Wednesday, November 30, 2011

St. Mark’s Bookshop 34th anniversary part - come along

Victory Celebration and Salute the Bookshop's 34th anniversary serving the community.  The party is at

  The St. Mark’s Bookshop:                       
31 Third Avenue (corner of 9
th Street)


* Celebrate our win, meet up with friends and neighbors    
* Learn more about our community and buy a book
* Learn more about the Cooper Square Committee (The Cooper Square Committee's history battling Robert Moses and later gentrification, and its current tenants’ organizing is here:

If you can't come in person, check out the St. Mark's Bookshop website:

Misleading cover...............

As William Dart says - Rather misleading cover for the 1963 paperback edition of Carl Van Vechten's 1924 novel . . .

PEN Center USA - Fun Event in LA


PEN Center USA and Dirty Laundry Lit present a seasonal offering  of the naughtiest lit south of Santa's pole. Hosted by Jeff Eyres, with DJ Cazel. Readings by Darrel Alejandro Holnes, Preston Witt, Christopher Ross, Mecca Jamilah Sullivan, Richard Lee Warren, and Jo Robbins. Don't miss your chance to sit on Santa's lap! 

Saturday, December 3, 2011 @ 7PM (21 and over)
Little Temple
4519 Santa Monica Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90029

Take 5 this summer and be in to win!

Take 5 summer reading competition. . Take 5 is Auckland Libraries' annual summer reading competition for adults, a great way to broaden your reading taste and pick up some summer holiday reading on the run.

Monday 19 December 2011 - Sunday 8 January 2012

Blockhouse Bay Library, Central City Library, Epsom Library, Parnell Library, Remuera Library, St Heliers Library
Just visit your local library, borrow a pre-packed bundle of five popular books and delve into the worlds of sci-fi, whodunnits, chick-lit, cult fiction, historical mysteries and more!

Carefully selected by our expert librarians, every mystery bundle could have you falling in love with a new genre of writing, or reacquainting yourself with a favourite author!
How to win
Every book bundle comes with an entry form so you can enter the draw to win fabulous prizes!

THE DROP - reviewed on Radio New Zealand today.

The Drop is the 24th novel by American crime author Michael Connelly, and the fifteenth novel featuring Los Angeles Police Department detective Harry Bosch. It was published worldwide on 22 November 2011.
A new Michael Connelly book is a very big deal. Especially when it features his much-loved veteran LAPD cop Harry Bosch. Harry is one of the good guys but is often in conflict with authority. I like him enormously.
He is a veteran homicide cop with more than 30 years with the LAPD and is currently working in the Open-Unsolved crime unit (often called the “cold case” unit). Together with his younger partner David Chu, he is given cases to investigate when DNA from an old case is matched to the DNA in the nation’s databases and then the case is re-opened. These cases are called cold hits.One such case is given to Bosch and Chu at the start of The Drop. It’s a puzzling case because the blood found on the neck of a young woman’s body found 20 years ago, matches that of a sex offender who was only 8 years old at the time. Bosch and Chu are given the job of finding out whether there has been contamination during sample collection, or if not, finding some other explanation.
Before the investigation gets underway however, Bosch is pulled off the case and put onto another one by the chief of police himself, via Bosch’s former partner Kiz Rider, who now works as the chief’s assistant. A man’s badly damaged body has been found on the footpath outside a famous LA hotel, The Chateau Marmont. Did he fall? Did he jump? Was he pushed?
This is of special interest because the corpse is that of George Irving, son of Bosch’s old enemy and nemesis, Irvin Irving, who had to retire from the police force but is now a powerful city councillor who controls police budgets. Bosch would rather carry on his cold-case investigation as he has little time for police politics but has to comply with the order of the chief. So he tries to carry out both investigations in tandem.
One of the underlying themes of the novel is the excessive resource and pressure brought to bear on them to solve the current case, and the total lack of interest by the police management in the older case.
As well as the two investigations, Bosch is constantly rowing with his partner Chu. The two men have a major falling out, partly because Bosch always keeps things to himself and has an autocratic style but also because Chu is leaking information to the press to impress a female reporter. As with all of Connelly’s books there are other themes and subplots, including Bosch’s love life and his relationship with his 15 year old daughter Maddie who lives with him, all of which keep you involved in a detailed and enjoyable read
Oh and I should mention the title - the drop in this case refers to Deferred Retirement Option Plan - DROP. When Bosch was assigned to the Open-Unsolved Unit, he knew it would be for a limited time, but now he's hoping to get the maximum extra time of five years allowed before being forced to retire.
As usual though with Michael Connelly and with Bosch, there are ambiguities: the drop might also refer to those drops of blood from the long-unsolved rape-murder or to the death of George Irving.
In my view it's Connelly at his best, and really there aren't many better. Some rate him as the greatest living American crime writer as is quoted on the book’s cover. Certainly he is right up there with Lee Child, Sara Paretsky, Sue Grafton, and Patricia Cornwell.
I read the book until late into the night over the weekend, it is a must read for crime fiction fans. I should add that it runs to 388 pages so it will keep readers involved and entertained for days. An excellent plane or beach read. It might also be one for Dad’s Christmas stocking.
Allen & Unwin - $39.99

