All Black book seized in Spain over drug reference

Fred Allen Les Watkins -  01/12/2011

Caralise Moore/Rodney Times

ONE FOR THE BOOKS: Fred The Needle authors Les Watkins, standing, and Alan Sayers.

A book about legendary All Black coach Sir Fred Allen has been seized by Spanish customs officers because of apparent drug references.

Les Watkins, who co-wrote the biography Fred The Needle, sent two copies of the book to Benidorm in Spain for his younger brother Gareth in September.
"Apparently, the authorities there have clamped down on books believed to contain pornography or other undesirable material," Watkins said.
"As far as we can work out, they pounced on the word 'needle' in the title, assuming it must be somehow linked to drugs being injected."
Gareth has been trying to convince the Spanish authorities that neither his New Zealand brother nor Sir Fred Allen are drug users or peddlers.
The books were first returned to New Zealand in early November with a bill for return postage.
On November 10 Watkins tried again, spending another $70 to resend the books. They were due to arrive within 10 days.
By November 28 the books still had not arrived, but NZ Post tracked the books to the Spanish customs department, where they had been impounded.
Watkins says the exercise cost him $128.98, but NZ Post has reimbursed him.
"I can't speak highly enough of the courtesy and efficiency of NZ Post.
"With any luck, he might get the books by Christmas."

- Rodney Times

Exhibition of Pooh

Peter Harrington today Wednesday 30 November opened an exhibition and sale of a very comprehensive collection of Winnie-the-Pooh books and associated artwork. It includes more than one hundred items gathered together over twenty years by American football legend Pat McInally. McInally was the first Harvard graduate to play in the Super Bowl. 
 The collection includes fine examples of all the Pooh books, important inscribed copies, correspondence and photos, toys, and original artwork. One of the highlights, is a presentation copy of Winnie-the-Pooh inscribed from Milne to both Christopher Robin and Winnie-the-Pooh. The collection is estimated to be worth £2 million. 
The exhibition is being held at 100 Fulham Road, London until Wednesday the 14th of December. The exhibition is free and open to the public. 
Above, and below both from:
Ibookcollector © is published by Rivendale Press Ltd. From To Contact Ibookcollector

The Barrow in Newport Court 
A Memoir of the Rare Book Trade
by Anthony Sillem

Anthony Sillem worked in the rare book trade in the West End of London for twenty years and here he gives his account of two exceptional shops dedicated to the buying and selling of modern literature during the 1970s and 1980s.

We learn the inside story of the rise and fall of the Covent Garden Bookshop and its extraordinary proprietor, Dr. Simon Nothmann, and go behind the scenes at Bell, Book and Radmall, the business created by two young men who quickly found themselves in the vanguard of the boom in collecting first editions. An introductory chapter describes the author's uneasy apprenticeship at Howes in Hastings, one of the last of the great provincial bookshops.

There are moments of hilarity but also of tragedy and along the way we meet many of the dealers and customers, several of them notable eccentrics, who helped make up the varied world of the London book trade as it was before the coming of the internet. In addition the author discusses, both as a dealer and a reader, many of the books that came his way during these years.

Available now. Cloth. 167 pages.
Price: £14.95

Please send a cheque including £3.00 postage to The Hungry Hornet Press, 9 Tackleway, Old Town, Hastings, East Sussex TN34 3DE. Tel: 01424 446602. 

Mark Twain Receives Google Birthday Present

By Jason Boog on Galley Cat,  November 30, 2011 1:23 PM

To celebrate the 176 birthday of Mark Twain, Google released a Google Doodle depicting a scene from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (embedded above).
The picture shows a a team of kids tricked into whitewashing a fence in the classic novel. Follow this link if you want to download a free copy of the novel.
Here’s more from eBookNewser: “Twain was born during the visit of Halley’s Comet, and he died shortly after the next visit 74 years later. He had many jobs during those years, including reporter, author, gold miner, lecturer, and malcontent.”

Miracles of the digital times..............

Author, journalist, educator, traveller Jules Older writes to The Bookman:

Think things haven't changed in the Digital Age?

On October 13 I had the idea for an ebook involving 20 leading ski writers, from France to British Columbia, Vermont to California.

Today, December 1, the book goes on sale at Amazon and Apple's iBook Store. SKIING THE EDGE: Humor, Humiliation, Holiness and Heart costs USD $3.99, has 21 chapters, 31,000 words… and it still feels like a miracle.

In a way, it is. A digital miracle.

— jules 

Random House honours its NZ authors, photographers, designers, illustrators and editors

Last evening Random House New Zealand honoured and toasted its authors and other creatives at a marvellous early Christmas celebration at Auckland's Westhaven Marina. The Bookman was something of an interloper at the gathering but nevertheless felt honoured and delighted to be present.

