East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai



In the end it was a matter of money: I had this Amazon gift card, and I was going through one of my periodic book hauls. There was a book I had been curious about for years, and there it was – the paperback edition, priced 5 bucks, exactly half the price of the Kindle edition.
So I ordered it, and today the postman dropped it – and boy does it look ugly.

The book in question is Monkeys with Typewriters, the “reading and writing” handbook by Scarlett Thomas. I like the works of Thomas a lot, and as I said I wanted to read her writing handbook forever. I sort of collect writing handbooks, and this one looked like a good addition to my collection. Also, a few friends highly recommended it.

I hate the cover. I am sorry, because I realize it’s the work of someone that put skill and effort in it, and I get the whole ironic/postmodern idea. It’s just that I don’t like it.

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A novel about a writer (not) writing a novel

Today I took the day off – I did not write, I did not translate, I did not teach. I did not plot, I did not outline, I did not pitch.
I slept late this morning, I went to the supermarket soon after lunchtime, and then I spent the day reading.
And if it is true that I feel guilty – because money is tight, and I need to work work work to cover my bills – on the other hand it is indispensable to pause once in a while. I already talked about this in the past: fatigue, burnout, anxiety fits… it is not fun.
You have to learn to pace yourself, like Billy Joel used to sing. Continue reading