Archive for December, 2008

Wednesday Evening Book Reviews

Wednesday, December 31st, 2008

Memoirist, Susan Jane Gilman, recalls her formative globe jaunt in UNDRESS ME IN THE TEMPLE OF HEAVEN.

Unauthorized and largely culled from her periferal crowd, SMART BLONDE: DOLLY PARTON, achieves I’m not exactly sure what.

In Peter Green’s, THE HELLENISTIC AGE: A SHORT HISTORY, debauchery and high drama drew curiosity, and ultimately praise, from The New York Times critic, Barry Gewen.

Accolades from The Christian Science Monitor for YELLOWROCKET, and poet, Todd Boss, can likely call his year a success.

Afternoon Viewing: Hoax at the Fence

Wednesday, December 31st, 2008

A 3-minute segment from CNN on the Angel at the Fence hoax:

Wednesday Morning LitLinks

Wednesday, December 31st, 2008

Ali Smith, writing for The Times Literary Supplement, looks back at the compelling career of Sylvia Townsend Warner.

Knighted: that’s Sir Terry Pratchett to you.

Broadway dims the lights in honor of Harold Pinter.

ABC News looks at the Angel at the Fence hoax, focusing (at first glance) on the Oprah connection, but digging a little deeper into what it means for the future of memoirs.

While you’re there, check out the slideshow on famous literary hoaxes.

Midnight Poetry: “Scouring Rock”

Tuesday, December 30th, 2008

Scouring Rock
(Richard Satterlie)

The wandering rains of
windswept canyons leach
rock and root from our
plotted path, leaving all
angles of good, rounded

My huffing cough gives you
warmth in its mist of life,
where our breasts touch
and our hearts yet fail to reach
the story we were promised

And a trickle of gullied water
swells to our ankles and sings
of Spring’s seeds, scouring
their hard coatings against
the rock of our next years

our hope, germination

You walk ahead, into the driving
rain, neither sheltering your soul
nor blocking mine, your fine
hair a clotted wrath, leaving all
angles of good, confounded

Your hasty steps, in water
and weed leave me without
pads of synergy to touch,
I fail to grasp the distancing
story you once promised

And through the rain your
silhouette disappears to meet
another whose seeds don’t need
the scouring rock of me
I fall to my knees

no hope, germination

(Read more about Richard Satterlie here)

Editor’s note: ‘Midnight Poetry’ is a showcase for work by poets across the spectrum—from the pantheon of literary giants to contemporary, underground and new voices.

If you would like to submit your work for consideration, please see our Submission Guidelines.

Tuesday Quote of the Night

Tuesday, December 30th, 2008

“Nothing stinks like a pile of unpublished writing.”

- Sylvia Plath

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Tuesday Evening Book Reviews

Tuesday, December 30th, 2008

Feeling old?  Getting old?  There’s book for, by, and about you (and your wizened kind) and USA TODAY profiles a few of them here.

Photosynthesis explained just as amazing as it is, is what Oliver Morton’s managed in EATING THE SUN.

A fortifying deep breath may be needed before cracking into THE WAR BEHIND ME: VIETNAM VETERANS CONFRONT THE TRUTH ABOUT U.S. WAR CRIMES: INSIDE THE ARMY’S SECRET ARCHIVE OF INVESTIGATIONS, by Deborah Nelson.

Political history on an intimate scale is examined in SAVING SAVANNAH: THE CITY AND THE CIVIL WAR, by  JACQUELINE JONES.

The Rosenblat Ripple Effect Rolls On

Tuesday, December 30th, 2008

The fallout continues from the Angel at the Fence hoax, with the author apologizing (“I wanted to bring happiness to people… I brought good feelings to a lot of people and I brought hope to many. My motivation was to make good in this world.”) and condemnation from his son (“I didn’t want anything to do with it. I tried to just stay away from it.”).

