself." —

(Note: David Bowie's book Bowie: Object has yet to appear on bookstore shelves. But when it does, go here to get it.)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

"80 percent of U.S. families did not buy or read a book last year." — Erma Bombeck

From: Wikipedia

"The Xinhua Dictionary [1953], a Chinese-character dictionary well-known to most Chinese people, saw its 400-millionth copy roll off the press when its tenth edition was published [51 years later] at the beginning of 2004." — People's Daily Online

Next on the list of all-time best sellers is A Tale of Two Cities (Charles Dickens, 1859); it took 145 years to reach the 200 million mark.

"Religious books, especially the Bible and the Qur'an, are probably the most-printed books, but it is nearly impossible to find reliable figures about them. Many copies of the Bible and the Qur'an are printed and given away free, instead of being sold. The same goes for some political books, like the works of Mao Zedong or Adolf Hitler." — Wikipedia

Designers: Sha De'an (啥德安); Li Yang (李阳)

"To love the country one must first know its history - the deeper the knowledge, the more eager the love."
Aiguo shouxian yao zhiguo - zhi zhi yu shen, ai zhi yu qie (爱国首先要知国 - 知之愈深, 爱之愈切)

Publisher: Zhejiang renmin meishu chubanshe (浙江人民美术出版社)

"My stories run up and bite me on the leg — I respond by writing down everything that goes on during the bite. When I finish, the idea lets go and runs off."— Ray Bradbury

Telegram from Dorothy Parker to her Viking editor, Pascal Covici
(from: Nancy Campbell)

"[...] According to [Frank] Rose, 'a new type of narrative is emerging – one that's told through many media at once in a way that's nonlinear, that's participatory and often game-like, and that's designed above all to be immersive. This is "deep media."'
     Kate Pullinger, a Canadian writer who has spent her adult life in the UK, is fascinated by the opportunities of deep media. Pullinger has pioneered 'digital fiction.' She insists that 'my primary concern is to tell stories,' but believes that 'the new technology has the potential to inject a new dimension to storytelling.' She describes digital fiction as 'a hybrid genre,' mixing screen and text in radical ways. Pullinger thinks that 'we have barely scratched the surface in the potential for storytelling.' " — Robert McCrum, Guardian

“ 'E-books as we know them are electronic replicas of books, it’s paper under glass,' says Kate Pullinger, author of the children’s novel Inanimate Alice – which can be viewed free online. (She also won the 2009 Governor-General’s Award for her conventional novel The Mistress of Nothing.) 'If you are going to put a work of fiction on a computer, why would you not use the multimedia components a computer has to offer you – image and sound and interactive games?' " — Kate Taylor, The Globe and Mail

Friday, July 15, 2011

Hot Titles

"[...] what are the most frequently stolen books from bookstores?
The results are surprisingly consistent–the same books and authors keep getting stolen across the country, so much so that many of them are frequently shelved behind the counter. Here are 5 of the most frequently stolen books, with sources listed below." — Publishers Weekly

"As a current bookstore manager I can tell you that the Bible is still one of the most stolen… we do have a sign about the section saying 'thou shalt not steal'… but it doesn’t help." — jrh (a response to the article above)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Wish you were here...

May 27 of next year — that's right: "twenty-twelve" — will be here before we know it; and even as these keystrokes are turning into pixelated characters, the Elora Writer's Festival committee is compiling a long list of authors (poets, novelists, biographers, screenwriters, playwrights) for next year's event.
     But we're still open to suggestions.
     Drop us a line: just make a comment below (or go to the "Contact Us" box) and let us know who you would like to see (and hear) on Sunday, May 27, 2012.
     Your wish is our command... maybe.

Fiction Rules

Fourteen writers share their lists of writing "rules and regulations" with the Guardian:

3. Never use a verb other than "said" to carry dialogue. The line of dialogue belongs to the character; the verb is the writer sticking his nose in. But "said" is far less intrusive than "grumbled", "gasped", "cautioned", "lied". I once noticed Mary McCarthy ending a line of dialogue with "she asseverated" and had to stop reading and go to the dictionary. — Elmore Leonard

8. You can never read your own book with the innocent anticipation that comes with that first delicious page of a new book, because you wrote the thing. You've been backstage. You've seen how the rabbits were smuggled into the hat. Therefore ask a reading friend or two to look at it before you give it to anyone in the publishing business. This friend should not be someone with whom you have a ­romantic relationship, unless you want to break up. — Margaret Atwood

