book to the future bookmarks #12

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After a bit of a delay in transmission, it’s about time I got back to business.

Welcome to Book to the Future Bookmarks, a series of posts in which I share five literary links, straight from my bookmarks folder to your screen. Sometimes I have a bit of a chat about what I’ve been reading and what’s happening at large in the literary community, too.

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If I were to write a list of everything I know about fashion and fashion designers, that list would be incredibly short. So, this might be really old news to anyone who’s into fashion, but I recently discovered Sydney-based label, Romance Was Born created a 2015 collection inspired by May Gibbs’ Snugglepot and Cuddlepie. You can take a peek at the Bush Magic collection right here.

While on the subject of childhood memories, here’s Tintin, naked (the link’s old, and in French, but worthwhile). “It’s the same Tintin au Congo” says the article, “but naked”.

Tintin in the Congo is arguably the most controversial of the Tintin series, created by Belgian cartoonist, Hergé. It was published in the thirties and, despite various later revisions and alterations, still remains horrendously racist. And that’s not to mention the casual attitude to killing native African animals. Charming.

An unknown artist is republishing Tintin au Congo on Tumblr – but with Tintin (and only Tintin) pictured in the buff. It’s a clever project that questions the things we find offensive – or at least, that’s how I see it. Because if you find Tintin’s nudity the most offensive thing in Tintin au Congo À Poil, you’re not paying attention.

Ferrante or Knausgaard? It’s a difficult decision. As I mentioned in my last post, I recently read the first book of Knausgaard’s My Struggle series and I’m seriously considering committing a jail-worthy crime or joining a religious order so I have time to read the rest of the series. Learning Norwegian is also an option that’s crossed my mind. However, the appeal of reading Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels is also strong – and after reading this New Yorker article, it’s even more so. Bring me books and get me to a nunnery…

My solution to the Knausgaard/Ferrante dilemma
The Knausgaard/Ferrante dilemma, solved

From multi-book epics to the very short – take a look at Electric Lit’s list of 17 Short Novels You Can Read in a Single Sitting. It’s an interesting list, but there’s a lot missing…like, for example, Helen Garner’s The Children’s Bach. Or Georges Bataille’s The Story of the Eye, which is one of my favourite read-in-an-afternoon books – I’ve read it so many times I’ve lost count (and often wonder what this says about me). I’m not going to start listing all my favourite novellas because I’ll be here all day…but I will leave a bonus link here. If you’re into novellas, Daniel Young (of Tincture Journal fame) has just started a new blog called All the Novellas, in which he plans to read and post his thoughts on – you guessed it – all the novellas. It’s an amazing project – I’ll be cheering him on.

Finally, if you haven’t already, make sure you add your name to this petition, kicked off by Emily Paull (emerging writer, bookseller and the blogger behind The Incredible Rambling Elimy) protesting the change of the Western Australian Premier’s Book Award to a biannual prize. With just under 500 signatures already, you should make sure yours is one of them.

Emily and Yvette Walker, author of Letters to the End of Love (and winner of the 2014 Western Australian Premier’s Emerging Author award) spoke with RTR FM about what these cuts mean for the Western Australian writing scene on the radio this morning. Fast forward to the 47 minute mark for the first part of the discussion and through to 1h 29m for the second.

banner-home1One more thing – I might have just moved to Melbourne, but there’s something that’s already got me browsing the web for cheap hotels back in Sydney. The lineup for this year’s Sydney Writers’ Festival was announced just the other day and it’s stonkingly good. This year’s theme is How to Live – advice I think I could definitely use right about now.

That’s all I have for this edition of Book to the Future Bookmarks. Actually, it’s not really – I’ve still got over 900 links I’ve added to my bookmarks folder in the past few months to sort through. They’ll have to wait for the next time around.

