Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Book Marks: Mystery Places, Filipiniana, and Charlie Chan Hock Chye

Sara Nović explains the challenges of being a deaf author:

In reality, the language – or linguistic modality – in which I am most fluent is written English. When I'm writing, my mind and body need not be translated for a hearing audience. I don't worry that I am unclear, that my lips and tongue will revert to their unpractised ways under pressure, or that I'm speaking at the wrong volume for the background noise I cannot gauge. When I'm reading a book, I do not have to guess in the way that I do when lipreading – paper never covers its mouth or turns its head.

Why do novelists disguise the actual settings of their works?

There is no one reason why an author should fictionalise a place. John Galt, Scott's contemporary, invented places called Oldtown and Dalmailing, Guttershiels and Gudetown, because he regarded his novels as "theoretical histories of society". The places were exemplary, not individuated. They also had a certain onomatopoeia that Dickens would take much further (in his character names as well as place names). It also circumvented the kind of green-ink letters authors still receive, pointing out, say, there are no buses from Heriot to Galashiels after 10.30pm, or that the bookshop on Buccleuch Street closed four years before the action of the novel. Places that aren't anywhere can be everywhere.

When Philippine literature struggles to be visible, even in the Philippines:

If you're a believer in supporting local authors, entering a Filipino bookstore can be a dispiriting experience. Book store chains often have piles of Dan Browns and Stephenie Meyers forming book towers at the entrance even as they shunt local authors aside in a single shelf under "Filipiniana." That one shelf is often relegated to the back, where history and sociology textbooks haphazardly mix with horror books and children's books because who cares, right?

"Filipiniana"? Don't feel so alone now, do we?

Recommendations included, though we might have to go online for those.

Singapore's National Arts Council revokes a S$8,000 grant for Sonny Liew's graphic novel, The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye, on eve of its launch in Singapore, over "sensitive content" in it, that "potentially 'undermines the authority or legitimacy' of the government.

So far, the only thing the retraction of the grant seemed to undermine was the authority of the NAC. Public interest in Liew's work emptied many stores of the book, prompting a second print run.


Oh, and read this "terrifyingly accurate indictment of the journalistic world" by Tom Cox, formerly of The Guardian. Some of you might be able to relate to this.


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