Archive for September, 2011

Friday Quote of the Night

Friday, September 30th, 2011

“You can’t deny laughter; when it comes, it plops down in your favorite chair and stays as long as it wants.”

-Stephen King




Friday Evening Book Reviews

Friday, September 30th, 2011

THE UNBECOMING OF MARA DYER, by Michelle Hodkin, fares well at The Los Angeles Times.

The Wall Street Journal takes a look at THE SWERVE: HOW THE WORLD BECAME MODERN, by Stephen Greenblatt.

The New York Times podcast book review covers new memoirs from Hal Holbrook and John Lithgow.


Another 5 Minutes… With Tasha Alexander

Friday, September 30th, 2011

It’s been almost a year since we first met with Tasha Alexander. We’re fortunate to have her back with us just shortly before, A CRIMSON WARNING, her next historical mystery in the Lady Emily series, hits the shelves.

We’d like to thank her for coming back to once again take part of our “5 Minutes Alone” interview series.

AuthorScoop: We’re hearing a bit of buzz in advance of the release of your next book. Will you tell us about A CRIMSON WARNING?

Tasha: Everyone has a secret, something they’d do just about anything to keep quiet. I wanted to explore what people do when that one thing they want hidden is about to be exposed. In A CRIMSON WARNING, our villain is targeting London society, splashing houses with red paint before going public with the residents’ deepest, darkest secrets.

AuthorScoop: Globe-trotting for research has always lent a richness to your work, but now you’ve got both personal and professional reasons to hop the Atlantic. Tell us three great things about being home in two places and one bad thing about it.

Tasha:Three great things:
1. Having access to two amazing world-class cities is unbeatable, especially for a theatre-lover like me.
2. I get to have Chicago hot dogs and English scampi and chips. Just not at the same time….
3. I generally have no idea what time it is (or what time zone I’m in).

One bad:
1. The suitcase never seems to get unpacked.

AuthorScoop: Historical fiction has built a platform for your career. Are there other genres that pull your creative strings?

Tasha: Historical fiction has always been my favorite, but every once in a while I toy with the idea of writing a contemporary novel. It would be a relief not to have to worry about anachronisms.

AuthorScoop: How has writing well-received fiction changed the way you read?

Tasha: I’m very protective of my reading, and don’t like to pick apart or analyze other people’s books. I read because I love it–not because I want to be a critic or an editor. But it can sometimes be difficult to completely keep the writer part of my brain separate from the reading part.

AuthorScoop: What’s next for Tasha Alexander?

Tasha: I’ve finished the first draft of my book for next year, which takes Emily to Venice. I wrote most of it while holed up in an apartment in a 14th century palazzo and am really, really excited about the story. In it, Emily reconnects with her childhood nemesis and solves a mystery that’s anchored as much in the Renaissance as it is in the 1890s.


For more information on Tasha and her books, have a look at all the goodies on her website And be on the lookout for, A CRIMSON WARNING, at your nearest bookstore.


Friday Morning LitLinks

Friday, September 30th, 2011

Boyd Tonkin talks to biographer Claire Tomalin about her book on Charles Dickens. (The Independent)

Publishers are still trying to figure out how they feel about the Kindle Fire. (The Guardian)

Jason Boog examines how publishers are wrestling with the right way to handle eBook errors. (GalleyCat)

Here’s your chance to help name Courtney Love’s memoir. (Gawker)

Gabe Habash reveals “5 authors famous for something else.” (PWxyz)

Illustrator and writer Tony DiTerlizzi discusses his passion for drawing. (The Telegraph)

Tim Lott rounds up the greatest death scenes in literature. (Guardian Books Blog)

R.I.P. Hella Haasse, Dutch author. (The Washington Post)

“On this day in 1868 Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women was published. It was an immediate best seller, bringing the thirty-five-year-old Alcott a popularity she did not expect: “I plod away, though I don’t really enjoy this sort of thing. Never liked girls or knew many, except my sisters, but our queer plays and experiences may prove interesting, though I doubt it.”" (Today in Literature)

Thursday Quote of the Night

Thursday, September 29th, 2011

“The good of a book lies in its being read. A book is made up of signs that speak of other signs, which in their turn speak of things. Without an eye to read them, a book contains signs that produce no concepts; therefore it is dumb.”

