Saturday, July 31, 2010


One of NZ's foremost authorities on crime fiction, Craig Sisterson, has two features in today's Canvas magazine, the excellent magazine which accompanies the Weekend Herald.

Sisterton writes about one of the best-established writers in the genre, James Lee Burke, as well as perhaps the youngest and newest, Ben Sanders whose debut crime novel,The Fallen, has just been published by Harper Collins NZ. And the amazing this is Sanders is a mere 20 years of age!!
Sisterson concludes his positive review of the young man's novel thus:
The young man from the North Shore has added to the mounting evidence that New Zealand can produce native, compelling crime fiction to match the international offerings readers buy and enjoy in droves".

His full review can be read in Canvas or will be available later next week on his Crime Watch blog.

While enjoying The Fallen, and it is a substantail read, I have to say I did find it rather derivative at times, the smart-ass cop who often operates marginally outside the law, and especially the protagonist's musing about popular music, ala Ian Rankin's superb but now sadly retired character, D.I.Rebus.
For all that though I salute this talented young writer who clearly has a bright future ahead of him and if he can improve on this first work then he may well join the ranks of fine crime fiction writers who have gone before him. It was certainly great having the novel set in one's home town and being able to recognise streets, bars, restaurants, beaches and other locations.
By Ada Calhoun
Published New York Times: 1 August, 2010

Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, and the Marriage of the Century
By Sam Kashner and Nancy Schoenberger
Illustrated. 500 pp. Harper/HarperCollins Publishers. $27.99

In a book about alcoholic, promiscuous, big-spending divas, we’re conditioned to expect a rise and a fall and then redemption. But “Furious Love,” a joint biography that concentrates on what tabloids called “the marriage of the century,” offers a long, wavy line rather than the familiar arc. And it makes for an indulgent, plenty-of-fun book about Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton’s traveling circus of money, booze and mutual obsession.

Taylor has shared Burton’s hot-and-heavy correspondence with Sam Kashner, a contributing editor at Vanity Fair, and Nancy Schoenberger, the author of “Dangerous Muse: The Life of Lady Caroline Blackwood.” So it makes sense that Kashner and Schoenberger are protective of their generous subject. They lovingly cast her as an ordinary-at-heart woman who enjoys the simple pleasure of a hamburger right off the grill as much as the world’s most expensive jewels. “She was not allowed to age like an ordinary woman,” they write in defense of Taylor’s well-publicized weight gain.

In fact, she seems like a borderline saint. She climbed into a crushed car to save her friend Montgomery Clift. She was loyal and generous, supporting dozens of people in her extended family. She raised a passel of kids and countless pets. She was the first celebrity hero of AIDS research, cuddling with a bedridden patient at a time when ignorance and fear were rampant.

Express/Hulton Archive — Getty Images
Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, 1964.

But even if the book seems a little overblown in its praise and sometimes a bit schmaltzy — the Burtons’ “Liz and Dick” tabloid personas were “perhaps their greatest roles” — the authors make shrewd observations. For example, they say Taylor engaged in “a kind of reverse Method acting,” taking inspiration from her movie roles into her off-camera life.

From the moment they saw each other on the “Cleopatra” set in 1962 (“Richard in his too-short tunic and Elizabeth in her dark Egyptian eye makeup”) until Burton’s death in 1984, they were mutually addicted, as is evident from the often graphic testimonies to their lust. Burton described Taylor’s breasts as “apocalyptic.” Taylor said, “When you get aroused playing Scrabble, that’s love, baby.” The book offers lots of juicy details about the studio system’s terrible publicity marriages; the dawn of the paparazzi; and the lavish social lives of the Ken­nedys, the Prince and Princess of Monaco, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, and some startlingly ill-behaved members of the Hollywood elite. Back then, many actors routinely started drinking in the morning and were incapable of working after lunchtime. On the set of “The Night of the Iguana,” John Huston gave his unstable stars guns and bullets bearing the names of each member of the cast.

Then there were the Burtons, two astonishingly dashing, alcoholic and damaged people who couldn’t stay away from each other and couldn’t stop fighting. “Furious” is an apt word for their love, because they were passionate but also as full of rage as overtired toddlers. “Theirs was the first reality show, a marriage with an audience,” the authors persuasively argue; by the end of Burton’s life, the couple had veered into the realm of self-parody and camp.

But in their prime, the Burtons made “married love” seem “glamorous and sexy,” “even dangerous,” the authors write. They also made it seem deranged and codependent. Though they married and divorced each other twice, this book suggests that when Burton died at the age of 58, they were just getting started. Their relationship did not have a before and after; it was all during or in-between.

There’s a lesson here for couples: marriage doesn’t have to be a partnership of equals. It can be a bodice-ripping, booze-soaked, jewel-bedecked brawl that survives even death. It’s a tough way to live, but it makes for a good beach book.

Ada Calhoun, a frequent contributor to the Book Review, is the author of “Instinctive Parenting: Trusting Ourselves to Raise Good Kids.”
ARTS ON SUNDAY - 1 August 2010

2:30pm Chapter and Verse\

The featured books tomorrow (Sunday) are both debuts, a novel, The Widow's Daughter, from UK based Kiwi Nicholas Edlin set during the Second World War when Auckland’s Victoria Park was turned into an American military camp, and Lynn Jenner’s first poetry collection, Dear Sweet Harry.

Read July 6 story on blog about Nicholas Edwin and the remarkable success of his debut. novel.
Lesley Agnew: charming, enthusiastic, knowledgeable

Liz Thomson - BookBrunch

The death last weekend of bookseller Lesley Agnew, who owned and managed the Muswell Hill Children's Bookshop for the last 16 of its 36 years, has left the close-knit world of children's books bereft. It seems impossible that anyone as vibrant and full of life as Lesley could be struck down at just 65.

Founded by Helen Paiba, the shop over which Lesley and her daughter Kate presided won awards and nominations that long ago put it on the national map. It acquired, justly, a reputation that was out of all proportion to its size and some of the most celebrated names in children's books made repeated pilgrimages to N10 for signing sessions, held mostly on Saturday mornings.

