23/10/18 in seven books
Today I ordered a copy of Mr Loverman by Bernadine Evaristo. The Emperor’s Babe by the same author is in my top ten – beautiful, compelling, the language is a magnificent dream, and Zuleika is one of the best characters I know. Lover Man is more recent. I also look forward to reading Evaristo’s latest book, Girl, Woman, Other when it comes out in paperback.
This morning I started reading The Man on the Middle Floor by Elizabeth S. Moore after having a look at the site of Red Door Publishing, a new-format hybrid publisher who share costs with the author but maintain a high standard in the books they agree to publish. So much has been written and said recently about the state of publishing with regards to what is usually called literary fiction. Big publishers have become risk-averse, and it is different models such as my own publisher, Unbound and Red Door, plus all the amazing indies like Dead Ink and Galley Beggar Press that are keeping the genre going. Thank goodness – not because there is any greater value per se in literary fiction, but for readers like me, it is where the books I love reading are found. I think I am going to like The Man on the Middle Floor and on the strength of it, will be going back to Red Door.
Book 3,4 and 5
What a joy, as I flicked through a social media catch up with my morning coffee, to see this notification:
I felt gratified and proud to see that – what a lovely endorsement. It makes a huge difference, especially when the stone cold metric of book sales might give you the sense that you have wasted your time. Mary’s book Stranger In My Heart is on my bedside #tbr pile, and though I don’t have a copy yet, Bone Lines is also on the list. Both are fellow Unbound writers. And my book Twice the Speed of Dark is available on special offer just now, if you are interested, for just 99p.)
The Bennett College Reference Library, Electricity, Volume V is one of the books I use to make the recycled work I sell. I love the creaminess and the smooth greying of the illustrations, the snags and stitch holes when you pull out the pages of older books (look away if you are squeamish about the holiness of books – I cut them up. Le’s call it erasure poetry, it may seem less like vandalism.) Today I made the latest in a series of collages, #TipsForWriters. It is soothing, picking out the hidden messages buried in the text, bending the words just a little to suit a new purpose.
I finished 2089 by Miles Hudson, another Unbound author for whom I am going to write a review in the next few days. It made me think about all the ways there are of seeing a human future and how we decide for plot or theme purposes on a version that serves our ideas. One of the central ideas in 2089 was around surveillance and I wondered if Miles saw it as an extension of current bad decisions and thus a cautionary tale. Perhaps speculative fiction is always actually ‘now through a lens’ fiction. I wrote a book about the future, because I wanted an empty countryside and a disconnect from food production. I’m not sure how much of that was intended as a critique of now – but I hadn’t really thought about it until recently. Answers on a postcard or in comments – I’d love a discussion.