Archive for April, 2012

Monday Quote of the Night

Monday, April 30th, 2012

“Brevity is the soul of lingerie.”

- Dorothy Parker

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Monday Evening Book Reviews

Monday, April 30th, 2012

Kate Peterson says Elizabeth Ellen’s 94-story collection, Fast Machine, is “not for the faint of heart.” (The Rumpus)

Tom Bower sets off on a quest for a celebrity’s “Rosebud” in Sweet Revenge: The Intimate Life of Simon Cowell, but Marina Hyde comes away not knowing much more than she did when she cracked it open. (The Guardian)

Craig Fehrman declares Jonathan Franzen’s essay collection, Farther Away, “beautifully written, but bland.” (San Francisco Chronicle)

Janet Maslin says there is “something jolting at work” in Christopher Buckley’s satire They Eat Puppies, Don’t They?. (NYTimes)

Monday Morning LitLinks

Monday, April 30th, 2012

Stephen King sides with Warren Buffett, but with more cursing. (The Daily Beast)

Shelley’s Ghost: The Afterlife of a Poet is the New York Public Library’s featured exhibit until June 24th. (The Smart Set)

Author, Kate Summerscale, is interviewed on her latest, MRS. ROBINSON’S DISGRACE. (The Telegraph)

There’s a new Ian McEwan story to be had at (The New Yorker)

Hmmm. What’s e-brewing, I wonder? Microsft drops $300 million into Nook. (The Daily Beast)

… a bit more on the subject from (NPR)

Poet, Matt Rasmussen, wins the Walt Whitman Award which recognizes a talent that has not yet published a book. (The Minneapolis Star Tribune)

Buzz Bissinger’s Byliner piece, AFTER FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS, gets lost in the tangle of everybody watching everybody’s prices. (The New York Times)

Suzanne Collins’ THE HUNGER GAMES (and sequels) has been a shot in the arm for Scholastic. (Yahoo! News)

Pittsburgh fixture, Mystery Lover’s Bookshop, gets a long-distance owner in the eleventh hour. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

It’s a dog’s life: Uggie the canine star, gets a deal for his memoir. Don’t ask me. I just link to the stuff. (The Chicago Sun-Times)

Diane Keaton adds a new foreword to her memoir, THEN AGAIN, on how she wrote the book in the first place. (The Huffington Post)

“On this day in 1642, courtier, soldier, and gentleman-poet, Richard Lovelace presented the Kentish Petition to Parliament — a Royalist document calling for the restoration of the rights of King Charles I — and was promptly imprisoned for it…” (Today In Literature)

Sunday Quote of the Night

Sunday, April 29th, 2012

“It is art that makes life, makes interest, makes importance… and I know of no substitute whatever for the force and beauty of its process.”

- Henry James

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Sunday Evening Book Reviews

Sunday, April 29th, 2012

Susan Wloszczyna awards three stars to Sissy Spacek’s memoir, My Extraordinary Ordinary Life. (USAToday)

Never Fall Down, by Patricia McCormick, impresses Susan Carpenter for its “detailed look at what it was like to live under such a cruel government from the perspective of one of its best-known survivors, Arn Chorn Pond.” (LATimes)

Lucy Beresford calls Elif Shafak “an unflinching writer,” and her novel, Honour, “a gripping exploration of the darkest aspects of faith and love.” (The Telegraph)

Lev Grossman says that Laurent Binet’s HHhH‘s “quirky, clever, stunt-yness is typical of what tempered with uneasiness my enjoyment of this otherwise smart and accomplished book.” (TIME)

Sunday Morning LitLinks

Sunday, April 29th, 2012

Just a bookstore… there’s no such thing. A shop and a dream closes in Peshawar. (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty)

Author, Toni Morrison, is among this year’s recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. (The New York Times)

The Guardian posts its picks for the 10 best first lines in literature. (The Guardian)

The London Book Fair through the eyes of House of Anansi. (The National Post)

Short stories on the iTunes model? I can see that. (GalleyCat)

Former Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, is interviewed about her most bookish thoughts at (The New York Times)

The publishing industry fiddles with Pinterest to see how it could work for them. (Publishers Weekly)

Margaret Atwood, as only she can, extends the secrets of American inner-workings to the Martians. (The New York Times)

… and her name comes up again, as her WANDERING WENDA stories are adapted for television. (Quill & Quire)

Buying reviews on Amazon – verrrry depressing. (Dear Author)