Anthony Browne, Michael Rosen, Michael Morpugo, Judith Kerr, Axel Scheffler and Julia Donaldson, Malorie Blackman and Shirley Hughes are just a tiny handful of recent visitors. Often, the lines of children, sometimes accompanied by a teacher with whom author and bookseller had worked, would snake round the shop and out on to the pavement and the jolly events were very much a part of Muswell Hill life. As was Lesley herself.
iPad users 'are the selfish elite', claims survey
By Daniel Bates
Daily Mail, 30th July 2010

Stephen Fry attends the photocall to launch the Apple iPad in May-Getty Images

Are you wealthy, sophisticated and smart but don’t care about anybody else?
The chances are you own an iPad.

A survey has revealed the typical person who has bought Apple’s latest gadget is unkind and has little empathy for others.
They have been branded the ‘selfish elite’ by a poll of 20,000 consumers carried out by an American research company.

The £429 device has become the most desired gadget in Britain since its launch in May and 600,000 are expected to be sold before the end of the year.
But the next time you see someone sitting on a train smugly using theirs, take comfort from the fact they are probably not a nice person.

According to Tim Koelkebeck of MyType, which carried out the survey, iPad owners are are six times more likely to be ‘wealthy, well-educated, power-hungry, over-achieving, sophisticated, unkind and non-altruistic 30-50-year-olds’.
They are self-centered workaholics with an overwhelming interest in business and finance who cherish ‘power and achievement’ and will not cross the street to help others, he added.

Read more: The Daily Mail.
E-Books Fly Beyond Mere Text
By Julie Bosman
Published: July 29, 2010, New York Times

Left -E-books of the latest generation are so brand new that publishers can’t agree on what to call them.
An “enhanced” “Nixonland” arrives Thursday.

In the spring Hachette Book Group called its version, by David Baldacci, an “enriched” book. Penguin Group released an “amplified” version of a novel by Ken Follett last week. And on Thursday Simon & Schuster will come out with one of its own, an “enhanced” e-book version of “Nixonland” by Rick Perlstein.

All of them go beyond the simple black-and-white e-book that digitally mirrors its ink-and-paper predecessor. The new multimedia books use video that is integrated with text, and they are best read — and watched — on an iPad, the tablet device that has created vast possibilities for book publishers.

The start-up company Vook pioneered the concept as a mobile application and for the Web in 2009, but with the iPad, traditional publishers are taking the multimedia book much more seriously.

“It’s a wide-open world,” said Molly Barton, the director of business development for Penguin. “You can show readers the world around the books that they’re reading.”

Simon & Schuster has taken the best-selling “Nixonland,” first published in hardcover in 2008 in a whopping 896 pages, and scattered 27 videos throughout the e-book. One video is a new interview with Mr. Perlstein, conducted by Bob Schieffer, the chief Washington correspondent for CBS News. Most are news clips from events described in the book, including the Nixon-Kennedy debates in 1960 and public reaction to the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (Simon & Schuster is a division of the CBS Corporation.)

Each video clip, embedded in the page, starts to play with a simple tap of the iPad screen. After pausing to watch a video, the user can go back to reading the book.

Ellie Hirschhorn, the chief digital officer for Simon & Schuster, said the intent was to use the video sparingly, at points that seemed natural to the story, so that it wouldn’t overwhelm readers
Bosman's full story at NYT.
Second Careers, or Why You Never Really Leave Publishing 
Publishing Perpectives
From New York publishing to the American University of Cairo Press, and now on to a Ph.D. program in Arabic literature, Chip Rossetti talks about his career changes, and how diversifying skills and career paths have led people to become the "CEOs of our own careers".

Photo - Chip Rossetti, on the right, at the Abu Dhabi Book Fair, 2010

Read the interview      

Are We All Entpreneurs Now?      
As people in the workforce change jobs more frequently, pursue careers outside corporate America and gain new skill sets as a result, does this make them, in effect, entrepreneurs?
Read the article      
Penguin boss has no problem with ebooks
John Makinson says that if people want to read using new technology, that's what publishers must give them
David Teather,, Thursday 29 July 2010

John Makinson: the consumer must be given what the consumer wants. Photograph: David Levene/for the Guardian

Penguin this week celebrates its 75th year and is marking the anniversary by repackaging a series of seminal books from the 1960s to the 1980s. Although the company might afford itself a brief look backwards, it feels as though there is little room for nostalgia in book publishing now, as the industry turns its face firmly – and apprehensively – to the future.

Amazon last week announced sales of ebooks on its US site had outnumbered hardbacks for the first time, stunning casual observers, even if it had not been entirely unexpected in the trade.

The launch of the iPad has added a sense of urgency. Where music went first, books are set to follow, although Penguin and other publishers would hope without the same devastating effects. Amazon this week launched a cheaper, more lightweight version of its Kindle ebook reader and a digital store on its UK site, while others, including Google, are muscling in. Digital book sales are still less than 1% of Penguin, but the direction of the market is clear. In the US, digital books already account for 6% of consumer sales.

Penguin chief executive John Makinson says he is a convert. The day after we meet he is on his way to India, as part of David Cameron's delegation, and had loaded titles on to his iPad, including a manuscript by John le Carré and some Portuguese classics (in English) ahead of Penguin launching a range in Brazil. He is also reading Lord Mandelson's diary. It simply makes sense, he says, instead of carting an armful of books in your carry-on luggage.
Full story at The Guardian.
Wylie threatens broad digital expansion
By Kenneth Li and John Gapper in New York
Published: July 29 2010 22:40 | Financial Times

Andrew Wylie, the literary agent whose exclusive deal with last week stunned the publishing world, has threatened a broad expansion of his digital publishing business to include up to 2,000 titles if traditional publishers refuse to improve digital royalties.

Mr Wylie has established a digital publishing company called Odyssey Editions and struck a deal with Amazon, giving the online bookseller exclusive access to 20 classics including John Updike’s Rabbit series and Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man for a two-year period.
Random House, which owns the book rights to many titles on Mr Wylie’s list, has suspended dealings with his agency because it contests whether he holds these e-book rights.

In an interview, Mr Wylie said he preferred to negotiate a deal with publishers that combined the print and digital rights, but had failed to reach a satisfactory compromise after nine months of discussions with all large publishing houses.

