Monday, February 18, 2013

Edi's Weekend Wave issue #1307

Hello and welcome to issue #1307 of Edi's Weekend Wave.
Instead of an apology (I found an appropriate quote)  let me tell you that the winner of the weekend is fatigue.
I'm afraid of next weekend because I will be on a business trip to Spain from Tuesday to Friday next week.
Nevertheless I tried to put together something interesting after I awoke on the sofa 90 minutes before midnight on Sunday. Unfortunately I could not finish. But I desperately want move this post online before I go to Barcelona. So I postponed the packing of my bag .....


ENJOY READING ....

Edi's Guidepost
The Lighthouse
News and information straight from the horse's mouth by Lighthouse keeper ediFanoB



  1. Reading progress
Books
The latest report from our shelf shop net correspondent Bona
  1. New book
Blogosphere
Messages from the depths of the blogosphere by spheronaut Bona Fide
  1. Interview with Scott G F Bailey
Movies
Remote control junkie Fide and his zapping highlights
  1. The Supersizers Go Victorian 1

Quotes
The member of the house of quotes and a quote himself the Keeper of the minutes ( we call him Kotm) fished for you
  1. German proverbs, sayings and idioms Apology

The Lighthouse

189 pages are a poor reading progress. It is so sad when you crave for reading but you fail because you are too tired.




I'm

- still 76 pages in The Victorian Tailor (pb, 2011) [ISBN-13: 978-0312642334] by Jason Maclochlainn
No progress this week

- 18 pages in Deadhouse Gates (pp, reprint 2006) [ISBN-13: 978-0765348791] by Steven Erikson
No progress

- 182 pages in The Secrets of the Lazarus Club (pp, 2008) [ISBN-13: 978-0141035895] by Tony Pollard

- 38 pages in Tomorrow the Killing (pb ARC, 2013) by Daniel Polansky.

- 66 pages in The Astrologer (epub ARC, March 2013) by Scott G F Bailey.
There is something more to share about this book.




Enjoy your weekend ....



Books

Dear readers, I'm the one to tell you about books - only books? What about novellas and other stuff? My name is Bona. I scour shelves, shops and the net for books. If you call me a book whore I would not gainsay you. But be aware I have my own, sometimes elusive taste.

I like to see when publisher try to push their authors by delivering more than just a review copy. Last week I received a press kit from Rhemalda Publishing, which included a review copy in different formats and a lot of additional material (interview, auhtor bio, reader's guide, press release, cover and more)!!!
The Astrologer (epub ARC, March 2013) [ISBN: 978-1936850365] by Scott G F Bailey.
"“As long as Denmark looks backward, there will be bloodshed.”
It is December of 1601. Soren Andersmann, the Danish royal astrologer, has smuggled a trunk full of poisons, daggers, and a venomous snake into the royal castle at Elsinore. Though Soren knows nothing of the assassin’s trade, he has sworn to be the instrument of justice. King Christian IV has murdered Soren’s mentor and spiritual father, Tycho Brahe, the most famous astronomer the world has seen. Soren will have his revenge.
The Astrologer takes us into the world of Europe on the edge of the Renaissance. It is a world ruled by the sword, where civilization is held in place by violence and blind loyalty. The birth of science is still overshadowed by medieval religion, but men are learning to think for themselves. In 1601, a man who thinks for himself is a dangerous man. Soren Andersmann, the astrologer, is becoming a dangerous man." [Source: press kit]
I could not withstand and started to read The Astrologer and I must admit, I really like the 66 pages I read so far.


No more today, see you next week ......



Blogosphere

Hey, I'm Bona Fide. I just came back from my last foray through the blogosphere. What can you expect from me? I tell you: Everything from Art to Fart as long as there is any faint connection to books. And here is some honey from the beehive blogosphere...

The following interview was part of the Rhemalda Publishing press kit and I find it worth to share with you.

An Interview with Scott G.F. Bailey

Is The Astrologer your first novel?
No, it’s my fourth. My first novel was an experimental chunk of modernism that didn’t add up to a story. It was a real mess and it was never published because it isn’t worth reading, but it taught me that I could write something long. My second novel was a cross between The Once and Future King and Othello in the form of a coming-ofage story set in Germany, and it was a deeply flawed book. My third novel was a tragedy set in Colonial America, in 1749. After that one, I wrote The Astrologer. Every book is a learning experience, hopefully, and I’m a much better writer now than I was when I wrote my first novel. There is also something like fifteen years worth ofreading and writing between that book and The Astrologer.