“On this day in 1980 Alfred Hitchcock died at the age of eighty. Hitchcock averaged a film a year for over fifty years, and all but a handful of them began as a short story, novel or play. While many films came from ‘shocker’ or noir writers such as Robert Bloch (Psycho) and Cornell Woolrich (Rear Window), or more mainstream suspense writers such as Daphne du Maurier (The Birds, Rebecca), John Buchan (The Thirty-Nine Steps) and Patricia Highsmith (Strangers on a Train), a surprising number came from more famous or literary types — Conrad, Steinbeck, Galsworthy, Maugham, Wyndham Lewis, Sean O’Casey and others. Hitchcock worked with Thornton Wilder, and tried to work with Raymond Chandler, and wanted to work with Hemingway…” (Today In Literature)

Friday Quote of the Night

Friday, April 27th, 2012

“I get angry about things, then go on and work.”

- Toni Morrison

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Friday Evening Book Reviews

Friday, April 27th, 2012

Melissa Maerz gives Toni Morrison’s latest, Home, an A-, noting that is  told “in the stark, economical tone of a short story, with all the philosophical heft of a novel.” (EW.com)

Alec Russell discovers an “impassioned account of Bosnia’s divided and violent past” in The War is Dead, Long Live the War: Bosnia, the Reckoning by Ed Vulliamy. (Financial Times)

Martin Ruben says that to read Nobel Laureate Nadine Gorimer’s latest, No Time Like the Present, is to “plunge into the caldron that is South Africa today, a chaotic now which cannot avoid the dark shadow of a heavy past…” (Chicago Tribune)

With the weekend coming up, check out Jimmy So’s “Hot Reads” of the week. (The Daily Beast)

Afternoon Viewing: Shel Silverstein sings Ickle Me, Pickle Me, Tickle Me, Too

Friday, April 27th, 2012

Friday Morning LitLinks

Friday, April 27th, 2012

The Edgars for 2011 have been awarded! (TheEdgars.com)

While the 2012 Commonwealth Book Prize offers up its list of nominees. (Quill & Quire)

Here are eleven works of aer & literature that withered under brutal reviews and went on to become classics. (Mental Floss)

Animated maps could be a wonderful enhancement for eTextbooks. (School Library Journal)

The film critics aren’t too impressed, but Slate thinks Edgar Allan Poe may have loved Cusack’s The Raven. (Slate)

… and The Atlantic chimes in on the subject, as well. (The Atlantic)

The publishing industry is undoubtedly in flux, and Amazon may have a huge influence is what it will become, says (The Guardian)

And THE SISTERS BROTHERS, by Patrick DeWitt, takes the Leacock Prize. (bookguys)

Jan Wong lost her deal at the very threshold of publication. Now, Wong returns with her memoir, OUT OF THE BLUE. (Quill & Quire)

It’s still weird, but also still kinda cool. More structures made from books. (flavorwire)

Pearson’s counter to the DOJ/Amazon-muscle lawsuit is claiming big teeth and sharp claws. We shall see. (GalleyCat)

“On this day in 1882 Ralph Waldo Emerson died, at the age of seventy-eight. Though Emerson’s last decade was one of increasing debility — aphasia and senile dementia — it was also one of international accolade. The Sage of Concord was still invited to speak across America and Europe, and he was still able to pack them in, though many came to see and honor rather than to hear the old talks on the familiar themes, redelivered now only with the prompts of his daughter…” (Today In Literature)

Thursday Quote of the Night

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

“Before people complain of the obscurity of modern poetry, they should first examine their consciences and ask themselves with how many people and on how many occasions they have genuinely and profoundly shared some experience with another.”

- W.H. Auden

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Thursday Evening Book Reviews

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

Steven Heller peruses “the the quirks and artifacts of Freemasons, Elks, and their ilk” in Adam Parfrey and Craig Heimbichner’s Ritual America: Secret Brotherhoods and Their Influence on American Society. (The Atlantic)

Anthony Cummings declares Peter Stramm’s “tale of lust and deceit,” Seven Years, “an existentialist classic in the making.” (The Telegraph)

Michael Dirda finds “great fun” in Christopher Fowler’s new mystery, The Memory of Blood. (The Washington Post)

Helen Keller in Love, a fictional account of the icon’s love life by Rosie Sultan, “will surely prompt controversy” as the threads “don’t weave together to make an entirely credible read,” according to Holly Weiss. (Blogcritics)

Thursday Morning LitLinks

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

Wonder what Henry David Thoreau would think of a video game based on his WALDEN work? (GalleyCat)

Here’s a sneak peek at Dan Rather’s new memoir, RATHER OUTSPOKEN. (The Charlotte Observer)

YA novels, old-school style: here are 25 classics for teenaged readers. (The Telegraph)

