THE OVERFLOW ROSEMARY SORENSEN
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.