Posted by: Corri van de Stege | March 8, 2010

The Sunday Papers

As some of you know, I am an avid reader of Sunday Papers, enjoying the Sunday afternoon lounging about on sofa’s in winter, and out in the garden in the summer.  I cannot wait for the summer to start – reading papers out in the sunshine is so much nicer!

As I had already posted yesterday I saved this one for today.   I don’t often post on Mondays, or on Tuesdays or on…. etc.  because I am swallowed up by the working week, unable to wrench myself away from work and writing reports and ‘case studies’ and what have you.  None of that to do with fiction, reading or books.  

It’s just that yesterday’s Sunday papers were full of all kinds of book and author related articles that I wanted to think about and follow up on:

1) There was an article on Dave Eggers, an interview by Rachel Cooke, and I want to just get hold now of his new book Zeitoun, out on 15 March in the UK.  Eggers, apparently, is a man on a mission with this  book (again), which is based on a true story of one man and his family caught up in hurricane Katrina.  I cannot wait to get hold of a copy and so there goes another order to Amazone, my wishlist becoming too long to contemplate.   I have read his You Shall Know Our Velocity and thought is was quirky and interesting.

2) Then there was yet another review of Andrew Rawnsley’s book ‘The End of the Party: The Rise and Fall of New Labour’.  This book has already caused so much controversy over the last few weeks, when newspapers picked on the sections where he accuses the PM Gordon Brown of being a bully, and no one seems to have taken any notice of the rest of the book.  This review tells us that the book deserves ‘far more serious attention’, and I for one want to go along with that.  It should definitely be an interesting read, with all the fall-out of the Iraq war both in America and in England – and of course the election looming.  So there’s another book on the list.  I will need a ‘reading holiday’ soon.  I cannot keep up.  So I have booked a whole week off over Easter, I won’t go anywhere, just faff about – and read.   Bliss.

3) I don’t want you to miss this piece by Robert McCrum, also in the Observer (somehow I got stuck in that paper on Sunday – their new Review is excellent), about the downward path for novelists as far as their financial income is concerned.  Back in the 70s authors might get a paltry few hundred quid up front for a new book, but then life became rosy when huge sums of money were being paid up front to authors such as Salman Rushdie and Martin Amis who raked in half a million and more.  Now, in times of recession, it seems that authors are back to the begging bowl and ‘rejections are commonplace.  Advances have been slashed, where possible.  the process of submitting new books by unknowns has become, in the words of one, “a bloody nightmare”.’ 

Also: ‘From copyright down, every aspect of the business is being redefined’ and this is quite a sobering thought when deep down all you want to do is finish that book that you started, and all those stories….

I was  impressed by the last note which tells us that Monica Ali ‘took up writing as an antidote to domestic drudgery following the birth of her first child; she received a £200.000 advance based on six chapters of Brick Lane’….  Why did  I not I think of doing just that when I had the time?



  1. I miss reading more papers. It’s kind of slipped from my life lately, so thanks for sharing these.

  2. Ah Andi – but you make time to write – wonderful reviews and more!

  3. Our Sunday book sections are pitiful so I’m quite envious of yours. A number of excellent-sounding reads there. I hope your reading holiday comes soon.

  4. Interesting comments. The copyright and IPR issues will get increasingly redefined with digitised book versions and who has rights to what between author and publisher as well as Google!

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