 This annual Random House party is a chance for the company to celebrate another year of impressive New Zealand publishing and the people who make it all possible—the inspired, inspirational, creative, determined and dedicated authors, photographers, designers, illustrators and editors -  and who contribute so vitally to the national cultural conversation. It’s a fun night to be part of the wider Random House family. And there were some 150 " family" members there last night.

Photo above left- The watery view from the charming Ponsonby Cruising Club which is almost right under the Harbour Bridge – such a quintessentially Auckland scene.

Photo left - Random’s Managing Director, Karen Ferns, delivering her impressive end of year "state of the trade" address.
Publishing Director Nicola Legat also addressed the audience.

Above  -Bunting featuring the covers of Random’s 80 New Zealand books published this year graced the room.
 Above -Simon Wilson, Metro editor & Lauraine Jacobs, Random House cookbook author and NZ Listener 
food columnist

Above-Random’s Deputy Publishing Director Jenny Hellen with author Kevin Biggar

 Bookman Beattie with Jo Seagar
Graeme Lay, Tim Woodhouse & Stephanie Johnson

New novel from Laura Solomon

LAURA SOLOMON was Joint-Winner of the inaugural international Proverse Prize (2009) with her novella, Instant Messages, subsequently published by Proverse Hong Kong in 2010. Of her, Maggie Gee, then Chair of the Royal Society of
Literature, United Kingdom, wrote, "Witty, clear-edged, both lemon-sharp and seductive, Laura Solomon is a writer to watch."
Born in New Zealand, Solomon spent nine years in London before returning to New Zealand in 2007. She has an honours degree in English Literature (Victoria University, 1997) and a Masters degree in Computer Science (University of London, 2003). She has published two novels in New Zealand, Black Light (1996) and Nothing Lasting (1997). Her short story collection Alternative Medicine was published in the UK in 2008 and her novel An Imitation of Life was published in the UK in 2009. Her first poetry collection, In Vitro, was published in 2011 by Headworx (New Zealand). Her plays have been produced at the Wellington (New Zealand) Fringe Festival and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe (UK). Among other writing prizes, she has twice won a prize in the Bridport (UK) International Short Story Competition. Her short story, "Sprout", first published by Flame Books in the UK, was translated into Czech by Olga Walló and appeared in krásná in the Czech Republic in 2011.
In her new book, HILARY AND DAVID, David, a lonely elderly struggling novelist, contacts Hilary, with whom he has a friend in common, via Facebook, and an unlikely friendship develops via a series
of messages. The two begin to share details of their past and current lives. Hilary is a solo mother with two children. One of the children has Down's Syndrome and the other has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Both are struggling. David, who suffers from agoraphobia, is wrestling with his sixth novel, and is under pressure from his publisher to complete it by Christmas. Hilary feels the pressure of raising two young children alone, whilst also trying to complete a distance degree.
Although they are on opposite sides of the world (David in London and Hilary in New Zealand), the two provide support and friendship for one another via their messages. Each shares secrets from their past.
Through a series of messages, Hilary and David share their thoughts on life, the universe, men,women and everything else in between and provide companionship and advice for one another.

"Absolutely unputdownable. Once you commence reading this England-New Zealand based novel
you will find yourself carried on quickly via the impelling momentum generated by all the
relationship and emotional hassles the two main characters have in their distinct yet interwoven
lives on two sides of the World. Well-written. Interesting. Clever. Well done Laura Solomon."
—Vaughan Rapatahana, author of the poetry collection, Home, Away, Elsewhere (2011)

"I found myself caught up in the story and read the book in one sitting."
— Member, International Proverse Prize 2010 Judging Panel


