Out Now! Bookish Plaza eZine DECEMBER Issue

28 11 2018

                                                                                                     Image: Bookish Plaza

The DECEMBER issue of BookIsh Plaza eZine is out now!
BookIsh Plaza is your online bookshop for (Dutch)Caribbean literature.

In this issue:

  • Celebrating 40th Anniversary of Writing & Performing
  • Book Launch ‘WEES GELUKKIG’ by Irma Grovell
  • The Formation of Caribbean Identity in Literature
  • And more ………

BOOKISH PLAZA eZINE nr.78 DECEMBER 2018

Fine reading to all our readers. The next ezine will be out in January 2019.

Visit BookIsh Plaza for our New Arrivals!





On Time & Writing

28 11 2018

                                                                                                    PHOTO; centrum.org

Harnessing The Power Of TimeIn Your Storytelling

About a month ago, riding the train home from work, I looked up and through the window, the sky was low and turning to a dirty purple twilight.

Just before the train and all her tired and distracted passengers started the final narrow stretch to our station, past the smoke stacks of the coal power station and the factory that makes disposable baby nappies, for a few moments I watched thousands of tiny lights that were already on across the suburb below us, forming a shiny cheap-jewellery crust over an area of town houses, the malls, office parks.

It is still winter and where the lights stop, the grass starts and ripples towards the train window: dry, stripped of colour, patches burned black by veld fires.

What does time mean to you?

In those moments, just minutes really, shaken gently from side to side in my seat, between dusk and the lights, as the train rushed breathlessly through the last of the day, I was conscious of time—not as anything artificial and clear as the white digits on the face of an iPhone, but as something moving us all along, me along. Something moving within me, inside of me, even as it moved outside of me.

Time on its own tracks.

That night, coming home from work, time didn’t hold its usual terror for me.  I was content to just be carried along, too exhausted to fight. In many ways, those moments on the train helped me grasp the ‘ungraspable’ nature of time itself: that time is ‘now’, that it is behind us, in front of us, everywhere.  It’s just you moving, being moved, threaded invisibly through time.

It is hard to get your head around ‘time with a capital T’, from the fact that vast millennia existed before us to the idea that it will exist for millennia after us.

Read further @ Writers Write





How to Get (Young) People Reading

28 11 2018

                                                                                                  PHOTO: lITHUB.COM

WHAT ONE PERSON CAN DO TO GET PEOPLE READING

THE STORY OF ALVIN IRBY AND BARBERSHOP BOOKS

Alvin Irby never wanted to become a teacher, the same profession his mother held for over 30 years in the Little Rock, Arkansas school district in which he grew up. But the adults in Irby’s life saw potential in him that he couldn’t see in himself. “My high school principal, one day during my senior year, he told me, ‘You’re going to be a better principal than I ever was,’” Irby recalls. “And I remember looking at him and saying, ‘Never! I will never go into education!’”

Yet his principal proved prescient. Irby did go into education, and after teaching for several years, he founded Barbershop Books, a reading incentive program that connects young black boys, ages four to eight, to books in male-centered reading spaces. “Barbershop Books’ primary goal is to increase the out-of-school reading time among black boys and to help young black boys identify as readers,” Irby says. “A lot of reading programs are focused on reading skills. That’s not what Barbershop Books is about. Our program is about connecting fun books to a male-centered space, and involving black men in boys’ early reading experiences.”

The seeds for the idea were planted when Irby was a high school sophomore. “In tenth grade, I was in regular English class,” he says. “We were reading short stories and doing spelling lists. This is what we were doing in tenth grade English. And I remember being bored out of my mind.”

So he went to his guidance counselor and requested a more challenging class. “When I switched into this pre-AP class, one of the first things that I noticed when I looked around, or a question that popped in my head, was, ‘Where did all of these white people come from?’” Irby says. “My regular English class was all black. When I switched into this advanced class, all of a sudden, there were white kids everywhere. I didn’t even know they were in the school! And then I started to wonder, why are these classes divided along racial lines like this? What is that about?”

Read further @ Literary Hub





Struggle with Fictional Characters

28 11 2018

                                                                     Illustration: Academic Life

How to develop engaging fictional characters

Creating fictional characters is a struggle for even the most experienced writer. Here, author and PWA and Faber Academy course director Tom Bromley offers tips and advice on creating engaging characters with unique voices and discusses questions such as whether they should be likeable and how many your story needs.

