Between The Covers: 02/10/2011
Your weekly guide to what's really going on in the world of books
Sunday 02 October 2011
*Authors will go to incredible lengths to be considered for the big prizes, but we've never heard of anyone bribing the judges with cod before.
However, we learn that Peter James, the author of Dead Man's Grip (the latest in his Brighton-set detective series), has offered a fish supper to anyone who votes for him in the People's Bestseller category at the Crime Thriller Awards on Friday. James has 4,800 followers on Twitter and has informed them all that if he wins he will treat them to fish and chips on Brighton pier on Wednesday 12 October. (Go to itv.com/crimethrillerawards/ to cast your vote.)
*Early editions of Private Eye were designed so that you could grow cress on them. This ingenious gimmick was fondly remembered at Tuesday's Oldie literary lunch by the biographer Fiona MacCarthy. She was there to discuss her latest book, about the painter, Edward Burne-Jones; but she couldn't resist starting with a couple of reminiscences about her host Richard Ingrams, the founder of Private Eye and The Oldie, whom she has known for more than 50 years. "We were at Oxford together," she laughed. "I knew him when Private Eye was still a student rag. Back then it was called Mesopotamia, or Mess Pot for short. I remember one issue having a special cover, on which you could grow your own cress." Ingrams confirms: "It's quite true, we had the cover made of some kind of Hessian. And it actually worked."
*Those of you who missed Martin Rowson's cartoon last week, do not panic: not only is he back every Sunday, but there are options for all those other Rowson-free days of the week. Rowson's The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman is already published by SelfMadeHero, and a collection of his columns from this paper, The Limerickiad Volume 1: From Gilgamesh to Shakespeare, will be published by Smokestack Books in November. We can also reveal that his updated graphic adaptation of Gulliver's Travels will be out next March from Atlantic Books.
*News that a few million "virtual monkeys" have finished writing Shakespeare's "A Lover's Complaint" has exercised number theorists, philosophers and Shakespearians alike. This is a test of the old hypothesis that, given infinite time, an infinite number of monkeys would eventually type the complete works of Shakespeare by ran- domly hitting letters on an infinite number of keyboards. In an even more far-fetched visual concept, the "virtual monkeys" are computer programmes sitting on an Amazon cloud. The pretend monkeys have apparently 99.99 per cent completed the complete works project in remarkably short order, but real monkeys are lagging embarrassingly behind. According to a BBC report: "In 2003, Paignton Zoo carried out a practical test by putting a keyboard connected to a PC into the cage of six crested macaques. After a month the monkeys had produced five pages of the letter 'S' and had broken the keyboard."
*Here's a challenge to the record-breaking seller Jamie Oliver, whose latest book Jamie's Great Britain was released last week. Now, his imprint, Michael Joseph, has announced a new series of food books for spring 2012, including Saved by Cake by the novelist Marian Keyes. The book will give an account of her battle with depression and how baking helped her.
Arts & Ents blogs
Sherlock's Benedict Cumberbatch 'first sexy Holmes', says Mark Gatiss
Jared Leto: Best Supporting Actor Oscar sparks backlash from transgender community
In Kony's shadow: Shocking photographs reveal brutality of Lord's Resistance Army
Jessica Alba interview: From Hollywood superwoman to household product CEO
Captain Phillips actor Barkhad Abdi struggles financially despite Oscar nomination
Apple's Tim Cook: Business isn’t just about making profit
Thousands of young people forced to go without food after benefits wrongly stopped under 'draconian' new sanctions regime
Ukraine crisis: New navy chief 'defects' and surrenders Crimean HQ as Putin claims ultranationalists forced intervention
Britain's top vet sparks controversy with call for ban on slashing animals' throats in 'ritual' slaughters for halal and kosher meat products
Ukraine crisis: Russia dismisses '3am ultimatum' as 'total nonsense'
If you're horrified by a flame-roasted dog, you should be shocked at a hog roast
- 1 The future of sex: The first female condoms were derided, mistrusted and shunned - but will their modern counterparts catch on?
- 2 South African rhino finally put down after roaming Kruger park for days with horn hacked off and bullet in brain
- 3 Channel 4 announces two-hour TV show to be broadcast 'Live from Space' later this month
- 4 Man stabbed with Legend of Zelda Master Sword in serious condition
- 5 Study suggests that 'gaydars' are real - at least for women