Booklife, Booklifenow, Bookwork, Bookfatigue?

FURTHER UPDATE: Booklife makes Amazon’s Movers and Shakers list!!

UPDATE: Booklife’s Amazon ranking is up to around #350. I’m not a big believer in monitoring these rankings on a daily basis, but it strikes me as kinda fun to be within striking distance of the upper tier, so if you were planning on ordering the book and want to do me a favor, consider picking it up from Amazon today and let’s see if we can get that ranking even lower. Heh. Just because.

Thanks, dear bloggonauts, for your patience with the torrential downpour of posts on Finch and Booklife. The forecast calls for more rain this week, but it’ll clear up next week. Still, you’ll find non-Finch, non-Booklife content here by tomorrow.

In the meantime, I just wanted to call your attention to content posted on Booklifenow, and to Cory Doctorow’s review of Booklife on Boing Boing. This review, unsolicited, means a lot me.

As for content on Booklifenow, check out today’s post by John Coulthart on the cover for Booklife. Some of you may remember John’s original post about it on his site, but if you missed that, check it out on Booklifenow. We won’t do many “reprints” but it’s fitting to talk about the cover in our launch week. Also check out The Pillars of Your Public Booklife.

Booklife Excerpt for a Busy Wednesday

I’m busy on a dozen things this week–Last Drink Bird Head, Booklife ARCs, Shared Worlds business, fall book tour schedule, a book review for B&N, an antho proposal, and a book proposal–so bloggin’ will be light. But I thought I’d give you another Booklife excerpt today. I just got the PDF of John Coulthart’s layout, and this will be one writing book that doesn’t just have a functional and useful interior but also a beautiful one.

Oh, and advance blurbage is beginning to come in, like this one from Minister Faust: “Jeff VanderMeer’s Booklife is a frank, revealing, riveting manual by a writer for writers, not simply on how to be a better wordsmith, but on how to be a better human being. I’ll be recommending it to all my writing students. I don’t know how to praise a book more sincerely than that.”

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Neil Gaiman on the Limits of the Reader-Writer Contract

I love this post by Neil Gaiman about entitlement, especially as concerns readers upset that George R.R. Martin hasn’t finished his latest novel in the bestselling series. It ain’t a science, the rate of burn-out is high, and anyone who thinks that just churning out novels is a good idea–either for readers or writers–is full of crap.

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Ruskin Bacon Medley

One extra benefit of the trip to Australia–picked up a biography of John Ruskin. And I came back to find that Claire Connelly had sent me a copy of a bio of Francis Bacon. I’m really looking forward to reading both. (Thanks, Claire!)

For full effect, check out the Daily Show this week, which at about 5:15 into the show featured a bit on Baconnaise that just about killed me with laughter. My sides are still hurting.

Australian Book Haul

(A Derek Raymond classic; see my recent piece on Amazon.)

Okay, so it’s a small book haul, and most all of it is not Australian. For more on Australian fiction, please check out my various Amazon posts, which include recommendations from the Clarion 2009 students.

I am curious about that Kowalski book. Anyone read it? (Torpedo is, btw, a lit mag, and this issue is devoted to Richard Brautigan.)

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Booklife Cover, and Notes

Here’s the almost-final cover of Booklife: Strategies & Survival Tips for the 21st-Century Writer, art and design by John Coulthart. I’m pleased to note that Juliet Ulman is doing the developmental edit. Thanks also to Ann, who read the manuscript in several iterations and helped me make major changes, as well as Matt Staggs, who contributed mightily (as did others I will talk about later). (Check out Coulthart’s post on the process to get to the final cover, including prior iterations; some of those ideas will be re-used for other books, where they’ll work better.)

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Best American Fantasy 2 Update

BAF has survived the economic downturn that has led to some series being canceled and Realms of Fantasy ceasing publication. But I can’t say we survived by much–thus the delay in BAF coming out–so your support is truly appreciated. The book has gone to the printer and will be out in less than a month. If you want to support a truly unique anthology with stories you won’t find in one place anywhere else, considering ordering it. Contributors to this volume include Kelly Link, Jeffrey Ford, Rick Moody, Aimee Bender, M. Rickert, and more.

Excellent reviews have appeared in Locus, Publishers Weekly, and F&SF.

Surreal Noir: Something Stirring, Redux

Following up on my prior post, I’m definitely looking forward to this one, which arrived today, perhaps more than any other Mieville novel. It looks to be influenced by Borges, Kafka, and Kubin. I’ll be interested to see how the literalization of the figurative–Borges generally works because he doesn’t have traditional scenes in his fiction—is achieved here. If he pulls it off it could be magnificent. I’m just speculating here, but getting to Borges through Kubin might be the key, because Kubin did a nifty job of creepy surrealism and Borgesian-type play in the context of a more conventional story. Add in the structure of a police procedural and you’ve got the recipe for something that updates all of these approaches.

I’m also happy to see that Mieville’s novel and mine are vastly different creatures. It means I probably didn’t need to toss the advance unbound copy I got a few months ago (when you’re in the act of creating something idiosyncratic and retooling your style in the process you don’t want any white noise or interference from another highly visual imagination).

I’m definitely going to tackle a long critical essay, from a writer’s point of view, on this latest wave of surreal, fantastical noir. It’ll be interesting to mix analysis of books like the ones below with my own perspective from inhabiting the interior of Finch for so long–and from eight years of reviewing nothing but mystery/noir novels for Publishers Weekly.

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Books Received–Darwin and Poe (Bonus: Imaginary Beings and Grandson)

A marvelous, wonderful, brilliant, amazing issue of this literary magazine, on evolution–including essays, fiction, and poetry. My favorite poet, Patiann Rogers, is included, and the cover is by Brunetti (although you can only find that out by looking at the fine print in the back). You need this volume.

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War of All Against All: Writers vs Editors vs Publicists vs Reviewers vs Readers vs Evil Monkey

(Taken from here.)

We’ve discussed

The Top Five Things Writers Hate About (Editors)

The Top Five Things Editors Hate About (Writers)

Now, Evil Monkey has decided it’d be best to just have a cage match of all against all–in a friendly, we’re-all-in-it-together family kinda way.


writers vs editors
editors vs writers
writers vs reviewers
reviewers vs writers
writers vs writers
publicists vs writers
writers vs publicists
reviewers vs publicists
publicists vs reviewers
reviewers vs readers
readers vs writers
readers vs readers
publicists vs readers
editors vs readers
books vs television
evil monkey vs asparagus
brussel sprouts vs evil monkey
anybody vs anybody i left out

What do YOU, Spatula, hate about Collander? So to speak, and in a book / writer / reviewer / editor / etc. context…

UPDATE: Livia Llewellyn has thoughtfully provided the following additional death matches in the comments section:

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