“If we do not reach an accord, Odyssey will grow. It will not publish 20 books, it will publish 2,000 and have outside investors and make itself available to other agents,” Mr Wylie told the Financial Times this week.
“I am only trying to make a point in order to underscore the importance of getting the right terms with a view to uniting the two [print and digital] revenue streams,” Mr Wylie said.

Other publishers, including Penguin, which like the Financial Times is owned by Pearson, say that Mr Wylie has limited bargaining power because rights to e-book publication have been written into authors’ contracts since the mid-1990s. The 20 books selected for the Amazon deal are from before that date.
Full story at FT.
BN Adds Nook Boutiques, and Sues to Block More Patent Claims

Barnes & Noble is pressing the strategic advantage that they say their physical stores bring to sales of Nook and will roll-out 1,000-square-foot demonstration Nook boutiques across their stores, starting this summer. The NYT says the new boutiques will be adjacent to their in-store cafe's. The company says they will take space away from their music departments to make room for the Nook nooks, and ceo William Lynch "said that the number of books on display in Barnes & Noble stores would not decrease."

Separately, Bloomberg reports that BN "filed two suits yesterday to try to fend off demands by Xerox and Alcatel-Lucent that it pay royalties for patents. The US subsidiary of Alcatel says the Nook violates seven of its patents" and Xerox claims that violated four of their patents. "Neither claim is valid, Barnes & Noble said in its lawsuit."

Friday, July 30, 2010

Amazon says ebook sales to overtake paperbacks by next year
Paperback and hardback sales to be eclipsed

29 July 2010 By Stuart Miles on Pocket Lint
Amazon has told Pocket-lint that it expects Kindle ebook sales to eclipse paperback sales by the end of 2011, and to eclipse combined hardback and paperback sales shortly after that in the US.

"I think we [Amazon] will sell more Kindle books than paperback books in the next year [2011]", Steve Kessel, the man tasked with making the Kindle the number one ebook reader in the world, told Pocket-lint in an exclusive one-to-one briefing.
"Sometime after that we will start selling more Kindle books than hard covers and paperbacks combined".

The news comes hot on the heals of Amazon announcing that it now sells more Kindle ebooks than hardback books via its US Kindle store.
One of the driving factors to that dramatic rise in popularity over a couple of years is down to pricing and Amazon's appetite for the format that is now available for phones, tablets and of course its Kindle ebook reader to succeed.

"All ebooks will cost less than the physical books", Kessel told us as he detailed the launch of the new Amazon Kindle store in the UK, before adding: "Customers believe that electronic books should be cheaper than physical books and we agree".

The move is likely to be welcomed by UK customers keen to save money by going electronic.

Kassel also believes the new Wi-Fi and 3G models launched on Thursday in the UK and the US will quickly become the market leader.
"I think it's going to be huge", Kassel tells us confidently. "We've been selling it for years in the US. It's been the number one seller in Amazon. We've sold millions of them".
"When we launched in the US years ago, digital ebook readers had existed before. I expect the customer response to be the same here in the UK as it was in the US".

You can pre-order the new Kindle now from Amazon, ensuring you'll be on the list when it launches on 27 August.

UPDATE: Amazon has now told us the price of the book cover - it's £49.99.

Great Prizes!

Winner: One year’s RWNZ membership, a basket of Nelson Body Shop products, plus ‘Fate and Fortune,’ a double Regency novel by Emily May and Anne Herries.

Runner Up: A bottle of Te Mania wine, a gift basket from Cocoa (Richmond), plus ‘French Kiss,’ a WWII romance by Cherie Le Clare. 

Highly Commended:  ‘The Gateway,’ a  novel by Sally Ash.

The winners will be announced no later than Thursday, 30 September, 2010.

Open to anyone over the age of 18.

Theme: ‘A Winter Warmer Romance.’
Maximum length: 1000 words.
Deadline: Monday, 6 September. Entries must be postmarked Friday 3 Sept. at the latest.

Entry fee: $10 per story. To receive a written assessment the fee is $20 per story.
Entry forms: Available from 26 July on Cherie Le Clare’s website
or  email  Annika Ohlson-Smith at

Final Judge: Emily May, a successful Mills and Boon author.

Sponsored by the Nelson Romance Writers’ Group.
Page & Blackmore Booksellers have just announced their winning National Poetry Day Competition 2010 entry

The challenge this year was to include all three New Zealand Post Book Award poetry finalists in the poem.
The winner of our competition is: Lindsay Pope for his entry Dunedin, 1956.
Congratulations Lindsay!
Judge Rachel Bush said " I love the way imagery of butchers, knives and flesh builds up a mood in these 11 lines".
Dunedin, 1956

I remember it was Princes Street -
the neon pigs were dancing a butcher's jig -
the day we brought father home,
in the lustre jug that the man,
pink-faced as ham, handed to my Mum.
The day was vague as drizzle
but I recall just this. The flesh-red tram
trembling to a stop, the leather strops swaying,
clambering onto wooden seats
as the tram conductor's blue cap lifted
and mother steeling herself against life's blunt edge.

Page & Blackmore Booksellers
254 Trafalgar Street, Nelson, NZ
T (03) 548 9992  F (03) 546 6799

Saturday Morning with Kim Hill: 
31 July 2010 - Radio New Zealand National
8:15 Justice Edwin Cameron: AIDS and South Africa 8:40 Joe Randazzo: the Onion
9:05 Kathryn Schulz: wrongology
9:45 Robyn Bargh: publishing Te Reo
10:05 Playing Favourites with Donna Dean 11:10 Lydia Wevers: farm fiction
11:45 Kathy Marks: multiculturalism in Bennelong

Producer: Mark Cubey
Wellington engineer: Lianne Smith
Auckland engineer: Jeremy Ansell

Saturday Morning guest information and links:

8:15 Justice Edwin Cameron
Edwin Cameron is a Justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa, and was a judge in the Supreme Court of Appeal for eight years, and a High Court judge for six. In 2006, his memoir, Witness to AIDS, was awarded South Africa's most prestigious literary award for non-fiction, the Sunday Times/Alan Paton prize. Justice Cameron is in New Zealand as a guest of the University of Otago and its Faculty of Law, as a University of Otago James and Jean Davis Prestige Visitor, and presented a public lecture, Constitutionalism, the Politics of Power and AIDS, at Otago University and at the New Zealand Centre for Public Law at Victoria University.

