Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Discovering a cache of magazines about books

[Apologies for today's blog being up later than usual. Last night I had techie problems with the sewing machine and today is Mr Bookworm's birthday.]

Also in today's blog

Reply to Lorna's comment on "corporatization"

The Grand Purge on my workroom has revealed a forgotten cache of copies of Million magazine and Bestseller magazine.

The earliest copy of Million I seem to have is No 3 published May/June 1991. It cost £1.95 and the cover lists profiles of
Anne McCaffrey
Robert B. Parker [see photo]

Leslie Thomas and others.

All their websites are well worth a visit, even if the authors are unknown to you.

The last of the three carries a quote from Larousse Dictionary of Writers by Rosemary Goring, a book I haven't come across before and will investigate.

Getting back to Million, it was published bi-monthly by Popular Fictions, Brighton, the editor and publisher being David Pringle with Kim Newman as associate editor.

Replying to readers' letters in issue No 3, David Pringle wrote –

"The readership of Million is shaping up to be predominantly female, while that of Interzone is mainly male. Also, I suspect that Million readers are older on average (some of them are even old enough to recognize what the title means – "the million" was a pre-World War II term for "the masses", and one reader in his seventies has informed me that there was actually a short-lived left wing political journal called Million, published from Glasgow in the 1940s; although ours is a very different sort of magazine, it's highly likely they were using the title in exactly the same sense as we are.)"

"Moreover, the new magazine is succeeding quite spectacularly with public libraries, in a way which Interzone has never done, Although its subscription base is much smaller so far, Million already has about twenty times the number of UK library subscriptions that Interzone enjoys. Librarians love it! Because of all these factors, we suspect that the new magazine will eventually outstrip the older ones in total sales and subscriptions. This will take a while to achieve, though."

However, in an interesting interview with him, mainly about Interzone, he says –

"Million was my other pet hobby. I made mistakes; I was feeling a bit cocky. Interzone had been successful, and with Million I invested too much money too quickly. I shouldn't have started with a bi-monthly; I should have started with a quarterly. And the colour covers: I really should have started it as a fanzine. But the main reason it didn't succeed is we're talking about a very different kettle of fish. Interzone is primarily a fiction magazine, and Million was a magazine that commented on popular culture, popular fiction. And I suppose I discovered that the world didn't need such a magazine... "

Corporatization of the arts

In a comment earlier this week, Lorna of Sacramento, CA, wrote -

"Thanks for your explanation about Past Forgetting, Anne. I think that corporatization (if that's a word) of the arts has done a lot of harm, not only in writing, but also in the news media.

It's been a long time since I have read a new novel, mostly because whenever I have picked one up in a bookstore, I end up putting it back on the shelf after reading a few pages. Most of them just do not appeal to me."

I'm in the same boat, Lorna. Most of my current reading is non-fiction, or I re-read novels I've had for years.

If you can get hold of a copy of Ann Bridge's Illyrian Spring, first published by Chatto & Windus in 1935 and re-published as a Virago Modern Classic in 1989, I'm pretty sure you would enjoy it.

From time to time I make an effort to keep abreast of the books in the bestseller lists. Recently I read a couple of titles by a British writer who sounds a nice woman and whose books are selling 100,000 plus copies in the UK alone. But, for me, it was an effort to plough through novels about people whose suburban lives don't interest me and who seemed to have no interests apart from their emotional problems.

From Ann Bridge's novels, at first reading, I learnt many fascinating things about other countries and aspects of life I hadn't known about before. They were enriching in a way that the popular fiction of the early 21st century rarely is.


At 06 June, 2007, Blogger Adrian Weston said...

Ann Bridge's Peking Picnic is a novel directly comparable with books like A Passage to India - well worth serious consideration. Some of her later books tapered off but her first hadnful were outstanding.

At 06 June, 2007, Blogger Richard Havers said...

Anne, "novels about people whose suburban lives don't interest me." Are these what's known as misery memoirs? :)

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