Tuesday, November 24, 2009

New from Marshall Cavendish

One of the perks of having a book blog is that publishers and authors actually give you copies of books - often with quite overwhelming generosity. I am sorry to be slow about blogging recent additions to my bookshelves and plan to do better. Meanwhile, here are some new reads from Marshall Cavendish, well deserving of your attention :

Chaizani's book - intriguingly called From Out-Er Space - is a collection of well-observed and amusing short pieces by a young woman who lives in Kelantan and hates to be conventional. It's a very chatty enjoyable read. (Note to self, try to get her down to KL for Readings.)

Julian C.H. Lee is an Economic and Social Research Council fellow in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Kent, who also lectures at Monash University, Malaysia. His new book The Malaysian Way of Life is a collection of articles on Malaysian culture and politics by a whole range of thought-provoking and entertaining writers, many of them scholars and researchers themselves. Some of the subjects covered include Malaysian food; the Malaysia boleh syndrome; secularism, religion and mysticism in the Malay world; mosque design in Malaysia and Indonesia; Malaysia's own brand of multiculturalism; and Malay language cinema. I think this is a must-read for anyone interested in the country and I can't wait to read it.

Cons, Fools and Friends : 25 Years of Travelling the World records New Zealand photojournalist Peter Anderson's adventures travelling the world. He visits pretty much every corner of the globe in these anecdotes. Among the stories about Malaysia - a taxi driver who didn't want to turn on his windscreen wipers in a rainstorm because he didn't like the noise they made; and an account of a visit to meet a headhunter in Borneo.

This is a perfect book for armchair travellers, but how sad it is that there are so few photos. (To make up for it, do go look at his Flikr photostream.) The author was interviewed in the NST by Suzanne Pillay.

Journalism in Good Faith : Issues and Practices in Religion Reporting by Eric G. Loo and Mustafa K. Anuar is a very useful handbook for journalists and faith-based organisations. It addresses the question of how journalists ethically cover issues of faith when they are trained to report verifiable facts, and looks at how the divide between and withing faith-groups can be bridged.

Lydia Teh also has a new book out called Stretching Your Dollars and $ense which offers 300 money-saving tips. Very good for those who are short of pennies, and thought-provoking for the wasteful rest of us.

Another practical guide, and one that has stood the test of time, is Lee Chew Kang's Grow your Own Vegetables. The book has now been updated and has colour pictures. But I wonder why no mention is made of growing vegetables hydroponically? I will anyway pass on the book to the gardener in the house who is planning to dig up the lawn to plant cabbages.

With so many good books on the market it continues to baffle me why Marshall Cavendish just do not get information about all their books up online. There is no publicity material to link to in most cases. There are no pictures of any of the book covers of the latest crop - and this is most annoying for a blogger and for someone who catalogues their books on LibraryThing. (I've made it a point to say this every time I meet my friends from the publishers at functions, and several times on this blog!)

Moral of story? I can't say strongly enough to local authors to make the effort to put up your own web page or blog, create a fan page on Facebook, and sign up for Twitter. If you don't make the effort to create your own publicity, probably no-one will.


katztales said...

I agree but so many people don't know much about web pages, esp older writers. I've started blogging about online issues for writers on Mondays. Next week have guest blogger Kris Tsetsi who will talk about whether it's useful to write e-books (compared to print) and how to go about it.

bibliobibuli said...

thanks Ellen. I am happy to help any author who needs help getting a blog/ facebook page/ twitter set up. i just get so angry when perfectly nice books have no publicity and are heading for pulpdom without ever having been read.

Fadz said...

Miss Chaizani used to be my English teacher back in USM Kubang Kerian (prerequisite 3 semesters of English)! She switches between australian-English and Kelantanese-Malay seamlessly.

Weird to have (Malaysian) people you know a published author.

By the way, Sharon, QLRS published one of my short stories in their October edition. Reckon it'll boost my chances of publishing an anthology? I have 4 of 15 stories for my thematic anthology so far. The rest are still in my head :).

bibliobibuli said...

Fadz - well done get published in QLRS. i think that is a significant landmark.

if you are free to read at readings next year, let me know. i still owe you a critique of your story - would you like to meet up with me one of these days and we can have a cup of tea and talk. i have a guilty conscience haha. (kind of got swamped with things and didn't get round to fulfillign promises.)

wye said...

please advise me on where i will be able to get a copy of Lee Chew Kang's Grow your own vegetable. have been looking long for it. thanks!

Fadz said...

Meeting you to share your thoughts would be wonderful. I have acutally revised it, trimmed some sections, and sent the story to Glimmer Train.

About Readings, I have always been interested to check it out (new venue looks awesome, by the way). But going there empty-handed feels awkward. I tell myself I should get my name in print first before anyone would take me seriously.

Weird way of thinking, but true. I've read one of Eric's posts about the call for anthology submission. I wonder if I could write a query letter with the sample stories I have or if I should wait till I have at least 30k words worth of stories before I submit that query.

I've written over 15 new flash fictions (around 1k words) since joining writing.com last August. I'm finalizing one of the stories with Leon to be published at TMPC. I'm also looking at other online venues for my other stories. I'm hoping to have a list of published works when I write a query letter for my anthology and novels-in-progress.

I don't know if your readers are aware of this, but there is an excellent website to look for publication venues, www.duotrope.com.

bibliobibuli said...

Fadz - you are so committed and hard-working and that is a big plus. Query letters in Malaysia are a waste of time btw. Just send your work in - even if just a chapter or two.

Let's fix up a day and time to meet next week, shall we? I'm not free evenings but daytime is okay, and weekends are fine too.

As for Readings - I am prepared to give space to an unpublished writer who is working and sending stuff out. It isn't about being perfect.

bibliobibuli said...

sorry Wye - the book should be in the bookshops in Malaysia and Singapore and available to order. do you live locally?