Baby, It’s Cold Inside

8 Dec

It’s freezing in London right now. People always tell me that I must be tough because I’m Canadian. I’m forced to tell them that they are completely mistaken. It’s hard to be tough when you’re fighting off a mean draught. Plus, Canada is built for cold temperatures (at this point I explain about automatic car starters). England likes to pretend that it doesn’t need luxuries like central heating, or toques.

And although I’ve certainly enjoyed seeing headlines like “Snow Doubt About It!”, the weather hasn’t done much to encourage productivity. Even the book blogging world (inside kids if there ever were any) seems to have gone into a bit of a hibernation these days (and I don’t just mean me) – everyone seems to be on vacation or taking a break from the internet or feeling bad about not “keeping up.” I’ve turned into a bit more of a watcher than a doer myself these days, and this is what I’ve been watching:

– Kimbofo at Reading Matters has been doing many curious ebook-virgins a service by recounting her Kindle experiences in extremely helpful detail, both here and here. I feel very informed, now that I’ve read these posts and also read Kindles over people’s shoulder on the tube.

– A new prize called The Green Carnation bestowed this year’s award to Paperboy by Christopher Fowler. The prize celebrates writing by gay men – at first I thought this sounded a bit restrictive, but it turned out they had more than enough to choose from – the longlist included Generation A by Douglas Coupland and the shortlist included the debut Children of the Sun by Max Schaefer, which I’ve been wanting to get my hands on for a while.

– The Guardian Books Blog interviews this year’s John Llewellyn Rhys winner, typical comments shitstorm ensues. I haven’t read Amy Sackville’s winning book, The Still Point, yet (although I want to. The Arctic!), but neither have these commenters, and they’re more than happy to moan about the fact that she is pretty, went to Oxford, and took a creative writing course. I love that as far as these people know, she could be the second coming of Tolstoy, yet they’re certain that she only received a publishing deal because of her looks. Dudes – it’s a prize for writers under 35. Some of them will be hot. And many of them will have taken creative writing courses, because that’s a thing now. Maybe the Bronte sisters would have gone to Goldsmiths too if they’d had the chance.

Too hot to win literary prizes?

– Lastly, one thing I actually have been doing is this – The Book Stops Here. I’ve been helping out with the night for a while, back when it was still called To Hell with the Lighthouse, but now it’s all official. Next Monday we’ve got Evie Wyld (another JLR prize winner, Goldsmiths grad, AND certified hottie – horrors!), Sathnam Sanghera, and Matthew Crawford. First 50 there get a copy of the new paperback edition of Matthew’s book, The Case For Working With Your Hands (Or, “Shop Class as Soul Craft” as it was published in the States). You will also get to enjoy the comedy stylings of host Emma – Amazon reviews never sounded so depressing/hilarious.

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8 Responses to “Baby, It’s Cold Inside”

  1. David H December 8, 2010 at 10:51 pm #

    I wish I could say the Amy Sackville comments surprised me… but, as you say, it’s all too familiar.

    The Still Point is an excellent novel that thoroughly deserved its win. Nothing else is relevant.

    • Lija December 9, 2010 at 11:13 am #

      What kills me is that people keep ADMITTING it’s “sour grapes.” And then we’re still supposed to listen to their argument?

      • Jean December 9, 2010 at 11:18 am #

        They’re lamer than Nick Clegg.
        OH YES I WENT THERE.

      • David H December 9, 2010 at 2:59 pm #

        Never let context get in the way of a good whinge…

  2. Emma December 9, 2010 at 10:59 am #

    I LOVE this post! Not because you mention our night. ok, not *just* because you mention our night, but for the Amy support, the ebook tips, and MOST of all, the “snow doubt about it”. Um, do you have any more please? Thanks.

    • Lija December 9, 2010 at 11:17 am #

      I think I also saw Snow Joking Matter, and There’s Snow Escape. So basically just any phrase with “no.”

      I now have a copy of The Still Point! From the JLR prize night, and also helpfully updated with a pen to say “winner” where it used to say “shortlisted.” Sharesies.

  3. Emma December 9, 2010 at 11:23 am #

    You totally went there. HA!

    I’ve said it before, but my favourite bit is how they all say ‘but the book sounds great – can’t wait to read it!’

    There’s Snow Place Like Cone? Snowbody’s Laughing?

    • Lija December 9, 2010 at 9:15 pm #

      That last bit is just their attempt to make it sound like they’re being fair. They probably just want to read it because she’s pretty, after all.

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