Tag Archives: Björn Borg

Is it like running?

Overwhelmed as I am by all the new and excellent books I see, I can’t help wondering how they happen. Are written. Get published.

Is it like running faster? I’ve never understood how come people run faster with each generation. Once there was a fuss when someone could run a mile in under four minutes. I suppose there must be a limit to how fast a human being can run a mile? But then Stone Age runners might have thought so too, and their limit was probably far from four minutes. If they knew about minutes.

So do authors today write better books because they know they have to to stand a chance of getting published, or do they write good books because evolution makes it happen? (I’m on very shaky ground here, as you can tell.)

Although, unlike the runners who can’t arrive before they’ve started, I suppose writers could – in theory – write better and better books. Cleverer use of words and better sentences about really exciting new people in new style plots. (Unless schools prevent any sensible written language from evolving.)

Anyway, they say there are only so many plots. And I despair a bit about the state of editing. If I can see it, it must be bad. So I suppose it’s back to the running. And as I was reminded when I looked it up, there is a difference between the normally competent runner, and the really successful athlete.

Or could it be the Björn Borg factor? Sweden was over-run by especially good young tennis players in the years after Björn’s Wimbledon triumphs. Players wanted to be the new Borg, and there were plenty of people able to help train them.

Or were the tennis results simply contagious? Like J K Rowling started us on wizards and Stephenie Meyer gave us romantic vampires. I think tennis-wise that things calmed down after a while. Will books?

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Bookwitch bites #29

I was relieved to read that someone has looked into this business of the Nobel prize for literature. Not relieved they’ve looked into it, so much as finding that being awarded this lovely prize will not generally block the happy author from writing more books. The kiss of death is what it’s been called. But it seems that aside from poor Steinbeck, there is no sign that people stop writing after they’ve become unbearably rich.

Which – ahem – brings me neatly to the Hans Christian Andersen literature award. Earlier this week the Danes handed over 500000 Danish kroner to J K Rowling. It’s a difficult thing, this. I do feel she deserves the award. I just can’t help thinking of the many other very worthy potential recipients who could use the money.

Orion Star

Orion Children’s Books have launched The Orion Star newsletter. It looks very nice, but I’d like to point out that Orion is not a star. He’s a constellation. (Subscribe to The Orion Constellation! No it doesn’t sound as good, does it?) You can read the first one here. Or if you like, you can read Bookwitch. Or both.

Speaking of stars I was really excited to receive an email telling me I could buy three Björn Borgs for the price of two. Didn’t know there were that many to go round, but who wouldn’t want three instead of a mere two?

One star I’m continually failing to see or hear is Michael Rosen. I think we might be doomed, him and me. Michael was doing a big event for the Manchester Literature Festival this week, but I still haven’t morphed into a school so didn’t succeed in getting in.

And I gather there was a good interview with Gillian Philip (surely not better than mine?) in the Times on Saturday. But because they want money for their online content, I haven’t read it. I sort of object to paying for online news articles. I don’t object to popping out to buy a copy of the paper occasionally, but by the time I have heard about something like this, it’s usually too late to get hold of the paper.

I remember once when I knocked on the door of every house in our neighbourhood to see if I could lay my hands on one or more of the Sunday broadsheets, only to find that most of my neighbours appeared not to take a paper at all. Fancy that.

(And I apologise for all those zeroes further up. I wanted to break the monotony of 00000 with, well, with something. But with what? In Sweden we/they do one thing, and in Britain we/they do the other. But right now I can’t get my commas sorted from my full stops, maths-wise. It could be 500,000 or it could be 500.000. Sorry, I’m having a nervous breakdown just looking at it.)