7. Imagine that you are dying. If you had a terminal disease would you ­finish this book? Why not? The thing that annoys this 10-weeks-to-live self is the thing that is wrong with the book. So change it. Stop arguing with yourself. Change it. See? Easy. And no one had to die. — Anne Enright

5. Remember: when people tell you something's wrong or doesn't work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong. — Neil Gaiman

Read more... then get back to writing.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Eat My Words

Kerouac's scroll manuscript of On The Road (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

"[Jack] Kerouac did not type the draft [On The Road] on ordinary sheets of paper, but on a scroll. Before sitting down to type, Kerouac made the scroll by cutting 20-inch-wide lengths of tracing paper into narrower 9-inch strips that fitted into his typewriter. He then pasted them together into 12-foot-long reels of paper so that once he had started, he did not have to stop, just type. The spontaneous outburst of creativity and unrevised rhythm was fuelled only, Kerouac said, by coffee.
[...] The scroll is almost 120 feet long. It looks like a road and a journey in itself. However, the end of the scroll, containing Kerouac’s original ending, is missing. At the current end is a handwritten note from Kerouac that says: 'DOG ATE [Potchky - a dog]'. Potchky was a cocker spaniel owned by Kerouac’s friend Lucien Carr. Nobody knows how much longer the scroll was before Potchky sank his teeth into it.

[...] In 1644, Theodore [Reinking] wrote a political tract entitled Dania ad exteros de perfidia Suecorum. [...] At that particular point, just after the Thirty Years’ War, Denmark was a shadow of its former power, and in sway to the strength of its neighbour, Sweden. Reinking’s tract blamed the Swedes roundly for this appalling situation. Whatever the literary merits of Reinking’s work, or its accuracy, the Swedes took agin it. The tetchy Scandinavians cast Reinking into a dark prison, where he mouldered for many years. At last, he was offered a stark choice: to lose his head or eat his book. (An early variation on Izzard’s cake or death, obviously.) A politician through and through, Reinking preferred the culinary challenge. We don’t know whether his tract was weighty enough to provide an entire meal or merely an amuse-bouche, or whether he acted alone or with kitchen accomplices, but he boiled his manuscript up into a broth and ate it that way." — Lost Manuscripts

"To Read Too Many Books is Harmful"
 — Mao Zedong

Photo: Michael Hale

" [...] Readers are now faced with a glut of books they can't wade through. Booksellers are suffering because they are faced with customers who are frustrated and who have no way to choose books, plus the booksellers themselves have no chance to read a sizable number of the books they sell and therefore are less educated about what to recommend and rely more and more on bestseller lists." — M. J. Rose

"[...] Every month, it seems, some reporter drops by my office to request a leave of absence to write a book. I patiently explain that book-writing is agony — slow, lonely, frustrating work that, unless you are a very rare exception, gets a lukewarm review (if any), reaches a few thousand people and lands on a remaindered shelf at Barnes & Noble. I recount my own experience as a book failure — two incompletes, and I’m still paying back a sizable advance with a yearly check to Simon & Schuster that I think of not as a burden but as bail." — Bill Keller, The New York Times

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

An Open Secret

From: Project Gutenberg

"It is a sun-baked afternoon deep in the Kentish countryside which once left Frances Hodgson Burnett feeling 'flower drunk.' Hollyhocks skirt the old brick walls, lavender nods beneath the weight of drowsy bees and the ivy-wreathed archway of my childhood fantasies is just one step ahead of me. It’s a step that children have dreamed of taking for 100 years. A step into a world of friendship, mysteries and magic. A step into The Secret Garden.
[...] The gardens at Great Maytham Hall [are] open to the public once a year as part of the National Gardens Scheme. See for more details."
— Helen Brown, The Telegraph

And buy The Secret Garden here...

Hard Times — media meltdown

From: David Perdue's Charles Dickens Page

"[Household Words was a] Weekly magazine which Dickens edited along with sub-editor W. H. Wills. Charles' father, John Dickens, also had editorial duties on the magazine. Dickens received a salary and additional payments for his own contributions. The weekly contained topical journalism, essays, short fiction, and poetry by a total of 380 contributors. It was published every Wednesday at a cost of twopence and consisted of 24 pages of double columns without illustration. The magazine proved a financial success with sales reaching 100,000 weekly. Although serial publication was not planned for the journal, Dickens published his novel Hard Times in Household Words in order to bolster sales during a period of reduced profit. Dickens' total contribution to the weekly included 108 full-length essays and articles, co-writing another 45. After quarreling with his publisher, Bradbury and Evans, Dickens discontinued Household Words and the journal was incorporated into a new weekly, All the Year Round. 31 of the articles Dickens wrote for Household Words were published as Reprinted Pieces in 1858. [...]
      Dickens' successor to Household Words took the same format as its predecessor. Dickens contributed less material to All the Year Round than he had for Household Words, although he did serialize A Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations in the weekly. Dickens owned 75% of the venture and served as editor until his death in 1870 at which time his son Charley took over as editor until 1888. The magazine ceased publication in 1893. A collection of the sketches Dickens wrote for All the Year Round were later published as The Uncommercial Traveller."
David Perdue's Charles Dickens Page

