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What I Do for Literature

December 14, 2018

I’ve thrown everything at it, part of my savings was the first thing to go, next was a chunk of my pension, then my central London apartment but life is to short to worry about such trifles. Certainly if, in return, you can do just the work you like.

Literature and art are what remains of us. What about science you may ask, well if it is written down beautifully and makes a real contribution it, too, will survive. I vividly remember reading Albert Einstein’s original papers in Annalen der Physik in the beautiful physics library in Bristol. Fortunately, I have the Dutch equivalent of an A level in German which, for once, I could put to good use.

Actually, law reports are another important imprint of society. In England they have been going since the Middle Ages and they make fascinating reading, as do the old acts: ‘it’s not allowed to have carnal knowledge of a child woman under ten’, obviously, side note in one of the first Westminster acts. Or take: ‘None shall be condemned without trial. Justice shall not be sold or deferred’, a bit of the Magna Carta still in force. The reason that I’ve come these quotes is that in a previous career I was in change of destroying thousands of books to create huge online legal databases.

So, literature, the other arts, law and science are key pillars of society but currently, I think, the Cinderella pillar is literature. There is so much going on, especially sport, games, mobile devices, fascination with celebrities without any longevity, and dare I mention it politics (though it is essential and at the moment extremely fascinating) that reading is crowded out. People spend a fortune on exotic holidays, why? Read literature and you travel the world and find yourself immersed in cultural diversity. Besides, it saves you a lot of money.

Because my allies out there are you, lovers of good books, I adore you, and I appreciate your support us by buying our books. Dare to travel into unknown territory and buy a book by a writer you never heard of. Well, who on earth knows every novelist who has been published? My brother, another hidden gem, suggested to me: when people say they haven’t heard of a writer, ask them if they know Isaac Bashevis Singer. Most likely not, but he wrote the most beautiful books in Yiddish, and oversaw their translation into English and, by the way, he is a Nobel Prize Laureate.

So, I’m throwing all my energy into publishing and selling books that matter. Books that can change lives. Books that hopefully will be there in centuries to come.

But, I need your help, dear readers and authors, you can support us and other purveyors of literary fiction and poetry, in a very simple way, by buying our books. It’s not like contributing to a charity, you acquire a beautiful object, it will cheer up your room, and most importantly, give you a wonderful escape to a new world. Enjoy!

In November 2016, my brother and I began an experiment: we moved from London to the countryside, Malmesbury, Wiltshire. I’d been living in London since 1988, and my brother joined me in 2014. The truth is, we’re really enjoying the countryside (oh dear, it’s clear I’m no longer a spring chicken) and what’s more I have been taking my books to local markets in the South West and I’m surprised how much better this is working compared to selling my books on the world-famous Portobello Market. Are people in the countryside reading more books? Has anyone investigated this? Interesting!

Anyway, a great thank you to all the lovely people who are supporting us by buying books at local markets. Please tell all your friends, you can also order books from our website (very good!), bookshops (excellent), and Amazon (well if you must, or want a Kindle version and even that is also available from our website).

One last comment: novels, short story collections and poetry make lovely (Christmas) presents and are very good value for money, they last a lifetime. Merry Christmas!