Body Works

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Anjali Joseph

I have a cold. No wonder there – it’s February, a time of peculiar weather: often gloomy and cold, occasionally windy, more rarely warm and sunny. But I woke up exhausted and sore in the throat. My boyfriend wasn’t well either, it turned out, so both of us were at home. In the morning, we sat around, drinking coffee interspersed with honey-ginger-lemon drinks that somewhat soothed my throat. The feeling of an unexpected holiday descended, but when I got up to do even something simple, I realised disappointingly that in fact I didn’t feel very well.

Social Networking and the Writer

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by Elizabeth Baines

Here’s a conversation I’m constantly having with myself:

What a godsend for the writer, social networking! Remember those days when you had none of that power to spread word about your books? None of those amazing networking opportunities?

It takes so much time, though. Time away from writing, which, after all, is the thing I’m supposed to be doing…

Come on! Time management! Allocate an hour or so in the day.

But, actually, isn’t it rather frowned on to use Twitter and Facebook etc simply for self-promotion? I mean, I know it’s the books I’m promoting, not myself, but there’s a fine line, people don’t like it if you’re just popping in each day to spam them about your books and then cutting and running … it could even be counterproductive and put them off your work altogether! You need to hang around, make conversations, discuss issues, get interested in other people’s concerns…

The Fairytale Fantasy of Waterstones

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Over the last while we’ve all known that Waterstone’s were ‘in trouble.’ I hate it when bookshops close, it is as if the soul goes out of a town once the books go. But here’s the thing, I want to rewind to my opening line and look at the words ’in trouble,’ and seriously ask what that really means?

I’m an old fashioned kind of writer and business person. Books have stories and poetry in them, literature is about life and business is quite a straightforward matter; or it can be. A company provides a service, they let people know about it, people buy the service at a price where they get what they need and the company make enough money for its people to live for a while and do some more work. But that is not business as it is now, I can hear you say even as I type this. You might think that I’m a simple fool, and you’d probably be right. This is why perhaps there is part of me is glad that the high street is failing, and that means HMV/Waterstone’s too.

Another for the Masses by Abigail Hammond

Arturo ventured through the forest behind Widow Bromante’s cottage to reach Fellicci’s garden plot. Caffa, as his father was called, had warned him against leaving the house and to avoid exchanges with anyone. Arturo combed through a labyrinth of weeds in Fellicci’s garden and gathered a bit of saffron and bol armeniac for a poultice. His mother had taught him that these herbs ward off illness, but he hadn’t used his healing skills since learning to work the fields with the peasants. Fashioning herbal remedies was women’s work. Yet he couldn’t argue against the logic that if there is no woman to do the work, it still must be done.

Read more at The Front View

To Watch NCIS or Not to Watch?

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by Ann Giles

We were driving along, when The Husband suddenly said ‘do you think we really ought to be watching NCIS?’, but what he meant was we shouldn’t. That NCIS is not the sort of show people ‘like us’ ought to be watching. We’re condoning US politics, not to mention various American federal agencies.

I felt that after seven seasons it was a little late to be closing any stable doors, whatever one might think of the show. And as I love NCIS - almost - above everything else (I am quite fond of my family), it’d not be a good thing to give up. So I pointed out that it is actually fiction, albeit on screen instead of a book.

Damon Galgut in Latest Issue of The View From Here

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Publishing’s Perfect Storm

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Every year in publishing tends to be somewhat squally, but 2011 is shaping up into something of a hurricane.

In the UK we are witnessing what appears to be the irreversible death of the high street bookshop, with waterstone’s closing stores and British Bookshops ready to collapse. I won’t miss the latter chain, incidentally, with its paltry range and ruinous discounts, but waterstone’s would be a terrible loss. Already they’re planning to cut initial orders by 20%. It’s not inconceivable that one day we’ll be left with WH Smith as the only chain of any size; that’s if they can survive being squeezed by Amazon and the supermarkets.