8:40 Joe Randazzo
Joe Randazzo is editor of The Onion, the world's most popular satirical newspaper. Started as a college newspaper in 1988, The Onion has grown to include a successful website and online news channel, with a planned move to television in 2011.

9:05 Kathryn Schulz
Kathryn Schulz is the author of Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error (Portobello, ISBN: 978-1-84627-073-4). She has been a reporter and editor in Chile, and reported from throughout Central and South America, Japan, and, most recently, the Middle East. Her freelance magazine work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Rolling Stone, The Nation, and other publications.

9:45 Robyn Bargh
Robyn Bargh is Managing Director of independent New Zealand publishing company, HUIA Publishers, whose work includes a Maori language publishing programme. Robyn's 20 years in publishing builds on a long-standing interest in education through her work as a teacher, educational researcher and policy analyst.

10.05 Playing Favourites with Donna Dean 
Donna Dean grew up in Auckland and has travelled the world with her music. She wrote the title track on the 2010 Grammy-nominated Bluegrass album Destination Life for American artist Rhonda Vincent, and her album Money, recorded in Nashville and featuring the Amazing Rhythm Aces, won two New Zealand Tui Awards in 2003. Her new album, What Am I Gonna Do?, has just been released, and Donna is touring the country with dates in Wellington (30 July), Raumati South (1 August), Auckland (13 & 20 August), and Whangarei (2 October, following a tour abroad).
11:10 Lydia Wevers
Lydia Wevers is the director of the Stout Research Centre at Victoria University of Wellington, and is about to depart for Washington DC as Fulbright Visiting Scholar at Georgetown University. Lydia is a literary critic, historian, editor and reviewer whose area of scholarship is New Zealand and Australian literature. Her new book is Reading on the Farm: Victorian Fiction and the Colonial World (Victoria University Press, ISBN: 978-0-86473-635-2).

11:45 Kathy Marks

British journalist Kathy Marks is the Sydney-based Asia-Pacific correspondent for The Independent, and wrote the 2008 book, Pitcairn: Paradise Lost (HarperCollins). Her article, Mixing it up in Bennelong: a Recipe for Australian Multiculturalism, appears in issue 29 of Griffith Review, the quarterly Australian magazine of writing and ideas (ISBN: 978-1-921656-17-0).

Saturday Morning repeats:

On Saturday 31 July 2010 during Great Encounters between 6:06pm and 7:00pm on Radio New Zealand National, you can hear an edited repeat of Kim Hill's interview from Saturday 26 July with psychiatrist David Healy.

Preview: Saturday 7 August 2010

Kim Hill's guests will include Simon Singh, Harold Fromm and Cindy Gallop.

2 AUGUST Four x Two: New Poetry

The second novel is traditionally considered ‘difficult’ for writers, but what about the second volume of poems?  There’s an intriguing 25-year gap between John Newton’s first and second books of poetry, but Ingrid Horrocks, Anna Livesey and Hinemoana Baker (pictured) haven’t waited quite so
long to deliver their next instalment.  They read from their new books and discuss the challenges of the poet’s progress with Chris Price.

Writers on Mondays is presented by the International Institute of Modern Letters and The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.
These events take place at 12.15-1.15pm, at The Marae, Level 4, Te Papa.
They are open to the public and free of charg
Award winning Manuscript Published for National Poetry Day

Wellington writer Lynn Jenner launches her debut collection of poems, Dear Sweet Harry (Auckland University Press) today, National Poetry Day.

Dear Sweet Harry
won a prestigious prize before it was ever published – in 2008, Jenner’s manuscript received the Adam Foundation Prize in Creative Writing, awarded while she studying for her MA in Creative Writing at Victoria University of Wellington’s International Institute of Modern Letters.

Lynn Jenner’s first book is the autobiography of an obsession. Global, offbeat, remarkable, Dear Sweet Harry is unlike anything else in New Zealand literature. An assemblage of “factions” and ephemera, poems and scraps, it links the author's own family history with that of two famous deceivers, Harry Houdini and Mata Hari.

Jenner says that while no biological relation to Harry Houdini, like millions of others, she relates to Houdini, who appeared in her life with no invitation or apparent prior connection, on 1 October 2006. She began reading about him, wondering how he popped into her mind.

“For a man who placed such a store by secrets, his diaries and interviews spoke openly and frankly of the things that mattered to him, as clearly as though he were in the room. He was desperate to be accepted, to make money, to be seen as respectable – all the classic immigrant preoccupations, and he was willing to suffer to get these things.”

As well as being the story of the author’s obsession with Houdini, Dear Sweet Harry is the story the author’s grandfather, another Harry, the son of Jewish immigrants from Europe, who had settled in Wellington.
“Like Houdini, ‘our Harry’ was keen to serve his country in World War One, but unlike Houdini our Harry was sent to the Western Front.”
“Try and come back on the return boat,” his mother writes to him, “we are and will be anxious to see you, and write often, that is the only consolation we have while you are away.”

In 1978, as an old man, our Harry fell into a trance brought on by the sound of bagpipes as the All Blacks played at Murrayfield. In the trance he spoke a fragment of a story about the sound of bagpipes lifting the spirits of the men while they were marching back from the front.

“You could say this tiny piece of a story was the germ of Dear Sweet Harry. Or it could have been finding the letter from Harry’s mother. Or the appearance of Harry Houdini on a night in 2006.”

About the Author

Before Lynn Jenner took up writing at the age of 49, she practiced as a psychologist and counsellor for 25 years. She has two sets of academic qualifications –an MA in Creative Writing from the IIML at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, and an MEd, Dip Ed Psych and Dip Teaching. She is currently working towards her PhD at the Victoria University of Wellington. Her poetry has been published widely in journals. Lynn lives with her partner, Tony, on the Kapiti Coast, north of Wellington.

Book Launches

Ø    Dear Sweet Harry will be launched on National Poetry Day, Friday 30 July, by poet and scholar Chris Price at Unity Books, 57 Willis Street, Wellington. The launch is open to the public.