Edited to add: Of course, only a matter of hours after I click the “publish” button on this post, the Miles Franklin longlist is announced. Thoughts? Omissions? I’ve only read two longlisted books and neither really impressed me. It’s not the riskiest list ever – but has the Miles Franklin ever been risky?

book to the future bookmarks #12

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Every second Monday at Book to the Future, I share a selection of literary links, as well as a few thoughts on what I’ve been reading lately…and anything else that comes to mind.

This particular Monday is the last day of the last long weekend of the year (for those of us here in Sydney, at least). I’ve been hard at work writing reviews – and because I’m eager to continue writing, I’m going to keep this edition of Book to the Future Bookmarks relatively short.

Today’s links all centre around little stories and big apples. I hope you find them as interesting as I do.

Continue reading “book to the future bookmarks #12”

book to the future bookmarks 11 – the spring cleaning edition

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No, I can’t really believe it’s been close to two months since I last wrote anything either, but that’s how it goes.

Things are, of course, still piling up around me – the garden needs weeding, the house needs cleaning, books need reading and words need writing, but I’m getting there, one task at a time. Which is the only way to approach these things, really.

After a short, unintentional winter hibernation, I’m back, and it’s spring and I’m feeling better for the much-needed rest. I’ve even given Book to the Future a bit of a facelift. I hope you like it!

I know it’s not much of a Book to the Future Bookmarks post without a heap of links, but in the spirit of spring cleaning, I deleted my unread bookmarks. All five hundred and seventy two of them.

So, I’ll leave you with one link only this time around. But I promise, it’s a good’un.

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Zadie Smith. Image source here.

Very slowly a pair of profoundly blue eyes rose to meet Miss Adele’s own green contacts. The blue was unexpected, like the inner markings of some otherwise unremarkable butterfly, and the black lashes were wet and long and trembling. His voice, too, was the opposite of his wife’s, slow and deliberate, as if each word had been weighed against eternity before being chosen for use.

“You are speaking to me?”

“Yes, I’m speaking to you. I’m talking about customer service. Customer service. Ever hear of it? I am your customer. And I don’t appreciate being treated like something you picked up on your shoe!”

The husband sighed and rubbed at his left eye.

“I don’t understand – I say something to you? My wife, she says something to you?”

Miss Adele shifted her weight to her other hip and very briefly considered a retreat. It did sometimes happen, after all – she knew from experience – that is, when you spent a good amount of time alone – it did sometimes come to pass – when trying to decipher the signals of others – that sometimes you mistook–

Zadie Smith’s latest short story, Miss Adele Amidst the Corsets, has been shortlisted for the BBC’s National Short Story Award. It’s also, of course, amazing. It’s published in full right here. Make sure you put aside some time to read it – it’s a treat.

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I might not have been writing, but I’ve been reading constantly over the last couple of months. Last week, I finished Cracking the Spine, a collection of short stories accompanied by essays written by their authors, and I’ll be writing a review soon. I’m also slowly making my way through The Big Issue’s annual Fiction Edition, as well as catching up with my Review of Australian Fiction subscription (one of the smartest things I’ve done this year was subscribe to RAF). And, as if that’s not enough short stories, Australian Love Stories is right near the top my pile of books to read. I’ve been swimming in short stories, and I couldn’t be happier.

There are novels on my pile of books to review soon, too – like, for instance, Jessie Cole’s Deeper Water. Cole is the kind of writer who makes me forget I’m actually meant to be a reviewer; she pulls you into her world everything else just sort of falls away. But the novel you can expect to see reviewed next on Book to the Future…isn’t actually a novel at all. It’s a novella – Julie Proudfoot’s The Neighbour. I won’t say too much about The Neighbour. I’m saving it up for my review.

Anyway, this is all just a long, roundabout way of saying that life can be overwhelming, but stories, long and short, are the best way of escaping from it all.

I’ve got a lot of catching up to do, but it’s good to be back.

(One other thing: I’ve just added a heap of new blogs to my Required Reading list over in my sidebar. If you’re looking for links, that’s the ideal place to start!)

book to the future bookmarks #10 – the time edition

bookmarksiiiTime’s been on my mind lately, but not on my side. Isn’t it ironic (in the Alanis Morissette sense) that I’m preoccupied with time travel and yet I always seem to be behind, desperately trying to catch up on everything?

