Archive for February, 2011

Monday Quote of the Night

Monday, February 28th, 2011

“Write what should not be forgotten…”

-Isabel Allende




Monday Evening Book Reviews

Monday, February 28th, 2011

Mira Bartok’s memoir of her difficult childhood, THE MEMORY PALACE, avoids the pitfalls of a relentlessly sad story with the only bridge there is – excellent artistry. has a look at TAKING THE MEDICINE: A SHORT HISTORY OF MEDICINE’S BEAUTIFUL IDEA, AND OUR DIFFICULTY SWALLOWING IT, by Druin Burch.

CARIBOU ISLAND continues to collect praise for author, David Vann.

And in Columbus, Joyce Carol Oates’ A WIDOW’S STORY leaves its mark.

Afternoon Viewing: Richelle Mead

Monday, February 28th, 2011

From the KensingtonPublishing YouTube description:

New York Times bestselling author Richelle Mead takes readers back to the Otherworld, an embattled realm mystically entwined with our world—and ruled by one woman’s dangerous choice…

Shaman-for-hire Eugenie Markham is the best at banishing entities trespassing in the mortal realm. But as the Thorn Land’s queen, she’s fast running out of ways to end the brutal war devastating her kingdom. Her only hope: the Iron Crown, a legendary object even the most powerful gentry fear…

Who Eugenie can trust is the hardest part. Fairy king Dorian has his own agenda for aiding her search. And Kiyo, her shape-shifter ex-boyfriend, has every reason to betray her along the way. To control the Crown’s ever-consuming powers, Eugenie will have to confront an unimaginable temptation–one that will put her soul and the fate of two worlds in mortal peril…

Monday Morning LitLinks

Monday, February 28th, 2011

Weird Al Yankovic talks about his new children’s book, When I Grow Up. (NPR)

Ben Leach goes between the covers of Shrabani Basu’s examination of Queen Victoria’s relationship with Abdul Karim, Victoria and Abdul. (Telegraph)

Will 2011 be the UK’s “year of the eBook?” (The Bookseller)

Sari Botton chats it up with Salon TV critic and memoirist Heather Havrikesky. (The Rumpus)

Robert McCrum discusses the benefits of deadlines. (The Guardian)

The Book Beast offers up three new “must-reads.” (The Daily Beast)

Mike Sacks and Scott Rothman have some fun with imagined requests for blurbs from big time authors. (Salon)

Gary Dexter reveals the origins of the title The Second Maiden’s Tragedy, by (maybe) Thomas Middleton. (Telegraph)

R.I.P. Moacyr Scliar, Brazilian novelist and short story author. (AP)

“On this day in 1973 Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow appeared, causing among the critics the sort of wonder and mayhem which begins the novel, as a V-2 rocket slams into 1944 London: “A screaming comes across the sky. It has happened before, but there is nothing to compare it to now….” The final verdicts ranged from “unreadable” to “masterpiece.”" (Today in Literature)

Sunday Quote of the Night

Sunday, February 27th, 2011

“Writing is the only thing that, when I do it, I don’t feel I should be doing something else.”

-Gloria Steinem




Sunday Eveninng Book Reviews

Sunday, February 27th, 2011

The New Jersey Star-Ledger makes it a five for onepage deal on book reviews today.

THE QUIET WORLD: SAVING ALASKA’S WILDERNESS KINGDOM 1879-1960, by Douglas Brinkley, takes accolades in Kansas City.

Carol Leifer wins a good review after the initial hurdle this reviewer had with the title (which I love) – WHEN YOU LIE ABOUT YOUR AGE, THE TERRORISTS WIN.

Must be gonna start baseball soon.  Here’s a look at IN THE TIME OF BOBBY COX: THE ATLANTA BRAVES, THEIR MANAGER, MY COUCH, TWO DECADES AND ME, by Lang Whitaker.

