Golden Notebook project

A couple of weeks ago I joined the books & readers twine on Twine and today it paid off with this wee gem: the Golden Notebook project. This online project combines two of my great loves, really interesting literature and webby goodness. The project is based in the UK and is a collaboration between if:book London and Apt with funding by Arts Council England. Basically seven women are reading Nobel laureate Doris Lessing‘s Golden Notebook, the entire text of which is online so you can read along with them, and they are exchanging their comments / marginalia, online, which you can read. There’s a discussion forum for people to discuss the book and the comments made by the seven ‘readers’ and a blog which the ‘readers’ will be posting on. It only began a couple of days ago so go have a look – there’s a few posts already – and get involved.

What I find quite intriguing is the intersection between all the ‘voices’ involved – Doris herself, her characters, the seven ‘readers’ and all the unofficial online readers. Some of the ‘readers’ comments about the difference between reading in the physical book and reading it online are also interesting if you’re into that sort of thing. This project is really venturing into new territory, and I can’t help but draw parallels with Sword & laser – an online book discussion group where titles are chosen by the two hosts who also do regular podcasts about the books read, but also have online forums.

The project has certainly gotten me interested in re-reading the Golden Notebook as I’m certain that I have read it but actually can’t remember much about it. It is probably Lessing’s most famous novel, partly for its perceived feminist agenda, but my favourites of hers are the Canopus in Argos series. Technically they’re  science fiction, but like the best of the genre its more an exploration of ideas and humanity. I have read Shikasta about once a decade since my teens and always find it a realignment of my thoughts.

What’s got me excited

One the best parts of my job is getting to hear and read and get excited about new titles before they hit the shelves. So here’s some books that I have been waiting for, and have enjoyed when they have made it to the library (and a few others that I am still waiting to see!).

The re-issue of the fantastic graphic novel Watchmen by Alan Moore. I found lots of interesting and detailed background information about this classic on Wikipedia – did you know that Watchmen is the only graphic novel to date to win a Hugo Award, and that there is a movie in the works? (be patient, the movie site is a little slow to load) I’m also looking forward to the book Prince of stories : the many worlds of Neil Gaiman which explores the impact that Gaiman has had on pop culture, from anime to movies and everything in between.

Another cool book that made its way to my desk recently was Comic book tattoo : narrative art inspired by the lyrics and music of Tori Amos edited by Rantz A. Hoseley. Okay, so you may not like her music, but I found it pretty cool that so many comic artists were inspired by her lyrics to create a whole stack of weird and wonderful comics.

If you love books written and illustrated by Australian Graeme Base, then I recommend that you check out Julie Watt’s The Art of Graeme Base, which gives in-depth background to the creation of his wonderful books, like Animalia, Uno’s Garden and his newest title, Enigma : a magical mystery.

And then there’s Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer, the fourth book in the Twilight series. I can’t wait to find out what’s going to happen with Bella and Edward, the vampire she fell in love with. As it happens, I am still on the waiting list for a copy, so it is lucky that I have just gotten hold of a copy of Terry Pratchett’s latest book, Nation, to keep me enthralled over the long weekend.

6 word memoirs

SMITH magazine, inspired by Ernest Hemingway’s quote of

For sale: Baby shoes, never worn 

decided to ask for submissions of a six word memoirs, and within weeks they were flooded with submissions. Not quite what I was planning: Six word memoirs by writers famous and obscure is the result of these submissions, and is one of those funny little books that you pick up, not expecting much, and find out that six words can indeed say more than you would think, such as; 

Found true love, married someone else

Perhaps mine could be:

 Wrote the blog, not the book

Try thinking up some of your own, it’s harder than you think!