Wednesday News: Richard Adams dies, digital discovery, evolution of imaging, and Carrie Fisher quotes
Watership Down author Richard Adams dies aged 96 – Oh how I loved Watership Down as a kid, and frankly didn’t even realize that its author, Richard Adams, was still alive. Anyway, this is a lovely remembrance, not only about the origin of Adams’s most famous story, but also about his own life and his obvious love of animals. Like many now-classic books, the manuscript originally endured many rejections, and when it was initially published in 1972, it received a small print run (only 2,500). Adams was 52 when he wrote his first and most famous book, which ultimately won the Carnegie Medal for children’s fiction for 1972.
Describing Christmas Eve a “rather a magical night”, she said: “It’s the night that traditionally the animals and birds can talk.
“It was absolutely typical of Dad that he would choose such a night on which to leave this world.” . . .
The event that changed Richard Adams’ life occurred on a car journey with his family to see Twelfth Night at Stratford-upon-Avon.
His bored children asked for a story and he began telling them a tale about a group of rabbits attempting to escape from their threatened warren.
Adams was persuaded to write it all down, a process that took him more than two years, but he was, at first, unable to find a publisher. – BBC News
The future is digital book discovery, not distracting gimmicks – My response to this post was a stead store of ‘hmmm,’ and some curiosity around how this “digital transformation business,” Squiz, conducted this reader research. Because I sure as heck don’t want to “feel closer” to authors. I’m also not sure how cultivating that relationship – which Roger Warner argues is in the purview of publishers – is about supporting the “core act of reading.” Unless we’re just back to old-fashioned notions of marketing, like signings and readings.
Reading a book is best done in solitude without a zillion bits and bytes of digital distraction nibbling in from the sidelines – be it from friends, advertisers, or other forms of ‘native’ content. Therefore it’s far more productive for publishers to focus their digital innovation efforts on activities that support the core act of reading.
Recent Squiz research into what today’s readers want – told us three things: firstly they wish to feel closer to their authors; secondly they want access to more content that’s related to their books; and thirdly they need more books. This shouldn’t be surprising – selling more books to people who already buy books is a boundless marketing strategy. These are the people who read Harry Potter first and then tell all their friends about it.
What I find most interesting isn’t the ability to crowdfund new authors, crowdsource new stories, or shoehorn books into fashionable new formats, it’s the ability to deliver new services that connect readers to the things that a publisher already governs: the author, the manuscript, and all of the snippets, backstories and might-have-beens that an author creates along the way. – The Bookseller
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC’S CLASSIC INFOGRAPHICS, NOW IN ONE STUNNING BOOK – More interesting than this headline may be the observations offered on the evolution of image-making in National Geographic, and the way this evolution has shaped perceptions of certain global phenomena, from weather patterns to mapmaking to geographical exploration (and all of the cultural assumptions and assertions implicit in that).
Take early experiments in hurricane tracking: In 1890, scientists interested in how the storms work had to rely on observation. They would chase hurricanes and watch cloud formation and wind circulation, taking timed notes in crude spreadsheets. Armed with a dataset, an artist would then piece together a visualization suitable for magazine readers.
But as the cost of professional photography dropped, National Geographic’s editors grew to favor it over the hand drawn maps and charts it once relied on. Starting in the 1940s, photo spreads became a selling point. . . . Full-color photographs of historic events from the middle of the century onward brought stories to life for readers in new and compelling ways. – Wired
12 Carrie Fisher Quotes From Her Books That Prove She Was An Amazing Writer Too – Even if you’ve never read one of her books, if you’ve ever seen Postcards from the Edge, you probably know what a fantastic writer Carrie Fisher was, but nevertheless, there is a bittersweet pleasure in some of these pieces of her writing (as well as her unashamed advocacy for mental health destigmatization).
“Now, George came to my show when it was in Berkeley. He came backstage and explained why you can’t wear your brassiere in other galaxies, and I have a sense you will be going to outer space very soon, so here’s why you cannot wear your brassier, per George. So, what happened is you go to space and you become weightless. So far so good, right? But then your body expands? But your bra doesn’t, so you get strangled by your own bra. I think that this would make for a fantastic obit, so I tell my younger friends that no matter how I go, I wanted it reported that I drowned in moonlight, strangled by my own bra.” – Bustle