As usual, I am on a very short time window, having been out for most of the day. I’ll post very briefly to some postings on the blogs that I’ve found interesting (if you want more, go to Books, Inq. where there are loads, every day!).
Philobiblon ticks off the Med’s ancient sites. Natalie has italicised the ones she has seen, which is an impressive number, but as she says, it is an idiosyncratic list.
Splinters says Spike Magazine is 10 years old. Whether or not you’ve ever read or even heard of Spike magazine, it is a readable and intimate post reflecting on setting up this (strictly amateur) publication and the intervening 10 years.
Crimefic reader at It’s a crime has found a newspaper article on the top twenty nouns used in the English language. Read her succinct analysis. I’m too time-strapped to write about it here
In a post called Storm Warnings, the inventive Paperback Writer identifies ten signs that your personal problems are taking over your novel. "1. Anyone in the novel who lies to, cheats on, divorces, or is prettier/skinnier/more popular than your protagonist dies a horrific and pointless death." Read on at PBW’s blog.
On the Rap Sheet, Linda Richards’ post Real life is messy dissects the very true (in my experience) observation that people who like crime fiction don’t read "true crime" and vice versa. (She also links to some apparently good "true crime" sites, but I’m not looking.)
Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s a killer year says Sarah Weinman on Confessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind. An "official" (?) website for "mystery, suspense and thriller authors whose work debuts in 2007 – has launched, complete with a member list, faq and of course, a blog." See more at Sarah’s post, including a link to the site.
If you have the sort of blog where you can play around with the html and hence customise the heading of your blog, Weblog wannabe links to a site of free web page headers. Mind you, the comments are what I’d call weird.
Annie Mole shows a bizarre picture of a Batty tube map — a London underground map where all the stations have the word "bat" in them– as designed by a team of international architects. The world is getting weirder by the paragraph.
Old Words: the Lady in the Van. At The Penny, London you can read a retrospective of this famous piece (later collected into a book) by Alan Bennett. Gloucester Crescent has certainly come up in the world since those days.
That’s enough links, ed. As I mentioned at the start of this post, Books Inq. is always worth a visit for all things literary, including a wide range of poems.
A new book by travel writer Rory Maclean, "Magic Bus" follows "the hippie trail from Istanbul to India". From Rory’s website:
"In the Sixties and Seventies hundreds of thousands of young Westerners took off for India, blazing the ‘hippie trail’ from Istanbul to Kathmandu. These intrepid pioneers left behind their parents’ world of postponed pleasure, the guilt of Empire and the spectre of war. Aboard the weirdest procession of unroadworthy vehicles ever to rattle across the face of the earth, they reached for a new kind of life, and became the first movement of people who travelled to be colonised rather than to colonise. In Magic Bus I retrace on foot and by bus their wide-eyed adventures along the route reopened for the first time in a generation."
Here is a review in the Guardian Unlimited of Magic Bus.
The reason I am mentioning this book is not because I have read it, but because I have just visited Rory’s lovely sister, Marlie, and she’s been telling me about it. It will be serialised on BBC Radio 4 during July, apparently. I missed the hippy era, but only just — now, it seems as distant as Kemel Attaturk (not that even I am quite that old..) Here’s an extract from the Guardian review:
"MacLean balances these arguments in a tone which falls somewhere between celebration and regret, eulogising the hippy trailblazers who established the path to enlightenment, yet in doing so ensured that there were no trails left to blaze. He salutes the enterprise of people prepared to travel thousands of miles without adequate suspension ("the secret for a successful trip was to get the passengers smoking chillum dope pipes before breakfast"); yet he observes how four decades of tourism have turned Tibet into a Himalayan theme park."
(PS no idea why some of the type in the middle of this post has gone smaller — can’t seem to do anything about it.)