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After over a year’s existence, The Voice of Literature has developed into an absolutely free resource of news, reviews, explanations and advice for all those who love literature, whether they read it, write it or both.
We take a break from our ‘History of the Genre’ series and instead offer you a personal history of bookshops from James Gault. We also poke fun at the British PM (on this page). Book publishing is one of the few industries where women predominate and we discuss the implications of this below.
In a new feature, Authors at Work, Sherry Leclerc shares the character biographies she builds while creating her novels.
The Writer’s Think Tank is a worldwide team of active novelists who get together via the web and discuss the problems and challenges of the creative literary process. This time: are books for fun or should they have a message?
Our long-running Writers Notes section is a source of tips for budding or existing authors, and this month's has a controversial article on NAKED STORYTELLING (What could that be???)
For anyone studying literature, or anyone who just loves it, the Literary Criticism section has the contributions of literary commentator Mairi-Rose Wiseman. This time she tackles the William Golding classic 'The Inheritors'.
And of course, our book reviewers Ted and James have a new selection for you. Read them for some useful guidance if you’re wondering what to read next.
Although all of our past articles can still be found on line, we’ve collected the best of them in the FREE e-book Enjoy Books Better with VoxLit, which you can download below.
Enjoy and, if you like us, share the link with your book-loving friends.
Click for these other ARTICLES
My life in Bookshops by James Gault
The Writer's Think Tank
Authors at work - Sherry Leclerc's character biographies
The battle of two cultures in Golding's The Inheritors
An inspiring article written in adversity by Keith Guernsey
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We always welcome new contributors Click here to find out more
TIME FOR A BIT OF FUN
I've had a few....
Britannia stared sadly into her mirror and shook her head at what she saw there: puffed eyes, streaked make-up, traces of a tear still glistening on her cheek. Life had not been good to her over the last two years, and she was frankly at the end of her tether. Relationships!
She wondered now what had got into her when she decided to break up with him. The fatal lure of freedom, she supposed. She had been seduced by mischievous metaphors: greener grass on the other side of the mountain, more fish in the sea, have your cake and eat it…. all that sort of clichéd rubbish.
Having looked over the mountain, the grass she had seen was a distinct shade of brown. There were plenty of fish, that was true, but they weren’t biting. At least, not at her bait. Hardly surprising, for the truth was she was past her best. Plenty of energetic upcoming competitors to choose from, so no surprise an ageing fading beauty was failing to attract them. And as for eating cake, that was her biggest disappointment.
To be honest, she had thought he would jump at the chance. Her offer of ‘Of course, we can still be friends and have sex as well.’ His response really surprised her. It was so stiff. I mean, he was a continental, from the same stock as Don Juan, those Greek holiday gigolos, Paris ‘cinq-à-sept’ adulterers. She hadn’t expected him to tell her that rules were rules, that procedures had to be followed, commitments respected. She had always believed they were good together, and he would never give up the physical side so easily. But there it was, he had put his foot down, and now she found it really hard to go through with it. Too hard, probably.
Already, she should have left him twice. Each time, she had had to go back and beg him to let her stay on, just a little longer. She claimed she still had to sort out her future life, but in reality could she really bear to go?
She dried her eyes and tidied up her face. He was downstairs, waiting for her at the dining table. It would be a cold dish on the menu, but she needed him and she had to take what was on offer. As she descended the stairs, she wondered if she would ever leave him. She doubted it.
Contributed by James Gault.
Publishing - Women’s Business?
Anyone who dips into the world of books for the first time would get the impression that it is a world that belongs to the gentler sex. Book-based Facebook groups, whether for readers or writers, have predominately female members. Walk around any big bookstore and you can’t help notice the staff and customers are mostly women. Schoolteachers and parents portray the clear message that girls read and boys shun books and gravitate to computer games. So male authors have to sink or swim in a woman’s world. Or do they?
When it comes to reading, writing and publishing books, this seems to be true. Recent research shows that 85% of young workers in the book industry are female, and the university literary courses are brimming with girls. With this female dominance at the entry level, it seems that perhaps we can anticipate a much more female-led book world in the future. Is this worrying?
The men currently at the top of publishing companies tend to be sanguine about the prospect, but do raise the question of whether a female led industry will provide an offer in the range of publications that will appeal sufficiently to men. The fear is that the current problem of men being less likely to read will get worse as fewer and fewer books are available to attract them.
However, there is an anomaly in this story. While it is women who, in the main, write and produce the books, it is men who review them. Most review magazines have more male than female reviewers and some have as few as 23% women. Doesn’t it seem odd to have so many men critiquing books written mostly by and for women?
Of course, male/female arguments are always spurious. Statistics is the ultimate generalisation; but at the individual level does a male reader differ so much from a female one? Aren’t we all basically the same when it comes to reading? So maybe we guys should stop worrying and let the girls get on with it.
Contributed by James Gault.
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New books from our contributors
Three young women, three loves and three lives that are about to be changed forever. Caught up in a dangerous tide of extremism and racial tension, will Marianne, Sadime and Bea find what each of them craves? to edit.
Mick Crooke is a mild-mannered, student, biker. He meets Samantha Loch under unusual circumstance on a hot summer night in June 1971. A meeting between a young man and a young woman. Set against the undercurrent of the all pervasive violence of the early 1970's. The aggressive youth culture and post Kray Twins criminal underworld
Don Loreto is convinced he is being haunted; bizarre phantoms are reaching out from the depths of his past and Don Loreto is scared. In the office of psychiatrist Lydia Kroll he tells of visitations by an old time carnival act: a small girl, a scarecrow and a harlequin goat. Lydia does not sign up to ghosts.