Wrestling with your fictional characters is a familiar pastime for experienced as well as new writers. It’s an ongoing struggle to create realistic characters who fulfill all the functions of story and resonate with the reader as real, engaging people.

Here, experienced author, ghost-writer and tutor on both Faber Academy and PWA courses Tom Bromley looks at the basics of writing characters, and suggests ways to form and maintain realistic, entertaining individuals to inhabit your a stories.

Read further @ Professional Writing Academy





Writing Advice of a SciFi Author

28 11 2018

                                                                                                   PHOTO: Tavistock Books

RAY BRADBURY’S GREATEST

WRITING ADVICE

“I’VE HAD A SIGN OVER MY TYPEWRITER FOR OVER 25 YEARS NOW: DON’T THINK!

Ray Bradbury, the greatest sci-fi writer in history, who (by no small coincidence) also happened to know a thing or two about writing. Like many American children, I grew up on Bradbury—”The Veldt” remains my favorite of his stories—but as I became a writer myself I began to cherish not just the great author’s work, but his attitude towards it. Bradbury loved writing. He took intense pleasure in it, and it shows on every page. This is, of course, not possible for everyone, but still, I find it to be a lovely antidote to all the hand-wringing and hair-tearing and sit-at-the-typewriter-and-bleeding contemporary writers seem to do (or claim to do, online or otherwise) these days. If that’s what happens when you write, Bradbury taught, find some other way to spend your time. Which is a pretty good tip. So now, without further ado, I present below an incomplete but illuminating collection of some more of Ray Bradbury’s very best writing advice.

Read further @ Literay Hub





Out Now! Bookish Plaza eZine NOVEMBER Issue

1 11 2018

                                                                                                   Image: BookIsh Plaza

The NOVEMBER issue of BookIsh Plaza eZine is out now!
BookIsh Plaza is your online bookshop for (Dutch)Caribbean literature.

In this issue:

  • Alternative Nobel Prize goes to Caribbean writer
  • Writing the Storms of the Caribbean
  • Writers & their Books for the St. Martin Day
  • And much more ……….

BOOKISH PLAZA eZINE nr.77 NOVEMBER 2018

Fine reading to all our readers. The next ezine will be out in December with a special festivities issue.

Visit BookIsh Plaza for our New Arrivals!





Is imagination necessary to read?

1 11 2018

                                                                                                           PHOTO: Camistok

CAN IMAGINATION GET IN THE WAY OF READING?

Some time ago, I was confronted with a major aspect of reading, something we aren’t conscious of. A friend of mine – a non-reader, by the way – explained to me how he could never get interested in reading. Simply because he had the worst difficulty ever: in his mind, he couldn’t imagine the universe, the characters’ physical qualities or any room that was being described in a book. Therefore, he eventually just gave up picking up books.

This intrigued me. So I started thinking about it. I’ve read books since I can remember, so I can say that my imagination is “well-exercised,” right? As readers, what can we say about these non-readers and the people who choose watching TV over reading? We say they choose to do so because they’re lazy – they refuse to use their imagination because “it’s so hard.” And that’s what popped into my head when I heard my friend complaining about this. But then, something stopped me.

Read further @ BookRiot





Drink tea and get into the flow of writing

1 11 2018

                                                                                                      Photo: Stocksy

Put the kettle on: does a cuppa

beat writer’s block?

Research suggestions that drinking tea might help creativity have received endorsement from a number of successful novelists.

Being British, we have all seized on a report about how drinking tea improves creativity. The researchers – led by Yan Huang, from the Psychological and Cognitive Sciences Department of Peking University – recruited 50 students, who were assigned to two groups and given either tea or water to drink. The students were then given tests, the first being to build an “attractive” design with toy blocks, the second to come up with a “cool and attractive” name for a new ramen noodle restaurant. (“An example of a name that received a low innovativeness score is Ramen Family, and an example of a name that received a high score is No Ramen Here.”)

Those who drank tea performed better in both – and so the humble beverage has been hailed as a means to combat writers’ block by the Telegraph. The researchers don’t go that far – and indeed, the creativity of the participants is called somewhat into question by the detail that the academics had to delete more than 200 suggested restaurant names for containing only the word Ramen, or for including location names. Perhaps it was down to the kind of tea they gave them: it was black, and Lipton (the horror).

