THE OVER­FLOW ROSE­MARY SORENSEN

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Books -

WHY, you may ask, did the Aus­tralian So­ci­ety of Au­thors do­nate $ 3078 to the In­dige­nous Lit­er­acy Project? It’s a dol­lar for each of its mem­bers, and al­though it is not an or­gan­i­sa­tion flush with funds, it con­sid­ered the project im­por­tant enough to war­rant a do­na­tion. If ev­ery Aus­tralian gave a dol­lar to this joint ini­tia­tive of the Fred Hol­lows Foun­da­tion, the Aus­tralian Book­sellers As­so­ci­a­tion and the Aus­tralian Pub­lish­ers As­so­ci­a­tion, we could make in­roads into the ed­u­ca­tional lag that con­fronts in­dige­nous com­mu­ni­ties. HOW re­li­able are books as a means of match­ing peo­ple ro­man­ti­cally? A Bri­tish pub­lisher has an­nounced a kind of lit­er­ary dat­ing ser­vice, pro­moted through ads in the back of nov­els, that sup­pos­edly links read­ers with po­ten­tial suit­ors by match­ing their favourite books. A search for the web­site turned de­cid­edly trou­bling. It turns out to be an or­di­nary on­line dat­ing ser­vice that is pro­moted by the pub­lish­ing com­pany in re­turn for fi­nan­cial ben­e­fits. Some­how it all seems a bit shonky. Read­ers are hot tar­gets for all kinds of mar­ket­ing no­tions, but there could come a point when the pub­lish­ing com­pa­nies lose their cred­i­bil­ity. IF you have been able to read the new Mean­jin , which was launched in Syd­ney this week, you are do­ing well. The ar­ti­cles and sto­ries in the new- look quar­terly, edited by So­phie Cun­ning­ham, may con­tain death­less prose, thought- pro­vok­ing ideas and mes­meris­ing im­agery: we’ll never know be­cause the text is so darned dif­fi­cult to read, we couldn’t per­se­vere be­yond a few lines. Turn the page, an­other font, an­other lay­out flour­ish, and still un­read­able. OVER­FLOW is al­ways pleased to re­ceive let­ters from read­ers, par­tic­u­larly those who wish to share things with us, even anony­mously. One kind in­ter­locu­tor ( if you can in­ter­locute in print) wrote to sug­gest we tell peo­ple about the web­site li­brary­thing. com. It’s a site where you can cat­a­logue your books, then com­pare your list with other read­ers’ lists. Speak­ing as some­one who, as a child, used to stick bor­row­ing cards in the back of her lit­tle li­brary of books, then stamp them out to her­self, I thought this site would in­ter­est me. Un­for­tu­nately, it im­me­di­ately links you to ( yes, you guessed it) Ama­zon, which rather dulled my en­thu­si­asm. It’s none­the­less an amaz­ing in­ven­tion, and its rhi­zomatic map­ping of read­ing pas­sions, po­ten­tially through­out the world, has a lovely so­cial as­pect. SHE has been poet lau­re­ate in the US and has also won the Pulitzer, and now New York poet Louise Gluck has re­ceived the Wal­lace Stevens Award, val­ued at $ 100,000, from the Academy of Amer­i­can Poets. Her most re­cent book is Averno , pub­lished in 2006 by Far­rar, Straus and Giroux. IN Canada this week, items of fur­ni­ture and dec­o­ra­tions that once be­longed to Robert­son Davies were auc­tioned. They in­cluded a Vic­to­rian page turner and a wal­nut sta­tionery box. Davies died in 1995, aged 82, leav­ing be­hind him three com­pleted trilo­gies and one cut short at book two. Won­der­ful writer, fab­u­lous books. If you’ve never en­coun­tered this en­ter­tain­ing, eru­dite chap, head straight to your near­est sec­ond- hand book­shop and in­dulge your­self in a novel or nine.

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