Thursday News: Ugandan book prices, Singapore Book Awards, women and death, “magazine” book clubs
Uganda, where a book can cost a month’s salary – In Uganda, a book can cost the equivalent of a week’s worth of food (more than $40 or almost £30), complicating attempts to “stop reading being regarded as a purely middle-class luxury,” especially for children, whose literacy is key to future economic mobility, and for the concurrent growth of a book/reading culture. Academic publishing has a strong presence, but now women like Rosey Sembatya are trying to promote other types of reading through innovations like her Malaika Children’s Mobile Library, on which she spent her own savings:
The library is in the spare room of a two-bedroom house she rents.
There are a couple of hundred books stacked on shelves and a long desk.
From here motorbike taxis, known as boda bodas, whizz around the capital delivering a week’s worth of reading for children. . . .
For a $30 annual fee, each child can borrow three books a week. – BBC News
Singapore Book Awards: The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye wins Book of the Year – Sonny Liew’s graphic novel won the Award for fiction, despite its controversial content. The book addresses some 1980s political controversies and was de-funded by the government right before its release. In nonfiction, the winning book was Through the Lens of Lee Kip Lin: Photographs of Singapore 1965-1995 by Lai Chee Kien, and for children’s literature, the winner was Lee Kow Fong’s The Search. The Singapore Book Awards debuted in 2012, and in four years submissions have grown from 60 to 147. Regarding the controversy around Liew’s book,
Published by Epigram, the book was thrust in the spotlight in mid-2015 after the National Arts Council (NAC) decided to withdraw its S$8,000 publishing grant for the novel a day before its launch.
NAC later explained that the book’s content potentially “undermines the authority or legitimacy” of the Government and breached funding guidelines.
Epigram Books had to return the S$6,400 that had been already disbursed as well as print stickers to cover the NAC logo in the book.
Liew, who was recently on a tour of the US to promote the US launch of Charlie Chan, said that “the award does provide encouragement for staying on this sometimes uncertain road of a freelance career in comics”. – Channel NewsAsia
The New Faces of Death: Interview with Sarah Troop -A really, really intriguing interview with Sarah Troop (see below and linked article for details), whose work centers on the culture, industry, rituals, and beliefs around death. While noting that women are strongly represented in the “death industry,” Troop is also working to support more mainstream acceptance of rituals like grieving and better understanding of different cultural approaches to death and its representations.
Sarah Troop is a museum curator and historian who writes and recreates historical and cultural recipes for her blog, Nourishing Death, which examines the relationship between food and death in rituals, culture, religion, and society. She is also co-founder of Death & the Maiden, which explores the relationship between women and death by sharing ideas and creating a platform for discussion and feminist narratives. . . .
What drew you to your particular profession?
When I see people or objects, or even a street corner, they have fascinating, hidden stories to tell – and I want to know what they are! My love of history was actually sparked by culinary history. There was a cookbook in our house that recipes with the origin stories of each dish, which I find fascinating.
With my food and death research I am working to tie the historical and cultural research (the past), to practical ways we can use food to honor death, dying, mourning and memory (present and future). In writing about history, being a museum curator, and working with the Order of the Good Death and Death Salon, it allows me to do everything I love and work with the most amazing individuals. – Dirge Magazine
Book clubs shelve guilt (and excuses) by tackling magazines – Gail Rosenblum points out that once her book club stopped actually reading books, attendance improved. Why? Because not everyone has the time to read book-length works, and yet the desire to meet and discuss ideas remains. A possible solution?
The magazine article club.
This sensible idea frees us from having to make up fresh excuses every 30 or so days. Who doesn’t have time in a whole month to read something from People, er, I mean, the Atlantic?
This compelling idea is the brainchild of Joanna Goddard, a New York-based writer and editor. She proposed a club where members collectively read something that takes 45 minutes max to finish. – Minnesota Star Tribune
Dirge Magazine. Huh. The premier dark culture and lifestyle magazine, per their website. I learned something new about the world around me.