guitarist > writer > coder

November 17, 2013
Comments Off on The Proust Questionnaire – Book Edition

The Proust Questionnaire – Book Edition

The Proust Questionnaire—Book Edition


1. Of these, your reading preference: fiction; nonfiction; poetry; drama:
2. Your favorite childhood book (or favorite childhood author):
Roald Dahl pre-teen, Stephen King in my teens.
3. Your favorite book character:
D.R. & Quinch
4. Your favorite book title (because you like the sound of it):
The Devil’s Alternative by Frederick Forsyth
5. A book you could never finish:
Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings
6. A book you will never start:
The Bible
7. If for some reason it turned out that you could save one and only one book from among those you own, which would it be:
By Reason of Insanity by Shane Stevens. Although it is back in print now, so..?
8. A book you should have read but haven’t:
The Tin Drum. I think I have two copies now.
9. The best “book as object” you own (how it looks over what it says):
Chip Kidd’s The Cheese Monkeys (although what is says is great too)
10. Your reading speed: very slow; slow; moderate; fast; very fast:
11. While you read, are you a note-taker? If yes, where do you record your notes:
Occasionally, margin.
12. Your most idiosyncratic reading habit:
Not being able to read a book I’ve been lent
13. The most expensive book you’ve ever bought (and, if you can remember, the price):
Probably a book on web development when I used to buy them (before Google)
14. If you could be any author:
A prolific one
15. If you are what you read, the book that best says who you are:
Hmm. In Milton Lumky Territory by PKD, or Neil Stephenson’s Cryptonomicon?
16. Your favorite writer of the gender opposite yours:
Patricia Cornwell
17. The last book you bought:
(Checks Kindle…) The Boys of ’67 by Andrew Weist
18. Your favorite place to purchase books:
Comic shop
19. The book you are currently reading:
11/22/63 by Stephen King
20. The book you will read next:
The Lone Survivor by Marcus Lutrell and Patrick Robinson
21. The current location of the book you will read next:
On my phone
22. Your favorite format for books: paper or pixels:
Paper for graphic novels, pixels for written word
23. If you could have written any book:
True Crime by Andrew Klaven
24. A book that was particularly meaningful to, or highly recommended by, an acquaintance of yours:
25. If you have the chance to plan it, the last book you’ll read:
101 Sexual Positions to Try Before You Die

April 8, 2012
Comments Off on Rereading and By Reason of Insanity

Rereading and By Reason of Insanity

By Reason of Insanity, Shane StevensNot big on rereading books for much the same reasons as Mark Watson*, but one of the few I do is By Reason of Insanity by Shane Stevens.

Mentioned in the afterword of Stephen King’s The Dark Half which also has a character named after one from another Stevens’ novel Dead City, finding a copy back in the day wasn’t as hard as now. Which is a shame, as it was published before the serial killer thriller was written to death, a genre I stopped reading when I would pick one up in a bookshop and struggle to remember if I had read it already. Thirty-three years on By Reason of Insanity still stands head and shoulders above nearly all of them.

And while I enjoyed Thomas Harris’ Red Dragon and Silence of the Lambs, their tight writing and pared down story took away the need to reread them. They were a gripping one shot hit, brilliant for those very reasons, and if you haven’t read them you must. But By Reason of Insanity at 500 pages or so, with a plot that twist and squirms getting more and more desperate as it develops, rewards rereading and is one of a handful of books I return to.

Hopefully the rumours that Shane Stevens was a pen name for another author are true, otherwise he apparently passed away in 2007.

Guardian article c/o John Barger on Google+

*a shelf of books and a stocked kindle waiting for time

December 20, 2011
Comments Off on Spanish novelist quits writing because of piracy

Spanish novelist quits writing because of piracy

An award-winning Spanish novelist claims that the illegal downloading of ebooks has forced her to give up writing and start looking for a new job.
“People are making millions out of online piracy by setting up in places like Belize, which is where the money goes,” Etxebarria said. “They are a powerful lobby and our government doesn’t dare legislate.”
Her latest novel, The Contents of Silence, was published in October and … is not available as a legal ebook but can be downloaded in pdf format from numerous websites. The print edition costs more than €20.
– Guardian: Spanish novelist Lucía Etxebarria quits writing in piracy protest


Lucía Etxebarria on Amazon.com Kindle vs Other

Lucía Etxebarria on Amazon.com Kindle vs Other

So people want to read Lucía Etxebarria’s books digitally, but they are not available digitally except as pirated copies, so instead of making them available she decides to stop writing? Comes back to how I feel about the lazy route. Make legal as easy as illegal and a I don’t think cost will be a barrier to people willing to pay. People unwilling to pay won’t pay either way. Ignore them.


See also: How much should an ebook cost?


“In a market where the marginal cost is close to zero, prices tend to race to zero as well … Except when there are no substitutes … So our analysis begins with the notion that there will be at least two price points for ebooks. One will be super cheap, perhaps a dollar, for ebooks where there are substitutes …  But what about books where there is no obvious substitute[?] … Here, we need to take a moment and think about the nature of a substitute. Of course, there is no substitute for Neil. On the other hand, at $100 a book, most of us would make do and move on to our second choice. So there is a substitute, just not a perfect one or an easy one.”


[Update] See also “Striking Spanish author sparks digital publishing debate


“Constantine too believes that there ways to survive in the constantly changing environment of literary publishing.
“[Etxebarria] might as well simply publish as ebooks herself as well, and at least get some income from these legal versions. It’s what I’m doing now.”