Friday, 31 May 2013

Things and Stuff #4

Things and Stuff is a grab-bag of things that've been on my mind this week. In this edition: bestsellers, concert, varnish, Gunnerkrigg, eagles

Thing 1: These two really interesting posts about what makes a book a bestseller
First, John Green posted about the factors that he thinks came together to make The Fault In Our Stars the phenomenon that it is. He talks about his editor, his publicist, his publishing house, the book itself, and the evangelical readers. He also explains why he doesn't think that his massive online presence or his gender have very much to do with it. Critics loved the book, but who made sure the critics read it? Why could bookshops easily display his previous books as a set?

Like this (C) Karen Kavett, who designed the lovely box art
Secondly, Jennifer Barnes takes this idea and expands upon it. She talks about publishing success as a flow-chart with lots of feedback loops, where every aspect of the book and the author continually feed into the book's chances of success. She argues (and in my opinion she's spot on) that elements like the author's gender can't be dismissed as part of the equation but it's not helpful to imagine they exist in a vacuum. If you're interested in publishing and books and bookselling, read this post! It's a bit long but it explains all this far better than I could.

Thing 2: The first thirty seconds of I Was Glad
I was on The One Show this week! Check out the Youtube clip of it here. My choir, Crouch End Festival Chorus, supplied a little group of singers to illustrate a conversation about the anniversary of the coronation, which is on Tuesday, June the 4th.

Not at all coincidentally, we're doing a concert on that evening in the Royal Festival Hall, including Walton's Coronation Te Deum, various coronation hymns and Belshazzar's Feast, which is one of my favourite pieces in the world. And we're being joined by our sort of sister-choir the Hertfordshire Chorus and the Dessoff Choir all the way from New York City. There will be 291 of us. It's going to be pretty amazing. If you're in London on the 4th, you should come!

Thing 3: this nailvarnish
The colour is called The Iron Price.
WE DO NOT SOW (C) me, varnish by Fanchromatic Nails
It's come out much redder in this picture - in person it's much more of a rusty red-brown colour with massive chunks of red and silver. Looks like an old boat's been torn apart in a horrific sea battle and the result is painted on my nails. I love it.

Thing 4: this page of Gunnerkrigg Court
Gunnerkrigg Court is a really, really cool webcomic about two friends who go to a very strange school. Annie's got a magic stone and a way of getting on with strange creatures, and Kat is a mechanical genius. There are ghosts, fairies, lots of robots, spider demons, a giant crab and the trickster god Coyote. There's a forest and an industrial complex, divided by a huge chasm. People can teleport and go on field trips into space. And the evolution of the art style is also amazing to watch, if you're into that sort of thing. It's awesome, and well worth the time to read from the beginning if you never have.

Also there's a fox-creature in it which I love (C) Tom Siddell, available at Topatoco
There have been a few hints of romance - there are some older student characters who are boyfriend and girlfriend, and a very sad storyline about a boy who was also a bird. And there's also a relationship between a robot and a shadow which is just beautiful. But the comic has also been dropping hints for a while that Kat isn't straight, and I think it'd be hard to read it without feeling at some point as if Kat and Annie could be an item at some point in the future. But the problem with those feelings is that in general, they don't come to anything. I have a whole post on subtext and gay characters and fanfiction planned for some other time, but I'm used to recognising subtext but not holding my breath that it would ever become text.

Am I supposed to resist including two pieces of art from GC here? Well, tough. It's gorgeous. (C) Tom Siddell, also available as a print from Topatoco
This week, finally, a girl asked Kat out and she said yes.

I am so, so pleased about this. Not just because I want there to be gay characters in everything, though let's be honest, I sort of do. But because there's really not enough of the sweet, age-appropriate romance for tweens with gay characters. I think it's probably getting better, but there still aren't enough stories about gay tweens at all, let alone ones that aren't preachy and awkward. Kat's sexuality is a naturally-building, slow-burn storyline and I love it because it's what real life ought to be like: not substantially different than if one of the girls had been a boy.

Thing 5: Crystal Palace 1 - 0 Watford
YAAAAAAY EAGLES! We're going into the Premier League! We're going to be the worst team in the best league!

Some football players I feel vaguely guilty that I can't name, (C) Crystal Palace FC
I'm not the biggest Palace supporter in the world - I almost never actually watch football and I've only been to one game (it was a play-off, and we lost), but I still have a very soft spot for them in my heart. They are perpetual underdogs somehow, despite actually being quite good. And now they're Premier League underdogs! GET IN.


  1. Great post Rosie! I love your nails and am going to go look at the webcomic.

    1. Thanks Amanda! I'm glad you're going to look at Gunnerkrigg Court, I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

  2. Fab! Ashamed to say this is my first visit here but rest assured I intend to become a regular. I loved your things. Now off to read that John Green piece.

    1. Hee, nice to have you Candy! Glad you liked the things and stuff. :D


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