Do you ever go back and look at those early novels, or at unfinished novels you abandoned along the way?
I’ve taken a poke or two at revising my first novel, but it’s hopeless. I haven’t got any unfinished novels sitting around, though I do have two fairly detailed outlines—pages and pages of notes and plot designs—for a couple of novels I abandoned before actually writing any prose. One of them was a big metaphorical thing about the dangers of the military-industrial complex, and the other was a sort of literary horror story about the devil operating a factory outside fin de siècle Baltimore. Those were both dumb ideas and I’m glad I didn’t spend more time trying to write them.

The Astrologer is an historical fiction. Did you do a lot of research in order to create your Denmark of 1601?
I did. Because it’s the Renaissance, my primary source was Shakespeare because he was alive when my book is set. I also read Saxo Grammaticus’ Danish History, Palle Lauring’s History of the Kingdom of Denmark, De Vries’ Economy of Europe in an Age of Crisis, Bainton’s The Reformation of the Sixteenth Century, Tillyard’s wonderful The Elizabethan World Picture, Alison Sim’s Food & Feast in Tudor England, as well as biographies of Francis Bacon, Johannes Keppler, Tycho Brahe, and loads of other stuff as well. I looked at maps of Renaissance Europe, I found contemporary descriptions of Copenhagen and Kronborg and Uraniborg, I read up on rapier fencing and alchemy and Renaissance astrology and science, and spent hours on JSTOR. Though no matter how much reading you do, you can still only have a patchy kind of knowledge of a world four hundred years in the past, so of course a lot of the Denmark in The Astrologer is an act of imagination on my part.

One of the ways The Astrologer captures the feel of Renaissance Europe is through the voice of Soren Andersmann, the narrator. His speech is close to Elizabethan English. How did you develop that voice?
Well, Soren is maybe speaking 19th-century literary English with an Elizabethan accent. It’s not really Elizabethan English. The touchstone for the language I used in the novel is Shakespeare, because I’m pretty familiar with Shakespeare and I think his language is just gorgeous. But you can’t really write a novel in Shakespearean verse, so I spent a lot of time modernizing Elizabethan English, making it into something a modern reader will find beautiful but not foreign. But it did go in that direction: from the Elizabethan writings of Shakespeare and Francis Bacon, turning that into something more current, rather than me simply throwing in “thinkest thou” and “mayhap” here and there. The first drafts were very close to Elizabethan English.

Do you read much historical fiction?
No, not much. I read a lot of old books, though.

But were there any modern authors you turned to for guidance when you wrote your own historical fiction?
Early on, when I was trying to figure out things like an authentic-sounding historical voice and how to work in historical references without being clumsy about it, I read Geraldine Brooks’ novel March, which was very informative. Brooks is entirely unselfconscious about immersion into her historical milieu, and I don’t think she was worried about her narrator sounding goofy. She took her project seriously, so I found that I could be serious about my own writing. Ursula Le Guin’s Lavinia was helpful, too. But really I was just trying to write a good, solid novel. I don’t think you need any special guidance for that just because you’re working in historical fiction. Good fiction is good fiction, and all of it requires solid writing skills and an imaginative author.

Do you have any rituals before you write? Anything you do to put you into a creative frame of mind?
No. I write in public, mostly, on buses or in restaurants, longhand with a pen. So what I require is a table and good light. I like to read over the pages I’ve written in my last writing session before I start in with new prose, but that’s it. When I’m working on a novel—which seems to be almost always now—I’m pretty much always thinking about the novel in some way or another. I can’t remember who said it, but writing a novel is a lot like having the bath water always running upstairs in your house; you’re aware of it constantly and you have to pay attention to it or there’ll be a real mess. So even if I’m not sitting down with pen in hand, when I’ve got a novel going, I am always writing. I’m working on a novel right now. I don’t so much believe in creativity, or the writerly mood; writing is a habit of being, as Flannery O’Connor put it. One writes. One exercises one’s imagination and puts that on the page. You don’t turn it on and off; you do it always.

What are you working on now?
Just now I’m actually working on three books. The first draft I just finished writing is a novel about my mother, or a fictionalized version of my mother. It’s very rough, and I’ll get to it after I finish revisions to the novel I drafted last year, a book called Go Home, Miss America. That’s a contemporary novel having to do with ethical choices and self image. I’m also getting ready to start drafting another historical novel about Antarctic explorers, and that’ll require a ton of reading, which frankly I’ve been putting off for a while. This fall I’ll have to deal with edits to a novel called The Transcendental Detective, which Rhemalda Publishing will put out by February 2014. So I’ve got a lot of work just now. More than I’d like, actually.

