Archive for March, 2012

Saturday Quote of the Night

Saturday, March 31st, 2012

“Judge the goodness of a book by the energy of the punches it has given you. I believe the greatest characteristic of genius, is, above all, force.”

- Gustave Flaubert



Saturday Evening Book Reviews

Saturday, March 31st, 2012

Leeann Zouras offers up a double-dose of “postapocalyptic” young adult novel reviews: Dan Wells’ Partials and Julianna Baggot’s Pure. (Chicago Sun-Times)

Edmund Gordon has mixed feelings on Peter Carey’s The Chemistry of Tears, saying that the author’s “storytelling skills are on display in a novel of love, grief and automata, but the tale lacks a human heart.” (The Guardian)

Korina Lopez awards Kate Alcot’s The Dressmaker 3 and 1/2 stars: “Seamlessly stitching fact and fiction together, Alcott creates a hypnotic tale.” (USAToday)

Upon experiencing Mark Leyner’s The Sugar Frosted Nutsack, Ben Marcus declares the author “either a genius or a freak, and it may not matter which, because his books are compulsively readable, created by a literary mind that seems to have no precedent.” (NYTimes)

Saturday Morning LitLinks

Saturday, March 31st, 2012

Previously unpublished Vonnegut short sees the light of e-day as a Kindle Single. (GalleyCat)

Is there a climate that advances a literary “relationship” novel written by a man over the many dozens written by women? (The New York Times)

Here’s a graphed summary of Don DeLillo’s UNDERWORLD in a handy pie-chart. (Publishers Weekly)

Patricl DeWitt’s THE SISTERS BROTHERS wins the literary March Madness event from The Morning News. (GalleyCat)

If you’re bold enough to brag on your diet drill sargentness (for your seven year old) you just might get a big book deal and a write-up in Vogue, Salon, and (The New York Times)

When hoarding meets philosophical OCD in a book strewn room: (The Guardian)

BookRiot culls wise lines from Shakespeare to guard against the foolishness due tomorrow. (BookRiot)

A New York Post reporter gives up her source to defend her boss. (The Gawker)

Here’s a short story written by a fictional character as presented on Facebook by (The Atlantic)

“On this day in 1631 John Donne died, aged fifty-eight or possibly fifty-nine. Much of Donne’s most often-quoted writing is on the topic of death – the ‘for whom the bell tolls’ Meditation, the ‘Death be not proud’ sonnet – and his biographers note that his last ten or twelve years reveal an enthusiasm for the memento mori theme…” (Today In Literature)

Friday Morning LitLinks

Friday, March 30th, 2012

Adrienne Rich will be missed. Here’s a profile of her life and work at (The Telegraph)

…and she’s also honored at (Salon)

As is his habit, Joel Stein sneers at something and annoys people. This time he thinks (or at least says) that adults should stop reading kids’ books. (The New York Times)

If we can learn from our mistakes, let’s make them on purpose. Write the worst sentence you can and show it to (GalleyCat)

The Japanese government seems quite keen on goosing their rather late-adoptering citizens into loving ebooks. (The Mainichi Daily News)

Garrison Keillor expands his bookstore and seems quite giddy about it. (

Toronto’s libraries hold their breath as union workers reach a tentative deal to get the whole business moving again. (Library Journal)

James Parker has been won over to the Dark Age Fantasy side and it’s George R.R. Martin’s fault. (The Atlantic)

Author, Harry Crews, dies at age 76. (The New York Times)

… and here’s a bit more on him, also from (The New York Times)

“On this day in 1880 Sean O’Casey was born, in the working-class ghettos of Dublin that he would later make famous in such plays as The Shadow of a Gunman, Juno and the Paycock, and The Plough and the Stars. Although now less-known, O’Casey’s six-volume autobiography is as personal and compelling as the plays…” (Today In Literature)

Thursday Quote of the Night

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

“Art is the symbol of the two noblest human efforts: to construct and to refrain from destruction.”

- Evelyn Waugh


Thursday Evening Book Reviews

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

Ron Charles says Anne Tyler’s “ability to survey the emotional terrain of grief remains sharp” in her 19th novel, The Beginner’s Goodbye. (Washington Post)

Péter Nádas’s Parallel Stories “illustrates the haphazard, psychological violence of a century of ideology, disruption, and the search for the meaning of personal freedom,” according to Ana Grouverman. (The Rumpus)

While intrigued, Jon Ronson suggests that Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking, by Susan Cain, “can be a bit of a slog, not always a page turner.” (The Guardian)

Andrew Klausner shares his thoughts on The Start-Up of YOU, by LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman. (Forbes)

Thursday Morning LitLinks

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

What happened in 1961 when Evelyn Waugh was sent an advance copy of Joseph Heller’s CATCH-22 to blurb. (

Author, Karen Spears Zacharias, defends her book, A SILENCE OF MOCKINGBIRDS: THE MEMOIR OF A MURDER, about the killing of a child she knew personally. (The Huffington Post)

There seems to be a minor avalanche of books titled THE ________________’S DAUGHTER. The trend is pondered at (The Millions)

