Harper Lee: breathing life into a classic

4 February 2015 by in Book publishing, Classic Wine Library

If you haven’t read Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird then what have you been doing all these years? If there ever was a ‘modern classic’ then this is it. Set in Alabama and focussing on the childhood Jem and Scout Finch, the children of local lawyer Atticus, the reader is shown the absurdity of racism through the innocent eyes of children.

Largely hailed as a champion of the Civil Rights Movement and still incredibly relevant today with regards to the situation in Ferguson, USA, Lee’s novel has, until now, been a one hit wonder. So successful was her novel that not only did Lee need to work again, but the attention of writing such a groundbreaking novel was too much for the author. Many people, until yesterday, presumed that she was a man:

Lee, the 88-year-old author has announced that this year she will be publishing a follow-up to her novel entitled Go Set a Watchman, focussing on Scout’s return to her home town as a young woman. Most people seem to be excited about this, but there are others who worry that the new publication will detract from the ‘classic’ status of its predecessor. As with any sequel, there is always the anticipation that it has to live up to the first one. Look at how the Star Wars ‘prequels’ were butchered, or how Hangover II just didn’t have the impact of the first one. When you write a novel as good and seminal as To Kill a Mockingbird, do you ever get a second chance to do it again?

Take, for example, Bob Dylan, whose best work is arguably his early 60s albums like The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan and Like a Rolling Stone. Though still making music, Dylan has lost the magic of his early career. Perhaps this is due to the change in zeitgeist, we no longer have such a need to hear these songs?

Mockingbird coverFor Lee, the issues in her first novel are still as relevant as ever. Earlier this week, Vanity Fair Magazine was shown to be ‘too racist’ in the production of the cover of its annual Hollywood Edition. Only one black actor, David Oyelowo (who has also spoken out about the lack of opportunity for black actors in Hollywood) features on the cover after the controversy of all white nominees in the acting categories for the Oscars. Lee’s remarkable novel is still incredibly relevant and one hopes that her second will open as many minds as the first.

Though Infinite Ideas are in no way as ground breaking as Harper Lee, we see the value in relaunching and republishing because ideas and publishing are important. Our new series, the Classic Wine Library, has rejuvenated what was a tired series and breathed new life into much loved titles, such as Julian Jeffs’ Sherry, which has recently been published in its sixth edition. Still as relevant as it was in 1961, when first published, Jeffs’ book is the very definition of a classic.

Sherry preorder

Codebreaking our future

23 December 2014 by in Book publishing, Codebreaking our future

Michael Lee’s new video, ‘Finding Future X in Cape Town,’  discusses his book, Codebreaking out future and the impacts of time and casuality on the future. Perhaps your 2015 resolution will be to break the code of the future…

Watch the video here

The rise of the ghost (writers)

10 December 2014 by in Book publishing, Current events, Entertainment

So it has emerged that YouTube phenomenon Zoe Sugg (Zoella to her fans) did not in fact write her book, Girl Online herself. She had help from a ghost writer and the Penguin editorial team. We had bets on in the Infinite Ideas office as to whether she had employed a ghost writer and some of us (Catherine) were proved right all along.

ghost writersBut what does a ghost writer do and why is Sugg’s book causing such an uproar within the publishing and literary community? Well, quite simply, people want to believe that she is flawless, the real deal, the girl next door turned internet phenomenon who can do no wrong.

Step into any bookshop at this time of year and you will see shelves lined with autobiographies of household names hoping to be the Christmas best seller. You don’t really think that Sir Alex Ferguson sat at his desk with writer’s block for months on end agonising over how best to describe Wayne Rooney’s hair transplant do you? Of course not, he has got better things to do, like lecture at Harvard and enjoy his retirement.

A ghost writer is not a victim. They are not forced at gunpoint to write a book which will be passed on as somebody else’s and paid in magic beans before being thrown back out into the light of day. Ghost writers understand the writing and editorial process and, often, get compensated generously by the publishers and the celebrities they write for.

It’s also an incredibly top secret affair. Most ghost writers have to sign contracts stating that they are not allowed to reveal themselves as the author of various works. They live like spies on the edge of society, among us but not really one of us. Not really though, many of them lead happy and fulfilling lives.

Perhaps some people will be disappointed that ‘role model’ Zoe Sugg was not the sole creator of her debut novel but her sales record will disagree with most of the sceptics. Such was they hype around the publication that signings were conducted in secret and had to be ticketed. This debacle has highlighted the importance of branding in a competitive publishing world. Did fans buy the book because they were interested in the story, or did they buy it simply because it was an extension of the brand they worship? There’s a reason that Jamie Oliver has been Christmas number one in bookshops for the last sixteen years and this trend seems to show no sign of slowing down. Kudos to Penguin, you’ve got great PR style.

