Interesting websites

Miscellaneous Links

Posted on 26 July 2010. Filed under: Interesting websites | Tags: , , , , |

I came across a few interesting websites last week. This one was sent to me by scifitv on Twitter. I was quite excited about this one, Frederik Pohl is a fabulous author and to have him write about Frank Herbert, my heart just went a flutter and I had to click through to look at it. I was excited even if others aren’t.

This next one was also exciting to me. It’s an article about offenders being given a sentence to read instead of going go prison. I’m lead to believe that one of the problems with offenders is that they’re not very educated and the theory is that they should become educated and they will change. Whether this will work is something I’m not sure of, but I reckon if it gets them reading then it has to be good. This leads me directly to another website. The Australian Prison Foundation is collecting textbooks, dictionaries and novels to send to offenders in Australian prisons to ensure they can educate themselves and change their lives. They’re in need of donations of books and also money so they can send the books to the right places.

This article could be the future of publishing. It’s a fabulous idea and ensures books are chosen by the many and not just for their money making opportunities. I’ll encourage you to look at the article as I can’t begin to explain it properly.

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Franz Kafka

Posted on 19 July 2010. Filed under: Interesting websites | Tags: , , , |

Kafka was an interesting author. He wrote a number of manuscripts and asked his friend, Max Brod to burn them all after his death, he didn’t seem to have any interest in having them published. I can’t begin to speculate on why this is so and I’m hoping some articles will come to shed some light on his reasons. Brod didn’t honour that request, he believed Kafka made those directions specifically because he knew Brod would ignore them. I suppose that’s a reason, ensuring your friend would keep them and publish them but I just don’t buy it.

I’ve read The Trial and I suspect it hasn’t translated to English very well. One article I read talked about the incredibly long sentences Kafka wrote, with some of them going over a whole page with the impact coming just before the full stop, this is made possible due to German sentence structure where the verb is positioned at the end of the sentence. I just found the English translation to be unwieldy and hard to keep track. I would love to read the original but my German is almost non-existent.

Until recently many of Kafka’s manuscripts were stored in bank vaults in Switzerland. You know the vaults, harder to open than a macadamia nut. They’re being opened now and the contents are being read and examined by a team of lawyers, literary experts and Brod’s secretary’s daughter. You can read the article here.

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50 Famous Authors and Their All-Time Favorite Books

Posted on 13 April 2010. Filed under: Interesting websites | Tags: , |

I love Twitter, it’s a wonderful invention, you can hook up with all sorts of people from all walks of life and get an absolutely amazing amount of such varied information. Just fabulous. This week I’ve been directed to a couple of interesting websites.

I got this website from Alyssa Milano, star of The Charmed Ones but she got it from LoriMoreno and Jason_Pollock. 50 Famous Authors and Their All-Time Favorite Books. It’s a fascinating little list and it got me thinking, I ended up with two questions.

How do you define famous? Famous generally means a great deal of the population has heard of them, well that puts me out of the running as no-one’s heard of me…seriously, though there’s authors on this list I’ve never heard of so I just stopped and thought about the definition of famous. Didn’t get any firm ideas so I’d be grateful if you’d leave your thoughts in the comments.

Why are there no duplicates on this list? Surely some authors have the same favourite books, it’s just impossible that out of 50 people everyone has a different favourite book. If I walk into a room full of people and do a survey I’m bound to find that several people will name a Twilight book as their favourite, others will name Lord of the Rings and others will name a Foundation title; in other words there will be multiple people with the same favourite book. So how do they get 50 famous authors all with different favourite books? Did they tell people ‘you can’t have that book someone else has already chosen it’? I hope not as it’s so childish. Did they ask more than 50 people and ignore those that named duplicated titles. I’d really like to know the answer to this question but I suspect they wouldn’t tell me.

The other tweet that caught my eye was from bookblog1 but they got it from FreshFiction and it’s Jaye Wells talking “Authors are Readers Too“. I read this and was dumbfounded. Authors also read books, wow, I didn’t know that…der, of course authors read books? how else do they get ideas? how else do they learn more about their craft? how else do…well, you get the picture. Having rubbished the title of the article you should read it as it’s a good article. I just wish they’d change the colour of the side bars so they’re not so fluoro green, it’s so hard to read.

