I Am Writing a Book on Abbas Kiarostami

After a week of polling, there’s a clear winner for the book I should write. The Cinema of Abbas Kiarostami won almost by a factor of two at 53.85 percent. I’m not that surprised given that I’ve got a reputation with Kiarostami among my readers and I did outline that it had the most going for it when I presented it. 

The rest of the pack shook out as I expected. The Animation and Graphic Novels of Satoshi Kon got a 23.08 percent, Mental Illness and the Arts got 15.38 percent, and A History of Roguelites came in last with 7.69 percent. The big takeaway I have from this is that the more focused my idea, the more interested people seem to be in it. 

What’s Next?

Now that the results are in, the next steps begin. First is the gathering of materials. The obvious starting point is the films, which I already have most of, but I’ve still got to pick up a few. I’ve ordered most of them today so they should be arriving soon. I’ve also looked at reading material to help me write the book. I’ve got a good set of books from writing the thesis. Those include:

  • Men At Work: Cinematic Lessons from Abbas Kiarostami (Mahmoud Reza Sani)
  • Mute Dreams, Blind Owls, and Dispersed Knowledges (Michael M. J. Fischer)
  • A Social History of Iranian Cinema Vol. 3 (Hamid Naficy)
  • Abbas Kiarostami (Mehrnaz Saeed-Vafa & Jonathan Rosenbaum)
  • The Cinema of Abbas Kiarostami (Alberto Elena) 

I plan on either buying or checking out from the library the following titles:

  • Conversations with Kiarostami (Godfrey Cheshire)
  • Abbas Kiarostami & Film Philosophy (Mathew Abbott)
  • Lessons with Kiarostami (Paul Cronin)
  • My Sister, Guard Your Veil; My Brother Guards Your Eyes: Uncensored Iranian Voices
  • 10 (Geoff Andrew)

If my readers have any more books think I should read, feel free to leave a comment. Availability is a big factor. I’ve found a few “books” that are just printed thesis manuscripts at an exorbitant price. I probably will not read these unless I can get them through the library.  

As I collect materials, I’ll be diving into the films and books I already have and be taking new notes as I expand the scope of what I plan to write. I’m looking forward to this part a lot as I have not seen a lot of these films since writing the thesis. I’m curious how my observations will change years later and if I notice any new patterns or ideas that will end up in the book.

And, of course, I will also be working a lot from my original thesis. It clocks in at 81 pages and while I plan on rewriting a lot of it, I think a lot of it will still stand as a foundation for my work. Once again, I’ll remind you that you can read one chapter over at CINEJ Cinema Journal. Also, if you want to read another chapter, sign up for my email list below. When you do, you’ll also get regular updates about the book. 

Nuts and Bolts 

There are a few details about the book I’d like to share. First, I’ve already got a strong title in mind for the book, but I want to save it for a later time once I get closer to figuring out how I’m going to publish it and what formats it will take. 

In terms of a time-frame for getting the book out, I plan on having a rough draft done by the end of the year and then a couple of months to edit and figure out publishing. I’m strongly leaning towards self-publishing for a plethora of reasons. If that is the case, I could see this being released as early as February 2020, but that’s an extremely ambitious launch date. 

I know it’s trendy in this day and age to pre-sell your work but I’m going to at least wait a couple of weeks and think about it because there’s a lot of trepidation I have about it, especially because getting the money upfront for something feels like it would remove the timeliness incentive of getting the book out. On the other hand, it could give me more time to work longer on the book and worry less about making ends meet. 

I want to be upfront and say I’m thinking about pre-selling the book, but also be completely honest and say I personally feel somewhat icky about taking people’s money when there’s always the outside possibility I don’t deliver the end product. If my readers have strong opinions either way, please let me know. If you’re chomping at the bit to give me money, that’s awesome, if you think it would be bad, I want to know. 

If you are interested in keeping up with the progress of the book, please sign up for my email list. I plan on getting back to regular posts here as much as possible and most of my information about the book will be relegated to a regular newsletter instead of clogging up my site with updates. I’ll also be sharing thoughts about other pieces of media I consume that I won’t be reviewing on the site so it’ll be the only way to hear about some of my media consumption habits.