Friday, February 29, 2008

50 crime writers to read before you die

From G K Chesterton to Elmore Leonard, The Daily Telegraph presents a list of of its favourite crime writers of all time

After a debate that left senior members of the Telegraph's literary staff with pulled hair, black eyes and, in one case, an infected bite, we this week present our list of the 50 great crime writers of all time.

We present them in no particular order, and make no apology for our omissions. But we would like to know what you think. Should Ellery Queen have been two of the names on the list?

We wanted to compile a list of writers we had, jointly and severally, loved. We wanted to include writers like Dash Hammett, who brought something new and exciting to the genre; like Elmore Leonard, who turns an old trick in it with incomparable style; and like Poe, who invented it. We did not, except incidentally, take into account popularity.

Who, we asked ourselves finally, are the crime writers who can actually write? We believe any serious reader will profit from acquaintance with any of the writers on this list.
And, just because we love you, as a bonus 51st entry we interview Robert B Parker - an unrivalled pulp stylist who may be the best crime writer you've never read.

GK Chesterton 1874-1936The most fluent journalist of his generation, Gilbert Keith Chesterton was also a master of the detective story. Father Brown - his sceptical and worldly-wise priest - featured in dozens of exquisite entertainments. Settle into a comfy chair and enjoy. SL Read: The Complete Father Brown (1986)

Arthur Conan Doyle 1859-1930 Conan Doyle's pipe-smoking detective is so well known that Sherlock has become a synonym for sleuth. He never said the catchphrase; the illustrator gave him the hat; continuity errors abound… but he's brilliant. SL Read: The Hound of the Baskervilles (1902)

Edgar Allan Poe 1809-1849 Poe was a man of formidable talents - not least of which, sadly, was drinking himself to death. Before that, though, he gave us fiction's first detective, in Auguste Dupin, and hairiest murderer, in an orang-utan. SL Read: The Murders in the Rue Morgue (1841)

Ed McBain 1926-2005 As well as writing the script for Hitchcock's The Birds, McBain (real name: Evan Hunter) more or less invented the police procedural. The detectives of Isola's 87th Precinct wise-cracked for half a century, and their spare style was the prime influence on Hill Street Blues. SL Read: King's Ransom (2003)

Kyril Bonfiglioli 1929-85 A raffish former art dealer, Bonfiglioli created - in Charlie Mortdecai - an antihero (also a raffish art dealer) of irresistible charm. Charlie has the manner of a demented Bertie Wooster and the morals of a polecat. Great titles, too. SL Read: The Mortdecai Trilogy (1991)

James Ellroy 1948- Ellroy's labyrinthine novels chart a West Coast underworld of corruption and evil, played out against real historical events. Bent cops, nightsticks, psychopaths and seductresses. Makes The Silence of the Lambs resemble a vicar's tea party. SL Read: The Black Dahlia (1987)

Janwillem van der Wetering 1931-The capers of Grijpstra and de Gier, aka The Amsterdam Cops, are oddly appealing. One plays the drums; the other the flute. They frequent canals. There's a cat. Unique and very Dutch. SL Read: Outsider in Amsterdam (1975)

Carl Hiaasen 1953- A master of the comic crime novel, Hiaasen patrols Florida's Everglades. His villains are big business, petty crims and That Mouse. Skink, a feral former Florida governor who lives off roadkill, often features. SL Read: Double Whammy (1987)

Dashiell Hammett 1894-1961
It’s a cinch to argue that Hammett was the most influential stylist of the past century and probably the father of the modern literary novel. After honing his style on pulp magazines, he famously proved that high literary art was not only possible, but best achieved, through spare rather than florid or heavily mannered prose.
He influenced Raymond Chandler, who then inspired generations of writers to explore the lyrical possibilities of laconic, muscular writing while instinctively rejecting popular pre-Hammett styles as dull or overwrought. Hammett created revolutionary models for the morally ambiguous hero (Sam Spade) and the equal partnership of modern marriage (Nick and Nora Charles) now so universal that we have forgotten our debt to him.

HarperCollins Publishers (NZ) apologises to Elizabeth Knox

HarperCollins Publishers (NZ) have offered their humble apologies to author, Elizabeth Knox for omitting to submit her novel, Dreamquake, for the New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children & Young Adults 2008.

HarperCollins are very sorry and deeply regret any embarrassment that this omission may have caused Elizabeth.

They also deeply regret any inconvenience and embarrassment this omission may have caused the administrators of the awards, Booksellers New Zealand.
Bookman Beattie feels very great sympathy for both author and publisher involved here. In my book publishing days I always worried about inadvertedly overlooking nominatining an author or title. I thought the judges had the power to call up titles that hadn't been nominated by publishers where they thought they were worthy nominations. If this is the case then clearly the judges also overlooked this title. Oh dear........

Cape double on first novel prize shortlist
27.02.08 Anna Richardson writing in The Bookseller

The Authors' Club has announced a varied shortlist for its Best First Novel Award, with Jonathan Cape securing two of the six spots.

Featuring on the list are Cape duo Segun Afolabi's Goodbye Lucille and Karen McLeod's In Search of the Missing Eyelash, as well as Jane Feaver's According to Ruth (Harvill Secker), "Richard & Judy" pick Random Acts of Heroic Love by Danny Scheinmann (Doubleday), Rebecca Stott's Ghostwalk (Weidenfeld) and Roma Tearne's Mosquito (HarperPress).

The award will be announced on 2nd April at the Arts Club, with Carmen Callil choosing the winner as this year's guest adjudicator.


New Zealander Joan Druett has closed the deal with SOUTH PACIFIC PICTURES for the film rights to her riveting book, ISLAND OF THE LOST (Published in September 2007 by Allen & Unwin). The award-winning studio responsible for producing Whale Rider and Sione’s Wedding optioned the screen rights to the book, in recognition of the great dramatic potential in Druett’s acclaimed true tale of two shipwrecked crews, struggling, unbeknownst to each other, to survive at opposite ends of the treacherous Auckland Island in 1864.

Druett, a noted author of nautical history whose works of fiction have been likened to those by Patrick O’Brian by the Chicago Tribune and the Wall Street Journal, has earned numerous awards for her writing, including: a New York Public Library Best Book to Remember citation; a John Lyman Award for Best Book of American Maritime History; the Kendall Whaling Museum’s L. Byrne Waterman Award for Distinguished Scholarship; a PEN Award; and the Hubert Church Award. The New York Times calls ISLAND OF THE LOST “a riveting study of the extremes of human nature,” and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer says “rarely are the two opposing sides of human nature captured in such stark and illuminating relief.”

The collaboration between Druett and South Pacific Pictures is sure to produce an international hit. The deal was made by Bill Contardi on behalf of Druett’s literary agent, Laura Langlie.
Shortlist Announced for
The Independent Foreign Fiction Prize 2008

Arts Council England today announced the shortlist for The Independent Foreign Fiction Prize 2008, in association with Champagne Taittinger.

Six contenders from over 90 entries have been shortlisted for the prize, worth £10,000. They are:

Castorp by Pawel Huelle, translated by Antonia Lloyd Jones from the Polish, published by Serpent’s Tail

Measuring the World by Daniel Kehlmann, translated by Carol Brown Janeway from the German, published by Quercus

Gregorius by Bengt Ohlsson, translated by Silvester Mazzarella from the Swedish, published by Portobello Books

The Model by Lars Saabye Christensen, translated by Don Barlett from the Norwegian, published by Arcadia Books

The Way of the Women by Marlene van Niekerk, translated by Michiel Heyns from the Afrikaans, published by Little, Brown

Omega Minor by Paul Verhaeghen, translated by Paul Verhaeghen from the Dutch, published by Dalkey Archive Press

The Independent Foreign Fiction Prize celebrates an exceptional work of fiction by a living author which has been translated into English from another language and published in the United Kingdom in the last year.