There are important academic articles on tap over at (Library Journal)

Author self-promotion – the right way, according to Amanda Hocking. And she should know. (GalleyCat)

A MONSTER CALLS, by Patrick Ness, is the children’s book to watch for this awards season. (The Telegraph)

And Anne Enright sits down for a chat with (The Guardian)

The New Yorker compiles a short primer to honor the work of poet, Adrienne Rich. (The New Yorker)

Poet, Adrienne Rich, dies at age 82. (The Los Angeles Times)

“On this day in 1815, Jane Austen completed Emma, her fourth novel in five years, and the last to appear in her lifetime. Though Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility and Mansfield Park had been popular, anonymously-written novels by provincial women on domestic themes were risky business for publishers, and Austen was offered such poor terms for Emma that she decided to publish it at her own expense…” (Today In Literature)

Wednesday Quote of the Night

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

“Writing is good, thinking is better. Cleverness is good, patience is better.”

- Herman Hesse




Wednesday Evening Book Reviews

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

Lev Grossman cracks open Derf Backderf’s graphic novel My Friend Dahmer for “the creepiness factor” and finds “a devastatingly accurate fictional evocation” of his childhood. (TIME)

Leyla Sanai declares Patrick Flanery’s debut effort, Absolution, “an exceptionally intelligent, multi-layered novel encompassing politics, history, a gripping storyline and complex characters.” (The Independent)

Elysa Gardner discovers accounts “as compassionate as they are witty” in Frank Langella’s Dropped Names: A Memoir. (USAToday)

Dwight Garner says Cheryl Strayed’s Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail is “uplifting, but not in the way of many memoirs, where the uplift makes you feel that you’re committing mental suicide.” (NYTimes)

Wednesday Morning LitLinks

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

David Foster Wallace’s last novel, THE PALE KING, goes to paperback with some previously unpublished additions. (The Millions)

Poetry in Motion is a verse and art revival on New York’s subway system. (The New York Times)

The glitch in the matrix: ebooks are nifty until the “buy” button disappears. Kindle store has the hiccups. (Reuters)

Christopher Hitchens’, ARGUABLY, looks to have the momentum for this year’s Orwell Prize. (The Telegraph)

Holy hell. Who stole the Lorax from Dr. Suess’s widow? (The Gawker)

The ingredients of a bestseller are up for discussion at (The Daily Beast)

Author, Cheryl Strayed, has a chat about her memoir, WILD: FROM LOST TO FOUND ON THE PACIFIC CREST TRAIL, with (The Christian Science Monitor)

Chloe Moretz will be the new Carrie White in the remake of Stephen King’s first success, CARRIE. (

Should sci-fi and fantasy strive for more social (and literary) impact? (The Guardian)

When JK Rowling does ebooks, she does ‘em differently – and maybe better. (gigaom)

“On this day in 1970, James Dickey’s Deliverance was published. Although primarily a poet — thirty collections by the time of his death in 1997, a National Book Award in 1965 for Buckdancer’s Choice — Dickey’s first novel was a best-seller when it appeared, and the movie two years later (Dickey wrote the script and played the Sheriff) was a box-office hit…” (Today In Literature)

Tuesday Quote of the Night

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

“For women . . . poetry is not a luxury. It is a vital necessity of our existence. It forms the quality of light within which we can predicate our hopes and dreams toward survival and change, first made into language, then into idea, then into more tangible action. Poetry is the way we help give name to the nameless so it can be thought. The farthest horizons of our hopes and fears are cobbled by our poems, carved from the rock experiences of our daily lives.”

- Audre Lorde

Tuesday Evening Book Reviews

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

Sunsan Carpenter gets a kick out of Jennifer A. Nielsen’s The False Prince, calling it a “romp of a medieval-themed, middle-grade novel.” (LATimes)

Jeff Greenfield is intrigued by Matt Ruff’s alternate historical novel, Mirage, but ultimately finds it wearisome. (Washington Post)

Catherin Tung says that Jessica Anthony and Rodrigo Corral’s collaboration on Chopsticks “yields a novel that makes our hearts move faster than our brains.” (The Rumpus)

Charles R. Cross finds in Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America “a complicated story, involving four separate defendants, several trials, various appeals, numerous defense attorneys, multiple judges and many different points of law.” (Seattle Times)

Afternoon Viewing: The Birth of a Book

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

Birth of a Book from Glen Milner on Vimeo.