"Make no mistake: as in every previous IT revolution, there will be (already is) a creative dividend. For instance, the print boom of 1590-1610 liberated Shakespeare and his successors, from Jonson to Donne, and sponsored an explosion of ephemeral publications, the inky compost that would nurture the best of the Jacobeans. Similarly, in Edwardian London, new media shaped the careers of Joseph Conrad, Arthur Conan Doyle, Henry James, and countless others. Heart of Darkness was first published as a magazine serial."
— Robert McCrum, Guardian

"We are all witnessing the sudden dematerialization of our arts and entertainment, their transfer from unique artifact source to universally on-demand screen availability. Walk down Main Street. The video and DVD emporia are gone — it happened in a year or two. The bookstores, if not yet folded, are quickly going the way of record stores. More and more people are persuaded to access their culture through screen portals, ordering up what they need for their Kindle, their iPod, their nightly watching pleasures. And the middle men, the algorithmically nimble purveyors of books and music and film, increasingly access them — us — identifying what they think we want and laying it on our electronic doorstep."
— Sven Birkerts, Los Angeles Review of Books

Saturday, July 9, 2011


From: Wikimedia Commons

"SHAKESPEARE & Company, the famously ramshackle Anglo-American bookshop on the Parisian Left Bank, is more than just a place to pick up a paperback. It is a bohemian hub once frequented by Henry Miller, Allen Ginsberg and Anaïs Nin, the Paris equivalent of San Francisco's City Lights bookstore. Besides rare editions, second-hand books and the latest literary phenomena, the store holds regular workshops for aspiring writers.
One such group is 'The Other Writers' Group,' which gathers every Saturday in the bookshop's library. To reach this room, you must walk to the back of the shop, past a coin-filled wishing well, turn right at the old piano and clamber up the creaky wooden staircase to the first floor, where bookshelves threaten to topple at every turn. At the top of the staircase, someone has created a tiny writer's den, a closet-sized cubby-hole that is open to anyone who cares to write in it." — Sarah Dallas, More Intelligent Life
From: Genetic Joyce Studies

"[...] while visiting her bookshop [Shakespeare and Company], [James] Joyce reported the bad news to Sylvia Beach: the two American publishers were finally compelled to decline. On that same day, Beach offered to publish Ulysses under her Shakespeare and Company imprint. By mid-April, Beach, with Adrienne Monnier's help, secured a printer for the job and proposed to Darantiere an edition of one thousand copies. Joyce wrote to Weaver about his change of fortunes on 10 April and they undertook plans almost immediately for an Egoist Press, English edition also to be produced after the French edition sold out. Beach and Joyce planned to publish the book in October 1921 and decided to offer the book to subscribers, hoping to acquire enough advance funds to cover the printing of the edition. As part of the advertising initiative, Joyce and Beach included on the form a number of brief review statements by well-known literati.

[...] Beach moved Shakespeare and Company to a larger, new address at rue de l'Odeon in September 1921. Meanwhile, Joyce continued to compose and correct Ulysses. The author's numerous and substantial late-stage emendations to his text delayed the printing and publication of the book. Joyce continued to correct proofs and delivered the last of them to Dijon only on 30 January 1922. Finally, on 2 February 1922, Darantiere delivered two copies (#901 and #902) of Ulysses to Beach, who in turn brought them to Joyce on this, his fortieth birthday.

[...]  When George Slocombe reported in his Paris-society column, '...and here it is at last, as large as a telephone directory or a family Bible, and with many of the literary and social characteristics of each!' he aptly described the first Ulysses. The first edition was unwieldy and fragile but purchasers of this book were expected to have it individually rebound in cloth or leather to match other items in their library." — Stacey Herbert, Genetic Joyce Studies Issue 4 (Spring 2004)

Go to Skakespeare and Company's website here...
And buy Ulysses here...