This year’s shortlist sees a strong show of European authors alongside South African author Marlene van Niekerk. The eclectic themes encompassed in the shortlist includes: a witty foray into the minds of two intellectual giants; the sinister story of an uninspired artist who discovers his sight is failing; a first world war ‘prequel’ to Mann’s The Magic Mountain; a tale of post-Apartheid South Africa told through folklore, diary entries and songs; an epic story of 20th century history spanning Einstein’s lost theorem and the Nazi legacy; and a fictional act of redemption for an archetypal villain of Swedish literature.

Antonia Byatt, Director, Literature Strategy, Arts Council England said:

“The judges had a hard task getting down to the final six, but have chosen a shortlist of very accomplished books that demonstrate a huge variety of ideas, stories and adventurous writing from around the world. The authors’ ability to introduce readers to the rich diversity of life illustrates why making international writing in translation available to everyone is so important.”

For further information contact:
Eleanor Hutchins / Katy MacMillan-Scott
020 7631 2666 /


The Independent Foreign Fiction Prize ran previously between 1990 and 1995 and was revived in 2001 with the support of Arts Council England. The winning author and translator will be awarded £5,000 each and a limited edition magnum of Champagne Taittinger at an award ceremony to be held on 8 May 2008 at a central London location.

The judges for The Independent Foreign Fiction Prize 2008 are: literary editor of The Independent, Boyd Tonkin; writer and teacher, Abdulrazak Gurnah; literary editor of Le Monde, Florence Noiville; Arts Council England Literature Officer, Kate Griffin.

Castorp is reviewed in the NZ Listener issue of 16-22 February.

Dutton's final page

After more than 20 years, an author closes the book on his favorite bookstore.
By T.C. Boyle February 27, 2008 writing in The LA Times

In 1985, I was living in Woodland Hills with my wife and two young children, about to publish my fourth book of fiction and beginning, in a vague way, to wonder about such things as marketing and retail establishments.Up the street, squeezed into the mall next to the grocery, was a scion of the giant Crown Books chain. This particular Crown Books seemed entirely given over to titles and authors I'd never heard of; even more puzzling was the fact that these books were exclusively of the mass-market variety and that trade paperbacks (the sort that represented my modest backlist) wouldn't even fit on the shelves.

Ever resourceful, I sent my wife and 5-year-old daughter in to reconnoiter. My wife, posing as an interested customer, told the clerk how disappointed she was not to find any of her favorite author's books on the shelves, and she talked up my latest title until my daughter, unable to contain her enthusiasm, burst out with "Yes, and he's my daddy!"Ah, the sting of that. But salvation was at hand: Within the week -- at the prompting of my editor all the way back in New York -- I discovered the towering stacks and shadowy warrens of Dutton's Books in Brentwood. I stepped tentatively through the door, fresh from the humiliation of Crown Books (and further blows at other chain stores), only to be tenderly wrapped in the aura of a bibliophile's paradise -- the lighting dim, the interior hushed, a smell of print investing the air as if the presses were even then churning away in the basement.It was like stumbling into a Borgesian reality in which everything was made of books -- the walls, the floors, the ceilings, even the employees. Before I could think, there was Scott Wannberg, one of the true literary zealots of our time, exploding from behind a cordillera of books to greet me. Within minutes, I'd signed the well-represented editions of my own titles, which were on permanent display right alongside those of all the authors I most admired, and then Scott was piling my arms high with books I absolutely just had to read. He had a sixth sense, knowing exactly what I wanted and needed, and from then on, though it was a bit of a haul from Woodland Hills, Dutton's was my bookshop.

I came to know Doug Dutton, Diane Leslie and many of the other book-obsessed staff, and, over the years, I cruised the aisles as a customer and gave and attended a whole host of readings in the too-cozy confines of the place.On Monday, Doug announced that the store's last day would be April 30 -- that it was closing, as Dutton's in Beverly Hills had closed in late 2006 (and as Doug's brother's store, the Dutton's in North Hollywood, closed last year). Doug told The Times he was closing because of the store's heavy debt and because of the vagaries of the book world, apparently referring to competition from such giant chain stores as Barnes & Noble and online retailers such as

I will miss Dutton's. And so will everyone else who knows and loves books. We still have Skylight, Book Soup and Vroman's, but there will be a big hole on San Vicente Boulevard.A few personal highlights: Scott informing me that Bob Dylan had been in and purchased one of my books (and me wondering: which one?). Reading in the courtyard because the store was too small to handle the crowd and worrying about the traffic noise until the thunder of a pair of Harleys obliterated all sense -- and only then discovering that the bikes were piloted by my amigos, Chuck and Jorma, come to welcome me.The lusty screaming of babies (on most occasions my own). Haunting the Nature section in the back room off the main store and feverishly plunging into Annie Dillard, David Quammen and Bill McKibben.Hearing Robert Stone read from "Outerbridge Reach" on a night when the first question from the audience was, "Mr. Stone, what was it like to ride the psychedelic bus with Ken Kesey?"

Talking with Ray Carver for the last time, even as he graciously signed "Where I'm Calling From" for a line of 300 customers, and he reassured me that he was doing just fine, though he was to die later that year.Having Scott introduce me with one of his wild, rabble-rousing poems and then standing back to watch the war of emotions play over the faces of the packed-tight crowd as I sang out my stories to them.And best of all: Listening to the hush on a steamy night, crowded in with the faithful to give and receive the precious words.

T.C. Boyle is the author of 21 books of fiction, including the forthcoming "The Women" and "Wild Child and Other Stories." He is a professor of English at USC.

William F. Buckley Jr. Is Dead at 82

New York Times: February 27, 2008

William F. Buckley Jr., who marshaled polysyllabic exuberance, famously arched eyebrows and a refined, perspicacious mind to elevate conservatism to the center of American political discourse, died Wednesday at his home in Stamford, Conn. He was 82.

Marilyn K. Yee/The New York Times
William F. Buckley Jr. in his National Review office, 1984

Mr. Buckley suffered from diabetes and emphysema, his son Christopher said, although the exact cause of death was not immediately known. He was found at his desk in the study of his home, his son said. “He might have been working on a column,” Mr. Buckley said.
William Buckley, with his winningly capricious personality, his use of ten-dollar words and a darting tongue writers loved to compare to an anteater’s, was the popular host of one of television’s longest-running programs, “Firing Line,” and founded and shepherded the influential conservative magazine “National Review.”
He also found time to write more than 50 books, ranging from sailing odysseys to spy novels to dissertations on harpsichord fingering to celebrations of his own dashing daily life. He edited at least five more.
In 2007, he published a history of the magazine called “Cancel Your Own Goddam Subscription” and a political novel, “The Rake.” His personal memoir of Senator Barry M. Goldwater is scheduled to be published this spring, and at his death was working on a similar work on President Ronald Reagan.
The more than 4.5 million words of his 5,600 twice-weekly newspaper columns, “On the Right,” would fill 45 more medium-sized books. His collected papers, which were donated to Yale University, weigh seven tons.
Mr. Buckley’s greatest achievement was making conservatism — not just electoral Republicanism but conservatism as a system of ideas — respectable in liberal post-World War II America. He mobilized the young enthusiasts who helped nominate Barry Goldwater in 1964 and saw his dreams fulfilled when Reagan and the Bushes captured the Oval Office.

Robert Harris Hutchinson $36.99

This is a work of fiction….Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead………is entirely coincidental

Yeah, right. Who does Robert Harris think he’s fooling? It certainly is a work of fiction, and a brilliant and entertaining one at that but the recently retired Prime Minister of Britain, Adam Lang, around whom this story revolves is clearly a very thinly disguised Tony Blair.

Our protagonist is a ghostwriter who until now has specialized in “autobiographies” of sports stars and second tier celebrities. But now he is working on the big one, the memoirs of the recently retired PM, and it is being written in collaboration with the former PM in a mansion of Martha’s Vineyard.
Things are going along smoothly enough when out of the blue Adam Lang is charged with war crimes and he whisks off to Washington to confer with his close friend the President.

This is a fast-moving, highly-readable, occasionally funny, almost believable political thriller, something of a romp I guess. Especially fascinating for those who work in the publishing industry as it gives a great insight into the skills and skullduggery of ghostwriting.

