Monday, 29 December 2014

Book Marks: #GTLF2014, Battle Diary, And E-Book Fatigue

Writing chose us, say author Susan Barker and poet Sudeep Sen. A lyrical piece on the recently concluded 2014 George Town Literary Festival. The writer who gave us the above also wrote about how writers Sudhir Thomas Vadaketh, Marco Ferrarese and Shivani Sivagurunathan create a sense of place in their works during the Festival.

Publishers told Chantelle Taylor no one wanted a war story by a woman and asked her to sex it up with romance. Good thing she didn't listen. Despite other publishers' - ahem - misgivings, Taylor's battle diary was well received.

Also in the annals of "publishers who don't know what works and what doesn't", Amazon rejected a book for containing too many hyphenated words, only to put it back on sale later.

Data from Kobo reveals readers couldn't finish some e-books. According to The Guardian, "The Goldfinch may have won Donna Tartt the Pulitzer, praised by judges as a novel which 'stimulates the mind and touches the heart', but the acclaimed title's 800-odd pages appear to have intimidated British readers, with less than half of those who downloaded it from e-bookseller Kobo making it to the end."

Proofreading a 250-plus page e-book on-screen hard work. I can't imagine going through something almost as thick as The Kindly Ones or James Clavell's brick-thick novels.


  • RIP Shirley Hew, veteran Singaporean publisher. The executive director of Straits Times Press was credited with discovering award-winning writers Suchen Christine Lim and Colin Cheong.
  • The Japanese version of Lat's Kampung Boy won second place in Japan's Gaiman Award for the overseas comic category. Yay, Datuk Lat! Omedeto gozaimasu!
  • They're expensive to produce and harder to sell. So, is there still a point in publishing academic books?
  • Publishers talk about the hits and misses of 2014. Andrew Franklin of Profile Books deviated a little to tell us he was "most proud NOT to have published" Girl Online - and "most ashamed for my fellow publishers for signing up."
  • A new book reveals that Beijing's claims to the South China Sea are a recent invention. Ooh, won't this raise a few hackles in the mainland.
  • Why we should write in books: the case for marginalia. The points in that article are interesting and kind of valid, but I don't have any compelling reason to start scribbling in books - especially those priced over RM15 and above.
  • Someone wrote some thoughts to The Malay Mail Online about "why many Malaysians still cannot converse in English". One Tweeter (can't remember who) noted the irony.
  • The future of books and bookstores looks bright to James Daunt, chief executive of Waterstones. I think Daunt sounds a bit optimistic in this article, but if he feels this way....
  • When I first got into blogging, I came across quite a few good blogs, and Michael Ooi's was one of them. Glad to see it again (H/T Suanie), and glad to see him keeping it real after all these years. And I can relate to this.


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