Friday, July 8, 2011

"Volunteers don't get paid, not because they're worthless, but because they're priceless."  — Sherry Anderson 

The Elora Writers' Festival needs your help — whether it's on the day of the Festival (next year it falls on Sunday, May 27) or throughout the year. A willingness to lend a hand — no matter how modest the offer of assistance — goes a long way in making the Festival a more enjoyable event for the patrons, the reader/authors, and the volunteers who make it happen.
     If you'd like to be part of our casual, monthly committee meetings at Roxanne's Reflections Book & Card Shop (get the latest scoop on who's in the running for our roster of readers... the refreshments are great, too), or just a volunteer on the day of the Festival passing out cookies and welcoming our authors (maybe you're interested in helping out with our  Elora Writers' Festival Open Writing Competition or the Young Writers Contest) your help will be very much appreciated.
     Leave your name and email address in the "POST A COMMENT" section below, or go to the "CONTACT US" box at the bottom of the page on the right — and join us at our next meeting in September.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

"This morning I took out a comma, and this afternoon I put it back again." — Oscar Wilde

Autobiography of Mark Twain: Volume 1
By Mark Twain
Edited by Harriet Elinor Smith 
(University of California Press, 736 pp., $34.95)
Reviewed by Michael Lewis in The New Republic

"Great writers are not meant to care more about money than art. Twain cared so much about money that what little he writes about his art in his autobiography is almost entirely, and obsessively, about the business end of things: his paychecks, his promotional tours, his financial disputes with publishers, his venture capital investments in publishing and printing technology. He stops and starts Huckleberry Finn over and again to devote vast amounts of his time and energy to losing $190,000 (roughly $4 million today) in a doomed typesetting machine, and nearly bankrupts himself. [...]
     Writing with one eye on the audience is certainly a handicap; but the worry that the audience might rise and leave the auditorium at any moment pushes the writer to be clear, and brief, and obviously worth listening to. He is forced to pay special attention to the sound of his words. A distinctive literary voice is a bit like a talent for wiggling your ears, or for holding your breath underwater for two straight minutes. It’s not fair that some people simply sound particularly themselves and others do not, and it’s really not fair just how particularly himself Twain sounded, even when he lay in bed and rambled to a stenographer. But Twain’s voice is the reason people still read him. His voice is the reason you feel as if he is talking to you. And the crowds he played to in his lust for fame and fortune helped him to create that voice. [...]
     On the other hand, it takes a lot of effort to sustain a voice without becoming trapped by it. Not long before he committed suicide, I met Hunter S. Thompson at his home, late one night. He sat in a kitchen pulling on a half gallon of tequila straight from the bottle, surrounded by giant placards inscribed with various outrageous things that he had said or written. He had become less a writer than an actor trying not to forget the character he was meant to be playing."
Buy this book here...

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Heaven and Hell in the Same Breath

From: Forum Ksiazki

"When she [Cynthia Ozick] sits down to write she has to force herself into it. 'And I mean forcing it – without any hope that anything will come out of it. Because if I don't start, I won't get going. And sometimes starting is so difficult. Because it's all chaos. It's the difference between writing an essay, which if it's about Henry James, at least you know that much. But with fiction you don't. It could be a scene in your mind or it could be some kind of tendril that you can barely define. So I have to force it. And then after – and this is real compulsion, real self-flagellation – it kind of takes off. But there's a lot of agony before. And sometimes during. And sometimes all through. But just before the end and revelations start coming, that's the joy. But mostly its hell.'"— Emma Brockes, Guardian
And more...

Buy her books (her latest is Foreign Bodies) here...

Monday, July 4, 2011

Hemingway: The Sun Also Sets

Ernest Hemingway's passport photo, 1923
(from: Wikipedia)

“Retire?" [Ernest Hemingway] said. "Unlike your baseball player and your prizefighter and your matador, how does a writer retire? No one accepts that his legs are shot or the whiplash gone from his reflexes. Everywhere he goes, he hears the same damn question: what are you working on?” — from: "Hemingway, Hounded by the Feds" by A.E. Hotchner in The New York Times

Summer Book Game

From: YeahWriters

"I think of the paperback game as a summertime entertainment, best played in beach and lake houses and old inns, all of which tend to collect visitors’ random and abandoned books. So the weekend of the Fourth of July seems like a good time to share, review and/or clarify the rules. From here you can bend them to your will and make the game your own.
     Here’s what you’ll need to play: slips of paper (index cards work well), a handful of pencils or pens and a pile of paperback books. Any sort of book will do, from a Dostoyevsky to a Jennifer Egan, and from diet guides to the Kama Sutra."— Dwight Garner, The New York Times

Sunday, July 3, 2011

The King James Bible — 400 Years Old This Year

Bentham King James Bible (1762)

