Archive for January, 2012

Tuesday Quote of the Night

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

“Your memory is a monster; you forget – it doesn’t. It simply files things away. It keeps things for you, or hides things from you – and summons them to your recall with a will of its own. You think you have a memory; but it has you!”

- John Irving




Tuesday Evening Book Reviews

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

M. Rebekah Otto is quite enamored with John Jeremiah Sullivan’s collection of essays, Pulphead, going so far as to call it “a landmark debut of a new genre, invented by others but perfected here.” (The Rumpus)

Brian Dillon gets a kick out of the farcical debut novel by Will Wiles, Care of Wooden Floors. (The Telegraph)

Chris Erskine takes an entertaining trip through Steve Boman’s Film School: A Memoir That Will Change Your Life. (LATimes)

Dwight Garner peruses a new translation of The Kama Sutra, now with no drawings but plenty of explicit text. (NYTimes)

Tuesday Morning LitLinks

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

Sir Geoffrey Hill chews on Britain’s Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy. (The Telegraph)

And Geoff Dyer runs Julian Barnes through with a blunt instrument. (Bryan Appleyard)

A diagramming of the struggle a self-published authors face over being taken seriously. (The Huffington Post)

Salon looks at moralizing and point-making in fiction. (Salon Magazine)

McGraw-Hill and its tentacles release last year’s earnings numbers. (Yahoo Finance)

The Scotsman interviews John Brockman on the development of electronic reading. (The Scotsman)

A look at the life and opinions of Adam Phillips. (Bookslut)

On the street where he lived: Dr. Seuss’ legacy from the starting point. (The New York Times)

Occupy Wall Street gets books to gutted Tucson library. (GalleyCat)

“On this day in 1948, J. D. Salinger’s ‘A Perfect Day for Bananafish’ was published in the New Yorker; in the same magazine, on the same day in 1953, Salinger’s ‘Teddy’ also appeared. These are the first and last selections in Nine Stories (1953), Salinger’s only collection apart from various bootlegged editions of the other, forty-odd stories…” (Today In Literature)

Monday Quote of the Night

Monday, January 30th, 2012

“If human nature does alter it will be because individuals manage to look at themselves in a new way. Here and there people — a very few people, but a few novelists are among them — are trying to do this. Every institution and vested interest is against such a search: organized religion, the state, the family in its economic aspect, have nothing to gain, and it is only when outward prohibitions weaken that it can proceed: history conditions it to that extent. “

-E.M. Forster

Monday Evening Book Reviews

Monday, January 30th, 2012

David Annand finds Roy Kesey’s Pacazi “a punishing novel”  but worth it. (The Telegraph)

Jeff Giles gives Katherine Boo’s Behind the Beautiful Forevers a solid A. (

Heft, by Liz Moore, leaves a mostly positive impression on Katie Crouch. (San Francisco Chronicle)

Andy Woog gets past a few issues with Stewart O’Nan’s The Odds: A Love Story. (Seattle Times)

Monday Morning LitLinks

Monday, January 30th, 2012

The deadline for contributions to World Book Night 2012 is nigh. Like really, freakin’ nigh. Like day after tomorrow nigh. (

Stieg Larsson and his dragon-tattooed girl set them rolling, but Quercus Publishing is still the object in motion. (

Jonathan Franzen hates ereaders and ebooks. Some people think he’s dead wrong. (The Telegraph)

And The Atlantic takes it a step further and upwards for electronic reading – into The Cloud as is were. (The Atlantic)

The Guardian muses on a little trimming in the fat-classics department. (The Guardian)

What if there were no Barnes & Noble? (The New York Times)

Preview what’s on tap for March’s meeting of The Association of American Publishers. (

Cory Doctorow dishes on the problem on DRM shackles in electronic publishing. (Publishers Weekly)

NYU shares what books it’s most anticipating in 2012. (NYULOCAL)

Author Alain de Botton champions atheist churches. (The Telegraph)

“On this day in 1933 Ezra Pound met with Benito Mussolini. This was a brief, one-time talk, but it would bring out the worst in Pound’s personality and lead to personal disaster; it would also inspire some of the best of modern poetry….” (Today In Literature)

Sunday Quote of the Night

Sunday, January 29th, 2012

Through art then, one finally establishes contact with reality: that is the great discovery. Here all is play and invention; there is no solid foothold from which to launch the projectiles which will pierce the miasma of folly, ignorance and greed. The world has not to be put in order: the world is order incarnate. It is for us to put ourselves in unison with this order, to know what is the world order in contradistinction to the wishful-thinking orders which we seek to impose on one another. The power which we long to possess, in order to establish the good, the true and the beautiful, would prove to be, if we could have it, but the means of destroying one another. It is fortunate that we are powerless.”