For the uninitiated, Book to the Future Bookmarks is a fortnightly post that’s loaded with literary links – and it seemed appropriate that this fortnight’s links should all have something to do with time. As I’m short on time, I’ve taken a peek into my bookmarks folder and selected four of my favourite time-related links to share.

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Nostromo Nostalgia

I read Joseph Conrad’s Nostromo for the first time when I started blogging. I was secretly hoping it’d nostromobe another Heart of Darkness – but, as much as I love Heart of Darkness, I’m glad I was wrong. Nostromo was something else entirely. I think it’s safe to say Conrad’s Nostromo has to be one of the most perfectly-constructed narratives I’ve encountered. The way Conrad structures his story is nothing short of exquisite – but that’s not the point I’m trying to make.

I’m talking (rambling, really) about Nostromo because one of the things that piqued my interest was the way Conrad writes about globalisation – in 1904.

Harvard history professor, Maya Jasanoff, is writing a book about Conrad and his major works, taking a look at the way in which the Polish-born author managed to write about so many of the issues that would later come to dominate the twentieth century. Here’s an article describing Jasanoff’s work in progress, which looks really promising. The article also mentions Jasanoff’s blog, where she documents the month she spent as a paid passenger aboard a container ship, researching the role cargo shipping still plays in modern globalisation.

Bloggers’ prerogative: on changing one’s mind

tender is the nightMoving right along, this blog post on new-to-me blog, Entomology of a Bookworm caught
my attention when I saw it pop up on Twitter: it’s about changing your mind. Which has been a subject I’ve been considering writing about for quite some time, but I haven’t been able to express it quite this well.

Sometimes it takes time, years even, to truly appreciate what a book was trying to tell you – however, when you write book reviews, your opinion is captured at one particular point in time. Eventually you can come to regret the opinion you expressed in your review. Time changes your mind.

I liked this post so much because there’s one particular book that I know I got completely wrong – F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Tender is the Night.

However, that’s a post for another day.

Sense and Sensibility and Semicolons 

Something for the statistically-minded: statistician Tyler Vigen has selected seven popular English novels, published between the early 1800s and the early 2000s, and examined the length of their sentences, the frequency of commas and question marks – that kind of thing – and compared the results in a series of graphs.

While you’ll find an average of 13.1 semicolons per 1000 words in Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, the first of J K Rowling’s Harry Potter books contains only 1.7 semicolons per 1000 words. A fair comparison? Well, not really – but these statistics are still worth a look. Here’s Vigen’s original series of graphs, and here’s an analysis and interview on Business Insider Australia.

Rock Around the Literary Clock 

Since 2011, the Guardian has been trying to find a literary quotation for every hour and every minute on the clock. It’s a project that echoes Christian Marclay’s film project, The Clock. Take a look at the times missing from the Guardian’s literary clock – maybe you’ve spotted a time that’s missing from the database?

I know I’ll be keeping an eye out for the times mentioned in books now I know about the Guardian’s project…

One more thing…

I forgot to share this in my last Bookmarks post. Mountain/Animal is a story/quiz written by Australia’s digital writer in residence for June, Jennifer Mills, and it’s just brilliant. It’s playful and clever and poetic, all at once. If you haven’t already, go and take the quiz at once.

Mills also posted an essay on Twitter yesterday on the subject of…time. I started writing this post on Sunday, so how’s that for synchronicity? Here it is, preserved in chronological order via Storify.

That’s all the time we have left for today’s session, I’m afraid. Bookmarks will be back in two weeks. Thanks for reading.

Note to subscribers: You’re not imagining things – I edited this post shortly after putting it online, completely removing one link and my discussion of it from this post. Turns out I hadn’t realised the article I was referring to was actually from 2011.

As I mentioned in the first paragraph – time really isn’t on my side at the moment…