Wednesday 2 April 2008

Before I go . . .

Just off with my girls for a few days at my parents' in sunny Berkshire. Taking some work (as always) but also a stack of books, and confidently expect to disappear for many hours between the covers of a good few of them, as well, no doubt, as dipping into random volumes plucked from the shelves in the spare bedroom.

I'll be off air for a while, but I leave you, gentle readers, with this fragrant [very] mixed bouquet of seasonal links to some sites which have caught my attention in the last day or two.

The test launch of BookRabbit – a new and different kind of interactive online bookstore, which hopes to inspire a more personal and user-friendly relationship with its customers and also encourages buying in local independent bookshops as much as it does ordering online. Every book details page will have a link to booksellers, so readers can check to see if the book they want is currently available from a local store. As Keiron Smith, MD of and the Chertsey and Worthing Bookshops explains:

“real books should have a real presence - I love nosing at other people's bookcases, the weird juxtapositions of books people choose to keep and have gathered from many sources seems to me to be both a real window into someone, their passions, and also has the ability to make connections between books that couldn't be further from the 'if you love you'll like' manufactured link. Our simple idea was that people could upload bookcase images and display them as part of their profile, then make them browsable by clicking through the books on them into other books and other bookcases . . .”

It all sounds like a terrifically good idea and I’m looking forward to giving it a whirl when it goes live later this month.

Painful book-world contrast here with the sad, sad, awful stuff going on at The Friday Project ,which news has provoked some justifiably sympathetic comments from supporters who understand the knife-edge relationship between risk and reward, success and failure when steering a fledgling business, and some equally justifiably raw and venomous remarks from writers and freelancers who are wondering how, exactly, they are supposed to eat and pay the mortgage if they never get paid for the work they’ve done for TFP. Having been on both sides of similar fences (though thankfully not this particular one), my own sympathies are profound, but pretty much equally divided in this instance.

A reminder on Asylum of how intoxicating it was to read the complete novels of Carson McCullers, straight off, one after the other in my early twenties. I’ve never re-visited them but I feel it’s time I did. Ditto the 1968 film of her most famous book, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, which I hazily remember from one TV viewing in the 70s as being excellent, but which annoyingly seems only to be available in Region 1 DVD format (and I don’t have a swanky multi-region player, grrrr).

Thanks to Diane for the link to these fab Woodland Trust Wellies £5 from each sale goes to the WT. I'm very tempted - they make my boring old green Hunters look dull, dull, dull.

I enjoyed India Knight's thoughts on Carla Bruni : ‘She is the kind of minx who might sleep with your husband simply to annoy you, or to amuse herself, or because she was bored. Worse, the husband would then be in some kind of desperate erotic thrall for all eternity . . .’

There's sumptuously illustrated typographical wallow over on the irresistible I love typography , which I insist that everyone visits right this minute, it's so good.

A previous Sunday Type post on ILT had alerted me to Holli Conger’s Type Junkie photos on Flickr. Holli’s typography photos can be purchased on Etsy .

And while wandering around inside the box of delights that is Etsy, here's GemmaBeads' quirky jewellery, which recycles old typewriter keys . Creates the same kind of ambiance as the work of Clare Hillerby, I feel - and equally perfect for people exactly like me (or similar). Santa please note.

It was a predominantly dull, grey (and occasionally white) old March, here in the UK, so how uplifting to the spirits to enjoy these vibrant images of Holi (or Phagwa), the festival of colour that takes place in March every year in India and Nepal, over on COLOURlovers (a great place to lose oneself for many happy hours, whether or not you can actually spare the time).

Finally, if you didn't catch this BBC iPlayer trailer on 1st April, you still have a few more days to view it.

Well that’s more than enough to be going on with. I’m off to tackle the daunting results of having washed and dried ten loads of family laundry without having subsequently folded or sorted – let alone ironed (as if . . .) – a single crumpled item of it. Ho hum.

Although I won’t manage to get online, I am taking a creaky old laptop with me, so hope to have some time to tap in a few musings on recent good reads – among them Waterloo Sunset, Talk to the Hand, After You’d Gone , The Memory Box and the novel that’s currently taking the bookblogosphere by storm, Daphne.


Unknown said...

Thanks for the tip-off about the cupcake bracelet, which was utterly charming. I couldn't resist going for a browse of the maker's jewellery and ended up buying a pendant and a pair of earrings made from typewriter keys!

Hope you've had a fab break.

Juliet said...

Hi Wordsmith - wow, I'm really pleased to have prompted you into parting with your hard-earned freelance £££s so easily! I'm afraid these are still sitting on my 'Santa Please Note' list at the moment, but I might 'reward' myself before Christmas if I feel I deserve it!

Perfect adornment for all wordsmiths (with a small 'w' obviously - we can't all be THE Wordsmith!)

Unknown said...

Well, what's to resist with the dollar rate so good for us here right now? And she does commissions, so I might have to get her to make me a Wordsmith bracelet... ;)

Unknown said...

Hi - thanks for the BookRabbit mention, we're hoping for a public launch mid May - if you'd like early access then mail me at kieron [at]

All the best