I enjoyed it but I do hope that Robert Harris now returns to his historical novels for which he has earned a high reputation.
Ann Kerr Retires from Booksellers New Zealand

Linda Henderson reports that Ann Kerr has retired from Booksellers New Zealand due to illness, effective Friday 22 February 2008.

Ann has been the Accounts Manager at Booksellers New Zealand for 27 years, and has been an important staff member who has contributed significantly to the organisation during this time.

Ann’s passion for books and reading has remained steadfast during her tenure and she leaves the trade association with wonderful memories of a long-standing and collegial working relationship with many members, past and present.

The team at Booksellers New Zealand passes on their very best wishes to Ann and her family in New Zealand and Australia.

Bookman Beattie adds his best wishes to those of Ann's colleagues. Somehow Ann seems to have been there forever and her smiling face and quiet charm will be missed by all.
We salute you Ann and thank you for your wonderful, long and loyal service.

Please send any personal messages for Ann to c/o Linda Henderson, Booksellers New Zealand, PO Box 13248, Johnsonville, Wellington.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Pic left by Bradley Ambrose for Taranaki Newspapers shows Margaret, Kate and Paul Wadsworth who will farewell their bookshop next month after 31 years as booksellers in New Plymouth.

Bookman Beattie wishes Margaret & Paul, (who still look the same as when he first met them all those years ago, except for the colour of their hair!), all the very best for a long and happy and healthy retirement. Best wishes for the future to Kate who has ably managed the business for the past five years and a very warm welcome to the new owners, (who are sensibly retaining the Wadsworth name), Julia and Paul Phillips.

Cooking programmes have become enormously popular over recent years but few of them deal with the kind of food that we eat on an everyday basis.

Not so Kiwi Kitchen, the entertaining and informative TV programme that is currently in its second series (Saturday nights at 7pm on TVOne).
Over the 10 episodes in the new series presenter Richard Till explores the length and breadth of New Zealand ferreting out local people who are handy in the kitchen persuading them to share their recipes for everyday ‘Kiwi tucker’ and, as often as not, the history behind their particular dish.
Now, Bookman Beattie is thrilled to learn there is to be a colourful and entertaining book based on the currently screening second series, and in it are all the featured recipes including home-made pies, substantial salads, fritters, boil-ups, afternoon tea goodies, deliciously rib-sticking after-dinner treats such as trifle and jam pudding and much more divided into 10 chapters each based on a full episode. Richard Till’s humorous observations run alongside the recipes, all of which are photographed in full colour.
Being a great fan of Richard Till's cooking I cannot wait to get my hands on his forthcoming book.

Here are the details:
Format: 240 x 215mm, 144pp, full colour
Binding: limp
Pub date: Late March/early April 2008
ISBN: 978-0-9582635-6-6
RRP: $34.99
Distribution: via Forrester Books
Sales: via Booksrus

About the Author
An ex-restaurateur, Christchurch-based Richard Till writes regularly for ‘Zest’, the food and wine section of the Christchurch Press. His six-part series on ‘How to make the Most of Your Kitchen’ has just started in the ‘Escape’ section of the Sunday Star Times.

In 2007 Kiwi Kitchen won the NZ Guild of Food Writers Ocean Spray Electronic Media Award for the way it ‘celebrated food, through wonderful people, characters and the revitalising of recipes discovered’. Richard is also a regular guest on National Radio’s Nine till Noon’s ‘Sounds Delicious’ food slot.

About the publisher
Kiwi Kitchen is published by Renaissance Publishing, established in 2004 by Renée Lang.
As well as publishing several books a year under the Renaissance imprint, Renee also operates a very busy book packaging business. Her clients include New Holland, Penguin and David Bateman.
Prior to setting up Renaissance, Renee was publishing manager at New Holland (which opened its doors in New Zealand in early 1998) where she helped build the list from the ground up commissioning and working with a number of well-known food writers including Julie Biuso, Alison and Simon Holst, Ray McVinnie, Glynn Christian, Jan Bilton, Penny Oliver and Alessandra Zecchini and photographers such as Ian Batchelor, Kieran Scott and Shaun Cato-Symonds.

Renee’s publishing experience over the last 30 years also includes stints at Tandem Press, Penguin, Pacific Publishers (the publishing arm of Whitcoulls when that organisation still had its own list) and Macmillan.


My name is Eva-Maria. I’m 17 years old and I have recently written a book called ‘You Shut Up!’ which is a book about parenting teenagers. There has been an immense amount of publicity around it including Close Up and the Breakfast Show, booksellers newsletter and others.
The book is featured in Women’s Weekly this week and Her Business Magazine next issue (and there will be an article in Girlfriend magazine in their April issue, coming out on the 2nd of March) – these are some of the definite publications coming up soon.

Because of tight publishing timeframes, this book has not been bought by major book chains. Head offices of bookstores such as Paper Plus reviewed the book and included it in their database. They also suggested that we approach bookstores personally and offer this book. I am writing to you today to offer you an opportunity you should definitely take advantage of! Here is an extract from the press release published in Scoop:

“It took only a week for Eva-Maria’s “You Shut Up!” book to become #1 bestseller at Dymocks on Lambton Quay, And it had been bestseller or the past 4 weeks in a row. Wellington. Bruce Caddy from Dymocks, known for his support of local authors, was the first in Wellington to stock this book written by the 17 year old in hope that parents are smart and can learn how to create win-win solutions using hints offered by the book. Russian-born Wellington teenage author Eva-Maria is on a mission to improve one million parent-teenager relationships all over the world, and she is now one step closer to achieving this goal.

YOU SHUT UP! Re-Defining Teenager
ISBN 978-0-473-13122-7

“I’m really honoured.”, says Eva-Maria, “This book came from the heart and I wouldn’t have let it even go to print if I didn’t believe what I wrote. I think people appreciate the fact that this book is different from all the other parenting books. I just know it’ll make a positive change for everyone who has read it.”

As if publishing a book is not enough, Eva-Maria wants to take real action and will be donating at least 10% of profits to a teenager’s associated project.

For years it was a parent’s job to write books for others with parenting advice, trying to bridge the gap between generations from one side and sometimes being biased to an adult vision of the world. Today, a teenager puts her hand up to start building a bridge from the other side. Overwhelming support from parents and teenagers in the past 40 days since the book was released ensures there is a hope for Eva-Maria’s dream of reducing inter-generational conflict and learning how to find a win-win solution in every family.

Today I am writing to you personally, because while other bookstores are still thinking you can be the first (and possibly the only) in your town to stock it. We will list all bookstores that stock the book, on our website and we will issue a certificate of charitable support to every bookstore selling the book as 10% of book profits are going to support a teenage related project. Find out more about the book in the documents attached.

Now is the time for you to have the book in store while the entire country is exposed to the Women’s Weekly article.

To print out an order form, use this link:

You will notice that we also have a special offer which includes the opportunity to receive some books on SOR basis as below:

If you purchase 5 copies at $25 per book we will send out an extra 5 copies on a 6 week return basis. Free delivery and 7 days payment on the first 5 books.
Or you can choose to purchase 10 books at $25 per book and we’ll send out an extra 20 books on a 6 week return basis. In this case, we will also send you a poster to display in your store – inside or in a window display. Free delivery and 7 days payment on the first 10 books.

I will also be touring the country soon, so I will be available for a book signing.
Be the first!
All the best, and I look forward to hearing from you!
We appreciate your time,

Author & Coach

Assia Salikhova
DDI 04 973 4949

Norman Mailer’s widow Norris Church Mailer has signed a deal to write a memoir of her life with the author and their extended families; David Ebershoff at Random House acquired world rights from John Taylor “Ike” Williams at Kneerim & Williams.

Mailer has been the subject of several biographies over the years, but this is the first significant book deal struck since the two-time Pulitzer winner’s death in November. Random bought the book on description only, according to Kneerim & Williams. No title or pub date is yet forthcoming.

