Archive for February, 2009

Saturday Quote of the Night

Saturday, February 28th, 2009

“Tediousness is the most fatal of all faults.”

- Samuel Johnson




Saturday Evening Book Reviews

Saturday, February 28th, 2009

It’s becoming a habit, but the sneak preview of the NY Times list just makes sense for the Saturday installment of this feature.

Some kids review kid’s books over at the NationalPost.

Jesse Ball’s new novel, THE WAY THROUGH DOORS, is head-trippy in a way that brings on the good reviews.

And Publishers Weekly‘s weekly web exclusives (which is fun to say) may help you balance your book-spending budget.

Afternoon Viewing: John Kelly

Saturday, February 28th, 2009

From the YouTube description:

An excerpt from an interview with historian and science writer John Kelly who appeared at the New York State Writers Institute on February 26, 2009.

Saturday Morning LitLinks

Saturday, February 28th, 2009

From reader Chris Johnson: “The most recent NYRB as several things that would interest you, I think. Julian Barnes wrote an interesting review of Orwell. On the whole it’s positive, but there are a lot of interesting tidbits about the man and his own internal contradictions. The same issue has a good piece on Updike as well as the third part of a series of previously unpublished letters by Norman Mailer.” (Thanks, Chris)

“Read a Book, Get out of Jail”: Leah Price has an interesting essay in the Times on a program that allows criminals to get out of jail and on to probation by attending seminars on literature.

The Guardian’s Adam Thirwell explores why everyone hates Malaparte.

Zoe Heller on creating her unpleasant characters.

Amazon gives rights holders the ability to disable the Kindle’s controversial text-to-speech functionality.

Friday Quote of the Night

Friday, February 27th, 2009

“I think the first duty of all art, including fiction of any kind, is to entertain. That is to say, to hold interest. No matter how worthy the message of something, if it’s dull, you’re just not communicating.”

-Poul Anderson




Friday Evening Book Reviews

Friday, February 27th, 2009

FLANNERY: A LIFE OF FLANNERY O’CONNOR, by Brad Gooch, hits the shelves and The International Herald Tribune with a good, soft thud. applauds Marcel Chotkowski LaFollette for telling us we should be wary of what we read and watch in SCIENCE ON THE AIR.

James Wood impresses by explaining HOW FICTION WORKS.

The sticky underside of a comic book artist’s soap will make for some fascinating reading.  Library Journal spotlights Craig Yoe’s, SECRET IDENTITY: THE FETISH ART OF SUPERMAN’S CREATOR, JOE SHUSTER.

Afternoon Viewing: No Asshole Rule

Friday, February 27th, 2009

From the YouTube description:

No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn’t is a new book by Stanford Professor Robert I. Sutton (Random House, 2007). This is a follow-up interview with the author about his new book.

Friday Morning LitLinks

Friday, February 27th, 2009

In her own words: Eleanor Lerman’s fascinating journey through the writing life.

Gawker digs into the unsavory details of the Google Books / Authors Guild settlement.

Harry Potter and Twilight fans square off on March 21 in Seattle to debate the relative merits of their respective obsessions.

Gay authors, actors and publishers share their memories of the now-closed A Different Light Bookstore in West Hollywood.

Tonawanda News rates a batch of book swapping sites.

R.I.P. Bill Holm

Quote of the Night

Thursday, February 26th, 2009

“Writing a book is a adventure. To begin with it is a toy and amusement. Then it becomes a mistress, then it becomes a master, then it becomes a tyrant. The last phase is that just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster and fling him out to the public.”

- Winston Chruchill



Thursday Evening Book Reviews

Thursday, February 26th, 2009 loves THE SUPER BOWL: AN OFFICIAL RETROSPECTIVE and reviews it chapter by chapter.


Miranda July would surely like this review of her collection of short stores, NO ONE BELONGS HERE MORE THAN YOU.

And The International Herald Tribune does its part for the book world by reviewing a pair of new releases, one fiction and one non, as is their habit.

Afternoon Viewing: W.H. Auden

Thursday, February 26th, 2009

The poet reads “As I Walked Out one Evening”:

5 Minutes Alone… With Terri Cheney

Thursday, February 26th, 2009

Terri Cheney is a writer and memoirist best known, at the moment, for her tremendous book, MANIC: A MEMOIR.  I spoke with her last year in a podcast for PsychJourney and a Harper Collins interview with Terri was featured on our Afternoon Viewing segment recently.  She’s graciously agreed to expand what we know of her in this AuthorScoop exclusive.

We’d like to thank her for taking the time to be part of our “5 Minutes Alone” interview series.

AuthorScoop: What was your very first publication credit?

Terri: I had a poem published in the local newspaper, The Daily Report, when I was about 10 years old.  It was a very bad poem, I think, but my father was over the moon about it.  Thirty-seven years lapsed before my next credit.  In 2007, I submitted an essay about bipolar dating to the New York Times “Modern Love” column.  I was astonished when it was accepted for publication, and especially pleased that it ran the week before my first book, Manic: A Memoir, was released in 2008.  I’d made sure to mention my book in the essay, of course, so the publicity was terrific.

AuthorScoop: Tell us about your latest release.

Terri: Manic is about the disintegration of the careful facade I lived behind for most of my adult life.  On the outside, I looked very successful — I was an entertainment litigator, representing the likes of Michael Jackson, Quincy Jones, and motion picture studios.  In truth, however, I struggled with a raging case of bipolar disorder.  When I was manic, I was extremely productive, creative and energetic.  But when depression inevitably hit, I fell apart.  I couldn’t move, I couldn’t think.  If I absolutely had to go into the office, I hid out under my desk.  I told no one about my illness — not my friends, my family, my coworkers, no one.

