Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year for 2008

I just wanted to say HAPPY NEW YEAR for 2008 to all my readers.
As I write this, here in Ontario, there's just 15 minutes to go.
In New Zealand, it's already been New Years day for almost 18 hours.
I cant wait for the Summer Olympics. I love watching Gymnastics.
It's just gone midnight - HAPPY NEW YEARS

Saturday, December 29, 2007

The Well of Lost Plots by Jasper Fforde - Book Review

The Well of Lost Plots
Jasper Fforde
Hodder Stoughton 2003
Book 3 in the SpecOps Series.

I found this novel to be full of lost plots as it ALL took place inside the Book World. I was more interested in the Next family and SpecOps and England of 1986, NOT the books. Besides most of the books mentioned are fictional, and as I have mentioned several time, I am NOT a fiction fan. I prefer non-fiction.

Thursday Next is pregnant with her first child, her husband has been eradicated - with noone (except Thursday) having any memories of him at all. So Thursday decides to take a break for a year inside a book where her enemies cannot find her. She joins the Character Exchange Programme where outlanders (real humans) and book characters get to change places for a while.

Inside the Book world is a HUGE Library - called the Great Library. It has 52 levels - 26 above ground, and 26 below ground - one floor for each letter (authors names). These floors are filled with books. The top 26 floors are filled with every fictional book ever published, and the lower 26 floors hold every fictional book that was never published, and occasionally there are ideas for a book that were never written. This library has NO non-fiction.

Are you confused? Me too. The books are policed by the characters themselves under the name of Jurisfiction. Thusday Next settles down inside a small detective novel called Caversham Heights. While on holiday, she is expected to take over the activities of the character she was exchanged with. But Thursday's mentor Miss Haversham (from Great Expectations) has other ideas. Thursday ends up helping Miss Haversham in her Jurisfiction duties, and eventually passes the exam to become a Jurisfiction agent herself.






During the course of her duties, Thursday has to battle Aornis (a very nasty memory worm) who obliterates Thursdays memories so that she too forgets her husbands name, and at the same time, Thursday must also investigate why several Jurisfiction agents have dissappeared. She discovers that they were killed because of the new upgrade to the Book. The new version about to be released (which is like an e-book reader to us outlanders) ends up having a major restriction - each book can only be read 3 times before being destroyed. This means libraries will no longer be able to lend books, and readers must keep buying books in order to read and remember them.

Thursday must battle the bad guys and the mind worm to save the fictional books and her husband.

While I loved Book 2, I was not too keen on Book 3, because it dealt with fictional books, and it was not set in Thursday's England, the world of Literary Detectives and SpecOps. That is the world I love. Now that Thursday and Landen are reunited, I will try reading Book 4 and hope that it is set back in England.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Inkheart Movie

For those of you who have read the Inkheart & Inkspell Books, by Cornelia Funke, you may already know that these books are in the process of being made into movies. At least Inkheart is. It was originally due for release this Xmas, but due to delays, it is now set for release in March 2008. I borrowed the books from the library this week, but have not yet started reading them. Then I find out that Canadian born actor Brendan Fraser has split with his wife and has just finished making Inkheart, the movie. Speaking of fantasy movies, I saw Neil Gaiman's movie Stardust on DVD last night. I rather enjoyed it too.

Monday, December 24, 2007

The Madonnas of Leningrad - Book Review

The Madonnas of Leningrad
By Debra Dean
Published by William Morrow 2006
Paperback from Harper Perennial 2007

This is a beautiful story, about Marina, an elderly Russian woman who, in the 21st century is slowly forgetting her family, due to the ravages of Alzheimers. In her mind, Marina keeps returning to the Seige of Leningrad in the Second World War, some sixty years previously.

During the seige, Marina was a tour guide at the famous Hermitage Museum in Leningrad. During the seige, the museum employees are charged with removing the artworks from their frames, and being packed away and then sent to a safe place. After they were removed to safety, the employees are hidden in the Museum basement along with their families, where they survive that first terrible winter of the seige. (winter of 1941).

Marina keeps herself sane by walking through the Museum rooms and creating a memory picture in her head. She tries to remember the details of every picture in every frame. It is a lot of mental work, but somehow Marina knows it will help her survival.