Church Mailer, a former model, is the author of two novels, Windchill Summer and last year’s Cheap Diamonds; both were published by Random House. She was Mailer’s sixth wife and was married to him for 32 years.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Fancy Some Soldiers for Your Eggs, Mate?
By William Grimes writing in The New York Times : February 27, 2008

Wartime rationing in Britain ended in 1954, just in time for the birth of John Haney. A good thing, too, because the boy had an appetite, gluttonously documented in “Fair Shares for All.” The greasy curtain in this food-and-family memoir rises on the 4-year-old John stuffing his face with “soldiers” — toast strips for dipping in soft-boiled egg — as if in training for the strenuous regime of sausages, mince pies, custard, beans on toast and bacon sandwiches to come.

A Memoir of Family and Food
By John Haney
Illustrated. 279 pages. Random House. $26.

Mr. Haney, who eats better these days as the copy chief at Gourmet magazine, vividly captures a particular moment in history, the period when working-class families like his took their first tentative steps toward the postwar prosperity reflected in Harold Macmillan’s boast that “most of our people have never had it so good.”

Both sides of his family had endured the unrelieved misery of the 1920s and 1930s, followed by the deprivations and sacrifices of the war. Labor’s 1945 manifesto, with its ringing promise of “fair shares for all,” was aimed squarely at people like them, whose expectations, by American standards, were laughably modest.

Mum did have her eye on the prize, though. Considered just a touch “upper-crusty” by her in-laws, all true-blue Cockneys from the East End, she aspired to the finer things, especially when it came to education and culture. Her social ambitions, and a £5 deposit, created the first generation of suburban Haneys, transplanted from London to the Essex village Chipping Ongar, where neighbors read books, worked in the professions and took their holidays in France.
Mr. Haney ached for the East End, and the raucous company of his relatives, the way an amputee feels the pain of a phantom limb. Spiritually a Cockney, he presents himself as a displaced person. Only at rare clan gatherings can he reclaim his heritage. At 12, he is thrust into a far from illustrious but nevertheless private school, where he develops a multilayered inferiority complex and a monumental chip on his shoulder.

After college, he meets the American he will eventually marry, and moves to the United States, where he fits awkwardly, at least in his own mind. No wonder the bacon sandwiches loom large.

"Intellectual property" is a silly euphemism
Cory Doctorow writing in The Guardian:

"Intellectual property" is one of those ideologically loaded terms that can cause an argument just by being uttered. The term wasn't in widespread use until the 1960s, when it was adopted by the World Intellectual Property Organization, a trade body that later attained exalted status as a UN agency.

WIPO's case for using the term is easy to understand: people who've "had their property stolen" are a lot more sympathetic in the public imagination than "industrial entities who've had the contours of their regulatory monopolies violated", the latter being the more common way of talking about infringement until the ascendancy of "intellectual property" as a term of art.
Does it matter what we call it? Property, after all, is a useful, well-understood concept in law and custom, the kind of thing that a punter can get his head around without too much thinking.
That's entirely true - and it's exactly why the phrase "intellectual property" is, at root, a dangerous euphemism that leads us to all sorts of faulty reasoning about knowledge. Faulty ideas about knowledge are troublesome at the best of times, but they're deadly to any country trying to make a transition to a "knowledge economy".Fundamentally, the stuff we call "intellectual property" is just knowledge - ideas, words, tunes, blueprints, identifiers, secrets, databases. This stuff is similar to property in some ways: it can be valuable, and sometimes you need to invest a lot of money and labour into its development

The rest of the article..........
Booksellers Flee Paris to Create City of Books

Charming story from DW World de.

Paris is one of Europe's priciest cities, which is why many of its booksellers fled south in search of affordable locations. They found it in a picturesque village on the Loire River, now known as the "city of books."
Christian Valleriaux, a specialist in rare books, was the first Parisian bookseller to settle in La Charite-sur-Loire just two hours from the French capital.

"We wanted to leave Paris," said Valleriaux, 61. "We'd had enough of paying such high rent for the store and our apartment. Besides, we were looking for better quality of life."

Most of his regular customers -- over 50 percent of his business -- followed him, but he also sells on the Internet or by catalogue.
Other book dealers in Paris quickly followed suit and tried their luck in the Loire town with the UNESCO-listed church. Today, the village of 5,000 has 12 specialty book stores focusing on old and rare books, original French typography, calligraphy and bookbinding.

With 30 times as many books as people, the La Charite-sur-Loire has certainly earned the title "city of books," which has been proclaimed from the town sign for the past six years. Fittingly, regular book sales are held in the center on the third Sunday of every month. There's also a festival of words in August, an internationally known salon of old books in July and a book art fair in May.

When Valleriaux and his wife opened their Bordeaux-colored shop in 1992, the medieval village looked completely different. Most of the shops were empty; there weren't any cafes or art galleries.
"The city, especially the lower part, was completely dead," Valleriaux said.
After a year, the couple had had enough. They needed customers and the town was in need of tourists, so they convinced the mayor to support their plan to turn La Charite-sur-Loire into the city of books.
As an expert in old manuscripts, Valleriaux had worked in Parisian auction house Drouot and his contacts proved valuable. In 1996 he founded the salon for old books. Four years later, the Rue du Pont was lined with bustling cafes, gourmet boutiques, a wine shop -- and lots of book stores.

Since the Parisian bookkeepers with their colorful storefronts and pictorial names like "Le monde a l'envers" (The Backwards World), "La, ou dort le chat," (There Where the Cat Sleeps), and "Les palmiers sauvages" (The Wild Palms) have moved in, the number of tourists visiting La Charite-sur-Loire has risen dramatically.

Now there's even more to see than the Romanesque Sainte-Croix-Notre-Dame church, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the Cluny priory. Visitors can also spend hours, if not days, scanning spines and flipping through pages in the many book shops.

"We want tourists to literally dive into the world of the printed word," Valleriaux said. "That's why it's important for typesetters, bookbinders and calligraphers to have a part in our project as well. They even offer weekend courses."

He said he hopes that sellers of newer books and other media will also make their home in the Loire village. It will probably just be a matter of time until they do: More and more bookstores in Paris have to close because they can't pay their rent and fancy boutiques have started taking over Paris' literary quarter, Saint-Germain-des-Pres.
Shop, horror, as A & R crosses border

Report from The Age:

There's a certain amount of angst in publishing circles now that the ACCC has approved Angus & Robertson Whitcoulls' purchase of Borders' 22 Australian bookshops - for a reported $130 million - to add to the 180 that A&R owns. Stephanie Johnston, of Wakefield Press, says Borders stocks all Wakefield's titles at a national level and is concerned that "this buying pattern and broad range philosophy might change under the new ownership". But as she worries about greater discounting pushing up prices to maintain margins, she is also "looking forward to being paid earlier by accounting offices on the ground here in Australia".

Another publisher said despite initial concern when Borders first opened in Australia, it had been "fantastic". He said it had an "impressively catholic" policy towards stock. "I'm worried that A&R's degree of aggression and incompetence will infiltrate Borders' management," he said. A&R had cut back its buying enormously, making initially tiny orders even on books that seemed a natural fit. "If you've got that repeated at Borders there will be a significant impact on small and big publishers."

But Peter Phillips, the departing sales and marketing director at Pan Macmillan (see below), said there was always going to be change in the industry and if you had good books you could always sell them. "I'm a pragmatist - if they don't do a good job, then someone else will pick up the market."

Festival has an Edge
As most of you will know, the Age Melbourne Writers' Festival will be at Federation Square this year. Director Rosemary Cameron took a group of publishing people around the venues this week and most were impressed. They liked the BMW Edge as the main auditorium and the ACMI cinema they saw (both cinemas will be used). The square's atrium will be an interesting space to deal with, given there will be non-festival goers floating around the space where Readings will set up its festival bookshop, authors will do their book signings and the festival ticket office will be located.
But then that's what Cameron wants, more exposure. "We'll be trying to sell them tickets," she said.

Although there are only three venues compared with four at the festival's home for almost 20 years, the Malthouse, the number of bums on seats will be much the same. The evening festival club and book launches will be in the ACMI function space. Cameron is looking for "more robust programming" there as all the events will be free.
"It's the first time I've felt excited about the Melbourne Writers Festival for a long time," said one of the publishing people seeing the new premises for the first time. The real verdict comes from August 22 when the 23rd festival begins.

