Writing and Reading
One of the things I love about Christmas is getting presents for books; sometimes ones that I have name dropped that I’d like to read and then there are the completely unexpected surprises.
My partner who is ploughing through Ken Follet’s “Winter of the World” at the moment and raving about it bought me several unexpected books and I immediately got stuck in to Peter Traquair’s “Freedom’s Sword” which is a scholarly and immensely readable account of Scotland’s wars of independence.
Two books I’d asked for and received were “The Thunder Dragon Kingdom” and “Straight Up” both by Steve Berry. The first is an account of a bash in the nineteen eighties at Gangkar Punsum, Bhutan’s highest mountain. Retaining the mountaineering theme but moving from fact to fiction I stumbled just yesterday in a Lewisham bookshop on “The Ice Soldier” by Paul Watkins. A compelling jacket design by Ghost, publication by Faber and a good review on the back by The Times made this irresistible.
Reading the Winter 2012 edition of “The Author” which is the quarterly journal of the Society of Authors to which I belong, I was struck by the on-going nervousness bordering on panic that the world of e-publishing has thrown up. Personally I think it has opened up tremendous possibilities for authors and publishers alike and I can’t but help wonder what Caxton would have thought of e-publishing? One article in the magazine that ran counter to the editorial despair from the previous issue was by John Ward and his humorous reasoning hit the nail on the head as far as I was concerned. I see he is the author of books for young adults: undoubtedly a challenging market. This weekend my partner and I are going to see friends in Kent who have three children, the oldest just turned eleven. At Christmas I bought from Amazon a boxed CD set of the “Weirdstone of Brisingamen” by Alan Garner. I suggested to my partner this morning that our friends children might like to listen to it. Her answer was lightning fast; “No way: it’s far too scary.” I countered with the observation that they’d recently seen “Skyfall” at the cinema. “That’s completely different: James Bond is just complete fantasy.” So where does that leave the poor goblins, I wondered…