quotes 10-10-2009

this is an entry of little interest to casual passers-by, but something to which i can direct certain people over the coming years.

i get sent two or more novels very week in search of quotes. and whilst i know how important quotes are (curious got two wonderful ones early on from ian mcewan and arthur golden) most of these books won't get read. i've got small children, books i want to write, artwork i want to do and very little free time. i can read a novel or so a week. most of these novels are novels i've chosen to read. it's not a lack of interest which prevents me reading unsolicited novels it's simple numbers.

i'm also a very picky reader. i enjoy only a small proportion of the books i read. in my defence this applies equally to my own writing. 

and while i'm on the subject... i made a vow shortly after curious took off, that i would never give quotes to people i knew, or people from whom i might want any kind of favour. there are groups of writers who give each other enthusiastic quotes. it's a trivial kind of fraud, but it's a fraud nonetheless. if i give a quote i want it to be enthusiastic and honest. plus, if you give a friend a quote because they've written a book you love, there will come a time when they write a book you don't love, their publicist will come back to you for another quote and then you're stuffed.

in short, and at the risk of sounding curmudgeonly, if you send me a novel in search of a quote it will probably end up in my local oxfam bookshop.

(photograph of recent unsolicited books pixellated for legal and diplomatic reasons)