More London street libraries

November 28, 2022



This is another in a series of occasional posts about London street libraries, following on from this one (about a street library and secret garden at London Bridge) and this one (about another street library at Cambria Road, which is close to where I live in Herne Hill).   I found all these via this excellent map produced by The Londonist.

The one pictured above is in an old red telephone box in Lewisham.  It was quite well stocked but also looked reasonably well-used, presumably because of its fairly prominent position on a main road.



Aspinall Road

Other street libraries can be a bit more off the beaten track, like this one at Aspinall Road (NB it's a bit difficult to find - you need to cross over the railway line).  It looked like it didn't attract much passing traffic and had been used more as a dumping ground for unwanted books (including a fine collection of literary works by the awful Nadine Dorries).

Part of its problem is that the books are hidden in a large storage unit with opaque doors and apart from the tiny sign above it, you wouldn't know it was a street library unless you were actually looking for it.



Brixton

This one in Brixton consists of several large makeshift book cupboards like this one, so it's a good one to visit if you want a reasonably broad selection to choose from.  It's on Somerleyton Road.




Clapham

And then you get some really quite compact and bijou numbers like this one, outside someone's house in Clapham (it's on Park Hill, outside No.8).

Anyway, as explained in previous posts, I have been using these to distribute paperback copies of my novel - which, to be perfectly honest, are probably the only copies of them actually in circulation.  This seems to work reasonably well, because when I've revisited the library, the book has often disappeared.  But does that mean someone is actually going to read it?  Well, hopefully - but sadly, possibly not always...  

Why do I say that?  Well, I've noticed that one or two copies of my novel have popped up on second hand book sites  - and since I've barely sold any copies via Amazon, it's a pretty fair bet that whoever put it up for sale got hold of it from a street library (probably along with a bunch of other books they thought they could flog).  Maybe they read it and thought it was crap - but in that case, why not just put it back where you found it or deposit it in another street library for someone else to read?  Sadly in the case of my novel, they were as deluded as these dastardly ebook pirates if they thought they were going to actually make any money out of it...


 

Micro-Reviews (October 2022)

October 15, 2022


Educated, The Paper Menagerie and A Ghost in the Throat

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these posts (the last one was a year ago, which is hardly the level of regularity I was aiming for).  That’s partly because I’ve been busy with other things, including trying to make some more progress with a story about China that I started ages ago (I’ve got about 25K words so far and it’s not like I’ve got stuck with the plot or anything - it’s just finding the time to write that...

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Patriots by Peter Morgan: a review

August 23, 2022



Patriots by Peter Morgan (author of Netflix series The Crown) depicts the rise and fall from grace of Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky.  I saw it at the Almeida Theatre where it’s just finished its run, but it's now transferring to the West End.  It’s an interesting play with excellent performances from Tom Hollander as Berezovksy, Luke Thallon as Roman Abramovich and Will Keen - who is well worth seeing for his uncannily accurate and rather chilling impersonation of Putin (especially hi...

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Still the hardest word

July 9, 2022


Well, it took over 50 resignations from his own government but he's finally agreed to go.  So goodbye and good riddance, Boris Johnson. Your many, many brazen lies have finally caught up with you.  I always thought you were a lazy, arrogant **** who was only interested in his own advancement.  Now it's finally dawned on your erstwhile supporters too.

And did we get an apology or even any hint of contrition or regret for his own actions in his resignation speech?  No.  It's much the same as ban...
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Vangelis: an appreciation

June 5, 2022


This rather long post is about Greek musician Vangelis, who died last month.  I’m writing it partly because, having read a reasonable number of the obituaries, I felt that there were some things that they missed (although who knows if anyone else will read this.… ). I should also point out that I’m not a fan of everything he’s ever done - all told, I reckon that I only really like about 20-25% of his total output (in particular, I’m not keen on his more bombastic material, especiall...

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What does the Draft2Digital / Smashwords merger mean for authors?

February 13, 2022





What are we to make of the recent announcement that Draft2Digital is acquiring competing self-publishing outfit Smashwords?  Initially, I was a bit concerned because as an author, Smashwords has been the best performing platform for me over the years - and I wouldn't want to see it go the way of others which have closed down (like Feedbooks, BookieJar and Bibliotastic).

But as I understand it, Draft2Digital primarily competes with Smashwords when it comes to helping authors create ebooks and d...
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Yard Sale by Charles Hibbard

December 27, 2021




This beautifully written book - available for free on Smashwords - occupies a not particularly well-colonised fictional space somewhere between a novel and a collection of short stories.  

It’s like a novel in the sense that it depicts various episodes in the life of one character, Ruth, who was born - I am guessing - at some point in the first two decades of the twentieth century.  We first meet Ruth in (late) middle age, having gone on a solo road trip to escape marital difficulties - but ...

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Micro reviews (October 2021)

October 6, 2021

China Mountain Zhang, All That Man Is, The Vanishing Half





China Mountain Zhang by Maureen McHugh

This book is set in a world where China is the dominant power, both economically and culturally.  The US, meanwhile, is subservient to China, having apparently undergone a protracted and violent Communist revolution, followed by something similar to China’s cultural revolution known as the “Cleansing Winds Campaign.”  Slightly frustratingly perhaps, we don’t find out too much about this hist...

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Free library and secret garden at London Bridge

August 28, 2021



On my hunt for little free libraries, I came across this rather impressive specimen in Gibbon's Rent SE1, just off Holyrood Street, right next door to London Bridge station.  It's in a pedestrian alleyway which has been turned into a secret garden:



I say "secret" because unless you knew it was there, you probably wouldn't think to bother walking down it because the entrance just looks like an access way to various flats/offices - but it is a public thoroughfare, so it's fine to enter and have ...
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Little free library in Cambria Road SE5

August 15, 2021



Just secreted a paperback copy of my novel in the little free library on Cambria Road SE5, which is the nearest one to where I live in Herne Hill (SE24).  I'm not sure the library's been there that long.  But maybe I just didn't notice it before - it certainly wasn't there in 2018, which is when Google seem to have done their last StreetView survey of the area.  

For anyone looking for it, it's on the left just before you enter the underpass below the railway bridge that crosses the road (this...
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About Me


Paul Samael Welcome to my blog, "Publishing Waste" which will either (a) chronicle my heroic efforts to self-publish my own fiction; or (b) demonstrate beyond a scintilla of doubt the utter futility of (a). And along the way, I will also be doing some reviews of other people's books and occasionally blogging about other stuff.
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