But, aside from the cancellation of the book itself, two other IP’s are drowning in the mire. The film being made based on the now-debunked story is being re-labeled as fiction (if it even gets made):

Producer Harris Salomon said he was going forward with his film based on Rosenblat’s book, simply labeling it fiction and donating all proceeds to Holocaust survivor charities. Meh, we’ll see how long that plan lasts. Good luck keeping the investors together.

Also caught up in the disgrace is Laurie Friedman’s children’s book based on the tale, Angel Girl:

Upon learning that the widely publicized Holocaust love story of Herman and Roma Rosenblat, which inspired the picture book Angel Girl, is not entirely true, Lerner Publishing Group announced yesterday that it would pull the book from shelves. Lerner imprint Carolhroda Books published Angel Girl by Laurie Friedman in September 2008. The house has canceled all pending reprints and is issuing refunds on all returned books. The company is no longer offering the book for sale and is recalling the book from the market.

Way to bring all that happiness and hope, Herman.

Afternoon Viewing: Elmore Leonard Part 4

Tuesday, December 30th, 2008

From the YouTube description:

The final part of an interview with Elmore Leonard, the 2008 F. Scott Fitzgerald Literary Conference awardee. The prolific author discusses his career with host Michael Brown of Montgomery College Television.

 

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

From the Foul Mouth of Mamet…

Tuesday, December 30th, 2008

Actress Actor and playwright Nancy Balbirer’s forthcoming memoir will wax nostalgic about her days as a pupil under David Mamet, describing his teaching style as that of “a schoolyard bully in need of his daily Ritalin”.

The book, Take Your Shirt Off and Cry, promises some real jewels, including Mamet’s response to a student who asked who his favorite actresses were:

“Women who act are not actresses. They’re actors. Why do they need to fucking qualify what their genitalia are? Folks, seriously, I need to disabuse you of the notion that ‘actress’ is anything other than a euphemism for ‘floozy’ . . . Do women fucking writers call themselves ‘writressess?’ No!”

Read the whole article at First Post here.

Tuesday Morning LitLinks

Tuesday, December 30th, 2008

The L.A. Times talks Sandman with Neil Gaiman.

Terry Pratchett continues his good works in the battle against Alzheimer’s.

Literary Kicks offers up a randomizer for its 2008 batch of reader-submitted “Action Poetry”.

The Telegraph profiles Salman Rushdie and his ongoing penchant for making enemies.

The New Yorker dissects Laura Bush’s efforts to sell her first memoir.

Midnight Poetry: “Upon Drinking With an Old Man”

Monday, December 29th, 2008

Upon Drinking With an Old Man
(William Haskins)

with the snapping slap
of a credit card,
we turned the night
from beer to hard-
stuff lining the wall
behind the bar;

“we’ll sample them all,”
he said, and
i’ll be damned
if he wasn’t right.

his memories
spanned centuries,
landscapes mangled
and twisted; brought low
by rot and violence;
even in silence,
the world inside
him shivered.

and so we drank
through histories
i cannot measure
until our senses dulled
and lulled us into lies.

on a rainslick sidewalk,
we parted ways—

he, to stumble
back through the past;
me, to tremble
before the night.

(Read more of William Haskins’ poetry here)

Editor’s note: ‘Midnight Poetry’ is a showcase for work by poets across the spectrum—from the pantheon of literary giants to contemporary, underground and new voices.

If you would like to submit your work for consideration, please see our Submission Guidelines.

Monday Quote of the Night

Monday, December 29th, 2008

“No passion in the world is equal to the passion to alter someone else’s draft.”

- H.G. Wells

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Monday Evening Book Reviews

Monday, December 29th, 2008

How to bridge the waning world to the emerging one? Write a book about the internet, of course! Don Tapscott champions the net generation in GROWN UP DIGITAL.

The foreign policy dance between Saudi Arabia and the United States is mapped out in David B. Ottoway’s, THE KING’S MESSENGER.

A new review of a not-so-new book, but still, WHITE OLEANDER by Janet Finch seems to ignite praise.