-Umberto Eco



Thursday Evening Book Reviews

Thursday, September 29th, 2011

The Washington Times heartily endorses Ian Kershaw’s, THE END: THE DEFIANCE AND DESTRUCTION OF HITLER’S GERMANY 1944-1945.

Kirkus previews non-fiction that’s new for next month.

BOOMERANG: TRAVELS IN THE THIRD WORLD, by Michael Lewis, is a big hit at Forbes Magazine

And John Moynihan’s, VOYAGE OF THE ROSE AT SEA, earns a recommendation from The New York Times.

Thursday Morning LitLinks

Thursday, September 29th, 2011

Nina Herzog talks to author and novelist Muharem Bazdulj. (Words Without Borders)

Sometimes those “lost” manuscripts were lost for a reason. (The Telegraph)

19 romance writers have pitched in with 11-year-old cancer patient Harry Moseley to raise money for Mosely’s cancer research charity. (GalleyCat)

Sam Harris rethinks the book in the digital era. (The Daily Beast)

Sarah Crown takes us on a “tour around the most challenged books.” (Guardian Books Blog)

M.A. Orthofer weighs in on the Kindle Fire. (The Literary Saloon)

Publishers plan to get a head start on the holiday shopping season. (The Independent)

R.I.P. Sara Douglass, fantasy novelist. (Bendigo Advertiser)

“On this day in 1902 William McGonagall, poet and tragedian of Dundee, died. McGonagall was a middle-aged weaver when he heard his muse; today he is a cult figure, his many collections of poetry translated into over a dozen languages and selling well to those wishing to investigate a reputation for “the worst poetry ever written, in any language, at any time.”" (Today in Literature)

Wednesday Quote of the Night

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

“Human behavior in the midst of hardship caught my attention very early on, and my first stories were all pictures, no words.”

-Wally Lamb




Wednesday Evening Book Reviews

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

JANE FONDA: THE PRIVATE LIFE OF A PUBLIC WOMAN, by Patricia Bosworth, stokes interests in Denver.

Author, Charles Frazier, returns with a new literary thriller, NIGHTWOODS.

The Chicago Tribune hosts a page full of Romance for padding out your to-be-read pile.

THE BLOW OFF, by Jim Knipfel, sets The Washington Post to giggling.

Wednesday Morning LitLinks

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

Toni Morrison shares some information on her next novel. (Washingtonian)

Alison Flood gets (re)excited at the prospect of a Stephen King sequel to The Shining. (Guardian Books Blog)

Robert Douglas-Fairhurst “explores our fascination with the great novelist,” Charles Dickens. (The Telegraph)

M.A. Orthofer sets the stage for this year’s Nobel Prize in Literature. (The Literary Saloon)

Hack chick lit run its course? (The Independent)

Jennifer Sky chats it up with novelist and Pulitzer nominee, Jonathan Dee. (The Rumpus)

Was Romanticism a revolution in and of itself? (The Daily Beast)

Historian Andy McSmith makes his picks for the top 10 books of the 1980s. (The Guardian)

“On this day in 1970 John Dos Passos died at the age of seventy-four. He is now one of the more forgotten Lost Generation writers, but the U.S.A. trilogy (The 42nd Parallel, 1919, The Big Money, published 1930-36) was important reading in the forties and fifties, both for its angry indictment of the “prosperity myth” and its “stream-of-society” style.” (Today in Literature)

Tuesday Quote of the Night

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

“Sometimes the first duty of intelligent men is the restatement of the obvious.”

-George Orwell




Tuesday Evening Book Reviews

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

The West Australian highlights the upcoming volume, AUSTRALIAN POETRY SINCE 1788, edited by Geoffrey Lehmann and Robert Gray.

Author, Nafisa Haji, earns a nod of approval from The Express Tribune for her latest, THE SWEETNESS OF TEARS.


And The New York Press takes a look at RIN TIN TIN: THE LIFE AND LEGEND, by Susan Orlean.

Tuesday Morning LitLinks

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

YA author, Meg Rosoff, nixed from school event for blasphemy. (The Telegraph)

A windowwasher and sneakthief grows a conscience and returns a treasure trove of literary correspondence. (The Independent)

Amazon to keep its bread close to its butter, calling its new tablet PC, the Kindle Fire. (Tech Crunch)

Sarah Palin says she’ll sue. Author, Joe McGinniss, must be thrilled. His book needs the boost. (CNN)

Stanford University promotes literature studies. (The Montreal Gazette)

Death-row inmate sues for access to a book. (The New York Times)

And because we can’t get enough Charlie Sheen, Two and a Half Men, writer-producer, Chuck Lorre, might tell us more between the covers of a book. Yippee. (Entertainment Weekly)

“On this day in 1929 Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms was published. Hemingway took his title from a 16th century poem by George Peele, in which Peele expresses regret to Queen Elizabeth I that he is too old to bear arms for her…” (Today In Literature)

Monday Quote of the Night

Monday, September 26th, 2011

“He ne’er is crowned with immortality Who fears to follow where airy voices lead.”

