Saturday, 3 October 2009


A couple of events in the book world occurred last week. See, if I had my finger on the pulse I would have blogged about these already, I hear you say. In my defence, I can’t be arsed offering a defence. In any case you may already be aware of both of them. In which case why am I bothering to talk about them? Ok then, I’ll stop right now. But I’ve started, so I may as well finish, cos I’ve nothing else to talk about. A blogger’s biggest worry: What to Say Next.

I’m talking shite, as is my want, but now to be serious. Super Thursday kicked off on, yes you’ve guessed it, Thursday. This was the day when the UK publishing industry took a further knock to the collective noggin (following the Dan Brown Big Discount) and released 800 books on the one day, Thursday 1st October.

That is not a typo. There is not an extra “0” at the end of 80. The figure was 800 books. On the one day. This is me looking like an envelope waiting for an address. Blank. (anyone recognise that quote?) WTF guys? Apparently it’s all about getting into the right position for the Christmas shoppers. But what do I know about that? My favourite position as a Christmas shopper is with me on my backside, in a comfie chair with my fingers in my ears going, lalalalalalala. Think Gordon Brown dealing with the latest political stushie. Until the 24th of December that is, when the hot rush of panic sets in.

Given that we are a society with our heads up our collective arse, there is a veritable plethora, an unhealthy abundance, nay a skip’s worth of books released on Thursday that come under the heading of “Celebrity Memoir”. I can’t wait until this particular obsession fades and we can get back to admiring people who have a talent for something more challenging than being able to get noticed by a camera.

Anywho, there are bound to be some good books that fade without notice in this bunfight. Can you imagine, having slaved over a manuscript for a year or more and it gets released among this storm? How would you get noticed? If you come across a book that’s worth talking about let me know and we’ll use this modest forum to give them, well a forum. Every little helps, right?

The other thing wot happened is that it was Banned Books Week, which highlighted that there are a dangerous minority of fuckwits who are intent on telling the rest of us what to read. If I could remember how to do it I would position a link HERE for you to click on to take you to the website. But I’m unabashed and unapologetically rubbish at this stuff so you’ll just have to cut and paste this to get more info.

Sure this concerns the USA. For the moment. Stuff that happens over there, tends to make its way over here.

In this site you’ll come across a reasoned, intelligent and eloquent response to one such book fascist who was determined that a book that offended her sensibilities should be pulled off the shelf of her local library, thrown to the ground and goose-stepped all over.

My favourite part of this letter by a very wise man called Jamie La Rue follows, along with an address if you want to read the full letter. Again the ability to cut and paste is required.

“Your third point, about the founders' vision of America, is something that has been a matter of keen interest to me most of my adult life. In fact, I even wrote a book about it, where I went back and read the founders' early writings about the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. What a fascinating time to be alive! What astonishing minds! Here's what I learned: our whole system of government was based on the idea that the purpose of the state was to preserve individual liberties, not to dictate them. The founders uniformly despised many practices in England that compromised matters of individual conscience by restricting freedom of speech. Freedom of speech – the right to talk, write, publish, discuss – was so important to the founders that it was the first amendment to the Constitution – and without it, the Constitution never would have been ratified.”

For the complete letter go here...

Fantastic stuff. My only concern is that when someone has lost both their brain cells on such a viewpoint they will only dismiss such an articulate effort as the ramblings of a degenerate. So in a world where those who shout loudest get heard (and frighteningly that tends to be the closed-minded minority) it’s up to those of us with wit, intelligence and the ability to listen to the opinion of others to raise their voices.

Let me hear you, people!


  1. As someone living in America and continually threatening to leave, I get weary having to listen and suffer the consequences of those closed-minded minority. Time to speak up, loudly. Thanks for the reminder.

  2. Lorna, thanks for your comments. It's not easy for the quiet majority, is it?

  3. Here in Canada when Banned Book Week is mentioned it's often used as a reason to read a banned book! I must admit I have mixed feelings when it comes to their presence in school libraries, however, because I'm a teacher. If we could read the controversial books with the students and discuss them it would be fine. But all too often the children take books out and read them on their own without a lot of thought about the the underlying messages. Although they may be very smart, children are still very impressionable. Enuff said!

    As for releasing 800 books at the same time... as much as I might like to be having a book released right now, I'm very glad I don't have a title getting lost in that mass! That's crazy!

  4. Hear, Hear, Michael. A great post. They should start an award ceremony for those who make the banned books list as they often become classics.

    (I don't go near a mall or Walmart between Thanksgiving and Christmas. So shoot me.)

  5. rationally speaking (hehe), yes, I am against banning books and censorship. BUT as a parent, I do feel the need to make sure what the youngins are reading is at least age appropriate. And let's face it, we have to deal with a full frontal assault on our childrens' minds in terms of pornographizing their childhood. that said, as a conspiracy theorist, I think banned book week is a conspiracy between book sellers and whoever owns the rights to these books because the reasons for banning them are so lame, I think its a setup to get people to buy the books to see what the hooey is about. On the other hand, I once read this book in which Satan was a character. The writer gave Satan an opportunity to explain himself and (the author) did a masterful job showing how misaligned he'd been and that God really was the villian of the whole shabang...and you know, for a moment there, it made complete sense...which is why I understand why people want to ban books. books can and do have a powerful influence on the reader for good..or not!! sort of like carnal knowledge; one is never the same. okay, change of subject: michael, I CANNOT believe you wait til dec. 24 to do your shopping! where's the spirit, mr. malone???

  6. Carol, Thea and Marley, thanks for your comments.

    and Thea, the spirit comes up on me and I lie down until it passes.