You Caught My Attention

I enjoyed this article on ‘Late Bloomers’ in The New Yorker. Makes me feel less rushed (for a little while).

Hayden Carruth is a poet who passed away recently. Here are two poems I like: ‘Agenda at 74’ and ‘Economics’. Cute, yes?

Christmas is coming up. Books are great presents, especially for children. Literacy is incredibly important for our future leaders, teachers, doctors and whatnot. No one needs to be reminded (well, sometimes). Your local bookstore should have a handy catalogue, or peruse my reviews. Shelfari and other book networking sites are also great for ideas and recommendations. Another great gift idea is to give to a charity on behalf of your friends and family members. Some of my favourites are Amnesty International, Starlight Foundation, World Vision, Oxfam, Kidney Health Australia, Indigenous Literacy Project and Greenpeace. Of course, there are MANY more. Feel free to list some in the comments. Another idea is to support Australian literary culture by subscribing to a literary magazine such as Overland, Meanjin, or Southerly. Again, there are many more. But it’s a gift that will enlighten and stimulate all the way through the year.

On Thursday, December 4, the finals of the Australian poetry slam will be broadcast live from Sydney Opera House on the web and on ABC TV. See the website. And view the ‘online’ component winning entry. It’s really something.

This darling essay ‘On Bibliophilia and Biblioclasm’ is deserving of your lit-minded attention. Although the phrase ‘young people these days’ always distresses me. I have had many great conversations with other ‘young’ people about the deliciousness of browsing bookstores. Most of us already have too much to read yet we’re drawn in, always, by the pleasant smell of aged treasures, the invitation of faded imaginings. I LOVE second-hand bookstores. I am enthralled by them. And I understand Dalrymple’s particular interest in the inscriptions. For me, it’d be the notion of another story existing behind the written one on the pages, a mystery of sorts, and a deeply human, ephemeral one. I have bought a few books with very simple inscriptions – names, dates read, for such and such. They always add to the book for me. I also have books where people have written in the margins, over the pages, circled things. I feel an affinity with these mysterious readers as I am one who does this too. I take note of the words they underline heavily. The (!) or * in the margin. Sometimes I connect with them and the author simultaneously. Often they are completely different to me and I like getting to know a bit about them throughout my own reading. Sometimes I wish I could have a conversation with them. Or get them, the author and myself in a room, have a few brewskies and discuss Humbert Humbert’s journey of self or some such thing. This is what my dreams are made of.

The New York Times 100 Notable Books of 2008 has just gone up. Oh, how the to-read list grows!

Lisa Dempster, publisher of Vignette Press was kind enough to send me one of their ‘Mini Shots’ – little bite-sized books with funky illustrations on the front. She sent me ‘The Fast Lane’ because it’s set in 1994, just a coupla years short of when I’m setting my next novel ms – and as the story is vividly descriptive of the pop/Uni culture of the era. I definitely enjoyed this lit-morsel, easily swallowed on a lunchbreak. If you want to check out the other Vignette Mini Shots see their site. You can subscribe to have them delivered too.

And finally, tomorrow I am getting up at 6am to start writing said 90s novel. I haven’t quite finished all the research, timelining, character profiles, but I am needing to start nonetheless. It burns.

Above: 90s icon River Phoenix *sigh*. Pic nabbed from here.

6 thoughts on “You Caught My Attention

  1. Another cool idea is instead of an e-card, send a digital short story or novel to someone instead. Simon Groth sells digital stories on his site for loose change, and Daily Lit have a selection of novels for free and for cheap that can be gifted to someone over email.

    Glad you liked the Mini Shots! The Fast Lane took me back, too… and good luck with your early morning routine tomorrow.

  2. I’m with you on the second-hand shops. The chain stores don’t keep the books long enough to develop a bookish smell 🙂

    The NYT list is interesting, possibly for all the wrong reasons. On a quick runthrough, I spotted only one translation and only two science books (Drunkard’s walk and the one about insects as hyperorganisms. (I didn’t count Descartes’s bones). Drunkard’s walk is also the only book of the list that I’ve read and reviewed.
    In both departments, there appears to be way too much American self-obsessed navel-gazing for my tastes. I tend to read books to find out what other cultures are like and what other people think, so the impression that this list appears to be mainly “us about ourselves” puts me off.

    Well, anyhow. Good luck with the novel-writing. Looks like you’re a lark, I couldn’t write anything at 6 am!

  3. Well there are actually about six Aussies on the NYT list 🙂 But yes, I think there is only one book on there that I have read too. It’s an interesting point you make about the ethnocentrism of the list.

    And it’s strange – I am actually more of a night-owl. I find it very hard to get to sleep and cherish my sleep-in on the weekends. But sometimes when your life is so full you don’t have a choice. Just had the second day of it and it is working really well. I’m surprised. It’s very quiet and as soon as I write a few words it just flows.

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