In theory: the unread and the unreadable - "We measure our lives with unread books – and 'difficult' works can induce the most guilt. How should we view this challenge?"
Scary stories for Halloween Guardian books writers select their favourite seasonal chillers
Nina Bawden, writer of novels for adults and children, born in 1925, died on 22nd August 2012. “As a child, Nina said, she had felt wicked because the children in the books she read were all so good, and she was one of the first writers for children to create characters who could be jealous, selfish and bad-tempered” (Guardian obituary). [more inside]
"There is no such thing on earth as an uninteresting subject; the only thing that can exist is an uninterested person." G.K. Chesterton
Want a bestseller? Write about Henry or Hitler… [Guardian.co.uk] From Tudor England to the Third Reich, history's megalomaniacs continue to make great literary fodder.
Don't judge a book by the ad on its cover. [Guardian.co.uk] Chalk it up as another brilliant innovation – or a sign of the impending apocalypse – as China Daily reports that publishers are making space on the front covers of books for advertising. Apparently the "first book to carry an advertisement" is an account of the famous cellist Yo-Yo Ma, written by his mother, which was published in March adorned with "the logo of a well-known Chinese textile manufacturer".
Alan Moore and David Lloyd designed it 30 years ago. The V for Vendetta mask appropriated by Occupy protesters the world over. The Guardian recently asked Alan what he thought about the masks. Now Channel 4 news takes him into Occupy territory to face that face. But who is the true anarchist?
The 100 greatest non-fiction books: [Via: The Guardian] After keen debate at the Guardian's books desk, this is our list of the very best factual writing, organised by category, and then by date.
The Guardian has a new series of webchats with various people in the publishing industry starting with literary agent Karolina Sutton. Also various writers are asked: Can you teach creative writing?
It's an odd thing that libraries – by tradition temples to the unfleshly – can sometimes seem such sexy places. The Secret life of libraries.
this petty-bourgeois uptightness, this terror of not being in control, this schoolboy desire to boast and to shock
The 2010 Booker longlist is out, and it seems that most of the buzz in the UK is about who's not on the list. The Guardian article "Amis-free Booker prize longlist promises to 'entertain and provoke'" introducing the list of 13 nominees actually devotes its headline, subhead, and most of the first four paragraphs to the subject of who's missing in action: Amis, McEwan, Rushdie. Elsewhere in the Guardian Books section, research professor Gabriel Josipovici pulls no punches in including these (former?) darlings of the glitterati in his assertion that Feted British authors are limited, arrogant and self-satisfied, compares them to "prep-school boys showing off," calls them "virtually indistinguishable from one another in scope and ambition," and muses that the fact that they have won so many awards is "a mystery." [more inside]
Writers' Rooms The Guardian takes you inside the spaces where writers such as JG Ballard and Will Self attempt to cajole words into doing their bidding.
The Digested Read at The Guardian reduces popular books to 400 words and a conclusion. Recent notables include Belle du Jour ("Sometimes I lie about my age to clients. Sometimes I even lie to my friends. I guess you must be wondering whether I'm lying now.") Crichton's State of Fear ("Author's note: I'm very, very clever and have read a lot and you're all stupid wishy-washy liberals.") and Tom Wolfe's I am Charlotte Simmons ("At least it covered her breasts, whatever they were. Charlotte knew men might want to touch them, but she didn't know why as she had never read Cosmopolitan.") Possibly NSFW if you have an employer with no sense of humor. On preview: Individual Digested Reads have been linked in previous discussions on Henry James and Camille Paglia.
10 Books to Feed the Imagination. Just in time for World Book Day, Lady Georgia Byng offers her favorite tomes for sparking a child's fancy. The usual suspects are here (Roald Dahl, J.K. Rowling, Philip Pullman) with a couple of welcome surprises (Yann Martel and Jostein Gaarder). But tell me, MeFites ... which others did she miss?
Who's the Best-Read MeFite? The 100 best works of fiction (as chosen by Norwegian Book Clubs) (via Archipelapogo via rebeccablood). Sure, it's arbitrary, but there's a lot of great writing here. Bragging rights awarded (unless someone cares to sweeten the pot). How many have you read?
If this doesn't get some arguments going, then I'd hate to think what would.