Archive for September, 2009

Wednesday Quote of the Night

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

“The gift of story is the opportunity to live lives beyond our own, to desire and struggle in a myriad of worlds and times, at all the various depths of our being.”

-Robert McKee




Wednesday Evening Book Reviews

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

David Finkel’s, THE GOOD SOLDIERS, is ‘impossible to put down’ and really, there is no higher compliment in book reviews, unless CNN’s, Daniel Okrent, meant that the binding of the book was rigged with superglue.

HOW TO PAINT A DEAD MAN, by Sarah Hall, is a novel that begs to be added to my ridiculous Everest-wannabe stack.

Dave Wood faithfully does his homework for his weekly Book Report.

The Washington Times eyes Yevgeny Primakov’s, RUSSIA AND THE ARABS, for honesty.

Afternoon Viewing: Mitch Albom

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

From the Barnes and Noble “Tagged” description:

Molly talks with Mitch Albom about his latest inspiring book, Have a Little Faith:

Wednesday Morning LitLinks

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

Rozalia Jovanovic chats it up with poet and author Tao Lin. (The Rumpus)

Gore Vidal in all his contrarian glory. (Times Online)

Jerome de Groot examines the resurgence of historical fiction. (The Guardian)

Where will all the dead E-Readers go? (E-Reads)

“Pulp Fiction” writer Roger Avary gets a year in jail over his DUI crash that killed one of his passengers. (AP)

After nearly two decades of lawsuits, a federal judge has rules that Winnie the Pooh belongs to Disney. (LATimes)

A former employee of Danielle Steel has pleaded guilty to embezzlement. (AP)

HarperCollins to delay the release of the eBook version of Sarah Palin’s memoir to capitalize on hardcover sales. (Wall Street Journal)

Lutyens & Rubinstein, Booksellers raises questions about the future of both literary agents and booksellers. (The Guardian)

Will Amazon finally release the Kindle in the U.K.? (

St. Martin’s will publish E. Lynn Harris’ In My Father’s House this summer. (Publishers Weekly)

On this day in 1868, Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women was published. (Today in Literature)

Tuesday Quote of the Night

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

“A writer’s voice is not character alone, it is not style alone; it is far more. A writer’s voice–like the stroke of an artist’s brush–is the thumbprint of her whole person–her idea, wit, humor, passions, rhythms.”

-Patricia Lee Gauch



Tuesday Evening Book Reviews

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

THE VAMPIRE BOOK is a recommended read by Monsters & Critics and if you hurry, it’ll be read before Halloween.

I’ve spent a good bit of time Houston, but I’ll admit I’ve missed the garden experience therein.  Nevertheless, we’ll stipulate that they know what there talking about in praise of Jane S. Smith’s THE GARDEN OF INVENTION.

Civil War history yesterday, and more still yet.  The Christian Science Monitor previews a terrific-sounding new book from Carol Berkin, CIVIL WAR WIVES: THE LIVES AND TIMES OF ANGELA AND GRINKE WELD, VARINA HOWELL DAVIS, AND JULIA DENT GRANT.

The Boston Globe reviews its list of hot new Fall thrillers.

Afternoon Viewing: David Denby on “Snark”

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

From the Picador YouTube description:

David Denby, the author of Snark, talks about his new book and what it means to be snarky:

Part 1:

Part 2:

Tuesday Morning LitLinks

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

Crime novelist Ian Rankin prepares to release his first graphic novel. (The Independent)

In observance of Banned Books Week, an interactive map depicting the locations of various bans and challenges from 2007 to 2009. (

E.L. Doctorow to be on hand for the unveiling of the Espresso instant book machine at the Harvard Book Store. (LATimes)

Disney to launch a subscription-based website featuring electronic replicas of hundreds of Disney books. (NYTimes)

Damien G. Walter remembers the “forgotten father of weird fiction”, Arthur Machen. (The Guardian)

Harper Collins to fast track Sarah Palin’s memoir, with an initial print run of 1.5 million copies. (LATimes)

