Tuesday, November 27, 2007


DEC 15th - CCA - 350 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow 12am - 10pm -- free entry
stalls / resources / videotheque / events

Within Britain, Scotland and specifically Glasgow there are fewer and fewer outlets for independent and radical materials. Corporate bookshops rule the roost and offer little in the way of counter culture, radical voices or local independent materials. The Radical Independent
Book-fair project (RIB) has come about to help redress this imbalance...

RIB is a support structure for a number of individuals and groups who produce publications, information and materials for sale, view and free distribution. The project is self-financed by the participants, nopublic or corporate monies are involved, no one takes a wage, it is not
party politically aligned and is autonomous from other organisations. The project is not just an occasional bookshop and travelling bookstall... it is also a temporary library, a videotheque, a meeting point for distribution, discussion and ideas, as well as a place to come and have a blether.

...supporting small press publishers and independent
producers...circulating radical reading materials and information...

For more info on RIB and and the programme of events go to:


Sunday, November 25, 2007

Held in Thrall

Writer Amy Corzine describes her feelings about writing the forthcoming comic adaptation of Jane Eyre:

"...the clever chemistry and verbal dances between the lovers are perhaps what most strike the heart. Often it seemed as if Brontë were simply recounting real conversations – perhaps ones she had really had with a schoolmaster with whom she fell in love while working as a governess in France.

The book was so well-plotted, its language so moving, and its descriptions so colourful, that putting it into visual form was one of the easiest and most enjoyable writing jobs I have ever had. My most difficult task was choosing which passages to leave out."

Read the whole interview on the Bronte Parsonage Blog:


Saturday, November 24, 2007

Libraries Threatened by In-fighting

Alison Flood writes about the new report on Libraries from think-tank Demos for the Bookseller:
"The report, Fact and Fiction: The Future of Public Libraries, divides the library lobby into two camps: the "book lobby", which argues that the solution lies in putting more re-sources into book stocks, and the "diversifiers", who believe that libraries are about more than books and need to broaden their offer. The book lobby thinks the diversifiers are philistines, while the diversifiers look on the book lobby as obtuse." The report
calls on the two sides to work together to avoid forcing the public library service into a permanent downward spiral.

This "coming together" presupposes that the "book lobby" (Library users who deplore the running down of the public library system over the past ten or more years) has as much power to influence events as those the report calls the "diversifiers" - when in fact the latter is made up by the Councillors, council officials, politicans and central government bureaucrats who have neglected the Library buildings, cut library staff and book budgets and sold off the books over the past years. "Coming together" sounds like another way of saying "don't complain - put up with what we give you."

A quick examination of Public Library statistics demonstrates that the "downward spiral" has been going on for over ten years. The so-called "book lobby" (of which I count myself a member) are not against computerised resources in Libraries - far from it. Many reference sources are much better provided online than in out-of-date printed works - and it is great to be able to access these from home, as I can in Essex. Computerised catalogues and online reservations are great - but so are books. The argument about computers in Libraries is a complete red herring - they are already there, and have been for many years. Nobody is saying that they should be taken out. But neither should they be used as a stalking horse for the kind of cuts and changes they have been taking place. The whole focus of our criticism is that book stocks are being reduced, insufficient books are being purchased, and Libraries are being turned into "community centres" "one-stop shops" for council services, and even gyms, to the detriment of their use as libraries. Library closures, staff cuts, and falling bookstocks are resulting in people turning elsewhere for books and information. Of course, a "one-size fits all" approach is wrong, but so is the continual closure of small community libraries to finance services in big urban centres. Yinnon Ezra and John Holden want to find common ground with the book lobby. Until they can accept that continuing library closures, the neglect of library buildings, and the reduction of bookstock are unacceptable it will be very difficult indeed to find common ground.

Slaughter in the Stacks?

"ALMOST a quarter of a million books have gone missing from Waltham Forest libraries amid claims they have been burned or pulped" reports the Waltham Forest Guardian. Nearly 75,000 books vanished between January and March this year alone, amid reports of library staff spending weeks packing and labelling books for disposal, and van loads of books destined for the tip. the full story can be found here:


[The 144 characters in the original link have been shortened to 25 characters using TinyUrl]

Monday, November 19, 2007

Variant 30

The winter 2007 issue of Variant is available. Contents include Rebecca Gordon Nesbit's lengthy review of three books on anarchism: Realizing the Impossible: Art Against Authority, edited by Josh MacPhee & Erik Reuland; Ben Franks' Rebel Alliances: The Means and Ends of Contemporary British Anarchisms; and the Trapese Collective's Do it Yourself: A Handbook for Changing our World, Tom Jennings: "Rebel Poets Reloaded" and John Barker's "The High and the Mighty."
Pick up a free copy from a good bookshop or arts centre - or read online at:


Saturday, November 17, 2007


The December/January issue is published, and can be read online. Articles include John Banville on the birth and development of pulp fiction - a new genre "that sought in the gritty seams of American life a fresh moral code, one that made sense for hard times and harder people." Wendy Lesser on Tomasi de Lampedusa, and Peter Brooks on the letters of the young Henry James. To read this issue click the cover illustration on the top left of the home page.

Mark Twain Project Online

The ultimate purpose of the Mark Twain Project is to "produce a digital critical edition, fully annotated, of everything Mark Twain wrote" using innovative online technology. " It offers unfettered, intuitive access to reliable texts, accurate and exhaustive notes, and the most recently discovered letters and documents". MTPO is a collaboration between the Mark Twain Papers and Project of The Bancroft Library, the California Digital Library, and the University of California Press.
Great stuff, fanatastic letters, and a wealth of detail in the notes. Brought to my notice by the Scout Report.

Mark Twain Project:

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Article 26

Although it was only built in September, Fasayil School will be demolished on 29th of November. Built out of traditional mud bricks, using traditional building techniques, it is the first and only primary school in the village of Fasayil, and badly needed by the 115 local children. But this new school is situated in the heart of the Jordan Valley which has been occupied territory since 1967. New construction requires a permit from the occupation authorities, but (catch 22) they never issue them. Now a demolition order has been issued, requiring the villagers to dismantle the school, or pay a hefty fine for failing to respect the construction ban, and watch while the occupation's bulldozers do the job.

The villagers remain defiant:
"They can knock our school down as often as they want. We cannot stop them from doing so. We will build the school again and again and again. They cannot destroy our determination to give proper education to our children."

See photos of the construction here:

Online petition here:


Friday, November 09, 2007

Future Reading: Digitization and its Discontents

Anthony Grafton explores the way in which the "computer and the Internet have transformed reading more dramatically than any technology since the printing press" and the the likely impact of digitization programmes such as Google Book Search in the New Yorker.


Worldwide Press Freedom Index 2007

Reporters Without Borders recently published their Press Freedom Index. In particular the report highlights the increasing repression experienced by bloggers in many countries, as governments establish new methods of censorship - "targetting bloggers and online journalists as forcefully as journalists in the traditional media."


Thursday, November 08, 2007

The Day the Music Died

The BBC examines the fate of the world's "largest public domain music score library":


[thanks to Library Link of the Day for the tip]