Royal Society Young People’s Book Prize winner announced

Royal Society Press Release:
 Pop ups, pull outs and other paper wizardry are used to explore the science of the Earth in the winner of the 2011 Royal Society Young People’s Book Prize, How the World Works, which was announced tonight in London (Thursday 1 December 2011). 
 Answering a multitude of questions about our planet, this fun, engaging book introduces the Earth’s important cycles and offers an exciting way to learn about science and geography. Packed with illustrations and paper fold-outs, flaps, pop ups, and more to boost interactive learning, How the World Works encourages children to think about the impact of human actions on our environment, while encouraging respect for the natural world.  The author of the book is Christine Dorion, the illustrator is Beverley Young, the designer and paper engineer is Andy Mansfield the publisher is Templar Publishing.
The prize was awarded at a ceremony at the Royal Society in London on the evening of Thursday 1 December. The authors win an award of £10,000 and the authors of each shortlisted book receive £1000.
The book was chosen as the winner from a shortlist of six books by junior judging panels made up of over 1000 young people from over 100 school and youth groups.  Judging panels came from across the UK and Commonwealth – from Dundee in northern Scotland to Ascension Island in the South Atlantic.
The young judges did not hold back in their praise of How the World Works, describing the book as “really entertaining” and “fun”.  Christopher, aged 13, said: “There is a TON of information and brilliant pop ups and pull outs!”.  Rosie, aged 12, said: “I couldn't wait to open this book, my friend Amy couldn't stop talking about how great it is; and I agree! It uses lots of scientific language and illustrations to explain all the interesting topics. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and learnt so much! Bonus!”.  Megan, aged 13, thought the book was "a wonderful hands-on scientific adventure, waiting to be explored" and Jordan, aged 10, said: “This was the best book ever, you cannot beat it!”
Sir Paul Nurse, President of the Royal Society, said: “Science captured my imagination as a child, from exploring the minutiae of the natural world on my walk to school to chasing Sputnik as it blazed across the night sky.  Brilliant science books also have the potential to do this and completely change children’s understanding of the world around them.  We believe that by involving the young in the judging of the Royal Society Young People’s Books Prize we can help to inspire them with the joys of science, whilst also ensuring that the winner is chosen by those best qualified to judge, the readers themselves.”
The other books shortlisted for this year’s Royal Society Young People’s Book Prize are:
 The Icky, Sticky Snot and Blood Book by Steve Alton and Nick Sharratt (Bodley Head)
  • What's the Point of Being Green? by Jacqui Bailey (Franklin Watts)
  • What Mr Darwin Saw by Mick Manning and Brita Granström (Frances Lincoln Children's Books)
  • The Story of Astronomy and Space (Usborne)
  • What Goes On In My Head? by Robert Winston (Dorling Kindersley)
 Christine Dorion, author of the winning book, is new to the prize.  Previous winners have included Can you feel the force? by Richard Hammond, The Big Book of Science Things to Make and Do by Rebecca Gilpin & Leonie Pratt and Horrible Science: Really Rotten Experiments by Nick Arnold and Tony de Saulles. 

For more information about the prize and how to participate in next year’s judging process please visit:
The Royal Society Young People’s Book Prize did not take place in 2008 - 2010 due to funding issues but we are delighted that in 2011 the Prize is offered thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor, with funding guaranteed for the next four years.  

Quentin Rowan Publishes His Confession

By Jason Boog on Galley Cat, November 30, 2011 

A few weeks after his debut was pulled for plagiarism, novelist Quentin Rowan has written “Confessions of a Plagiarist” for The Fix, a website dedicated to addiction and recovery.
“Here I am, ready to dodge bullets from the folks in the comments section. Fire away,” he wrote in the essay. Rowan published Assassin of Secrets under the pen name Q.R. Markham, lifting passages from numerous spy novels into his well-reviewed novel. In the essay, the disgraced writer talked about his time in Alcoholics Anonymous and detailed the personal fallout from the scandal.
Check it out: “But in a very short period of time—we’re talking hours—the revelation of my crimes turned my life upside-down. I lost my job in the Brooklyn bookstore where I was a part owner, my beautiful girlfriend left me (and the apartment we were going to share), and my future in the only field I know anything about, books, came to ignominious end. Many of my friends and associates turned their backs on me right away. Others stepped forward to provide comfort and solace. Some felt like they had probably never truly known me and it made them uncomfortable.” (Via Sarah Weinman)

Fireseed One Color Cover Reveal! Launch Date Soon!

Hi all
Well, here it is. The polished color cover reveal of my forthcoming YA thriller, Fireseed One! Isn't it spectacular? The virtual launch party is scheduled here for December 20th and everyone's invited so mark your Google calendars or whatever you use. They'll be giveaways and blog links galore. Getting back to cover art, I do love all of the sizzling photo montages that are so popular right now, but as an artist, I'd love to see a re-trending of the painted book cover, you know with the great, visionary art? I wanted a look like that for the Fireseed novels. That's why I chose my cover artist, Jay Montgomery, a true digital painter. And, I'd like to shine a spotlight on his talent by interviewing him, and providing links to his sites. Welcome, Jay!

Me: What's your process?

Jay: Every job is different and depends on the subject matter and deadline. In general for a book cover, I first get all the input from the client, including excerpts from the manuscript, doodles, images they like, phone call and email discussions. Then I take all that input and use paper and pencil to draw up some small thumbnail sketches. I send those to the client and get feedback and then with those changes work up a tight sketch while gathering photo reference and other inspirations. The tight sketch is usually done in Photoshop and sometimes it's value based and sometimes it's linear based. For this cover it was helpful for me to do a multilayered grayscale Photoshop file, to give me the flexibility for placing and revising various elements. Once I get approval with any revisions I add color to the grayscale layers and continue to add various details. I work from big brushes to small brushes, background to foreground. For photoshop brushes I never use a smooth airbrush perfect looking tips. I always use natural textured brushes. For this cover, from the tight sketch to the final sent file I worked 14 hour days with several breaks/errands and other jobs taking about 14 days complete. I sent a working color version to Catherine once I was happy with where it was going. Then with a few tweaks from her comments and finishing all the details it was sent to the Graphic Designer in the format requested.

Me: Some of your specialties?