… and Fiona McCade champions some banned and questioned books as fine for younger readers in (The Scotsman)

Margaret Atwood talks about the film adaptation of PAYBACK: DEBT AND THE SHADOW SIDE OF WEALTH at (Salon)

The inaugural NYC Literary Honors are awarded by Mayor Michael Bloomberg. (The New York Times)

But Robert McCrum is a little bit over literary awards. (The Guardian)

David Simon echos some of the sentiments on Harlan Ellison’s famous rant on paying authors, but with less cursing. (GalleyCat)

The meteoric success of EL James’ 50 SHADES OF GREY emboldens Ebury to revive its erotica imprint, Black Lace. (The Bookseller)

Occupy LA gets supposed with a ‘Closed” sign on Skylight Books’ front door. (Publishers Weekly)

“On this day in 1893 Anita Loos was born. Loos started writing scenarios for D. W. Griffith while she was in her teens, and eventually worked on over sixty films, but her most enduring creation is her 1925 novel, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. The play, musical or film versions may be better-known, but the book was an immediate hit and soon translated into over a dozen languages…” (Today In Literature)

Wednesday Evening Book Reviews

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

David V Barrett goes between the covers of Glyn Parry’s The Arch-Conjuror of England: John Dee. (The Independent)

Alexandra Yurkovsky reviews a trio of collections released during National Poetry Month: Dana Gioia’s Pity the Beautiful, A.E. Stallings’ Olives and Jonathan Galassi’s Left-Handed. (San Francisco Chronicle)

Nicole Weaver declares The Girl Who Fell from the Sky by Heidi W. Durrow “a handy resource for anyone looking to getting a genuine look at what it means to be of mixed race.” (seattlepi.com)

In Jeff Ragsdale’s Jeff, One Lonely Guy, “we relate face-to-face — more accurately, device-to-device — with the man with the iPad in the café, the woman on the train clicking through her cell phone, the executive who can’t stand to be away from his Blackberry for one minute, the teen who sends hundreds of texts a day,” writes Joel Drucker. (Huffington Post)

Book Review: Alex Adams’ WHITE HORSE

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

I was lucky enough to get a sneak peek at an advanced copy of WHITE HORSE (which hit bookstores last Tuesday) but decided to hold on to my review until you could get your hands on it. ‘Cause you’re going to want to.

If you survived the end of the world, what would you become? Surely you don’t imagine you’d remain the very same you, the you that you’ve come to know and love (and self-loathe at intervals.) Would you become a hero? A hermit? Or perhaps a looter, or a lunatic?

What is there left after every achievement you’ve gained in life becomes meaningless and you’re stranded on the ashy other side of all you’ve ever known? Once someone (or something) has pushed the reset button on civilization, who will you be? And what will you cling to?

Hopefully, these kinds of questions are all just hypothetical exercises for us here on AuthorScoop, but as I’ve always said, fiction is the best way to exercise your mental muscles for empathy, outrage, compassion, judgment, and interpretation. As such, Alex Adams’ WHITE HORSE is one hell of a workout.

In her debut novel, Adams treads a tightrope of excellent words over an abyss of death and destruction. And what little umbrella does she employ to balance against the gusts? Hope.

WHITE HORSE tells the story of Zoe Marshall’s trek across a world ravaged by a disease dubbed White Horse. She goes through wicked trials in her trans-Atlantic journey, fighting despair and digging for decency and dignity in her darkest moments. She risks all that’s left in the search for the man she loves, in the hope that he has somehow survived the plague. Zoe jousts villains and collects allies from those who remain – the small percentage of people who have natural immunity from the virus, and also the others, a scattering of the changed: the ones who didn’t die, but didn’t exactly survive, either – not recognizably as themselves, at any rate.

This isn’t for the squeamish. But what apocalypse really is, if we’re being honest?

Highly recommended.

Get it at your favorite place to buy books. If that’s online, start here.

5 Minutes Alone… With Alex Adams

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

Alex AdamsWHITE HORSE is one of the most highly anticipated releases for 2012. And now it’s here. Hailed as post-apocalyptic fiction at its finest, readers hungry for pulse-pounding what-if scenarios are getting their dose of handsomely-worded poison (and antidote) from the genre’s newest star. The first in a trilogy of of stories on what happens after a biological Armageddon, WHITE HORSE is one to watch for on the bestseller lists.

We’d like to thank Alex for taking the time to be part of our “5 Minutes Alone” interview series.

AuthorScoop: What was your very first publication credit?

Alex: Does my high school theater class retelling of The Wizard of Oz count? No? Rats! In that case, White Horse is my very first publication credit.

