Archive for October, 2009

Saturday Quote of the Night

Saturday, October 31st, 2009

“Writing is nothing if not a long-distance race.”

–Betsy Lerner




Saturday Evening Book Reviews

Saturday, October 31st, 2009

Who better to chronicle American terror than Peter Straub?  AMERICAN FANTASTIC TALES should get it covered.

See the sights, old school, in Nicholas Bouvier’s THE WAY OF THE WORLD.

The LA Times reviews books on boxers and freakonomics, but threw in a Frankenstein update for timeliness.  Happy Halloween!

JUST WATCH ME: THE LIFE OF PIERRE ELLIOTT TRUDEAU, by John English comes recommended by The National Post.

Afternoon Viewing: “The Cask of Amontillado”

Saturday, October 31st, 2009

Happy Halloween. Poe’s horror classic:

Saturday Morning LitLinks

Saturday, October 31st, 2009

Andrew Pierce looks at the sad state of TS Eliot a year after the publication of his masterpiece, “The Waste Land”. (Telegraph)

The London Review of Books celebrates its 30th anniversary by throwing the doors open to everyone and making its latest issue available online for free. (LRB)

Carolyn Kellogg tries to unravel the riddle of the “Good Writing Awards”. (LATimes)

The Cultured Traveler goes on a whirlwind trip to some of America’s most interesting rare book collections. (NYTimes)

Nick Antosca chats it up with Young Adult novelist William Sleator. (Huffington Post)

The Texas Book Festival opens today, with an emphasis on fiction and a slate of top talent, including Jonathan Lethem, Margaret Atwood, Colson Whitehead, Luis Alberto Urrea and Jane Smiley. (Austin American-Statesman)

Boris Kachka examines the often unexpected windfall of the Whiting Awards. (Vulture)

Chinese poet Duo Duo wins the 2010 Neustadt International Prize for Literature, sponsored by the University of Oklahoma. (The Norman Transcript)

Independent booksellers thwarted in their (brilliant!) plan to use Wal-Mart and Amazon as their wholesalers to capitalize on the book price wars. (Publishers Weekly)

On this day in 1611 “The Maid’s Tragedy”, by Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher, was entered in the Stationers’ Register. (Today in Literature)

Friday Quote of the Night

Friday, October 30th, 2009

“Writing is rewriting.  A writer must learn to deepen characters, trim writing, intensify scenes.  To fall in love with the first draft to the point where one cannot change it is to greatly enhance the prospects of never publishing.”

-Richard North Patterson



Evening Viewing: Jericho Brown

Friday, October 30th, 2009

From the GalleyCat description:

“Think about the whole of things, as opposed to thinking about right now or about how much there is to eat at the moment or what the problem is necessarily today,” said poet Jericho Brown when asked to give advice to young poets.

Brown was one of the ten writers honored at the 25th annual Whiting Writers’ Awards this week. GalleyCat prowled the aisles of the 2009 Whiting Awards, interviewing a number of the winners about their writing lives, the recession, and the future of literature. The ten recipients each took home a $50,000 award for their literary efforts.

Friday Evening Book Reviews

Friday, October 30th, 2009

CROMWELL DIXON’S SKY CYCLE, by John Abbott Nez, tells the story of this emulator of the Wright brothers in delightful looking pictures as well as words.

A memoir of high school in the 60s, HAIL HAIL TO U CITY HIGH: A BABY BOOMER HIGH SCHOOL CLASS – THEN, NOW, AND NEXT, by Alan Spector takes high marks in St. Louis.

A playbook from the past could feel relevant in the present?  Perhaps.  Steve Weinberg gives us TAKING ON THE TRUST: HOW IDA TARBELL BROUGHT DOWN JOHN D. ROCKEFELLER AND STANDARD OIL.

The Christian Science Monitor reviews Barbara Kingsolver’s latest (which I get an advance copy of — well, okay, only one day in advance at the launch event here in Asheville) THE LACUNA.