Torquay talkies
Pan Macmillan descended on Torquay en masse last week for its annual sales conference. Of course there was a lot of serious business done but also some serious socialising. (Macmillan is one of the most gregarious of publishing companies.)
And it had a couple of significant events. The first was the impending retirement after 35 years with the company - officially next Friday - of Peter Phillips, the man who must have the best moustache in Australian publishing. Phillips, one of the friendliest men in the industry and a real gent to boot, is stepping down from the board but is still going to do consultancy work for the company. But first thing is building a garden at his new country home north of Melbourne.
And PanMac had to mark publicity director Jeannine Fowler's 20 years with the company. Her team decided to pay their own tribute to "Neen" by dressing up as her - blonde hair and red lipstick. It took Fowler a moment to realise what was going on but when she twigged her comment was that they all looked "fantastic" and perhaps there was scope for a uniform in the future.
They also read out gushing testimonials from some of the authors with whom Fowler has worked, including PanMac blockbuster-meisters Jeffrey Archer, Ken Follett and Wilbur Smith, John Marsden - who must have started working with her almost as she started at the company - and John Banville. "I don't believe them," Fowler said, "you must have made them up."

Oprah-tunity knocks
Good news for Cate Kennedy whose collection of stories Dark Roots has been getting some enthusiastic US reviews. She has been picked as a "new voice of the month" in Oprah Magazine. "If stories could be called watchful, that might begin to describe Cate Kennedy's debut collection, Dark Roots . . . Her characters live with the metallic taste of dread and regret . . . Kennedy's tales are full of such provocative messages, tantalisingly revealed."
Next book perhaps will be an Oprah Bookclub pick. Now that would boost sales.

My former boss at Penguin Books, Peter Mayer to receive LBF award
report from The Bookseller , 25.02.08

Former Penguin boss Peter Mayer is to be awarded with a lifetime achievement award at this year's London Book Fair, following in the steps of Lord Weidenfeld, Christopher MacLehose, John Lyons, and Lynette Owen.

Mayer will pick up the fifth annual LBF/Trilogy Lifetime Achievement Award in International Publishing at the London Book Fair on Tuesday 15th April at a special reception in the Earls Court Conference Centre.The award, voted for by the London Book Fair's advisory board, was unanimously agreed after the merits of a shortlist of six international publishing figures were debated. This year's judges commented that Peter Mayer had made an outstanding lifelong contribution to the international publishing industry through his various roles including Penguin India.

From 1978 to 1996 he was the chairman and c.e.o. of the Penguin Group, based in London and New York. Since 1996 he has held the position of president and publisher of The Overlook Press and since 2003 he has been the president and publisher of Duckworth Publishers in the UK.Simon Master, chair of the advisory board, said: "Peter Mayer has long been an inspirational figure in the publishing industry both in the UK and overseas.

His dedication to British and international publishing has distinguished his career and makes him fully deserving of the London Book Fair/Trilogy Lifetime Achievement Award 2008."
Bookman Beattie offers Peter his warmest congratulations. This is well-deserved honour for the huge contribution he has made to English language publishing around the world.
Mayer took over as CEO Penguin in London in 1978 several months after I had been appointed MD of Penguin New Zealand, taking over from Patrick Wright who returned to Penguin UK.
A week or so after his appointment he phoned me one Sunday and after exchanging brief pleasantries he cut to the chase and asked me how many titles we were publishing in NZ this year. When I said none and explained that we were just a book distribution company he was surprised and said, "well, that's about to change, I want you to publish at least six titles in the next twelve months and grow the list from there." The rest, as they say, is history.
He was a brilliant, lateral-thinking, imaginative, and dynamic publisher. He was also a demanding, often unreasonable boss with totally unrealistic ideas of the number of books that could be sold in New Zealand! But my goodness I learned a lot from him.
I last spoke to Peter at the Man Booker Prize dinner in London last October and apart from being somewhat greyer and heavier (aren't we all) our conversation could just as easily have been taking place 30 years ago.
And nice to be reminded that my late, very dear friend, and former Penguin colleague, John Lyon, is a former recipient of this award.

Exhibition: Notre Livre: À toute épreuve. A Collaboration between Joan Miró and Paul Éluard

The Princeton University Library is pleased to announce the acquisition of one of the most beautiful books created in the twentieth-century, À toute épreuve, with text by the French poet Paul Éluard and 79 original woodcuts by the Catalan artist Joan Miró.

The entire volume can be seen in the upcoming exhibition entitled, Notre Livre: À toute épreuve. A Collaboration between Joan Miró and Paul Éluard, in the Milberg Gallery for the Graphic Arts, Firestone Library, from February 22 to June 29, 2008.

To create this book, Miró cut over 233 woodblocks working over the better part of eleven years. He used planks of wood collaged with plastic, wire, old engravings and bark paper to achieve images that practically dance across the page. "I am completely absorbed by the damn book," wrote Miró to his publisher, Gerald Cramer, "I hope to create something sensational. . . ."

The final volume has a brilliance of invention and a vitality of form and colour, rarely found inside the cover of a book.
For more information please click here


entertaining piece by Lizzie Widdicombe writing in The New Yorker, February 25, 2008

Brevity: a good thing in writing. Exploited by texters, gossip columnists, haikuists. Not associated with the biography genre. But then—why shouldn’t it be? Life expectancies rise; attention spans shrink. Six words can tell a story. That’s a new book’s premise, anyway. “Not Quite What I Was Planning.” A compilation of teeny tiny memoirs. The forebear, it’s assumed, is Hemingway. (Legend: he wrote a miniature masterpiece. “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” Slightly sappy, but a decent sixer.)

The book’s originator: SMITH online magazine. It started as a reader contest: Your life story in six words. The magazine was flooded with entries. Five hundred-plus submissions per day. That’s two, three words a minute. “We almost crashed,” an editor said. Memoirs from plumbers and a dominatrix (“Fix a toilet, get paid crap”; “Woman Seeks Men—High Pain Threshold”). The editors have culled the best. And, happily, spliced in celebrity autobiographies: “Canada freezing. Gotham beckons. Hello, Si!” “Well, I thought it was funny.” “Couldn’t cope so I wrote songs.” (Graydon Carter, Stephen Colbert, Aimee Mann.) Mario Batali makes a memorable appearance: “Brought it to a boil, often.” So does Jimmy Wales, of Wikipedia: “Yes, you can edit this biography.” Still, there are not nearly enough. Where’s Eli Manning, and Katie Couric? (“Little brother; big game; last laugh”? “Morning girl goes serious at night”?) And what of the Presidential candidates? (“From Ill.; met Bill; iron will.”) Something from Obama would be nice: “Hope is stronger than dope, kids!” A Canadian minister has done Jesus’: “God called; Mother listened; I responded.” Quieter lives can be condensed, too.

The editors offer a few guidelines. “Try not to think too hard.” That’s from SMITH’s editor, Larry Smith. It’s impossible, of course, to follow. There’s the temptation to be ironic: “Born in California. Then nothing happened.” Or to blurt out something angry: “Everyone who loved me is dead.” “Try to use specifics,” Smith added. (“After Harvard, had baby with crackhead.”) That doesn’t rule out dazzling nonsense. “Eat mutate aura amateur auteur true” (Jonathan Lethem’s nesting-doll-like memoir). Wistful recollections work; so does repetition: “Canoe guide, only got lost once.” “Birth, childhood, adolescence, adolescence, adolescence, adolescence . . .” You could spend a lifetime brainstorming.

The book party: Housing Works, downtown. Cookies and beer on a table. Sticky notes and markers up front: “Write your memoir on your nametag!” In back, Alex Cummings, twenty-six (“Arab hillbilly goes to New York”). He’s Egyptian, born in West Virginia. He’d come with his wife, Saira. She did not wear a nametag: “It’s hard to summarize your life.” Nearby was the author Maryrose Wood (“Divorced! Thank God for Internet personals”). She reminisced about a Sondheim show. She had been a chorus girl. She sang a lyric about divorces. “My career has come full circle.” Next, Justin Taylor—reddish hair, beard (“Former child star seeks love, employment”). A onetime child model in Miami. He’d posed for German fashion magazines. “You wouldn’t know, looking at me.” The writer David Rakoff was there. He wasn’t wearing a nametag, either. “I’m not really a nametag guy.” He said he liked his memoir: “Love New York; Hate Self (Equally).” It was similar to his books. “The same sort of glib persona.”