The author does an excellent job of describing what it is like to live with Alzheimers - her grandparents both suffered from it. She also did a lot of research about the Hermitage Museum, and the artworks they hold. In fact Debra was not able to visit the Museum until after the book was published.

Marina knew lots of artists names - Rubens, Rembrandt, Titian, Leonardo, Caravaggio, Gainsborough, etc. I personally love art, and art history, which is why I purchased this book.

I am writing this at my brother-in-laws house, and will upload some pictures on Xmas day.

Brotherhood of the Holy Shroud - Book Review

Brotherhood of the Holy Shroud
By Julia Navarro Author Interview
Seal Books (Sept 2007)

One of History’s Most Sacred Treasures. . .
An Age-Old Secret Conspiracy. . .
Now the Truth Is Revealed. . . .
Did you know that the city of TURIN in Italy has tunnels running under the city? I mention this because these tunnels play an important part of the story in this novel. The story is about the search for and the history of the Shroud of Turin.

Now some people think the Shroud is real - and that's fine if they choose to do so - as long as they do not endanger anyone else in that belief. There are others who beleive that the Shroud is fake because its been dated to the early medieval period, not to the time of Christ. That's fine as well. This novel - The Brotherhood of the Shroud - has come up with a plausible explanation for the dating discrepancies.








The Shroud of Turin dates to A.D. 30 by tradition; 1260 to 1390 by carbon dating.
Modern scientific analysis is continuing. So the Shroud is a fake. But even the Scientific community are doubting their own science. Here is a page where they are grasping at straws to explain why the carbon dating is wrong. To me that is bad news. Science is
based on facts, and the fact is, that the Shroud currently being held in Turin is a fake.

I read a book once that claimed that the shroud showed the image of Jacques de Molay - the last Grand Master of the Knight Templar when King Philippe sent out orders for the Templar Knights to be destroyed. At the time that idea made sense to me, and still does. It certainly fits the carbon tested dates.

This novel suggests that there were two shrouds. The original one that was wrapped about the body of Jesus Christ, and then during the crusades, a second long piece of material was wrapped around the first shroud for protection. That too makes sense. But here's where the science goes crazy. Somehow the image was imprinted from the first shroud onto the second, and it is the second shroud that is now in the Turin Cathedral. Just before Black Friday (October 13th, 1307) - the day the Templar Knights Order was destroyed - the knights sent both the shrouds into safekeeping.

The novel is told in two time lines. One being the story of the original shroud, and
the events surrounding it from the time of Jesus all the way up to the destruction of the Knights Templars in 1307. The second time line is in the present time as the Art Crimes Police Unit attempt to find out who keeps attacking the Cathedral of Turin, trying to steal the shroud. Marco Valoni and his team, find a "brotherhood" of men with their tongues surgically removed (so they cannot speak) involved in the attempted thefts. The team also discover that the Templar Knights do still exist in the present century. Their job is to protect the Shroud. And lastly Ana Rimenez a young reporter does some digging, and uncovers the truth about the Shroud, but loses her life in the process.

The story was interesting, the historical parts were fascinating, but since this fiction is not based on any KNOWN history, I found it hard to enjoy the whole story. The history given here certainly is plausible, but the fact is that NOTHING is known for sure about the shroud before it showed up with the Counts of Savoy in the 1400s. And that is why I personally accept the carbon dating for the early medieval period.

And where is the original shroud? Well this novel suggests that it was taken to the one country where the Templar Knights were free to regroup and continue their way of life.

You Are What You Read

There is an article in Sunday's New York Times that says You are What you Read.

In an 1806 diagnosis, a British doctor hypothesized that the “excess of stimulus” produced by reading novels “affects the organs of the body and relaxes the tone of the nerves.” Reading at the table interfered with your digestion, reading before lunch with your morals. Another expert, in 1867, warned that “to read when in bed ... is to injure your eyes, your brain, your nervous system, your intellect.”

In 18th-century paintings, the reader sprawls on a sofa or lolls at the hairdresser’s; in 19th-century magazines, those characters shown reading are the least likely to engage in any exercise more strenuous than turning a page. One English journalist in 1874 worried that frequent readers “are defrauded out of their proper amount of exercise, get their muscles relaxed and their health out of gear.”