-Henry Miller


Sunday Evening Book Reviews

Sunday, January 29th, 2012

AP book reviewers team up to rate a quartet of mysteries and thrillers. (Chicago Sun-Times)

David Evans finds Anthony Summers’ Official and Confidential: The Secret Life of J Edgar Hoover “more exciting, and more damning” than the recent Clint Eastwood Film. (The Independent)

Mary Midgley ponders The Science Delusion, by Rupert Sheldrake. (The Guardian)

Jeanette Winterson suggests Frederick Turner’s Renegade: Henry Miller and the Making of “Tropic of Cancer” amounts to “a new round of mythmaking.” (NYTimes)

Lynell George recognizes the “pitch and cadence” of Gil Scott-Heron’s “unmistakable burnished baritone” in The Last Holiday : A Memoir. (LATimes)

Sunday Morning LitLinks

Sunday, January 29th, 2012

February will be the launch-pad calendar page for The Month of Letters and a push to revive the art of letter writing. (GalleyCat)

Author, Alec Wilkinson, has a chat with Amazon about his new book, THE ICE BALLOON. (

John Lanchester chews on why John Updike might be too good a writer. (London Review of Books)

Some clown hollowed out a bunch of books and put 36 pounds of cocaine where the words should have been. (

The NY Times profiles poet, John Galassi. (The New York Times)

A year in the life of House of Anansi Press. (The National Post)

Edward St. Aubyn’s congenital silver spoon stirs his imagination and typing fingers to skewer the upper class. (Slate)

Q & A with Walter Mosley in… (The Chicago Sun Times)

“On this day in 1728 John Gay’s The Beggar’s Opera opened in London. Its satire and singability made it a first-run sell-out, a cultural craze across England, the most produced play of the 18th century, and the original ‘ballad opera,’ first in the Gilbert and Sullivan line. Within the first week one London paper was reporting ‘a very general Applause, insomuch that the Waggs say it hath made Rich [the theater manager] very Gay, and probably will make Gay very Rich.’…” (Today In Literature)

Saturday Morning LitLinks

Saturday, January 28th, 2012

From the Odd Files: Someone pretended to be Cormac McCarthy on Twitter. (GalleyCat)

Bloomsbury set to launch new imprint. (The Bookseller)

Henry Miller’s, TROPIC OF CANCER, is a hot topic at the NYTimes podcast feature. (The New York Times)

COMANDO: THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF JOHNNY RAMONE is set to hit the shelves in April. (January Magazine)

We had naked librarians for charity. Now it’s naked poets. (The Huffington Post)

B&N’s Nook to cross The Pond to Waterstones. (CrainsNewYork)

Tick off the President, hit the the bestseller lists. Ask Jan Brewer how. (Politico)

A reflection on the impact of Gertrude Stein at (The New York Times)

“On this day in 1873 Colette (Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette) was born outside Paris. Even given her mythologizing, and her intentional blurring of the lines in her autobiographical fiction, Colette’s full and sensational life made her one of the most popular writers and personalities in the first half of the twentieth century. She wrote over fifty books, and is credited and blamed with much…” (Today In Literature)

Friday Evening Book Reviews

Friday, January 27th, 2012

Stephen Howe finds Bill Schwarz’s The White Man’s World an excellent first step in a planned three-volume set of historical studies.  (The Independent)

David Blair finds some hope for the Middle East in a triple-shot review of three books on The Arab Spring. (The Telegraph)

Nicholas Lezard declares The Oxford Book of Parodies an “essential, pretty much unputdownable anthology.” (The Guardian)

Steve Kistulentz heaps the praise on Adam Goldbarth’s new volume of poetry, Everyday People. (The Rumpus)

Friday Morning LitLinks

Friday, January 27th, 2012

Will Maurice Sendak save us from children’s books by Stephen Colbert? Tune in to find out. (GalleyCat)

Caldecott and Newbery winners tell us what it’s like to answer the phone and get the big news. (Publishers Weekly)

The state of poetry in China gives rise to a cause to nurture it. (

Random House UK editor, Rebecca Carter, switches tracks and becomes a literary agent. (Publishing Perspectives)

Publishing Trends recaps this year’s Digital Book World events. (

The London Book Review posts a a poem about Sherlock Holmes. (lrb)

Buy a good review? Say it isn’t so. (The New York Times)

How Chris Evans learned to love books. (The Telegraph)

The Museum of Modern Art in New York hosts a new exhibit devoted to print works. (The Los Angeles Times)

Simon Garfield rates the fonts. (

“On this day in 1722 Daniel Defoe’s Moll Flanders was published. Defoe’s title page is one of literature’s longest come-hithers, and casts a wide net: ‘The Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Famous Moll Flanders &c who was born at Newgate, and during a Life of continued Variety for Threescore Years, besides her Childhood, was Twelve Year a Whore, five time a Wife (whereof once to her own Brother), Twelve Year a Thief, Eight Year a Transported Felon in Virginia, at last grew rich, liv’d Honest, and died a Penitent.’…” (Today In Literature)

Thursday Quote of the Night

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

“I find that by putting things in writing I can understand them and see them a little more objectively…For words are merely tools and if you use the right ones you can actually put even your life in order, if you don’t lie to yourself and use the wrong words. “

-Hunter S. Thompson



Thursday Evening Book Reviews

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

Susan Balée finds Jo Nesbø’s Leopard “a moral slough” due to its depiction of violence against women. (