Paul Lukacs gives the lesson that I, for one, don’t mind to learn – AMERICAN VINTAGE: THE RISE OF AMERICAN WINE.

Oprah: Hoax Victim or Part of the Problem?

Monday, December 29th, 2008

Gawker gets it right:

What’s the one thing nearly every fake memoir scandal seems to have in common? From James Frey to Angel at the Fence, if a story is bullshit, chances are Oprah was there first.

The pattern is pretty clear: lying writer comes up with too-good-to-be-true tale; Oprah books them on her show; lying writer is showered with publisher money; lying writer is exposed as liar; and finally Oprah is shocked, shocked that a writer would dare lie to her. But after awhile, we’re forced to wonder if she’s the victim or part of the problem.

The article goes on to detail four instances in which Oprah (either through her show or her magazine) was duped.

Check out the whole article here.

Afternoon Viewing: Elmore Leonard Part 3

Monday, December 29th, 2008

From the YouTube description:

Part 3 of an interview with Elmore Leonard, the 2008 F. Scott Fitzgerald Literary Conference awardee. The prolific author discusses his career with host Michael Brown of Montgomery College Television.

Part 1

Part 2

Monday Morning LitLinks

Monday, December 29th, 2008

The New York Times’ coverage of the cancelled Holocaust memoir.

The Columbia Tribune looks at how Edgar Allen Poe stays alive as a fictional character.

Used book business gets a shot in the arm from the Internet.

Children’s book market rush to put content online for a digital generation.

‘Melvillapalooza’ hits Broadway.

Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust

Sunday, December 28th, 2008

The LA Times has compiled three pages of notable writers and editors who gave up the ghost in 2008, along with thumbnail bios.

Indulge your morbidity here.

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Midnight Poetry: “Miracles”

Sunday, December 28th, 2008

Miracles
(Conrad Aiken)

Twilight is spacious, near things in it seem far,
And distant things seem near.
Now in the green west hangs a yellow star.
And now across old waters you may hear
The profound gloom of bells among still trees,
Like a rolling of huge boulders beneath seas.

Silent as though in evening contemplation
Weaves the bat under the gathering stars.
Silent as dew, we seek new incarnation,
Meditate new avatars.
In a clear dusk like this
Mary climbed up the hill to seek her son,
To lower him down from the cross, and kiss
The mauve wounds, every one.

Men with wings
In the dusk walked softly after her.
She did not see them, but may have felt
The winnowed air around her stir;
She did not see them, but may have known
Why her son’s body was light as a little stone.
She may have guessed that other hands were there
Moving the watchful air.

Now, unless persuaded by searching music
Which suddenly opens the portals of the mind,
We guess no angels,
And are contented to be blind.
Let us blow silver horns in the twilight,
And lift our hearts to the yellow star in the green,
To find perhaps, if, while the dew is rising,
Clear things may not be seen.

(Read more of Conrad Aiken’s poetry here)

Editor’s note: ‘Midnight Poetry’ is a showcase for work by poets across the spectrum—from the pantheon of literary giants to contemporary, underground and new voices.

If you would like to submit your work for consideration, please see our Submission Guidelines.

Sunday Quote of the Night

Sunday, December 28th, 2008

“I don’t know much about creative writing programs. But they’re not telling the truth if they don’t teach, one, that writing is hard work, and, two, that you have to give up a great deal of life, your personal life, to be a writer.”

- Doris Lessing

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Sunday Evening Book Reviews

Sunday, December 28th, 2008

Poetry is still happening and Paul Guest’s latest volume, MY INDEX OF SLIGHTLY HORRIFYING KNOWLEDGE, is well received in Dallas.

A soldier’s diary makes for moving reading in Dana Canedy’s, JOURNAL FOR JORDAN.

From CSM’s archives, they’ve plucked and revived a 2004 review of AN EVENING OF LONG GOODBYES, by Paul Murray.