Ø    Dear Sweet Harry will also be celebrated at a public event on the Kapiti Coast alongside three other books by Kapiti authors: 4pm, Saturday 14 August, Valhalla Café, Raumati South.
Harry Potter copyright allegation ‘absurd’
By Jane Croft, Law Courts Correspondent - Financial Times

Published: July 28 2010
Allegations that JK Rowling copied ideas from an unknown author in writing the fourth Harry Potter book were on Wednesday described in the High Court as “fanciful” and “absurd”.

The multi-millionaire author and Bloomsbury, her publisher, are attempting to strike out a lawsuit brought by trustees of the estate of the late Adrian Jacobs, which claims that themes from Mr Jacobs’ 1987 book The Adventures of Willy the Wizard are replicated in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, published 13 years later in July 2000.

The seven Harry Potter books, which are among the fastest-selling of all time, have become a global brand worth about £7bn ($11bn).

London-born Mr Jacobs, who was once a millionaire businessman and lawyer, suffered a stroke in late 1987 and was bankrupted for a second time in 1991. He died in a charity hospital in 1997.

On Wednesday John Baldwin QC, representing Ms Rowling, told the High Court that the copyright infringement claim should be dismissed before it went to trial. Ms Rowling “did not copy the claimants work and there are no grounds for thinking otherwise”, he said.

He added that her work and Mr Jacobs’ work “are so different from each other” it was “fanciful” to suggest that the Harry Potter book reproduced part of Mr Jacob’s book.
“We do not hold back – we say the allegations are a disgrace ... and should never have been made,” he told Mr Justice Kitchin, who has been asked to give summary judgment on whether the claim should proceed to trial.
Full report at FT.

The Tuesday Poem Blog Celebrates New Zealand's National Poetry Day

With poetry events up and down the country today on National Poetry Day ,  Tuesday Poem is celebrating by posting poems by the Best Book of Poetry finalists for 2010: Brian Turner, Bernadette Hall, Michael Harlow. And in the live blog roll, the 30 Tuesday Poets have posted a poem with NZ as a theme or - for the overseas poets - poems on the joys of poetry.
You'll find poems by heavyweights like Bill Manhire and Hone Tuwhare and Katherine Mansfield to a text poem to send your friends to a sestina on a 'Southern Man'. If you don't read a poem any other day of the week, read one today.
On books - First Edition       
 Katie Allen  - The Bookseller's media editor.

Indies and chains were “excited” this week by the Man Booker longlist, announced on Tuesday (27th July), with booksellers planning to “pile them up” and predicting strong sales. Christos Tsiolkas’ The Slap (Tuskar Rock) “every bookseller’s favourite” David Mitchell (Sceptre) are already troubling the tills, although the bookies were split over the likely winner; William Hill is quoting odds of 4/1 for Andrea Levy's The Long Song (Headline), while Ladbrokes is offering 3/1 odds for twice-winner Peter Carey's Parrot and Olivier in America (Faber).

The controversial comment this time round comes not from Jamie Byng, but from academic Gabriel Josipovici, who was reported in the Guardian to have described the likes of Salman Rushdie, Ian McEwan and Julian Barnes as “prep-school boys showing off” and that it was a “mystery” they won so many awards (although not this year perhaps). Josipovici’s own What Ever Happened to Modernism? (Yale) was published on the 23rd July, with further coverage expected in the broadsheet review pages, FT and New Statesman.

The biggest news for booksellers might just be today's announcement that Amazon is bringing its controversial Kindle store to the UK, set for 27th August, perhaps finally providing a 'tipping point' for digital reading this side of the Atlantic. The giant retailer has yet to reveal the price of UK Kindle books, but booksellers will certainly be worried if it follows the model of the US where the $9.99 price-point has alarmed publishers and rival booksellers alike. The Amazon PR has also been plugging its role in agent Andrew Wylie’s digital venture Odyssey Editions with Kindle's two-year window of exclusivity. For those who missed it, here was the smart response of one US bookseller Square Books, which put the offending titles on display with the sign "These Books Not For Sale". The shop commented: "We are not actually refusing to sell the books in the window (that wouldn't be smart!)—but we are trying to illustrate the point that an arrangement between a supplier (Wylie) and a retailer (Amazon) that excludes all other suppliers and retailers is dangerously limiting."
Bloomsbury to e-publish one-million page Churchill archive

29.07.10 | Benedicte Page in The Bookseller

Bloomsbury is to make its first move into archive publishing, digitising and publishing in electronic form the one-million page personal archive of wartime prime minister Sir Winston Churchill.

The venture will be managed by Bloomsbury Academic, after a deal with the Sir Winston Churchill Archive Trust and Churchill Heritage Ltd brokered via Gordon Wise at Curtis Brown.
The archive reflects Churchill’s entire life, from Victorian schoolchild to Edwardian rising political star, to national leader in the Second World War and Cold War elder statesmen, including drafts and notes for his speeches, and key correspondence and papers.

Bloomsbury chief executive Nigel Newton [pictured, left, shaking hands with Sir Winston’s great grandson Randolph] said the archive is “the closest the UK has to a Presidential Library”, saying its publication online would become "a landmark in 20th century historical studies.”

Academic publisher Frances Pinter said when the project came up it was “a fantastic opportunity to have what I suspect is the largest archive of any prime minister, and of a figure who features so prominently in 20th century history.”
She added that the publisher’s investment was “substantial.”

The archive will be published in summer 2012 on a new platform being built for Bloomsbury by software developer iFactory and due for launch shortly.

Pinter said the archive would be sold globally “with prices appropriate for the broadest possible market”, to institutions, as a schools product with additional teaching aids, and as individual subscriptions. She added the publisher intended to develop “a substantial 20th-century history publications programme” including further archives.
Anne Rice: 'I Quit Christianity'
By Jason Boog on Jul 29, 2010 - GalleyCat
In a dramatic series of Facebook posts, novelist Anne Rice declared that she is no longer a Christian.

Check it out: "I quit being a Christian. I'm out. In the name of Christ, I refuse to be anti-gay. I refuse to be anti-feminist. I refuse to be anti-artificial birth control. I refuse to be anti-Democrat. I refuse to be anti-secular humanism. I refuse to be anti-science. I refuse to be anti-life. In the name of ... Christ, I quit Christianity and being Christian. Amen."

Rice wrote Called Out of Darkness: A Spiritual Confession, a memoir about her own conversion to Christianity--making the post a bit more surprising.