Reading was for girls what gaming is for boys: absorption shading into addiction. And like the Xbox or the potato chip, the pleasure it gave in the moment was proportionate to its dangers in the long term. Then, reading was a sign of laziness; now, readers get credit for hard work.

The idea that reading makes one lazy - is somewhat preposterous. I have never been told that I read too much. At least I dont remember being told that. I was frequently told that I watched TV too much (back when I was watching TV - I dont do that any more). I am also told that I do spend too much time on the computer. But I dont recall ever being told that I read too much. Not in those specific words.

I remember being told frequently that I was a bookworm, a bookworm bear (if such a thing exists) and a bookaholic. I remember being told to "not read in the dark, because it will hurt your eyes". I was always being told "Elbows off the table" if they were planted either side of a book while I was eating. But I must have not been very good at mind reading when I was a child. I certainly never picked up any message that meant I should be outdoors playing, or to get up and help with the chores, or that I read too much.

Every birthday and Xmas, I asked for book tokens (like book vouchers) and invariably received them, and so I was able to buy more books. Whenever I was told I could have a toy, I usually asked for a book instead. If I did own any toys or dolls, they were given to me as gifts.

If I am what I read, then I consider myself to be a fairly well rounded and knowledgeable person. With good general knowledge in history, geography and politics. I am not so good in sports and science and definitely hopeless in maths. I LOVE Trivial Pursuit, and I love watching trivia game shows on TV like Who wants to be a Millionaire, Are you Smarter than a 5th Grader and the new program Duel.

I am constantly searching for more knowledge. I LIKE who I am because of what I read.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Golden Compass Books BANNED

Here's an article that aired on CBC three days ago, but I only found it today. The Golden Compass Book series by Philip Pullman, have been banned by the Halton District Catholic School Board. One of the school boards in the Greater Toronto Area. This district covers the Municipalities of Burlington, Halton Hills, Milton and Oakville (west of Toronto) in Ontario, Canada.

A memo to principals said there were concerns the books were "anti-God, anti-Catholic and anti-religion," and elementary school officials were instructed not to distribute book club flyers that had The Golden Compass available for purchase.

Published in 1995, Pullman's The Golden Compass has returned to the public eye because of the new blockbuster film adaptation of the fantasy tale that hit theatres this month.

The book, voted the best children's book in the last 70 years by readers around the world earlier this year, has drawn high praise and condemnation. The Vatican newspaper waded into the debate this week, criticizing the new film and Pullman.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Three shopping days to go

So hubby and I did go and see National Treasure: Book of Secrets yesterday. Despite the critics panning it, we both enjoyed it. Although hubby complained that there were not as many clues for the team to follow this time. He wanted the actual search to be longer. Well, considering that the film crew filmed in Paris, France and London, England, as well as different parts of the USA, they probably couldn't afford to drag out the search too long. In the first movie, the entire search was in USA, up and down the eastern seaboard. Much cheaper, and therefore, more clues allowed.

So I took my son to the movies today, to see Alvin & the Chipmunks. He enjoyed it. And we also went to see Santa today at the local mall (Dec 22nd), where son got the obligatory photograph. He asked Santa for a skateboard. Santa promised he would try and make one. My 5 year old son knows that Santa is not real, and that the Santa he saw today is fake. At the same time he will also be upset if he doesn't get a skateboard.

We were planning on giving him the skateboard for his 6th birthday next year - right before summer. That way he will have good weather to learn how to skateboard. With all the snow and ice lying around on the ground right now, even if he did get a skateboard for Xmas, he certainly won't be able to ride it right away.

The mall was unbelieveably crowded, and noisy. With only 3 shopping days to go, so many people sure do leave things to the last minute.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Xmas Meme

I know I have not been writing, blogging or reading much this month. Mostly because I have to spend a fair amount of time looking for a job. So here is a Xmas Meme I found. If you want to do it, feel free. Not tagging anyone. Entirely your choice.

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate?
Egg Nog. Both my boys love Egg Nog.

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?
Santa wraps most of them, but if he gets tired or runs out of sellotape, the rest go into a bag.

