Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Publishing phenomenon

Also in today's blog

Anonymous comment
No passport? How bizarre!
Two signed comments

There was a fascinating article in last Friday's Publishing News, but it isn't on their website yet.

The heading is On the road again, the shoutline Three decades ago a motorbike trip around the world became a travel classic, author Ted Simon, who has retraced the journey, reflects on a publishing phenomenon.

The article reminded me that I once rode pillion on a motorbike along jungle roads from Taiping to Penang. In recent years my acquaintance with motorbikers has been limited to seeing groups of them – many not in the first flush of youth – riding around the island of Guernsey.

Mr Simon starts his PN article – "My latest book, Dreaming of Jupiter, which Little, Brown will publish in March, could not exist but for Jupiter's Travels, a book I wrote almost thirty years ago – a book that continues to surprise me. It was the second of only six books I have written in 35 years, so I am hardly a paragon of profligacy. Furthermore, they were published at almost equal intervals and, aside from a couple, were pretty dissimilar…However, that one, Jupiter's Travels, has turned out to be a phenomenon…After 28 years it remains my major source of income and it is as close as I've come so far to a promise of life after death."

Anonymous comment

There was an anonymous comment on last Thursday's blog. "I find it hard to believe that you really feel this way about interacial [sic] marriages. They are not easy and make a lot of demands on both partners, families and friends, but they are not foolish. "

I'm not comfortable with anonymous comments. Why bother to express a view if you aren't prepared to put your name to it?

As for interracial marriages, whether they were foolish or not can only be judged several decades after they took place. If the couple still delight in each other's company thirty years on, then obviously they were right to marry.

However, judging by the number of unsuccessful same-race marriages around, choosing a husband or wife from a different race is increasing the chance of disaster.

No passport? How bizarre!

Writer, publisher and blogger Susan Hill revealed last week that she doesn't have a passport. Whether she has never had a passport isn't clear. Surely she must have been outside the UK at some time? Never to have travelled anywhere seems bizarre.

On 10 April 1951, Mr Bookworm and I, having spent our wedding night in a cheap but respectable hotel near London's Victoria Station, caught the boat train to Paris. The other day I came across my train ticket but, having put it in a safe place, now, of course, I can't find it.

Mr B had already travelled to most parts of the Mediterrean, but for me it was an unforgettably exciting first trip abroad. I loved every minute and, later that year, flew from London to Singapore and then "upcountry" to the backwoods of northern Perak.

Recently, I re-read one of my most treasured books, Ann Bridge's Facts and Fictions, [Chatto & Windus 1968] in which she writes, "In each of my novels the main character is a region or a country…"

At a more modest level, the same goes for my own books. Malaya gave me the plot for the first. The last one was based on a trip to southern Morocco. In between came Antigua, Bali, Fiji, Nepal, Nantucket and many more.

Two signed comments

It's always nice to hear from readers, particularly when, as did Lorna of Sacramento, CA, they add some interesting info about the subject of a recent blog, in this case Edgar Rice Burroughs.

I was also pleased to hear Jane had enjoyed Nick Clee's cookbook as much as I did.

The blog I posted yesterday [Tuesday] came out dated Monday. So it will be interesting to see if today's blog [being posted about noon on Wednesday] comes out with the right date.


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