"When [The King James Bible] appeared, moreover, it was already familiar, in the sense that it borrowed freely from William Tyndale’s great translation of a century before. Deliberately, and with commendable modesty, the members of King James’s translation committees said they did not seek 'to make a new translation, nor yet to make of a bad one a good one, but to make a good one better'. [...]
     In both his time [William Tyndale's] and theirs this was a modern translation, the living language of streets, docks, workshops, fields. Ancient Israel and Jacobean England went easily together. The original writers of the books of the Old Testament knew about pruning trees, putting on armour, drawing water, the readying of horses for battle and the laying of stones for a wall; and in the King James all these activities are still evidently familiar, the jargon easy, and the language light. “Yet man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward”, runs the wonderful phrase in Job 5: 7, and we are at a blacksmith’s door in an English village, watching hammer strike anvil, or kicking a rolling log on our own cottage hearth." — More Intelligent Life

First page of the Gospel of Saint John,
from the 1526 Peter Schoeffer printing of William
Tyndale's English translation of the Bible
Wikipedia Commons

"[Tyndale] was tried on a charge of heresy in 1536 and condemned to death, despite Thomas Cromwell's intercession on his behalf. Tyndale 'was strangled to death while tied at the stake, and then his dead body was burned'. Tyndale's final words, spoken 'at the stake with a fervent zeal, and a loud voice, were reported as "Lord! Open the King of England's eyes."' [...] Within four years, at the same king's behest, four English translations of the Bible were published in England [...] All were based on Tyndale's work." — Wikipedia

See a related post here...

Saturday, July 2, 2011

More Than Infinite Jest

David Foster Wallace (February 21, 1962 – September 12, 2008)
Photo: The Village Voice

"On Feb. 7, 1972, when David Foster Wallace was 9 years old, he began work on a creative-writing assignment—a one-page story narrated by a tea kettle. 'Hi I am a kettle,' his protagonist says, by way of introduction, adding: 'Ouch! Listen I come to you for advice. This flame is real hot but I love my job.' [...] Along with a complete Gutenberg Bible, some letters of James Joyce’s, and collections of Don DeLillo and Norman Mailer, this tale of a tea kettle in extremis now rests in the University of Texas at Austin’s Harry Ransom Center, as do more than 20,000 of Wallace’s other papers and books." — Newsweek

"As an adolescent, Wallace played football and was a regionally ranked tennis player, but his interest in writing and language was influenced by his parents, who read Ulysses out loud to each other. His father read Moby-Dick to Wallace and his sister when they were only eight and six years old, and his mother would playfully pretend to have a coughing fit if one of the children made a usage error during supper conversation." — David Foster Wallace:
An Inventory of His Papers at the Harry Ransom Center


"Among David Foster Wallace's papers at the Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin are three hundred-odd books from his personal library, most of them annotated, some heavily as if he were scribbling a dialogue with the author page by page. There are several of his undergraduate papers from Amherst; drafts of his fiction and non-fiction; research materials; syllabi; notes, tests and quizzes from classes he took, and from those he taught; fan correspondence and juvenilia. As others have found, it's entirely boggling for a longtime fan to read these things. I recently spent three days in there and have yet to cram my eyeballs all the way back in where they belong." — Maria Bustillos, The Awl

Books by David Foster Wallace here...

Friday, July 1, 2011

Canadian Giants of the Twentieth Century (1) Leonard Cohen

From: The Musical Box

"A Canadian poet, Cohen became one of pop’s most unlikely heroes during the heart of the late ‘60s psychedelic movement. But his music wasn’t at all psychedelic. It was understated, fanciful, modestly stylish and somewhat distant. Cohen was (and still is) a bohemian Bob Dylan - a wordsmith that conveys an epic emotive sweep with his lyrics even though he has been bestowed with a singing voice of seemingly limited technical range. Yet like Dylan’s now-haggard wail, Cohen’s now-raspy baritone only enhances the conversational intimacies and drama of his songs." — Walter Tunis, The Musical Box

His Novels:

This edition, published by Bantam Books, New York (1967)

Again, this edition published by Bantam Books, New York (1971)

"Cohen's writing process, as he told an interviewer in 1998, is ' a bear stumbling into a beehive or a honey cache: I'm stumbling right into it and getting stuck, and it's delicious and it's horrible and I'm in it and it's not very graceful and it's very awkward and it's very painful and yet there's something inevitable about it.'" — Wikipedia

Your faith was strong but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew you
She tied you to a kitchen chair
She broke your throne, and she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah

From: "Hallelujah" (on Various Positions, Leonard Cohen's seventh studio album, [1984])
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