I read a great post by Lindsay Detwiler about ways in which her husband is her biggest supporter, though he doesn’t read her books. It started me thinking of the generosity of spirit that is needed and shown in an artistic community. So often the journey is a long and lonely one and any support, financial or otherwise, including just plain encouragement to keep going, is worth its weight in gold. Detwiler’s husband Chad is her very own advertiser, roadie and support crew and it’s great to read about the kind of background help people need in this profession.
Something I’ve really taken to heart is that books sell via word of mouth. It’s one of the reasons I started this site to begin with. I love reading, I love talking about reading, so I started a site where I could talk about books I love. I’ve been told that my talking up a literary journal where I had a story published inspired one of my twitter followers to take out a subscription and it was the best thing anyone had ever said to me. So talk it up. Whatever you’re reading, make sure twitter knows about it, mention the author by name, review the book on Goodreads or Amazon or wherever seems most relevant to you. These are the sparks in the dark that makes this feel like a community and not an empty room.
In that spirit I need to recommend two books that I will review when I’ve finished reading them, but am loving too much to wait until then. The Golden Legend by Nadeem Aslam is a simply beautiful novel, written in a vivid, poetic style. Set in contemporary Pakistan it follows architect Nargis who loses her husband to a stray bullet and her Christian neighbour Helen who falls in love with the mysterious Imran. It feels like a novel that has slowed down, taken a breath, and really drawn the air in to its lungs. I was given a copy by publisher Allen & Unwin in exchange for a review, and it will be posted in the next week or so, but even before I’ve finished it I can’t recommend it highly enough.
Secondly, because I read more than one book at a time, I also have to recommend Nike Sulway’s Dying in the First Person. I’ve only read a little of this novel and already I’m stunned by its beauty. Sulway examines wonderfully complicated ideas in a simple by expansive written style. I was reading recently that some books feel like they were written for you, specifically to you. I read an article by Peter Bishop recently. Writing in the Griffith Review he says: “Reading is a matter of friendship, as music so often is. There are songs that are acquaintances, and we nod to them as we pass in the street – and there are songs that belong to us, and often we know this belonging from the moment we first hear them, and from then on we know them in our deepest selves, and we interpret our lives through their sound.” This feels like one of those books.
On an entirely different, and perhaps selfish note, the publisher of the Dark Magic anthology that I have a story in is running a readers’ choice prize. The winning author will receive a little cash and a super cool bobble-head owl. Go by and vote and you will go in the draw to win a prize pack. The anthology is available here. Leave a review if you read it.