Literary Jottings

Station Eleven

I was so very sad to hear that Discworld author Terry Pratchett died this week. And I’m definitely not the only one as the Internet is swamped with tributes from readers and fellow writers for Pratchett. As Pratchett himself wrote, “No one is actually dead until the ripples they cause in the world fade away.” Rest in Peace, Sir Pratchett.

P.S. I love this: folks have begun a petition at Change.org, asking Death to bring back Terry Pratchett. If nothing else, this alone shows just how much Pratchett is loved and will be missed.

I was intrigued to hear of Book Stops, a free community library that operates out of bus stops. One just opened here in Perth where bus commuters can ‘check out’ the books available at certain bus stops. I think that’s such a great idea! Who has not been bored sitting at a bus stop waiting for a bus or on a particularly long bus journey? And it’s all part of a wider book-sharing scheme known as Book Crossing, where you can borrow books or donate a book and even track its journey in the wide world beyond.

I’ve written about how much I loved Emily St John Mandel’s Station Eleven, a beautiful novel about a group of travelling actors and musicians who wander from outpost to outpost in a post-apocalyptic world where there is no electricity. And the kudos for Station Eleven haven’t stopped flowing in with none other than George RR Martin now naming the book his top pick of 2014 reads. I couldn’t agree more.

I first heard about The Girl in the Red Coat when Kazuo Ishiguro mentioned that his wife has been at him constantly to read the book. Now I can’t stop hearing about it from other sources. I have to admit, I’m a little askance of the recent flood of ‘Girl’ titles – Gone Girl, The Girl on a Train, etc, but I’m a little intrigued by Girl in the Red Coat, particularly by reviewers commenting on the elements of fairytales such as Little Red Riding Hood subtly woven into the book.

Meanwhile, Ishiguro himself is generating a huge buzz and various responses to his latest book, The Buried Giant (Review coming up on this at the end of the month), including an accusation from Ursula Le Guin of genre snobbery after Ishiguro’s reluctance to label the book as fantasy. Personally, I like the idea of a book that encompasses more than one genre and, label-wise, is hard to define; yet I do agree with Le Guin that people shouldn’t necessarily be afraid of calling their work fantasy. I love fantasy!

The State of Alabama has declared it found no evidence of financial fraud in its investigation into whether To Kill a Mockingbird author Harper Lee is being exploited and/or abused over the publication of her book, Go Set A Watchman. This is a relief to know.

If you ever want to be part of a book club but don’t relish the idea of setting out cheese and crackers once a month or have tried starting a book club only to find that everyone keeps cancelling on you whenever a meeting rolls around, this is the book club for you. The Book Hunter was founded by Melanie Frances and she will mail you a newly released book to you each month for your literary enjoyment. Now that’s something to look forward to in the post.

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