reblog // 8 Literary Homes You Can Buy Right Now

Originally posted on Flavorwire:

When thinking about our favorite authors, it’s natural to wonder about their personal lives and the places they came from. When the homes of these wordsmiths are listed on the real estate market, we can’t help but fantasize about buying them and soaking up some of that writerly mojo by spending time in the same rooms they did, penning their well-known works. Recently, we noticed a number of literary homes up for sale. It seems criminal to keep that information to ourselves, so here are the homes of eight famous writers that you can purchase right now. We’ll be waiting for those dinner invitations.

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FOX & RAVEN // CONTEXTUALISING THE TRADE EMBARGO ON ANTI-GAY COUNTRIES

Hello darlings,

As I’m sure you’ve heard (if you’re reading this) Fox & Raven Publishing announced today that as of Monday 3 March 2014, they’ll be withdrawing all of their titles from online stores in countries where homosexuality is criminalised.

Now, this announcement has elicited varied reactions. Many people have shown their support, while others have noted that it might not be the best move because it removes a depository of literature from people who arguably need to read LGBTI materials more than those in countries where being gay is legal.

Both sides of the argument hold ground, and both have benefits and draw-backs. I’m going to try and put the decision in context from Fox & Raven’s point of view.

Corporate identity and company values

Fox & Raven has, since its inception last year, been consistently vocal about its support of minority groups. The company aims to publish materials that focus on minorities and cast them in a positive light. This is part of our core company values.

Fox & Raven’s identity is based on transparency and honesty in everything we do. What we publish, who we publish, and (importantly in this instance) where we publish.

The decision and why we made it

Deciding to withdraw our books from anti-gay countries was not made lightly. The most powerful argument against this decision is this: Publishers are considered as agents of change. Books serve as a way to slowly alter the state of consciousness of a community, a city, a nation. Authors infiltrate minds and chip away at preconceived notions, eventually resulting in change. At least that’s what we hope.

This is an extremely valid point. Is the implication then not that, by withdrawing our books, we are ‘punishing’ readers in said communities by not providing them with reading materials that could in fact change their opinions?

Without going into probabilities such as “what are the odds of Ugandan homophobe lawmakers reading gay speculative fiction”, let’s go back to the company’s corporate identity. Fox & Raven simply cannot with a clear conscience advocate gay rights, while stuffing its pockets with money from homophobic countries. That’s the bottom line: It’s about transparency, it’s about where the money that sustains the company comes from.

Having said that, this does not mean that Fox & Raven is abandoning the LGBTI communities in these countries. Look at this statement from the press release:

We will, however, be announcing an ongoing project to distribute free LGBTI speculative fiction in these countries soon – enabling us to continue providing quality literature to members in these communities without compromising on our stance that we will not be accepting money from the countries [who criminalise homosexuality].

There are definitely things happening behind the scenes to encourage gay-lit in these countries. Just in a way that won’t cause Fox & Raven to rely on money from countries whose stance on gay rights are at odds with its own.

So keep an eye on the Fox & Raven blog – the call for submissions will come very soon. And if you’d like to write a piece of powerful propoganda, this might just be your opportunity.

At the end of it all, I would also like to add that it is so refreshing to see people engage in an intellectual, respectful manner about the topic at hand. Making decisions like these are exceedingly difficult, and lots of energy goes into making them. Thanks for keeping us on our toes.

Cheers,
M

art // youth

Hello darlings!

Sorry I’ve been so quiet with my reviews and posts. I’ve been sweating blood getting Fox & Raven off the ground (and I think it’s working!). With six novelettes out this year so far, a novel nearing completion, and three other projects simmering pleasantly along, it looks like 2014 is going to be a good year for us. I haven’t read anything published recently, having put down books in exchange of manuscripts, to make sure I rope in the talent (and I am! Ha.)

So, with Spring here, I’d like to share one of my most favourite-est songs at the moment with you.

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review // peter pan / j.m. barrie

Peter Pan

Title: Peter Pan
Author: J.M. Barrie
My edition: 2012 paperback
Publisher: Vintage
Rating: 4 out of 5

As part of the #fantasmagoria challenge, I recently delved into another children’s literature classic. Definitely a member of the famous trio of fantastical early childhood literature (along with The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and Alice in Wonderland), Peter Pan definitely delivers. Though I wasn’t always quite sure whether I wanted what it was serving. But it all turned out well in the end, as you’re about to see.

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review // the wonderful wizard of oz / l. frank baum

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Title: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
Author: L. Frank Baum
My edition: 2005 hard cover
Publisher: Sterling
Rating: 5 out of 5

Miraculously, I never read The Wonderful Wizard of Oz as a child. Perhaps something to do with being raised in a non-English family. Perhaps not–hey, I don’t know! But anyways, as part of the #fantasmagoria challenge, I dove head-first into this über classic. And I must say, I bloody loved it!

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review // the fellowship of the ring / j.r.r. tolkien

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Title: The Fellowship of the Ring (Book 1: The Lord of the Rings)
Author: J.R.R. Tolkien
My edition: 2004 50th Anniversary edition
Publisher: HarperCollinsPublishers
Rating: 5 out of 5

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that The Lord of the Rings, and Tolkien’s other work to a lesser extent, has been the single most influential piece of literature in my life. I treat these books as tomes of wisdom, beauty and insight. I memorise lines of poetry and song, I teach myself Elvish.

It’s very difficult for me to even attempt a review of this book (FotR is especially dear to me). But I will try – I can’t promise anything more than a paragraph though. This is all in the name of #FANTASMAGORIA!

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review // the hobbit / j.r.r. tolkien

Photo 2013-08-12 10 37 45 AMTitle: The Hobbit, or There and Back Again
Author: J.R.R. Tolkien
My edition: 2012 hard cover collector’s edition
Publisher: HarperCollinsPublishers
Rating: 5 out of 5

I’ve read The Hobbit many times. In fact, I remember the very first time, when I was a mere 11 years old. It was, without being dramatic, a life-changing experience. This re-read is part of the #fantasmagoria challenge (which requires a read-through of the top 25 fantasy novels of all time by the end of this year).

I love this book. I’ve loved it for most of my life. I think it is the epitome of a well-wrought children’s tale (which can, I insist, be enjoyed just as thoroughly by adults!). The Hobbit served to plant the seeds of Tolkien’s legendarium in the world; where The Lord of the Rings later rooted its hold. But enough of my blatant admiration. I owe you a review (it’s bound to be rather biased, if you couldn’t tell by now!). Continue reading