In another post, Rice also admitted, "I remain committed to Christ as always but not to being 'Christian' or to being part of Christianity." So far, her posts have drawn nearly 2,000 comments and well over 3,000 "likes." (Via Gawker)
Amazon to launch Kindle store in the UK in August

29.07.10 | Philip Jones in The Bookseller

Amazon is to launch the Kindle store in the UK this summer and has unveiled a third generation Kindle, with two new devices priced at £149 and £109. The move sees the giant retailer ratchet up the battle over digital reading in the UK following the launch of Apple's iBookstore in the UK at the end of May and the expected launch of Google Editions in the summer.

Amazon said the store would open on 27th August, the same day that it will begin shipping the two new devices. The Kindle was launched internationally last October, but up until now book buyers have had to buy books in US dollars from, severely limiting the impact of the device in the UK. Amazon is promising to have 400,000 Kindle editions in the store at the "lowest prices", but it has not divulged what the cost of bestsellers will be in the UK--something that will be a key concern to British publishers. The company said: "No other e-bookstore in the UK offers this many books or bestsellers."

The two new devices promise Amazon’s "all-new electronic ink display with 50 percent better contrast for the clearest text and sharpest images" and faster page turning. The £109 device comes only with Wi-Fi for those who don't want free 3G wireless. The new Kindle has a 21% smaller body while still keeping the same 6-inch-size reading area. At 8.7 ounces (247 grams), the new devices are 15% lighter and still 1/3 of an inch thin. Amazon also promises that a single battery charge will now last up to one month.

"Kindle is the bestselling product on Amazon for two years running. We lowered the price to $189 and sales growth tripled. Now, we are excited to introduce a new generation Kindle that is smaller, lighter, and faster, with 50% better contrast. Readers are going to do a double take when they see Kindle's bright new screen and feel how remarkably light the smaller 8.7 ounce design feels in one hand," said Jeff Bezos, founder & c.e.o.. "At this price point, many people are going to buy multiple units for the home and family."

And from the other side of the Atlantic here is PublishersLunch on the same subject:

New Kindle Slims Are Everything iPad Isn't
Last night Amazon announced two new models of their Kindle ereader available for pre-order for delivery starting August 27, and with a new wi-fi only model to sell for a low, low $139 they are continuing to press the price competition as well. Still able to attract high-profile press from all over, Amazon ceo Jeff Bezos trumpets the less expensive model as a "mass market device," even as it follows the $149 wi-fi Nook and Borders/Kobo $149 plus $20 gift card reader. Amazon's new wireless model will still sell for $189. With the current model out of stock and not coming back, they will accrue pre-orders for the new generation device, according to company executive Russ Grandinetti.

Bezos's most quotable line from his press tour is this response to USA Today (expressed elsewhere in similar terms by Amazon vp Steve Kessel): "I predict we [Kindle] will surpass paperback sales sometime in the next nine to 12 months. Sometime after that, we'll surpass the combination of paperback and hardcover."

The new models both use the next version of eInk screen technology, as first featured in the new SuperKindle models, promising "50 percent better contrast." The latest versions seem designed to be what the iPad isn't--very slim, light, easy to hold in one hand, and lower-priced. And they mostly just read books. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

A case redesign has made the body 21 percent smaller without sacrificing screen size. Having previewed an early model, they are indeed extra light in the hand and slim, now said to be just 8.7 ounces. The page-turning buttons have been further refined, as has a large rectangular navigational "rocker" device.

Other refinements include a battery the company says will last for one month on a single charge, more storage, a graphite case option, and "20 percent faster page turns."

...And the UK Gets a Native Kindle and eBookstore
At the same time that Amazon releases two new models of the Kindle ereader on August 27, the company will launch the machines in the UK, available for the first time for direct sale from Amazon UK in British sterling. Previously, UK customers could buy Kindles priced in dollars from Amazon's US site, incurring shipping charges and other fees.

That said, UK customers will still pay comparatively more for their devices based on current exchange rates, with the wireless Kindle priced at 149 pounds (roughly 230 dollars) and the new wi-fi only version selling for 109 pounds (or about 170 dollars). Wireless service is being provided by Vodafone.

The company is also launching a UK Kindle store that they say will feature over 400,000 books and 85 out of 100 Nielsen UK bestsellers. Since UK customers will be buying from a local ebookstore instead of purchasing files from Amazon's US site, they will now incur VAT on their ebook purchases. But company executive Russ Grandinetti says that local prices (in pounds) plus VAT will still offer good value, and should not mean that UK customers are paying any more than they did when buying dollar-priced ebooks from the US. The company dropped the overseas wireless delivery charges months ago.

The Bookseller adds that no publisher will be selling ebooks via Amazon UK on an agency basis--even those companies that are selling directly through Apple's UK iBookstore.

This is a headline in the New Zealand Herald this morning. Grant Bradley writing in The Business Herald reports that "the woner of Whitcoulls and Borders is blaming tough times in the book trade for a looming breach of banking covenants.
Australian-based REDgroup Retail says a review of accounts had showed it was likely to breach two out of three of its banking covenants when they are tested on August 28".

Bradley's story  goes on to say that the 80 Whitcoulls stores and five Borders outlets in NZ make up about 30% of  Group sales, that the company is facing growing competition from Paper Plus which will have 110 stores by Christmas, and that discounting by The Warehouse of top sellers is also hurting, along with online book sales.

If this story interests you, and there is much more than I have quoted, be sure to chcek The Business Herald today. At this stage the story is not online.
Three Tantalising Tuesdays
at The Women's Bookshop,
105 Ponsonby Road, Auckland.

Tuesday 10 August 6pm
Katherine Mansfield: The Storyteller

The new biography of this beloved writer is a significant literary event. Join visiting English author Kathleen Jones to celebrate the publication of her vivid, astute biography that increases our understanding & appreciation of New Zealand’s finest writer.
Kathleen will be introduced by Dr. Sarah Sandley, CEO and Publisher of NZ Magazines (including The NZ Listener), former Chair of the Katherine Mansfield Society & Chair of the Auckland Writers and Readers Festival Charitable Trust.

In the bookshop, 105 Ponsonby Road
Refreshments 6pm, Sarah & Kathleen talking 6.30pm.
Entry $5 at the door

Tuesday 17 August 6pm
New Therapy Book – NZ Author!

