Saturday, April 28, 2012

Books Out of Print

Books Out of Print

I am not supposed to walk much - I do a little - but sport has become more of the seated viewer variety. And as for the cathartic 'zeimbekiko' dance, I've been forced to civilise my  inner-Dionysos. On the bright side, my traitorous knee has freed me up some time for reading and writing.

It is the reading, or more specifically the publishing, that vexes me. So many great books are out of print - or were when I bought them. I have a quirk that if an author is alive I like to pay them (buy their book). It's my way of giving thanks for the privilege of reading their work. Recently however,  I ordered four secondhand books, two by a living writer: Doctor Rat and The Midnight Examiner both by William Kotzwinkle. And although Roger Zelazny passed away in 1995, I still would have bought a new copy of This Immortal over the tattered copy I ordered in, the same applies to Folktales of Greece by the Greek literary scholar, Georgios Megas. Why the orders? Because they are (or were at the time) all out of print.

With the exception of the more obscure Megas book, the others are still written about and discussed - at least in my circle of friends. I'll forgive the publishing world regarding Megas (it's a highly specific text) but not for William Kotzwinkle; Doctor Rat won a World Fantasy Award (WFA) and Kotzwinkle still has quite a name for himself. The Fan Man's (Kotzwinkle's cult-classic) first chapter was released before the novel and immediately became a critically acclaimed short story ('A Fugue in A Minor') -  a well-merited selection by Richard Ford in The GRANTA BOOK of the AMERICAN SHORT STORIES .  ABC Books also have The Midnight Examiner (along with The Fan Man) in their 1001 BOOKS YOU MUST READ BEFORE YOU DIE . With two novels in the ABC's book of recommendations you'd think some publisher out there would make them available.

And Roger Zelazny's This Immortal (originally a two part serial called ...And Call me Conrad in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction) was a Hugo winner. Whether past WFA and Hugo Awards are dated is not the issue here. People still want to read them - if I do (along with some of my friends) then other readers out there must be curious too.

Reprint, publishers! Reprint!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Writers [on Writing], Carolyn Chute

Writers [on Writing], Carolyn Chute

"I am not much of a reader. No time."

After I simmered down I began to value Chute's honesty, realising that it's a frank and courageous (although still disappointing) confession for any writer to make.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Ben Payne and 'Reading Coffee'

I've read that Ben Payne has been editor at ASIM and Aurealis, and co-editor (with Alisa Krasonstein) of the Ditmar Award winning 2012 (from the multiple award winning Twelfth Planet Press), so it was nice to see him highly commend 'Reading Coffee'. 

My name is spelt wrong here but that's a frequent and forgivable occurrence. There are two separate posts:


Congratulations to all the other names mentioned -  especially Margo Lanagan, Thoraiya Dyer and DC White who are fellow Aurealis finalists for the same short story category as 'Reading Coffee'. I am eager to read their stories. Margo Lanagan is a superb voice in not only Australian fiction but also world fiction, Throraiya Dyer is a multiple award winner and DC White's story has been published by Ticonderoga Pubublications. I bought two Ticonderoga collections recently: Angela Slatter's The Girl with no Hands and Kaaron Waaren's Dead Sea Fruit, and if they are anything to go by then DC White is in fine company.

And yes - I feel terribly ostentatious posting this. My finger lingered over 'publish' far longer than usual. 

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Writers [on Writing], Rosellen Brown

Writers on Writing [Rosellen Brown]

On characters:

"... our first obligation is to create interesting, suggestive, realistic, possibly even challenging situations, set our character down in them and see where they go."

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Writers [on Writing], Anne Bernays

Writers [on Writing]: Anne Bernays

"No one wants to read polite. It puts them to sleep."