Wednesday, March 31, 2010

In E-Book Era, You Can’t Even Judge a Cover
By Motoko Rich
Published: March 30, 2010 - New York Times
Left - Nick Eilerman, 24, of Queens. Printed books benefit from the cover’s free advertising.
Michael Nagle for The New York Times

Bindu Wiles was on a Q train in Brooklyn this month when she spotted a woman reading a book whose cover had an arresting black silhouette of a girl’s head set against a bright orange background.
Ms. Wiles noticed that the woman looked about her age, 45, and was carrying a yoga mat, so she figured that they were like-minded and leaned in to catch the title: “Little Bee,” a novel by Chris Cleave. Ms. Wiles, a graduate student in nonfiction writing at Sarah Lawrence College, tapped a note into her iPhone and bought the book later that week.

Such encounters are becoming increasingly difficult. With a growing number of people turning to Kindles and other electronic readers, and with the Apple iPad arriving on Saturday, it is not always possible to see what others are reading or to project your own literary tastes.
You can’t tell a book by its cover if it doesn’t have one.

“There’s something about having a beautiful book that looks intellectually weighty and yummy,” said Ms. Wiles, who recalled that when she was rereading “Anna Karenina” recently, she liked that people could see the cover on the subway. “You feel kind of proud to be reading it.” With a Kindle or Nook, she said, “people would never know.”

Among other changes heralded by the e-book era, digital editions are bumping book covers off the subway, the coffee table and the beach. That is a loss for publishers and authors, who enjoy some free advertising for their books in printed form: if you notice the jackets on the books people are reading on a plane or in the park, you might decide to check out “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” or “The Help,” too.

“So often when you’re thinking of a book, you remember its cover,” said Jeffrey C. Alexander, professor of cultural sociology at Yale. “It’s a way of drawing people through the visual into reading.”

In the bookstore, where a majority of sales still take place, covers play a crucial role. “If you have already passed that hurdle of having a customer be attracted to the cover, and then they pick up the book,” said Patricia Bostelman, vice president for marketing at Barnes & Noble, “an enormous battle has been won.”

But it’s a victory that will be harder to eke out if no one can tell whether you’re reading “War and Peace” or “Diamonds and Desire.
The rest of Motoko Rich's story here.
Marty Wilson
Allen & Unwin

RRP: $21.99
Publication date:: April 5th 2010   

Marty Wilson is not a relationship expert, psychologist, Casanova or commitment-phobe.
Just a bloke who loves his wife. They’re both really good at being in love with each other.  As his seventh anniversary loomed Marty set out to read every book he could find about love to see if he could learn a thing or two:

What makes some people’s relationships last?
What makes others get stale or fall apart?
Why do some people seem to find real love, and how come it eludes others all their lives?

Pretty soon, and pretty inevitably, he found some major flaws in the books-about-love:

1. They may be written by ‘experts’, but they nearly always took a side.
2. They’re all way too preachy. Where was the laughter? Where was the fun?
3. What was with all these rules, techniques, tactics and games?
4. (And most importantly for a bloke) They’re all at least three or four hundred pages long!

Why has no one ever summarised this love stuff? Surely something as simple and enjoyable as love shouldn’t require such rigid guidelines!
So Marty spent a year interviewing over 100 people who were in great relationships about what makes their love life tick, asking “If you could go back and give your younger self one piece of advice about love, what would it be?”
The result is a book about love for people who never read books about love.
It’s self-help for all of us that hate self-help.
It is beautiful enough to give to a friend who needs their faith in love restored, but it’s also meaty and insightful enough to buy for yourself.

It is, quite simply, a lovely book, about love.       

 National Library of Scotland

The National Library of Scotland has recently completed a research project exploring the role of national libraries in twenty years time i.e. 2030. Focussing on small, technologically developed countries, the report looks at changing customer behaviours, publishing trends and future developments in digital libraries. It includes a series of interviews with leading library thinkers around the world on the challenges and opportunities facing national libraries.

This project will inform the long-term strategy of NLS. As many of the issues it covers are common to other libraries, it is hoped that the report will be of wide interest. It's available here

From  Ibookcollector © , published by Rivendale Press Ltd
Ray Richards writes:

Mary Egan resigned from Pindar NZ Ltd recently so that she could give care and comfort to her ailing husband, Gerard Reid.  The pair have been partners in business since 1978 when they managed a bookshop together, until Gerard became executive director of the Book Publishers Association of New Zealand in 1979.

Mary had been a librarian.  After the bookshop and a break to bring up children she began typesetting manuscripts for publishers and developed her book design skills. When Gerard left the association, after an ill-fated economy drive, he and Mary specialised in book design for publishers, initially for New Zealand, then for Australia and the UK.  They became an international force in the book industry.

The Egan-Reid company was sold in 2007 to Pindar, a print technology and software company based in the UK, where their record of innovations was introduced to the Pindar Group.

I first met Mary when she was an applicant for library school and I was a member of the selection panel.  We rubbed shoulders again when I published Wynne Colgan’s history of the Auckland Public Libraries, where she was a staffer.

Gerard and I met when he was also an applicant, to succeed me as executive officer at the Book Publishers Association of NZ.  He was the chosen applicant and the handover of duties was amicable and easy.

Once out of association management, Gerard had to make a fresh start, in which change Mary became the cornerstone on which Egan-Reid NZ Ltd was founded.

Their success is legendary in the history of book publishing in New Zealand and, as seems unavoidable, it was the male who received most of the public esteem, which was reasonable because of his inventiveness with new publishing processes.

  Mary and Gerard (photo above) worked together, alongside and apart, a virtually miraculous couple who built up a quality team of young typographers, designers and book-production specialists.

Mary had been running the Pindar NZ office in Gerard’s absence, continuing the corporate role in publishing services that made them so valuable to their owners, clients and staff. Together they mastered computing innovations and printing technologies, typography, design and the overall management of making books, including e-books. A natural leader, Mary trained her specialist staff to cutting-edge excellence, with staff loyalty at an enviable level, driven by the single objective of excellence.