3. Colored lights on tree or white?

4. Do you hang mistletoe?
Nope. Don't even know what it even looks like.

5. When do you put up your decorations?
They still not up yet. My son has to keep reminding us. They will probably go up on the weekend before Xmas.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish?
Nothing special.

7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child:
Dont know if it's my favourite, but the most memorable Xmas memory I have was the summer my family went camping out in a tent where it rained for a week. We played monopoly, card games and I read a lot of books. We also caught a ferret which jumped into one of the luggage bags, and suffocated from the clothes. This would have been well over 20 years ago as I was still in high school.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?
I don't remember anyone telling me about Santa when I was a little girl. I probably learnt about St Nicholas from reading books.

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?
No. Actually my son might get one on Xmas Eve, if he is persistent or being particularly naughty.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas Tree?
The usual tinsel, and small lights.

11. Snow! Love it or Dread it?
Dread it. It's too cold, and the ice is a real hazard. I grew up in more temperate climes where it just doesn't snow.

12. Can you ice skate?
No. My balance is very bad. I cant rollerskate either.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift?
Anything to do with books, whether it was book tokens, book vouchers, gift vouchers anything like that for which I can buy books.

14. What's the most important thing about the Holidays for you?
Nothing really. In fact I do find it a nuisance.

15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert?
Dont really have one.

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition?
Putting up & decorating the Xmas tree (even if it is a fake one)

17. What tops your tree?
We have a small star.

18. Which do you prefer giving or receiving?
Giving. My hubby and I dont buy for each other. But we do try and do something special. Today we are going to see the movie - National Treasure: Book of Secrets - which opens today. Thats our Xmas presents for ourselves. Obviously we make sure our 5 year old has a few gifts.

19. What is your favorite Christmas Song?
Good King Wencaslas

20. Candy Canes?
I dont like them. They break too easily, they make sticky crumbs and they are just too sweet to eat.

21. Do you feel Christmas is too commercialized? Or is it still meaningful for you?
Definitely too commercialised.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

US magazine publishers are gouging Canadians

I came across this article today.

U.S. Publisher Takes American Price Off Magazines To Charge Canadians More

Is it dirty pool or simply smart business? Whatever you decide, it's not a story you're likely to read in a magazine. After months of being hammered over Canadians paying higher prices for U.S. goods despite the higher value of the loonie, one American firm has apparently found a way around it - they've simply removed any trace of the U.S. price for their items sold in Canada.

New York-based Hearst Magazines is the company behind a slew of huge magazine titles, including Cosmopolitan, Seventeen, Esquire and Oprah Winfrey's "O." All of them used to appear on racks with two cover prices, all cheaper in the U.S. than here. But consumers began protesting en masse when the loonie soared above its American counterpart and wondered why they had to pay as much as 30 per cent more.

Some retailers - like Wal-Mart - heard those disgruntled calls and started selling the titles for the lower price. But now consumers who read them will only find one posted cost - and it's the higher Canadian one.

The company maintains it was simply trying to end the confusion for Canucks about the price difference and why it was there in the first place. And they admit they made the move at the request of Canadian wholesalers, who have been taking a hit both publicly and financially by the seemingly inexplicable difference.

There are suggestions that publishing and distributing American magazines in Canada costs more and that's the reason for the price differential. But many customers are questioning that logic, wondering how their currency can be worth more while their costs are higher. And it's not a cheap move for Hearst executives - they now have to create two different covers for each country.

It's not clear how long this new policy will be in place or if the publisher intends to make it a permanent feature of their magazines.

Another report - with quote below

The only reason they’re doing it is to maintain the rip-off structure for Canadian consumers.

Any bets that the book publishers will start doing the same thing eventually - even if it means two different book covers? I think it sucks. It ALWAYS has to be about profits.

Snowed in today

Its snowing today. This blizzard went through Oklahoma and the Midwest 2 days ago, and I have been hearing stories that many many people have lost power. I do hope we don't lose power - again. I took a photo. This is my flickr account. I was going to take my son out to see Santa today at the local mall, but that's going to wait until this blizzard stops. In the meantime, I'll see if I can continue reading.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Not His Type - Book Review

Not His Type
By Chamein Canton
Genesis Press, Indigo Imprint 2007 pp 456

I stopped in at the local library yesterday and found a shelf full of new paperback romances by African American authors and featuring African American characters. Now I have not read a romance novel in a long time. So I picked up one about a literary agent who happens to also be a baseball fan, a single mother, and a larger size woman and started reading it. Two hours later, I was half way through the book, and could not put it down, so I took it home.

