Archive for August, 2011

Wednesday Quote of the Night

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

“The English language is nobody’s special property. It is the property of the imagination: it is the property of the language itself.”

-Derek Walcott




Wednesday Evening Book Reviews

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

The Christian Science Monitor respects Michael Kazin’s efforts in, AMERICAN DREAMERS: HOW THE LEFT CHANGED A NATION.

The audiobook version of MAYDAY, by Nelson DeMille and Thomas Block (and read by Scott Brick) gets a starred review at Publishers Weekly.

OUT OF THIS WORLD: SCIENCE FICTION BUT NOT AS YOU KNOW IT, by Mike Ashley, is a hit with The Los Angeles Times.


Wednesday Morning LitLinks

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

Roxane Gay interviews prize-winning poet Aimee Nezhukumatahil. (HTMLGIANT)

Biographer Julie Salamon profiles playwright Wendy Wasserstein. (The Daily Beast)

TIME charts its all-TIME (get it?) 100 best nonfiction books. (TIME)

Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa pardons poet Ayat al-Qurmozi. (The Guardian)

Gabe Habash seeks out the most literary cemetery. (PWxyz)

Zhang Zhouxiang profiles Nobel-winner J.M.G. Le Clézio. (China Daily)

Levi Asher shares his hard-won lessons about eBook self-publishing. (Literary Kicks)

Jason Goodwin shares his top 10 books about Turkey. (The Guardian)

Julie Greicius chats it up with author Chris Colin. (The Rumpus)

Can the Nook save Barnes & Noble? (The Independent)

R.I.P. Susan Fromberg Schaeffer, novelist. (NYTimes)

“On this day in 1946 John Hersey’s “Hiroshima” was published in The New Yorker. The article took up almost all sixty-eight pages of text space, an unprecedented and unannounced step for the magazine, taken so “that everyone might well take time to consider.” When Hersey died in 1993, one obituary called “Hiroshima” the “most famous magazine article ever published.”" (Today in Literature)

Tuesday Quote of the Night

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

“The starting point of all achievement is desire. Keep this constantly in mind. Weak desires bring weak results, just as a small amount of fire makes a small amount of heat.”

-Napoleon Hill



Tuesday Evening Book Reviews

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

The Lancashire Evening Post praises Paula Rawsthorne’s Young Adult story, THE TRUTH ABOUT CELIA FROST.

Poker powerhouse, Annie Duke, advises players to DECIDE TO PLAY GREAT POKER: A STRATEGY GUIDE TO NO-LIMIT TEXAS HOLD EM.

MILE 81, Stephen Kings’ e-release of short stories, is on tap at

Joanna Brisoe’s, YOU, flounders a bit at The Washington Post.

Tuesday Morning LitLinks

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

Deborah Treisman picks the brain of Haruki Murakami. (The Book Bench)

Gabe Habash wants to test your knowledge with five literary quizzes. (PWxyz)

Media critic Jack Shafer says all working writers should be watching their backs in these tough economic times. (GalleyCat)

XZev Chafets bravely goes between the covers of Dick Cheney’s new memoir. (The Daily Beast)

M.A. Orthofer weighs in on the disappointing news that the Harud Literary Festival is being postponed over fears of violence. (The Literary Saloon)

Sarah Gristwood celebrates the “literary guilty pleasure” that is historical fiction. (The Telegraph)

Lloyd Sheherd contends the fretting over the future of books may be a bit misguided. (The Guardian)

“On this day in 30 BC Cleopatra committed suicide. Death by self-inflicted asp was no whim: Cleopatra’s search for a painless exit caused more than one unfortunate to be experimentally force-fed this or that drug or snake. The dress-rehearsing done, came the final act: “Give me my robe, put on my crown; I have / Immortal longings in me…”" (Today in Literature)

Monday Quote of the Night

Monday, August 29th, 2011

“I’m one of those unlucky people who had a happy childhood.”

-Jonathan Coe




Monday Evening Book Reviews

Monday, August 29th, 2011

A. N. Wilson’s, DANTE IN LOVE, is a hard sell for The New Zealand Herald.

STIR IT UP, by Ramin Ganeshram, brings foodie novels to the YA reader.

The Los Angeles Times seems happy enough to be left guessing until the final page of Sebastian Rotella’s, TRIPLE CROSSING.

And Kirkus sifts the shelves for books to fit a featured page – Crossing Borders: Immigrant Children in Fiction.

Monday Morning LitLinks

Monday, August 29th, 2011

AS Byatt declares Terry Pratchett her hero and expounds on how novels soften her pessimism. (The Guardian)

Christian DuChateau chats it up with Washington’s ‘poet’ of crime. (CNN)

Ann Patchett chronicles her book tour. (NYTimes)

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

Samuel Muston shares his top ten audiobooks. (The Independent)

Vermont’s Bartleby Books gets hit hard by Irene. (GalleyCat)

Helen Vendler dreams of an all-reading curricula. (Harvard Magazine)

“On this day in 1833, the Mills and Factory Act was passed in England, one of a series of measures to improve the “Health and Morals” of child laborers. The Act allowed a forty-eight-hour work week for children aged nine to twelve, but it brought many changes which the younger Dickens and William Blake’s even younger “Chimney Sweeper” would have welcomed.” (Today in Literature)

Sunday Quote of the Night

Sunday, August 28th, 2011

“Duty measures the distance between the animal and the divine.”

-R. Scott Bakker




Sunday Evening Book Reviews

Sunday, August 28th, 2011

THE ANATOMY OF A MOMENT: THIRTY-FIVE MINUTES IN HISTORY AND IMAGINATION, by Javier Cercas and translated by Anne McQueen, provokes a deep look by n+1 Magazine.

Debra Lawrenson’s THE LANTERN earns a four out of five star endorsement at USA Today.

The Star-Tribune enjoys Conor O’Clery’s MOSCOW, DECEMBER 25, 1991: THE LAST DAY OF THE SOVIET UNION.

LITERARY BROOKLYN: THE WRITERS OF BROOKLYN AND THE STORY OF AMERICAN CITY LIFE, by Evan Hughes, makes the grade, with a few bumps along the way.

Sunday Morning LitLinks

Sunday, August 28th, 2011

Syrian-born poet Adonis becomes the first Arabic-speaking author to win the Goethe Prize. (CBSNews)

Robert McCrum talks to novelist and poet Michael Ondaatje. (The Guardian)

Brian Ted Jones examines the “generosities of fiction”. (The Millions)

Geoff Dyer looks at all the crazy things we do to books. (NYTimes)

Love a librarian? Show her. (At Your Library)

Joseph Epstein’s review of The Cambridge History of the American Novel gives him the opportunity to look at “what killed American lit.” (Wall Street Journal)

William Langley takes a critical fresh look at the “decades-long debate” over PG Wodehouse’s broadcasts from Nazi Germany. (The Telegraph)

“On this day in 430, Saint Augustine died at the age of seventy-five. He was Bishop of Hippo (now Annaba, Algeria) for thirty-four years, during which time he became the patriarch of Christian Africa and one of the most influential leaders of the Latin Church; from a literary viewpoint, his Confessions is seen as one of the first major contributions to the genre of self-disclosure.” (Today in Literature)

Saturday Quote of the Night

Saturday, August 27th, 2011

“Let your soul stand cool and composed before a million universes.”

-Walt Whitman




Saturday Evening Book Reviews

Saturday, August 27th, 2011

Cathy N. Davids doesn’t convince Slate Magazine with her latest, NOW YOU SEE IT: HOW THE BRAIN SCIENCE OF ATTENTION WILL TRANSFORM THE WAY WE LIVE, WORK, AND LEARN.

Sebastian Barry’s ON CANAAN’S SIDE is warmly received at The Economist.

THE CALL, by Yannick Murphy, charms Salon Magazine.

And Booklist is impressed with LOOSE DIAMONDS… AND OTHER THINGS I’VE LOST (AND FOUND) ALONG THE WAY, by Amy Ephron.