Princeton students underwhelmed by the Kindle DX. (

Tina Brown and The Daily Beast have joined forces with Perseus Books Group to form a new imprint, Beast Books, which will drastically speed up the publishing cycle. (NYTimes)

Stroemfeld Verlag-publisher Karl Dietrich Wolff (‘KD Wolff’) denied entry to the US. (The Literary Saloon)

R.I.P. Kate Duffy, romance editor. (Smart Bitches, Trashy Books)

R.I.P. René Kartheiser, author. (

On this day in 1902, the world’s “best bad poet”, William McGonagall died. (Today in Literature)

Monday Quote of the Night

Monday, September 28th, 2009

“To produce a mighty work, you must choose a mighty theme.”

-Herman Melville




Monday Evening Book Reviews

Monday, September 28th, 2009

The Washington Times looks at an important new release, A SAFE HAVEN: HARRY S. TRUMAN AND THE FOUNDING OF ISRAEL, by Allis and Ronald Rodash.

I’ll bet I could use this book.  I probably won’t, but still – I *HEART* YOUR STYLE, by Amanda Brooks.

For the history buffs, Marc Wortman gives us THE BONFIRE: THE SIEGE AND BURNING OF ATLANTA.

Richard Powers takes on a lot with his social satire, GENEROSITY, says Slate Magazine.

Afternoon Viewing: Banned Books

Monday, September 28th, 2009

To commemorate Banned Books Week, a montage of works banned:

Random Cool Things: Letters of Note

Monday, September 28th, 2009

A fun and illuminating site… From the creator’s tersely-worded description:

Letters of Note is an attempt to gather and sort fascinating letters, postcards, telegrams, faxes, and even emails. Scans/photos where possible. Fakes will be sneered at. Updated weekdays.

As one would suspect, the site features a beautifully-schizophrenic array of letters. Here’s one of my favorite examples:

Visit the site for more.

Monday Morning LitLinks

Monday, September 28th, 2009

Antonia Crane chats it up with Viva Las Vegas about her memoir Magic Gardens. (The Rumpus)

Carol Rumens returns with a new Poem of the Week and some excellent commentary. This week: “Sympathy” by Laurence Dunbar. (The Guardian)

French authors and publishers ask a Paris court to put the smackdown on Google to the tune of $22 million for “brutally” exploiting the nation’s literary heritage. (Reuters)

Ron Hogan presents the anatomy of a book deal. (GalleyCat)

South Carolina vacation based on Pat Conroy’s newest novel, South of Broad. (Augusta Chronicle)

Jim Carroll’s funeral card. (

Levi Asher reports on Joyce Carol Oate’s recent talk at the Smithsonian. (LitKicks)

McCrum asks whatever happened to the literary saga and if Robert Harris is poised to bring it back into fashion. (The Guardian)

Jake Kerridge profiles PD James “about detective fiction, her new book, and the technical problems of murder”. (The Telegraph)

Headline of the Day: “Dan Brown and the Mystical Cabal of Inaccurate Novels”. (Howzit Howard)

R.I.P. William Safire, political columnist. (BBC)

R.I.P. Izak de Villiers, poet and editor. (News24)

Sunday Quote of the Night

Sunday, September 27th, 2009

“So this is always the key: you have to write the book you love, the book that’s alive in your heart.  That’s the one you have to write.”

-Lurlene McDaniel




Sunday Evening Book Reviews

Sunday, September 27th, 2009

The Dallas Morning News say the wait for Pete Dexter’s over due next novel, SPOONER, was well worth the wait.  Sometimes it’s like that.

A century-old Kansas City mystery is revived and reexamined in Giles Fowler’s, DEATHS ON PLEASANT STREET: THE GHASTLY ENIGMA OF COLONEL SWOPE AND DOCTOR HYDE.

Who knew Talking Heads frontman, David Byrne, was an avid cyclist?  Well, you do now.  And if you need more proof, check out his BICYCLE DIARIES.

Debit novelist, Marilyn Chin, converted a rough start to a satisfying finish in, THE REVENGE OF THE MOONCAKE VIXEN.