Jay: My overall specialty is my flexibility in style and market. As you can see on my website, I have done work in almost every area of illustration, including publishing, editorial, advertising, institutional, multimedia, graphic design, etc. I have illustrated 3 children's books, over 30 different magazine covers and countless interior illustrations for magazine, books, technical illustrations, logos, t-shirts, on and on. I guess I specialize in conceptual realism for any market or subject matter. I love it all and can't decide a narrow focus. Maybe that's my strength and weakness.

Me: Do you have a dream project?

Jay: My dream project would be a $50,000+ commission to create all original and personal fine art work about my observations of the world in terms of making it a better place for a solo show in New York City at a prominent gallery with a deadline of one year. In addition to the commission fee, all the work would be for sale and I would get 75%+ of all sales. The gallery and people that would help me would get the remaining. It's a near impossible dream, but I believe in dreaming big!
A shorter and simpler dream job would be to illustrate a TIME magazine cover and for it to be published.

Me: What was the best thing about working on my cover?!

Jay: The best thing about working on this cover was making up water farm details, burn suits, and rock formations. It was really nice working with a fellow artist and teacher that could visualize and draw. Catherine also had a grasp on how I thought and the jargon of my industry which made things go smoothly and not have to educate the client to make the best possible cover. I loved creating visual representation of the world of FireSeed.

Me: What do you teach at the Savannah School of Art & Design?

Jay: I teach how to embrace your inner vision and visual talent though quick thinking, art techniques, and presentation. I teach a variety of illustration classes for Sophomores to Seniors. Traditional techniques with graphite, watercolor, pastel, acrylics, oils, ink, colored pencil, charcoal, etc. Digital techniques in Photoshop and Illustrator CS5. Advertising Illustration, Editorial Illustration, Book Illustration and Self Promotion. In all my classes I discuss the business side of Illustration, including copyright, contracts, negotiating, pricing, portfolio presentation, website development and anything else that will make them a successful artist today.

Here are some links to his art so you can see more! PORTFOLIO, his BLOG, on Facebook, on FLICKR, on TWITTER, on Youtube, on Jacketflap, on DeviantART.

BTW, the water farms Jay talked about painting, that's on the back cover. Stay tuned for another reveal.

Wartime tale wins historical crime fiction award

A dark tale of wartime intrigue has been named by The Crime Writers’ Association as the winner of this year’s prestigious Ellis Peters Historical Award.
Andrew Martin’s novel THE SOMME STATIONS, published by Faber and Faber, was selected for the £3,000 first prize.
The award is sponsored by the Estate of Ellis Peters, Headline Book Publishing Company and Little, Brown Book Group. It is given to the best historical crime novel (set in any period up to 35 years prior to the year in which the award will be made) by an author of any nationality, and commemorates the life and work of Ellis Peters (Edith Pargeter) (1913-1995), a prolific author perhaps best known as the creator of Brother Cadfael.
The judging panel said of THE SOMME STATIONS: “Martin’s novels featuring railway detective Jim Stringer reveal their treasures in subtle fashion with a winning synthesis of period atmosphere, intriguing plotting and a passion for steam railways.”
THE SOMME STATIONS plunges into the horrors of World War One trench combat.  Stringer and his unit must undertake dangerous nocturnal assignments: driving the trains taking munitions to the front. Death is everywhere, as the trains travel through blasted surrealistic landscapes, and a single-minded military policeman continues to investigate a killing that occurred before the departure for France.
CWA chair Peter James said:  “Yet again, our judging panel had a tough task but after much deliberation came up with a truly worthy winner. Historical crime fiction is certainly in a healthy position with so many talented writers at work.”
The winner was announced at the Athenaeum in London.

The shortlist was:
Rory Clements            PRINCE
Publisher:                    John Murray
Sam Eastland              THE RED COFFIN
Publisher                     Faber & Faber
Gordon Ferris              THE HANGING SHED
Publisher:                    Corvus
RN Morris                   THE CLEANSING FLAMES
Publisher:                    Faber & Faber
Imogen Robertson      ISLAND OF BONES
Publisher                     Headline

Eileen Roberts (Chair) - Originator and organiser of St Hilda’s annual crime symposium in Oxford, mystery and crime enthusiast
Geoffrey Bailey - Bookseller specialising in crime
Barry Forshaw - Edits Crime Time and is a talking head for the ITV Crime Thriller author profiles and BBC TV documentaries.  A prolific writer, he has been Vice Chair of the Crime Writers’ Association.
Sir Bernard Ingham - Press Secretary to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and crime fiction fan
Jake Kerridge - the crime fiction critic of the Daily Telegraph

NZ Post Book Awards - judges announced

Last Year’s Supreme Book Award Winner is This Year’s Top Judge

Last year Chris Bourke (left) took home the country’s top literary honour – the New Zealand Post Book of the Year Award – for his work Blue Smoke: the Lost Dawn of New Zealand Popular Music 1918-1964. This year he heads up the judging panel for the same award.