The complete list of Harry Bosch series (from Wikipedia)
  1. The Black Echo (1992)
  2. The Black Ice (1993)
  3. The Concrete Blonde (1994)
  4. The Last Coyote (1995)
  5. Trunk Music (1997)
  6. Angels Flight (1999)
  7. A Darkness More Than Night (2001) – also featuring Terry McCaleb and Jack McEvoy
  8. City of Bones (2002)
  9. Lost Light (2003)
  10. The Narrows (2004) – also featuring Rachel Walling and references of Terry McCaleb
  11. The Closers (2005)
  12. Echo Park (2006) – also featuring Rachel Walling
  13. The Overlook (2007) – also featuring Rachel Walling
  14. The Brass Verdict (2008) - also featuring Mickey Haller
  15. 9 Dragons (2009) - also featuring Mickey Haller
  16. The Reversal (2010) – also featuring Mickey Haller and Rachel Walling
  17. The Drop (2011)

2012 New Zealand International Arts Festival Artists Honoured

Two of the five $50,000 Laureate Awards, presented by the Arts Foundation last night, went to New Zealand International Arts Festival artists.
Internationally renowned choreographer and director Lemi Ponifasio, (left),whose extraordinary work Birds with Skymirrors has its New Zealand premiere at the 2012 New Zealand International Arts Festival, received a $50,000 Laureate Award at the Macquarie Private Wealth New Zealand Arts Awards, presented by the Arts Foundation in Auckland last night.
Respected musician and singer Whirimako Black, who performs her powerful songs and stories for Walk a Mile in My Shoes(below) at the 2012 Festival, was also honoured with a $50,000 Laureate Award.

Michael Crichton & Richard Preston Debut on the US Indie Bestseller List

By Maryann Yin on Galley Cat, November 29, 2011 2:23 PM

We’ve collected the books debuting on Indiebound’s Indie Bestseller List for the week ending November 27, 2011–a sneak peek at the books everybody will be talking about next month.
(Debuted at #10 in Children’s Interest) The Future of Us by Jay Asher & Carolyn Mackler: “It’s 1996, and Josh and Emma have been neighbors their whole lives. They’ve been best friends almost as long – at least, up until last November, when Josh did something that changed everything. Things have been weird between them ever since, but when Josh’s family gets a free AOL CD in the mail,his mom makes him bring it over so that Emma can install it on her new computer. When they sign on, they’re automatically logged onto their Facebook pages. But Facebook hasn’t been invented yet. And they’re looking at themselves fifteen years in the future.” (November 2011)
(Debuted at #11 in Children’s Illustrated) Bear Stays Up for Christmas by Karma Wilson and illustrated by Jane Chapman: “Bear’s friends are determined to keep Bear awake for Christmas! So they wake Bear up and have him help them find a Christmas tree, bake cakes, hang up stockings, and sing Christmas songs. Bear stays up–by discovering that giving is one of the best Christmas presents!” (October 2008)
(Debuted at #14 in Hardcover Fiction) Micro by Michael Crichton & Richard Preston: ”An instant classic, Micro pits nature against technology in vintage Crichton fashion. Completed by visionary science writer Richard Preston, this boundary-pushing thriller melds scientific fact with pulse-pounding fiction to create yet another masterpiece of sophisticated, cutting-edge entertainment.” (November 2011)

Orwell Prize Judges Named

The Orwell Prize has today, Monday 28th November, finalised the judges for the 2012 Prize.
Baroness Helena Kennedy QC, previously shortlisted for the Orwell Prize for Books 2005 for her Just Law, completes the Book Prize panel alongside Miranda Carter (winner of the Orwell Prize 2002 for Anthony Blunt: His Lives) and Sameer Rahim (assistant books editor, Daily Telegraph).

Judging this year's Journalism Prize are Brian Cathcart (journalist, winner of the Orwell Prize for Books 2000 for The Case of Stephen Lawrence, professor of journalism at Kingston University) and Ian Hargreaves (former editor of The Independent, former director of BBC News and Current Affairs, professor of digital economy at Cardiff University).

The judges for the Orwell Prize for Blogs 2012 are Suzanne Moore (journalist, The Guardian and the Mail on Sunday) and Hopi Sen (blogger, previously shortlisted and longlisted for the Orwell Prize).
Entries for the Orwell Prize 2012 opened on Wednesday 9 November and will close on Wednesday 18 January 2012, for work published in 2011. Full entry details can be found on the Orwell Prize website. All entries must have a clear relationship with the UK or Ireland, and there is no charge at any point to enter any of the Prizes. For the first time, all three Prizes can be entered using an online entry form.

This year's longlists will be announced on 28 March 2012, with the shortlists being revealed on 25 April 2012. The winners of the Orwell Prizes 2012 will be announced at an awards ceremony at Church House, London, on 23 May 2012.
The Prizes are awarded to the work which comes closest to George Orwell's ambition 'to make political writing into an art'. Each winner receives £3000 and a plaque bearing Orwell's quote.

Submissions for the Orwell Prize 2012, for work published for the first time in 2011, are now OPEN. They will remain open until Wednesday 18 January 2012. Visit the website for full details.