AuthorScoop: Tell us about your latest release.

Alex: White Horse is an apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic thriller for the adult market, though it definitely dips several toes into the Horror genre, too. Zoe, my protagonist, flees to Europe in search of her lost love as the world’s population is dying of a horrifying disease. Her journey is complicated by her unexpected pregnancy and the companions she collects along the way. You won’t find zombies in White Horse’s pages, but those who contract the virus and survive are definitely…different.

AuthorScoop: Aside from your own hard work, who (or what) else do you feel has contributed to your success?

Alex: If I was at the Academy Awards right now, making an acceptance speech, I’d probably say something along the lines of: “I’d like to thank my whole life.” Every experience I’ve ever had–good and bad–and every person I’ve ever known has brought me to this place and time. Most notably, though, my agent Alexandra Machinist and my editor Emily Bestler get a lion’s share of the credit. Every piece of their input made my story stronger.

And my fiance, Bill, of course. He’s the reason Lisa is blind (sorry, Lisa, he was right!) His insight, support, and astounding talent at ordering pizza has been invaluable.

AuthorScoop: At what time of day or night do you do your best writing?

Alex: I’m most definitely a morning person–the earlier the better. By mid-afternoon my attention is waning and all I want to do is look at cats with funny captions.

AuthorScoop: Finally, what advice would you give to new or unpublished writers?

Alex: Don’t be in such a huge hurry. Writing is a craft, and it takes time to learn–and successfully conceal–all the underpinnings. A “no” now isn’t necessarily a “no” forever. All it means is that you’re not ready yet. Everything can change with the next manuscript.

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WHITE HORSE is available, well, everywhere. You can (and should) get your copy at your favorite bookstore, or even when you go pick up vitamins and deck cushions at Target. For all things WHITE HORSE and Alex Adams, including convenient links to online retailers for the book’s hardcover and electronic editions, check out www.alexadamsbooks.com.

Wednesday Morning LitLinks

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

With no apparent concern for either the impending Mayan Apocalypse or the reportedly inevitable Publishing one, Random House stakes its claim on its Manhattan office space until 2023. (The New York Post)

The German State of Bavaria holds the copyright to MEIN KAMPF, and intends to publish one more edition of HItler’s manifesto before it expires in 2015. (BBC)

Can a heterosexual novel do justice to homosexual characters? Nobel winner, Herta Müller, has given it a go in THE HUNGER ANGEL. (Salon)

John Grisham attempts to explain baseball to foreigners so that they can better enjoy his novel, CALICO JOE. (The Huffington Post)

Cassandra Neace talks about meeting her writerly heroes over at (BookRiot)

In a bold move that was bound to happen sooner or later, Sci-Fi/Fantasy publishing titan, Tor/Forge is set to go DRM-free for their entire catalog of ebooks. (tor.com)

… which will go well with a new Nook Simple Touch with Glow Light, which David Pogue says is the ereader cake and eating it, too. (The New York Times)

… while Andrew Lasowsky makes the case for Facebook buying up Nook altogether in (The Huffington Post)

Christopher Hitchens’ last book, ARGUABLY, misses out on the Orwell Prize shortlist. (The Guardian)

… but here’s what made it on. (The Orwell Prize)

The estate of Philip K. Dick revives its lawsuit against the makes of the film, The Adjustment Bureau. (The Guardian)

“On this day in 1898 William S. Porter — the drug store clerk, cowboy, fugitive, bank teller, cartoonist and future ‘O. Henry’ — began a five-year prison sentence for embezzlement. Porter had published several stories prior to his prison term, but the fourteen written behind bars represented a new style and quality, and began his rise to popularity…” (Today In Literature)

Tuesday Quote of the Night

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

“I can’t understand these chaps who go round American universities explaining how they write poems: It’s like going round explaining how you sleep with your wife.”

― Philip Larkin

Tuesday Evening Book Reviews

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

Peter Craven says of Jeffrey Archer’s The Sins of the Father: “God knows how fiction this humble scintillates and sizzles but it does.” (Sydney Morning Herald)

Susan Carpenter finds “a prequel that is well crafted and elegantly written, yet playful” in The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict by Trenton Lee Stewart. (LATimes)

Martin Chilton calls Jack Lasenby’s Uncle Trev And His Whistling Bull “a charming tale, full of tall stories.” (The Telegraph)

Chris Lites observes that Daniel Levin Becker “goes where few have gone” in Many Subtle Channels: In Praise of Potential Literature. (The Rumpus)

Afternoon Viewing: This Guy Will Sharpen Your Pencils…

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

…for about $15 a piece. Watch and learn.