Can you remember when you first wanted to be a writer?
I grew up surrounded by books. We were a reading family, and if one of my brothers or I said we were bored, our mother would always tell us to pick up a book. At a young age I used to make little chapbooks, a couple of inches tall, with naïve retellings of other people’s stories in them. I liked seeing my name on the covers. That must’ve been the first stirrings of the desire.

So you’ve been writing all your life?
In school I liked to write stories, but they were all derivative of fairy tales or whatever I was reading at the time. But I think I had it in the back of my mind that someday I would be a writer, a published author of fiction. My writing got sidetracked during my twenties and thirties by music, and all the words got channeled into song lyrics. Later I tried my hand at short stories but I really had no idea what I was doing. I didn’t know how to write a story, how to structure a narrative. I remember sitting down and carefully trying to work out what I thought the word “story” meant. It shocked and dismayed me to realize that I had no idea at all. “How can I write a story when I don’t know what one is?” That was a pretty bleak period for me as a writer, but I worked my way through it, obviously.

So, then, what is a story?
Oh, no, I never ended up with a definition for “story.” What I did instead was start writing without worrying if what I was making was a story or not. I have a few loose general rules about writing fiction, about the necessity of dramatizing causation, the necessity of portraying people honestly, the necessity of demonstrating some kind of truth, but that’s it. I used to think that a story needed a beginning, middle and ending, but now I think a story just needs a middle. A story needs movement of some kind, be it plot action, emotional action, or thematic action. Something has to move, shift at least a little bit, even if it’s not a character. Probably it’s better if it’s not a character; probably it’s better if circumstances shove up against a character who doesn’t shift at all. That’s what Chekhov does, and what Shakespeare does in his best tragedies. Those are stories.

Have you studied writing formally?
You mean in college, or an MFA program or a writing camp? No. I’ve written a lot, and I’ve read a lot of good writing and that’s been my course of study. I’ve read John Gardner and Nabokov and C.S. Lewis’ books about literature, and Perrene’s Story and Structure was the textbook for the one fiction class I did take in college and it’s a fine book. Although I’ve read a lot of literary theory as well, especially texts on narrative, I have not formally studied writing. I was never an English major; I studied political science. Anyway, I think that the best training for a writer is the tremendous and endless library of great writing that waits to be read. Shakespeare and Chekhov are a full course on fiction. The Norton Anthologies are a full course on prose writing. Read, write, revise, read some more. Repeat until exhausted. Then do it all again.

What is it about Shakespeare that draws you in?
The thing about Shakespeare that’s so special, so enduring, is the same thing you find in all the great literature, from any culture: it is inexhaustible in its capacity to engage you intellectually and emotionally. Shakespeare— and Chekhov, James, Yeats, Dostoyevsky, O’Connor and on and on—enrich us with the experience of humanity. They are fearless and compassionate and honest and complex and truthful and impenetrable and they never wear out because there’s so much more there than even the writers were aware of. The more you work to understand Shakespeare (and the others), the more Shakespeare gives you back, the more ways you are able to see his characters, which means that the more you read Shakespeare or Chekhov, the more ways you are able to understand real people, because your awareness of humanity has been expanded. Good fiction makes readers into better people, just through the act of reading. It’s miraculous. Who wouldn’t want to read? Who wouldn’t want to be a writer? [Source: press kit]

That's it for today. Come back next week for more ......


Movies
Hey, it's me Fide. I'm a remote control professional. I'm that fast that I can watch two movies at the same time.

But don't worry. All the stuff I present to you will be shown at normal speed.

Last week I showed you four videos about Victorian English. This week I continue with my discovery of Victorian England. I found another interesting set of videos covering different areas of Victorian life.
Today I show you the first part.

The Supersizers Go Victorian 1

That's all for today. See you next time....

Quotes
I 'm the Keeper of the minutes. But I don't mind when you call me Kotm. No, no. I don't explain to you how to pronounce.

A good advice .......


"It is a good rule in life never to apologize. The right sort of people do not want apologies, and the wrong sort take a mean advantage of them.

P. G. Wodehouse, The Man Upstairs (1914), British humorist & novelist in US (1881 - 1975)

3 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I'm glad I went back and rewrote MY first manuscript. I certainly couldn't imagine revising it though.
Have a safe trip, Edi! Hope you get some rest when you return.

Rosalie Skinner said...

Hi Edi,
I hope you found time to pack. Have a great trip. Enjoy Spain.
Yeah, you managed to put together a great post. Again.
Thanks.

mary li said...

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