06 December 2018


In the world of literature, winning a prize can propel that masterpiece into a flurry of activity and recognition. Books that may have been overlooked entirely, are now jumping hot off the shelves. I was looking at the short listed books on the Man Booker Prize list over the years since 1969 when it was first instituted. I was astounded by how few of the names of winners I recognized: Hilary Mantel, who won twice, John Banville, Yann Martel, Margaret Atwood, Roddy Doyle, Kazuo Ishiguro, and Salmon Rushdie who went on to win the Booker of Bookers for the best of the best awarded in an anniversary year.

I was astounded when I first learned that publishers pay to get their books on the lists of prize contenders. I had thought the process was pure. But nothing is ever that pure, is it? Someone has to run the prize process and so there are costs involved. But to have to pay to be considered is somehow distasteful. Like bribery.

04 December 2018

Cats, books, reality and Edward Gorey

Fascinating read in this week's New Yorker magazine about Edward Gorey whose books I loved when I lived in NY.  I was truly amazed to learn how much I had in common with him. Books and cats are both really important to me. I have five cats at the moment and thousands of books with which I cannot part. I also often wonder if this world we live in is real or sort of a rendition of Twilight Zone. Are we mechanical beings created for the enjoyment of some extraterrestrial being? I have often thought about how strange humans are in construction. To learn that someone else seems to think similarly is alarming, as it might be true after all.