Sam van Zweden



estelle tang

I Do, I Do Like Books.

I like books, and I like Jojo and Maddie and I like JoMad, I Heard You Like Books.

This fantastic podcast has the strange effect on me that I feel like I’m buddies with Jojo and Maddie, and all the people they interview. And they interview all these people I’ve had fleeting dealings with, but haven’t really had a good chat to – Phill English, Estelle Tang, etc etc. I’m developing the creepy feeling that I’m getting to know people. I’m scared that next time I see all these people I’ll be creepy – I’ll know them, but they’ll hardly know me. Sorry, in advance, if that happens.

What I’m trying to say is that the podcast is just like having a really good chat.

Their latest podcast, “Show Don’t Estelle”, features Estelle Tang (of KYD and 3000 Books fame) is a rip-snorter. I ripped, I snorted, I laughed. Go there and hit play.

And if you’re anything like me, you’ll want to buy Jojo Animalia for Christmas*.

I just want to. So, Jojo, if you don’t receive Animalia from me, I’m sorry. Your podcast did create the impulse though.

A Tangible Ass-Kicking

I know there are people out there who read lots. It’s a real thing. I know this.

There’s a whole list of them partaking in J Kaye’s 100+ Books Reading Challenge. However, the snob in me discounts them as those kind of people who read crime fiction/airport novels exclusively, chewing through five books a week. These people do the 100+ Books Challenge and write posts about how last year they read 200 books, which they’d really like to beat this year … sure. Why not?

But I also know that those people I respect read a lot. And it’s their enumeration of what they’ve read that makes my reading anxiety all the greater, and the ass-kicking I’m receiving all the more apparent.

Estelle Tang at 3000 Books estimates 50 books a year, and what she reads is always pretty respectable. I admire her.

I also admire Chris Flynn, whose post this week about the 31 books he’s read in 2010 made the ass-kicking my reading is receiving quite tangible.

Freakish reader Misha Adair has, at last update, read 30 books this year.

I’m falling behind! I’m only up to 17. Oh lordy. What a terrible person I must be! What am I doing with my time!?

…Studying. Working. Writing. Filming. Domestic-ing.

I do have some friendly competition of my own calibre though. JorjaKelly’s tally is now up to 15. She also studies and has busy busy days.

My 17 equals one book per week so far, not that it’s actually happened like that… That puts me on target for the 50 that Estelle Tang aims for. A worthy number, surely…But not 100.

To follow Chris Flynn’s quite entertaining post, though, here’s some stats. I love numbers. Just love them:

13 men. 4 women.
1 graphic novel. 14 fiction. 2 non-fiction.
3 Australian. 14 non-Australian.

Looks like I share reading habits with Chris Flynn, if perhaps not quite reading at the same rate…

But enough of this analysing business. Back to the books!

Paper Radio Is Here, As City Basement Books Leaves

Two unrelated things in one post. Why not?

Paper Radio – it’s finally here. It’s been a long time in the making, and the excited chatter around the place has been deafening, so the fact that it launched today is something of a relief. In a great way. It’s all I expected and more!

Paper Radio is an online literary journal of sorts. There’s a FM channel which features fictional writing, and an AM channel which showcases non-fictional work. There are a few familiar names on the list of people behind this literary love-fest – Dion Kagan is familiar to me as the editor of last year’s EWF publication “The Reader”. He’s also hosting a few events for the EWF this year, I believe. Estelle Tang is also on the Editorial Advisory Committee, and she’s the amazing brain behind the utterly bottomless book blog “3000 Books”. So the team behind Paper Radio are strong, assuming those names I’m familiar with are anything to go by.

The website is really sleek, nicely designed with bold colours and collage-like graphics. And it’s not just the visuals that are nicely designed. It’s easy to get around the site, and while the FM channel is the only active thing on there at the moment, with one episode up of a story by Chris Somerville, the player isn’t complicated and the quality of the content is awesome. The reading on the episode that’s up is done by Jon Tjhia (executive producer of Paper Radio), who has an utterly enchanting voice, and the sound design behind the reading isn’t intrusive at all.

Really looking forward to future episodes from Paper Radio!

I’m afraid this post also contains some news that makes me incredibly sad…

City Basement Books, that amazing floor-to-ceiling booklover’s heaven (downstairs, 28 Elizabeth St, CBD), is shutting its doors. At least, at this location. I’ve tried searching for quite a while about what the deal is, but all I can find is that the store is “moving on” – whether this means the store is closing, or just moving premises I’m not sure. Either way this books shop has been one of my favourite places in Melbourne for years now. It’s always been so reliable, to not only have the book you’re looking for, but to have it from different publishers, different editions, with any different covers it may have had… And alwas for a reasonable price, in great condition.

Before they do close their doors or move, (whichever it may be) they are having a massive sale. All books $1 until this Friday, so get down there and pay your respects to the sacred ground at 28 Elizabeth St, Melbourne CBD.

Torpedo pioneering for Australian journals

I’ve just been listening to a great interview between Estelle Tang and Chris Flynn.

Estelle Tang is creator of book blog 3000 Books, and online editor for literary journal Kill Your Darlings.

Chris Flynn is the great mind behind literary journal Torpedo. His writing appears everywhere. Really. Everywhere.

And now he’s being interviewed everywhere. One case of this is Estelle Tang’s interview (linked above) for Kill Your Darlings.

Prior to listening to this, I knew Chris Flynn was not an Aussie boy, so the accent wasn’t a shock. But my goodness, hasn’t Estelle Tang just got a beautiful voice!? I feel like Ursula the Sea Witch out of Disney’s The Little Mermaid… I want her voice!***

Chris Flynn is hot stuff right now – more than usual – because his love-child Torpedo is the first Australian literary journal to make the leap to being available exclusively on eReaders.

In their interview, Chris and Estelle discuss what this change means for publishers and writers, and why this move was the best for Torpedo.

Will this move be the big one for other journals to follow? Goodness knows we’ve got so many of them in Australia, particularly Melbourne, and all the reasons Chris Flynn outlines above are pretty great reasons for everyone to make this jump to eReaders. I know the next Sleepers Almanac will be published online, but I’m not sure if that means they’re going as far as cutting out the print copies altogether.

I’m a lover of my book collection. And other people’s book collections. I love the section of my bookshelf that has lit journals on it, all lined up in their groups and numbered accordingly. At the moment, money is a massive consideration for me, and while I can afford to buy a journal or two every now and then, I cannot afford an eReader.

I’m upset that Torpedo are abandoning people like myself, and really hope that if other journals follow suit, they keep their print copies in existence also.

*** NB: The sea witch out of Disney’s version, who harmlessly “spells” away Ariel’s lovely voice and keeps it. NOT the sea witch out of the Hans Christian Anderson version who cuts out her tongue. Not that one. No.

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