A day off from the shop and thank you rain! A gloomy Bank Holiday Monday meant that I was able to have a guilt free day catching up on some of my favourite bookish blogs before settling down to get my teeth properly into a new biography of Ryszard Kapuscinski that Verso are publishing in September.
So where did I start? As is often the case I went first to The Guardian books pages – their commitment to the printed word cannot be doubted. A few things worthy of mention are a recently published interactive map of literary map of the UK (they are also wanting reviews of YOUR favourite bookshops – hint, hint!), a new noticeboard for local events, offers and literary landmarks and this review of Robert Macfarlane‘s ‘The Old Ways’ – after Mountains of the Mind and Wild Places the third in his self-described “loose trilogy about landscape and the human heart” I am not really an outdoorsy type but I cannot get enough of the writing of MacFarlane and his new book has the added bonus of a central character being one of England’s greatest poets, Edward Thomas. I also hopped over to the Guardian Books Blog where I had previously missed this article about how winning the Guardian First Book Award had a marked benefit for And Other Stories – a new publisher that deserves every break going. Remarkably, every single book that has so far been published by And Other Stories deserves to be bought, savoured and proselytised about. In fact buy two of each and give one to a deserving reader. They. Are. That. Good.
Then I saw this:
I forget now how I came across it but it made me smile. Then I saw another thing that made me smile – Bjork reading a book bigger than she is:
This photo was on AnOtherMag
which I came to via Rare Autumn
, a favourite blog of mine that is beautiful, gentle and always fresh. I also noticed their ‘I pledge to read the printed word’
button that I immediately added to our sidebar – it would gladden my heart if you were to do the same ;-)
Ali Shaw is one of my favourite people in the world and his most recent post
inspired by Franz Kafka, Vincent van Gogh, Douglas Hofstadter, DM Smith and Mother Nature did exactly what his posts always do to me – it made me feel humble, inspired and honoured to count him as a friend.
Another author that I am honoured to call a friend is the phenomenon that is Dan Holloway. His new blog The Cynical Self Publisher
gives self-published authors plenty of nourishing food for thought on how they can best succeed in the dynamic world of author-as-publisher. It is a subject that fascinates me on a professional level – I have no doubt that there is a major role for a bookshop like ours to play a vital role in this arena. I’m still mulling on the details, but watch this space! The energy, insight and selflessness of Dan will be a beacon for many self-published authors and, also, for me. I am sure that he won’t mind…
Onwards to another favourite books site of mine – Rob Around Books. Rob is a literary
evangelist and discards the tag of blogger. I am not going to argue with him. He, like many others, has a deep emotional relationship with books. Unlike many others he has impeccable taste and the talent and wherewithal to be one of the proselytisers-in-chief of the printed word on the Internet. I adored his review of Kevin Barry’s ‘Dark Lies the Island’
a collection of short stories from one of THE most exciting voices around at the moment. Keep up that fantastic work Rob!
By now I was itching to dive into the Kapuscinski biography but one more essential blog had to be visited. Melville House are an independent publisher based in New York. I have been a fan of their books and their blog for a long time. I have started an email
correspondence with Dennis Johnson, the co-founder, and am unfeasibly excited about some of the plans that we are cooking up for our respective blogs. More, much more, to come on this. In the meantime you can get a flavour of just how much books matter read this
As they say ‘That whale is out there, man!’
So, a morning of joy, inspiration and friendship. I am so very lucky that my job is my love, that a day off is never really a day off. Spread the love, book-lovers…