Archive for November, 2009

Monday Quote of the Night

Monday, November 30th, 2009

“All books are either dreams or swords.  You can cut, or you can drug, with words.”

-Amy Lowell




Monday Evening Book Reviews

Monday, November 30th, 2009

Eight hundred-odd years of the art of written correspondence is examined to good result by Thomas Mallon in YOURS EVER: PEOPLE AND THEIR LETTERS.

Nevermind that football is in full swing, and banish hockey from your thoughts, sports fans. Bill Simmons winds up the devotees of the orange ball with facts, trivia, and the occasional error in THE BOOK OF BASKETBALL: THE NBA ACCORDING TO THE SPORTS GUY.

New releases in children’s book earn a page over at Publishers Weekly.

Michael Crichton will have to make due (from the Great Beyond) with a middling review of PIRATE LATITUDES over at

Afternoon Viewing: Sue Grafton

Monday, November 30th, 2009

From the Barnes & Noble “Tagged” description:

Molly welcomes Sue Grafton to the Studio to talk about her latest thrilling read, U is for Undertow:

Monday Morning LitLinks

Monday, November 30th, 2009

Mexican writer Jose Emilio Pacheco wins the Cervantes Prize. (Monsters and Critics)

Tamara Moore chats it up with cyberpunk Richard Kadrey. (The Rumpus)

TV and film writer Andrew Davies is honored with a lifetime achievement award by the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain. (BBC)

Electric Literature launches a “microserialization” experiment with a Rick Moody Twitter story. (GalleyCat)

Andrea Sachs chats it up with legal-thriller writer Lisa Scottoline. (TIME)

Carol Rumens returns with a new poem of the week and commentary: “Gascoigne’s Lullaby” by George Gascoigne. (Guardian Books Blog)

Ron Miller muses on whether eBook readers are already obsolete. (DaniWeb)

Everything must go! Borders UK goes into fire-sale mode. (

Orville Buddo rounds up the latest ‘poli-book best sellers.’ (NYTimes)

On this day in 1667, Jonathan Swift was born in Dublin, “a few blocks from St. Patrick’s Cathedral, where Swift would be Dean; almost in the backyard of Dublin Castle, representing the Englishness he would both covet and skewer; the specific address, 7 Hoey’s Court, almost perfect for perhaps the most famous scoffer in literature.” (Today in Literature)

Sunday Quote of the Night

Sunday, November 29th, 2009

“Writing is not a job description. A great deal of it is luck. Don’t do it if you are not a gambler because a lot of people devote many years of their lives to it (for little reward). I think people become writers because they are compulsive wordsmiths.”

-Margaret Atwood



Sunday Evening Book Reviews

Sunday, November 29th, 2009

Arnold Snyder organizes the tips that could make you a winner in THE POKER TOURNAMENT FORMULA II.

An ode to the U.S. and Scotland, Craig Ferguson’s AMERICAN ON PURPOSE warmly traces the comedian’s journey, thus far.

The Daily Kos reminds me that I’d quite like to read Barbara Ehrenreich’s BRIGHT-SIDED: HOW THE RELENTLESS PROMOTION OF POSITIVE THINKING HAS UNDERMINED AMERICA.

WHERE KEYNES WENT WRONG: AND WHY WORLD GOVERNMENTS KEEP CREATING INFLATION, BUBBLES, AND BUSTS, by Hunter Lewis, garners high praise on a topic pressing to most everyone.

Afternoon Viewing: Jon McGregor

Sunday, November 29th, 2009

From the BloomsburyPublishing YouTube description:

The successful novelist Jon McGregor talks about the writing process and shares his advice for those seeking a publishing deal:

Sunday Morning LitLinks

Sunday, November 29th, 2009

Alice Munro shares an excerpt from Too Much Happiness. (NYTimes)

New contributor on the block over at LitKicks Garrett Kenyon starts off strong, with an examination of ‘Five Modern Masters of Mystery and Crime’. (LitKicks)

Rachel Cooke says that Borders’ demise might mean “the opening of a fine new chapter.” (Guardian)

Nicholas Shakespeare takes a look at the top biographies of 2009. (Telegraph)

Erica Wagner (with some additional commentary on the format by Nicholas Clee) surveys the top 50 paperbacks of the year. (Times Online)

Need more book-of-the-year lists? M.A. Orthofer has you covered. (The Literary Saloon)

R.I.P. Mike Penner, sports writer. (AP)

On this day in 1811, a notice appeared in the Richmond, Virginia Inquirer asking for donations in aid of Eliza Poe, a young actress (and mother of two year-old Edgar) “lingering on the bed of disease and surrounded by her children.” (Today in Literature)

Saturday Quote of the Night

Saturday, November 28th, 2009

“I am taxed with being a plagiarist, when I am least conscious of being one; but I am not very scrupulous, I own, when I have a good idea, how I came into possession of it.”

-Lord Byron



Saturday Evening Book Reviews

Saturday, November 28th, 2009

The New York Times features two new volumes that depend heavily on the contemplation of maps.

Few would debate that Christmas, as we celebrate it now, isn’t messy with a blend of quite a few customs and focuses, both secular and religious. Greg Pennoyer and Gregory Wolfe have pulled together a seasonal devotional to redirect the devout in GOD WITH US: REDISCOVERING THE MEANING OF CHRISTMAS.

