Archive for December, 2010

Midnight Poetry for a New Year’s Eve: In Memoriam

Friday, December 31st, 2010

Goodbye, 2010.

In Memoriam A.H.H.


(Alfred Lord Tennyson)

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light:
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring out the grief that saps the mind,
For those that here we see no more;
Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.

Ring out a slowly dying cause,
And ancient forms of party strife;
Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.

Ring out the want, the care, the sin,
The faithless coldness of the times;
Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes,
But ring the fuller minstrel in.

Ring out false pride in place and blood,
The civic slander and the spite;
Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.

Ring out old shapes of foul disease;
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.

Ring in the valiant man and free,
The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.

(Read more of Alfred Lord Tennyson’s poetry here.)

Editor’s note: ‘Midnight Poetry’ is a showcase for work by poets across the spectrum—from the pantheon of literary giants to contemporary, underground and new voices.

If you would like to submit your work for consideration, please see our Submission Guidelines.

Quote of the Night to Carry You to 2011

Friday, December 31st, 2010

“A person without a sense of humor is like a wagon without springs. It’s jolted by every pebble on the road.”

-Henry Ward Beecher




New Year’s Eve Book Reviews

Friday, December 31st, 2010

For the last day in December, here’s January Magazine‘s top picks for the past year.

The New Yorker critics and contributors link to their most notable reads of 2010.

Ouch.  Adam Levin is skewered in The Chicago Tribune for his latest, THE INSTRUCTIONS.

A SKEPTIC’S GUIDE TO WRITERS’ HOUSES, by Anne Trubek, seems an interesting bit of snark.

Afternoon Viewing: Charles Foran on Mordecai Richler

Friday, December 31st, 2010

From the WatchMojo description:

Mordecai Richler is one of the most polarizing figures in Canadian literature. WatchMojo speaks with Richler biographer Charles Foran about the surprising facts that came to light during his research of “Mordecai: The Life and Times.”

Mordecai Richler: Bio of Barney's Version Author
Uploaded by MojoSupreme. – See video of the biggest web video personalities.

New Year’s Eve Morning LitLinks

Friday, December 31st, 2010

Allen Barra examines the successful elements of the Coen Brothers’ adaptation of True Grit, not the least of which is their faithful retelling of the Charles Portis novel. (The Daily Beast)

Jeff Baker reminds readers about Portis’ classic, in addition to his other works. (OregonLive)

Wayne Gooderham says to proceed carefully with your first book choice of the New Year. (The Guardian)

Spend one minute with novelist Erica James. (The Independent)

Katy Guest offers up her ‘Best Books of 2010′ list. (The Independent)

Carolyn Kellogg wants to know how many books you read in 2010. (Jacket Copy)

R.I.P. Shi Tiesheng, Chinese writer. (xinhuanet)

R.I.P. Aron Abrams, TV writer-producer. (Hollywood Reporter)

“This day, or the moment of this day’s passing, has brought out the commemorative spirit in many. D. H. Lawrence’s “New Year’s Eve,” is from his book-length cycle of poems, Look! We Have Come Through, which documents Lawrence’s first years with Freida; though published in the same year as Eliot’s “Prufrock,” the poems offer a passionate alternative to measuring out life by coffee spoons.” (Today in Literature)

Thursday Quote of the Night

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

“No one can read with profit that which he cannot learn to read with pleasure.”

-Thomas Hardy




Thursday Evening Book Reviews

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

In Boston, they’ve put together a list of what they think were the best books for kids in 2010.

The Star-Tribune writes up a few new releases.

A pretty page of 2010 favorite fiction is on tap over at Kirkus.


Afternoon Viewing: Emily the Strange

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

From the harperteen YouTube description:

Take some time out with Emily’s new book EMILY THE STRANGE: DARK DAYS! When Emily goes back to school, she goes way back—all the way back to the 18th Century in her homemade Time-Out Machine. Emily documents the trip with first-person diary entries and her trademark black-and-red artwork of sketches, doodles, and archival photographs–and, naturally, the results are Strange!

Thursday Morning LitLinks

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

Jane Smiley shares her tips for writers. (Fictionaut)

Chris Power takes a “quick look” at 2010 in short stories. (Guardian Books Blog)

Michael Chabon on salvaging a ‘wrecked’ novel. (The Atlantic)

Amazon launches a program for sharing Kindle books. (GalleyCat)

Oscar Villalon reports on the new voices in Spanish language literature and the dark themes with which they wrestle. (The Daily Beast)

Get ready for a new onslaught of tablets. (X-bit Labs)

John Bingham looks at novelist Deidre Clark’s legal battle against her former employer and “‘draconian’ British attitudes to free speech.” (Telegraph)

R.I.P. E Gene Smith, American scholar of Tibetan literature. (DNA)

“On this day in 1869 the Canadian humorist Stephen Leacock was born. Twenty-five of Leacock’s forty-odd books are in his comic mode, Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town and Arcadian Adventures of the Idle Rich being most well-known, but all exemplifying his belief that “the humour of the highest culture, the humour of the future,” is born of “kindliness” and “wide charity of mind.”" (Today in Literature)

Wednesday Quote of the Night

Wednesday, December 29th, 2010

The writer is always tricking the reader into listening to their dream.”

-Joan Didion




Wednesday Evening Book Reviews

Wednesday, December 29th, 2010

The Telegraph publishes its list of favorites from this past year.

AMERICA BY HEART: REFLECTIONS ON FAMILY, FAITH, AND FLAG, by Sarah Palin, goes over well at The Washington Times.


And both as First Lady and New York book editor, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis pulls opinion and interest in two book reviewed at The Los Angeles Times.