Driven, as she is at present, to provide full-time care for Gerard she maintains her own standards of excellence and loving care.

I am sure that the publishing world has not seen the last of Mary Egan.

Ray Richards is a veteran New Zealand book trade personality who has been in the book trade for seven decades first as publisher with AH & Aw Reed and then as literary agent.
Now 88 years of age Ray remains active as an agent and his passion for New Zealand writing is undiminished.

Glenda Kane & Lisa Allen
Puffin - NZ$18.99

In this poignant and most moving story, a young boy's innocent question prompts an elderly war vetera to relive the past on ANZAV Day.
Although this is a picture book, and a beautifully illustrated one too, I reckon the book is best for all ages of 10+ and that includes, especially actually, adults!
Some of the concepts and language are too difficult for younger children.

About the author & illustrator:
Glenda Kane was born in Auckland and grew up in Hillsborough.
She became a journalist at 17 and worked on newspapers for three and a half years before travelling overseas to live and work in various fields including public relations and advertising. She returned to NZ mid 1999. She now has three boys.
Her first book (Mangrove), also illustrated by Lisa Allen was published in 2007.That book describes the life-cycle of a mangrove with charming rhyming text and beautiful illustrations.

Lisa Allen is a freelance illustrator & graphic designer based in Muriwai Valley on Auckland's west coast.
Illustrating books is now her main focus, together with raising three children.
In the last 20 years she has worked across a wide range of media including textile and magazine design.
She also paints on commission and very infrequently, to exhibit.
This is her second picture book with author Glenda Kane.

This is the second collabroration between this talented pair, I hope we see a lot more.
Minister launches Bougainville library project

Last evening the Minister for the Arts, the Hon.Chris Finlayson, launched  the Bougainville library project and website at a function at the Begonia House in the Wellington Botanic Gardens.
Photo above shows  Lloyd Jones, author of Mister Pip, with the Hon.Chris Finlayson.
1 MAY 2010

In October 2009 it was announced that Allen & Unwin had become a significant shareholder in UK independent publisher, Atlantic Books. This partnership formally commences on 1 May 2010, when Allen & Unwin will officially take on the representation of Atlantic’s business in Australia and New Zealand (previously with Penguin).

Patrick Gallagher, Allen & Unwin Chairman, said of the partnership:
‘We are constantly looking for ways in which A&U can grow, and if that growth has an international dimension, so much the better. Accordingly, I’m delighted that we have made an investment in Atlantic Books, a fast growing UK independent publisher with a high quality list. CEO Toby Mundy and Publisher Ravi Mirchandani are two of the best in the business.’

Toby Mundy, CEO and Publisher at Atlantic Books, said:
Atlantic Books has prospered within the Independent Alliance and it remains an important part of our world; now the business is strengthened significantly by these new relationships with Allen &Unwin and Grove/Atlantic Inc, the finest independent publishers in Australia and the United States.’

The partnership entitles Allen & Unwin to a seat on the board of Atlantic Books, and the two companies will work together to not only distribute Atlantic’s list in the Australia and New Zealand region, but also to publish a select number of ANZ titles under the Allen & Unwin imprint in the UK through Atlantic.

 The first title that Allen & Unwin will publish in the UK is the Miles Franklin longlisted Lovesong by multi-award winning Australian author Alex Miller, to be released in September 2010. It is a very exciting prospect for Miller and for future Allen & Unwin titles.

The first Atlantic books published by Allen & Unwin (all on 1 May 2010) are:

by Rebecca Goldstein
NZRRP $35.00 paperback.
When atheist Cass Seltzer’s book makes him a sudden celebrity his life is upended and his theories of religious experience are tested.

by Jason Sheehan
NZRRP $39.99 paperback.
A memoir that reveals the hell and glory of life at the unglamorous, grungy, low-paid frontline of America’s diners and down-and-dirty joints.

by J. M. G. Le Clézio,
NZRRP $38.99 paperback.
Winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2008, Le Clézio’s epic novel spans the twentieth century and ranges across two continents, from the North African desert to the streets of Marseilles.

by Robert B. Parker
NZRRP $35.00 paperback.
The return of the Western, from the legendary Robert B Parker, one of the US's bestselling authors.
A Scottish View of New Zealand Poetry

The latest edition of Best New Zealand Poems (, released today by Victoria University’s International Institute of Modern Letters (IIML), comes with a skirl of pipes and a Scottish perspective. 

Each year a new editor selects the best 25 poems published by New Zealand writers during the previous 12 months. This year’s editor, Robyn Marsack, is the director of the Scottish Poetry Library.

Marsack says she selected the 25 top poems thinking about an international audience.
“I was conscious that this site is for an audience outside New Zealand, a window on to its poetry.”

While the 2009 selection features many of the established names of New Zealand poetry—ex-poet laureate Michele Leggott, (pic left by Tim Page), Ian Wedde, C.K. Stead, Bernadette Hall, Chris Price and Brian Turner for example— it also includes emerging writers such as Louise Wallace, Ashleigh Young, Tokyo-domiciled Brent Kininmont, and the acclaimed dancer Douglas Wright. 

 Marsack says while many of the poems are distinctly New Zealand in subject and style, others are less obviously from the Southern Hemisphere.
“Many of these poems are not anchored in New Zealand society or its landscapes; why should they be? The furthest extreme is John Gallas's marvellous 'The Mongolian women's orchestra', and Lynn Jenner's mysterious 'A Hassidic tale might start . . .'.”

Professor Bill Manhire, (pic right), Director of the International Institute of Modern Letters which publishes Best New Zealand Poems, says that he is delighted to have Robyn Marsack’s “outsider” perspective on New Zealand poetry. 

