if publishers and authors are limited in what they can do for a book online, who is left? They want to harness word of mouth, and power lies collectively in the independent readers – you and me. Can we make a difference when the bookselling world is full of outlets, online and off, which primarily sell what already sells, or can be related to a proven success (“It’s Fifty Shades of Grey meets Harry Potter!”)? If social media has inspired a new age of grassroots political activism, why not literary activism, too?
I picked up Keith Ridgway’s new book Hawthorn & Child almost entirely on the basis of John’s recommendation (I also read Colony by Hugo Wilcken, one of my favourite books of recent years, as a result of John’s review). The astonishing cover (pictured above) is by Tom Darracott by the way.
(Semi) Colonoscopy – Mary Norris on how to use the semicolon, at The New Yorker:
So the semicolon is exactly what it looks like: a subtle hybrid of colon and comma. Actually, in ancient Greek, the same symbol was used to indicate a question.
And it still seems to have a vestigial interrogative quality to it, a cue to the reader that the writer is not finished yet; she is holding her breath.
Imaginary Buildings – Jimmy Stamp on the locations of 221B Baker Street, for The Smithsonian:
The mystery of 221B Baker Street is not one of secret passages or hidden symbols. Rather, it could be described as a sort of existential spatial riddle: how can a space that is not a space be where it is not? According to Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories, Sherlock Holmes and John Watson lived at 221B Baker Street from 1881 to 1904. But 221B Baker street did not exist in 1881, nor did it exist in 1887 when A Study in Scarlet was published and Baker Street house numbers only extended into the 100s. It was a purely fictional address – emphasis on was. Time marches on, Baker Streets are renumbered, and 221Bs are revealed…