Friday, August 15, 2008

Never too old

Dangerous WeaknessMartin Wainwright of The Guardian has a report of a 93-year-old debut novelist, Lorna Page. The book, A Dangerous Weakness, is described as 'a raunchy novel' and 'a feminist thriller set in the Alps' with a heroine who transforms 'the lives of a 93-year-old author and three of her friends who were living in nursing homes'.

The report says, Lorna Page 'wrote A Dangerous Weakness three years ago, but put it in a suitcase and made no attempt to find a publisher'. That was until her daughter-in-law told her that it was a fantastic book and that it was bound to sell.

With her new found prosperity, the author has moved into a big detached country house and has invited one or two of her contemporaries to move in. She says: "I started asking people if they wanted to move out of their care homes and live with me and I've had dozens of offers."

"Care homes can be such miserable places. You sit there all day staring out the window with no one to talk to ... I thought it would be lovely to give a home and family life to one or two people who would otherwise be sitting around there. It's nice for me too because at my age it's handy to have someone to live with ..."

The Guardian

Oddest book title prize

Odd TitlesWe have just had a rather limp Booker of Bookers public vote. Now, get ready for the Diagram of Diagrams. This is from the website: 'In celebration of the 30th anniversary of The Diagram Prize for Oddest Title of the Year, The Bookseller has launched The Diagram of Diagrams -- a public vote to discover the oddest book title of the last 30 years.' The online vote can be located at the Bookseller website. The winner will be announced on Friday, 5thSeptember.

Diagram Group founder Bruce Robertson came up with the idea for the Diagram Prize in 1978 as a way to pass the time at a dreary Frankfurt Book Fair. The inaugural prize was won that year by: Proceedings of the Second International Workshop on Nude Mice.

Last year's prize was won by: If You Want Closure In Your Relationship, Start With Your Legs.

Amongst our favourites:

  1. 1979: The Madam as Entrepreneur: Career Management in House Prostitution

  2. 1980: The Joy of Chickens

  3. 1983: The Theory of Lengthwise Rolling

  4. 1986: Oral Sadism and the Vegetarian Personality

  5. 1989: How to Shit in the Woods: An Environmentally Sound Approach to a Lost Art

  6. 1990: Lesbian Sadomasochism Safety Manual

  7. 1995: Reusing Old Graves

  8. 1996: Greek Rural Postmen and Their Cancellation Numbers

  9. 2002: Living With Crazy Buttocks

  10. 2004: Bombproof Your Horse

Read the whole list at The Bookseller website and vote.

I am a junkie

I creep into my study to be alone. And, I take a whiff. The pungent smell hits the right spot in my brain. The high! The smell of the glue, the leather, the paper, the ink ... the trip, the magical mystery tour, its Lucy in the sky with diamonds ...

I haven't even opened the book yet.

Henrietta Rose-Innes writes 'on the dark side of books' in The Sunday Times of South African: "Reading is, of course, a good and precious thing ... But literacy has a dark side too, doesn't it?"

"... what pleasure centres ignite when you part the pages of a new book and sniff the ink. It seems those neural pathways are laid down young: you're hooked early or not at all. And from that point on, you need to keep feeding the habit with progressively larger doses of word, no matter how cut and contaminated ... Highs and lows, altered states .... in my life, books have often played a pharmaceutical role, either sedative or stimulant ..."

And, I thought I was an addict. This lady is hardcore, man, but she is good.

"... hardcore, compulsive reading can sometimes feel like secret drinking or binge eating ... I can't say I've ever had a crack cocaine book experience ... but I've sure read Valium ... Fortunately, it's a benevolent dependency, most of the time. Expensive, though. (The library fines alone can drive a woman to crime.)"

Read the whole story on the website.

The Sunday Times