“New Zealand and Scotland have deep and continuing connections, and the writers of both countries are genuinely international in their outlooks. This fits well with the chief aim of Best New Zealand Poems, which is to export our poetry to a global audience.”

A high proportion of visitors to Best New Zealand Poems come from overseas. To encourage further reading poems include notes about the poet, as well as links to related websites.

 Robyn Marsack (left) is a New Zealander, a graduate of Victoria and Oxford Universities, and was co-editor of the 2009 anthology Twenty Contemporary New Zealand Poets. She has been Director of the Scottish Poetry Library since 2000. After moving to Scotland in 1987, she worked as a freelance editor, critic and translator, and has had a long editorial association with Carcanet Press. Her published work includes studies of Louis MacNeice and Sylvia Plath. She lives in Glasgow.

The Scottish Poetry Library recently added a special feature on New Zealand poets to its website: 

Best New Zealand Poems 2009 is published with the support of Creative New Zealand, and hosted by the New Zealand Electronic Text Centre at Victoria University.

For further information contact Bill Manhire, email

Goodman Fielder
HB $34.99

his new book contains a beautiful collection of 130 modern Edmonds baking recipes, with every one photographed.
The book is divided into four sections: Biscuits and Slices; Cakes; Pies, Pizzas, Breads and Buns; and Christmas Treats.
The old Edmonds favourites such as Anzac Biscuits, Coffee Cake and Pavlova are included as well as delicious new recipes like macadamia Nut and White Chocolate Biscuits, Panforte, and Feta, Olive and Sundried Tomato Calzone.
Best of Baking presents simple recipes all written in the easy to follow Edmonds style. We porved it by baking Hot Cross Buns last weekend. The publishers have given permission for me to reproduce the recipe here.


1 ½ cups milk                                                
1 teaspoon sugar                                            
2 tablespoons Edmonds active yeast             
125g butter, softened                   
¾ cup sugar                                                    
1 egg                                                             
¾ cup currants                                              
½ cup sultanas                                            
1 teaspoon gelatine            
2 teaspoons mixed spice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon mixed peel
6 cups Edmonds high grade flour

1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon water
1 reaspoon gelatine

½ cup Edmonds standard grade flour
6 tablespoons water, approx

Heat milk and sugar until lukewarm. Add yeast and set aside until frothy. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg, currants, sultanas, mixed spice, cinnamon and peel. Sift flour into a large bowl. Add yeast and fruit mixture alternately and combine to a firm but pliable dough using more flour if necessary. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes. Place in a greased bowl and leave in a warm place to double in bulk. Punch down dough and shape ¼ cups of mixture into balls.
Place side by side in two 20 x 30 cm greased sponge roll tins. Cover and leave to rise in a warm place until double in size.
Pipe a cross on each bun. To make the crosses, mix flour and water to a smooth paste that is a suitable consistency for piping. Place mixture in a small plastic bag. Snip across one corner to form a hole. Twist top of bag. Bake at 200 deg C for 15- 20 minutes or until golden.
Remove from oven and brush with glaze. To make the glaze, place all ingredients in a small saucepan. Stir over a low heat until sugar and gelatine have dissolved. Cool hot cross buns on a wire rack. Makes 10 buns.
E-books are a Cul-de-sac: Why Publishing Needs to Rethink Its Digital Strategy
By Eoin Purcell - Publishing Perpectives

Eoin Purcell, CEO of Dublin-based digital-first publisher Green Lamp Media, argues that publishers' relentless obsession with e-books is misguided and, ultimately, shortsighted. He offers an alternative vision of the future for publishing, one in which e-books is just one digital format among many. 

Read the article ...  
When is a Digitized, Enhanced, Video-enabled Book No Longer a Book?

By Edward Nawotka

 In a world where there are e-books, audiobooks, Vooks, enhanced digital books, "live" internet books and a myriad of "book-like-content,"  when is a book simply no longer a book?  Tell us what you think.

Read the article...
Streisand at BEA

NEW YORK — Barbra Streisand will appear at the opening-night keynote reception for BookExpo America to promote "My Passion for Design."

The book world's annual national convention will be held May 25-27 at the Jacob K. Javits Center in New York City.
Event director Steven Rosato says Tuesday that Streisand's appearance "calls attention to the strength, vitality and excitement that is so much part of the book industry."
"My Passion for Design" reveals the taste and style that have inspired the singer's homes and collections. It will be Streisand's first appearance on behalf of the book, to be published Nov. 16 by Viking.

Huffington Post



Atom, an imprint of Little, Brown Book Group UK, has announced that it will release the first new title from Stephenie Meyer in nearly two years.  The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner is a novella told from the point of view of Bree, a character originally featured in Eclipse.  The novella (at 192 pages) will be released on both sides of the Atlantic at 5:05 a.m. BST on Saturday 5th June, 2010 in hardback priced £11.99.

I’m as surprised as anyone about this novella,” said Stephenie Meyer.  “When I began working on it in 2005, it was simply an exercise to help me examine the other side of Eclipse, which I was editing at the time.  I thought it might end up as a short story that I could include on my website. Then, when work started on The Twilight Saga: The Official Guide, I thought the Guide would be a good fit for my Bree story.  However, the story grew longer than I anticipated, until it was too long to fit into the Guide.”

As a special thank you to fans, Meyer is giving them exclusive access to the novel on a dedicated website,, from 7th June to 5th July 2010, where fans from around the world will be able to read the book online in English.  “I’d always considered The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner as something for the fans,” said Meyer.  “They have been so supportive of all things Twilight.

Ursula Mackenzie, CEO and Publisher of Little, Brown Book Group commented: "The prospect of a new book from Stephenie Meyer has been tantalising readers for a very long time. We're thrilled to be able to announce that the waiting is over and Stephenie's millions of fans will soon be able to read this exciting new work."

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner
is the riveting story of Bree Tanner, a newborn vampire first introduced in Eclipse, and the darker side of the world she inhabits.  The novella chronicles the newborn vampire army’s journey as they prepare to close in on Bella Swan and the Cullens, following their encounter to its unforgettable conclusion. 

The character Bree not only features prominently in the book Eclipse, but in the upcoming movie from Summit Entertainment.  “Stephenie was gracious enough to let me read a draft of the novella while we were prepping the movie The Twilight Saga: Eclipse,” said Director David Slade.  “I thoroughly enjoyed the story and it gave us great insight and inspired location choices and the tailoring of scenes.  I think fans are going to love the fascinating details involved in the loves, fears and actions of an emerging vampire.”

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner will also be available as an ebook from 11a.m. BST on 5th June 2010.  Additionally, more information about the previously announced The Twilight Saga: The Official Guide, including publication date, will be released by the end of the year.

In less than five years, Stephenie Meyer has become a worldwide publishing phenomenon.  The Twilight Saga’s translation rights have been sold in nearly 50 countries and 100 million copies have been sold worldwide.
From September, 1.4 million free books will be given out to all 4-5 year olds in England.

Booktime will this year give each child a copy of “Slowly, Slowly, Slowly,” Said the Sloth (Puffin), by Eric Carle. Each story book is a gift from Pearson.

“Slowly, Slowly, Slowly,” Said the Sloth is a wonderful philosophical statement in favour of slowness from the author of The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

The Booktime programme is managed by independent reading charity Booktrust in association with Pearson, the world’s leading publisher and education technology company. Delivery of the Booktime programme is funded by the DCSF (Department for Children, Schools and Families).

Booktime book packs will also contain a special abridged edition of Why is the Sky Blue? (Ladybird), compiled and written by Geraldine Taylor and illustrated by Amy Schimler. Why is the Sky Blue? is a novelty book of real questions that children ask about the world around them.

Both the gift books in the Booktime book pack encourage children to explore and discover their environment and the wider world.
Book packs also contain guidance for parents and carers to encourage sharing books with children. Primary schools and participating libraries will give out the book packs and receive a pack of free resources. Booktime will be supported by a range of interactive games, films and downloads on the website:
2010 Australian Prime Minister's Literary Awards
Call for entries to the 2010 Awards
New award categories

In 2010, two new prizes have been added to the Awards to recognise literature for younger reading audiences.
The two new categories—Young Adult and Children's fiction—acknowledge the importance of literature for young audiences and its power to give rise to a lifelong passion for books.

The winners of the four categories, fiction, non-fiction, young adult fiction and children's fiction will each receive a $100,000 tax-free prize, bringing the total Award prize to $400,000.

Call for entries

Entries are invited to the Prime Minister's Literary Awards—Australia's richest literary prize for Fiction, Non-Fiction, Young Adult's Fiction and Children's Fiction.
The Prime Minister's Literary Awards recognise the contribution of Australian literature to the nation's cultural and intellectual life.

The Minister for the Arts called for authors, publishers and literary agents to enter their books into the 2010 Awards for the opportunity to win this prestigious literary award.
Works must be written by living Australian citizens or permanent residents, first published in English and first offered for general sale between 1 January 2009 and 31 December 2009.

Entries are due at 5pm on Friday 16 April 2010.
More information including the guidelines and entry form can be found at
Bloomsbury repackages Harry Potter

30.03.10 | Katie Allen in The Bookseller

Bloomsbury is to rejacket all seven of J K Rowling's Harry Potter novels with a release date scheduled for this November.

The new "Signature" livery was created by Webb and Webb Design Limited, with illustrations by linocut artist Clare Melinsky on the front cover, back cover and spine, to "appeal to the next generation of readers who did not 'grow up' with Harry Potter and who have not yet experienced the thrill of life at Hogwarts", according to the publisher.

Melinsky said: "I was delighted and excited to be asked to illustrate the covers for such massively famous books—and seven of them! It was top secret for the best part of a year."

The rejacketed titles will be available exclusively in paperback format, with a publication date of 1st November 2010.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Loose leafs from the New Yorker Books Department.
March 29, 2010
This Week in Fiction: Pamela Gordon on Janet Frame
Posted by The New Yorker 

Our fiction offering this week is “Gavin Highly,” by Janet Frame. Recently, Frame’s neice and literary executor, Pamela Gordon, exchanged e-mails with Deborah Treisman, the magazine’s fiction editor.
 Janet Frame—who is probably best known in the United States for her autobiography “An Angel at My Table,” though she also wrote a dozen novels and several story collections—died in 2004, at the age of 79.
She published four short stories in the magazine between 1962 and 1970, but then nothing more until 2008, when we ran the first of three posthumous stories by her—this week’s fiction, “Gavin Highly,” being the third.
Why was there such a long gap, and why are these unpublished pieces suddenly coming to light?

The fact is that when she was at her peak, she was so prolific that she had a publishing backlog, and a lot of work got left behind. Once she had moved on, in theme and genre, she lost interest in the older manuscripts. But she carefully preserved the work, arranged for it to be lodged in archives, and she always had a literary executor named and primed to deal with it. She frequently mentioned that she had a generous store of unpublished work. She did draw up several tables of contents toward a collection of the new stories. We don’t know for sure why she never got around to publishing that volume, but I think there were multiple reasons. She didn’t relish her fame, and once she had enough money to live on from the reprints and translations of the twenty or so books she did publish, she seemed to have decided not to expose herself to any more of the trials of fresh publication, even though she never stopped writing. Posthumous publishing is common enough in the history of literature, although the default position of the critics seems to be that posthumous work is by definition going to be inferior to the lifetime oeuvre. But before her death Frame took pains to dispose of a lot of unfinished work that wasn’t up to her standards. I’m conflicted about that because it would have been fascinating to see what didn’t make the grade. But I respect Frame’s artistic agency and I always try to release only the work that is worthy of her reputation.