KERMADEC - Nine Artists Explore the South Pacific

The Pew Environment Group and Unity Books
warmly invite you to the launch of
Nine Artists Explore The South Pacific
with artists
Phil Dadson/ Bruce Foster/ Fiona Hall
Gregory O’Brien/ Jason O’Hara/ John Pule
John Reynolds/ Elizabeth Thomson/ Robin White
6pm Monday 12 December
Unity Books Wellington, 57 Willis Street

Sceptre snaps up war veteran's debut

Sceptre editorial director Drummond Moir has pre-empted an "intense and beautifully written" debut novel by a young American veteran of the war in Iraq, Kevin Powers.
Moir pre-empted British and Commonwealth rights (excluding Canada) to The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers with a "significant" offer from Peter Straus at Rogers, Coleridge and White. Michael Pietsch of Little, Brown US will edit for concurrent publication in the summer and autumn of 2012.
The novel is about a young soldier in Iraq. "Combining heartbreaking characters, profound insight, addictive levels of tension, a masterful use of language and a timely indictment of the corrosive experience of war on both soldiers and their families, The Yellow Birds is unforgettable," Moir said. He promised the novel would do for the Iraq conflict "what All Quiet on the Western Front and A Farewell to Arms did for the First World War, and Catch-22 did for the Second", calling it one of the "defining novels of our
Powers was born in Virginia and joined the army at 17, serving a year as a machine gunner in Mosul and Tal Afar, Iraq. After an honourable discharge, he later graduated with a bachelor's degree in English from Virginia Commonwealth University. He is currently a Michener Fellow in Poetry at the University of Texas at Austin and also facilitates a poetry group for veterans in the Austin area.
Author Colm Tóibín has praised The Yellow Birds, saying is is "written with an intensity which is deeply compelling". Novelist Chris Cleave said: "Reading The Yellow Birds, I became certain that I was in the presence of a text that will win plaudits, become a classic, and hold future narratives of the war to a higher standard."
RCW has taken pre-emptive offers from Bonniers in Sweden, Gyldendal in Norway, Companhia das Letras in Brazil, Shanghai 99 in China and Modan in Israel. Dutch rights have gone to Prometheus, German rights to Fischer Verlag, and Italian rights to Einaudi. There are ongoing auctions in France and Denmark.

Saluting a Serial Seducer and His Steamy Tell-All

Emmanuel Ngyen Ngoc/Bibliotheque Nationale de France
The exhibition “Casanova — The Passion for Freedom” at the the National Library of France. 
Emmanuel Ngyen Ngoc/Bibliotheque Nationale de France
A portrait of Casanova at 62. 

Emmanuel Ngyen Ngoc/Bibliotheque Nationale de FranceA page from the original manuscript of Casanova's memoirs, "The Story of My Life." More Photos »
He was also a prolific writer who documented his adventures and love affairs in a steamy memoir that is one of the literary treasures of the 18th century.
Born in Venice, he considered France his adopted country but was forced to flee Paris in 1760 after seducing the wives and daughters of important subjects of King Louis XV and cheating them out of their money.
Now Casanova is back in France, celebrated by the French state. The original manuscript of his memoirs, “The Story of My Life,” and other writings of his are on display for the first time at the National Library of France in the exhibition “Casanova — The Passion for Freedom.” He is even being called a feminist.
The story of how more than 3,700 pages of Casanova’s papers ended up in one of France’s most prestigious and proper institutions is one that Casanova himself would have loved.
He wrote the memoirs in the last years of his life. Just before his death at 73 in Bohemia in 1798, he bequeathed his papers to his nephew. In 1821 Friedrich Arnold Brockhaus, one of Germany’s most prominent publishers, acquired them from the nephew’s descendants. It was assumed in literary circles that the documents had been destroyed in the bombing of Dresden in World War II. But they were carried on a bike and hidden in a bank vault in Leipzig. An American military truck drove them to safety in Wiesbaden.
A complete version was published for the first time in French in 1960, but except for a few scholars with access to the original manuscript, it was forgotten.
Full story at The New York Times.        

Pippa Middleton and the survival of the preposterous publisher's advance

Times are tough in the book trade. But some star-dusted projects can still apparently attract serious money

Alison Flood on her Guardian book blog.
Pippa Middleton
Pippa Middleton: perfect publishing prospect? Photograph: Richard Young / Rex Features

Pippa Middleton, sister to Kate, party planner – and most recently, lucky recipient of a reported £400,000 book deal from Penguin's commercial imprint, Michael Joseph.

The title? How to Be the Perfect Party Hostess. "It will be about entertaining and how to throw the perfect party. It's not just about being the perfect hostess – it will also include recipes and information about how to host different types of events," the ubiquitous "friend" told the Daily Mail. "Pippa has been sketching out the chapters and has decided to start each one with an amusing anecdote."

Her qualifications? She's "a professional party planner for London-based events company Table Talk", and she "is also a talented writer and edits The Party Times, an online newsletter on her parents' Party Pieces website".
No wonder there was a "fierce bidding war by some of Britain's largest publishers" over her very first book.
Let's put that £400,000 in perspective. Julian Assange was reported to have been paid £500,000 by Canongate for his memoir. Two debut novelists landed deals of £500,000 or more this spring. Fourth Estate is believed to have paid more than £500,000 for UK rights in Jeffrey Eugenides's The Marriage Plot and a short story collection. House of Leaves author Mark Z Danielewski scored a reported million-dollar advance last week. But deals of this size are few and far between these days – these signings stand out precisely because such large payouts are so rare.

The rush to publish "celebrity" titles – and to shell out huge sums of money for them – began, I think, in 2004, when small independent press John Blake made a killing with Katie Price's Being Jordan. Suddenly everyone wanted to board the train – I was working for the Bookseller at the time, and it seemed there was a story every week about a celebrity landing a huge deal, about publishers duking it out for a memoir by Stephen Fry, or Keith Richards, or Roger Moore, or – ermm – fiction by Martine McCutcheon. After a while, as Pete from Big Brother was signed up, as Chantelle from Celebrity Big Brother scooped £300,000, I began to wonder who could possibly be left without a book deal. But, as sales of celebrity memoirs slumped, the trend appeared to be tailing off somewhat, the barrel to have been comprehensively scraped.
Yet the Middleton deal shows that even in these straitened times, publishers are still prepared to pay out huge advances if they really believe in a book. It's just a shame this is the book they believe in.

