Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing, and Publishing ~

Famous Writers and Their Cafes


Since it’s a holiday in the USA, I thought I’d share where some well-known authors hung out when they weren’t holed up in their dens laboring over a manuscript.

Writers and Cafes

Statue of the Spanish writer, Don Gonzalo Torrente Ballester , created by sculptor Fernando Mayoral in 2000, and located in the literary café : Café Novelty —the oldest cafe of Salamanca ~ courtesy of http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Estatua_Gonzalo_Torrente_Ballester_Cafe_Novelty_Salamanca.jpg

Thanks to my Best Friend, plus OnlineCollege’s 15 Most Famous Cafes in the Literary World and Huffington Post’s Cafes Your Favorite Authors Loved you can pull up a chair, order a beverage, and enjoy the scene :-)

La Rotonde — Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and T.S. Eliot

The Literary Cafe — Alexander Pushkin, Nikolay Chernyshevsky, and Fyodor Dostoevsky

Les Deux Magots – Simone de Beauvoir, André Gide, Jean Giraudoux, and Jean Paul Sartre

Cafe Braunerhof — Thomas Bernhard

Cafe de Flore — Hemingway and his contemporaries

Dingo Bar — Djuna Barnes, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and publishing house owner Nancy Cunard

Cafe Montmartre Franz Kafka, Eduard Bass, and Max Brod

Pedrocchi Cafe — Lord Byron and Stendhal

Harry’s New York Bar — Sinclair Lewis

Antico Caffe Greco — Lord Byron, John Keats, Henrik Ibsen, and Hans Christian Andersen

La Coupole — Simone de Beauvoir and Jean Paul Sartre

La Closerie des Lilas – Henry James, Leon Trotsky, and Gertrude Stein

Caffe Giubbe Rosse — many notable Italian poets

Grand Cafe — Henrik Ibsen and Roald Dahl

Vesuvio — Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, and Dylan Thomas

The Eagle and Child J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis
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Friday Poll ~ Traditional vs? Self-Publishing


Results form last week’s poll—What’s Your Favorite Social Network?

Traditional vs Self-Publishing Poll

Image Courtesy of Craig Parylo ~ http://www.freeimages.com/profile/parylo00

Nearly 7% don’t use any social networks.

Almost 27% don’t have a favorite social network.

33.3% had Google Plus as their favorite.

Twitter pulled 13.3%.

Facebook and LinkedIn each had just under 7%.

And, “Other” was at 7% with Second Life as the social network.

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Now, this week’s poll—Traditional vs? Self-Publishing:

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For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

Understanding Writing & Money


This is yet another of my posts about writing and money.

Writing for Money

Image courtesy of Caltiva Creatividad ~ http://www.freeimages.com/profile/caltiva

And, even though there are writers who don’t care about the money, most of the Internet Hype these days seems to assume that there is no other reason to write but to make enough money to live on—and, far too much of the Hype is about making Tons of money…

I thought I’d share a few books recommended by Jane Friedman—from her article Writing & Money: A Brief Syllabus—about the issues writers face when they write with the intention of making money:

Authors & Owners by Mark Rose explores the invention and history of copyright, which has made it possible for writers to make a living from their work. Writers went for more than 250 years after the invention of the printing press without any formal rights to their creations. How did they earn money? Some didn’t—nor did they want to.

The Author, Art, and Market by Martha Woodmansee is an incredible scholarly work that explores what happened as literature became subject to the laws of the market economy, and shows how and when Western culture began to identify art as something that doesn’t sell—and then turned that quality into a virtue.

The Content Machine by Michael Bhaskar is primarily about where publishing is headed, but his theory is grounded in stories of where publishing has been, and traces important historical milestones of the industry.

The Gift by Lewis Hyde came out more than 30 years ago, and is still in print. It’s said that Margaret Atwood gave a copy to every artist she knew when it released. While not focused on publishing, it explores the tension between art and commerce—or how one can or should go about making a living through one’s art.

