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Archive for December 9th, 2009

December 9th, 2009 • Posted in Authors and Books

Future of the Magazine/Book?


(via Ed Champion)

December 9th, 2009 • Posted in On The Book

Charles Rickett’s Hero and Leander at the Internet Archive



December 9th, 2009 • Posted in On Book Collecting

My Kind of Guy

From Finn Olaf Jones’s ‘My Father’s Library,’ Dec.12, 2005 edition of Forbes magazine:  Dec 12, 2005
Dec 12, 2005
During the months after my father’s debilitating stroke, his second wife divorced him, his bank accounts were emptied, his furniture disappeared, the cat ran away and a trio of booksellers purchased his book collection. When my father eventually regained his senses, he telephoned me with what really bothered him: "Where the hell are my books?"

My father’s lifelong relationship with books mirrored Hugh Hefner’s relationship with bimbos; day and night, he always had to have several within reach. He slept with a pile of them on his bed. He drove with a couple of them open on the seat next to him. While traveling, someone, usually the smallest in the family, had to trail him with a book bag as if it were the President’s nuclear football.

A mental snapshot of him conjures not a face but a ribbon of pipe smoke emanating from behind an open volume, an omnipresent red pen poised in midair for the next margin note. He had some 30,000 victims to thus deface–more than two books for every letter in this article–the fruits of a lifelong delusion that everything with a binding belonged to him, and if it didn’t, it should. During the course of 70 years of collecting, an indecent number of library books, hymnals and other items of dubious provenance found their way onto his shelves.

Dad never drove a new car in his life. He reused his coffee grounds. He always flew coach. But he never saw a book he didn’t want to buy. His best friends were book people, and whenever he entered a bookstore…

December 9th, 2009 • Posted in On The Book

Rare Book School 2010 Courses

Here is The Rare Book School 2010 course schedule:
4-8 January 2010 in Baltimore, MD
11 (I-20)
12 (M-20)
7-11 June 2010 in Charlottesville, VA
21 (C-85)
22 (G-20)
23 (G-30)
24 (L-65)
25 (M-10)
14-18 June 2010 in Charlottesville, VA
31 (B-10)
32 (G-50)
33 (H-60)
34 (H-65)
35 (L-95)
12-16 July 2010 in Charlottesville, VA
41 (B-90)
42 (H-10)
43 (I-35)
44 (L-30)
19-23 July 2010 in Charlottesville, VA
51 (H-50)
52 (H-90)
64 (I-10)
54 (L-10)
26-30 July 2010 in Charlottesville, VA
61 (C-90)
62 (L-30)
63 (G-10)
64 (M-70)
9-13 August 2010 in Washington, DC (tentative)
71 (I-90)
25-29 October 2010 in New York City (tentative)
81 (M-50)

To sign up, go here.

December 9th, 2009 • Posted in Authors and Books

Margaret Atwood’s Top Ten Editing Tips

And on the topic of tens, Margaret Atwood, with gimlet eye doubtless trained on traffic generation, gives us another:



1.The beginning. This is the key signature of the book. Sets the tone, introduces the leitmotifs. Are the people in it main characters? If not, how much do the readers need to know about them?

2. Charles Dickens said, “Make ‘em laugh, make ‘em cry, make ‘em wait.” He put “wait” at the end because it was crucial. (In any series of three, the third is the most important.) In terms I’ve picked up by playing with the boys: Drop the hankie early, but make ‘em wait for the opening of the kimono. Are you telling too much too soon?  (Suspense: a good thing, if not done too obviously. Who is this guy? What happens next? Don’t signal too much, too far ahead.)

3. Verbs shall agree with subjects  (singular, plural). That is, unless it’s dialogue or third-person inside-the-character point of view, and the author wishes to indicate that the character has a weak grasp of this principle.

4. Verb tenses. This is tricky. But in general: if something is always true, use the present tense. If it was always true once, use the past, or “would” plus past tense to indicate continuous action in the past. (“Every day, he’d go to the laundromat.”) . If it’s something happening before the time we’re in, use the past perfect (“He’d gone.”) Only the author knows the time flow – an editor can query, but the author must decide.  If tenses are disjunct, there should be a very good reason. (Maybe the character is having a breakdown.) See also the use of the historical present. (“So, he goes, “What’re you doing?” and I go, “Butt out,” and he … etc.) Elmore Leonard is an expert at this kind of thing, and at informal dialogue in general.

5. The gerund mistake. A common one. “Walking along the beach, a pair of boots was seen.” Means that the boots were doing the walking, not the observer. Correct: “Walking along the beach, he saw a pair of boots.”

For the rest…

December 9th, 2009 • Posted in Authors and Books

Ten Christmas gift ideas for the budding Novelist

Margaret Atwood shares ten gift ideas for those intent on trekking her path:

1. A small notebook, so your budding novelist can carry it everywhere and jot down notes, and possibly addresses. Moleskine is the classic, but there are many others. Should fit in pocket or bag.

2. A large box. This is for all the drafts. Keep them! You may need them later.

3. Mortification: Writers and Their Public Shame, compiled by Robin Roberston. Everything awful that may happen to you in public has already happened to someone else, almost. Add to the list (I hope not).

4. Roget’s Thesaurus. I know there are some thesauri on line but nothing beats the paper version. It is somehow more troll-able. And when things go bad, you can warm it in the oven (not to much, it’s flammable) & cuddle up to it in bed.

5. The Stretching Handbook. Or something like it. Or Pilates lessons. Anything to straighten out that writer-spine & bad elbow we get after a while…