Tuesday Morning LitLinks

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

Julia Otsuka takes the PEN/Faulkner Award for THE BUDDHA IN THE ATTIC. (The New York Times)

How to take critical advice and feedback as per S. King, Orwell, Kerouac, and a few others with names you’ll know. (The Atlantic)

Salman Rushdie stumps for freedom of speech in India. (The Guardian)

Maryland college to offer a new academic track – the minor in genre fiction. (The Baltimore Sun)

Finally, you can get the HARRY POTTER series on your ereader. (GalleyCat)

McSweeney’s has a chat with author, Rebecca Lindenberg. (McSweeney’s)

Mark Zuckerberg has trademarked the work “book”? How’s that again? (Melville House)

Literary nuts n’ bolts: we’ll soon have a look at Bram Stoker’s contract for DRACULA. (The Huffington Post)

After a flash-flood of speculation, the film rights to 50 SHADES OF GREY goes to Focus Features over at Universal Pictures. (Deadline New York)

…and GalleyCat employs the Wayback Machine to track 50 SHADES OF GREY through to its fanfic roots. (GalleyCat)

AMC’s show, Mad Men, is touted as one of the most literary things on TV by (The Telegraph)

Jessica Crispin remembers the ’80s in an article over at (Kirkus Reviews)

“On this day in 1802 William Wordsworth began writing ‘Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood.’ The poem contains some of his most well-known lines and ideas — that ‘the child is father of the man,’ that ‘birth is but a sleep and a forgetting,’ that’ trailing clouds of glory do we come,’ however these must fade…” (Today In Literature)

Monday Quote of the Night

Monday, March 26th, 2012

“Prune what is turgid, elevate what is commonplace, arrange what is disorderly, introduce rhythm where the language is harsh, modify where it is too absolute.”

- Marcus Fabius Quintilianus




Monday Evening Book Reviews

Monday, March 26th, 2012

Jeff Giles finds an engaging memoir that rings true in Jeanette Winterson’s Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal and awards it an A-. (

David Perlmen praises Bernie Krause’s The Great Animal Orchestra: Finding the Origins of Music in the World’s Wild Places as a “literate, often poetic and thoroughly entertaining book.” (San Francisco Chronicle)

Janet Maslin declares The Master Blaster, P.F. Kluge’s new novel, “stingingly funny.” (NYTimes)

Martin Chilton discovers a “thrilling adventure story for young adults set in the world of top-level riding” in Lauren St. John’s The One Dollar Horse. (The Telegraph)

Afternoon Viewing: Tennessee Williams on Biography

Monday, March 26th, 2012

In honor of his birthday, a look at the life of Tennessee Williams -

Monday Morning LitLinks

Monday, March 26th, 2012

A couple of literary birthday’s are flagged for today. Up first? Robert Frost and ten great quotes from the man. (The Christian Science Monitor)

And somehow we missed a look at what self-publishing has done (and can do) for poets. (GalleyCat)

No, you can’t just tweak Penguin’s logo for your self-published book and hope they don’t notice. (27 b/6)

Jack Kerouac’s first novel finally sees a printing press. (January Magazine)

Hatchette Books acquires the rights to Enid Blyton’s literary estate, with one rather major exclusion. (

It had to happen, I guess. They’re going to make a Katniss Barbie. (The Guardian)

Here’s an update on the antitrust case over ebook prices. (The Wall Street Journal)

Love it or hate it, The Daily Mail is top o’ the heap in Britain. How did it happen? (The New Yorker)

Debut author, Nancy Bilyeau, gets written up at (The Chicago Tribune)

And we’ve lost a few. RIP:

Tonino Guerra, screenwriter, dies at age 92. (The Washington Post)

Anotonio Tabucchi, novelist, dies at age 68. (The Nation)

Patience Abbe, children’s author, dies at age 87. (The Kansas City Star)

Bert Sugar, boxing writer, dies at age 74. (The Chicago Tribune)

“On this day in 1892 Walt Whitman died at the age of seventy-two. The high and controversial emotions which surrounded Whitman in life attended his death: in the same issue that carried his obituary, the New York Times declared that he could not be called ‘a great poet unless we deny poetry to be an art’”… (Today In Literature)

Sunday Morning LitLinks

Sunday, March 25th, 2012

The opium muse has drawn many a mighty word from its slaves. (The Telegraph)

A soldier-turned-bestselling-novelist steps forward in another act of courage to forewarn our returning vets. (CNN)

Should one of the Big Three have died in HARRY POTTER? I’ve always thought so and now here’s a take on it from (BookRiot)

Lionel Shriver’s rejected novel, THE NEW REPUBLIC, gets a second chance. (NPR)

January Magazine has a look at Canada’s Bookie Awards. (January Magazine)

Andrew Motion and Anthony Horowitz discuss building on the classics in a podcast feature at (The Guardian)

Eugene O’Neill’s ‘lost play’ is found and produced. (NPR)

Ex-Goldman Sach’s employee is looking for a big payout for his tale of corproate yuck. (The New York Times)

“On this day in 1957, U.S. Customs agents seized 520 copies of Allen Ginsberg’s Howl on the grounds of obscenity. Ginsberg had given the poem its first, legendary reading a year and a half earlier, at Six Gallery in San Francisco. In the audience were many later-famous Beat writers, among them Jack Kerouac, thumping on his wine jug and shouting ‘Go, Go,’ at the end of every long line…” (Today In Literature)

Saturday Quote of the Night

Saturday, March 24th, 2012

“The novel is the one bright book of life. Books are not life. They are only tremulations on the ether. But the novel as a tremulation can make the whole man alive tremble.”

- D.H. Lawrence