Julie Goss had driven from D.C. (“Inside suburban mom beats urban heart”). She was talking to Anthony Ramirez—a Metro reporter at the Times. He had submitted a memoir, too. The SMITH editors hadn’t used it. Ramirez said his feelings were hurt: “I desperately wanted to get in.”
There was Summer Grimes, twenty-five. She’s a hairdresser in St. Paul. She had written the book’s title. It took “two minutes,” she explained. She had forgotten all about it. Then SMITH sent her an e-mail: “Your contest entry has been chosen.” She thought it was a scam. Then she saw the book—Amazon. She answered the next SMITH e-mail. They told her about the party. They sent a free book, too. Grimes opened it to her memoir: “Not quite what I was planning . . .” She wasn’t sure about the ellipsis: “Now I’m totally second-guessing myself.” ♦

Further to yesterday's report - More on the unfortunate closing of Dutton's Brentwood. LA Times report........

The store has $550,000 in debt, mainly from the closed store in Beverly Hills, according to the Los Angeles Times. In an odd offer of help, billionaire landlord Charles T. Munger and his wife, Nancy, have said they will allow Dutton's to close rent free and will cover the store's debt--so long as the store leaves. Dutton said that Munger made it clear that "he thought of me as an old-fashioned businessman who was out of touch with reality."
Although the building has been been given landmark designation, the Mungers may still renovate or even demolish it. The Mungers' original redevelopment proposal, announced a year ago, included smaller space in which Dutton's could relocate, while a more recent proposal includes space for, as the Times wrote, "an independent bookstore, with an emphasis on children's books, that would be staffed, [Munger] hopes, by former Dutton's employees."
Dutton's Brentwood has 40 employees and 5,000 square feet of space

Stephen Marlowe, 79, Detective Novelist, Dies

By Margalit Fox writing in The New York Times February 26, 2008

Stephen Marlowe, a prolific writer of popular fiction best known for his crime novels featuring the globe-trotting private eye Chester Drum, died on Friday in Williamsburg, Va. He was 79 and lived in Williamsburg.

The cause was myelodysplastic syndrome, a bone-marrow disorder, his wife, Ann, said.
Mr. Marlowe wrote more than 50 novels in a range of genres, from crime to science fiction to historical fiction. The Chester Drum books combined elements of the hard-boiled detective story and the international espionage thriller.

Drum made his first appearance in 1955 in “The Second Longest Night.” Known familiarly as Chet, he was a tough unmarried ex-cop who kept a bottle in his office and a .357 Magnum at his side. Based in Washington, he took on cases involving international intrigue that in nearly two dozen novels took him to exotic locales around the globe.

Other titles in the series, all published by Fawcett, include “Mecca for Murder” (1956), “Murder Is My Dish” (1957), “Killers Are My Meat” (1957), “Drum Beat — Berlin” (1964) and “Drum Beat — Marianne” (1968).
With Richard S. Prather, Mr. Marlowe wrote “Double in Trouble” (Fawcett, 1959), in which Drum joins forces with Mr. Prather’s series sleuth, Shell Scott.

Mr. Marlowe was born Milton Lesser in Brooklyn on Aug. 7, 1928. He received his bachelor’s degree in philosophy from the College of William and Mary in 1949. Under his original name, he began his career in the early 1950s writing science fiction.
In the late ’50s, Mr. Lesser legally changed his name to Stephen Marlowe, one of several pen names he regularly used. (Among the others were Andrew Frazer, Darius John Granger, C. H. Thames, Stephen Wilder, Jason Ridgway and Adam Chase. In his 1961 novel “Dead Man’s Tale,” Mr. Lesser joined the cavalcade of ghostwriters who published under the name Ellery Queen.)
For much of his career, Mr. Marlowe lived abroad, primarily in France, Spain and Switzerland. In recent years, he turned to serious historical novels, most on European subjects. These included “The Memoirs of Christopher Columbus” (Scribner, 1987); “The Death and Life of Miguel de Cervantes” (Bloomsbury, 1991); and “The Lighthouse at the End of the World” (Dutton, 1995), about Edgar Allan Poe.

Mr. Marlowe’s first marriage, to Leigh Lang, ended in divorce. He is survived by his second wife, the former Ann Humbert, whom he married in 1964; a sister, Carolyn Frucht of Santa Fe, N.M.; two daughters from his first marriage, Deirdre Marlowe of Baltimore and Robin Marlowe of Boston; and two grandchildren.

Among his awards are the Prix Gutenberg du Livre, a French literary prize, in 1988; and a life achievement award from the Private Eye Writers of America in 1997.


Bruno Vincent of Pan Macmillan writing on the Picador blog:

A corollary of the fact that good books almost always make bad films (and that successful adaptations should be taken as no more than freaks or flukes . No Country For Old Men being a case in point after last night's Oscars) is that many of the best films come from inferior source material.

What's frustrating for anyone who is a lover of both is that the worlds of books and films are so similar, yet so stubbornly irreconcilable; they tell the same stories, and the broad commercial (and largely repetitive) Hollywood movie relates to the marginalised art house film in much the same way as the commercial blockbuster does to the literary novel. But there is something so different about the experiences of watching a good film and reading a good book (I imagine it’s something to do with the differing speeds at which we take in information in the different media) that the disciplines of being a successful artist in either medium seem to be completely seperate. So, talented filmmakers often stay away from great books, and seek projects whose source material doesn't challenge them as artists. And perhaps that's why there's such an amazingly low number of people who have been both âs I run out after the very different Pier Paolo Pasolini, Neil Jordan and Stephen Fry. Stephen King’s one film as director was a notorious flop and, purely on personal taste, I thought William Boyd's The Trench was a badly acted compendium of First World War cliches.

As mentioned by William Nicholson on the Today Programme last week, probably the most famous great film made from a poor book is The Godfather, a film whose every element (tone, pace, photography, performance) is judged and overseen by Francis Ford Coppola with the skill of a great novelist. The book remains successful, but I can't remember anyone ever saying to me that it's much cop as a novel. Goodfellas is not dissimilar, although it’s from a non-fiction book. To me, Henry Hills' account of his mob days reads like a list of scams, murder, bullying and opportunism not entirely redeemed by his confession of them, or the skill of Nicholas Pileggi's writing. Scorsese's film is a rush of style and brilliance, and carved itself a place in the culture that I don't think the book had, or would otherwise have, achieved.

For the full story go to.........

Book pages provide more than shopping advice

Good reviews should let you know if something's worth buying, and why. But they also need to stand on their own - and to entertain

Guardian blogger Claire Armitstead has her say...............................
Last week I blogged about the problem of embargoed books and seem to have got up some people's noses. I focused on one particular book - Benazir Bhutto's, because it was the one I happened to be dealing with - and ran through the process of getting it from manuscript to review, including the decision to cut a few lines to make space in the paper for a small picture of Bhutto's smiling face, because I felt the picture reinforced the drama of the situation surrounding the review.

"I have to say that I found reading this article seriously dispiriting ... " responded Billymills. "Good book reviews have nothing to do with drama, unless they are reviews of dramatic texts. They are, or should be, opportunities to discuss the merits of books *as books* and to give the interested reader some indication of whether or not it is worth their while forking out good money to buy them. Sadly, they are rapidly becoming just another part of the celebrity culture that dominates the rest of 'our' (now there's a laugh) media."

