I had an interesting day doing something I've never done before. Normally on Saturdays, I switch off TV, phone, Internet and I read... generally a whole book in one day. But today I read halves of two books, Is God a Mathematician? by Mario Livio, a wonderful book about the history of mathematics - an exploration of whether maths was invented by humans or "discovered" because it is actually an innate aspect of the universe - and a fabulous (in both senses of the word) short story collection called A Life on Paper, stories by French writer Georges-Olivier Châteaureynaud translated by Edward Gauvin, which I am reviewing for The Short Review. I literally (and literarily) alternated between the two books - a few chapters about maths and then a couple of short stories, then another chapter about maths, reading both books at the same time. And the juxtaposition of the two set my brain firing in all sorts of directions, it was an immensely creative act. I think I read each book differently because of the other, fact informing fiction and vice versa, and it has really inspired me. I wanted to highly recommend trying this - it would probably work with any two books, has anyone else tried something like this?
Talking of inspiration, I wanted to mention a new venture by one of the most creative, generous and inspirational people I know, Sarah Salway, poet, short story writer, novelist, who is always posting writing prompts on her blog. Together with poet and writer Catherine Smith, Sarah has just launched Speechbubble books. This is what they say about it: " Our experience of collaborating with other writers, musicians, photographers, actors, directors and textile, paint and digital artists has shown us that good writing can go beyond the confines of two hard covers. Speechbubble Books allows us to share some of this work, and to bring new work out into the world."
I want to wish them enormous luck with the new venture, and I am off to order their first product, Pillow Book: "an ongoing collaboration between textile artist Anne Kelly and writer Sarah Salway.Each postcard replicates a piece of textile art designed by Anne Kelly and already exhibited throughout the UK." Doesn't that already sound wonderful? Welcome, Speechbubble!