For New York literary agent and author Cathy Chambers, life is pretty good. She has a job she loves in a city she loves; things are even sweeter because New York is home to her favorite baseball team, the Yankees. For years, Cathy has had a crush on Yankees superstar Marcus Fox. He's handsome, he plays for her favorite team, and, best of all for Cathy, he's completely unattainable. That is, until chance leads her to meet him in a trendy restaurant.

Now, Cathy's dream is suddenly attainable ... if she can overcome her self-consciousness long enough to believe that Marcus, who is well-known for being surrounded by skinny models, could really be interested in a full-figured woman.

I too am a full-figured woman - ok so I am considerably overweight - but this is the first time I have ever seen any books about the plus-sized women, and a romance as well. And I like watching baseball too.

There were some very interesting observations made.

It's because being fat is the last form of acceptable discrimination in this country. Heck, there's a whole multi-billion dollar weight loss industry based on the fact that noone wants to be called fat.

Do you agree with this statement?

Here's another.

If you act like you're fat and don't deserve anything good to happen to you, then that is exactly what will happen. It has nothing to do with the fates, other people or even God. You will have shot your own self in the foot.

The author Chimein Canton has put a lot of herself in this novel. Like Catherine, she too is a single mother with college age twin sons, a larger size women, and she is also a literary agent (specializing in African American women) based on Long Island.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Like I said, I couldn't put it down. I finished it in just 6 hours, which for me is slow, but I did have to do some shopping, run around after my son, and organize dinner. There were tons of detail about how a literary agency works, which I really enjoyed.

The topic of large women is very relevant to our society because Two-thirds of Americans (over 64%) are overweight. Almost one-third is obese. It is now the norm to be large, not the exception. However the media, the health industry and that billion dollar weight-loss industry do everything they can to make women feel guilty about being large. The medical industry thinks obesity is a disease.

I have actually seen several articles that mentioned how the food industry is deliberately putting chemicals in the food to make people eat more. That's part of what MSG does.

Remember the 1999 Emmy awards when Camryn Manheim from The Practice won an Emmy. She held it up in the air and said "This is for all the fat girls". She is my hero on TV. She is currently starring in The Ghost Whisperer.

So now if I hear anyone comment on my size, I take the power. Most of the time.

"Look at her. She's fat" (person sniggering or pointing a finger)
"Yes I am fat. Do you have a problem with that?" (me)
"Yes I do, I find it disgusting". (them)
" Well ma'am, that's your problem to deal with. I have no problem with being fat." (me) and I walk off. I dont bother to tell them that I have PCOS, and one of the symtoms of PCOS is Obesity or the inability to lose weight. Before I hit puberty, I used to be a rather skinny girl.

I am especially empowered to say this after my recent brain surgery. In all my pre-operative and pre-admission tests, NOT ONE single person told me that I was a bad risk because of my size. In fact the anathesiast really made my day, when he said to me "I dont think we will have any problem with your heart. If your heart can handle the body changes that occurr throughout a nine month pregnancy, then it can handle a 4 hour operation with no problems".

Body Positive

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

CN Tower Light Festival

Every evening around 6pm, when I pick my son up from daycare, he and I have to check out the CN Tower which we can easily see from our neighbourhood. During November and December There is a Lights Festival in Toronto - called the Cavalcade of Lights. The last few nights the Tower has been showing a range of colours including the rainbow, zipping up and down the sides. It's actually gorgeous to see.
I'm sorry I dont have any photographs, but I did try to take some. Unfortunately my camera cannot capture the lights from the long distance we are at, although our eyes can see the lights perfectly. Except when it's snowing, and the tower is covered by the clouds.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Slightly Chipped by L & N Goldstone - Book Review

Slightly Chipped: Footnotes in Booklore
by Lawrence & Nancy Goldstone
Thomas Dunne Press HC 1999
Griffin Imprint PB 2000.

