Muse by Craig Ranapia

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Muse: Shelf Life: The Dying Elephant in The Book Room?

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  • Islander, in reply to giovanni tiso,

    Independent bookshops on the Coast are definitely hanging in there - but there is very little in the way of community stuff (visiting authors, NZ Book Month, book launches et al) organised round them, because they've found it literally doesnt pay. Libraries? - a bit more inclusive.

    I think it is extremely early days yet for e-readers & downloading books, especially here in ANZ, but I agree with Emily - yep, we are aware & awake & increasingly informed about the pros & cons-

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso, in reply to Islander,

    Heartening to hear two writers say that.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7351 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to giovanni tiso,

    One of the really neat things about teh webz is the personal communication networks that happen (i.e.they're not Facebook or Linked-in or whatever- they're just people catching up with people for various reasons, including similar jobs.) So, Lynley Hood really got things moving over the Google Fiasco, and definitely alerted me to the whole downloading universe as it applied to writers (I was already pretty familiar with 'info jes' wanna be free' crap via Cory Doctorow & Wired.)
    I would suggest that almost *all* ANZ writers are aware of both the pitfalls (DPNZ) and opportunities that e-books offer.
    But - the landscape out there is bubbling, and wont settle down for quite a while-

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    O - may I point out that the selection board (for titles deemed worthy of digitalisation) for DPNZ does not include a single writer of literary fiction...

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Andrew,

    Here in Ham-town I tend to purchase new from Pennys at Chartwell, but I'm more likely to buy second-hand from Browsers in the main street (if money was not an object, I'd take a job there, or buy the place). Whitcoulls and Paper Plus tend to be a constant source of disappointment. OTOH, Whitcoulls have a temporaryish remainder outlet in Ham East that I spent a pile in a few weeks back - lots of books at actual reasonable prices!
    There is an independantish bookshop in Casabella lane but I boycotted them after they were rather rude to my (very bookworm) son who was trying to browse and was ordered not to touch the books.
    I have done a lot of reading of e-books over the past 10 years, initially on an HP Ipaq with MS reader, and currently on my Ipod Touch with Stanza. Baen.com has lots of SF in e-formats for reasonable prices and sensible terms (ie, you bought it, you own it), plus a large free library to get you hooked.

    I most often appeciate authors notes in books, as I find it interesting to know their thoughts on the whats and whys of the work. Stephen King, Piers Anthony and Orson Scott Card spring to mind as examples. King has published a book on his writing process. Its nice to have ancilliary materiel available online, whether extending the work, or just expanding on the author's opinions. Card and Gaimain both have busy web communities and Anthony calls his site hipiers.com to set the tone. But, all that is like the special features and commentaries on a DVD - nice to have but entirely optional.

    We noticed recently that Michelle Holman, one of my wife's favorite chick-lit authors lives just on the other side of town, but she hasn't felt the urge to do any stalking. But Hamilton being Hamilton, odds are someone we know knows her. I mean I wouldn't have expected to end up in the same forums as an author I studied at Uni.

    Hamiltron - City of the F… • Since Nov 2006 • 840 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to giovanni tiso,

    but if it's something that becomes expected of authors, that they are extremely personable self-promoters, that troubles me a little bit. It's a very different skillset from being a good writer - not saying that one can't be both, but I'd like us to be able to look out for those who are just bloody good writers.

    Of course - but I'd note, for example, Anne Tyler is one of America's most respected and successful literary novelists and you could count her book tours/personal appearances on one hand, and her interviews on a closed fist. (That's not strictly accurate -- she's done a handful of interviews via e-mail, but not many.) Georgette Heyer's literary career spanned fifty years -- she did one press interview very early, found it a disagreeable experience and never did another. That didn't stop her from being enormously successful over half a century.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11864 posts Report Reply

  • James Butler, in reply to Jeremy Andrew,

    I most often appeciate authors notes in books, as I find it interesting to know their thoughts on the whats and whys of the work. Stephen King, Piers Anthony and Orson Scott Card spring to mind as examples.

    Orson Scott Card is an author whose works I have enjoyed, but whose thoughts on many things I wish I didn't know. I have no problem reading works by authors I disagree with - Heinlein comes to mind as an example - but it's different if the author is not only wrong, but also a complete twatcock about it (I might be less tolerant of Heinlein if I hadn't read how he supported Phil K Dick through some dark times. If anyone knows similar stories about Card, please let me know so I can re-read Speaker For The Dead with a good conscience).

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 801 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to James Butler,

    Orson Scott Card is an author whose works I have enjoyed, but whose thoughts on many things I wish I didn’t know.

    That’s also why I trying to break my addiction to literary biographies – I should be higher-minded about it, but it was rather uncomfortable reading the Library of America edition of Raymond Carver’s stories in tandem with Carol Sklenicka’s often horrific biography. (Steven King's judicious and generous review in the New York Times is well worth a look.) Is the physical and psychological abuse of his first wife, and scarifying neglect of his children, acceptable collateral damage for some of the finest stories I’ve ever read?

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11864 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    In a word, NO.
    Because other readers (self, for instance) do call those stories out as self-involved self-justifying coniving crap. And someone who is a human shit deserves to go down in death as a paltry lacklustre nithing.
    So be it, for Orson Scott Card.
    Whereas - my hero-writers, Ursula Leguin for the exemplar-are just so much better as writers, storytellers, and allround good human beings-

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • James Butler, in reply to Islander,

    In a word, NO.
    Because other readers (self, for instance) do call those stories out as self-involved self-justifying coniving crap. And someone who is a human shit deserves to go down in death as a paltry lacklustre nithing.
    So be it, for Orson Scott Card.