Then in 1999, I was hospitalized after several suicide attempts.  After a few weeks went by, I realized that none of the patients (including me) were getting better, because we simply couldn’t express what was going on inside us.  There were clinical words, but they weren’t enough.  So I decided to write my own story, from the inside out:  to tell what bipolar disorder truly felt like, from the little hairs on my arms that quiver in mania, to the crushing weight of my body in depression.  I wrote disjointed pieces in my writing groups for the next 7 years.  By 2007, they finally coalesced into Manic.

After Manic’s surprising success, I received many emails, the most compelling of which were from parents of bipolar children, desperately seeking more info, answers, advice.  They moved me so deeply that I decided my next book, which I am hard at work on now, will be a childhood memoir about growing up bipolar.

AuthorScoop: Aside from your own hard work, who else do you feel has contributed to your success?

Terri: My father was instrumental in instilling the love of words in me.  When I was a little girl, he would read to me every morning (at ungodly early hours!).  He always loved to hear what I had written, and having a captive, spellbound audience is a surefire way to keep writing.  Also, I had a sixth grade teacher (thank you, Mrs. Martin, wherever you are) who set me free from classes to simply read and write whatever I liked.  Her faith in my talent stayed with me the rest of my life.

AuthorScoop: At what time of day or night do you do your best writing?

Terri: If possible, I like to go out of the house to write, in the morning or early afternoon.  I have a few favorite cafes around town, where I order a latte and a bite to eat, and they let me scribble away for hours.  I write on an old-fashioned legal pad, then later transcribe what I’ve written into the computer.  I feel this gives me two bites at the apple for editing.

AuthorScoop: Finally, what advice would you give to new or unpublished writers?

Terri: First, get in a writing group or class.  My two weekly groups have been essential to me.  They give me the discipline which I’m sure I would otherwise lack, to keep churning out pages week after week.  Also, it’s invaluable for me to get feedback, to realize that what I’m writing is not so far from the universal human experience — that other people can relate to it. Second, don’t let the daunting prospects of publication get in the way of your writing.  If you’re a true writer, you must write and you will write.  Worry about agents and publishers and polished manuscripts later, after you’ve written the very best book that you can.

Thursday Morning LitLinks

Thursday, February 26th, 2009

Philip Roth’s publisher announces details of the novelist’s 30th and 31st books. has an entertaining piece on “11 Novelists Who Found Their Way Into the Script.”

The New York Times traces the unlikely success story of Europa Editions.

Joseph O’Neill wins the 2009 PEN / Faulkner Award for Fiction for his novel Netherland.

Stephenie Meyer holds the four top spots on USA Today’s bestseller list.

The L.A. Times and New York Times remember Christopher Nolan.

R.I.P. Philip Jose Farmer

Wednesday Quote of the Night

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

“I want story, wit, music, wryness, color, and a sense of reality in what I read, and I try to get it in what I write.”

-John D. MacDonald




Wednesday Evening Book Reviews

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

Roberto Escobar, brother of notorious drug baron, Pablo Escobar, tries to cash in on his proximity to the blood and dirt of his trade in, THE ACOUNTANT’S STORY: INSIDETHE VIOLENT WORLD OF THE MEDELLIN CARTEL.

I can’t entirely say that the time is ripe to read about how T. Boone Pickens struck it rich in THE FIRST BILLION IS THE HARDEST, but if his energy plan does what he says it will…

Christian application of neuroscience and psychology make for happy reading in Dr. Earl Henslin’s, THIS IS YOUR BRAIN ON JOY: A REVOLUTIONARY PROGRAM FOR BALANCING MOOD, RESTORING BRAIN HEALTH, AND NURTURING SPIRITUAL GROWTH.

WHAT I DID FOR LOVE by Susan Elizabeth Phillips makes fiction of a Brangelina saga, but somehow still gets a great review in The Grand Forks Herald.

Afternoon Viewing: Diane Johnson

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

From the YouTube description:

Novelist Diane Johnson speaks about her collaboration with filmmaker Stanley Kubrick.

Wednesday Morning LitLinks

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

Shameless self-promotion: yours truly is interviewed by Kim Michele Richardson at Writer in Waiting on the topic of my poetry collection, Sixty-Six, and other things literary.

Book critical of the Castro regime gets a public reading at the Havana Book Fair.

Toni Morrison and Cormac McCarthy’s agent expresses fear over Amazon’s increasing power in the industry. The full piece (which covers many other topics) can be read here.

Gawker reports that the New York Observer is stiffing freelancers.

Levi Asher has now posted Chapter 6 of his continuing online memoir at LitKicks.

Tuesday Quote of the Night

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

“No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader.”

-Robert Frost




Tuesday Evening Book Reviews

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

Gwen Ifill’s, THE BREAKTHROUGH: POLITICS AND RACE IN THE AGE OF OBAMA, color codes the map of the current American political landscape and earns accolades for the clarity it lends.

USA Today details a couple of books climbing around on its bestseller list.

Boy meets God; boy loses God; boy settles down with God’s friend, Peace, instead, in William Lobdell’s fascinating-sounding memoir, LOSING MY RELIGION: HOW I LOST MY FAITH REPORTING ON RELIGION IN AMERICA – AND FOUND UNEXPECTED PEACE.

STEPPING STONES: INTERVIEWS WITH SEAMUS HEANEY may be the best look at the poet’s life and philosophy, outside his work we’ll get, of course.  This book-length interview looks to cover it all.

Afternoon Viewing: Kelly Corrigan and Her Dad

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

The author reads to her father from Middle Place: