I found some very welcome news in the weekend Age on Saturday in Jason Steger's Bookmarks column. A university-supported online reviews publication is on its way:
The idea, according to editor and critic James Ley, is to create a critical journal that ''takes up some of the slack from the shrinkage of coverage of books''. The SRB is being produced under the aegis of the University of Western Sydney's Writing and Society group, run by Ivor Indyk (the man behind Giramondo Publishing), novelist Gail Jones and professor Anthony Uhlmann. Ley says it will be a ''literary journal with an Australian emphasis but not exclusively - hopefully it will be a bit more catholic in its tastes''.
Ley is an appropriate editor of the new journal. His recent PhD thesis was called The Secular Wood, which is about literary criticism in the public sphere. He says he has plenty of articles for when the site launches this month. Among them is what will be a regular feature called ''Critic Watch'', in which all the commentary on a particular book is scrutinised.
Not only this, but an exquisite review from Gerald Murnane was also published in the books pages. There was much rejoicing chez nous, particularly over the opening line: "I must confess I wasn't eager to read this book." A very fine tease in store if you haven't read this one.
Few people take me seriously when I say that I've got more out of horse racing than from Shakespeare or Beethoven. Even fewer believe me when I argue for the existence of an afterlife on the grounds that we must be able one day to properly compare the champions of different eras.
Surely, on some vast, green racecourse in the Elysian Fields, on one of those incomparable autumn afternoons that settle over Melbourne in early March, we will watch one day the Newmarket of Newmarkets; we will rise to our feet as the field approaches the grandstands; and while Black Caviar is about to break clear, Bernborough, far back in the ruck, is about to make his move.
Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/entertainment/books/off-my-high-horse-20121102-28orf.html#ixzz2BKovlXjp