Reading Matters

I’ve often thought about keeping a record of the books because I lose track. Often I start reading a new book the day after I’ve finished the last. I have one rule, and that is to not start another book until at least 24 hours has passed. That way the book I’ve read has a chance of sinking in. A chance to digest. Sometimes it’s hard to stick to this rule.

At times I try NOT to read because it stops me from writing. This makes me question whether I am more of a reader than a writer. But reading and writing do go hand in hand. I tell people that to write well, you need to read a lot. Maybe I tell myself that to justify how much I read?

I’m not a quick reader. I don’t retain a lot of the details, like character names or who wrote what book. This doesn’t mean that I haven’t enjoyed it, or that it wasn’t memorable. It’s just that I am in the story. In the moment. Devouring it. Then lamenting it when it ends.

In my contemplation of recording the books I read, I’ve also thought about writing a small review to remind myself of the story and the reading experience. So, from time to time, I will blog about what I’m reading and maybe I will determine whether I’m more of a reader than a writer.

I love the Saturday Age for the book discussions, reviews and news. From this I’ve made a wish list, not because they are prize-winners or I’ve been told to read them, but because they’ve piqued my interest:

Hello Beautiful: Scenes of Life by Hannie Rayson (biography)
Get in Trouble by Kelly Link (short stories)
Girl in the Dark by Anna Lyndsey (memoir)
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins (fiction).

2 My recommendation this week, for anyone looking for a page-turner is You by Caroline Kepnes (as recommended by another friend, Les).

The cover jacket compares it to Gone Girl but it’s much better than Gone Girl (one of the few books that was better as a movie) but I guess the marketing department has to find a way to hook people. You is a debut novel and the author has written the opposite sex exceptionally well. There’s a lot of good swearing: I hate the ‘C’ word but it’s used well. I won’t go into a run down of the story because it’ll give too much away, suffice to say that there are some great little details like a discussion about shower curtains, characters who are equally crazy to each other and some funny observations about books.

The reading experience: I often laughed out loud and couldn’t put this one down. Funny in a twisted kinda way.

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Why publishing is awesome

 

images-3In the past two years, we have helped about 70 people self-publish. It is such a delicious part of what we do because we are walking along side some body while he or she brings a story to life.

I tell people that the best parts are watching the book come together, the anticipation when we hit ‘send’ to the printer and that sweet moment when we open the box of freshly minted books. For a split second, we pray that everything is as it should be, that it looks like a book and there is nothing glaringly incorrect in the text or on the cover. It will be. Better yet is the look on the author’s face when he or she holds the book in hand.

But the most heart fluttering moment for me is when I’m at a book launch and I watch the author signing books and soaking it all up. It doesn’t matter how many times we’ve done it, every time it feels like it’s my book. We’ve helped someone give birth to a special being.

There are so many aspects to publishing a book that make it awesome. The first is having a seed of an idea and planning it out into a book. This is where you get to be creative. It doesn’t matter whether it is a business book, novel or book of poetry. Each has it own grade of expression. This is the place to insert YOU into it.

The writing of the book will be different for everyone. For some, this is the easy part, for many it will be torture, just like any form of self-expression! Once the content is ready (and expertly edited), the fun begins with shaping it into the physical form. What should the cover look like, what font should we use? The choices are endless and sometimes a little daunting but we know what we’re doing and hold people’s hands if need be.

When the time comes to hit ‘send’ to the printer, there can sometimes be a little hesitation because this is where the creator is holding up their being into the world. Sometimes we have to say, ‘it is ready’.

It is quite an achievement to publish a book. For those who haven’t done it, it’s hard to explain what it’s like. It can be all consuming, scary, fun, exciting, challenging and life changing. I don’t say life changing as a throw away. I have seen it create gorgeous, life changing ripples in people’s lives. I’ve seen people grow and learn so much about themselves.

Blaise

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