Join author Jacqueline Feather, Senior Lecturer in Psychology at AUT, to celebrate the publication, by internationally renowned publisher Jessica Kingsley in London, of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Child Trauma and Abuse. Using CBT to work with 9 -15 year olds, this is a brilliant, practical resource for therapists, counsellors, psychologists, social workers & health professionals. Jackie has over 20 years experience working with children, adolescents & their families, & has particular expertise in trauma-focused CBT interventions.

In the bookshop, 105 Ponsonby Road
Refreshments 6pm, Jackie talking 6.30pm
Entry $5 at the door

Tuesday 24 August 6pm
Diamond Daggers with Val McDermid

Let one of the all-time greats of crime fiction send shivers down your spine! Famous for her Tony Hill books which TV’s ‘Wire in the Blood’ series is based on, her strong lesbian characters, and her brilliant plotting, McDermid has won numerous awards, including the 2010 Cartier Diamond Dagger Award for Outstanding Career Achievement in Crime Writing.
She grew up in Scotland & has written 22 bestselling novels, which have been translated into 30 languages & sold over 10 million copies.
Her latest, Trick of the Dark, is a gripping stand-alone thriller featuring a cast of clever women.

In the bookshop, 105 Ponsonby Road
Refreshments 6pm, Val talking & reading 6.30pm
Entry $5 at the door
Kindle to Go 'Mass Market'
Amazon Digs in Heels by Introducing New, Cheaper Version of E-Book Reader

By Geoffrey A Fowler in the Wall Street Journal Inc. plans to release a cheaper Kindle e-reader next month, said Chief Executive Jeff Bezos, laying out a strategy to go "mass market" with an inexpensive gadget designed to do just one thing: sell digital books from Amazon.

The new Kindle e-reader will come in two flavors: one with Wi-Fi and 3G Internet connections selling for $189, the other with Wi-Fi only for $139.

The new Kindle features a screen with increased gray-scale contrast, a battery that lasts for a month, and a slightly smaller size. It will come in two flavors: one with Wi-Fi and 3G Internet connections selling for $189, the other with Wi-Fi only for $139. The latter will be among the cheapest wireless-equipped e-readers on the market, at least for now.

"We developed this device for serious readers. At these price points, it may be much broader than that," said Mr. Bezos in an interview. "People will buy them for their kids. People won't share Kindles any more."
Amazon will begin taking orders Thursday and the new models will begin shipping Aug. 27 to customers in
Wall Street Journal

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Voting to start in second annual Mäori book awards

Voting for excellence in Mäori publishing will lead activities at Te Kunenga ki Pürehuroa (Massey University) to mark Te Wiki o Te Reo Mäori (Mäori Language Week) this year.

Online public voting for the winners in four categories of the second annual Ngä Kupu Ora Mäori Book Awards opens today. Twelve books published between June last year and May 30 this year have been selected as finalists, three from each of the following categories – art, architecture and design; biography; history; and te reo Mäori.

Two of the finalists are written or edited by Massey authors – Mäori Art and Design: Weaving, painting, carving and architecture by PhD candidate and Mäori visual arts graduate Julia Paama-Pengelly and Weeping Waters: The Treaty of Waitangi and Constitutional Change edited by researcher Malcolm Mulholland and lecturer and PhD candidate Veronica Täwhai.

Kaihautü Mäori (Mäori library services manager) Spencer Lilley says the idea for book awards recognising Mäori literature was a result of other major book awards consistently failing to include Mäori items in their awards. “The only other book award that has a regular Mäori award is the Library and Information Association New Zealand Aotearoa Children’s Book Awards – Te Kura Pounamu Award, which recognises excellence in te reo Mäori children’s books," Mr Lilley says. “This year’s shortlisted authors and publishers have produced high quality items with literary and visual appeal. However, the low number of items published in te reo Mäori was disappointing.”

He says all shortlisted books in the te reo Mäori category this year are a combination of te reo Mäori and English, with Ngä Tatangi a Te Whare Karioi consisting of lyrics to haka, waiata and ngä möteatea from last year’s Te Matatini Festival; People of the Land containing whakataukï (proverbs) in both languages and Huia Short Stories Volume 8 containing six stories in te reo Mäori.

“The lack of books being published solely in te reo needs to be addressed and is also reflected in the absence of a te reo Mäori winner in the 2010 New Zealand Post Book Awards.”

Five of the books selected as finalists were published by Massey alumni Robyn and Brian Bargh of Huia Publishers in Wellington, including all three finalists in the te reo Mäori section and two books in the history section.

An awards event attended by winning authors, publishers, potential writers and University staff and students was held was held last year at Te Pütahi-ä-Toi (the School of Mäori Studies) at the Manawatu campus. A similar event is planned to celebrate this year’s winners on Mäori Language Day, September 14.

Voting for the Ngä Kupu Ora Mäori Book Awards closes on the last day of Te Wiki o Te Reo Mäori, August 1. Winners will be announced the next day.
Click here to vote online: Voting forms will also be available at the Manawatu, Wellington and Albany campus libraries.

This year’s finalists are:

Art, Architecture and Design

    * Whare Karakia: Mäori Church Building, Decoration and Ritual in Aotearoa New Zealand, 1834-1863 by Richard Sundt (published by Auckland University Press).
    * Rauru: Tene Wairere, Mäori Carving, Colonial History by Nicholas Thomas and Mark Adams (University of Otago Press).
    * Mäori Art and Design: Weaving, painting, carving and architecture by Julia Paama-Pengelly (New Holland).


    * Best of Both Worlds: The Story of Elsdon Best and Tutakangahau by Jeffrey Paparoa Holman (Penguin).
    * Ned & Katina: A True Love Story by Patricia Grace (Penguin).
    * Billy T: The Life and Times of Billy T James by Matt Elliot (Harper Collins).


    * Encircled Lands: Te Urewera, 1820-1921 by Judith Binney (Bridget Williams Books).
    * Contested Ground: Te Whenua i Tohea. The Taranaki Wars, 1860-1881 by Kelvin Day (Puke Ariki New Plymouth District Council/TSB Community Trust/Huia Publishers).
    * Weeping Waters: The Treaty of Waitangi and Constitutional Change edited by Malcolm Mulholland and Veronica Tawhai (Huia Publishers).

