Archive for May, 2011

Tuesday Quote of the Night

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

“My test of a good novel is dreading to begin the last chapter.”

-Thomas Helm

Tuesday Evening Book Reviews

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

The New Jersey Star-Ledger posts a three-fer on their reviews page, because your to-be-read list is well due for some padding.

USA Today compiles a quick look at a stack of summer reads.

Andrew Krivak pins one Christian Science Monitor reviewer to his place with his World War II novel, THE SOJOURN.

And SCORPIA RISING, by Anthony Horowitz, is a mid-grade hit at The Guardian.

Afternoon Viewing: Rafael Yglesias

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

From the Open Road description:

May has been designated both Jewish American Heritage Month and Latino Book Month. What better way to celebrate than with a new video featuring Open Road author Rafael Yglesias, who happens to be a product of both cultures? “Both my Cuban and Jewish heritages are equally significant to me,” explains Yglesias. Watch the well-known author of Fearless speak about his experience growing up in a half-Jewish, half-Latino family—”I tend to see many more similarities in those cultures than they see in each other”—and learn which family member Yglesias considers the most classic “Jewish mother” he ever met—it may surprise you!

Tuesday Morning LitLinks

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

Friends pay tribute to slain poet Willie Lee Bell, Jr. (aka Will Da Real One).  (NBC Miami)

Emily Wax profiles Pulitzer Prize-winning author Geraldine Brooks. (The Buffalo News)

Daniel Gumbiner chats it up with author Scott McClanahan. (The Rumpus)

The backlash against Esquire’s male-dominated list of ’75 Books All Men Should Read’ takes its finest form in Joyland’s ’250 Books by Women All Mean Should Read’… (Joyland)

…Caolyn Kellogg chuckles. (Jacket Copy)

Garth Risk Hallberg shares some tips for Kindle-proofing your book. (The Millions)

James Mottram meets ‘Wimpy Kid’ author, Jeff Kinney. (The Independent)

Andreï Makine discusses his new book (published under the pseudonym of Gabriel Osmonde), Alternaissance. (

Ben Myers looks at the island’s enduring appeal to writers. (Guardian Books Blog)

In the soft afterglow of Theroux and Naipaul’s bad-blood-ending handshake,  Morwenna Ferrier explores some other notable literary feuds. (The Telegraph)

“On this day in 1669, Samuel Pepys regretfully made the final entry in his nine-and-a-half-year diary, citing his deteriorating eyes as cause. Begun when he was a struggling young civil servant, Pepys’s diary covers the beginnings of his rise to wealth and influence in Restoration England. It is praised not just as a priceless historical document but for a range of character, anecdote and detail that is Dickensian in scope, and just as readable.” (Today in Literature)

Monday Quote of the Night

Monday, May 30th, 2011

“A book is the only place in which you can examine a fragile thought without breaking it, or explore an explosive idea without fear it will go off in your face.  It is one of the few havens remaining where a man’s mind can get both provocation and privacy.”

-Edward P. Morgan




Monday Evening Book Reviews

Monday, May 30th, 2011

LET US WATER THE FLOWERS: THE MEMOIR OF A POLITICAL PRISONER IN IRAN, by Dr. Jafar Yaghoobi, is a memoir of incarceration in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison.

Romeo and Juliet meets, oh dear, sexting in Therese Fowler’s, EXPOSURE.


A QUEER HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES, by Michael Bronski, doesn’t hit on all cylinders for Slate Magazine.

Monday Morning LitLinks

Monday, May 30th, 2011

Did VS Naipaul and Paul Theroux bury the hatchet at Hay? (The Telegraph)

Jason Boog has some excellent resources for those who want to share books with soldiers stationed overseas. (GalleyCat)

Malcolm Jones gets the jump on summer with his seasonal book recommendations. (The Daily Beast)

Caspar Walsh looks at a rehabilitation program that relies on the power of prose to change the lives of young offenders. (The Guardian)

Mark Sanderson is back with a new installment of ‘Literary Life.’ (The Telegraph)

Dana Jennings goes between the covers of five new volumes of poetry. (NYTimes)

PW has their entire complement of BEA 2011 coverage online for your perusal. (Publishers Weekly)

“On this day in 1960 Boris Pasternak died, at the age of seventy. Pasternak’s last years were dominated by the publicity and persecution which attended the publication of Doctor Zhivago. The Soviet line, communicated by quiet threat and noisy rhetoric, was that Pasternak and his novel were anti-communist; but he was also the subject of contempt from many of his peers, who believed that he acted cowardly in his complacency toward the Soviet regime.” (Today in Literature)

If Imitation is Sincere Flattery, What’s Flat Out Copying?

Monday, May 30th, 2011

UPDATE: Ms. Carroll has responded to an article in Dublin’s Metro Herald (reproduced here via with goodnessgraciousme outrage at the accusation of plagiarism.

“I wasn’t lifting expressions from TV shows – I haven’t even seen Sex and the City for years.”

