This post is, in actuality, being composed on Monday, in a bout of pre-travel organisation. As you read this, I will be in New York, taking a well earned break from the PhD and passing Thanksgiving with my family. A pretty good deal, I’m sure you’ll agree. But never fear, my bibliophilic tendencies will remain unaltered by my inter-continental excursion. As proof, here is this week’s edition of The Weekly Reader.
‘Daily Rituals, By Mason Currey, Review’ – The Telegraph
There is little more fascinating to a fiction fanatic than the writing process of favourite authors. You may recall that last week’s rant regarding Italy’s latest foray into reality television was based largely on its oversimplification of the complexities of writing. Mason Currey’s newest literary biography, Daily Rituals, only highlights the accuracy of this fact. Currey’s book deals with celebrated figures from many walks of life – authors, philosophers, and artists, among others. All insightful accounts, as portraits of genuine and groundbreaking creativity:
“Voltaire was a divan-bound scribbler, as was Edith Sitwell. Boswell was so attached to his mattress that he considered rigging up an anti-oversleeping mechanism to tip him on the floor. The late risers in the collection include Flaubert (pipe and newspapers at 10am), Joyce (up at 11am), Beckett (‘the early hours of the afternoon’) and F Scott Fitzgerald (‘who tried to start writing at 5pm’)…Such layabout behaviour would no doubt have appalled punctiliously punctual Auden (up at 5.30am), the ascetic Kant (5am) and prodigious Anthony Trollope (‘250 words every quarter of an hour…I could complete my literary work before I dressed for breakfast’).”
This review is an excellent summary of literary behaviour, in itself. And it invites the conclusion that Currey’s book will make an excellent read for any dedicated bibliophile.
‘How To Choose The 100 Best Novels’ – The Guardian
Guardian blogger Robert McCrum has embarked upon an unbelievably difficult task – the selection of the 100 best novels. I think most avid readers enjoy peering at these lists periodically to see how well they are doing in covering The Greats, in addition to determining any forgotten works to add to the To Read pile. McCrum has been set an unenviably tough project, asked to look back through his reading history in an effort to compile an authoritative literary guide. This article finds McCrum part-way through the task, as he discusses the internal debates associated with the project – the inevitable omissions and the controversial inclusions. He also reflects upon the autobiographical nature of the selection process. This piece makes for a fascinating read and has me awaiting McCrum’s list with anticipation.
‘Young Adult Readers “Prefer Printed To Ebooks”‘ – The Guardian
Hallelujah! 62% of 16 to 24-year-olds prefer printed books over digital versions. My faith is restored. A world without the joys of bookshops, the smell of old cloth-bound classics and brand new tomes, or the complexity of bookmark selection, is a world in which it is not worth living.
’13 Clever Signs That Will Make You Want To Buy A Book’ – BuzzFeed
And without a world containing bookshops, it would not be possible to have signs such as these. One of my primary reasons for placing Australia on the Bucket List. Thank you Kaleido Books!
‘Cambridge Wordfest Winter Festival’ – 1 December 2013, Cambridge
The Cambridge Wordfest Winter Festival is on its way! Featuring a number of big names (including Lionel Shriver, Sir Ranulph Fiennes, and Sarah Dunant), the programme is a winner. Definitely one effectively literary way of welcoming the winter season.
‘Publish That Book – In Association With SilverWood Books’ – 15 January 2014, Foyles
In recognition of the growing trend in self-publishing, this event promises to offer authoritative advice on the process, to any budding authors. Although free and not taking place until January, booking is advised. It’s sure to be a popular one!
TOP IN BOOK FETISH
With the holidays fast approaching, I felt that it might be an appropriate time to turn to gift recommendations for your bibliophilic friends and family. This week, spotlighting the fabulous world of literary stationery!
‘From The Desk Of Jane Austen: 100 Postcards’ – The British Library
Featuring 25 different quotes from Jane Austen’s works, this postcard gift set would make a fantastic addition to the literary collection of any Austen fan!
‘Personal Library Kit’ – The British Library
Anyone who knows me, knows that I have some fairly compulsive behaviour when it comes to loaning books. I am always keen to spread the joy of books that I love (hence the blog), but I cannot bear the idea of permanently parting with anything from my collection. As a consequence, I make for a fairly strained administrator of my personal library.
This gift provides a solution for those in a similar situation. If you are looking for advice on scales for administering fines, drop me a line.
‘Charles Dickens Sketchbook’ – National Quarterly
Because what could be more inspiring that Charles Dickens’ face?