I read the Goldstone's third book - Warmly Inscribed - back in April. Its taken me several months to find & read their second book Slightly Chipped. But at last I have read it.

First the nitpicking. The Goldstones attended the Sotheby's auction in New York City in 1998 for the sale of the Duke & Duchess of Windsor's furniture, jewellery, books, clothes and other possessions. Someone from Sotheby's told the Goldstones that the founder of the Boyscouting movement was Sir Michael Baden Powell. The FACT is that the founder of the Scouts was Sir Robert Baden Powell. Sir Robert did have a grandson named Michael Baden-Powell, and Michael is currently the heir to the Baron title, but he certainly was not the Founder of the Scouting movement. Michael is involved in the Scouting movement in Australia. Sotheby's employees really should get their FACTS straight. Or the editor needed to do a better job of the fact checking. (see page 184 Griffin PB edition May 2000)

Now for the interesting stuff. If I had read this book back in April, most of the names would have gone straight over my head. William Morris and his Kelmscott Press (I knew about Morris and his Wallpapers), The Bloomsbury group (I'd never heard of this group, although I had heard of Virginia Woolf), and Abraham Simon Wolf Rosenbach (whom I had never heard of at all).

But the last 7 months has taught me a lot about books, about authors and about printing. So the chapters I enjoyed the most in this book were the ones about Morris and his Kelmscott Press (chapter 2), the Bloomsbury Group (chapter 3), ASW Rosenbach (chapter 6) and the Sothebys auction (chapter 9).

I purchased my first Rosenbach book just a few weeks ago. But I still haven't read it. Got too many challenges to read for. But I will get there. Chapter 6 about the Goldstones visiting the Rosenbach museum in Philadelphia was an interesting chapter. And just like the Goldstones, I too wanted to know more about the books. The background information about Rosenbach and his books was absoluting fascinating. Half the chapter is about Rosenbach, and other of half is about Dracula (Abraham Stoker), and Trilby (George du Maurier - grandfather of Daphne Du Maurier). I enjoyed the Dracula notes, but not the Trilby notes. I am not a fan of Daphne Du Maurier's mostly fiction. Although I have read The Glassblowers.

Chapter 8 discusses Bibliofind, ABEbooks and other Bookish search engines on the Internet. In 1997 things were very quiet as the internet was more of an information source than any search engine or profit making source. In 1998, with the release of Windows 98, as we all know, the internet literally EXPLODED.

I enjoyed this book. I read it in 24 hours. The remaining chapters were about Book Fairs in the New England area and interesting books that the Goldstones purchased, or didnt purchase. And once again, I received a good and interesting education from the Goldstones. I will definitely be looking for their first book - Used and Rare - published in 1997.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Do we have any Boxing Gloves?

"Do we have any Boxing Gloves, Mommy"? my son asked tonight as I put him to bed.
"No son we don't". I replied.
"But we have to have them for the 26th", he said. "Coz that's Boxing day".

Bookends - A New Musical about Old Friends

I just discovered those two old and dear friends, Rostenberg and Stern this year. They were 2 Jewish women who refused to do what tradition said - which was to get married and raise a family, and leave the menfolk to do the business. Instead they got together and started their own Rare Books Business and ran it for over 50 years. They produced dozens of catalogues, and also did a large amount of Bibliophilic scholarly research.

Madeleine Stern discovered Louisa May Alcott's pseudonym under which she (Alcott) wrote a number of "racy" novels, that were totally different from the Little Women & Little Men series. Stern died earlier this year. Leona Rostenberg wrote a few books about the history of printing in Europe. She died in 2005.

I also heard something about a musical based on their lives. Well I finally found some information about the Musical. It was produced and performed by the New Jersey Repertory Company. it's called BOOKENDS and it received some good reviews.

I wonder if this musical will ever come to Canada. Maybe I might suggest it to the local theatre company. Because I for one would LOVE to see it.

In the Company of Writers by Charles Scribner Jr

In the Company of Writers: A Life in Publishing
By Charles Scribner Jr (CS IV 1921-1995)
Charles Scribner & Sons Published 1990
Scribner Timeline

In 1945 Charles Scribner Junior (officially CS IV) joined his family's publishing firm. Charles was born in 1921, in Quogue, Long Island, New York, but raised in New Jersey from a young age. CS IV graduated from Princeton University in 1943, and promptly joined the Navy as cryptanalyst.

After the war was over, he joined the family firm in 1946, as the director of advertising and publicity. Scribner grew up knowing and being friends with well known authors such Ernest Hemingway, CS Snow, Scott Fitzgerald, PD James, Thomas Wolfe, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Alan Paton, Charles Lindburgh.

This book describes Charles's time as a publisher, director, chairman of Scribners, actions he took, and chances he missed. And always there were the authors. But the most famous friendship Charles had, was with Ernest Hemingway. This friendship was a continuation of Hemingway's ongoing friendship with Charles father (CS III).

Hemingway was a prolific letter writer and, in 1981, many of these letters were published by Scribner in Ernest Hemingway Selected Letters. It was met with some controversy as Hemingway himself stated he never wished to publish his letters. Further letters were published in a book of his correspondence with his editor Max Perkins, The Only Thing that Counts in 1996 [Wikipedia].

In the Company of Writers is a very nice book if you really want to know how a publishing company works. You follow all the actions Charles made, commiserate with the mistakes he made, and enjoy the successes. I enjoyed it, but it does get a little dry in places.

In 1984 Scribners became part of Macmillan Publishing, and later Scribner became an imprint of Simon & Schuster.

Audio files of interviews by Charles Scribner IV about running a Publishing company, and about this book. Oh and this is read for the Bibliography challenge, which means I have now read 4 books for that challenge. Now I'm done. LOL

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Napoleon wrote a love story?

Apparently Napoleon Bonaparte wrote a love story. Back when he was a writer, before he became a general. Today comes news that page one of this manuscript was sold at auction in Paris, France for CDN$35,000. It was just a short story - barely 22 pages - but it was in Napoleon's handwriting. I'm surprised it didn't go for a lot more.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Richard Leigh dead at 64

So who was Richard Leigh? Well back in the early 1980's he co-write this little book that the catholic church hated, and said it was heresy. If it was not for me reading this little book, I would not have made the decision I did to leave the church I was raised in. And if it was not for this book, Dan Brown would not have written such a succesful novel about some painter, since he virtually lifted a major name from this other little known book, and was taken to court for it. Dan Brown won. And of course the other little book was called Holy Blood, Holy Grail.

Codex by Lev Grossman - Book Review

By Lev Grossman
Harcourt Books 2004

About to depart on his first vacation in years, Edward Wozny, a hotshot young investment banker, is sent to help one of his firm's most important and mysterious clients. His task is to search their library stacks for a precious medieval codex, a treasure kept sealed away for many years and for many reasons.

At the same time, Edward is also involved in a computer game but in this game he takes a wrong turn, and finds an "easter egg". When he asks for help to get out of the easter egg, he discovers that the codex is also an easter egg.

An Easter Egg is a term that refers to an undocumented feature or novelty that is in a [computer] program that the makers of that program placed in the program for additional fun and credits. Easter Eggs are in no way destructive to any software or hardware within the computer and are usually meant for something unique and fun.

Enlisting the help of passionate medievalist Margaret Napier, Edward breaks into the stacks of a specialist library to find a box of books missing from the family library and thought to be stored there for safekeeping. They find the box, full of old books but not the codex. Until Margaret gets an idea and looks more closely at the old books.

The entire story takes place over two weeks. The story reads somewhat dry in places, but it is very interesting. Edward is relatively developed, but Margaret is not. I feel she could have been a lot more developed. There is very little background on her.

Anyone for Jane Austen?

My father is a huge fan of Jane Austen's novels. And despite growing up around him, I don't remember reading any of her novels - except maybe for Pride and Prejudice. I have seen the P&P TV series (starring Colin Firth). And recently I picked up an interesting novel about Mr Darcy. It's called Darcy's Story by Janet Aylmer.

So last night while surfing, I discovered the Jane Austen Challenge. Read or watch a minimum of 2 Jane Austen-related books or movies. Starting January 1st, 2008.

I think I will join this because I really do need to read or see more Jane Austen. So I will read Darcy's Story and watch the movies - Becoming Jane and Emma (Gwyneth Paltrow version).

I am Elinor Dashwood!

Take the Quiz here!