UK Gets Ball Rolling On Digital Copyright Exchange

2012 Katherine Mansfield Menton Fellowship - winner announced

Christchurch author and curator Justin Paton has been awarded the 2012 Katherine Mansfield Menton Fellowship. Currently Senior Curator at Christchurch Art Gallery, Justin is best known to New Zealanders as the author of the acclaimed book How to Look at a Painting and as the presenter of the accompanying television series, seen this year on TV1.

Paton, who has been described as ‘New Zealand’s most readable art critic’, has written widely about the visual arts. In Menton, however, he plans to turn his attention to a book about ‘shelter, memory, belonging and place’.
 ‘Art will play a part, but the focus is broader. Being in Christchurch this year has got me thinking about the meaning of “home”. Not just the physical sense of home, but all the intangible stuff – the values and memories – bound up in the idea. That’s what I want to explore.’
On receiving the Fellowship, Paton says: ‘It’s an amazing thing to have to look forward to. It means time and it means perspective – a chance to reflect on “home” while away from home. It means experiencing a part of the world I don’t know. And it’s scary in a good way – trying to live up to the honour.’
The Katherine Mansfield Menton Fellowship, previously known as the New Zealand Post Mansfield Prize, is one of New Zealand's longest-standing and most prestigious literary opportunities for established and mid-career New Zealand writers.
The Chair of the Winn-Manson Menton Trust Richard Cathie expressed the trustees' delight at Paton's selection. `Justin plans some interesting work in Menton. His application was compelling and he is a fitting addition to the long line of distinguished writers who have benefitted from time working there.'
Justin Paton is one of New Zealand's foremost curators and art writers and between 1999 and 2005 was editor of the journal of arts and letters Landfall. The author of books on artists including Ricky Swallow, Jeffrey Harris, Julia Morison and Jude Rae, he has written for many catalogues and publications in New Zealand and internationally. His books about Jeffrey Harris and Julia Morison were both finalists in the Montana New Zealand Book Awards and in 2006 his book How to Look at a Painting (Awa Press) won the Lifestyle and Contemporary Culture category in the awards.
Paton is also a highly respected curator, whose recent exhibitions include De-Building at Christchurch Art Gallery and Unguided Tours at the Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney.
The fellowship offers a residency of at least six months in Menton, France and NZ$75,000. The support of the city of Menton enables a New Zealand author to work at the Villa Isola Bella where Katherine Mansfield lived and wrote during the latter part of her life.
Established in 1970, there have been 42 recipients of this fellowship including: Janet Frame, Michael King, Lloyd Jones, Witi Ihimaera, Vincent O'Sullivan, Owen Marshall, Philip Temple Dame Fiona Kidman, Jenny Pattrick, Ken Duncum and the 2011 recipient Chris Price.
This is an initiative of the Winn-Manson Menton Trust and is administered by Creative New Zealand.
The Trust gratefully acknowledges a $25,000 grant from the New Zealand/France Friendship Fund and a $10,000 grant from Creative New Zealand towards the 2012 residency.

Author Emily Perkins among NZ creatives who divvy up awards worth $360,000

Wednesday Nov 30, 2011 - New Zealand Herald

Emily Perkins. Photo / SuppliedTen artists deemed the most worthy in New Zealand were given awards totalling $360,000 last night.
The Arts Foundation grant was distributed at the first annual national Macquarie Private Wealth New Zealand Arts Awards held at the Viaduct Events Centre in Auckland.
Five $50,000 Laureate Awards went to musician Whirimako Black, photographer Fiona Pardington, writer Emily Perkins (left), filmmaker Leanne Pooley and choreographer/director Lemi Ponifasio.
Musician/artist Sam Hamilton, photographer Ben Cauchi and playwright Eli Kent received $25,000 New Generation Awards.
Pardington's brother, Neil, received the $25,000 Marti Friedlander Photographic Award and was inaugural recipient of the $10,000 Mallinson Rendel Award was David Elliot.
Arts Foundation executive director Simon Bowden said last night's awards were one of their most ambitious projects and were a celebration of philanthropic support for the arts.
More at New Zealand Herald
And a full report at the Arts Foundation website.


TRIP TO BALI October 18, 2011
This Spring I received an invite to travel to Bali and take part in the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival. The annual literary festival brings over a hundred international poets and novelists to the island. The Ubud Writers & Readers Festival is the major project of the not-for-profit foundation, the Yayasan Mudra Swari Saraswati. It was first conceived of by Janet De Neefe, co-founder of the Foundation, as a healing project in response to the first Bali bombing, with the first event held in 2004.

