Friday, 21 January 2011

Stuff that's tickled me recently...

I signed up to Twitter a couple of months ago, tweeted once and the abandoned ship for a while. I have revisited it in the last week and started my tweeting journey in earnest. Currently I have 12 followers and counting... I have found that it's something you have to keep on top of if you want to get value out of but so far I'm finding it a great way of keeping abreast of literary developments and other fun bookish things. It's also the main source of the rest of this post. Hoorah for Twitter!

The 2011 Tournament of Books is something I hadn't heard of previously. It takes a list of books that were big news in the previous calendar year and and panel of judges work to select the best one. There are 2 really cool things about this award that sets it apart for me. One, the judges have to explain their choice and lay bare their biases and leanings. Two, we, the common folk, get a say. You can vote for your favourite of the bunch and if it gets eliminated earlier on it can be revived in the Zombie Round! Nice. In the interests of full disclosure, I voted for Room by Emma Donoghue, but there's loads of great books on the list including my current read, The Finkler Question. 

Here Lionel Shriver, author of award winning We Need to Talk About Kevin (among others), talks about the hilarity and head-banging frustration of publishers cover choices for her books. Really, it's a critique of the Old Boy's Club within the literary world that still exists despite the vast majority of writers being women not to mention women making up 80% of the fiction buying market. Eighty percent!! Why then do fantastic writers like Shriver get the short shrift on cover choice, trying to make her hard hitting unisex fiction look soft and feminine just because a she is a female writer? I don't hav the answers to that one but I think anyone who can come up with this fab quote: "trussing up my novels as sweet, girly and soft is like stuffing a rottweiler in a dress" deserves MUCH respect.

Smart Bitches, Trashy Books. Oh. My. Goodness. WHY have I never read their blog before? I was laughing so hard at some of their posts in the greatest hits section that my doggy started barking at me! More maniacal giggling then ensued. The basic premise of this blog for those who don't know (and I really might be the last one to find this but hey, just in case) is that the two women are smart girls who love to read romance novels and review them. I'm not a fan of romance at all but you don't need to be. The fun is in reading what they write about these books and how they write it. Genius. Check it out if you didn't already. 

Also, I found this stroke of brilliance through SMTB. Enjoy.

Finally, I'm fairly sure I have made my feelings about the Twilight series clear (in short: terrible, terrible writing but if kids are reading it's not all bad). So then I found out that the favourite book of the 2 characters of Bella and Edward is in act my own favourite: Wuthering Heights. I was unsure of how I felt about having anything in common with these characters, least of all my all-time favourite book! However, according to the Guardian, the fact that Captain Shiny Skin and Little Miss Glum love this book (plus a clever rebrand to make it look Twilight-esque) has sent sales of Wuthering Heights through the roof and it is topping the classics bestsellers chart. Now if only the kids that are buying the book actually read it and realise what real literature is. Am I too idealistic? Perhaps. Well, at least they own it for future reference...

Photo credits: Lionel Shriver - BBC
                Wuthering Heights cover - Guardian


  1. Oh my god, I love that clip! That is hysterical! And now I have to go check out that blog as well!

  2. Lisa - sorry I missed replying to this comment til now! I know, it's just brilliant. I've been showing it to everyone I can.