Read further @ The Guardian





Learn to Write a Short Story

1 11 2018

How to Write a Short Story from Start to Finish

To some extent, the process for writing a story is different each time. In the introduction to American Gods, Neil Gaiman quotes Gene Wolfe, who told him, “You never learn how to write a novel. You only learn to write the novel you’re on.”

This is true for short stories as well.

And yet, there are certain patterns to writing a short story, patterns I think everyone follows in their own haphazard way. I’ll call them steps, but they’re more like general paths that may or may not apply to your story. Still, it’s these patterns that I want to present to you in hopes it will make your own short story writing easier.

Read further @ The Writer Practice





Out Now! Bookish Plaza eZine OCTOBER Issue

1 10 2018

The OCTOBER issue of BookIsh Plaza eZine is out now!
BookIsh Plaza is your online bookshop for (Dutch)Caribbean literature.

In this issue:

  • New Edition of a Masterpiece
  • Black Writer’s You Should Read
  • Caribbean Children’s Books for the Friendship Book Week
  • Book on a Coffee Exporting Country
  • And much more ……….

BOOKISH PLAZA eZINE nr.76 OCTOBER 2018

Fine reading to all our readers. The next ezine will be out in October.

Visit BookIsh Plaza for our New Arrivals!





Deep-reading Process & Our Brain

30 09 2018

                                                                                              Photo: calmmoment.com

WHAT DOES IMMERSING YOURSELF IN
A BOOK DO TO YOUR BRAIN?

Only connect.

–E.M. Forster

The act of taking on the perspective and feelings of others is one of the most profound, insufficiently heralded contributions of the deep-reading processes. Proust’s description of “that fertile miracle of communication effected in solitude” depicts an intimate emotional dimension within the reading experience: the capacity to communicate and to feel with another without moving an inch out of our private worlds. This capacity imparted by reading—to leave and yet not leave one’s sphere—is what gave the reclusive Emily Dickinson what she called her personal “frigate” to other lives and lands outside her perch above Main Street in Amherst, Massachusetts.

The narrative theologian John S. Dunne described this process of encounter and perspective taking in reading as the act of “passing over,” in which we enter into the feelings, imaginings, and thoughts of others through a particular kind of empathy: “Passing over is never total but is always partial and incomplete. And there is an equal and opposite process of coming back to oneself.” It is a beautifully apt description for how we move from our inherently circumscribed views of the world to enter another’s and return enlarged. In Love’s Mind, his numinous book on contemplation, Dunne expanded Proust’s insight: “That ‘fruitful miracle of a communication effected in solitude’ may be already a kind of learning to love.” Dunne saw the paradox that Proust described within reading—in which communication occurs despite the solitary nature of the reading act—as an unexpected preparation for our efforts to come to know other human beings, understand what they feel, and begin to change our sense of who or what is “other.” For theologians such as John Dunne and writers such as Gish Jen, whose lifework illumines this principle in fiction and nonfiction alike, the act of reading is a special place in which human beings are freed from themselves to pass over to others and, in so doing, learn what it means to be another person with aspirations, doubts, and emotions that they might otherwise never have known.

read futher @ Literary Hub





Madame Bovary: Most Recommended Book by Famous Authors

30 09 2018

WHICH BOOKS DO FAMOUS AUTHORS READ AND RECOMMEND MOST?

Everyone loves a list—especially a list of books. To that end, people are always asking famous writers to give them lists of books they love, and famous writers are always doing it, because again, who doesn’t like a list of books, and especially when those books are your own favorites, and you get to talk about them again. While considering the proliferation of the high-profile literary listicle, I started wondering which books famous authors most often touted among their favorites. And as often happens, once I started wondering, I soon knew I was in for some math.

I looked at 68 lists made by famous authors, from the classic (F. Scott Fitzgerald, Jorge Luis Borges, Ernest Hemingway) to the contemporary (Yaa Gyasi, Mary Gaitskill, Maggie Nelson, George Saunders), and kept track of which books they recommended most often. The results were interesting—not particularly because of the most recommended books (many of them are pretty predictable) but because of the details—the groupings, the exclusions, the agreements between authors you wouldn’t necessarily think had similar taste.