I had never been to Asia and was very excited to take my first trip there. This kind of trip would also give me the opportunity to get to know the locals through workshops and activities. I wanted to bring my wife along and we were able to do it, her parents stayed with our kids while we were away. A big thanks goes out to them for helping make the trip happen.This was the first time we left the kids alone and I don't think they missed us at all.
The plane trip to Bali from NYC took about 30 hours. A 12 hour ride to Doha, Qatar, where we waited for about 7 hours for a connecting flight. Then another 8 hours to Singapore, and 3 hours to Denpasar, the capitol of Bali. We took Qatar Airways, it was probably the best flying experience I've had. Great service and meals, everything right on time. We landed in Denpasar and were whisked to our hotel by the great staff from the festival. We stayed at the Intercontinental at Jimbaran Bay near Kuta for a couple of nights where we got to meet some of the other wonderful writers that had traveled from abroad. It was nice to have a day to relax, enjoy the beach, and adjust to the time difference.
The next morning, as we strolled along the beach, we came across this scene of oxen combing the beachfront, a sign that this was shaping up to be an excellent trip. I headed to my first workshop that morning at Stikom BALI, a college in the capitol where I met with designers and artists from the community. I gave a lecture on my book cover process and talked about the illustration industry in the United States. I also did a demo to show some of my process. This group was wonderful to work with and gave me a great introduction to the kindness of the Balinese people.
After the workshop, we were driven from the capitol through the Balinese countryside to the Sayan valley, near Ubud. We were to stay at the Four Seasons resort there, which is pretty much over the top. The resort is made up of villas dotting the hillside, each with its own pool, a river running through the landscaped grounds. One of the highlights of staying at the resort was going on guided treks through the jungle and visiting the villages in the area of Sayan.
During the book festival, the days were filled with panel discussions, lectures and readings. The audience was mostly from Australia, New Zealand and Indonesia. I was part of a panel on book cover design, another on immigrant culture in America, and for a third I did a reading of a story I'm currently working on. The nights were filled with traditional dance performances and dinners at some of the most beautiful homes in and around Ubud. The U.S. embassy hosted a dinner for all the Americans that had traveled to Bali for the festival. We made great friends during our time there.
One of the memories I take away with me is of a day I spent conducting a workshop in the village of Guwang. I worked through an interpreter, but the kids listened carefully and then dove right in and got their hands dirty. It was so much fun to watch them collaborate on their paintings. I hope to go back there again someday.
This is probably the nicest trip we've ever taken. A special thanks goes out to Janet de Neefe and the festival staff for hosting us in such a memorable way. The best part of Bali are its people — the most gentle, kind, sweet and thoughtful people I've met in all of my travels.

Can eBooks Meet Changing Social Demand?

Monday, November 28, 2011 - Brave New World Blog

Three stories catch our eye that all point to a significant trend in the demand to loaning and renting ebooks. Some can be seen to be responding to these changes, whilst others dither, stall and demand it to be on their terms only. Are ebooks just for Christmas and today, or are they really going to be around for life? Do we have to replace those treasured printed titles with a digital library?

Social Reading
A fascinating blog from Danny Sullivan titled raises many interesting questions about lending within the family unit. It explains the challenges families face in having to use adult only accounts and in reading on multiple devices. It relates the digital restrictions to those of the physical world and asks for tolerance. Perhaps it makes the case for single versus and multiple use licences, but some would suggest a book is a book is a book.

We live in a rapidly changing world where this year’s latest technology is next year’s junk and where purchasing loyalty is often defined by convenience. Locking in family units to one channel may not be desirable, but may be practical. However, overly restricting what they do between themselves could be an open invitation to unenforceable infringement.

If we step back and look forward, how will the current model and its restrictions pan out say in 5 years, when the devices have moved on several times, the under 13’s have become ‘adults’ and what we see today as future proof standards and DRM, may be not be so solid?
Full piece at Brave New World

Simple Dinners

I love that subtitle - 140+ new recipes, clever ideas and speedy solutions for every day. 
It sums up perfectly this scrummy new book from Donna Hay.And I have to say I want to make everything in here! I have already made three main course dishes and all were a great success. I am a great fan of Donna Hay, I remember when she used to be the cookery writer for Marie Claire magazine, and now of course I watch her weekly on tv.
The recipe that appears below is the cover recipe so you know how it should end up looking. Mine didn't look quite that good!
pasta with chorizo, tomato and basil (cover recipe)
vegetable oil, for frying
1 cup basil leaves
3 chorizo, thinly sliced
500g truss cherry tomatoes
400g pappardelle
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon rind
1 clove garlic, crushed
sea salt and cracked black pepper
2 x 125g buffalo mozzarella, torn
finely grated parmesan, to serve
Preheat oven to 200°C (400°F). Heat the oil in a small saucepan over high heat. Carefully add the basil leaves a few at a time, as they may spit, and fry until crisp. Drain on absorbent paper and set aside.
   Place the chorizo and tomato on a baking tray lined with non-stick baking paper and roast for 15 minutes or until chorizo is golden. While the chorizo is roasting, cook the pasta in a saucepan of salted boiling water for 10–12 minutes or until al dente. Drain and keep warm.
   Add the olive oil, lemon rind and garlic to the pan and cook for 1 minute. Return the pasta to the pan with the chorizo, tomato, salt and pepper and toss to combine. Divide the pasta between plates and top with the mozzarella, parmesan and fried basil leaves to serve. Serves 4.
©Simple Dinners  by Donna Hay
Published by HarperCollinsPublishers
Available now from all good bookshops
About the author:
Donna Hay is one of the best-known names in cookbook and magazine publishing in the world. Her previous books have sold more than 2.2 million copies internationally and are renowned for their fresh style, easy-to-follow recipes and inspirational photography.

