It’s the time of the month where I round up all the internet’s top publishing stories and stick them in one place on the BookMachine blog for your perusal! Here’s a sneak peek – don’t forget to visit the BookMachine blog for more…
The big news from March in UK publishing is obviously the London Book Fair (LBF). Poland shone at this year’s Market Focus, and the Fair was busier than usual, with six-figure deals struck ahead of time and publishers cheerfully splashing cash as sales rose. This was seen as further evidence of the rise of print, with The Guardian stating that by the end of the month stats showing that print outperformed digital. Yet, despite the recent whopping $65m forward paid for the Obamas’ new book (which hasn’t pleased all and prompted a list of the biggest deals of all time) no single title emerged as this year’s big hitter. Continue reading BookMachine | The March Wrap
In the midst of writing a dystopia of my own, it strikes me on an almost daily basis the degree to which society has come under the thumb of a very fickle dictator: money. Further, money within the context of an inherently unstable and unjust neoliberal capitalist system. For a searing criticism of the failures of this system, flawlessly melded with a scintillating story, I point you in the direction of Lionel Shriver’s The Mandibles: A Family, 2029-2047.
The Mandible family has a sizeable fortune, but when a bloodless world war wipes out their millions they, like the rest of America, find themselves out of their homes and on the brink of starvation. Crammed into their poorest relatives’ house, the financial crisis brings out the best in some, and the worst in others. But, as society continues to devolve and culture breaks down, the choices ahead only get tougher. Continue reading Book Review | ‘The Mandibles’ by Lionel Shriver
Spoiler alert: This review contains massive plot spoilers about Fahrenheit 451.
In a year when readers seem to be turning to dystopias for sanity, there seemed to be no better time to return to Bradbury’s sometimes overlooked book, Fahrenheit 451.
Named after the alleged temperature at which books burn, the story follows Guy Montag, who lives in a world where books are banned, as they are thought to be the source of discord and unhappiness. As a fireman, it is Montag’s job to burn any books that are found. Yet, unhappy in his marriage and unsatisfied with life, Montag finds the lure of books too much to resist – and once there are books in his house, there is nothing to stop the feared Mechanical Hound of the Fire Department from tracking him down.
Fifty years on from its initial publication, growing post-truth, anti-intellectual sentiments in Western society have given Fahrenheit 451 new relevance, indeed in parts with almost uncanny precognition on Bradbury’s part. Many elements come into play during this book: the frustrating loss that comes with conformism; the borderline madness that comes with rebellion; the senselessness that must, after a certain point of tyranny, accompany political hope. Yet, to me, it is the end which is most pertinent in the current climate. Continue reading Book review | ‘Fahrenheit 451’ by Ray Bradbury
Under what has to be the fastest publication schedule ever, BORN – BREATHING – BOUND was published on The Cadaverine website yesterday. It is available for your perusal absolutely FREE right here: http://www.thecadaverine.com/?p=11401
I’m so thankful to everyone at Cadaverine, particularly the lovely Lenni who discovered my story in the slushpile and suggested some very valuable edits.
I’m also very grateful to everyone who has read and commented so far – you’re feedback has made the last 24-hours really special! Here are some of my favourites:
“What a profound story! I’m so touched, and proud, and sad, and happy, all at once”
Ben, Canada Continue reading Born – Breathing – Bound published in Cadaverine
Here’s the next instalment of my fortnightly Bookmachine article. To read on, visit the Bookmachine blog.
Over the past few weeks, headlines have been peppered with claims that reading eBooks before bed is bad for your health. A new study, published in the journal of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), has found that reading light-emitting eBook before sleep can compromise the quality and length of your sleep amongst other things.
Researchers conducted experiments on 12 subjects, who were put into controlled environments before bed for a period of two weeks. Participants were either given a light-emitting (LE) eBook or a print book to read for four hours before sleep. Those reading LE eBooks fell asleep on average 10 minutes later than those reading print, had suppressed levels of the sleep hormone melatonin, slept less deeply and took ‘hours longer’ to wake up in the mornings.
All this can lead to serious health issues: sleep is crucial to maintaining an alert, healthy body and suppressed melatonin production can lead to an increased risk of certain kinds of cancer… [READ MORE]