The winner, with 9 mentions:
Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary
(Recommended by Ernest Hemingway, Sloane Crosley, Bret Easton Ellis, John Irving, Mary Gatiskill, Helen Fielding, Philip Roth, Claire Messud, Lorrie Moore)

Read further @ Literary Hub





Fiction & Your Loved Ones

30 09 2018

                                                                                                        Photo: Literary Hub

WHEN WRITING FICTION HURTS THE PEOPLE YOU LOVE

I was sitting in the Science Center Library, reading Paradise Lost. This was in the late 1970s, when I was an English major at Harvard. There are famously gorgeous libraries at Harvard, but I preferred to sit in one of the uglier spaces, beneath buzzing fluorescent lights, with calculators clicking all around me. I was unlikely to run into anyone I knew in the Science Center, though there was no reason for me to be so furtive. It’s just the way I am, habitually keeping to myself. Private and solitary.

I came to the end of the poem. Adam and Eve, our guilty parents, cast out of the garden. But then: “The world was all before them, where to choose / Their place of rest. . . They, hand in hand, with wandering steps and slow, / Through Eden took their solitary way.” The lines hit a nerve and I burst into tears. Loud, gulpy, snot-filled sobs. In the middle of the Science Center, for everyone to hear. I could not stop. I sat in that cubicle and wept and wept.

Guilt has always moved me. I imagine the pain someone must have been in to do whatever awful thing he did and want him to have another chance. Such possibly kind, possibly stupid empathy is useful for a writer, but it’s not the whole story. My mother was a war survivor and I inherited her unspoken guilt at having made it out alive, but that doesn’t fully explain it, either. I feel guilty for being a fiction writer. I’m not referring to the self-doubt many of us feel about making up stories while the world burns. I’m talking about the suffering we cause by writing.

The beauty of fiction lies in the way a story—regardless of plot or setting—communicates to a reader, I am with you. I felt as if Milton had known me hundreds of years before I was born, had known and understood everything I was going to do and was letting me know, the world is still before you. That compassionate recognition, acceptance, love, from an author is why we keep reading, even when we have Netflix to entertain us.

Read further @ Literary Hub





Out now! BookIsh Plaza eZine SEPTEMBER issue

5 09 2018

                                                                                  PHOTO: blackachievementmonth.nl

The SEPTEMBER issue of BookIsh Plaza eZine is out now!
BookIsh Plaza is your online bookshop for (Dutch)Caribbean literature.

In this issue:

  • September is Black Achievement Month
  • Unwritten: Caribbean Poems after the First World War
  • Winner 2018 OPZIJ Literary Prize
  • Ode to Trinidanian Author V.S. Naipaul
  • And much more ……….

BOOKISH PLAZA eZINE nr.75 SEPTEMBER 2018

Fine reading to all our readers. The next ezine will be out in October.

Visit BookIsh Plaza for our New Arrivals!





The Fiction Writer as Ethnographer

5 09 2018

                                                                PHOTO: bized.aacsb.edu

THE STORY COLLECTOR, OR,
HOW NOT TO WRITE A NOVEL
AYSEGÜL SAVAS ON THE FICTION WRITER AS ETHNOGRAPHER

On Friday evenings, Sergei Sergeevich rounded us up from campus in his pickup truck and drove us to the white, wooden house at the edge of a lake. It had scalloped eaves, a porch with rocking chairs; it was straight out of a Russian tale.

Inside, the furnace would be lit. Fugi and Ella, his black Labradors, rambled around in a frenzy. We heard the sound of Sergei Sergeevich’s wife, Dieuwke, playing the cello in the study.

Sergei Sergeevich filled our glasses and put us to work—rolling out dough, folding pelmeni, catching fish from the lake. Once everything was in order, he went to the porch to smoke. If one of us followed him out, he quizzed us: Who did we like best in the group? Who did we have a crush on?

After dinner, we put the plates on the kitchen floor for the dogs to lick and went to the wood cabin behind the house. This was the banya, built by Sergei Sergeevich. If he was in a good mood, he played the accordion or guitar, passing around Russian folk songbooks. We put on the felt hats hanging on the walls, went in and out of the sauna, fell asleep on the wooden benches of the resting room, or went out to the garden to roll in the snow.

Sergei Sergeevich was my Russian professor in Middlebury, Vermont. He had a big mustache and small spectacles, a permanently stained wardrobe of thick shirts and fleece vests. He spoke languages as if he were playing with dough—stretching and folding, breaking words apart and putting them together in new combinations. He would take our class outside, right in the middle of verb conjugations, and roll himself a cigarette. Sometimes, he sent one of us to the dining hall to fetch him a glass of Mountain Dew.

