Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Good Preditors: Zuzana Růžičková

 The history of human evolution has been rewritten after scientists discovered that Europe was the birthplace of mankind, not Africa. ... But two fossils of an ape-like creature
 which had human-like teeth have been found in Bulgaria and Greece, dating to 7.2 million years ago.

       NSW Premier's Literary Awards 

       They've announced the winners of this year's NSW Premier's Literary Awards -- in horrible fashion at the official site and equally if differently horribly, in pdf format for the official 'media release'.
       Book of the year went to a play, The Drover's Wife, by Leah Purcell (see the Currency Press publicity page), while the Christina Stead Prize for Fiction went to Heather Rose's Marina Abramović-inspired Stella Prize-winning novel, The Museum of Modern Love
       The UTS Glenda Adams Award for New Writing went to Letter to Pessoa, by Michelle Cahill (see the Giramondo publicity page). 
       And Royall Tyler -- who has done both The Tale of Genji and The Tale of the Heike -- won the NSW Premier's Translation Prize. Nice to see that they also have a 'Multicultural NSW Early Career Translator Prize' (which went to Jan Owen). 

       Publishing in ... India 

       At Bloomberg Iain Marlow suggests India's Book-Buying Habits Say A Lot About The Country's Economy -- though the biggest take-away might be just how small the trade sector still is, with the 
industry dominated by school/text-books, which is where the money is.  M.A.Orthofer

      Gabriella Imrichova's klasik "200 Years of Partying" is coming out soon ...  Gabriel García Márquez's classic, One Hundred Years of Solitude (get your copy at or -- a book that surely belongs on any list of greatest novels of the past century -- was published fifty years ago (on 30 May, apparently), and there's already quite a bit of coverage about that. 
       In The Atlantic Alvaro Santana-Acuña writes at length about How One Hundred Years of Solitude Became a Classic, while at the Harry Ransom Center site they offer their One Hundred Years of Solitude Anniversary Collection 

In 1967, Sudamericana Press published One Hundred Years of Solitude (Cien años de soledad), a novel written by a little known Colombian author named Gabriel García Márquez. Neither the writer nor the publisher expected much of 
the book. They knew, as the publishing giant Alfred A. Knopf once put it, that “many a novel is dead the day it is published.” Unexpectedly, One Hundred Years of Solitude went on to sell over 45 million copies, solidified its stature as a literary classic, and garnered García Márquez fame and acclaim as one of the greatest Spanish-language writers in history.
The novel resembled the “Once upon a time” formula of folk tales. And rather than a serious novel, it was a “comic masterpiece,” as an anonymous Times Literary Supplement reviewer wrote in 1967. Early views on this novel were indeed different from the ones that followed. In 1989, Yale literary scholar Harold Bloom solemnly called it “the new Don Quixote” and the writer Francine Prose confessed in 2013 that “One Hundred Years of Solitude convinced me to drop out of Harvard graduate school.”

How Do Late-Night Hosts Keep Up With Breaking News?

The writers have to keep track of breaking news alerts, for one thing. For instance, when news broke that the president had disclosed classified info to the Russians, one writer knew he couldn’t continue tweaking an entirely different script. “It was just like, ‘Ahhh — hang on, folks.’ … The first act of their show was rewritten on the fly.”

Maria Popova: Why Storytelling Matters

“A great storyteller — whether a journalist or editor or filmmaker or curator — helps people figure out not only what matters in the world, but also why it matters. A great storyteller dances up the ladder of understanding, from information to knowledge to wisdom. Through symbol, metaphor, and association, the storyteller helps us interpret information, integrate it with our existing knowledge, and transmute that into wisdom.” 

The Harpsichordist Who Survived Auschwitz, Bubonic Plague, And Communism

By the time World War II ended and Zuzana Růžičková had recovered her health, her hands were in such terrible shape that her teacher cried when she saw them. She went on to have a successful concert career, including frequent visits to the West, and became the first person ever to record Bach’s complete works for harpsichord. Now she’s 90 and no longer performing, but still active – and if you’re playing for her in a lesson and she gets bored, she’ll pick up a novel.

How A Novelist And His Editor Work With, And Against, Each Other

A good editor’s work is generally invisible to the reader, as most good editors think it ought to be. Here Colin Dickey writes about a lengthy back and forth between a writer and the editor who (heavily) edited his first novel (including cutting it by a third) – this 15 years later, when the novelist published his original 900-page version himself.

Have you filled a Bucket today?

Ten years ago I picked up a story book – aimed at kids four – nine, by Carol McCloud and couldn’t put it down.  I was in Jaffé and Neale’s eclectic, independent bookstore in Chipping Norton last weekend where I stumbled upon two copies of the 10th Anniversary edition which I picked up for grandkids Kendall and Chloe.

The humble Bucket book has turned into a Bucket Fillosophy with seven companion books available from

Like all great ideas, bucket-filling is a simple concept – it’s designed to help kids understand how easy and rewarding it is to express kindness, appreciation and love by ‘filling buckets’.

In our 24x7 VUCA world we sometimes forget how unconditional generosity and random acts of kindness can make all concerned feel more positive and happier.

Personal wellbeing is a key element in sustainable peak performance – and filling buckets is one of the ten most potent behaviours in building our own wellbeing – and thus our own performance.

Wellbeing is important because:
  • It energises positivity and commitment to Purpose,
  • It enhances flow, productivity and performance,
  • The best companies to work for deliberately create happy work environments,
  • Happy companies significantly outperform their peer group.
And here are the ten things I mentioned earlier:
  1. Progress towards meaningful goals contributes significantly to happiness,
  2. Happy people take time to do things that give them pleasure,
  3. Quality time with friends and family is top of the happiness list,
  4. Doing altruistic things for others creates enduring happiness,
  5. Expressing gratitude enhances your own wellbeing and that of the recipient,
  6. Regular exercise increases happiness,
  7. Positive experiences tend to provide more enduring happiness than tangible purchases,
  8. Beyond satisfaction of needs, more money does not make people significantly happier,
  9. People quickly adapt to material advances,
  10. We get little enduring pleasure from short cuts.
Keep filling buckets and your bucket will always be full.