Saturday Morning LitLinks

Saturday, August 27th, 2011

R.I.P. William Stetson Kennedy, author and civil rights activist. (

David Hare takes the 2011 Pen/Pinter Prize. (BBC)

Charles Dickens gets the monument he never wanted. (The Independent)

Virginia librarians haven’t been this busy in ages. (GalleyCat)

Carolyn Kellogg surveys the most coveted out-of-print books. (JacketCopy)

Sarah Crown profiles the always interesting John Burnside. (The Guardian)

Kyle Buchanan takes a shot at casting the latest “Les Mis” film. (New York Magazine)

“On this day in 1841, James Fenimore Cooper’s The Deerslayer was published. This covers the earliest phase of the Leatherstocking saga, wherein the twenty-three-year-old Natty Bumppo must pass his first tests in the wilderness, rise above the worst of paleface and redskin ethics, avoid being burned at the stake, return Chingachgook’s beloved Wah-ta!-Wah to him, and tell Judith that his heart belongs to the forest.” (Today in Literature)

Friday Quote of the Night

Friday, August 26th, 2011

“You cannot teach creativity — how to become a good writer. But you can help a young writer discover within himself what kind of writer he would like to be.”

-Mario Vargas Llosa




Friday Evening Book Reviews

Friday, August 26th, 2011

The New York Times weighs the pros and cons of Bruce Duffy’s DISASTER WAS MY GOD: A NOVEL OF THE OUTLAW LIFE OF ARTHUR RIMBAUD.


THE HERO OF A HUNDRED FIGHTS: COLLECTED STORIES FROM THE DIME NOVEL KING, FROM BUFFALO BILL TO WILD BILL HICKOK, by Ned Buntline, edited by R. Clay Reynolds, is a trove of a particular brand of throwback treasure.

And The Christian Science Monitor spotlights Matthew Parker’s THE SUGAR BARONS: FAMILY, CORRUPTION, EMPIRE, AND WAR IN THE WEST INDIES.

Friday Morning LitLinks

Friday, August 26th, 2011

Claire Armitstead and Richard Sprenger present a video interview with AL Kennedy in which she reflects on why she became a writer instead of a clown. (The Guardian)

Knopf has a few words for the New Jersey school district that banned Haruki Murakami’s Norwegian Wood. (GalleyCat)

Julian Barnes reaps the rewards of being a Booker longlistee. (The Bookseller)

The Book Beast has some recommended reads for while you’re hunkered down in the hurricane. (The Daily Beast)

Christopher Howse looks at how the Nazis played PG Wodehouse for a “silly dupe.” (The Telegraph)

Is Africa the next frontier for crime fiction? (

The bookshop set up by the real life Christopher Robin is closing its doors after six decades. (The Independent)

Susan Stewart surveys elegies written by women. (The Nation)

Elizabeth Bluemle frets for the future of the personal library. (PW ShelfTalker)

“On this day in 1875, the lawyer-politician-writer John Buchan was born, in Perth, Scotland. Buchan wrote prolifically and in almost all genres, but he is best known for his spy-adventure novels, particularly the first “Richard Hannay” book, The Thirty-Nine Steps. Most give Buchan credit for the kind of espionage thriller — he called them “shockers” — that would eventually arrive at James Bond.” (Today in Literature)

Thursday Quote of the Night

Thursday, August 25th, 2011

“The more I like a book, the more slowly I read. this spontaneous talking back to a book is one of the things that makes reading so valuable.”

-Anatole Broyard




Thursday Evening Book Reviews

Thursday, August 25th, 2011

The Chicago Tribune gets a kick out of Kevin Wilson’s debut novel, THE FAMILY FANG.

While over at the Sun-Times, they’re rounding up mysteries and thrillers to build a list of what to snap up and what to maybe avoid.

THE FOREIGNERS, by Maxine Swann, gets a mixed review in Boston.

Eleanor Henderson’s TEN THOUSAND SAINTS puts its readers through the wringer with its characters, and that sounds like a good thing.