Sunday Morning LitLinks

Sunday, February 27th, 2011

Gaby Wood chats it up with second-generation cartoonist Sophie Crumb. (Telegraph)

William Skidelsky looks at how thriller writer Stephen Leather has carved out a nice little living on the Kindle bestseller lists. (The Guardian)

The horror trends in books for young readers underscore a variety of psychological dilemmas. (The Independent)

Take a look at Tim Burton’s (polite) rejection letter from Disney when he was a budding high school author. (Letters of Note)

Michael Leaverton wants to help you understand why your used bookstore clerk hates you. (SF Weekly)

Joyce Carol Oates and Meghan O’Rourke explain why they write about grief. (NYTimes)

Mark Sanderson offers up a new installment of ‘Literary Life.’ (Telegraph)

R.I.P. Arnost Lustig, Czech writer. (Reuters)

“On this day in 1812 Lord Byron spoke for the first time in the House of Lords, choosing for his topic the recent Luddite rioting. Byron was twenty-four, recently returned from the obligatory Grand Tour of Europe, and ready for a career; had his speech been the success he hoped for, there is every chance that the career might have been in politics, rather than in poetry and persecution.” (Today in Literature)

Saturday Quote of the Night

Saturday, February 26th, 2011

“A writer lives, at least, in a state of astonishment. Beneath any feeling he has of the good or evil of the world lies a deeper one of wonder at it all. To transmit that feeling, he writes.”

-William Sansom




Saturday Evening Book Reviews

Saturday, February 26th, 2011

The Economist has a peek at Donald Rumsfeld’s, KNOWN AND UNKNOWN: A MEMOIR.

Jim Bouton’s baseball classic, BALL FOUR, gets a shiny new epilogue for its twentieth anniversary edition.

The LA Times features a Bulgarian import, ZIFT: SOCIALIST NOIR, by Vladislay Todoroy as translated by Joseph Benatov.

WORKAROUNDS THAT WORK, by Russell Bishop, makes the Business Books page in Minneapolis and fares well.

Saturday Morning LitLinks

Saturday, February 26th, 2011

Wang Xiaofang discusses “officialdom fiction.” (The Guardian)

Craig Morgan Teicher reports on HarperCollins’ loam limit on eBook circulation for libraries… (PWxyz)

…and Jason Boog reports on the fallout. (GalleyCat)

A bunch of goofy new words have been added to the Oxford Dictionaries Online. (The Next Web)

Scott Lehigh imagines book pitches from Boston politicians. (The Boston Globe)

M.A. Orthofer looks at the sad state of search results for Mom-and-Pop book blogs. (The Literary Saloon)

Carolyn Kellogg examines the Coens’ faithful translation of Portis’ True Grit from the page to the screen. (Jacket Copy)

“On this day in 1956 Sylvia Plath described in her journal her first meeting with Ted Hughes: “…Then the worst thing happened, that big, dark, hunky boy, the only one there huge enough for me, who had been hunching around over women, and whose name I had asked the minute I had come into the room, but no one told me, came over and was looking hard in my eyes and it was Ted Hughes….”" (Today in Literature)

Friday Quote of the Night

Friday, February 25th, 2011

“When a murder is satisfied, it isn’t the beginning of the story; it’s the middle. We shouldn’t forget that fact because murder has ripples. You never go back to being the same. The people that investigate these crimes never go back to being the same as they were before they started the investigation. The people’s whose lives have been affected, the victim’s families, even the murderer themselves are profoundly changed. That’s why murder is still the most interesting crime for us to write about, because it is the only crime where something unique is taken away from the world, something that can’t be replaced.”

-Ian Rankin

Friday Evening Book Reviews

Friday, February 25th, 2011

22 BRITANNIA ROAD, the upcoming debut novel from Amanda Hodgkinson, gets a starred review at Kirkus.

The Washington Times doesn’t care for the gossipy tone of Darwin Porter and Roy Moseley’s, DAMN YOU, SCARLET O’HARA: THE PRIVATE LIVES OF VIVIEN LEIGH AND LAURENCE OLIVIER.

Suzanne Venker and Phyllis Schlafly reveal their conclusions on THE FLIPSIDE OF FEMINISM: WHAT CONSERVATIVE WOMEN KNOW AND MEN CAN’T SAY.

And The LA Times crows for CHARLES JESSOLD, CONSIDERED AS A MURDERER, by Wesley Stace.

