Book reviews, new books, publishing news, book giveaways, and author interviews

Bookish links 23 Oct: burnt by Kindle, big reading projects, literary excess more!

book news Bookish links 23 Oct: burnt by Kindle, big reading projects, literary excess & more!

RIASS stuff:

Weve passed 1000 likes on Facebook! Thanks everyone for your support of this siteI really appreciate it. :)

Endings that subvert reader expectations and Cary Fagan's Master Melville's Medicine Show'Can I just say that I kind of loved this ending? Its the anti-ending of MG books. Very gutsy indeed.

Veronika Carnaby: Audiences are wary of new concepts and techniques in fiction

Business casual in business books: is Velocity trying too hard to be cool?'(a guest review from my husband)

Other bookish stuff:

Some amazing 3D typography: bubblewrap! blocks! lego!

Amazing typography not enough for you? How about fancy toilet roll holder collages? (Really. Theyre pretty awesome.)

Whispering Gums looks at specialised literary awards'Though weve lost some awards recentlythe Man group is withdrawing from the Man Asian Prize, and the Queensland Premiers Awards were cancelled earlier this yearwe also have new awards such as the Most Underrated Book Award and the Stella Prize. Are these prizes warranted? The author points out that its not as though theres a limit on the number of awards we can have. However, though awards may have value for publishers and writers, as a general rule, theyre of less relevance to the reading public. Do you pay attention to awards or buy books based on whether theyve won an award?

Kindle user claims that Amazon deleted all of her books without explanation'The take home from this is that Amazon has the power to remotely wipe anyones Kindle under their say-soand without necessarily disclosing why. This user apparently breached their T&Cs, but theres no explanation about how she might have done so. Its also a timely reminder about the fact that we dont actually own our ebooks.

Give yourself permission to write terrible first drafts'Permission granted. And also for the second, third, and fourth drafts, unfortunately.

How to get publishers and agents to knock on your door'These include having a platform, being a celebrity, becoming a journalist, and living a fascinating life. Interestingly, Ive had editors reach out to me because of this blog, so I guess theres something to it!

On the second novel slump'No matter the scenario, second books are rarely easier to write than first. I would hazard that, in most cases, they are harder to write. One of the interesting things about the writing process is that the more you learn, the harder you have to work to write to the standard you, and your readers, hold yourself up to. Id say theres also a time factor involved as well: some people might spend ten years honing their first novel, but that kind of time scale probably isnt going to cut it for their second.

Brad Leithauser on big reading projects, and his journey through Dickenss complete fiction'Leithauser talks about all of those serious books that sit, unread, on our shelves, admonishing us about our lowly reading habits and asking us to get serious. But reading them is a project, really, and often a fairly serious and lengthy undertaking, as Leithauser found when he recently decided to work his way through Dickens. Reading projects of this old-fashioned sort are the equivalent of a long pilgrimage on foot, he says.

A short defence of literary excess'Among critics and reviewers, the plain style is more likely to be praised than the elaborate or sprawling. Embellished prose is treated with suspicion, if not dismissed outright as overwritten, pretentious or self-indulgent. Drab prose is everywhere. 'If youre like me, youll read this article whilst pumping a fist in the air and screaming yes! Exactly! Story trumps all? Whatever. Give me characters I care about and show me that you love your chosen medium, and I will be a happy reader.

Handwriting preserves our history, but will email wipe it out?'Pen and ink should be celebrated and treasured for its permanence and personality. Emails, texts, status updates and tweets hold no clues about the writer, says the author. He goes on to add that quickly changing technology means that storage formats become obsolete within mere years, meaning that information cant be readily extracted.

An anonymous Australian agent says that the self-publishing bubble will burst'The issues remain things such as discoverability, matching authors to the right readers, and the fact that readers are now having to sift through mountains of self-published material.

Amazon forces UK publishers to pay 20% VAT on books

Three ways to use Amazon to sell more books'These include making sure that your book is not just available, but also available in a variety of formats; that the books metadata is accurate and complete (this includes stuff like covers, categorisation, the ability to search inside a book and so on); and also ensuring that your author page is regularly updated.

The Paris Review has a new app'(Ill check it out and get back to you)

Joyce Carol Oates is making me feel very much like a Twitter amateur

In Melbourne? Pop along to the Crime and Justice festival in November


  1. Well done on hitting 1000, thats huge.

  2. Yay, Congrats on 1,000 likes! What an amazing milestone ;)

    I dont really pay attention to awards, really Whilst some award winning books would make it to my TBR, Id usually put off reading them for a long long while because Id think theyd take a lot of me (effort & time wise) to read ;p

    Umm I just sound like a lazy bugger reader!

    • Stephanie /

      Haha, nah, not at all Tien. There are so many awards out there that its hard to know what to pay attention to, and I think thats particularly the case when it comes to micro awards. It might make me more aware of a given book, but other than perhaps the Booker or the Nobel, an award probably wont influence my buying decisions.

  3. Congrats on all those likes, thats amazing! And well deserved :)