A respected writer, reviewer, music historian and radio producer, Chris is well known as a former long-time producer for Radio New Zealand National’s Saturday Morning programme and as a staff writer and arts and books editor for print publications including The Listener.
Mr Bourke says he has just cleared several book shelves to make space for the entries in the 2012 New Zealand Post Book Awards, and his first impression is: “never mind the width, feel the quality.
“New Zealand’s book creation industry is in full flight, with debutantes taking on seasoned authors, the self-published challenging the extravagantly produced. The year has seen fiction and poetry collections from many of our leading writers, and non-fiction seems to have recovered its strength with a plethora of well-researched, elegantly written and designed books in the general and illustrated categories.
“Ahead lie six months of demanding but exhilarating reading, about New Zealand in all its diversity.”
Joining Chris Bourke on the judging panel are: multi-award winning poet, writer, critic and journalist David Eggleton, writer, publisher, book designer and typesetter Mary Egan,  poet, reviewer, writer and anthologist Paula Green, writer and Maori and Pacific literature specialist Reina Whaitiri (Kai Tahu).
Judges are selected for the broad range of skills they bring to the judging process ensuring there is a diversity of writing styles and reading preferences.  The judging panel as a whole represents the wealth of diversity and depth in New Zealand writing and publishing.
They will read more than 160 submitted books published in 2011 before selecting the finalists and, ultimately the winners, including the holder of the much-sought-after the New Zealand Post Book of the Year trophy.
There will be four judging categories this year comprising Poetry, Fiction, Illustrated Non-fiction and General Non-fiction.  There will be 16 finalist books in total (three finalists each in the Fiction and Poetry categories and five each in the Illustrated Non-Fiction and General Non-Fiction categories).
The overall New Zealand Post Book of the Year Award winner receives $15,000. Winners of the four Category Awards will each receive $10,000, the Māori Language Award $10,000, Readers’ Choice Award $5,000, and the winners of the three New Zealand Society of Authors (NZSA) Best First Book Awards $2,500 each.

New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards 2012 Judges Announcement

Independent education and publishing consultant, Gillian Candler will convene this year’s New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards judging panel.
The former secondary school teacher, editor and chief executive of state-owned education publishing company, Learning Media says she is looking forward to a long, enjoyable summer of reading great kiwi books.
“I’m a passionate believer that good books change lives. It is therefore an honour and a pleasure to convene this year’s New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards judging panel.
”I’ll be on the lookout for books that capture my imagination; books that entice and teach, books with characters that draw me in and leave me wanting more.”
Two other children’s literature experts join Ms Candler on the judging panel: school curriculum advisor, librarian and bookseller Annemarie Florian and award-winning writer and illustrator Bob Kerr.
Together they will read more than 130 books in the search for the best of this country’s children’s books - across all age groups - published in 2011.
They will be choosing finalists, and ultimately winners across five categories: picture book, non-fiction, junior fiction, young adult fiction and best first book.
Each Category Award winner receives $7,500. The winner of the New Zealand Post Children’s Book of the Year Award takes home an additional $7,500.  The winner of the Best First Book Award and the Children’s Choice Award receive prize money of $2,000 each.

For Bibliophiles, Titles of Distinction

From the New York Times

The Times’s book critics pick their top books of the year.

Do we still need red pens?

Book Brunch

Tuesday, 29 November 2011 02:28
altThe digital age has given us many benefits, but the change in processes it has brought about has had a deleterious effect on standards of copy editing as publishers cut budgets and corners. Wendy Toole, Chair of the Society for Editors and Proofreaders (SfEP), puts the case

Mistakes seem to be everywhere these days. Hardly a week goes by without the appearance of a news story highlighting the problem of errors in written English. We learn that poor spelling and grammar on websites costs UK businesses millions of pounds every year in lost sales. A-level students are left befuddled by errors in exam papers. And when it comes to publishing - where the red pens were once considered a vital part of the process - ebooks are sometimes found to be so riddled with typos that readers demand their money back.
So where are editors and proofreaders in all this? Shouldn’t they be upholding standards in the face of the changes taking place in the publishing and communication industries?
Well, when given half a chance, they’re doing just that. But the fact is that the role of editorial professionals has changed dramatically over the past few years, and is likely to keep on doing so for the foreseeable future.
Link here for full piece.

