It takes a lot of effort to be a die-hard Belle and Sebastian fan, what with all the myriad side projects and new endeavours undertaken by band members past and present: soundtracks to imaginary musicals followed five years later by an actual musical, tour diaries, collaborations with beings of pure gravel, excellently titled solo albums, stage shows, not to mention the assorted LPs, EPs and singles that make up the band’s core discography. Now, add a couple more items to the pile for completists: founding member Stuart David is set to release two YA novels.
He was chief hack and music editor of webzine Brazen from 2006 to 2010, and hosted Left of the Dial on Subcity Radio from 2008 to 2011.
He can be heard semi-regularly on the podcast of Scottish cultural blog Scots Whay Hae ('20th best website in Scotland!' - The List), and in 2011 founded Seen Your Video, a film and music podcast and blog based in Glasgow. He has a Masters degree in Scottish Literature from the University of Glasgow that will never have any practical application. You are on a hiding to nothing if you follow him on Twitter expecting any kind of hot publishing scoop.
If you’ve been on Twitter at any point since the weekend, chances are that you’ve come across the YouGov profiler, a jolly little plaything/terrifying cross-section of all the privacies we wilfully surrender that allows users to input the name of ‘any brand, person or thing’ then presents them with a picture of a typical fan of said brand, person or thing courtesy of the titular market research firm. It’s by no means exhaustive (apparently there weren’t enough fans of Yo La Tengo to constitute an appropriate sample size, which is of course just how Yo La Tengo fans like it) but it’s certainly an enjoyable way to pass a few minutes
confirming your existing prejudices engaging in some low-level market research. With the profiler’s help, then, BookMachine proudly (?) presents a guide to the demographics you need to pitch to if you want to make it big in publishing [puts feet up on desk, taps out cigar ash].
The Saltire Literary Awards – which recognise the best Scottish books of the year across literature, history, research and poetry, as well as debuting authors and accomplishments in publishing – have named Bob Harris and Charles McKean’s The Scottish Town in the Age of Enlightenment 1740-1820 as their overall book of the year. The Saltire Society draws the Scottish Book of the Year winner from the victors in the aforementioned categories – Harris and McKean also won the Research Book of the Year award.
It’s already been a successful trilogy of books, a successful quartet of films and may yet be a theme park, so it is with a certain weary inevitability that word comes of Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games making the transition to the London stage. The production continues the grand book -> film -> stage show tradition of The Phantom of the Opera, but with notably fewer musical numbers (although there’s obviously still time to fix that) and a chandelier being dropped not by a ghoulish denizen of the Parisian underworld but by a child with the express purpose of killing another child for the entertainment of adults, probably.
Lemony Snicket’s popular series of macabre books for young people, A Series of Unfortunate Events, has already seen at least some of its titles adapted into a film (which, if not great, is at least a significant step up from most of Jim Carrey’s other raids on the canon of children’s literature). Whilst said film didn’t quite prove a big enough hit to warrant adaptations of further titles in the series, a decade later Snicket’s work has found a home perhaps better suited to its episodic nature: Netflix.
Let’s try a little experiment here: I’m going to start off a sentence, then keep adding words to it, and see how you react to those words as we go. Ready? Okay.
Everyone loves Tom Hanks, right? Fine actor, seemingly lovely guy, someone who I bet engenders warm feelings of affection in you just from reading his name. With me so far? Alright, let’s keep going.
‘Tom Hanks is writing a book of short stories.’
That might be good, right? I mean, Hanks might have had mixed success with his screenwriting work but he seems like a pretty smart, sensitive guy, and literate too, and he just had a story printed in The New Yorker, so that has to count for something.
Amazon has launched what it describes as ‘reader powered publishing’ in the form of Kindle Scout, a crowdsourcing initiative to find unpublished authors and, uh, publish them. The hypermegaomnicompany outlines the venture as ‘a place where readers help decide if a book gets published. Selected books will be published by Kindle Press and receive 5-year renewable terms, a $1,500 advance, 50% eBook royalty rate, easy rights reversions and featured Amazon marketing. ‘
A copy of Action Comics #1 – arguably the single most sought after issue in the history of the medium – recently sold at (eBay) auction for $3,207,852, the most money ever paid for a single comic book by a margin of about a million dollars. Its nearest competitor? Another, less pristine copy of Action Comics #1, sold in 2011 for $2,161,000. Only 50 or so unrestored first run copies remain extant, and at those rates, anyone who wants to read the first appearances of Sticky-Mitt Stimson, Scoop Scanlon the Five Star Reporter (perfect name for a reporter between the wars, A+) and some dude named Superman in their original form needs to have some serious capital behind them.
Credit where it’s due to Waterstones’ PR staff: following a potentially embarrassing incident last week, in which an American tourist had to tweet and post on Instagram for help (#nofilter) after being locked inside the chain’s Trafalgar Square branch for two hours when staff closed up without realising he was still there, they’ve spun what could be a clammy nightmare into a dream come true for a certain kind of book lover. Realising that being locked inside a bookshop for several hours isn’t necessarily so unappealing a prospect, the shop is this Friday hosting a ‘sleepover’ for ten guests and their plus ones.
If you haven’t already started affecting a veneer of cool disdain as a reaction to everyone else losing their minds, you may be mildly excited by the recent news that David Lynch and Mark Frost’s seminal TV show Twin Peaks will be returning to TV screens in 2016 for a third season, 25 years after the end of its second.
Though, predictably, Lynch has been the focal point of most coverage of the show’s return (given his far higher profile during its hiatus than that of his co-creator), Frost also played a key role in developing Twin Peaks‘ unique tone and – as if to reinforce that this isn’t just The David Lynch Show – has revealed that he is writing a novel detailing the lives of the town’s residents over the 25 years between episodes.