Sam van Zweden




Cover reveal!

If you were keeping an eye on my social media feeds yesterday, you will have seen the cover for Eating with my Mouth Open.

I’m so, so thrilled to be able to share this beautiful design by Lisa White. She’s put so much hard work into getting it just right, and my publishers at NewSouth have done a wonderful job engaging the right designer and communicating the vision for this book. That they took a risk and said ‘yes’ to this book is still and probably will always be a little miracle to me.

I think the cover is eye-catching. The food collage is bursting out of the head, echoing the story’s enduring preoccupation with food. The statue alludes to the philosophical nature of the book, while its small imperfections knock expectations slightly askew. I love the typography, I love the colours, I love the drop shadow. There’s also a beautiful quote from Australian essayist Rebecca Giggs on the cover, for which I’m very very thankful.

I’m so lucky that this is the cover I’ll get to look at on my work!

Eating with my Mouth Open will be in bookstores from 1 February 2021.

Crazy Price

It’s difficult to keep up with all the many, many publication outlets for poetry, short stories and essays. This is why Black Inc’s “Best Australian…” (Stories, Essays and Poems) each year is so handy. There’s bound to be a bunch of stuff you’ve missed, that your net just doesn’t catch, and it’s great to work through these collections. Like all collections, there are always biases, and some of the same names pop up over and over, but they are pretty great.

This little #loveattack was prompted by this morning’s Christmas Bargain email from Readings – each day in the lead-up to Christmas, Readings are doing an online-only deal on a different book. Today’s is the set of all three “Best Australian…” books for $50. Even with my discount from work (25%), I can’t get them that cheap. So I’ve ordered mine, and would urge you to do the same.

An Emergency In The Form of a Bright Blue Box Set

There’s many book shop loyalty programs. They all basically work on the idea that as you buy books, you get “rewards” (points of some sort which can be redeemed at that book store for more books).

A quick scan through my wallet shows the following book-store loyalty cards:
BORDERS: One stamp for every book you buy over $20. When you get to a certain amount (I think it’s 7), you get a free book of a value under $20. It’s pretty rare for Borders to charge under $20 for anything decent, plus this is only valid if you earn those rewards within a three-month time frame. No thanks.
ANGUS & ROBERTSON REWARDS: One point for every dollar you spend. Good deal, no? No. It takes 100 points (that’s $100, kids) to earn your “reward” – a $5 A&R voucher. That’s a lot of money for little payoff. Really.
DYMOCKS BOOKLOVER: I’ve been a member of is for such a long time, and it’s still not such a bad deal. Dymocks give you 5 points for every $1 you spend. Every 100 points equates to $1 credit on your card. As I said, not such a bad deal.
VWC MEMBERSHIP: This is an inappropriate plug for how great it is being a member of the Victorian Writer’s Centre. For those of us on concession cards, it’s only $45 a year, and that pays itself off SO quickly. Not only do you get sent special publications all about the writing industry, and get cheaper tickets to workshops etc AND access to the kick-ass library they’ve got up at the Wheeler Centre, but you also get 10% off at Paperback Books on Bourke Street. The Paperback is one of my favourite book shops in Melbourne, and this 10% off makes it so much better shopping there. Rant Fin.

My favourite rewards card though? Easily
READER’S FEAST PRIVILEGED READER: You know those book guides that Reader’s Feast put out each season? That gets sent to you in the mail. Along with invites to special events, such as discount shopping evenings and writers’ appearances. On top of this, every dollar that you spend at Reader’s Feast gets tracked on your card, and twice a year 10% of the amount you’ve spent gets reimbursed as a Reader’s Feast book voucher. If that amount is under $5, they send you a $5 voucher anyway. Forgot to bring your card? No worries, they’ll look you up on the computer.

So, all that being said, I know my top two choices for Christmas shopping!

Last week in the mail I received the above mentioned seasonal book catalogue. In the same envelope were two invitations. One to a special evening where you partook in “Christmas cheer”, “light refreshments”, shopped, and received a $5 voucher just for coming. Unfortunately, I was working that night and missed it. However, the other invitation was for “End of Year Bonus Time”. Between the 21st of November and the 5th of December, Readers Feast are boosting the Privileged Reader’s rewards to 20% credit, rather than the usual 10%.

Today I headed in. I’ve been eagerly awaiting having enough cash to buy the whole Black Inc. “Best Australian…” box set, containing the collected essays, short stories and poetry. I’ve been unreasonably excited about this – when I received this “20%!” invite, I had to have in. I had the cash, I had the time, I went and got my box set. The box set, worth $70, is now sitting next to me on my couch waiting to be cracked open. Not only do I own this box set, but $14 of the purchase price will soon come back to me in the form of a Reader’s Feast book voucher. $14! That’s SO MUCH!

I’m proud of myself, folks. And I’m giving you a kind heads-up. Things you should take from this post:
– Join Reader’s Feast Privileged Readers reward program. It’s free, and so very awesome.
– Join VWC. They’re so plain awesome that they snuck into this post uninvited!
– Buy the “Best Australian…”  collection. In a box-set this year! It’s so pretty. So very, very pretty.

SO pretty, in fact, that I’m settling down with a coffee to get stuck into them right now. Boss, if you’re reading this, I may not be in to work tonight, I might have “an emergency”…in the form of a bright blue box set.

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