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Happy New Year– books, streets, censorship and social media

Happy New Year Jaggery Readers. What a wonderful year this has been for books.  The end of books has long been predicted only to be unpredicted. The end of the year saw many Best of listicles: adult novels, YA and Middle grade, and non-fiction. And of course lots of essays and blog posts on reading, the state of reading, and why reading is the best think in the world year in and year out.

“Calcutta, my once and always city of books.”

Arunava Sinha takes the reader on a lovely journey through Calcutta, books and memory.

At the shop, the kindly, bespectacled, salesman pulls out picture books, ignoring my uncle’s instructions to produce fiction suitable for ten-year-olds. I’m eyeing the shiny new volumes of Elinor M. Brent Dyer’s Chalet School novels, the world’s most marvellous school because it doesn’t even stay in the same place, moving around Europe from one year to the next. When the man behind the counter thrusts his choice beneath my nose, I look upwards at him and say, “Show me the books that my uncle asked you for.”  My personal history of Calcutta is a history of books. Browsing, buying, being. And, therefore, of bookshops. Calcutta, to me, is its bookshops. These are my memories as I time-travel through this Calcutta. I remember nothing but books and bookshops. read rest here


“Girls from Good Families Do Not Write Such Stories” 

Yours truly wrote an essay about being South Asian and writing about sexuality and overcoming, or not, societal and self-censorship.

I don’t know how or from where Iqbal’s books were acquired, but it was on those haphazardly stocked shelves that I discovered Erica Jong’s Fear of Flying, Sandra Harris’ The Nice Girl’s Handbook, and Helen Gurley Brown’s Sex and the Single Girl. As I flipped through Sex and the Single Girl, I tried to ignore Iqbal’s genie’s glare, but the deeper his frown grew, the greater grew my fright that my mother would walk in and the genie would get me into trouble. When my mother did pop in to say it was time to leave, I hastily replaced the book and scuttled out without daring to look back.
read rest here


And in shop talk, Karen Karbo talks about the differences in success in ‘The World of Publishing: 1991 versus 2014′ 


…in 1991, the main job of a writer was to just write the next one. Publicity-wise, you were expected to be able to show up to a reading (arranged by your more charming publicist) and read from your own work in a manner that didn’t put people to sleep. You were expected to be socially awkward,possibly unkempt, and a little wild-eyed — bonus points awarded for not being falling down drunk.You were expected to be socially awkward, possibly unkempt, and a little wild-eyed — bonus points awarded for not being falling down drunk. After your book tour, whether large or small, you were expected to disappear into your scribe-cave.  read rest here