Sphere snaps up Amazon star

Sphere has acquired two novels in a new crime series by Elizabeth Haynes, whose debut Into the Darkest Corner was chosen as Amazon's Book of the Year.
The acquisition marks the author's move from indie Myriad Editions to the Hachette publisher.
Editorial director Catherine Burke bought UK and Commonwealth rights excluding Canada, from agent Annette Green. Sphere will publish the first book in the new series in July 2013, titled Under a Hunter's Moon. Meanwhile Myriad will publish two further stand-alone psychological suspense novels by Haynes, including her second book Revenge of the Tide in March 2012, and Human Remains in early 2013.
Burke said: "Elizabeth is a ferociously talented author and I know her background as a police intelligence analyst combined with her addictive storytelling and brilliant writing will make this unmissable. I am absolutely delighted to be launching Elizabeth's new crime series at Sphere."
Burke added: “Under a Hunter's Moon will introduce Inspector Lou Smith as she begins her first major crime inquiry as lead officer. Haynes has used narrative voices from both sides of the murder investigation and as the story unfolds, source documents embedded in the text will allow the reader to investigate the murder alongside the crime team.”
As well as having her debut named Amazon's Book of the Year 2011, Haynes also won Amazon's 2011 Rising Star Award.

A Crisis In Literary Criticism?

Book2Book -  Tuesday 29 Nov 2011

Spain's El País newspaper has pronounced a state of crisis in worldwide literary criticism.


The World's Great Bookshops

 -  11/28/11

The Book Barge, UK
A marvellous idea; a floating bookshop on a canal boat that meanders along the UK waterways at a blissfully slow pace. The book barge promotes a less hurried pace of life, complete with cups of tea, good conversation, culture and of course, a stunning collection of books to satisfy even the most insatiable literary appetite. One's thing's for sure, this is a bookshop that's going places.

Self-publishing books not without pitfalls

Michael Finney - ABC News    Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Entertainers can catapult to fame by airing their work on the internet. Now, authors can do the same.
You might be surprised at how many famous authors published their own works, classic writers like James Joyce, Virginia Wolf and Mark Twain. Today, technology offers even more options for self-publishing, but as one father-daughter team found out, there are also many pitfalls.
Les Williams holds a small place in history. Williams is one of the legendary Tuskegee airmen of World War II, the first African Americans ever to serve as U.S. military pilots.
"Prejudice was rampant in everything, not just society, but the military," Williams said.
The airmen fought enemies abroad and bigotry at home. Now, at age 92, Les hopes to tell that story.
"A lot of times, they'll tell you there's not a big enough audience to publish a book about black people," Williams' daughter Penny Williams explained.
Penny helped Les write his memoir titled "Victory," about battling prejudice after he'd risked his life for his country.
"I thought it was going to be easy," Penny said. "But it turned out not to be so easy."
Penny and Les decided to publish the memoir themselves instead of trying to find a willing publisher. It's a route chosen these days by a growing number of aspiring writers who use digital technology and online publishing to get their books into print.
Read the rest here.

Reasons not to self-publish: a defense of small pressesby

Yesterday, Edan Lepucki in The Millions wrote a great piece on the perils of self-publishing and the benefits of working with a small publishing house. She also noted that “the conversation about self-publishing too often ignores the role of independent publishing houses in this shifting reading landscape…. Small presses try things that large, established houses are too huge, and possibly too chickenshit, to even consider.” They also provide that arguably necessary vote of confidence for a first-time author, and promote your novel so you don’t have to personally call and e-mail reviewers pleading them to consider a review; you also don’t have to contact bookstores to make sure they have your title in stock or if they would be interested in you, erm, reading there to promote your book. You’re out of that equation, which can be a problem. As she artfully argues, “I don’t want to be Amazon’s Bitch.” Who would?
Read the rest here.

Makinson predicts "dark clouds" for 2012 book trade

Penguin chief executive John Makinson has said he sees "dark clouds" on the horizon for the book business in 2012. He also said Penguin’s publishing list for the fourth quarter, though strong, was not as strong as the “truly extraordinary” list last year, which included Jamie Oliver’s 30-minute Meals.
According to a Reuters report, the Penguin c.e.o. said at the London leg of the Reuters Global Media Summit: "Last year, we had a truly extraordinary fourth quarter. We don't expect publishing performance in the fourth quarter to be quite as strong as in the fourth quarter of 2010, but it won't be bad.” He pointed to books such as Lee Evans' autobiography, Jeff Kinney's Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, and Tom Clancy's latest novel as likely highlights of Penguin's Christmas offering.
He added: "There are things that influence the size and shape of the industry, and clearly we're going through an enormous amount of change in that respect at the moment."
Looking to 2012, Makinson said he saw "dark clouds", reports Reuters.
He added: "This is a business which has always been driven very much by supply rather than demand factors. Consumer taste doesn't actually change all that much but what does change is the availability of books in different channels.
"It is tougher to predict how we will be 12 months from now, as an industry, than pretty much any time that I can remember."
This follows Penguin's nine-month interim results, reported on 3rd November, which showed overall sales were flat for Penguin to 30th September, with e-book sales more than doubling over the same period.

Martin Amis murder mystery to be directed by Shekhar Kapur

Martin Amis's books have not had an easy relationship with the cinema.
Martin Amis's books have not had an easy relationship with the cinema. Photograph: David Levenson/Getty Images
Despite his often-professed love for cinema, film versions of Martin Amis novels have had a difficult history. The movie of Money never materialised, ending up as a TV series instead; Dead Babies and The Rachel Papers were both derided on release, and the London Fields adaptation has been in limbo for more than a decade.
But, with a new director on board, it looks as though a cinematic version of London Fields could be on the cards. Speaking to the Hollywood Reporter website at the Film Bazaar in Goa, a market backed by the Indian government, Shekhar Kapur, the director of Bandit Queen, said: "I'm looking forward to this project because I've never directed a murder mystery."
London Fields, published in 1989, centres on the ambiguous figure of Nicola Six, the "murderee" who apparently foresees her death and sets out to arrange it. Despite its place as a key novel in Amis's oeuvre, it was denied a place on the 1989 Booker prize shortlist after some of the judges objected to what had been viewed by some as misogyny.
An adaptation has been planned at least since 2000, when Britain's Tartan Films and the US's Muse Productions jointly acquired the rights. Now it appears Tartan is no longer involved.
Kapur, who directed Elizabeth and the remake of The Four Feathers, follows in the footsteps of several major directors who have been associated with the project, including David Cronenberg, Michael Winterbottom and David Mackenzie. But, like a proposed adaptation of Amis' 1985 novel Money starring Gary Oldman, no film has yet materialised. Last year it was announced that Gemma Arterton had been pencilled in to play Nicola Six – but that was for Winterbottom, and she is no longer lined up for the role.
Another question is the extent of Amis's involvement in the film.
He is known to have become disenchanted with the film-making process, telling the Guardian in 2001, when the Dead Babies adaptation was released: "I wouldn't dream of writing a script from my own stuff … I think you're just making trouble for yourself if you get too involved in all these things."
Apart from the chequered history of cinematic adaptations of his novels, Amis completed a script for the flop 1980 science fiction film Saturn 3, starring Kirk Douglas, Farrah Fawcett and Harvey Keitel (and which provided him considerable material for his novel Money), and worked on rewrites for Mars Attacks!, before Tim Burton's involvement.
As a 15-year-old, he had a small role in the adventure movie A High Wind in Jamaica, directed by Alexander Mackendrick.
However in 2008 it was reported he was working on a screenplay for London Fields with one of the American producers still involved with the project, Roberta Hanley. It is not known if he plans to continue with the script.

Connecting New Zealand to the Rest of the World Through E-books

Publishing Perspectives - By Paula Browning, CEO, Copyright Licensing Ltd

Several New Zealand publishing organizations have collaborated to digitize and sell the country’s books globally under the brand "Great New Zealand E-books." The mission is to provide New Zealand rights holders with access to a world-class digital asset management and distribution system, and to ensure that "by 2013, New Zealand digital books are being read throughout the world."

Should Small Nations Collectively Digitize Their Work?
Should small market nations bring together a collective to digitize the publishers holdings when doing so as individual publishers might otherwise prove unfeasible? 

St. Mark’s Bookshop 34th anniversary part - come along

Victory Celebration and Salute the Bookshop's 34th anniversary serving the community.  The party is at

  The St. Mark’s Bookshop:                       
31 Third Avenue (corner of 9
th Street)


* Celebrate our win, meet up with friends and neighbors    
* Learn more about our community and buy a book
* Learn more about the Cooper Square Committee (The Cooper Square Committee's history battling Robert Moses and later gentrification, and its current tenants’ organizing is here:

If you can't come in person, check out the St. Mark's Bookshop website:

Misleading cover...............

As William Dart says - Rather misleading cover for the 1963 paperback edition of Carl Van Vechten's 1924 novel . . .

PEN Center USA - Fun Event in LA


PEN Center USA and Dirty Laundry Lit present a seasonal offering  of the naughtiest lit south of Santa's pole. Hosted by Jeff Eyres, with DJ Cazel. Readings by Darrel Alejandro Holnes, Preston Witt, Christopher Ross, Mecca Jamilah Sullivan, Richard Lee Warren, and Jo Robbins. Don't miss your chance to sit on Santa's lap! 

Saturday, December 3, 2011 @ 7PM (21 and over)
Little Temple
4519 Santa Monica Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90029

Take 5 this summer and be in to win!

Take 5 summer reading competition. . Take 5 is Auckland Libraries' annual summer reading competition for adults, a great way to broaden your reading taste and pick up some summer holiday reading on the run.

Monday 19 December 2011 - Sunday 8 January 2012

Blockhouse Bay Library, Central City Library, Epsom Library, Parnell Library, Remuera Library, St Heliers Library
Just visit your local library, borrow a pre-packed bundle of five popular books and delve into the worlds of sci-fi, whodunnits, chick-lit, cult fiction, historical mysteries and more!

Carefully selected by our expert librarians, every mystery bundle could have you falling in love with a new genre of writing, or reacquainting yourself with a favourite author!
How to win
Every book bundle comes with an entry form so you can enter the draw to win fabulous prizes!