The delay after her death reflects the priorities of her literary estate as well the size of our workload. I promised Frame on her deathbed that I would get a volume of her poetry published as soon as possible. So first we put together one new collection of poetry—“The Goose Bath” (soon to be available in the U.S. from Bloodaxe Books in the selected edition “Storms Will Tell”); and next we released the novel “Towards Another Summer” (published in America last year by Counterpoint). Only then did we start working through her short stories. We’re also editing a collection of her non-fiction writings and interviews.

Read more:

And to read the story, Gavin Highly, link here.
Illustration for the story from The New Yorker by Gary Baseman.
“Whatever happened to feminism?”

It’s been 40 years since Germaine Greer published “The Female Eunuch” and in the media, journalists and writers have been taking stock.
Both in New Zealand and overseas there have been numerous newspaper and magazine features, TV and radio programmes as well as a multiplicity of posts in the blogosphere.
Throughout the musings on the feminist movement several questions crop up again and again.
“Whatever happened to feminism?”; “Is it still relevant?”; “What did it achieve?”
 On Media7 this week Russell Brown seeks answers to these questions and more with Professor Marilyn Waring (former National M.P., political economist and author), Gemma Gracewood (Film & TV producer and broadcaster) and Sophia Blair (National Women’s Rights Officer of NZUSA).
All three are feminists but they each represent different generations of New Zealand women -- so their different perspectives on the subject are sure to produce a lively debate.

Media7’s Sarah Daniell has also been looking at the career of the feminist movement.
She’s produced a thoughtful video report which covers the history and re-visits the era of “Thursday” – the magazine for the modern women – as it was billed when Marcia Russell launched it.
Marcia Russell, ironic and iconic feminist of the “stirring” era of the feminist press reveals some amusing insights from those halcyon days.

The show is broadcast at 9.10pm on Thursday on TVNZ 7 and is replayed several times during the week. Media7 is broadcast both on FreeView and on Sky Channel 97. It is also available on demand from TVNZ’s website, can be downloaded as a podcast  and is available on YouTube.
There is also a Media7 FaceBook page for viewers to place their feedback and to learn more about the show and you can follow us on twitter @media7nz.

Every couple of weeks I get to talk to Jim Mora on his Afternoons programme on Radio New Zealand National about my latest reading.
Today I talked about NINE DRAGONS by Michael Connelly (Allen & Unwin) and NEVER LOOK AWAY byLinwood Barclay (Orion).

Let's start with NINE DRAGONS. This is I think Connelly's 15th title featuring Harry Bosch.
Bosch is one of those superbly drawn characters that people the very best fiction in this genre. Regular readers like me tend to become rather devoted to them, almost addicted I guess.Other examples are Lee Child's Jack Reacher, Sara Paretsky's V.I Warshawski, Sue Grafton's Kinsey Millhone, Ian Rankin's John Rebus (now sadly retired), and P.D.James' Adam Dalgleish. There are many others.
I sometimes think it would be a great idea if their creators were to write a biography of their characters.
We know a lot about Harry Bosch but NINE DRAGONS may be the most personal of the Bosch stories since THE LAST COYOTE in which he investigated the death of his prostitute mother which happened back in 1961 when Bosch was eleven years old.
In this latest title (published October 2009) Bosch's daughter goes missing in Hong Kong where she lives with her mother, Bosch's ex-wife. Another page turner with some surprising twists along the way. I couldn't put it down.

NEVER LOOK AWAY by Linwood Barclay is totally different in that Barclay's stories are stand alone with each novel featuring a new set of characters. Someone once described Barclay as "the master of domsetic paranoia" and I reckon that description isspot on.

David Harwood and his wife Jan go to Five Mountains amusement park for a day of fun and relaxation with their four year old son Ethan.
Just as they get through the gate Jan realises she has left something in the car and so heads back to get it. That is the last time she is seen.
David Harwood is a journalist and he sets out to solve the mystery of Jan's disappearance but before long the police have him as their number one suspect.
Another unputdownable story. The suspense was almost too much to bear at times.
I recommend both of these titles, especially good for long plane trips or for switching off over the coming holiday weekend.

These reviews I did with Jim are currently on the Radio NZ website, not sure how long they leave them there. Go to Jim's programme website and then click on Critical Mass. under today's date - 30 March
Notice to New Zealand writers:

The International Literary Quarterly
edited by poet Peter Robertson and deputy editor, novelist Jill Dawson, has just published its 10th issue. Invite only, its' list of contributors over the years includes Charles Bernstein, Alain de Botton, Eavan Boland, Junot Diaz, Ariel Dorfman, Rita Dove, Tibor Fischer, Julie Kristeva, Ruth Padel, Caryl Philips and Robert Pinsky.
For its new issue, featuring work by New Zealanders Siobhan Harvey and Kapka Kassabova, see

The International Literary Quarterly has decided to publish a special feature issue showcasing work in any genre (poetry, fiction and non-fiction) by New Zealand writers. See the following announcement:

For this issue, the editors have decided to forgo their 'invite only' status and welcome submissions for consideration by New Zealand writers. Any New Zealand writer wishing to have work considered to this special issue should send a maximum of 6 poems, 2 short stories or 2 pieces of non-fiction as an email attachment - in Word or rft format - and send by email to Editor Peter Robertson at:
Please make it clear in the email that you're sending in work for consideration in the New Zealand writers feature issue.

Submissions are welcome with immediate effect.
Minister to launch Bougainville library project

Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Chris Finlayson will launch the Bougainville library project and websitetonight Tuesday 30 March at a function at  6pm-7.30pm at the Begonia House in the Wellington Botanic Gardens.

The Bougainville Library Trust was established by writer Lloyd Jones, author of Mister Pip, (pic left), a novel set on the island of Bougainville during the crisis in the 1990s.

