Belated ‘three things’ meme

A week is a long time in politics as we all know: we are also all well aware that in blogging, two and a half weeks is such a long time that anything that happened that long ago might as well never have happened.

So I apologise to Susan of the recently unusually quiet blog In Over My Head, who tagged me with a "three things" meme on 6 January. Susan, I bookmarked your post but time pressures are such that only now am I going to attempt to do the meme.

I think most  meme posts are silly ego trips (apart from Susan’s of course) so I am going to put my answers to this one in the continuation page. Nobody has to read it unless they click, so don’t blame me if you think it is as dull and unoriginal as it probably is.

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Linking but not much thinking

Here is one of those posts of links to some articles I bookmarked but didn’t get time to write about:

"Good advice on self-publishing" from Joe Wikert’s blog : one benefit is that it proves to yourself, as well as to prospective editors and publishers, that you have what he terms a "strong author platform".

"The truth about bookselling" by Martyn Daniels of the booksellers’ association. He quotes from a book published in 1964: "the publishers fix the published prices of their books, which must cover their own overheads, and it is argued that they could also take into consideration the need of the bookseller to meet his overheads and price their books to enable them to give better terms to booksellers. The result would be substantially increased published prices. Shopkeepers live in difficult times, particularly small shopkeepers, and it will be increasingly difficult for them to remain in the main streets, with the enormous rents required." And further back, from an 1897 article in Publishers’ Association Weekly: "increasingly in its last twenty years, the trade in new books was so seriously affected by the uncontrolled competition in discounts given to the public from the published price of books that it could not be carried on at a profit and often entailed loss, the financial return being insufficient to cover working expenses. As a result the number of booksellers keeping stocks of high class new books steadily diminished, and men of ability, who otherwise would have followed the family tradition and a love of literature by becoming booksellers, were diverted to other lines of business. This result was detrimental not only to authors, publishers and booksellers, but also to the general public, including schools, libraries and institutions, who could not find adequate facilities for seeing and purchasing books.” Plus ca change (can’t do cidillas in this Typepad window, sorry).

As usual, I can’t keep up with Problogger — when he goes away he gets someone else to write the blog for him. Here’s Tony Huang on "rules for great content", my personal favourite of many recent good posts.

You’ve probably heard of Wikipedia’s new search tool, Wikispeak Wikiseek, as there has been a lot written about it since it was announced. If you’ve missed it, here is a post about it, "Wikipedia launches Wikispeak Wikiseek", containing useful links to more information, on Bloggers Blog. You can also read about Wikisummaries here, if you are not Wikied out yet.

If you are interested in science blogging and want to catch up with it, the phenomenally active, or to put it another way, manic, Bora Zivcovic of Blog around the Clock (yes, he does this literally, while also researching chronobiology, geddit?) has self-published a book called "The Open Laboratory": the best writing on science blogs 2006. An admirable project, one which I’m going to support by buying the book (via Lulu — see the link  provided in this paragraph for brief description of the book and ordering details).

Kim of Reading Matters has drawn attention to an article in The Times by Rod Liddle (which I read in its entirety in the newspaper edition, but which is excerpted on Kim’s post) on that perennial topic "the death of the novel". Mr Liddle is one of those people who writes well and amusingly, but is daft (not just in respect of the views in this particular article). Judge for yourself at the link.

Children of Men has won a film award, writes Karen at Eurocrime. The film has just come out on DVD in the UK; Cathy and I are both waiting for it via Amazon rental. Although it is top of our list, we keep on being sent alternatives instead, which means it must be popular as this doesn’t happen very often on Amazon rentals –one of the bits of Amazon that works very well: I can highly recommend their service, not least because it entitles you to 15 per cent discount on any new DVDs you buy from them, including their reduced-price box sets πŸ˜‰ .

While on films, Prairiemary here reconsiders Don’t Look Now, that eerie movie by Nick Roeg that you are unlikely to have forgotten if you’ve seen it, no matter how long ago. One of a kind.

That’s it for now. If you are wondering how I even found the time to post the rather pathetic post above, the answer is that it isn’t my turn to go ice-skating today.