Te Reo Mäori

    * Ngä Tatangi a Te Whare Karioi – That special place where uniquely Mäori sounds are created: Te Matatini National Kapa Haka Festival: Tauranga Moana, Mataatua by Te Matatini Incorporated (Huia Publishers).
    * People of the Land: Images and Mäori Proverbs of Aotearoa New Zealand by Sid Mead and June Mead (Huia Publishers).
    * Huia Short Stories 8: Contemporary Mäori Fiction by various authors (Huia Publishers).
VUP Welcomes new publicist Helen Heath

 Helen Heath doesn't like talking about herself in the third person so I'll start by saying "Hello"! I'm excited to be joining the VUP team. I've got a background in publishing and bookselling and I recently completed my MA in creative Writing at the IIML (in poetry).
I'll be managing the website and social media as well as being in close contact with traditional media. We now have a Facebook page, where you can keep up to date with our daily goings on, come over and have a look. We'll also be Tweeting a bit more now since I'm a real chatterbox. In my spare time I blog at Helen Heath dot com There's a fun interview with Fergus Barrowman and Elizabeth Knox over there at the moment - I got my revenge for all the job interview questions!
 (Photo credit Mark Coote)
Lynda La Plante
Simon & Schuster – Trade Paperback - $39.00
Reviewed by The Bookman on Radio NZ National, Thursday 29 July, 2010.

Lynda La Plante, and yes that is her real name by the way even if it does sound like a pseudonym,  has had three careers really, although all in the entertainment business.
First off she was an actress, mainly on television appearing in such hits from the 70’s & 80’s as Z-Cars, The Sweeney, and Bergerac.  Then she moved on to script writing with her first big hit being Widows back in the mid-80’s but she really became a major player with her script for Prime Suspect which has now run to seven series and of course stars Helen Mirren as DCI Jane Tennison. In 1993 she won an Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America for her work on the series. She is an honorary fellow of the British Film Institute and was awarded the CBE in 2008.
These days though she is best-known as a best-selling author of thriller/ crime fiction novels most recently featuring Detective Inspector Ann Travis of which Blind Fury is the latest. Interestingly almost all her titles have but two words – Cold Shoulder, Cold Blood, Cold Heart, Royal Flush, Silent Scream, Deadly Intent, Clean Cut and now Blind Fury.
This one opens with the naked body of a young woman being discovered on the side of the M1 motorway just outside London. She has been raped and strangled. Detective Inspector Travis is brought on to the team working on the case and before long it is realised that two previously unsolved murders have the same hallmarks as this one and the case quickly becomes a triple murder investigation.

This is pure crime fiction with the police, initially being unable to identify the victims, having no witnesses and thus working painstakingly over and over again through the available evidence. Quite early in the story a convicted murderer, known to Anna as she was part of the team that arrested him, makes contact with her from prison claiming to be able to help. She loathes this man but is forced to make personal visits to him in a prison outside Leeds to see if he really can help.

As the case develops the police realise they are dealing with a serial killer whose deviousness has enabled him to commit horrific murders of young women yet remain undetected for years all near a dimly lit motorway service station catering for long-distance truck drivers.

As with all good detective yarns there is also an underlying personal story involving Travis with both present and former love interests as well as her ambition to be promoted to Detective Chief Inspector.
A good read, running to 500 pages, totally distracting and I found myself unable to put it down. In fact I had almost finished it earlier in the week and was reading it on a flight from Christchurch to Auckland. The next thing I knew the plane had landed at Auckland and the whole hour or so had disappeared with me totally engrossed and unaware of anything or anyone else around me.

I had a bit of drama with reviewing this title as I left my review copy unread in the US a week or so ago when I was up there visiting family in NY. The publishers couldn’t get a replacement to me quickly enough so last Friday I bought another copy at Whitcoulls in Queen Street. Auckland while in the city for a meeting and as a result I guess I am going to end up with three copies! Interestingly too although the publisher’s recommended retail price is $39.00 the Whitcoulls price was $42.99 !!  RRP’s are of course just that, recommendations, and retailers can charge what they like. While both Borders and Whitcoulls frequently sell above the rrp, I haven’t found this to be the case in other NZ bookstores. One observes in both the US and the UK that more often than not books, especially new titles, are sold below the rrp. So if you go out to buy this title make sure you pay no more than $39 !
Influences and Inspiration – De Goldi, Farrell and Perkins.
Posted on July 29, 2010 by vicbooks

The NZ Book Council gathered together, under the watchful questions of Laura Kroetsch, three of NZ’s most accomplished and successful writers: Kate De Goldi, Fiona Farrell and Emily Perkins (pictured).

The cold night didn’t seem to discourage attendees, braving the conditions to bustle into the Adam Auditorium and listen to what turned out to be one of the best conversations on writing for a long time. Starting with the question, ‘Do you remember the moment you learned to read?’, the discussion traveled great distances, exploring some utterly fascinating writerly territory. It was almost a topographical exploration of the ways and means of inspiration and influence; a kind of literary orienteering.

The audience were treated to an intriguing, often funny and always fascinating session. From Fiona Farrell’s explicit memory of words first coagulating from squiggles to meaning before her eyes (‘Donuts’ said Robert, ‘for all of us.’) to Emily Perkins describing the impact and inspiration of physical space, be it a house, cathedral or art installation, on her writing process as “experiencing the familiar world, just twisted”.

It’s easy to imagine writers just sitting down and transcribing the book that exists, perfectly formed, in their head. So it’s comforting to hear of the travails of inspiration and the comfort of influence that helps the writing process. De Goldi, Farrell and Perkins spoke about the formation of their passion and how the logic of its expression is harnessed by their weaknesses as writers. “Everything grows out of your incapacities”, said De Goldi when describing building a story with skills refined by the need to compensate for undeveloped areas of technique. “The problem suggests the structure”, Farrell added. “Yes”, said de Goldi, “it’s engineering”. If that sounds a little mechanical then the essence of the conversation isn’t being conveyed well; the synergy of these three women was quite inspiring in itself, each one instilled the session with different degrees of the intellectual and emotional approach and response to inspiring influence.
Read the full piece at Vic Books