Friday Morning LitLinks

Friday, October 30th, 2009

Alaskan poet Joan Kane takes the prestigious Whiting Award and $50,000. (KTVA)

With Halloween right around the corner, Wayne Gooderham reflects on a true masterpiece of horror, Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four. (Guardian Books Blog)

France’s book prize season now in full swing. (AFP)

A collection of letters written by Lord Byron to his closest friends sells for nearly half a million dollars. (Reuters)

Some European publishers will be able to sidestep the book-price wars. (Wall Street Journal)

Emily Dickinson’s childhood home (and part of the Emily Dickinson Museum) damaged after a ceiling collapse. (GalleyCat)

Cuba’s Ministry of Culture cuts a deal with the Kennedy Library in Boston for some of Hemingway’s papers. (NYT)

The Adderall Diaries author Stephen Elliott recaps his rather bizarre book tour. (The Rumpus)

R.I.P. August Coppola, professor of literature. (LATimes)

On this day in 1811 Jane Austen’s first novel, Sense and Sensibility, was published. (Today in Literature)

Thursday Quote of the Night

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

“Talent is helpful in writing, but guts are absolutely essential.”

-Jessamyn West




Thursday Evening Book Reviews

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

As a primer on American icons, Kirkus recommends (and stars) Walter Isaacson’s, AMERICAN SKETCHES.

Publishers Weekly launches their Best of 2009.  Coveted spots to be sure.

Fun with syntax is no distraction from Robert Lopez’s new novel, KAMBY BOLONGO MEAN RIVER.

If you’re an American, here’s a chance to reexamine some history, if you dare, and The Boston Globe thinks it’s an excellent opportunity – REBIRTH OF A NATION: THE MAKING OF MODERN AMERICA, by Jackson Lears.

Afternoon Viewing: Margaret Atwood

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

From the WNYCRadio YouTube description:

Margaret Atwood talks about her latest novel, The Year of the Flood, which returns to the post-apocalyptic world of her previous book, Oryx and Crake:

Sometimes Life and Fiction Are Equally Strange

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

Crime fiction seems to be the topic of the week, what with the flurry of blog commentary and newspaper response to Jessica Mann’s announcement of her intention to abandon the genre over misogyny.  Then there’s my friend, John Hart, taking the Silver Dagger at the CWA Awards.

And now this from CNN, crime-fiction star, Michael Connelly’s research trip to  Hong Kong overlaps a real life case with grim parallels -

…I prepared to publish and promote my latest detective novel, “Nine Dragons,” I learned of a true mystery with eerie similarities and connections to my story and my research. It has been a heart-tugging reminder that while crime novels may be entertaining thrill rides and puzzles, they also skirt the shores of reality for many.

For myself, I do not think we (and that ‘we’ is of the healthy, non-violent collective) feast on literary tragedy and look up from our books, our faces smeared in the grease and gore of a vulture’s banquet, even if the offerings were bloody and terrible.

When the cover closes at our train stop, or for the night, or at having achieved The End, we know ourselves a little better.  We’ve met a few new people and sorted them, and their troubles, into their proper slots — or not, if it’s complicated.  Either way, we have afforded ourselves an opportunity to learn from someone else’s mistakes and also from their triumphs.

But it’s good to be reminded that there is nothing glamorous about real murder or terror or heartbreaking loss.  Pat the wall between your empathy and your mind’s storehouse, with its shelves cluttered or ordered with what intrigues you, and thank God for the luxury of its protection.

The Crime Writers’ Association 2009 Dagger Awards

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

On October 21st, Britain’s gala televised event, ITV3′s Crime Thriller Awards, saw the presentation of The Crime Writers’ Association’s Dagger Awards.  The CWA Daggers have been awarded since 1955 for excellence in crime fiction and their index to past winners reads like a Who’s Who of Page-turners.

This year’s Gold Dagger was presented to William Broderick for A WHISPERED NAME.

The Ian Fleming Steel Dagger went to friend-of-AuthorScoop’s John Hart for THE LAST CHILD

And the New Blood Dagger saw Johan Theorin take home the John Creasy prize for ECHOES FROM THE DEAD.

Congratulations all!

Thursday Morning LitLinks

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

Jonathan Demme planning to adapt Dave Eggers’ Zeitoun as an animated feature. (NYTimes)

Val McDermid calls all the hand-wringing over sexism in crime fiction a “red herring”. (Guardian Books Blog)

Relatives of men believed to have been executed and buried with the Spanish poet Federico Garcia Lorca are “delighted” that work is underway to exhume the grave. (AP)

Alex Lam celebrates unrequited love in fiction. (Lit Drift)

Edan Lepucki examines the touchy business of authors having their book jacket photos taken. (The Millions)

Jason Boog introduces today’s installment of Morning Media Menu, featuring Fictionnaut co-founder Jürgen Fauth. (GalleyCat)

Does Martin Amis hate celebrity novelists, or just women? Jean Hannah Edelstein sounds off. (Guardian Books Blog)

Paul Bignell and Andrew Johnson look at the “band of brave authors” who have taken on writing sequels to literary sacred cows. (The Independent)

Speaking of which… Micky Zucker Reichert to bring Asimov’s Dr. Susan Calvin stories back to life. (The Guardian)

R.I.P. Morton Marcus, professor and poet. (San Jose Mercury News)

On this day in 1618, Sir Walter Raleigh, “the last Elizabethan”, was executed. (Today in Literature)

Wednesday Quote of the Night

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

“I guess when you turn off the main road, you have to be prepared to see some funny houses.”

-Stephen King




Evening Viewing: The Hollywood Disabilities Forum

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

From the GalleyCat description:

Saturday, Oct. 24, celebrities, screenwriters, actors, and writers mounted the first-ever Hollywood Disabilities Forum–an event for entertainment industry professionals to “explore opportunities and challenges of people with disabilities in entertainment.” Comedy writers (and actors) Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant contributed that mildly controversial video to support the cause.

Wednesday Evening Book Reviews

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

Dave Wood’s Book Report for the week is ready for you and for me.  It’s about crime.

Terry Good makes a very specialist book, loaded with photos, for fans of extreme two-wheeling with, LEGENDARY MOTORCROSS BIKES: CHAMPIONSHIP-WINNING FACTORY WORKS BIKES.

Wil Wheaton gets special dispensation to land a book review in Discover Magazine for his latest, MEMORIES OF THE FUTURE.

Sara and Graeme, this one is for you – NEIL DIAMOND IS FOREVER: THE ILLUSTRATED STORY OF THE MAN AND HIS MUSIC, by John Bream.

Wednesday Morning LitLinks

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

Dany Laferrière takes the 2010 Blue Metropolis International Literary Grand Prix. (The Afterword)

‘Morning Edition’ explores Lord Byron through his letters. (NPR)

Cahir O’Doherty looks at Irish author Colin Broderick’s “journey from addict to literary star”. (IrishCentral)

Art world giant Hans Ulrich Obrist calls for more links between poetry and painting. (The Independent)

At what point does the voyeurism into Raymond Carver’s rough drafts undermine the greatness of his published work? (Guardian Books Blog)

M.A. Orthofer rounds up some odds and ends from French literary prizes. (Literary Saloon)

Sarah Palin scores an advance of (“at least”) $1.25 million for her memoir, Going Rogue. (GalleyCat)

R.I.P. Harold N. Hild, professor and poet. (Chicago Tribune)

On this day in 1958, Samuel Beckett’s Krapp’s “Last Tape” was first performed. (Today in Literature)

Tuesday Quote of the Night

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

“I like living. I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow, but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing.”

-Agatha Christie



Tuesday Evening Book Reviews

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

Headed into midweek, you may or may not need an update on what’s happening with comic books.  You know who you are.  Click at will.

Author Richard Peck hits his mark, at the very least in Wausau, with SEASON OF GIFTS.

Here’s a pictorial and reverent angle on hoops – Chris Ballard’s THE ART OF A BEAUTIFUL GAME: A THINKING FAN’S TOUR OF THE NBA.

Okay, now I’ve run across a memoir (hope beyond the trend it’s honest) I’d want to read, life being stranger than fiction and all – THE ADDERALL DIARIES: A MEMOIR OF MOODS, MASOCHISM, AND MURDER, by Stephen Elliott.