The Creative Hub: Write on the Waterfront

The Creative Hub provides a variety of writing courses, taught by some of New Zealand’s leading writers and teachers of writing. 
Located on Auckland's beautiful Princes Wharf, we offer a stunning location in which to have fun and learn new skills. We aspire to the highest standards of excellence, and offer a supportive environment for you to explore your creativity. 
New courses for 2012:
 Travel Writing & Photography Course, starts 7 February, 6pm to 8pm, 8 weeks
Shape your travel experiences into stories that can be published in this stimulating course. Tutored by Yvonne van Dongen with two photography workshops taken by Greta Anderson.
Introduction to Creative Writing, starts 1 March, 6pm to 8pm, 8 weeks
This course is intended to introduce you to some of the basic skills and techniques that can make writing so enjoyable. You might already keep a journal, or have written some poetry or short stories, but would like to find out about some of the tools professional writers use to make their work publishable. If so, then this is the course for you. Tutored by John Cranna. 
Advanced Fiction Course, starts 14 March, 6pm to 9pm, 2 x 15 week semesters
Take your writing to another level with this course for writers who are working on short stories or a novel. We offer a creative, collegial environment in which to hone and develop your writing. In workshops and tutorials you will be encouraged to develop your distinctive writing voice, extend your characters and explore story structure. Weekly three-hour sessions are chaired by John Cranna, with workshops by leading New Zealand writers. This course is based at the Michael King Writers' Centre in Devonport. Tutored by John Cranna. 
The Art & Craft of Memoir, starts 27 March, 6pm to 8.30pm, 8 weeks
If you have ever been tempted by the idea of writing your memoir or life story, but not known where or how to begin, this course will provide you with the confidence and skills to help you access your creativity and writing talent. Tutored by experienced memoirist Deborah Shepard. 
Visit the website for more information or email -

Heston Blumenthal at Home

Until now, home cooking has remained stubbornly out of touch with technological development but Heston Blumenthal, champion of the scientific kitchen, is set to change all that with his radical new book. With meticulous precision, he explains what the most effective techniques are and why they work.
 Heston's instructions are precise and easy to follow, with lots of helpful tips, and each chapter is introduced with an explanation of Heston's approach to 1) Stocks 2) Soups 3) Starters 4) Salads 5) Meat 6) Fish 7) Sous-vide 8) Pasta and grains 9) Cheese 10) Sides and condiments 11) Ices 12) Desserts and sweets 13) Biscuits, snacks and drinks. 

Here is the first part of Heston's introduction:
Welcome to a strand of my cooking that you may not be familiar with. I’m probably best known for the dishes I serve at the Fat Duck, like hot and iced tea, nitro-poached vodka and lime sour, and jelly of quail with crayfish cream, all of which are extremely labour-intensive. I love the technical challenge of such dishes and the thrill of taking an idea and turning it into something that is wonderful to eat, but I’m not into complexity for its own sake. I’m a self-taught chef, and I know just how frustrating and perplexing cooking can be. So I’ve always been keen to demystify the process. For some time I’ve wanted to write a book that has both exciting recipes and all the background information that explains how they actually work. A book that makes people feel really at home in the kitchen.
This is that book. There are plenty of classics like onion soup, roast chicken, prawn cocktail, Scotch eggs, pork scratching, shepherd’s pie, lemon tart and, of course, my triple-cooked chips. There are simplified versions of Fat Duck dishes like red cabbage gazpacho, scallop tartare with white chocolate, and bacon and egg ice-cream. And there are dishes that will, I hope, surprise and delight, like a salad that looks like a garden, complete with vegetables growing in edible soil, and a cinnamon and vanilla ice-cream that can switch from one flavor to the other. Most of the recipes are no longer than a page, and most of them require no complex technology. (Though I couldn’t resist slipping in some stuff for the cook who wants to push the boat out, like whisky ice-cream made with dry ice, and a chapter on the sous-vide method of cooking, which I’m convinced is the way we’ll all be cooking in the near future – you heard it here first.)

Here are two recipes that the publishers have allowed me to post for you:
Scotch eggs

It’s said that the department store Fortnum & Mason invented the ‘Scottish Egg’ in the mid-nineteenth century as a ready-to-eat luxury food. While most modern mass-produced versions are dense and stodgy, the Scotch egg can be a wonderfully refined food with lots of textural contrasts – a crunchy fried-breadcrumb exterior giving way to juicy meat and that final surprise of the egg with its still-running centre.
Scotch eggs are great picnic food, but to ensure runny yolks you can’t really make them much in advance. To be at their best, they should be served as soon as possible after leaving the oven. You can use any sausage meat here, but for me what works best is the kind used in a banger – something that has a bit of filler, which gives a smooth texture, rather than pure meat, which gives a coarser, drier texture. It’s a good idea to keep the sausage meat very cold, as it will be easier to wrap around the eggs.
Makes 8

10           Medium eggs
450g      Sausage meat
1 tsp      Chopped thyme leaves
45g        French’s mustard
½ tsp      Cayenne pepper
2 tbsp    Chopped chives
               Salt and black pepper
               Plain flour
50g        Whole milk
125g      Panko or coarse breadcrumbs, blitzed to a powder
               Groundnut oil, for deep-frying

