Sunday, July 1, 2012

Bookie things I'm loving right now, July 1 edition

1. Whoop! Six months and 34 books down for the year.  Plus study is over (I'll leave the whooping for that one til I get my exam result back though) meaning even more time for reading!

2. I was reading this piece from We Love This Book about Chris Cleave's latest book Gold and marvelling at his dedication to understanding elite athletes: he actually took "on two months of high intensity bike training with a 20-hour-a-day regime in an attempt to get inside the athlete’s mind."  Madness!

And then I read something even more mindboggling about Mr Cleave.  In the four years since his late book (the amazing) The Other Hand came out, he has written no less than five other novels.  Five! And where are they? Well shredded actually because he believed they were near enough to being in their final form and his editors did not.  So rather than make the amendments required Cleave’s reaction was to tear each novel up “in a rage.”  Ooer.

One part of me is simply staggered by his ability to produce so much work in a such a short space of time.  Another part of me applauds his commitment to his novels by refusing to compromise and edit them as per other people's views. Meanwhile a third part of me is baffled at this confidence-bordering-on-arrarrogance.  There must be thousands of would-be authors desperate for a chance to get their manuscripts in front of agents and publishers and would relish the opportunity for expert input and critiques.  

But he's clearly a very talented man and Gold is most certainly on my TBR list - even if cycling and sport in general (apart from my beloved cricket - just don't mention today's woeful Black Caps performance!) aren't my thing.

3. Brazil is offering some of their most notorious prisoners a novel and educational way to reduce their jail time: by reading books.  The programme, called Redemption Through Reading, offers inmates in four federal prisons a choice of 12 works of literature, philosophy, science or classics to trim a maximum 48 days off their sentence each year.  Prisoners must read each book in four days followed by writing an essay. 

What do you think?  Is it a fair way to try and reduce Brazil's burgeoning prison population?  Would you like to see the same thing here?  If so, what kinds of books would you like to see NZ prisoners read?

4.  London got "bombed" last Wednesday...with poetry100,000 poems which doubled as bookmarks were dropped from a helicopter over the south bank of the Thames river at twilight. Organised by a Chilean art collective the poetry storm marks the start of the UK's largest poetry festival Poetry Parnassus in London.  The poems featured poets from each of the 204 Olympic nations along with an additional 50 poems by Chilean poets and 50 by UK poets.

How absolutely awesome!!!  And a fabulous way to spread the magic of poetry to people who might never otherwise be touched by it.

5. Lastly I had one of those brilliantly serendipitous moments the other night: having got off the phone from a long chat with my Mum including a lengthy discussion on the books we were currently reading and loving, I saw this posted on Facebook and my inner booklover sighed with contentment. 

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