October 03, 2006



Hello, I've come her via the deblog and the online bookfair link.
From memory, I suggest your title is referring to H. G. Wells, but I have not checked as this might be cheating.

If I win the free book, let me know by email if I qualify -- I live in the UK so the postage would probably be prohibitive. I have Kate Atkinson's "Case Histories" in my massive reading pile, so winning the follow-up would be a stimulant to my reading the earlier title.

I very much enjoyed reading this post, by the way, it has sorted out in my mind some confusion about book-related online resources!


Hey Mark.

Thanks for the Pboz props! We have a great website that publishes new stories bi-weekly but we also have a beautiful and now 6 years old print edition with both fiction and non-fiction. Send me your address to my email and I will send you a copy to peruse.

Thanks fighting the good fight,
print editor, Pindeldyboz


Just curious, how did Jon get this award? I don't see him in the comments, whereas there is my name and the right answer in your comments, right there!


Hi Maxine. Sorry but I asked to have folks email me (hit the "drop me a line" link). Don't worry though, I do plenty of these - you'll have more chances!

Martin Wisse

"When I started The Elegant Variation three years ago this month, there were a dozen or so literary blogs, four or five of which were firmly established."

Sorry, this may sound a bit rude, but I think it's more likely that when you started you only knew of those few litblogs, rather than that there were really only that few literary blogs. For example, I myself started booklog back in January 2001 and I certainly wasn't the first to do so!

A. N. Nanda

Hello. I came here by Google's blog search. In fact I've two literary blogs whose links are given below. I'm from India and it is ecouraging that literary talents, like world beauties, are abounding here. Kudos for Indian women!

I agree that there is surfeit of literary blogs. And here is the same problem--the dearth of readers. It takes more time to promote one's blog than create contents for it. I don't know if it's really worth, for I'm only 4-5 months old here.

By the by I'm leaving my URL's here for your visitors to get diverted to read the contents of my blogs for whatever they are worth.

Is it not quite clever of me?


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  • The Elegant Variation is "Fowler’s (1926, 1965) term for the inept writer’s overstrained efforts at freshness or vividness of expression. Prose guilty of elegant variation calls attention to itself and doesn’t permit its ideas to seem naturally clear. It typically seeks fancy new words for familiar things, and it scrambles for synonyms in order to avoid at all costs repeating a word, even though repetition might be the natural, normal thing to do: The audience had a certain bovine placidity, instead of The audience was as placid as cows. Elegant variation is often the rock, and a stereotype, a cliché, or a tired metaphor the hard place between which inexperienced or foolish writers come to grief. The familiar middle ground in treating these homely topics is almost always the safest. In untrained or unrestrained hands, a thesaurus can be dangerous."


  • The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald


    Penelope Fitzgerald's second novel is the tale of Florence Green, a widow who seeks, in the late 1950s, to bring a bookstore to an isolated British town, encountering all manner of obstacles, including incompetent builders, vindictive gentry, small minded bankers, an irritable poltergeist, but, above all, a town that might not, in fact, want a bookshop. Fitzgerald's prose is spare but evocative – there's no wasted effort and her work reminds one of Hemingway's dictum that every word should fight for its right to be on the page. Florence is an engaging creation, stubbornly committed to her plan even as uncertainty regarding the wisdom of the enterprise gnaws at her. But The Bookshop concerns itself, finally, with the astonishing vindictiveness of which provincials are capable, and, as so much English fiction must, it grapples with the inevitabilities of class. It's a dense marvel at 123 pages, a book you won't want to – or be able to – rush through.
  • The Rider by Tim Krabbe


    Tim Krabbé's superb 1978 memoir-cum-novel is the single best book we've read about cycling, a book that will come closer to bringing you inside a grueling road race than anything else out there. A kilometer-by-kilometer look at just what is required to endure some of the most grueling terrain in the world, Krabbé explains the tactics, the choices and – above all – the grinding, endless, excruciating pain that every cyclist faces and makes it heart-pounding rather than expository or tedious. No writer has better captured both the agony and the determination to ride through the agony. He's an elegant stylist (ably served by Sam Garrett's fine translation) and The Rider manages to be that rarest hybrid – an authentic, accurate book about cycling that's a pleasure to read. "Non-racers," he writes. "The emptiness of those lives shocks me."