Place 8 of the eggs in a large pan with enough water to cover the eggs by 2cm. Place the pan over a high heat. Bring the water to the boil; as soon as it starts to simmer, allow the eggs to cook for 2 minutes exactly.
Remove the eggs to a bowl and place under cold running water for 2 minutes. Let them cool for 10-15 minutes.
Meanwhile, place the sausage meat in a food processor with 2 tablespoons of cold tap water and pulse six times.
Turn into a bowl. Add the thyme, mustard, cayenne pepper, chopped chives and season with a little salt and freshly group pepper. With clean hands, mix the spices into the meat and then divide into eight balls, approximately 55g per portion.
Once the eggs are cool enough to handle, carefully peel off the shells (see tip, below). Flatten each portion of sausage meat between two sheets of clingfilm into a circle, then remove the clingfilm. Place an egg in the centre of each sausage-meat circle. Wrap the sausage meat around the egg, pressing the edges in order to seal it but being careful not to press too hard. Place in the fridge for 20 minutes.
Pre-heat the oven to 190⁰C.
In the meantime, put enough flour to coat the eggs into a bowl and season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Beat the remaining eggs in a second bowl and stir in the milk. Put the Panko into a third bowl. Roll each egg in the flour, gently tapping off any excess, then dip it in the beaten egg. Finally, roll it in the breadcrumbs, making sure that all sides are coated.
Heat a deep fat fryer to 190⁰C or place a deep saucepan no more than half filled with oil over a medium-high heat until it reaches this temperature.
Fry the Scotch eggs two at a time for 2 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and place on a drying rack over a baking tray. When all the eggs have been fried, place the tray in the oven for an additional 10 minutes. Serve immediately while the yolks are still runny.

How to peel a soft-boiled egg
Tap the top of the egg (the less pointy, more round end) carefully on the side of the sink to crack the shell. Hold the egg under a cold tap that is running very gently. Allow the water to get between the egg white and the shell and peel away the shell with your fingers. Taking care not to pierce the albumen and break the egg.

Braised chicken with sherry and cream
Normally white wine would be used in a cream sauce for chicken, but here I have used sherry. It adds deep aromatic notes to what is basically a very simple dish. If you have time, you could brine the chicken thighs in an 8 per cent brine (80g salt per 1kg water) for 4-6 hours first – this will make the texture and flavour even better.
Serves 6
For the chicken
6             Chicken thighs, skin on
               Salt and black pepper
               Plain flour
150g      Unsalted butter
2             Onions, peeled and sliced
1             Leek, white part only, cleaned and sliced
3             Cloves of garlic, peeled and bashed with the flat part of a knife or by hand
300g      Palo Cortado or Amontillado sherry
500g      White chicken stock
250g      Double cream
10           Baby onions, peeled (see tip, below) and halved
               Pinch of sugar
8             Sprigs of thyme, leaves picked
150g      Button mushrooms, quartered

To finish and serve
100g      Pancetta lardons
10g        Parmesan cheese, finely grated
10g        Gruyère cheese, finely grated
5g           Dijon mustard
1 tsp      White truffle oil
               Chives, tarragon and parsley

Season the chicken thighs with salt and freshly ground pepper, and dust with a little flour. Melt 30g of the butter in a casserole dish and sear the chicken until golden brown. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.
Add the onions, leek and garlic to the pan, and cook until translucent (approximately 15 minutes).
Pre-heat the oven to 100⁰C.
Pour the sherry into the onion pan and bring up to the boil. Set alight (see tip, below). When the flames have died away, reduce the heat, add the chicken stock and cream, and simmer for 20 minutes.
Return the chicken to the pan and bring to a simmer. Cover the casserole dish and place in the pre-heated oven for 45 minutes or until the chicken is completely cooked. Allow the chicken to cool in the liquid.
Once cool, remove the chicken from the pan. Strain the sauce through a fine sieve and discard the vegetables. Place the sauce back in the casserole over a high heat and boil to reduce by half, skimming off any impurities that rise to the surface.
In the meantime, in a frying pan, melt half of the remaining butter until foaming. Sprinkle the baby onions with salt, freshly group pepper, a pinch of sugar and the thyme leaves, and brown on the flat side, then remove.
Add the remaining butter to the pan and caramelize the mushrooms to a golden colour, seasoning during the process (approximately 15-20 minutes).
Add the onions and the mushrooms to the casserole with the reduced sauce, and simmer for 2 minutes.
Wipe the frying pan and, over a medium-high heat, render the fat out of the lardons until they are soft (approximately 10 minutes). Remove the lardons and drain on kitchen paper.
To serve, add the Parmesan, Gruyère, mustard and truffle oil to the casserole. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Add the chicken thighs, stir, and place over a medium heat for 10 minutes to warm them through.
Garnish with the lardons and freshly chopped herbs.

How to peel small onions and shallots
Small onions and shallots are fiddly to peel, but you can make it easier by blanching them in boiling water first. Bring a pan of water to the boil, add the whole onions and blanch them for 1-2 minutes, covered with a lid. Remove with a slotted spoon and cool immediately in iced water. When cool, they should easily come out of their skins.

How to flame off alcohol
This technique, to drive off some of the alcohol content, is straightforward so long as you proceed with the caution appropriate for a process involving naked flames. Make sure there are no flammable items nearby. If you have an overhead extraction unit, turn it off before you start, or the flames will be sucked into the hood and could set it on fire. Put the alcohol in a pan, bring it to the boil, then light the vapour using a long match. Let the alcohol boil until the flames have died down naturally.

The New Yorker on the future bookstore??

In this week’s issue, George Packer tells the stories of some of the Occupy protesters; Adam Gopnik explores “The Lord of the Rings,” “Twilight,” and young-adult fantasy books; James Surowiecki on Europe’s catastrophic stubbornness; Paul Slansky administers a debates quiz in Shouts & Murmurs; Lauren Collins on wireless network names [subscription required]; and more.

Scott Turow envisions one more Rusty Sabich book

Scott Turow

 Tribune reporter -November 28, 2011- Chicago Tribune

The TNT TV movie “Scott Turow's Innocent” airs Tuesday on TNT. As a companion to our review of the movie, here is a quick, edited conversation with “Presumed Innocent” and “Innocent” author Scott Turow:

Q: Harrison Ford as Rusty Sabich. Bill Pullman as Rusty Sabich. Compare and contrast.
A: Well, first of all, different. I would say that Bill's Rusty is a little closer to what I think the novels suggested, which is that you can see more of what's swimming beneath the surface with Bill, and he's a more vulnerable guy as Rusty. And that's not to down Harrison in the least. But there is a very male — not quite macho, but very male — won't-dent toughness to Harrison. And Bill plays this guy as a much more vulnerable guy, and frankly, especially in the second book, I think that's necessary.
Full interview at Chicago Tribune.

William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award 2011

William Hill award won by Ronald Reng's biography of Robert Enke

• Judges praise book on goalkeeper who took his own life
• A Life Too Short: The Tragedy of Robert Enke 'outstanding'
Robert Enke, the Germany goalkeeper
Robert Enke, the Germany goalkeeper, who suffered from depression and took his own life two years ago. Photograph: John Macdougall/AFP/Getty Images

Ronald Reng has won the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award 2011 for A Life Too Short: The Tragedy of Robert Enke. Reng's biography of Robert Enke, the German national goalkeeper who suffered from depression and took his own life two years ago, was praised by the judging panel for its powerful and insightful nature as well as its sensitivity and sincerity.
A Life Too Short tells of Enke's struggles against his own demons and brings into sharp relief the demands and fears faced by those who play top-level sport.
First published in Germany (as Robert Enke: Ein allzu kurzes Leben), Reng's book became an international bestseller. Translated into English by Shaun Whiteside and published by Yellow Jersey Press in the UK this autumn, it represents the first translated title to have won the prize.
Graham Sharpe, the co-founder of the William Hill prize, said: "Robert Enke was one of Germany's greatest goalkeepers and his tragic death shocked the world. Ronald Reng's intimate portrait – vivid, powerful and moving – is an outstanding piece of sportswriting and a very worthy winner of the prize."
Reng, a sports journalist, has written for a variety of publications across Europe and is also the author of The Keeper of Dreams: One Man's Controversial Story of Life in the English Premiership, the story of the goalkeeper Lars Leese and his time at Barnsley. Reng first met Enke in 2002. The two men became friends, and though they never discussed Enke's depression it was their intention to one day work together on his autobiography.
Reng was named the winner of the 23rd William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award at a lunchtime ceremony at Waterstone's Piccadilly. As well as a £23,000 cheque, presented by the prize judge and broadcaster John Inverdale and last year's winner Brian Moore, Reng also receives a £2,000 William Hill bet, a hand-bound copy of his book, and a day at the races.

What's Hot in South America? Surveying the Bestsellers in Argentina and Chile

A look at the bestseller lists in Argentina and Chile reveal a few commonalities and many different reading preferences between the neighboring countries. As a general rule, it is very rare that popular Chilean novel is also popular in Argentina, and vice versa.

Publishing Perspectives

One of the rare "local" fiction titles that has crossed borders...

S&S Releases eBook Edition of Fahrenheit 451

Science fiction writer Ray Bradbury has finally overcome his longstanding aversion to digital books and authorized an ebook edition of his most famous novel, FAHRENHEIT 451, which Simon & Schuster released Tuesday. The ebook deal comes as part of a new publishing agreement brokered by Bradbury's agent Michael Congdon with S&S that includes all English-language print and digital formats of FAHRENHEIT 451 in North America, and also includes English-language mass-market rights in North America to Bradbury's THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES and THE ILLUSTRATED MAN, both of which will be reissued in March. The ebook edition of FAHRENHEIT, originally published in 1953, will be priced at $9.99.
"It's a rare and wonderful opportunity to continue our relationship with this beloved and canonical author and to bring his work s to new a generation of readers and in new formats" said publisher Jonathan Karp in the announcement. "We are honored to be the champion of these classic works." In a telephone interview, Congdon explained that there was an "opportunity to make a new license" for the rights to FAHRENHEIT 451 (Ballantine published the original hardcover edition, while S&S had published the paperback from 1962 onwards) and there was "no way to make new license with anyone that didn't include ebook rights."
The agency then approached Bradbury and explained that any new deal involving the rights to FAHRENHEIT 451 could not go forward without digital rights as part of the package, and "he was willing to go ahead and sign the contract," Congdon said.
While Congdon wouldn't comment on specifics, he says the deal was for "a very significant sum of money." S&S was one of six interested parties who had the chance to bid on the new rights package, "all of whom had, one way or another, some relationship with Ray. If there was a way to grant rights to all six publishers, we would have. But you can't. There's a great deal of admiration for Ray in the publishing industry, which made our job a lot easier."
Congdon said there may be ebook editions of THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES and THE ILLUSTRATED MAN, but they are under an existing license with HarperCollins, which has so far "honored Ray's decision not to have ebook editions." With FAHRENHEIT's ebook publication, Congdon acknowledged "a door has obviously been opened" for HarperCollins.