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Posted on 7 April 2010. Filed under: Interesting websites | Tags: , , |

I’ve always wondered about the vast numbers of celebrity books that are around. How come they are all such good writers, surely they can’t all have the necessary skills to write a book as well as doing all the things they normally do. I do understand that some people are multiskilled and can act, sing, write a book etc but I was highly sceptical that everyone was so capable. Well, today, thanks to the powers of Twitter I’ve finally found the answer and it makes so much sense.

Roman Polanski has released a new movie, it’s called The Ghost Writer. Apparently a lot of the books supposedly written by celebrities were actually written by other people, people who make a profession out of being ghost writers. It’s seriously amazing and explains so many books. You can find more details in this article and includes a ghost writer who writes four books a year. Thank you to Meanjin for sending me to this article. The article starts off with some information about the movie and ends up with some names of ghost writers.

I’d like to take a few moments to applaud ghost writers. They do an amazing job and receive absolutely no credit for it. I must have read some of their books and it would be really nice to be able to tell them how much I enjoyed their work. If I didn’t enjoy their work then I’d like to blame the celebrity and not the writer, but that’s just me being mean.

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Being a NYT Bestseller

Posted on 26 March 2010. Filed under: Interesting websites | Tags: , , |

I came across this Tweet “What’s it like to be a NYT bestseller?” posted by Writeitsideways and then a couple of minutes later, another by the same person “More on the reality of NYT bestsellers”.

Naturally I followed the links, read the articles and followed further links. What I found was author Lynn Viehl giving us the lowdown on the reality of being a New York Times bestseller and the royalty payments that come along with it. She even shows us scanned images of two of her royalty statements and explains them to us so we can see how much money she’s not getting. Bear in mind this is in America with US dollars and therefore things will be slightly different in Australia or any other country, the thing that will remain very similar is the process. It’s complicated and involves something called ‘maths’ which is a concept I have great difficulty with so I won’t explain any of that, you’ll have to go to her articles here and here if you’re interested.

The other thing that occurred to me when I saw the Tweets was how would it be from the books point of view. I happened to speak this out loud and DD said it would be rather confused as it would be split up into so many different ways. Just imagine this, you’ve got the one entity as it’s been printed together than split up into boxes and the boxes shipped to different places and then the boxes opened up and each book taken somewhere different. Just imagine how challenging it would be for one entity to have so many different parts in so many different places! It’s like having brains in each part of your body and when the body is split up it doesn’t die; so you’ve got the different legs and arms being sent to different places but each one can still feel and think. I’d really like to read the story of that book!

I hope the last paragraph wasn’t too confusing. I just have the ideas and sometimes they don’t translate too well to print.

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Posted on 24 March 2010. Filed under: Interesting websites | Tags: , , |

Punctuation is a wondrous invention. It helps with so many things…well, actually, it really only helps with reading and meaning, but I’d just like to exaggerate for a little. I’m always trying to improve my use of punctuation as I do like to ensure my meaning gets across to the reader in the correct manner. I’ve come across a few sites recently, with thanks to people on Twitter, which have helped my mission.

The Writer’s Butt Does Not Apply To Me illustrates a lost comma. Personally, I don’t want to eat Grandpa.
Thank you to Elizabeth S Craig.

Author, Terry Odell, directed me to a lovely page which illustrates how changing the punctuation can totally change how we read a sentence. I know this one is fairly old but it’s still good, visit Punctuation for Men and Women for a look.

Unfortunately, I didn’t take note of the lovely person who directed me towards the The Oatmeal so I can’t credit them; it is nice to be able to use them correctly after all these years.

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Book Shops

Posted on 15 March 2010. Filed under: Interesting websites, Uncategorized | Tags: , , |

I’ve been having such fun just now. There’s a couple of photos circulating and my friends are really enjoying them. This one is in Buenos Aires. It’s in an old 1920s theatre and the possibilities are endless. I would have liked to embed the photo here but they’ve done something clever and it’s not possible.

So, this next one is a video and I’ll send you through to The Bookshop Blog to watch this one. It’s a bookshop in an apartment in the US and it’s truly an education. You can read more of my writing there as I’m one of their regular writers.

At this point you can stop and have a think about your local bookshop and what makes it a bookshop. Is it the shelves? Or maybe it’s the types of books, sometimes it could be the people behind the counter. This article is about the layout and the building. I’ve participated in a number of conversations about second hand bookshops this week and yesterday it was fortuitous as we we’d left the book launch and were walking down Chapel Street when my OH pointed out a building across the road which used to be a secondhand bookshop. It was one of the shops mentioned in a previous conversation and he told me it used to be a fantastic bookshop and took up all three storeys of the building. I didn’t think to take a photo but it doesn’t sell books now.

I’ve been wanding around the web looking for various bookshops and have hit a goldmine. Here’s a glorious one at Vilnius University. Take note of the frescos.

I like to visit different bookshops and there are some really different ones around. There’s this first photo in Lausanne which I feel is rather sterile and I wouldn’t be comfortable in it and the next photo is one in Sydney which is the opposite and I’m definitely not comfortable there either.

This next link is an article in the Guardian and you’ll find 10 fabulous bookshops in this article including the one from Buenos Aires.

Another thought. Do you prefer small bookshops or would you prefer to visit a large bookshop and get your daily exercise just by browsing the shelves?

My final thought will be this website with a focus on Shanghai. The first article is on a bookshop in Fuzhou Road. It only has 27 storeys of books.

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Animals In Business

Posted on 10 March 2010. Filed under: Interesting websites | Tags: , , , |

If you’re an animal person you probably looked at the title and thought it was natural, but to some people it isn’t. If you look around while you’re shopping you’ll find that most businesses do not have a cat or a dog or even a bird or a fish helping out. I did a bit of a google search tonight and found a couple of businesses which have a dog, a bird or even a fish and numerous references to businesses that have a cat. The interesting thing here is that the cats in the business outnumber the dogs and cats are almostly solely to be found in book shops. Here is an article comparing cats and dogs in bookshops while here the owner talks about Sam, the cat, leaving nose prints on the window and this one has some fish which customers often feed.

My favourite is Syber’s Books as mentioned in this article. I’ve visited the cats there and one of them is the largest cat I’ve ever seen.

I’m prepared to bet you won’t find a single clothing shop with a live animal in it, nor will you find a homewares shop with a live animal. What would be really lovely is if you can comment about your favourite shop with a live animal, send me a photo and I’ll put it up.

This article has been brought to you by WinewipesOZ who told me about a book tonight and then described it for me. I was struggling for something to write about until she mentioned it.

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Book Blogger Hop

Posted on 6 March 2010. Filed under: Interesting websites | Tags: , , |

Here’s a really cool idea to help you find more book blogs to waste your dayinform your reading time and help you find more books to read. You’ll need to click across to Jennifer from Crazy-for-Books to sign up or to see the list of book blogs. Here’s the details from her blog.

Hey book bloggers! Every day I seem to find another book blog that I start following. In the spirit of the Friday Follow, I thought it would be cool to do a Book Blog Hop to give us all bookies a chance to connect and find new blogs that we may be missing out on!

Now, I follow a lot of blogs and I haven’t seen this feature yet, so if someone else is doing a Book Blog Hop, please let me know!! I don’t want to step on any toes or anything!

So, if you’d like to participate, just repost this, sign MckLinky below, and check out other blogs in MckLinky! Let’s connect and make new book bloggy friends!!

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Women’s Weekly Wanted

Posted on 28 February 2010. Filed under: Interesting websites | Tags: , |

The Australian Women’s Weekly was first published in 1933 and is a wonderful snapshot of the life and times of women. Many interesting topics have been discussed over the years and many, many crosswords and recipes have been enjoyed. Some of them have been enjoyed so much the magazines have literally fallen to pieces. The National Library of Australia is digitising their collection but unfortunately are missing a number of issues due to disintegration. They are looking for individual magazines between the 1930s and 1982.

They’re asking people to check their collections and see if they have any in their cupboards so they can fill in the gaps. You can find more information, including where to send them, on their website. Before you send them off I suggest you check this website for their list of missing issues. The list changes frequently. I mentioned this to some friends and they sent some off immediately, one that had a missing poster was accepted.

Project manager Marian Hanley says “It mirrored what we did, how we lived our lives, our aspirations and how we spent our leisure time. It gives us a unique insight into our society but also from a female view,” she said.

“I think it’s so popular because it was a magazine written by Australians, for Australians and indeed about Australians.”

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