There are several points in here. Firstly, that the purpose of a reviews is "to give the interested reader some indication of whether or not it is worth their while forking out good money to buy them". It's true that one function of review pages is to help readers to know which books, of the 150,000 published each year, they might want to buy. But plenty of newspaper readers don't buy books, and many read books pages specifically so that they can get a sense of what's going on without investing either the money or the time that the book itself would take. So my aim is to give a sense of those books and to place them in a context - social and journalistic and literary - that will, I hope, make people feel they are reading something enjoyable and worthwhile now, in these few minutes, with this review. If I have chosen interesting people to write about interesting books, then sales may follow.
Which leads on to Billymills' second point - "Good books reviews have nothing to do with drama". Well, actually, every book review is part of a set of pages and what is a set of pages but a form of framing? Even a sort of stage? In good books pages, reviews speak to each other and bounce off each other so that the experience of reading the pages is not just the experience of one damn thing after another.

In Saturday's Review, we juxtaposed a page of "international affairs" reviews (about Russia and Guatemala) with one on fashion. There's nothing coincidental about this. My judgment, as editor, was that the juxtaposition might woo readers from one page to the other because of the unexpectedness of the contrast. What's more the two fashion reviews weren't exactly cut from the same cloth: one was an expert analysis of what clothes said about how people lived in the 18th century. The other was a witty appreciation, by Saffron Burrows, of an A-Z of modern fashion mores.

Which brings me to Billymills's third point - that books pages are "rapidly becoming just another part of the celebrity culture". It's true that celebrity played its part in binding the pages together and making them lighter and more playful than they would have been without it. But I don't think that undermines the integrity of the selection, or the seriousness of each individual review.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

LINDA GRANT, Orange Prize winner and Booker prize short-listed author, will be touring New Zealand to promote her new book The Clothes on their Backs.

Linda will be doing events in Christchurch, Gisborne and Auckland. For further information, please contact Hannah de Valda, Ph (09) 478 1061, .

An Evening With Linda Grant
in association with ‘Women on Air’ on Plains FM
Monday 10th March 7.30pm
Our City O-Tautahi, Worcester Street - opposite Rydges Hotel
Admission: $10 from Ruth Todd, ph. 384 4721

Literary Lunch With Linda Grant
in association with Muirs Bookshop
Sunday 9th March 11.30am
For further information contact Muirs Bookshop 06-869 0651

An Hour With Linda Grant
in association with Dymocks
Tuesday 11th March, 6pm
Dymocks Queen St store, 246 Queen St
If you would like to attend the Dymocks event contact Sam West 379 9919 or



The King's Bubbles by Ruth Paul
Out of the Egg by Tina Matthews
Rats! by Gavin Bishop
To the Harbour, by Stanley Palmer
Tahi, One Lucky Kiwi by Melanie Drewery, designed & illustrated by Ali Teo & John O'Reilly

Mini Guide to the Identification of New Zealand Land Birds by Andrew Crowe, illustrated by Dave Gunson
Reaching the Summit by Alexa Johnston with David Larsen
Weather Watch by Sandra Carrod, illustrated by Karsten Schneider and Richard Gunther.
What is a Fish? by Feana Tu'akoi, designed by Vasanti Unka.
Which New Zealand Spider? Andrew Crowe

Dead Dan's Dee by Phyllis Johnston
The Dumpster Saga by Craig Harrison
The Mad Tadpole Adventure by Melanie Drewery, illustrated by Jenny Cooper
My Story Sitting on the Fence by Bill Nagelkerke
Snake and Lizard by Joy Cowley, illustrated by Gavin Bishop

Salt by Maurice Gee
The Sea-wreck Stranger by Anna Mackenzie
Tomorrow All Will Be Beautiful by Brigid Lowry
The Transformation of Minna Hargreaves by Fleur Beale
Zillah by Penelope Todd




Sad news from Los Angeles: Dutton's Brentwood Books is closing on April 30.

Dutton's News and Events
February 25, 2008
Special Announcement

My dear long-time friends,
This has been as difficult a decision as I've ever had to make,
but there seems no other possibility. I hope that I'll be able
to see and speak to you all in the months ahead, but I want
you to hear this from me first.
Doug Dutton


It is with profound regret and sorrow that Dutton’s Brentwood Books must announce that it will be closing on April 30, 2008.

As our regular customers and friends well know, the past year for the store has been one of upheaval and turmoil. Hard on the heels of the closure of the Dutton’s Beverly Hills location came word that the Brentwood property had changed ownership, and the new owner, Charles T. Munger, announced plans to redevelop the property. The multiple uncertainties of the bookstore’s future, combined with the encumbrances associated with the closure of the Beverly Hills store have crippled the store’s ability to provide the kind of immediate service and depth of inventory that our customers have come to rightly expect.

It is no secret that the store today is a shadow of its former self. Given our situation as it now stands, the pride we feel in our past achievements, and the vagaries of the current book market, shuttering our doors seems the only realistic solution. It is important to note that Charles Munger has committed to a significant amount of financial support for the difficult process of closing the store, and we appreciate his generosity.

Be assured, especially those of you who have regularly asked, “How are things going at the store,” that every effort has been made to try to sensibly and rationally save this enterprise. Those efforts continued up until last week. It is the uncertainty that has, more than any other factor, led us to this painful decision. It has arrested improvement to the physical property, impacted inventory, and made it impossible for our extraordinary staff to provide the level of service that they are accustomed to giving.

We have been asked if the store will reopen in the proposed new development, or at another site in the area. At present, any plans to reopen or relocate will have to await a real offer in a real situation, combined with a sober assessment of the realities of the book world. That said, we have not said “no” to any future possibility.

The one certainty that we have relied upon for our many years at this location is the honest and dedicated support by this community to the value of books and bookstores in general, and to this one in particular. This is a demonstrable fact, proven repeatedly, and while we openly acknowledge our debt to our customers for their years, and even decades, of support, we further ask for your understanding and forbearance in the extremely difficult months ahead.
Bookman Beattie is bereft at this news and offers his sympathy to the family and to their wonderful staff. This is one of the great West Coast indie bookstores and illustrates just how difficult it is today for independent bookstores to pay their way. We shall all miss you.
And here is the take on the news from Publishers' Lunch:
Dutton's to Close; More Stores In Peril
The owner of LA's best-known independent bookstore Doug Dutton announced last night that the store's last remaining location, Dutton's Brentwood Books, will close on April 30:"As our regular customers and friends well know, the past year for the store has been one of upheaval and turmoil. Hard on the heels of the closure of the Dutton's Beverly Hills location came word that the Brentwood property had changed ownership, and the new owner, Charles T. Munger, announced plans to redevelop the property.
The multiple uncertainties of the bookstore's future, combined with the encumbrances associated with the closure of the Beverly Hills store have crippled the store's ability to provide the kind of immediate service and depth of inventory that our customers have come to rightly expect."It is no secret that the store today is a shadow of its former self. Given our situation as it now stands, the pride we feel in our past achievements, and the vagaries of the current book market, shuttering our doors seems the only realistic solution.... It is the uncertainty that has, more than any other factor, led us to this painful decision. It has arrested improvement to the physical property, impacted inventory, and made it impossible for our extraordinary staff to provide the level of service that they are accustomed to giving."We have been asked if the store will reopen in the proposed new development, or at another site in the area.
At present, any plans to reopen or relocate will have to await a real offer in a real situation, combined with a sober assessment of the realities of the book world."
Elsewhere, Hastings, NY is full of writers but that's not sufficient to sustain the town's Good Yarns bookstore. After 25 years, the store is likely to close soon. "Unless someone comes along in the next few months who is both passionate about books and has the wherewithal to shrug off something as trite as profit — 'You have to have some maniac who is not interested in making a living,' is the way Good Yarns's manager, William Tester, puts it — the store on Main Street will turn into something besides a bookshop."With so many bookstores having closed their doors on Main Streets in Westchester, the passing of Good Yarns means the western side of the county will have no independently owned comprehensive village bookstore between Bronxville and Chappaqua."NYT
Vail, CO's only bookstore Verbatim Booksellers is up for sale and is also likely to close within the year if a buyer does not emerge. Owner Robert Aikens says, "It has to be somebody who loves books, loves music, loves Vail, who wants to keep a bookstore in Vail." The store relocated to a new space in the Sonnenalp Resort in 2006 with the help of $70,000 in donations. Aikens tells the Vail Daily, "I just personally can't afford to take out any more loans or put in any more money myself. I'm not going to go on and continue running a store if it can't survive on its own."Vail Daily
In Boulder, CO, High Crimes Mystery Bookshop is closing their physical store on March 15 and moving to a mail-order-only business.Boulder daily


Isabel Waiti-Mulholland
Huia Publishers rrp $20

Leanne’s life is “extra-ordinary” as she would put it. She says nothing much ever happens good or bad. Then she meets Inna Furey, the new girl in school everyone makes fun of because of her name. When a police report on TV claims Inna is missing the whole town is searching for her. When Leanne finds her she cannot tell anyone where she is and what she really is.