Thanksgiving Thursday

27 November 2014 by in Book publishing, Current events

Happy Thanksgiving, American friends! While you’re tucking into your turkey and pumpkin pie, there are many that are bracing themselves for the Black Friday sales. In Britain, we are hardened to the Boxing Day rush and most of us have learnt by now that it really is not worth fighting the hair-pulling, toe-stamping horde of shoppers determined to get the half-price boots in John Lewis we’d been eyeing up since September.

turkey1

Sales have now moved online and are, in our opinion, much safer. So if you’re completely talked out tomorrow or have just had enough of your family’s bad jokes and anecdotes about the time you put Uncle Phil’s car keys down the toilet, perhaps you would like to enlighten yourself with some helpful knowledge from our free ebooks. And, because they’re ebooks, they can’t be bought in the shops and are therefore safe to buy from your living room.

Infinite Ideas’ Infinite Success series will be free for one more day so make sure you get your hands on it quick.

Good luck for Christmas, hardy revellers, we’ve got the sherry stocked up already…

A book is a gift that just keeps on giving

19 November 2014 by in Book publishing, Entertainment, Lifestyle

Of course, as publishers, we would tell you that. So it is our job, as publishers and promoters of books to prove to you that we are right. Obviously.

Firstly, a book is just about the easiest gift to wrap. Yes, it’s great getting a bike or a bottle of wine for Christmas, but good luck wrapping it. Too much paper and sellotape and the need for four hands means a happy Christmas is suddenly in doubt. You may end up consuming the wine out of frustration.

Ryan Gosling and book friendA book enjoyed can be passed on to your friends and family with excited expression of joy about all the wisdom/happiness/laughter that you have gained from reading it. A book not enjoyed can be passed on to your enemies in order to trick them into having a really terrible time. Of course, you can give your ereader to your loved ones but you might not get it back as they may think you are challenging them to read all the books you’ve downloaded.

A book is a really handy tool around the house. Its screen does not crack when used to prop up a table as an iPad’s might and it provides an excellent coaster for the contents of that badly-wrapped bottle of wine I gave you.

Books also make your house really colourful and inviting. Nobody wants to visit a sterile home; books add vibrancy, they make you look interesting, they start conversations with your guests. Anthony Powell even called one of his books Books Do Furnish A Room.

Game-lovers can buy multiple books and stack them, play Jenga, make houses or build forts. The possibilities are endless once you visualize your books as bricks rather than reading material. That is, of course, if you are lacking in building materials.

book blog pictureIf you’re in the mood for love this winter, a book can make you look very clever and sexy, particularly on public transport. No texting for you, oh no, engaging the mind is the purpose of your journey. There are those, of course, who choose to take their ereaders on buses and the tube but most people just assume that they’re reading 50 Shades of Grey or worse, the Daily Mail and shun them to the limits of society.

If someone thinks you look sexy and intelligent while reading, they may strike up a conversation about mutual interests and next thing you know, you’re walking down the aisle. Knowledge is romantic and guaranteed to help you find love.*

Finally, books save lives.

Save a life. Give someone a book this Christmas.**


* This has not been proven by experts
** Infinite Ideas also sell ebooks. We like it when people buy those too.
*** Ryan Gosling would no doubt be difficult to wrap up, but we’re willing to give it a go. In an exception to the rule he most likely would be more gratefully accepted than any book.

FREE EBOOKS to celebrate knowvember

7 November 2014 by in Book publishing, Business and finance

You’ve probably heard about Movember but Infinite Ideas would like to introduce you to know-vember, the month of knowledge. To celebrate this and the fifth anniversary of our Infinite Success series, we have come over all generous and decided to make the entire Infinite Success series free for Kindle for the entire month.

The Infinite Success series is a collection of contemporary interpretations of the world’s best-known, life-changing business and self-help classics, including Sun Tzu’s The Art of War, Machiavelli’s The Prince and Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich. The original is taken apart to find the most transforming ideas and the timeless nature of the authors’ insights is brought to life with twenty-first century examples, case studies, lifestyle observation and consumer behaviour and new scientific discoveries. Crucially, all the ideas are short and to the point. The series has been translated into more than twenty languages and has enhanced hundreds of thousands of lives around the globe.books

Why not treat yourself now and impress your friends and colleagues with the knowledge gained from our fantastic series. Perhaps you can dazzle them with your ability to apply ancient war strategies to your small business start-up, or impress them with your new-found money-making skills.

How you use this series is up to you. So enjoy. This is for the 50% of the population that can’t grow a moustache, and for the men who would prefer not to. Imbibe knowledge, it’s great!
The Infinite Success series