He disliked most things socialist and all things insincere, and he could smell either in an instant. He knew at once whether he liked a person, a song, a poem, or a painting, and he knew even faster whether he disliked them. I wished for his discernment, to know at once what made something real, and worthy. I never took a literature class with him because I didn’t trust my judgment. I was afraid of saying something stupid and lose my standing in the banya group.

The group was made up of Bulgarian, Czech, Kazakh, and other Turkish students. Later, there were Iranians, a Hungarian, an Uzbek, Palestinian, and Latvian. It was a mythical time. In the white house, time unfolded like a story and was itself contained in stories. And with each gathering, our repertoire fattened and grew. There was the story of Fugi, the older, skinnier Lab, who was afraid of the banya because she’d been left inside one night by accident, and shrunk to half her size by the morning. There was the story of how Dieuwke and Sergei met on a flight from Europe to the U.S.; Sergei Sergeevich had performed a magic trick, involving a Queen of Spades. There were stories about all the students who’d come before us, each one with an epithet assigned by Sergei Sergeevich.

Read further @ Literary Hub





An Inside View on How to Tackle Writer’s Block

5 09 2018

                                                                                         PHOTO: screencraft,org

BEN MARCUS: WRITER’S BLOCK HAPPENS WHEN I’M BORING

THE AUTHOR OF NOTES FROM THE FOG ON CRAFT, JOY WILLIAMS, AND MORE

How do you tackle writer’s block?
Writer’s block, if that’s the name for it, happens when I am boring, when my mind is flat, when I have nothing to add to what has been said and done. Therefore it happens nearly all of the time. It happens when writing is an obligation and not a desire. And I really don’t mind. It’s not clear that I am meant to pump out writing at all costs. The opposite is true. The world will be just fine without anything I might write. Writing is not exactly a scarce resource. There is far too much out there that hasn’t been read enough. So I don’t try to solve this silence. To me it is necessary.

It is exhausting to be obsessed and driven and full of some pressing need to write—and it doesn’t happen very often. I also don’t write so sharply if I don’t care about what I’m doing, and caring is hard to fake. So, to me, writer’s block is a sign that I probably ultimately don’t give enough of a shit. This is my own flaw. I should care about more than I do. Or what I care about doesn’t fit so obviously inside the boundaries of what I consider fiction. Part of the beginning of any project is the discovery of what matters to me, followed by an attempt to conceive of it in terms of fiction. That’s what it is to start a project: engineering a set of delusions that the act of writing has consequence and simply must be done. When I’ve finished, it’s hard to believe that I ever could have cared so much, but I did, for a little while, and then it’s time to hunt down something new to care about and to hope that I have the ability to make it exist in fiction.

Read further @ Literary Hub





Time to Read?

5 09 2018


PHOTO: artsci.wustl.edu

HAVE WE EVER HAD ENOUGH TIME TO READ?
FOR WOMEN OF THE 18TH CENTURY, THE ANSWER IS A RESOUNDING “NO”

Literary history can seem full of women frustrated with their lack of time for reading. Florence Nightingale rails in Cassandra (1852) against the way women are constantly interrupted and never protected in their study, complaining that “there is no time appointed for this purpose and the difficulty is that, in our social life, we must always be doubtful whether we ought not to be with somebody else or be doing something else.” Virginia Woolf makes this frustration into the beautiful manifesto, A Room of One’s Own (1929). Few, however, seem quite as angry about their lack of time as Catherine Talbot. She rages in her unpublished journals about not having enough time, she muses on her lack of time in her published pieces of writing, and she makes time a constant theme of her letters to Elizabeth Carter.

As friends, Talbot and Carter had much in common. Neither married, both belonged loosely to what we now think of as the Bluestocking Circle, both knew Samuel Richardson and Samuel Johnson, and both were nourished to different degrees by their Christian faith. But Talbot’s situation was particular because she grew up under the protection of her father’s friend, the Bishop Secker, and was obliged to him for including her in his busy, affluent, and often very public household. The intensity of this situation comes out at one point when Talbot erupts in fury at Carter’s failure to understand that her business is of a special degree: “You suppose that when I complained of wanting leisure I had several hours. You forget that you rise three hours earlier than I am allowed to do; that we visit 18 families at from three to 14 miles distant, and 20 I believe in Oxford, and are besides eternal riders, walkers, and airers. That I have many correspondents, and cannot for my life write short letters. And with all that crowded together, at first I had scarce one hour.”

Read further @ Literary Hub