After meeting Inna, Leanne’s life goes from “extra-ordinary” to extraordinary. Inna Furey is a story about a unique friendship between two girls with fantasy thrown in. This is what I think makes it stand out from other girl friendship themed novels.

Inna Furey is Isabel Waiti-Mullholland’s first ever novel for young adults. She is also the author of At the Heart of Hiruharama which has won awards. Other books in this series are The Power of Inna Furey, Inna Furey’s Return, Inna Furey and the Broken Promise and Inna’s Last Flight.

I really like this book because it keeps you hanging onto the last word. It is one of those books that you don’t want to put away or close. Even when you have finished it you will look forward to reading the next book in the series. I recommend this book for readers aged 11+

1.Above review by 11 year old reviewer Isabelle Bigio.
2.Inna Furey has just been shortlisted for the Best Novel-Young Adult section of the Sir Julius Vogel Awards
3.Teachers can visit the Huia website and download study notes for Inna Furey free from our homepage (just on the left hand column)

From The Sunday Times
February 24, 2008
Paper shops aim to deliver

BRITAIN’s three largest newspaper and magazine distributors are in talks to create a nationwide delivery network for clothes, books and CDs.
Smiths News, John Menzies and Dawson Holdings want to persuade retailers to use local newsagents as drop-off points for bulky goods that have been purchased over the internet. Consumers could collect items there instead of at a post office.
The three are looking at ways to diversify their income and grow the top line as newspaper and magazine volumes decline.

Smiths News, spun out of WH Smith, is leading the project. It has 44 distribution centres in England and Wales. Menzies is dominant in Scotland.

Monday, February 25, 2008


Cheryl Sucher, the charming bookseller from New York's leading Soho-located independent bookstore, Mc Nally Robinson, breezed through Auckland this past weekend following an extensive tour (with her Kiwi husband) of Hawkes Bay, Nelson, Marlborough, Dunedin and Christchurch. I managed to catch up with her over a cup of coffee in Parnell's Rosehip Cafe and we exchanged enthusiasms for books and agreed how foolish Dame Kiri had made herself look with her comments in the New Zealand Herald last Saturday.

I wrote about Cheryl and the wonderful bookstore where she works during my recent visit t0 New York. In addition to being a great bookseller she is also an opera enthusiast, the New York correspondent for Kim Hill's wonderful Saturday Morning show on Radio New Zealand National, and knows a host of NZ'ers in the bookworld here including Richard King, Chris Bourke, Gillian Newman and Finlay MacDonald.

This essential reading by Timothy Egan writing in The New York Times.

Every now and then, someone who is brilliant says something stupid — often the result of spending too much time riding a jet stream of high praise. Steve Jobs, the co-founder and chief executive of Apple Inc., did such a thing last month when he all but declared the death of reading.
Asked about Kindle, the electronic book reader from, Jobs was dismissive. “It doesn’t matter how good or bad the product is,” he told John Markoff of The Times, “the fact is that people don’t read anymore. Forty percent of the people in the U.S. read one book or less last year.”

This is nonsense on several levels. But before we get to reading, let’s stipulate that Jobs is deserving of his 2007 ranking by Fortune Magazine as the most powerful person in business. Anyone who can cause revolutions in five industries, as Fortune noted, is a titan — capable of touching a billion lives.

His life story is inspiring. An adopted child, he drops out of Reed College in Portland, Ore., but remembers the calligraphy classes when he designs the typography for the Macintosh. Gets rich. Gets fired. Gets cancer. Survives all three. Takes acid, wanders around India, dates exotic older women. Marries. Has kids. Loves the Beatles, and cites their creative tension as a business model. Gives great commencement speech at Stanford, concluding: “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.”

The Mac, Pixar, the iPhone, the iPod, iTunes. This stuff is cool. Lighter than air. iGetit. But it’s just product, dude.
Reading is something else, an engagement of the imagination with life experience. It’s fad-resistant, precisely because human beings are hard-wired for story, and intrinsically curious. Reading is not about product.
For most of my lifetime, I’ve heard that reading is dead. In that time, disco has died, drive-in movies have nearly died, and something called The Clapper has come and gone through bedrooms across the nation.

But reading? This year, about 400 million books will be sold in the United States. Overall, business is up 1 percent — not bad, in a rough economy, for a $15 billion industry still populated by people whose idea of how to sell books dates to Bartleby the Scrivener.
Next year, business may be down, and several publishers may merge, and certainly more of the poor, beloved independent bookstores will cling to life support.

Steve Jobs will stroll into a room filled with breathless acolytes and pull a must-have trick from his bag. We’ll oohh and ahhhh about it, then go back to lives where a good book still holds more power than anything with a screen. Power to transport the reader to another world. Power to get inside somebody’s else mind, to live their story, to be moved.

Yes, the act of reading takes some effort, unlike the passive act of using the products Jobs has created, which involves little more than directing eyeballs to a flat patch or putting a plug into the ear. True, reading is down, somewhat, from 1992, especially reading of literature. So what? People are eating fewer vegetables than they used to – or should – but that doesn’t mean carrots have no future.

When Jobs cited the 40-percent-who-don’t-read figure, he was no doubt referring to a hand-wringing and possibly erroneous 2004 study by the National Endowment for the Arts. “This report documents a national crisis,” the chairman, Dana Gioia, said at the time. Message from the cultural elite: read, you morons, and eat your spinach while you’re at it!
Last year, a survey for the Associated Press found that a much smaller number — 27 percent — had not read a book lately, which means nearly three-in-four have read a book. Steve Jobs may be many things – maestro, visionary, demi-god – but he apparently isn’t a careful reader of certain market reports.

The more compelling statistic was rarely mentioned in news accounts of the A.P. story: the survey found that another 27 percent of Americans had read 15 or more books a year. That report documents a national celebration.

Most companies would kill for a market like that – more than one-fourth of the world’s biggest consumer market buying 15 or more of its items a year. And half the population bought nearly 6 books a year. If only Apple were so lucky.

The latest Harry Potter book sold 9 million copies in its first 24 hours – in English. “The DaVinci Code,” a story of ideas even with its wooden characters and absurd plotting, has sold more than 60 million copies.

By contrast, Apple reported selling a piddling 3.7 million of the much-hyped iPhones through 2007. Is the iPhone dead? Of course not. But what should be dead are foolish statements about how human nature itself has changed because of some new diversion for our thumbs.
Jobs was prompted by the excitement over Kindle, the $399 electronic book reader that shows signs of being a blockbuster for; demand is much higher than supply, according to the company.

Paper or plastic, it doesn’t matter what form the book takes. What is timeless, Steve, is story, and that’s why people will never stop reading. I loved Sara Rimer’s piece in The Times about how immigrant children were taking to “The Great Gatsby,” the perfect novel about the tragic side of the American Dream.

Our teenage son put his text-messaging aside when he discovered “Friday Night Lights,” by H.G. Bissinger, and “Hate Mail from Cheerleaders,” a collection of Rick Reilly’s spot-on sports columns. Those were his gateway drugs. He’s moved on to the Tobias Wolff memoir, “This Boy’s Life,” and “Seabiscuit,” by Laura Hillenbrand. He even sets aside his iPod when he reads.

I look forward to a first-rate biography of Steve Jobs, an American original. His life – what a story! I’d read about it any day, in any form, long after the iStuff is forgotten.