Bob Minzesheimer says The Fault of Our Stars, by John Green, is not a “cancer book.” (USAToday)

William Landay’s thriller Defending Jacob scores a B+ from Thom Geier. (

Tom Rob Smith closes his trilogy with a bang in Agent 6. (LATimes)

Thursday Morning LitLinks

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

Vladimir Putin compiles a 100 book to-be-read stack for Russian students. (The Guardian)

“There were more books published this week than there were in all of 1950.” Wow. (GalleyCat)

You’ll look silly if you confuse Shakespeare with The Telegraph’s chief book reviewer. (The Telegraph)

New York City’s mayor, Michael Bloomberg, has his reading tastes reviewed. (The New York Times)

A closer look as to why Andrew Miller’s, PURE, was awarded the Costa Prize. (The Telegraph)

If Scotland leaves, it’s taking its literature with it. (The Guardian)

Sesame Street joins forces with Random House to make ebooks for early readers. (

The Indian media weighs in on the Salman Rushdie mess in Jaipur. (The Wall Street Journal)

Mid-grade author, Peter Johnson, chats with Kirkus. (Kirkus Reviews)

Here’s a peek at the mansions of fifteen famous writers. (flavorwire)

A writer’s research leaves him scalded by the state of human trafficking. (The Huffington Post)

Apps and the publishing industry, a love/hate relationship. (The Bookseller)

“On this day in 1788 Captain Arthur Phillip brought the first British convict ships to anchor in Botany Bay, Australia. Over the next eighty years 825 such ships would bring 160,000 men and women to serve their “transportation” sentence — seven years for most, fourteen or life for some, no time at all for the significant number unable to survive the eight-month voyage. Captain Phillip went on to become the first Governor of Australia, and today became Australia Day…” (Today In Literature)

Wednesday Quote of the Night

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

“Call it vanity, call it arrogant presumption, call it what you wish, but I would grope for the nearest open grave if I had no newspaper to work for, no need to search for and sometimes find the winged word that just fits, no keen wonder over what each unfolding day may bring.”

- Bob Considine




Wednesday Evening Book Reviews

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

John Banville declares Philip Larkin’s “death certificate and memorial combined,” The Complete Poems, an “exhaustive, awe-inspiring monument” to the poet. (The Guardian)

Adam Gallari finds “a relatively successful effort” at fiction in playwright Alan Bennett’s comedic collection, Smut. (The Rumpus)

Rebecca Armstrong calls Tom Benn’s The Doll Princess a “madly bloody but sometimes brilliant book.” (The Independent)

Art Taylor takes a wild ride through Bret Lott’s Dead Low Tide—”here a murder mystery, there a late-blooming coming-of-age tale, suddenly a political thriller, intermittently a romance.” (The Washington Post)

Wednesday Morning LitLinks

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

Andrew Miller takes the Costa Award for his novel, PURE. (The Guardian)

… and it was a wrangle amongst the judges, too. Here are the top five literary prize battles, according to (The Telegraph)

For all it’s worth, Washington, DC is (once again) the most literate city in the US. (USA Today)

… and in the city, a famous bookstore, Politics & Prose, sets up a business model and cultivates a culture that seems to work, even in this economy. (The Atlantic)

Hey! They get their ideas from somewhere, you know. 11 Academy Award nominees are novel adaptations. (The Huffington Post)

Here’s a list of good books to watch for, coming this year from Down Under. (Library journal)

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt joins hands with The Devil. Wait. That’s not right. It’s just Amazon. (GalleyCat)

A turkey, not metaphorical, but flapping and gobbling, breaks into a South Dakota library. (The Huffington Post)

Author, Charla Krupp, dies at age 58. RIP. (The New York Daily News)

“On this day in 1759 Robert Burns was born in Alloway, Scotland, and on this night lovers of Burns or Scotland or conviviality will gather around the world to celebrate the fact. Burns was elevated to national hero in his lifetime and cult figure soon afterwards, the first Burns Night celebration occurring almost immediately upon his death. This is due partly to the poetry and partly to the legendary details of the ploughman-poet life — his years as a poor tenant farmer; his enthusiasm for women (fifteen children, six born out of wedlock)…” (Today In Literature)

Tuesday Quote of the Night

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

“Novelists do not write as birds sing, by the push of nature. It is part of the job that there should be much routine and some daily stuff on the level of carpentry.”

- William Golding




Tuesday Evening Book Reviews

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

Toby Clements offers up a quadruple-shot of historical fiction reviews. (The Telegraph)

In Elliot Perlman’s The Street Sweeper, Malcolm Forbes finds “an epic tale that spans decades and bridges generations while chronicling the predominant chapters of racial persecution perpetrated in the darkest hours of the 20th century.” (San Francisco Chronicle)

Chan Koonchung’s dystopian novel The Fat Years (translated from the Chinese by Michael S. Duke) impresses David L. Ulin. (LATimes)

Dwight Garner uncovers a “dignified by mild book” in The Mormon People: The Making of an American Faith by Matthew Bowman. (NYTimes)