Hatchets and Hodge: Quirky facts and figures from the publishing world

A hatchet is taken to Morrissey

You might think that most literary prizes emphasised the positive but the British have a snarky prize that is firmly based on negatives. It’s the Hatchet Job of the Year Award and it’s for the best slag off review from a book reviewer. This year the nominees included Peter Kemp (Sunday Times) who slapped down Donna Tartt’s The gold-finch, Frederic Raphael (Times Literary Supplement) who launched his vitriol at John Le Carre’s A delicate truth and David Sexton (Evening Standard) who wasn’t awed by Man Booker winners and took issue with Eleanor Catton’s The luminaries.

Cover of AutobiographyBut the winner was A.A. Gill for his ‘expert caning’ of Morrissey and his Autobiography:

The first quarter is devoted to growing up in Manchester (where he was born in 1959) and his schooling. This is laughably overwrought and overwritten, a litany of retrospective hurt and score-settling that reads like a cross between Madonna and Catherine Cookson.

Patricia Hodge

Fans of Miranda Hart will understand why Patricia Hodge, who plays Miranda’s mother, has called her forthcoming autobiography, My life in, what I call, a book.

Z for Zachariah

Cover of Z for ZachariahLately Hollywood has latched on to YA (young adult) titles for the big screen treatment. Previously, a number of YA novels made it to the screen but in the format of a television movie (such as Z for Zachariah, now being remade as a biggish Hollywood film on location in Port Levy with a Home and away name in the cast). Major reasons for the number of film versions of YA novels are the enormous success of the Hunger games and the Twilight franchises. Upcoming are adaptations of Veronica Roth’s Divergent, John Green’s The fault in our stars, Lauren Kate’s Fallen, Tim Tharp’s The spectacular now, Lois Lowry’s The giver and more.

There is another reason which has been under-played: YA novels usually can get in under the rating radar as PG in America as the R rating can limit audience numbers. There is, as well, to be fair, the fact that they have strong storylines.

Publishing picks

Publishers Weekly gives overseas bestseller lists from time to time and it’s interesting to see whether the US/UK/downunder market is echoed by titles in other languages. Recently Stephen King is up there in the top three for the French and the Spanish while the biggest seller in Germany for some time is the new one from the author of that eccentric novel about the 100 year old man who jumped out of the window. Top Spanish title is La vida es un regalo, the autobiography of a Spanish racing driver who died just before the book was launched while German readers can’t get enough of a style manual by designer Guido M. Kretschmer.

All over Europe the mania for crime novels is the same as in the English speaking world but Scandinavian crime, while still big, is not as big as it was and every country is fielding a crime writer to try and equal Nordic crime.

James Patterson

Cover of Private LAIn the time it took me to write this there’s probably been two James Patterson novels produced. Many of them these days are by other authors (24 have been used now it seems) as Mr Patterson “defines the brand” and lets his sort of co-authors go to it. Stephen King, who actually totally writes his books himself, called Mr Patterson “a terrible writer” but every airport bookshop around the world can tell you they sell more of James P. than anyone else as you know exactly what you are going to get.

Philip Tew

Mainly manly crafts

Cover of The Complete Illustrated Guide to woodworkingEvery now and then, we get a comment that our Craft book collection contains endless knitting, crochet, felting, and sewing books, and very few manly crafts or hobbies.

When thinking of manly crafts or hobbies I immediately think of woodwork and metalwork, projects such as upholstery maybe, or landscaping, making furniture etc. Plenty of men do jewellery making, toy making or perhaps even whittling. There’s drawing and painting, sculpture, making models, flower arranging. You will be pleased to know that we cater for all these interests and that the dominance of the so called womanly crafts is not as great as it may seem.

Cover of The Knitting Man(ual)You will of course find many titles in the craft section but other parts of the library also include many crafty/hobby topics:

Cover of Kiwi collectorsIn the craft section you will find subjects including toy making, pyrography, and concrete crafts to name a few, and or course plenty of knitting and needle work – and remember that our friendly staff are always be able to help out.

Perhaps this book could also be inspiring: Kiwi collectors : curious and unusual Kiwi hobbies

Christchurch – this week in history (3 – 9 March)

Roald Amundsen4 March 1977
Museum Antarctic wing opens. View our page on Antarctica and its Christchurch connections.

5 March 1863
Samuel Bealey elected third Superintendent of Canterbury.

6 March 1914
First point to point flight in Canterbury by J. W. H. Scotland from Timaru to Christchurch. In the same year, Scotland had the dubious privilege of becoming the first pilot to crash in New Zealand.

7-8 March 1964
Air exposition at airport marks opening of runway extensions (to 2400 metres) and 50th anniversary of Scotland’s Timaru to Christchurch flight.

9 March 1963
Concerts by jazz trumpeter Louis Armstrong.

Christchurch chronology
A timeline of Christchurch events in
chronological order from pre-European times to 1989.

More March events in the Chronology.