Archive for May, 2009

Sunday Quote of the Night

Sunday, May 31st, 2009

“I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear.”

-Joan Didion




Sunday Evening Book Reviews

Sunday, May 31st, 2009

A tv-special companion book that’s not derivative crap?  I’m intrigued.  The Christian Science Monitor reviews a gorgeous new coffee table book edited by Karen Bass, NATURE’S GREAT EVENTS.  Have a look.

Here a page of quick and mini reviews for a crop of new crime fiction in January Magazine.

A DARKNESS FORGED IN FIRE, by Chris Evans clips along for fantasy readers at Tonight.

Octavia Gentiles biography of a bird-watcher enthrall more that you might guess.  The Minneapolis Star-Tribune quite liked, LIFE LIST: A WOMAN’S QUEST FOR THE WORLD’S MOST AMAZING BIRDS.

Afternoon Viewing: “The Lottery”

Sunday, May 31st, 2009

The story referenced in this morning’s LitLinks about “The Lottery” got me thinking about Shirley Jackson’s brilliant short story and, more specifically, an old film version presented by Encyclopedia Britannica that I saw back in junior high. YouTube came through for me:

Part 1:

Part 2:

Sunday Morning LitLinks

Sunday, May 31st, 2009

Hephzibah Anderson profiles Booker winner Alice Munro.

Reclusive Kate Atkinson tells Hay festival she’d rather not be a published author.

Trouble in paradise? NYT’s David Orr explores the conflict between poets and academia.

Ten (make that eleven) ex-teachers who went on to become successful children’s authors. More here.

Publishers Weekly looks at the “big books” of BookExpo America 2009. Their continuing coverage of the festival here.

Could the Pandora business model save print magazines?

Bibliotherapy: when life gets you down, read “The Lottery.”

Britain’s bestselling author Martina Cole can do without being a darling of the critics.

Today in Literature: On this day in 1669, Samuel Pepys made his last diary entry before blindness made continuing it impossible.

Saturday Quote of the Night

Saturday, May 30th, 2009

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

-H. G. Wells




Saturday Evening Book Reviews

Saturday, May 30th, 2009

Jess, over at Monsters & Critics, picked an oldie but goodie to feature – MCTEAGUE, by Frank Norris.

Publishers Weekly’s web exclusives shouldn’t get past us.  So here.

On title alone, this should work, BITE THE HAND THAT FEEDS YOU: ESSAYS AND PROVOCATIONS, by Henry Fairlie.  The New Republic reviews this collection from one of their own and offers a few sneak peeks.

Kate Forsyth will be glowing after the review of, THE PUZZLE RING, in The Adelaide Independent.

Afternoon Viewing: James Ellroy at BEA 2009

Saturday, May 30th, 2009

From the Bat Segundo YouTube description:

On May 29, 2009, Our Correspondent encounters BLACK DAHLIA novelist James Ellroy at BookExpo America and asks him just why in the sam hill he’s asking future readers to be his Facebook friends for his forthcoming novel, BLOOD’S A ROVER.

Saturday Morning LitLinks

Saturday, May 30th, 2009

Is Amazon planning to go brick-and-mortar?

Bruce Sterling of Wired Magazine presents “Eighteen Challenges in Contemporary Literature.”

The Lambda Literary Foundation announced its 21st annual awards last night. Full list of winners here.

Publishers Weekly finds a “downsized show” at BookExpo America 2009, but that doesn’t stop them from generating a massive amount of coverage.

Alison Flood, reporting from the Hay Festival, wonders if literary festivals and reading groups are “signs of a thriving literary culture.”

Simon Heffer sums up books festivals thusly: “I suppose you could describe literary festivals as a sort of live porn show for the educated classes.”

Today in Literature: On this day in 1960, Boris Pasternak died at the age of seventy, persecuted to his grave by partisans on both sides of the Cold War.

Friday Quote of the Night

Friday, May 29th, 2009

“Don’t use words too big for the subject. Don’t say ‘infinitely’ when you mean ‘very’; otherwise you’ll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite.”

-C. S. Lewis



Friday Evening Book Reviews

Friday, May 29th, 2009

Library Journal trains their spotlight on what they’re calling an outstanding new thriller by Joseph Finder, VANISHED.

Edward Klein, of Newsweek and The New York Times Magazine fame, writes up TED KENNEDY: THE DREAM THAT NEVER DIED.

Adelaide’s Independent Weekly mostly likes Anne Berry’s debut, THE HUNGRY GHOSTS.

Man and wolf, not versus, make for an amazing true tale of friendship and introspection in Mark Rowlands’, THE PHILOSOPHER AND THE WOLF.

Afternoon Viewing: Amy Krouse Rosenthal

Friday, May 29th, 2009

The popular children’s book author promotes her appearance at BookExpo America:

Friday Morning LitLinks

Friday, May 29th, 2009

Seamus Heaney suggests looking beyond the UK’s borders for the new Oxford poetry professor.