2012 New Zealand International Arts Festival Artists Honoured

Two of the five $50,000 Laureate Awards, presented by the Arts Foundation last night, went to New Zealand International Arts Festival artists.
Internationally renowned choreographer and director Lemi Ponifasio, (left),whose extraordinary work Birds with Skymirrors has its New Zealand premiere at the 2012 New Zealand International Arts Festival, received a $50,000 Laureate Award at the Macquarie Private Wealth New Zealand Arts Awards, presented by the Arts Foundation in Auckland last night.
Respected musician and singer Whirimako Black, who performs her powerful songs and stories for Walk a Mile in My Shoes(below) at the 2012 Festival, was also honoured with a $50,000 Laureate Award.

THE DROP - reviewed on Radio New Zealand today.

The Drop is the 24th novel by American crime author Michael Connelly, and the fifteenth novel featuring Los Angeles Police Department detective Harry Bosch. It was published worldwide on 22 November 2011.
A new Michael Connelly book is a very big deal. Especially when it features his much-loved veteran LAPD cop Harry Bosch. Harry is one of the good guys but is often in conflict with authority. I like him enormously.
He is a veteran homicide cop with more than 30 years with the LAPD and is currently working in the Open-Unsolved crime unit (often called the “cold case” unit). Together with his younger partner David Chu, he is given cases to investigate when DNA from an old case is matched to the DNA in the nation’s databases and then the case is re-opened. These cases are called cold hits.One such case is given to Bosch and Chu at the start of The Drop. It’s a puzzling case because the blood found on the neck of a young woman’s body found 20 years ago, matches that of a sex offender who was only 8 years old at the time. Bosch and Chu are given the job of finding out whether there has been contamination during sample collection, or if not, finding some other explanation.
Before the investigation gets underway however, Bosch is pulled off the case and put onto another one by the chief of police himself, via Bosch’s former partner Kiz Rider, who now works as the chief’s assistant. A man’s badly damaged body has been found on the footpath outside a famous LA hotel, The Chateau Marmont. Did he fall? Did he jump? Was he pushed?
This is of special interest because the corpse is that of George Irving, son of Bosch’s old enemy and nemesis, Irvin Irving, who had to retire from the police force but is now a powerful city councillor who controls police budgets. Bosch would rather carry on his cold-case investigation as he has little time for police politics but has to comply with the order of the chief. So he tries to carry out both investigations in tandem.
One of the underlying themes of the novel is the excessive resource and pressure brought to bear on them to solve the current case, and the total lack of interest by the police management in the older case.
As well as the two investigations, Bosch is constantly rowing with his partner Chu. The two men have a major falling out, partly because Bosch always keeps things to himself and has an autocratic style but also because Chu is leaking information to the press to impress a female reporter. As with all of Connelly’s books there are other themes and subplots, including Bosch’s love life and his relationship with his 15 year old daughter Maddie who lives with him, all of which keep you involved in a detailed and enjoyable read
Oh and I should mention the title - the drop in this case refers to Deferred Retirement Option Plan - DROP. When Bosch was assigned to the Open-Unsolved Unit, he knew it would be for a limited time, but now he's hoping to get the maximum extra time of five years allowed before being forced to retire.
As usual though with Michael Connelly and with Bosch, there are ambiguities: the drop might also refer to those drops of blood from the long-unsolved rape-murder or to the death of George Irving.
In my view it's Connelly at his best, and really there aren't many better. Some rate him as the greatest living American crime writer as is quoted on the book’s cover. Certainly he is right up there with Lee Child, Sara Paretsky, Sue Grafton, and Patricia Cornwell.
I read the book until late into the night over the weekend, it is a must read for crime fiction fans. I should add that it runs to 388 pages so it will keep readers involved and entertained for days. An excellent plane or beach read. It might also be one for Dad’s Christmas stocking.
Allen & Unwin - $39.99

The complete list of Harry Bosch series (from Wikipedia)
  1. The Black Echo (1992)
  2. The Black Ice (1993)
  3. The Concrete Blonde (1994)
  4. The Last Coyote (1995)
  5. Trunk Music (1997)
  6. Angels Flight (1999)
  7. A Darkness More Than Night (2001) – also featuring Terry McCaleb and Jack McEvoy
  8. City of Bones (2002)
  9. Lost Light (2003)
  10. The Narrows (2004) – also featuring Rachel Walling and references of Terry McCaleb
  11. The Closers (2005)
  12. Echo Park (2006) – also featuring Rachel Walling
  13. The Overlook (2007) – also featuring Rachel Walling
  14. The Brass Verdict (2008) - also featuring Mickey Haller
  15. 9 Dragons (2009) - also featuring Mickey Haller
  16. The Reversal (2010) – also featuring Mickey Haller and Rachel Walling
  17. The Drop (2011)