Ms. Carroll asserts that we live in ‘a pop culture’ and that these expressions have creeped into everyday use.

“…who knows what is original anymore?”

The Metro Herald has expanded on the the list of awfully similar lines and scene set-ups to include excerpts from the American sitcom, Will & Grace, as part of the pop culture machine that seems to serve as a spoon-feeding Muse to Ms. Carroll’s efforts.


(originally posted May 23, 2011)

At the intersection of a reader’s nearly photographic memory and a chick-lit author’s quippy prose, we find a question that feels almost rhetorical: how is this okay?

Irish author, Claudia Carroll, is coming under scrutiny for passages in her novel, PERSONALLY I BLAME MY FAIRY GODMOTHER, passages that eagle-eyed reader-writer-blogger Charlee Iddon recognized as lifted, almost verbatim, from popular television and literature sources – ‘Sex and the City’, ‘Friends’, and the ‘Bridget Jones’ series.

From the post at Before Charlee’s 30:

Here are just a few examples, and believe me when I tell you, they are the tip of the iceberg:

Carroll writes:
My top tip is to destroy all photos of you as a couple where he looks hot and you look happy it could set the whole recovery process back months if you happen to stumble across it at a weak moment

Anyone that watches Sex and the city will remember this line (book and show):
my top break up rule – destroy all pictures where he looks sexy and you look happy if you happen to stumble across it in a weak moment it could set the recovery process back by months

Carroll: I’ve always thought the witch in Hansel and Gretel is a deeply misunderstood woman. She builds her dream home and two brats come along and eat it?

SATC: But the witch in Hansel and Gretel — she’s very misunderstood. I mean, the woman builds her dream house and these brats come along and start eating it


Carroll: I think she realises that there’s rock bottom followed by another 500 feet of crap before you finally arrive at where I’m at right now.

Friends: I really thought I just hit rock bottom. But today, it’s like there’s rock bottom, then 50 feet of crap, then me

But no one watches Friends or Sex and the City any more do they? Oh they do? Well Carroll obviously doesn’t think that matters, but then they are American and she is Irish maybe she thinks it doesn’t count if they are on a different continent.

Oh no she also likes to plagiarise closer to home:

Bridget Jones: He’s just a big knob head with no knob

He’s a big nob head with no nob (oh but she left the K off, that makes it different surely? Erm NO!)

Plagiarism is a serious accusation and, on the surface, these similarities appear brazen. As the social media sites buzz with speculation, AuthorScoop will keep a cyber-eye out and will update with any response from Ms. Carroll’s camp (or any other interested party’s) as it becomes available.

Sunday Quote of the Night

Sunday, May 29th, 2011

“A good book should leave you slightly exhausted at the end.  You live several lives while reading it.

-William Styron




Sunday Evening Book Reviews

Sunday, May 29th, 2011

The Washington Post reviews one of their own, David Igniatius, as he launches his latest spy novel, BLOODMONEY.

A few war books and then suddenly a nature guide make the reviews page at The New Jersey Star-Ledger.

1861: THE CIVIL WAR AWAKENING, by Adam Goodheart, comes highly recommended from The Florida Times-Union.

The water crisis is spelled out in Charles Fishman’s THE BIG THIRST: THE SECRET LIFE AND TURBULENT FUTURE OF WATER.

Sunday Morning LitLinks

Sunday, May 29th, 2011

Viv Groskop takes a critical look at Vladimir Nabokov. (The Independent)

William Giraldi explores the “mysterious case” of novel-in-stories. (The Rumpus)

Roxanne Gay looks at Esquire’s list of 75 books every man should read — and finds one by a woman. (HTMLGIANT)

Miami poet Willie Lee Bell, Jr. was shot dead in the street this morning. (Miami Herald)

John Waters visits the Hay Festival and drops some knowledge on how to be a role model. (The Telegraph)

Ben Crair goes between the covers of David Mamet’s new book, The Secret Knowledge, and comes away dismayed by the playwright’s right turn. (The Daily Beast)

John Matthew Fox examines the very nature of what makes literature literature. (BookFox)

“On this day in 1914 the first installment of Edgar Lee Masters’s Spoon River Anthology appeared, with the full 244 “epitaphs,” published in book form in 1916. Despite fears of a backlash due to his realistic and unflattering view of life in a Midwest village, the book was an instant hit, and the national praise so outdid the local anger that Masters was eventually able to give up legal practice and become a full time writer.” (Today in Literature)

Saturday Quote of the Night

Saturday, May 28th, 2011

“And as to experience–well, think how little some good poets have had, or how much some bad ones have.”

-Elizabeth Bishop




Saturday Evening Book Reviews

Saturday, May 28th, 2011

Kirkus compiles a list of beach reads for your (and their) appraisal.

Tim Radford’s, THE ADDRESS BOOK, makes an appearance on The Guardian’s review pages.

