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A cursory and curious listing of books and literatrivia. 

Readers rejoice -- a new study in the journal Social Science and Medicine suggests that you'll live almost two years longer than non-readers. And books are even better!

Find the story here on the Smithsonian website.

10 Charming Quotes About Writing

One of a million monkeys at work


Quite often I find that when writers write about writing (yes, I just did that) the advice is prescriptive, and so, useless. These folks, however, just get it:


  1. “Do not place a photograph of your ­favourite author on your desk, especially if the author is one of the famous ones who committed suicide.” — Roddy Doyle
  2. “Have regrets. They are fuel. On the page they flare into desire.” — Geoff Dyer
  3. “Imagine that you are dying. If you had a terminal disease would you ­finish this book? Why not? The thing that annoys this 10-weeks-to-live self is the thing that is wrong with the book. So change it. Stop arguing with yourself. Change it. See? Easy. And no one had to die.” — Anne Enright
  4. “You can also do all that with whiskey.” –Anne Enright
  5. “Try to think of others’ good luck as encouragement to yourself.” — Richard Ford
  6. “It’s doubtful that anyone with an internet connection at his workplace is writing good fiction.” — Jonathan Franzen
  7. “Keep in mind Oscar Wilde: ‘A little sincerity is a dangerous thing, and a great deal of it is absolutely fatal.’” — Joyce Carol Oates
  8. “You know that sickening feeling of inadequacy and over-exposure you feel when you look upon your own empurpled prose? Relax into the awareness that this ghastly sensation will never, ever leave you, no matter how successful and publicly lauded you become. It is intrinsic to the real business of writing and should be cherished.” — Will Self
  9. “If you have to read, to cheer yourself up read biographies of writers who went insane.” — Colm Tóibín
  10. “Write.” — Neil Gaiman
Source: http://medium.com/@markarayner/10-charming-quotes-about-writing-d3d180e1bb22#.nnodh443n

And in some glorious future, we'll be able to replace the novelist with some kind of whisky-fuelled story algorithm machine. Ah, progress!

Source: http://www.theguardian.com/books/picture/2016/jul/09/tom-gauld-on-tech-for-novelists-cartoon

The last one is especially true ;)

"Everywhere I go, I'm asked if I think the universities stifle writers. My opinion is that they don't stifle enough of them." ~Flannery O'Connor

Source: http://www.tomgauld.com

Very chuffed to have a short story published by The Saturday Evening Post. The near-300-year-old magazine has printed stories by some of my idols, including Kurt Vonnegut.


This is a bit more sentimental than my usual fare, so it's a bit off-brand, but I'm still pleased with how it turned out: 


Empty Space Times Two

Source: http://www.saturdayeveningpost.com/2016/05/13/post-fiction/contemporary-fiction-art-entertainment/empty-space-times-two.html
Source: http://society6.com/product/books-were-his-favourite-way-to-escape_print#1=45

Please don't :)

Source: http://myjetpack.tumblr.com/image/140626723170

True dat!

Source: http://society6.com/product/bookish-friendship-blue_print#1=45
The Fridgularity - Mark A. Rayner Slaughterhouse-Five - Kurt Vonnegut

Having my novel next to Kurt Vonnegut's masterful Slaughterhouse-Five on the Amazon bestseller list for satire and humor is an early Christmas gift. 


You can get the Kindle edition now for 99¢!


Vonnegut is my literary hero, fyi :)

Is "straightforward answer" too big an area? I think so. 


Love Tom Gauld's brain!

Source: http://myjetpack.tumblr.com/post/132467896430/i-have-made-new-prints-from-six-of-my-weekly

To be fair, it's the content of books that turns me on, not the shape. 


Do crisp pages do it for you? The musky scent of an older tome? Or are you into leather (covers.)

Reblogged from It's a Mad Mad World:

I would pay serious money to see Drunk Robot Macbeth on Mars. But you should give Stalinist Cowboy Othello with a New Ending a miss. It's predictable and jejune.

Source: http://myjetpack.tumblr.com/post/130543503955/my-book-of-cartoons-youre-all-just-jealous-of-my

Ignatius was working. That was the first rule for writers. It wasn’t about the tools, his teachers had said, back in school. It was about discipline. Work.


A writer must write, even if, as Thomas Mann said: “A writer is someone for whom writing is harder than for other people.”


Of course, he might find a pen somewhat less of a challenge than the over-sized novelty pencil. And he’d heard great things about something called a word processor. Maybe regular-sized paper?


No! he thought. It’s not about the tools.


Another tiny sheet of paper ripped apart, unable to withstand Ignatius’s impatience and the giant pencil. He sighed, and started his to do list again.


Photo by Natalie Dawn, via Flickr.

Source: http://markarayner.com/archives/5366