Make Art Make Money by Elizabeth Hyde Stevens is like a contemporary update to The Gift, using Jim Henson’s career and values to present a framework for creating your art and making a living, but not selling out. Maria Popova writes about it elegantly here.

Are there any books about writing and money you can recommend?

Do, please, share them in the Comments…
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And, Check Out our Latest Poll…
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To Leave A Comment, Use The Link At The Top-Right of The Post :-)
For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

“What Can I Do With All These Books?!”


Too many books in your library?

No real library—just books all over the place?

Not sure what to eliminate?

It can seem like books multiple on their own…

Places to keep them can seem hard to find…

How to organize them can seem impossible…

Enter Alison Hodgson—writer, reviewer, speaker, and humorist—and her article on houzz, ‘Not My Precious Books!’ — Pain-Free Ways to Declutter Your Library.

Here are a few excerpts:

“Reading is my drug of choice, and I know I’m in good company.”

“Before our house fire, our family library included thousands of books…Now I can see I held onto books I didn’t love for one or more of the following reasons:

“Sentimentality….

“Cost….

“It was a gift….

“Pretty cover….

“Having it on my shelf made me look smart.”

“As I decluttered my entire house, I became quite ruthless in what I got rid of to achieve my goal of…But I completely missed the fact that I needed to extend that ruthlessness to the books themselves.”

“I’m a book reviewer, the friend of many authors and a committed book buyer, so there is a constant stream of books into the house, but this is what I ask myself to get some of them back out:

  • Do I love it?
  • Will I read it again?

“That’s it. Those two questions alone have enabled me to keep from holding onto more books than I care to maintain and leave room for those I still wish to replace. I’m having fun rebuilding my library slowly as I remember the books I miss and want to read it again.”

Do go read Alison’s full article—there are some gorgeous pictures of libraries—plus, check out her article, 4 Obstacles to Decluttering — and How to Beat Them.
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And, Check Out our Latest Poll…
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To Leave A Comment, Use The Link At The Top-Right of The Post :-)
For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

52 Book Review Sites


Do you like to read book reviews?

Book Reviews

Image Courtesy of Mikhail Lavrenov ~ http://www.freeimages.com/profile/miklav

Do you think book reviews can determine what you choose to read?

Ever read a review of a book you’ve read that you totally disagree with?

Here are a few Book Review Quotes:

“In my reviews, I feel it’s good to make it clear that I’m not proposing objective truth, but subjective reactions; a review should reflect the immediate experience.”
Roger Ebert

“I’ve rarely gotten a good review in my life, yet, to paraphrase Noel Coward, I am happy to console myself with the bitter palliative of commercial success.”
Steven Weber

“A bad review is like baking a cake with all the best ingredients and having someone sit on it.”
Danielle Steel

“What I really like is an intelligent review. It doesn’t have to be positive. A review that has some kind of insight, and sometimes people say something that’s startling or is so poignant.”
Patti Smith

Not all those quotes are from book reviewers or authors but I think they still apply…

Now, courtesy of Arts and Letters Daily, here are 52 Book Review Sites ( the links aren’t purple but they do work :-) :

American Scholar Books
Atlantic Books
Australian Literary Rev
Australian Book Review
B&N Review
Book Beast
Books & Culture
Bookforum
Boston Globe Books
Chronicle Review
Claremont Review
Complete Review
CS Monitor Books
Denver Post
Dublin Review
Economist Books
Financial Times Books
Globe & Mail Books
Guardian Books
The Hindu Books
Independent Books
January Magazine
Jewish Review of Books
Literary Review
London Review
Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Review of Books
Melbourne Age
Metapsychology
The Nation Books
New Statesman Books
New Republic Books
New York Review
NY Times Books
New Yorker Books
Newsday Books
Open Letters
Public Books
Salon Books
SF Chronicle Books
Scotsman Books
Slate Book Review
Spectator Books
Spiked Books
Tablet Books
Telegraph Books
Times Higher Ed Books
The TLS
University Bookman
Washington Post
Washington Times
WSJ Books

Check Out our Latest Poll…
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To Leave A Comment, Use The Link At The Top-Right of The Post :-)
For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

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