In 2007, Mister Pip gained international acclaim winning the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize Best Book Award and being short-listed for the Man Booker Prize. It also drew international attention to the ten year long crisis in Bougainville. 
In the late 1990s the New Zealand government initiated peace talks.  The introduction of peacekeepers brought an end to the hostilities on Bougainville.

“Building a library and cultural centre is an important part of the island’s future.  A new library will address a younger generation and do much to rebuild the community’s cultural capital and confidence,” says Lloyd Jones.
The Trust is working with Volunteer Service Abroad (VSA) and the Bougainville Heritage Foundation, which is based in Arawa (Bougainville’s capital), to build and stock a library and cultural centre.

A casualty of the Bougainville crisis was the loss of meeting places and books.  A community library will provide a home for both.  It will be a place to tell stories and read the stories of others.

In New Zealand the Trust is currently fundraising for the Bougainville library. Donations can be made and further information about the library project can be found on the Bougainville library website –

Already a number of Australian and New Zealand publishers have donated $30,000 worth of books for the library.
GALLIPOLI - The Battlefield Guide
Mat McLachlan
Hachette Australia - NZ$34.99

Although this book is written by an Australian historian and approaches the subject from an Aussie viewpoint it will nevertheless also be a most useful and comprehensive guide for New Zealander's visiting these most famous of all of our battlefields.

The book initially contains loads of good advice about preparation and getting started, planning, where to stay, what to wear etc before detailing six separate tours. The visits can be walking or driving tours but McLachlan recommends walking as the best option.
The chunky almost 400 page book ends with excellent reference sections including a Gallipoli Timeline, sources and index.

About the author:
Mat McLachlan is one of Australia's leading war historians and battlefield guides, and has spent more than a decade following in the footsteps of Australian troops on battlefields around the world. His 2007 book, Walking with the Anzacs, is considered the definitive guide to Australian battlefields on the Western Front.
It was reprinted in 2008. Mat also produced and appears in the First World War documentary Lost in Flanders, airing on the ABC in 2009. His latest book Gallipoli, The Battlefield Guide, was releasedthis week and is  be the most comprehensive guide to the Australian and New Zealand battlefields of Gallipoli yet published. He also appears regularly as a historian on the ABC, The History Channel and Channel 7's Sunrise.
Mat is the founder of Mat McLachlan Battlefield Tours and personally designs or escorts all our tours.

My only criticism of this otherwise excellent book is that the author and his publishers, Hachette Australia, should have made a much greater effort at aiming the book at both Australians and New Zealanders. For example the back cover blurb reads, in part, as follows:
Each year, thousands of Australians, young and old, visit Gallipoli to see where their fathers and grandfathers fought and died....    How difficult would it have been to added "and New Zealanders"?
Drawing the Waitakere Coast

Charming drawings of a much-loved coast by a great New Zealand artist


This beautiful and charming hardback by one of this country’s foremost painters combines delicate coloured-pencil drawings, with text, and takes the reader on an enchanting journey of the much-loved Waitakere Coast, west of Auckland.

The drawings are richly evocative of the coast so many New Zealanders love, and they are magnificent works in themselves. Binney’s text takes the reader on an imaginary journey from Huia to Te Henga (Bethells), drawing on his extensive contact with and love for this coast and with the Waitakere Ranges in general.

In early adulthood Binney tramped and camped throughout the area, he was a founding member of the Waitakere Ranges Protection Society, and he is nationally recognized as an ardent conservationist, often using his art to underpin his conservation-activist work.

The drawings for this book were completed over an 18-month period and represent a rather remarkable artistic feat – Binney delivered them all within a single drawing block, without tearing a single page out to start again, showing his incredible eye for accuracy and detail.

Drawing the Waitakere Coast
is keepsake-small and perfectly formed, and lovers of both Auckland’s iconic west coast and Don Binney’s art will find it enchanting.

Don Binney taught at Elam School of Fine Arts from 1974 to 1998, becoming Head of Painting in 1994. He has exhibited nationally and internationally and is represented in all major New Zealand collections. He was awarded an OBE for services to the arts in 1995. He is New Zealand Patron of the Little Barrier Island Supporters’ Trust, Artist Patron of the Friends of Auckland Art Gallery, and a Waitakere City Art Laureate.

The publication of Drawing the Waitakere Coast will coincide with a major exhibition of the original drawings at Lopdell House in Titirangi, which runs from 15 April – 6 June.

 Drawing the Waitakere Coast
Author: Don Binney
Publication -  01 April 2010
Hardback - Godwit -  RRP: $45.00


It's a movement! The Tuesday Poem begun on writer Mary McCallum's blog O Audacious Book  three weeks ago has been picked up by half a dozen of NZ's blogging poets resulting in the publication of a host of Tuesday Poems online today. And each one has been  linked to the other Tuesday Poems creating, what Mary calls, a kind of online 'open mike session' or an informal blog poetry journal.  

Mary has published two of her own poems  on past Tuesdays, but today is hosting an Easter poem by fellow Wellingtonian Maggie Rainey-Smith. The other poets participating so far are Tim Jones  , Harvey Molloy , Claire Beynon , Helen Rickerby , and Fifi Colston . South Island blogger  Paradoxical Cat is promising to join in, too, and - as Mary points out - you'll always find a poem on NZ Poet Laureate Cilla McQueen's blog. She's writing an astonishing poem in instalments  called Serial using images from the National Library. 

Mary says she's thrilled by the way the blogging poets have embraced the idea of the Tuesday Poem which she sees as a way to get NZ poetry 'out there' and give poets a new readership and, for some, it's a way to build confidence with their own work. 'I used to write a lot of poetry, but put that on the back-burner when I started writing novels,' she says. 'The Tuesday Poem for me is a way of getting my work 'published' and read. I've already had some invaluable feedback from my lovely blog readers on the first two - with one sharing the poem 'missed' with her creative writing class! - and it's given me the confidence to continue putting them out there.' 