A wonderful primer to kindle your budding artist, CHILDREN’S BOOK OF ART, from DK Publishing, looks terrific.

And take a peek inside the most coveted list of all the lists – The New York Times Bestseller List – for this week.

Afternoon Viewing: “Green” by Laura Peyton Roberts

Saturday, November 28th, 2009

The book trailer for the January 2010 release:

Saturday Morning LitLinks

Saturday, November 28th, 2009

John Mullan dissects the jokes in Terry Pratchett’s Unseen Academicals. (The Guardian)

Jailed ‘Pulp Fiction’ writer Roger Avary yanked from work furlough program for tweeting. (

Lorna Bradbury surveys the year’s best fiction. (Telegraph)

The Google deal not a done deal yet. (LATimes)

I won’t ask for anything else for Christmas if this can only be true: “Slump in sales suggests ghost-written confessionals are past their sell-by-date.” (The Independent)

Jason Boog provides some “food for thought” for the holiday weekend on the topic of “Seg-Book-Gation.” (GalleyCat)

Time Inc., Conde Nast and Hearst to launch an online newsstand with the catchy description, “iTunes for Magazines.” (AFP)

A Romanian agent who spied on Nobel prize-winning Herta Müller claims she ‘has a psychosis’ and ‘no contact with external reality.’ (The Guardian)

R.I.P. Jack Elliot Myers, professor and poet. (Dallas Morning News)

On this day in 1960, Richard Wright died in Paris. (Today in Literature)

Friday Quote of the Night

Friday, November 27th, 2009

“The good writing of any age has always been the product of someone’s neurosis, and we’d have a mighty dull literature if all the writers that came along were a bunch of happy chuckleheads.”

-William Styron



Friday Evening Book Reviews

Friday, November 27th, 2009

Sue Grafton is running out of alphabet, but The Canadian Press doesn’t find her running out of appeal in U IS FOR UNDERTOW.

Amy Alkon’s I SEE RUDE PEOPLE may be all the more pointed in the shopping season.  Watch out for them crowds and God save us – every one.

A fascinating look at a crusade Joseph McCarthy got somewhat right, Lynne Joiner writes HONORABLE SURVIVOR: MAO’S CHINA, MCARTHY’S AMERICA, AND THE PERSECUTION OF JOHN S. SERVICE.

Of the Best of 2009, graphic novel THE BIG KAHN draws a really good review at Meniscus Magazine.

Afternoon Viewing: Jeff VanderMeer

Friday, November 27th, 2009

From the Wet Asphalt description:

This past weekend I interviewed Jeff VanderMeer during his national book tour. He is a writer known for fusing Post-Modern literary sensibilities with fantasy and genre tropes. His most recent books are the fantasy noir Finch and Booklife: Strategies and Survival Tips for the 21st Century Writer.

Part one below. Check out parts two through four here.

Interview with Jeff VanderMeer — Intro

Eric Rosenfield | MySpace Music Videos

Friday Morning LitLinks

Friday, November 27th, 2009

Jerome de Groot wishes CS Lewis a “happy eleventy-first.” (Guardian Books Blog)

Scott James examines the cost of the retail book price wars to real literature. (NYTimes)

Can a literary adaptation be too faithful? (Slate)

Nine puts the whole Belle de Jour brouhaha in context. (The Rumpus)

Lisa Rosen profiles screenwriter and novelist Peter Lefcourt. (LATimes)

A self-publishing division by any other name… (Publishers Weekly)

Death-knell: Borders UK goes into administration. (Times Online)

Duke University Press to publish Obama’s mama’s book. (Publishers Weekly)

On this day in 1953, Raymond Chandler’s The Long Goodbye was published. (Today in Literature)

Thursday Quote of the Night

Thursday, November 26th, 2009

“No one who can read, ever looks at a book, even unopened on a shelf, like one who cannot.”

-Charles Dickens




Thursday Evening Book Review

Thursday, November 26th, 2009


With tacit review endorsement, The New York Times presents its lists of 100 Notable Books of 2009.

The University of Utah radio has an audio review of Penelope Lively’s, FAMILY ALBUM.

LITTLE FINGERS, by Filip Florian gets lauded at The Quarterly Conversation.

Afternoon Viewing: Garrison Keillor

Thursday, November 26th, 2009

Keillor’s Thanksgiving poem from 2008:

Thursday Morning LitLinks

Thursday, November 26th, 2009

Two novels by Nobel Prize-winner Herta Müller to be published in English. (The Independent)

Sarkozy’s idea to move the remains of Camus continues to stir up controversy. (BBC)

Jack Bell chats it up with Soccernomics author, Simon Kuper. (NYTimes)

Dominic Sandbrook rounds up the year’s best history books. (Telegraph)

Annabel Lyon may write a sequel to her successful debut novel, The Golden Mean. (CP)

Valuable collection of children’s literature to hit the auction block. (LATimes)

Jon Michael Varese looks back at “The Woman in White” on the 150th anniversary of its publication. (Guardian Books Blog)

Young filmmaker’s adaptation of a New Yorker short story to be screened through the David Lynch Foundation. (GalleyCat)

R.I.P. Yang Xianyi, translator. (China Daily)

On this day in 1921, Edwin Arlington Robinson’s Collected Poems was published, which would garner one of his three Pulitzer Prizes. (Today in Literature)