"A girl was never ruined by books," my mother used to say. I've spent most of my life trying to prove that wrong.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

New Novel in the Works...

Okay, as I prepare for our trip to France and Portugal, I'm going to let you in on a secret: it looks like I'll have a new novel out in the fall.  Can't tell you with whom or what it's about, but here's a hint:  The title will be River Music, and there's music, and cultural politics and a certain amount of passion in it.

More when I come back.  That's when I'll have to get down to working on the final revisions.

Friday, June 13, 2014

The Digital World: Next Step for the Electronic Rights Defence Committee

Writers and readers of books should be aware of the swirling discussion about electronic publication and proper compensation for the people who write what we read. The latest is a suit by The Authors Guild, aiming to overthrow a court decision that upholds Google's e-book publishing program that digitizes "orphan" and other books. 

The same kind of problem exists in periodical publishing, and the Electronic Rights Defence Committee has been fighting since 1996 to get recompense for free lance writers whose work was stolen and published electronically by The Gazette, Montreal's English language daily.

The ERDC won the class action some time ago, but working toward distribution of the settlement has been slow going.  Now a hearing has been set on the distribtion plan, with a notice to members of the class being widely circulated.  Here's the link.  You'll also find the DRAFT claim form and other related documents.  Perhaps we'll finally get around to calling for claim submissions in the fall. 

Thursday, June 5, 2014

What to Read This Summer: Travels with Herodotus

One of the things I love about travelling is taken with me a solid book that will resonate with what I'm doing, even though on the surface there is no relation between the lived and the read experience.

Untl now, I thought the book par excellence for this was Charles Darwin's The Voyage of the Beagle, which I had the good fortune to take with on a trans-continental camping trip 40 years ago.  The short journal entries were perfect reading for the end of the day or in rest time on sweltering afternoons.  Darwin was in his mid-20s when he set out on his five year, around-the-world trip as a dining companion for the ship's captain and amateur naturalist.  His observations are frank and fresh, and slowly one can see his questions about the age and history of the world and its creations deepen and taken him places he had no expectation of going.

But Ryszard Kapusincinski's Travels with Herodotus comes close.  In it the Polish writer and journalist who died in 2007 at 74, gives an account of his travels with perhaps the first history of the world, written by a peripatetic Greek who wanted to see things first hand.  Kapusincinki left Poland for the first time in the 1950s as  reporter for the Polish news agency, carrying with him Herodotus's book, which has much that is relevant now.