-John Keats




Monday Evening Book Reviews

Monday, September 26th, 2011

DELUSIONS OF GRANDMA, by Carrie Fisher, is warmly received at The Tribune Express.

Bolster your coffee tables, grunge fans, for PEARL JAM TWENTY.

The Guardian lays out what’s new in books about chess history and chess strategy.

And Bob Edwards’ memoir, A VOICE IN THE BOX: MY LIFE IN RADIO, is what’s up for review at the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

Monday Morning LitLinks

Monday, September 26th, 2011

Liesl Schillinger profiles novelist Jeffrey Eugenides. (The Daily Beast / Newsweek)

Sterling Lord looks back at the intersection of Ken Kesey and Jack Kerouac. (The American Scholar)

Levi Asher wonders whatever happened to the legacy of Auguste Compte. (Literary Kicks)

Alice-Azania Jarvis looks at what happens “when memoirs turn ugly.” (The Independent)

Jake Kerridge rounds up some notable reissues. (The Telegraph)

Chang-rae Lee and Wilbert Rideau take the 2011 Dayton Literary Peace Prize for fiction and non-fiction, respectively. (NYTimes)

Maryann Yin reports on some writing tips delivered by war novelists at the Brooklyn Book Festival. (GalleyCat)

Canongate defends its decision to publish Julian Assange’s memoir. (Guardian Books Blog)

“On this day in 1957 West Side Story opened at Broadway’s Winter Garden Theater for a run of 732 performances. Jerome Robbins first saw his modern Romeo and Juliet as a Jewish-Catholic conflict fought on New York City’s east side; when the switch was made to Puerto Rican-”American” and the west side, Leonard Bernstein said he started to “hear rhythms and pulses” and “feel the form.”" (Today in Literature)

Saturday Quote of the Night

Saturday, September 24th, 2011

“Books are the carriers of civilization. Without books, history is silent, literature dumb, science crippled, thought and speculation at a standstill.”

-Barbara W. Tuchman




Saturday Evening Book Reviews

Saturday, September 24th, 2011

Ali Smith’s latest novel, THERE BUT FOR THE, ignites on a very funny premise and impresses The Washington Post.

THE SIBLING EFFECT: BROTHERS, SISTERS, AND THE BONDS THAT DEFINE US, by Jeffrey Kluger, warrants an in-depth look by The New York Times.

Kirkus bestows a star upon Dominic Smith’s historical novel, BRIGHT AND DISTANT SHORES.

And the Library Journal rolls out a new selection for their Xpress Reviews feature.

Saturday Morning LitLinks

Saturday, September 24th, 2011

Bob Vila talks about his role in the restoration of Finca Vigía, Ernest Hemingway’s country home in Cuba. (Bob Vila)

Will the HarperCollins backlist spice up the Espresso Book Machine? (Publishers Weekly)

This just in: a Man Booker shortlist nomination is good for business. (The Bookseller)

Carolyn Kellogg charts the “unusual career arc” of Tom Bissell. (Jacket Copy)

The NEA shares some good (and rather surprising) news on American reading habit. (

Andrew Leonard is not impressed with the “accessible” version of Neal Stephenson. (Salon)

Christine Oliver presents an interactive guide to the 100 people with the “greatest influence over the UK’s reading habits.” (The Guardian)

Spend one minute with travel writer Duncan Fallowell. (The Independent)

“On this day in 1991 Theodor Seuss Geisel died, at the age of eighty-seven. Geisel turned to children’s books in his late twenties, when his job creating ads for “Flit” insect repellent — his “Quick, Henry, the Flit!” became a household slogan across America — left him well-off and bored. The next fifty years brought forty-eight books, three Oscars, two Emmys and a Pulitzer.” (Today in Literature)

Friday Quote of the Night

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

“Only in our dreams are we free. The rest of the time we need wages.”

-Terry Pratchett