    Are you suggesting that the reader has a responsibility to evaluate the writer as well as the writing? Card has written works which are neither paltry nor lackluster (and, given, a number which are both), and I guess they will have some cultural longevity quite separate from the reputation of their author. Is this wrong?

    I have trouble with this idea, but that doesn't mean it's not reasonable. I'm slightly afraid of what I might find if I were to closely examine the lives of artists whose works I admire (present company excluded of course :-).

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 801 posts Report Reply

  • Isabel Hitchings,

    I'm in two minds about how much, if anything, I want to know about the authors I read. Once you know what a person's beliefs are you cannot help but see them reflected in their work and for every time this has given me delightful new layers of understanding there is another when I've desperately wished to go back and unknow what I have discovered so I can enjoy a story without taint.

    Christchurch • Since Jul 2007 • 705 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Stratford, in reply to Islander,

    "O – may I point out that the selection board (for titles deemed worthy of digitalisation) for DPNZ does not include a single writer of literary fiction…"

    Yes it does.

    Cambridge • Since Feb 2011 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Austin,

    I stopped using Whitcoulls back in 03 or do but recently used them for Christmas gifts and they did not really impress. The books were all in stock but took up to 6 weeks to be posted piecemeal, despite ordering them as a group to the same address by 10 December. I would have been better to order from the local Amazon

    London • Since Nov 2006 • 879 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Holy frigg, The New Zealand Herald publishes something I can commend to your attention without a health warning. Whitcoulls the latest victim of private equity boom and crash. Very well done, Liam Dann.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11864 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    Holy frigg, The New Zealand Herald publishes something I can commend to your attention without a health warning. Whitcoulls the latest victim of private equity boom and crash. Very well done, Liam Dann.

    And on a related note, Iceland shows that saying "NO!" to bank bailouts need not be a recipe for fiscal Götterdämmerung.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4154 posts Report Reply

  • Anonymous Author,

    In-person contact between writers & readers is one development

    Unfortunately authorial anonymity is considered at best a disease, at worst 'brand suicide'. And from where I sit, in a metaphysical fug here on my sofa in front of the television, whiskey in hand, slippers on and pants off, that seems unacceptable.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2010 • 64 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark, in reply to Jeremy Andrew,

    Quite!

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark, in reply to Anonymous Author,

    I was sort of talking about this the other day to a friend who is an author. I wanted to tell him how much I had enjoyed one of his books, and how lovely it was to do it in person. I was telling him how I used to email people to say how much I liked their books - but don't do that too much anymore for no particular reason. Is this sort of contact what you meant?

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • recordari,

    And from where I sit, in a metaphysical fug here on my sofa in front of the television, whiskey in hand, slippers on and pants off, that seems unacceptable.

    Are you J D Salinger?

    [Coat]

    But on a more serious note, the LA Times had this interesting piece in 2007.

    Which references The Death of the Author by Roland Barthes in 1968.

    Which is why it is derisory to condemn the new writing in the name of a humanism hypocritically turned champion of the reader’s rights. Classic criticism has never paid any attention to the reader; for it, the writer is the only person in literature. We are now beginning to let ourselves be fooled no longer by the arrogant antiphrastical recriminations of good society in favor of the very thing it sets aside, ignores, smothers or destroys; we know that to give writing its future, it is necessary to overthrow the myth: the birth of the reader must be at the cost of the death of the Author.

    I would like ‘antiphrastical recriminations’ to become part of my common parlance, if only I could work out what it means.

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to recordari,

    I would like ‘antiphrastical recriminations’ to become part of my common parlance, if only I could work out what it means.

    Pish. That’s not as high a barrier as you might think.

    Elsewhere: Richard Flanagan has a good (but depressing) piece in The Age..

    Meanwhile, in the NZHerald least said about Brian Rudman’s rather odd “I’ve got my e-reader, fuck you” column soonest mended. I knew the respect for Te Herald couldn't last, but really -- you couldn't try and sketch out the bigger picture?

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11864 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    Which references The Death of the Author by Roland Barthes in 1968.

    Dude, step away from the Post-Modernism!

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4340 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso, in reply to Emma Hart,

    Dude, step away from the Post-Modernism!

    Oi!

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7351 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    Oi!

    That's a year of my life I'd have never got back, if I hadn't stopped going to the lectures.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4340 posts Report Reply

  • recordari, in reply to Emma Hart,

    Dude, step away from the Post-Modernism!

    What, you mean I should burn my Barthes and Baudrillard? That would just leave Baudelaire, and I quite like my alliterative approach to library classification.

    I knew the respect for Te Herald couldn’t last, but really – you couldn’t try and sketch out the bigger picture?

    Phew!

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • Anonymous Author, in reply to Jackie Clark,

    Kind messages would be well received, even by hermits, I imagine. If celebrity sits, then more power to those with whom it does so comfortably... The fact that it may not shouldn't preclude the work of an author from either excellent publicity, or scathing reviews. Until humans achieve singularity with machines, the words are the story, not the person who wrote them. If one day I have my face in full view on an ipad, narrating Book 1 of my yet to be published autobiography The Ghostwriter in the Machine with subtitles and the sound turned down, I'll politely inquire: Dear reader, is it your voice or mine you're hearing as you read this?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2010 • 64 posts Report Reply

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