The Antiquarian Booksellers Association continues the process of undoing the damage caused by the thefts of 71 rare books from Sir Evelyn de Rothschild’s library by former ABA president David Slade.

Japanese publisher Shinchosha forced to increase first print run of Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84 after fans snap up copies.

And the winner of the Urdd Eisteddfod’s poetry contest is… no one.

GalleyCat gets an exclusive look at BE Book’s $199 e-book reader.

Acclaimed Peruvian author Mario Vargas Llosa detained in Venezuela and warned against speaking out against Chavez.

Today in Literature: On this day in 1914, the first installment of Edgar Lee Masters’s Spoon River Anthology appeared, two years before the full collection in book form.

Thursday Quote of the Night

Thursday, May 28th, 2009

“Stupidity is no excuse of not thinking.”

-Stanislaw Jerzy Lec




Thursday Evening Book Reviews

Thursday, May 28th, 2009

Screenwriter and television producer, George Pelecanos, uses his feel for drama and suspense to good result in THE WAY HOME.

A collection of works by a long-loved boxing chronicler and general commentator brings a smile to one reviewer in Boston.  A.J. LIEBLING: THE SWEET SCIENCE AND OTHER WRITING, edited by Pete Hamill captures the style and scope of his career.

Dr. Nancy Snyderman calls BS on slimming fads and makes a pretty good case for her book, DIET MYTHS THAT KEEP US FAT: AND 101 TRUTHS THAT WILL SAVE YOUR WAISTLINE – AND MAYBE EVEN YOUR LIFE.

A peck of novel reviews could do something good for your day.  Try it.  You’ll like it.

Afternoon Viewing: More Munro

Thursday, May 28th, 2009

An elegant tribute to Alice Munro’s book Lives of Girls and Women:

Thursday Morning LitLinks

Thursday, May 28th, 2009

James King wins the second annual Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award and a $25,000 contract with Viking for Bill Warrington’s Last Chance.

“Irreconcilable with the principles of European copyright law”: EU set to investigate Google Book Search.

In an interview at National Post, Gaspereau Press publisher Andrew Steeves discusses the upside of downsizing.

The Rumpus, McSweeney’s, and Smith Mag joining forces for a big soiree at BookExpo America this weekend.

Gary Snyder heads back to his boyhood home for a poetry reading.

Self-described “proud non-reader” Kanye West releases a 52-page, sparsely worded book—and needed a co-writer to pull it off. Reuters reports. Gawker snorts.

Litkicks’ Peggy Nelson takes the Kindle for a test-drive.

USAToday reviews Interead’s Kindle rival, the Cool-er.

Last week’s announced discovery of three new Auden poems turns out to be nothing of the sort.

Today in Literature: On this day in 1849, Anne Brontë died of tuberculosis, the third death in eight months among the Brontë siblings.

Wednesday Quote of the Night

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

“For your born writer, nothing is so healing as the realization that he has come upon the right word.”

-Catherine Drinker Bowen




Wedensday Evening Book Reviews

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

The Washington Post endorses Moorthy S. Muthuswamy’s, DEFEATING POLITICAL ISLAM.

Author Scott Rosenberg earns a star from Kirkus for, SAY EVERYTHING: HOW BLOGGING BEGAN, WHAT IT’S BECOMING, AND WHY IT MATTERS.

The Atlantic links to online postings of its reviews of a bushel of selected classic, starting back in 1859.

And USA Today has a whole page of children’s books.

Afternoon Viewing: 30 Seconds with Alice Munro

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

Winner of the 2009 Man Booker International Prize on why she became a writer:

Wednesday Morning LitLinks

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

Alice Munro wins the Man Booker International Prize (and the hefty sum of £60,000) for lifetime achievement. The Irish Times calls it the “triumph of the short story”.  The Guardian Book Blog points readers to a wealth of her short stories on the web. On a personal note—as a longtime fan of her work, I’m thrilled with her selection. So there.

Nedim Gursel on trial in Turkey for blasphemy.

The Oxford poetry professor scandal divides UK writers and academics. Walcott says he won’t run again for the post. Padel cries “conspiracy!” The BBC explores just what the hell it is that the Oxford poetry professor does and why the post is so coveted.

Jonathan Jones says to forget about salacious headlines (too late!) and focus on Derek Walcott’s poems.

BookExpo America kicks off with much wringing of the hands.

Ouch. Stuart Evers goes off on AS Byatt.

Phoenix Books will launch a new children’s division this September and kick it off with Carl Reiner’s sequel to Tell Me A Scary Story (entitled, aptly enough, Tell Me Another Scary Story… But Not Too Scary!)

Today in Literature: On this day in 1907, Rachel Carson was born in Springdale, Pennsylvania.