Afternoon Viewing: Anne Michaels

Wednesday, December 29th, 2010

From Rebecca Brayton’s WatchMojo description:

Canadian poet and novelist Anne Michaels is a highly praised and celebrated author. And she is notoriously shy in interviews: Michaels prefers the ideas in her books to be considered on their own, without intrusion by her own opinions and outside information about the author’s life. Her most recent work, ‘The Winter Vault,’ was shortlisted for the Giller Prize – one of Canada’s most prestigious literary awards. The book, like her previous novel, – the critically acclaimed ‘Fugitive Pieces’ – is centered on historical events, as well as the larger themes of memory and loss. In this video, speaks with Michaels about ‘The Winter Vault.’

Wednesday Morning LitLinks

Wednesday, December 29th, 2010

Aaron Lake Smith chats it up with author Luc Sante. (The Rumpus)

Nathaniel Popper explores Bob Stein’s predicted future of “social reading.” (LATimes)

Patricia Cornwell donates two letters penned by Spanish King Phillip III to Colonial Williamsburg. (ACN)

HG Wells really had no interest in going home again. (The Independent)

The New York Times hosts a debate on “the dark side” of Young Adult fiction. (NYTimes)

Wade through the sea of iPad 2 rumors. (Mashable)

Jon Michael Varese surveys the myriad adaptations of Dickens’ Great Expectations. (Guardian Books Blog)

The mash-up genre spreads its disease to Kafka. (GalleyCat)

Carolyn Kellogg looks at the future of Arts & Letters Daily in the wake of Denis Dutton’s death. (Jacket Copy)

Yes, Random House, there is a Santa Claus. (Publishers Weekly)

“On this day in 1937 Don Marquis died. Although also a playwright and a novelist, Marquis is most famous for the “Archy and Mehitabel” poetry he wrote for his newspaper column — Archy being the soul of a “vers libre bard” in the body of a cockroach, Mehitabel being an alley cat on her ninth life and “bound / for a journey down the sound / in the midst of a refuse mound / but wotthehell wotthehell.”" (Today in Literature)

Wednesday Quote of the Night

Tuesday, December 28th, 2010

“The only man who is really free is the one who can turn down an invitation to dinner without giving an excuse.”

-Jules Renard



Tuesday Evening Book Reviews

Tuesday, December 28th, 2010

For the comic book inclined, be on the lookout for Tom Pinchuk’s upcoming, UNIMAGINABLE.

The Washington Times takes an in-depth look (that ends in a ringing endorsement) at POLITICS, MURDER, AND LOVE: THE STORY OF NIKOLAI BUKHARIN AND ANNA LARINA, by Paul R. Gregory.

The Los Angeles Times points its review staff at some new kids’ books.

And Claire Dederer earns mostly praise at The New York Times for POSER: MY LIFE IN TWENTY-THREE YOGA POSES.

Afternoon Viewing: Pullman on Booktrust Defunding

Tuesday, December 28th, 2010

From the YouTube description:

BBC News interview (December 2010) with children’s author Philip Pullman, discussing the proposed removal of Government funding for Booktrust – a charity which gives free books to children.

Tuesday Morning LitLinks

Tuesday, December 28th, 2010

David Barnett reflects on the tradition of British book token. (Guardian Books Blog)

Francis Welch examines the power of Italian crime fiction. (BBC)

Scholars plan to crowd-source massive transcription task. (NYTimes)

Jenny Hendrix offers up some literary tidbits. (The Book Bench)

Veteran literary agent and president Richard Curtis shares his publishing predictions for 2011. (GalleyCat)

Self-publishing continues its creep into the mainstream. (UPI)

Ed Park traces the history of the Very Long Sentence. (NYTimes)

R.I.P. Denis Dutton, author, academic and philosopher. (Jacket Copy)

R.I.P. Pablo S. Gomez, comics novelist. (The Manila Bulletin)

“On this day in 1917 H. L. Mencken’s “A Neglected Anniversary,” his hoax article on the American invention of the bathtub, was published in the New York Evening Mail. Mencken’s lifelong campaign to deride and derail Main Street America — the “booboisie” — had a number of easy victories, but this joke at the expense of the squeaky-clean succeeded beyond his wildest dreams.” (Today in Literature)

Midnight Poetry: Beggars and Buskers

Monday, December 27th, 2010

Beggars and Buskers
(Sheri L. Wright)

And don’t we
all have our tin cups
to rattle at passers-by,

our crippled parts
to drag behind us,

songs of sorrow
that plead

spare a coin
so we might sit
someplace warm

if only for awhile

(Sheri L. Wright is the author of The Courtship of Reason and other volumes of poetry.  Pre-ordered shipments of her new collection, The Slow Talk of Stones, ship starting January 7. Find more of Sheri’s poetry here)

Editor’s note: ‘Midnight Poetry’ is a showcase for work by poets across the spectrum—from the pantheon of literary giants to contemporary, underground and new voices.

If you would like to submit your work for consideration, please see our Submission Guidelines.

Monday Quote of the Night

Monday, December 27th, 2010

“It’s the job of the writer to entertain but entertain deeply.”

-Barry Hannah




Monday Evening Book Reviews

Monday, December 27th, 2010

Lauren Hillenbrand’s UNBROKEN: A WORLD WAR II STORY OF SURVIVAL, RESILIENCE, AND REDEMPTION is held up to the light at The Denver Post.

Slate Magazine tempts me to buy LONG, LAST, HAPPY, a collection of stories by the late Barry Hannah.

The Christian Science Monitor trumpets three 2010 releases that didn’t get the fanfare they deserved.

And the best-of season is upon us and USA Today weighs in with theirs.