6th March is World Book Day – What About for Adults?

In a similar post a couple of years ago one of my commenters stated that she felt an event that calls itself World Book Day should be dedicated to literacy across all social divides and not limit itself to children. Though I think today’s event is great in encouraging children to pick up a book and switch off their consoles, I agree that adults are getting the raw deal here. Continue reading

RIP Iain (M) Banks

I didn’t think it right for me to write an obituary as I did with James Herbert as I have only read one of his books (with one more in my “to read” pile). I did meet him at a book signing about twenty years ago. Having only heard his name before, I didn’t have any questions to ask him. Instead he asked me whose name to put in the book and I told him. That was it so I’m afraid I have no anecdotes to prove what a lovely bloke he was (I don’t doubt for one minute that he was!)

Somebody who did know him though was Neil Gaiman so I’ll leave it to his heartfelt words to mark the passing of this writer with such a darky and quirky writing style.

Read it here.

Amazon has Bought Good Reads

Online retail giant has bought out book community Good Reads in a surprise move that seem’s to have stunned, well, just about everybody. I’ve been a member of the site for about two years and I’m not entirely sure how I feel about it. If nothing changes, if the site retains its sense of community, remains free for all then great. If it can identify improvements and implement them, then that will also be great.

However, I suspect that Amazon have not done this as an act of philanthropy and that they will not leave the site alone. I suspect that it will become part of a marketing tool in how it tries to sell books to us. Continue reading

Library Crisis – My Proposal

More doom and gloom in 2013 for the nation’s already threatened libraries as more cutbacks means that many more will have to close this year – and this is not good for the nation’s readers, for those who cannot afford to buy as prolifically as I do, for those who do not have specific tastes that libraries struggle to cater for (also like me) and for those indulging in personal research projects for which libraries are the most valuable resource.

Last year, my feelings was that we should do everything in our power to save our libraries. But now, I’m starting to be of a different opinion and I have a proposal for modernisation. Libraries need a new model – at least for their everyday stock. There will always be a market for reference and research libraries, county and national records offices for the researcher but for everyday use, libraries cannot compete with the changing ways in which we read. Continue reading

Good Reads Challenge

It was my target last year to read 40 books. I missed it by nine. I was on target for most of the year but around the middle of August I suddenly lost the concentration that normally kept me hooked on reading. This was due to a change in personal circumstances around that time as well as a greater focus and renewed vigour on my own writing.

That picked up again in November when I became hooked on The Last Werewolf. In those 5-6 weeks I finished three books. My grand total for the year then was 31 or 30 if you don’t count that I gave up on The Black Swan after only a couple of chapters. Continue reading

ebook update Dec 2012

I’m pretty sure I’m not going to make a year-end release now. As you may remember, I now have a second job as a copywriter and this takes up several evenings per week. Squeezing in writing for pleasure is going to be difficult over the next couple of weeks at least. Though all of my short stories have now been edited (and I still want to do a final grammar and typo check on all of them), the final piece in the collection will be the concluding part to the Herrenvolk saga. After bouncing a few ideas around last night, I finally have some ideas I want to try out but with another busy week ahead – workwise and a long weekend away next weekend – I can’t see I’ll have much time to work on them. Here’s to starting at least something before Christmas though. Continue reading

Library funding – here’s a good idea

Novelist Jeanette Winterson has called on the government to charge Amazon, Starbucks and Google unpaid tax in order to fund libraries.

I don’t tend to like getting all political on this blog, but the long economic downturn has made a lot of people question the role of large corporations in society and how much unfettered power they were given or permitted to take. Tax avoidance is just one of those political hot potatoes. Continue reading

Banned Books Week: Language and Violence

Not so much about books being banned but yesterday I featured an article on the ALA list of banned or challenged books and the reasons were varied. In this similar article about complaints to libraries in the UK shows a far greater emphasis of complaints based on profanity in children’s books.

Other complaints centred around the glorification of violence in the popular educational series Horrible Histories. And of course in some of the older works, there are still concerns about racism, most notably Tintin.

Banned Books: Site Of The Week Special

Welcome to Banned Books Week 2012. All this week I will publish a post on the subject, focussing on contemporary literature that has fallen foul of somebody or other.

To start with, I’m just posting a link to a comprehensive list of books that have ever been banned or challenged. Easy navigation on the right hand side broken down by general categories for why they were banned.

Take a look, you might be surprised at some of them.

Amazon.co.uk steampunk offer

Just a quick heads-up people. amazon.co.uk yesterday started a Kindle Reading Marathon with the best part of 600 books on sale from 99p upwards. Despite this large selection, there are only four in the science fiction genre.

I bought two of them for the grand total of £1.98. Nothing else in the collection interested me though if I hadn’t already read it, I’d have bought Rivers of London for £1.99

These were The Mammoth Book of Steampunk and The Mammoth Book of Nebula Awards.

I’m still eager to explore steampunk a little more. I’m still very much the beginner and I’ve come to the subgenre through the artwork… someday I will discuss some of my favourite examples even though it is off-topic for this blog.