Afternoon Viewing: “Writers of the Future” Trailer

Sunday, September 27th, 2009

Sunday Morning LitLinks

Sunday, September 27th, 2009

Gaby Wood talks to Tess Gallagher about the unique style of Raymond Carver’s writing and to what extent it was shaped by his editor. (The Guardian)

Banned Books Week is now in full swing. Check out the calendar of events here. (ALA)

Arthur Krystal examines why great writers are often not-so-great conversationalists. (NY Times)

Author and GalleyCat correspondent Scott Andrew reports from the four-day Gothenburg Book Fair. (GalleyCat)

Roya Nikkhah sees a more upbeat Eyeore in the first-ever authorized Winnie the Pooh sequel. (Telegraph)

Christopher Fowler returns with another forgotten writer; this time, it’s no. 39: Francis Durbridge. (The Independent)

British Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy contributes a poem to the 10:10 campaign to reduce carbon emissions. (The Guardian)

Gary Dexter reveals how JR Hartley’s Fly Fishing got its name in a new installment of “Title Deed”. (Telegraph)

On this day in 1929, Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms was published. (Today in Literature)

Friday Quote of the Night

Saturday, September 26th, 2009

“The books that the world calls immoral are books that show the world its own shame.”

-Oscar Wilde




Saturday Evening Book Reviews

Saturday, September 26th, 2009

Wonder if Dan Brown can feel this stow-away riding piggyback?  Not that I blame author, Jay Kinney.  It’s a good idea.  THE MASONIC MYTH: UNLOCKING THE TRUTH ABOUT THE SYMBOLS, THE SECRET RITES, AND THE HISTORY OF FREEMASONRY also comes recommended by The Huntington News.

Chelsea Cain gets the virtual high five from The Louisville Courier-Journal for her new thriller EVIL AT HEART.

Must be a happy planetary alignment.  Here’s another good review.  The Christian Science Monitor praises LOVE AND SUMMER by William Trevor.

A healthy dose of clarity makes a success of Michael J. Sandel’s JUSTICE: WHAT’S THE RIGHT THING TO DO?

Afternoon Viewing: “William Burroughs: A Man Within”

Saturday, September 26th, 2009

From the BulletProof Film description:

Trailer for the film William S. Burroughs: A Man Within, a feature-length independent documentary by Chicago Director Yony Leyser, in collaboration with BulletProof Film, Inc.

The film features never before seen footage of William S. Burroughs, as well as exclusive interviews with his closest friends and colleagues including John Waters, Genesis P-Orridge, Laurie Anderson, Peter Weller, David Cronenberg, Iggy Pop, Gus Van Sant, Sonic Youth, Anne Waldman, George Condo, Hal Willner, James Grauerholz, Amiri Baraka, Jello Biafra, V. Vale, David Ohle, Wayne Propst, Dr. William Ayers, Diane DiPrima, Donovan, Dean Ripa (the world’s largest poisonous snake collector), and many others, with narration by actor Peter Weller, and soundtrack by Sonic Youth.

The film investigates the life of legendary beat author and American icon, William S. Burroughs. Born the heir of the Burroughs adding machine estate, he struggled throughout his life with addiction, control systems and self. He was forced to deal with the tragedy of killing his wife and the repercussions of neglecting his son. His novel, Naked Lunch, was one of the last books to be banned by the U.S. government. Allen Ginsberg and Norman Mailer testified on behalf of the book. The courts eventually overturned their decision in 1966, ruling that the book had important social value. It remains one of the most recognized literary works of the 20th century.

William Burroughs was one of the first to cross the dangerous boundaries of queer and drug culture in the 1950s, and write about his experiences. Eventually he was hailed the godfather of the beat generation and influenced artists for generations to come. However, his friends were left wondering, did William ever find happiness? This extremely personal documentary breaks the surface of the troubled and brilliant world of one of the greatest authors of all time.

William S. Burroughs: A Man Within is the first and only posthumous documentary about this legendary figure.