Vulpes Libris

A collective of bibliophiles talking about books. Book Fox (vulpes libris): small bibliovorous mammal of overactive imagination and uncommonly large bookshop expenses. Habitat: anywhere the rustle of pages can be heard.

Bookweek Round-Up


Writers Strike

In a week dominated by the ongoing difficulties of EMI, the link between the music and writing industries was brought into sharp relief by this article in the BBC on the Grammys and the writers strike.

The article says “writers members have been on strike since November in a dispute with film and TV producers over payments when their work is sold on DVD and online” and highlights yet again how the internet is changing the creative industries.

Famous authors combine to write a book for Amnesty International.

Called “Click“, the book was written by Nick Hornby, Roddy Doyle, Gregory Maguire, Linda Sue Park, David Almond, Tim Wynne-Jones, Ruth Ozeki, Deborah Ellis, Margo Lanagan and Eoin Colfer. All of the royalties will go to the human rights charity.

“Up first was Linda Sue Park, author of the Newbery winner A Single Shard. In the debut chapter, she introduces a girl named Maggie, whose late grandfather Gee, a famous world-traveling photojournalist, has left behind a camera; a box of seven shells (each representing one of the world’s oceans); and a sheaf of photos of famous athletes, which the man has earmarked for Maggie’s petulant older brother, Jason. Park admits that the task of creating the plot’s premise was initially quite daunting. “The thought of all the other authors, whom I’ve idolized over the years, reading what I had written and working from it was intimidating,” she says.”
(from Publisher’s Weekly – to read the entire article click here.)

Tesco’s New Policy on “age-ranging” their Children’s Books

From The Bookseller:

Richard & Judy producer Amanda Ross says she has been asked by Ed Balls, Secretary of State for Children, Schools & Families, to develop the age-ranging issue further with publishers as part of the National Year of Reading.” Read full article here.

Spread the Word is a campaign highlighting books that publishers rate highly but believe are being sadly overlooked. Have a browse, read comments, and even vote for your favourites.

The Guardian uncovers the 10 finest bookshops in the world.

A Piece of Swift a Day Keeps the Boring Prose Away

Flagged up by DoveGreyReader’s blog. Here’s an extract from the great man himself courtesy of

“It has cost me three guineas to-day for a periwig. I am undone! It was made by a Leicester lad, who married Mr. Worrall’s daughter, where my mother lodged; so I thought it would be cheap, and especially since he lives in the city. Well, London lickpenny: I find it true. I have given Harrison hints for another Tatler to-morrow. The jackanapes wants a right taste: I doubt he won’t do.” Jonathan Swift.

Visit the link above for more daily doses of Swift.


Hot topic: Is Jane Austen a Minger?

The debate generated by this BBC article has been raging round the internet since last Friday. Of the many thoughts on this, we bring you two posts. From Dollymix:

Was Jane Austen pretty? What are we, like 5 or something?

“So Jane Austen couldn’t compete in a beauty pageant, so what? She wrote some of the best literature in existence, composed some wickedly delicious letters and was a great sister to Cassandra. What more can you ask of a person? And George Eliot looked like a man. Big deal. Her intelligence was legendary, Dickens, Thackeray, George Lewes and Tennyson all delighted in her company, and she had her fair share of adoring admirers, all captivated by her mind and soft voice without a thought for her big nose” (Click on the title for full post.)

Whereas, Fictionbitch uses the issue as a jumping off point for some interesting musing on the differing attitudes to literary anonymity between now and Austen’s day:

“our canonical authors such as Swift, Walter Scott, Fanny Burney and Austen had great fun from publishing anonymously or pseudonymously, and thus paradoxically whipping up interest in their identity and therefore their books.” Full article here.

Another piece from The Bookseller is this hard-hitting opinion piece from Alison Baverstock.

Dominatingly metropolitan, publishing is packed with people from a rather limited gene-pool, who agree with each other. And they are so hard to read: the polite expression of interest that is really a brush-off. They are slow to admit that any pastime they do not themselves enjoy is widespread – hence the age it took them to understand that daytime television is a legitimate (and frankly enjoyable) pursuit, and not the last refuge of the illiterate.
Read the rest of this article above or visit Alison’s blog for Writer’s and Artists Yearbook.

And lastly: a thoughtful piece from BlueStalking Blog on writing, life, depression and the muse:

Speaking of Woolf, certainly she never had children. She was far too mentally fragile, her doctors told her, and they did have a point. So, instead, she created full-time. How’d that work out for her? Well, she’s an icon in many circles, but she also ultimately committed suicide.

Click here to read the rest of BlueStalking’s article.

As always, please feel free to tell us your thoughts on anything you’ve read here in the comments section below. Happy reading!

3 comments on “Bookweek Round-Up

  1. Jackie
    January 18, 2008

    The anonimity of authors in the past is a good point, recall the Brontes’ as well.Of course, it was also because women weren’t considered intelligent enough to write books, so that part I don’t miss. And the author photo on the back flap is so common today, that it’s almost suspicious if one isn’t featured. I must admit that if the author is too glamourous I don’t take them as seriously, a type of reverse prejudice that I can’t rid myself of, unfortunately.
    Swift was the Jon Stewart of his time! I think there’s still a lot of people who don’t “get” him all these years later. You’d think he would be more of a reference point in these political times.
    What a varied roster for “Click”. It’s good to see authors joining rock stars in such a cause, gives Bono a tea break. lol

  2. rosyb
    January 18, 2008

    Very good point about the women being anonymous – after all they were not pretending to be other women were they? It is also maybe not as far away as we think: there are still quite a few women writers who have ambiguously gendered names or, as in the famous JK, use initials. And I keep hearing this “fact” trotted out that boys won’t read books by women. Or even that men won’t read books by women. I don’t know if this has ever been really tested out or whether it is one of these things people assume. Perhaps I’ll call myself Roy from now on.

  3. Ariadne
    January 21, 2008

    ha, since when did being mentally unstable unfit one for being a mother? I thought it was an essential qualifiction. 🙂

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This entry was posted on January 17, 2008 by in Entries by Rosy.



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