THE MONKEY’S WEDDING AND OTHER STORIES, by Joan Aiken, gets four stars at The California Literary Review.

And The Seattle Post Intelligencer has a look at THE STORY OF BEAUTIFUL GIRL, by Rachel Simon.

Saturday Morning LitLinks

Saturday, May 28th, 2011

Did a ghostwriter pen Chairman Mao’s Little Red Book? (The Independent)

Sonja Bolle looks at how Greek mythology lives on in the works of Angelini and Cabot. (LATimes)

Maryann Yin recaps the winners of 23rd Annual Lambda Literary Awards. (GalleyCat)

The Telegraph staff picks the best of Hay Festival, day three. (The Telegraph)

M.A. Orthofer laments the poor coverage of translated works in The New York Times Review of Books. (The Literary Saloon)

Vit Wagner chats with Seamus Heaney, who’s in the running for next week’s Griffin Poetry Prize. (Toronto Star)

James Joyce gets a “Twitter makeover.” (Salon)

R.I.P. Gil Scott-Heron, poet, musician and activist. (NYTimes)

R.I.P. Edwin Honig, poet and playwright. (Projo 7 to 7)

“On this day in 1849 Anne Bronte died of tuberculosis, the third death in eight months among the Bronte siblings. The standard view of Anne is that she had less talent than her sisters, and was cut from a plainer cloth: Charlotte was dominant and ambitious, Emily was odd and reclusive, Anne was meek and churchy. More recent biographers have challenged this group portrait.” (Today in Literature)

Friday Quote of the Night

Friday, May 27th, 2011

“Poets need not go to Niagara to write about the force of falling water.”

-Robert Frost




Friday Evening Book Reviews

Friday, May 27th, 2011

The Los Angeles Times gets a kick out of Libba Bray’s BEAUTY QUEENS.

ALMOST LIKE A WHALE: THE ORIGIN OF SPECIES UPDATED, by Steve Jones, impresses The Guardian.

The National Post praises THE SISTERS BROTHERS, by Patrick de Witt.

SACRED TRASH: THE LOST AND FOUND WORLD OF THE CAIRO GENIZA, by Adina Hoffman and Peter Cole, is examined at The New York Times.

Afternoon Viewing Robot Librarians!

Friday, May 27th, 2011

From the University of Chicago description:

The new Joe and Rika Mansueto Library at the University of Chicago houses cutting-edge facilities for preservation and digitization of physical books, as well as a high-density underground storage system with the capacity to hold 3.5 million volume equivalents. With its soaring elliptical dome and prime location on campus, the Mansueto Library’s Grand Reading Room, which opened May 16, 2011, provides an inviting space for rigorous scholarship in an array of fields.

Friday Morning LitLinks

Friday, May 27th, 2011

Poet David Ferry wins the $100,000 Ruth Lillian Poetry Prize and plans to give it all away. (The Boston Globe)

Drew Grant looks back at the life and work of Douglas Adams, 10 years after his death. (Salon)

Robot librarians. Yeah, that’s right. (CNET)

Awkward… Jason Bourne and James Bond return on the same day. (The Independent)

Alison Flood welcomes classic children’s author Monica Dickens back into print. (Guardian Books Blog)

The finalists for the Science Fiction & Fantasy Translation awards have been announced. (Official)

Amazon ranks America’s best-read cities, and Macy Halford parses the results. (The Book Bench)

A recap of day one of the Hay Festival (now with more Rob Lowe!). (The Telegraph)

Jacket Copy is all over Book Expo America. (LATimes)

British author Alan Shadrake will spend up to eight weeks in a Singapore jail after losing his appeal over his “insulting” book. (Reuters)

R.I.P. Leonora Carrington, Surrealist artist and author. (NYTimes)

“On this day in 1907 Rachel Carson was born in Springdale, Pennsylvania. Her homestead is now a museum and educational center, though it includes only one of the sixty-five acres upon which Carson learned the life-lesson that she would teach the world: “The lasting pleasures of contact with the natural world are not reserved for scientists but are available to anyone who will place himself under the influence of earth, sea, and sky, and their amazing life.”" (Today in Literature)

Thursday Quote of the Night

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

“I never could have done what I have done without the habits of punctuality, order, and diligence, without the determination to concentrate myself on one subject at a time.”

-Charles Dickens




Thursday Evening Book Reviews

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

Nina Schuyler revels in the “powerful, haunting storytelling” in Melanie Rae Thon’s new collection, In This Light. (The Rumpus)

Dwight Garner finds Chester Brown’s Paying for It: A Comic-Strip Memoir About Being a John “bleakly funny,” but can barely disguise his unease with the subject matter. (NYTimes)

Baqrry Forshaw reads Lars Kepler’s The Hypnotist and is “entranced by a genuine chiller.” (The Independent)

Anthony Cummins is put of by a “nagging accumulation of discrepancies” in Jane Harris’ Victorian mystery, Gillespie and I. (The Telegraph)