Mary says will continue to post her own poems and poems by others in the coming weeks, and will continue to encourage blogging poets to do the same. Some poets have already indicated they'd prefer to only post monthly, which she says is fine by her, and she'd welcome other poets who want to join the 'journal' even if it's just for a week. Just email her on and she will link to your Tuesday Poem and send you the links to other poets. All you have to do is post the poem on a tuesday morning (as early as possible) and put 'Tuesday Poem' in the title.

by Rose Tremain
Random House, $38.99
Reviewed by Nicky Pellegrino

For her scope and style, Rose Tremain has to be one of the finest writers working in the UK right now. I’ve read and loved several of her books and no two are the same. Some are historical, others very much of the moment. Consequently each new novel is unexpected and this unpredictability only makes her work all the more enthralling.

Trespass is set in the south of France, in the harsh, mountainous landscape of the Cervennes and is peopled by mostly dislikeable characters. You aren’t driven through its pages by a concern for what will happen to any of them but by the sheer elegance of Tremain’s writing.
Audrun Lunel lives in an ugly bungalow on the boundary of her brother Aramon’s property, the crumbling Mas Lunel. He is a filthy wreck of a man who believes his salvation lies in selling the family home to one of the wealthy foreign people who are invading the area. At the same time London antique dealer Anthony Verey is contemplating his future. With his business failing and the glitter of his life fading fast he decides to escape to the Cevannes to live near the only person he cares about, his garden designer sister Veronica who has a seemingly idyllic life there with her artist partner Kitty. But when the new and the old worlds collide there is inevitably tension and ruin.

Trespass is about people crippled by their pasts and about the things they choose to put their love into. For Audrun it’s the land that’s the one thing she truly trusts in after years of being mistreated at the hands of her family, for Anthony Verey it’s his possessions, the relics of the past he refers to as his beloveds.
This is quite a slim volume really. Other writers might have needed three times the pages to accommodate its small vignettes and sweeping themes, to tangle together the threads of these diverse characters lives, their cruelties and their yearnings. But Tremain’s writing is an exercise in restraint, taut and poised. She has an eye for details that matter.
 Dark and brooding, with thankfully some redemption, its publishers bill Trespass as a thriller but like all of Tremain’s books it defies being described quite so neatly.

Nicky Pellegrino, in addition to being a succcesful author of popular fiction, (her former title The Italian Wedding was published in May 2009 while herlatest, Recipe for Life is published by Orion this week), is also the Books Editor of the Herald on Sunday where the above piece was first published on 28 March.  
A Library That Most Can Only Dream Of
Story by Ariel Kaminer
Published: New York Times, March 26, 2010

A SHOWCASE -  Hyunsuk Lee, a resident of Battery Park City, and her daughter Audrey at the new library, which has low-energy lighting and modern furnishings. Photo by Piotr Redlinski for The New York Times

You, over there, mouthing off about the death of print. Keep it down; this is a library. Not just any library: This is Battery Park City’s public library branch, the city’s newest, greenest one yet, and it’s quite a sight to behold.

To the left as you enter is an ecologically correct circulation desk made — though you’d never know it — from recycled cardboard, and topped with a bouquet of fresh tulips. Should you find a crowd, try the sleek self-service stations a couple of steps away. Some of the library’s 36 Internet-connected computers lie just around the bend. Overhead, a jigsaw puzzle of scalene triangles zigs and zags along the ceiling.

Follow it back past the entrance to the children’s zone, a playful arrangement of orange beanbag chairs, orange screen savers and an orange mat that curves up under the terrazzo staircase (made of recycled glass chips, of course) to create a lounging nook that feels like the inside of a conch shell.

Instead of the comforting mustiness of older libraries, the whole space is filled with oxygen and light, streaming through floor-to-ceiling windows and bouncing off the blond wood floors (made from lumber salvaged during the manufacturing of window frames, thank you). “They wanted as much as possible for this branch to be a showcase for how pleasant and how interesting a branch can be,” said Tim Furzer, who oversaw the project for the firm 1100 Architect. It worked.

Atop those sculptural stairs, in an area carpeted with a material made from repurposed truck tires, visitors can peruse magazines and newspapers, use the restroom (at my neighborhood library, it’s off limits to adults) or just relax as the sound of young laughter floats up from below. Gaze out at the landscaped terrace and, beyond, the Hudson River.

The existence of this beautiful 10,000-square-foot library, which opened on March 18, prompts so many questions: How could such state-of-the-art technologies be marshaled in service of the old-fashioned act of book reading? How could such fancy design be affordable in an era of wrenching budget crises? And in choosing where to build the coolest, greenest new branch around, why pick Battery Park City, a neighborhood already so blessed with amenities?
Full story at NYT.
From PublishersLunch:
A New Stephen King Novella

Cemetery Dance will publish a new Stephen King novella as a trade hardcover next month, BLOCKADE BILLY.
The pitch: "Even diehard baseball fans don't know the true story of William Blakely, but in just a few weeks you'll be holding this dark tale in your own two hands so you can read it for yourself." King comments, "I love old-school baseball, and I also love the way people who've spent a lifetime in the game talk about the game. I tried to combine those things in a story of suspense. People have asked me for years when I was going to write a baseball story. Ask no more; this is it."

Cemetery Dance says they are "only printing a small number of first edition copies compared to what New York publishers print" and will fill direct orders on their website first, followed by distributors, etailers and book chains as supply allows.
CD site
Canongate launches Scoundrel Christ app

29.03.10 | Catherine Neilan in The Bookseller

Canongate has launched Philip Pullman's book The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ as an app, comprising an "enhanced" audiobook and exclusive videos.

The app, which is available for iPhone and iTouch devices, and was developed by Enhanced Editions, synchronises the unabridged audio version - read by Pullman - so readers can switch between text and audio at any point. It also includes videos of Pullman discussing the book.

The book, which is part of Canongate's Myths series, is described as "part novel, part history and part fairy tale". The app is priced at £9.99: the book is also available as a hardback, priced £14.99, a £16.99 audiobook or a standard e-book, priced £12.99.

In Australia and New Zealand the book is published by Text Publishing in hardcover and will be released on 3 May. Aust rrp $32.95, NZ rrp $39
HC gets Bologna's hot book

29.03.10 | Benedicte Page in The Bookseller

Bologna's "book of the Fair", The Emerald Atlas by US producer John Stephens, has sold to HarperCollins in the UK and Australia.

The book is the first in the Books of the Beginning trilogy, and is a fantasy title for pre-teen readers. The trilogy went to Knopf in the US and has also sold at the Fair to Longanesi in Italy, Random House in Germany, Capellendamm in Norway and Van Goor in Holland.

A price tag of $1.2m (£805,000) was widely quoted in the Bologna halls for the sale to Knopf, though this figure has not been confirmed by the literary agency, Writers House.

Cecilia de la Campa of Writers House said: “We’ve been seeing unprecedented offers, really driven by the quality of the book. A lot of publishers have been looking for a really wonderful middle grade novel because there is so much trend-driven YA.”

She described The Emerald Atlas as "an instant classic."
Apoca-lit Now
First came the credit crunch. Now a crash is imminent in the world of words, with bookshops closing and authors in penury. Will the technological revolution destroy literature, or save it? Sameer Rahim reports

By Sameer Rahim
Published: The Telegraph,  27 Mar 2010

 This weekend, a sad scene is playing itself out on a busy west London high street. The Kilburn Bookshop, which has served readers for 30 years, is closing its doors for the last time. Many factors are involved – the recession and rent increases among them – but the bookshop’s manager, Simon-Peter Trimarco, believes there are deeper reasons for the closure. One problem is that browsers now rarely put their hand in their pocket. “Only one in 10 customers will end up buying a book.” They find what they want and then go to Tesco or Amazon where there are heavy discounts. (There is even an iPhone app that lets you scan a book’s bar code and find the cheapest price.) The Kilburn Bookshop is friendly and has something of a literary pedigree: “Zadie Smith came in as a little girl,” Trimarco says. If this shop can’t survive, then which can? Very few, it seems. Last year, one in 10 independent bookshops closed, at a rate of three a week. “I’m despairing,” Trimarco says.

The death of independent bookshops is just one symptom of a much wider crisis in publishing. Discounted books, online bookselling and the advent of ebooks are destroying old patterns of reading and book buying. We are living through a revolution as enormous as the one created by Gutenberg’s printing press – and authors and publishers are terrified they will become as outdated as the monks who copied out manuscripts. How this happened is down to ambitious editors, greedy agents, demanding writers and big businesses with an eye for easy profit. Combine that with devilishly fast technological innovation and you have a story as astonishing as the credit crunch – and potentially as destructive.

Forty years ago, such a rise and fall seemed unimaginable. Jeremy Lewis, currently at The Oldie, spent 25 years in publishing and is a successful biographer in his own right. He remembers a more restrictive world in the Sixties. “To be an author then, either you had private means, were an academic or were starving in a garret,” he says. Authors would be paid an advance when the book was taken on, which the publisher then recouped through sales. Royalties would only be paid once the publisher had got its money back. In those days, if a book were predicted to earn £1,000 a publisher would pay £400 up front – a modest sum, to say the least. Though they were accused of being “ruthless” and “penny-pinching”, veteran publishers such as André Deutsch and Fredric Warburg spent within their means. The title of Warburg’s first volume of memoirs perhaps sums it up: An Occupation for Gentlemen.

Something changed in the late Seventies. The rise of the agent played a role, as did the market forces that began to sweep through the country. In his biography of V?S Naipaul, Patrick French writes how Picador managed to tempt the writer away from Deutsch with the promise of larger financial rewards. (Naipaul was, looking back, shockingly poorly paid for someone who had won the Booker Prize and had been a successful author for a quarter of a century.) Wealthy media magnates, such as Robert Maxwell and Rupert Murdoch, became involved in publishing and hired people to make their companies bigger and more profitable. The trend continued during the Eighties and Nineties. Neil Belton, an editor at Faber & Faber, describes it as a time of “astounding, swaggering hubris” when “you were expected to make a mark with a big deal. And you didn’t get respect until you had paid out £60,000 for a book.” For some, £60,000 was nothing: famously, Martin Amis received £500,000 for his novel The Information (1995), a staggering sum that became symbolic of the author-advance bubble.

By the Nineties there were worrying signs that things were out of control. Jeremy Lewis cheerfully admits that the advance he received for his Cyril Connolly biography (£50,000) was five times what he himself would have paid for it as an editor. “Now the atmosphere is much more sober, depressed and realistic,” Belton says. Serious non-fiction is lucky to sell 3,000 to 4,000 copies. An advance of £20,000 is now considered generous, though that is not enough for authors whose work may take years. Writers are now paying for the excesses of the past.

Speak to most independent retailers, publishers, agents or authors and one factor is blamed for this radical change: the abolition of the Net Book Agreement (NBA) in 1995. Brought into force in 1900, the NBA was an arrangement between publishers and booksellers that ensured books could not be offered at discounted prices. In 1962, some booksellers challenged it on the basis that it was anti-competitive. The courts rejected them on that occasion, accepting the argument that books were not just another product, like baked beans: they needed special protection. Controlling prices enabled independent bookshops to thrive in the face of larger competition; and it meant that publishers were able to produce books that might not have made instant profit but did well in the long term – their serious titles making a bid for the canon. For example, when Faber took on Kazuo Ishiguro’s quiet, contemplative first novel, A Pale View of Hills, in the early Eighties they cannot have imagined he would become a bestselling novelist. The NBA made such deals – and by extension, such careers – more likely.
Full story at The Telegraph.