Friday Morning LitLinks

Friday, February 25th, 2011

Harry de Quetteville ponders the “enduring appeal” of Frankenstein. (Telegraph)

Check out the first page of a handwritten draft of David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest. (The Atlantic)

Margaret Atwood, Alan Bennett and Nick Cave among the authors who will be in Trafalgar Square on March 4th to kick off World Book Night. (The Guardian)

Maryann Yin shares her reading recommendations for Black History Month. (GalleyCat)

Lauren Groff presents an excerpt from the essay collection The Late American Novel: Writers on the Future of Books. (The Millions)

R.I.P. Jerrold Kessel, journalist and author. (Jerusalem Post)

R.I.P. Lisa Wolfson, AKA L.K. Madigan, Young Adult author. (

John Mullan surveys some of the bright rising stars of British literature. (The Guardian)

Sonya Chung examines the challenges of writing across gender. (The Millions)

“On this day in 1830 Victor Hugo’s Hernani premiered in Paris. Though the play is rarely read or staged now, the opening night is regarded as one of the most momentous in French theater history, part of a larger and most theatrical conflict between the new-wave bohemians in Hugo’s “Romantic Army” (these included Dumas, Balzac and Berlioz) and the old-guard Classicists — a conflict soon decisively won.” (Today in Literature)

Thursday Quote of the Night

Thursday, February 24th, 2011

“I was never a bookworm. I remember reading Dr. Seuss, the Hardy Boys, Emil and the Detectives, Chip Hilton, and lots of Mark Twain and Dickens. My athletic ability did nothing but invite taunts. I was an indifferent student and an athlete with delusions of adequacy, dreams of adulation.”

-John Grisham


Thursday Evening Book Reviews

Thursday, February 24th, 2011

The California Literary Review lights up all the stars they can give for THE NEW YORK TIMES – THE COMPLETE CIVIL WAR 1861 – 1865, edited by Harold Holzer and Craig L. Symonds.

And then, in the current New York Times, the wonderful Barbara Kingsolver weighs in favorably on T. Coraghessen Boyle’s latest, WHEN THE KILLING’S DONE.

BLOOD, BONES, & BUTTER: THE INADVERTENT EDUCATION OF A RELUCTANT CHEF, by Gabrielle Hamilton scores a B at Entertainment Weekly.

THE PARIS WIFE: THE FIRST MRS. HEMINGWAY, by Paula McLain, fares well at USA Today.

Afternoon Viewing: Courtney Milan

Thursday, February 24th, 2011

Dear Author‘s Jane Litte talks romance novels with author Courtney Milan:

Thursday Morning LitLinks

Thursday, February 24th, 2011

John Le Carré has given his entire archive to Oxford’s Bodleian Library. (The Independent)

A.N. Devers chats it up with novelist Wesley Stace. (The Rumpus)

Charles J. Shields explains how he came to be Kurt Vonnegut’s biographer. (A Biographer’s Notebook)

Kathryn Stockett responds to the lawsuit filed by a former family maid who claims her likeness was appropriated for Stockett’s bestseller, The Help. (USAToday)

Imogen Russell Williams examines the impact historical fiction has on young readers. (Guardian Books Blog)

Jason Boog reports on Barnes & Noble’s PubIt! self-publishing program. (GalleyCat)

PW offers up a bevy of children’s book announcements for the spring. (Publishers Weekly)

Novelist T.C. Boyle shares the four books he turns to “for comfort of varying degrees.” (The Daily Beast)

Can negative publicity actually help books sales? (Stanford Daily)

Cal Ripkin Jr. discusses his transformation from MLB’s Iron Man to children’s author. (USAToday)

“On this day in 1809 London’s Drury Lane Theatre burned down; when those watching the spectacle from a nearby pub with theater owner-parliamentarian Richard Brinsley Sheridan remarked on his composure, he famously responded, “A man may surely take a glass of wine by his own fireside.” One-liners aside, Sheridan was most famous in his later years for a five-hour parliamentary speech which brought both sides of the House down.” (Today in Literature)

Wednesday Quote of the Night

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

“My mother said I must always be intolerant of ignorance but understanding of illiteracy. That some people, unable to go to school, were more educated and more intelligent than college professors.”

-Maya Angelou



Wednesday Evening Book Reviews

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

Poet Sheri Wright scores a new fan at The Examiner with her collection, THE SLOW TALK OF STONES.

A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES, by Deborah Harkness, draws a new (and surprisingly fresh) success from the oft-tapped well of vampire and witch tales.

The Washington Post is impressed with Jed Rubenfeld’s latest whodunit, THE DEATH INSTINCT.

WHEN THE WORLD CALLS: INSIDE THE PEACE CORPS 50 YEARS AFTER ITS FOUNDING, by Stanley Meiser, meets with approval at Basil & Spice.

Afternoon Viewing: Lisa Yee

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

The author discusses her YA novel Warp Speed: