Archive for June, 2012

Saturday Morning LitLinks

Saturday, June 30th, 2012

Poetry and the 2012 Olympic games. (The New York Times)

Julian Barnes knows books and bookshops and he’s not lost hope for their survival. (The Guardian)

T.S. Eliot’s personal transformation is traced through a new installment of his personal letters. (The New Statesman)

Author, Kurt Anderson, talks about his first novel-length adventure in first-person story-telling. (The Wall Street Journal)

Mulch, fresh veggies, and books? Meet the new farmers’ market. (Publishers Weekly)

JK Rowling reaches out to her fans to offer comfort and advice against bullying. (GalleyCat)

A collection of letters and photos from Ghandi’s private papers working on nearly $1 million at Sotheby’s. (Booktryst)

BookRiot has some recommended reads for July. (BookRiot)

… and here’s what they loved from June. (BookRiot)

“On this day in 1936, Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind was published. It had been extensively promoted, chosen as the July selection by the Book-of-the-Month Club, and so gushed about in pre-publication reviews — ‘Gone With the Wind is very possibly the greatest American novel,’ said Publisher’s Weekly — that it was certain to sell, though few predicted the sustained, record-breaking numbers. Though she had been eager and active for her fame, Mitchell too was caught off guard…” (Today In Literature)

Friday Evening Book Reviews

Friday, June 29th, 2012

Virginia Rounding goes between the covers of Robert K Massie’s Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman. (Financial Times)

Jonathan Rée gets a brainful of Slavoj Žižek’s take on philosophers and philosophy, concluding that “[I]n the past I have found it hard to dislike Žižek, but after a month’s forced march through Less Than Nothing it seems to be getting easier.” (The Guardian)

Beth Jones declares David Vann’s Dirt “a pitch-perfect, unflinching exploration of a family’s brutal infighting.” (The Telegraph)

Imani Perry finds much to admire in Help Me to Find My People: The African American Search for Family Lost in Slavery, noting that “with each successive chapter the suppleness of (Heather Andrea) Williams’ prose grows.” (NYTimes)

Friday Morning LitLinks

Friday, June 29th, 2012

For publishers, ebook data is a fascinating keyhole into a reader’s world. Fascinating, yeah, and a little creepy, too. (The Wall Street Journal)

The oldest printed atlas of the Americas is recovered after having been stolen in the early 2000s. (The New York Times)

Louisiana cuts off its nose to spite its face by pulling all funding for public libraries. (The Advocate)

Sex on the page: the good, the bad, and the sticky. (The Huffington Post)

Writers Digest diagrams ‘The 13 Trickiest Grammar Hang-Ups’. (Writers Digest)

Colin Powell dishes on his reading habits to (The New York Times)

The upside of NewsCorp’s split, according to HarperCollins CEO, Victoria Barnsley. (The Bookseller)

Tom Perrotta’s THE LEFTOVERS is headed to HBO. (The Hollywood Reporter)

Jennifer Weiner mocks Jeffrey Eugenides. (Salon)

“On this day in 1613, The Globe playhouse, of which Shakespeare was part-owner, burned down. The fire started during a performance of Shakespeare’s Henry the Eighth (also called All This is True) when sparks from a cannon set off to announce the King’s entrance in Act I ignited the thatched roof, destroying the building in an hour. There are a number of contemporary descriptions of the event, including the cheeky ‘Sonnett upon the pittiful burneinge of the Globe playhowse in London.’ This was published anonymously, but as competition for the entertainment pence was fierce in Elizabethan England, such verses as the following might suggest that the poem was written by an owner at one of the rival open-air playhouses…” (Today In Literature)

Thursday Quote of the Night

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

“Perfect understanding will sometimes almost extinguish pleasure.”

- A.E. Housman




Thursday Evening Book Reviews

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

Maggie Shipstead’s Seating Arrangements gets an A+ from Sara Vilkomerson, largely on the strength of its “sharp observations about love, lust, family, and the real meaning of marital bliss.” (

David Daley gets bogged down in Joydeep Roy-Bhattacharya’s third novel, The Watch, saying it “never gets beneath the surface, it never surprises or pierces or reveals.” (USAToday)

David L. Ulin calls G. Willow Wilson’s debut, Alif the Unseen, “compelling,” while acknowledging that it “has its problems, mostly involving the mechanisms of its own storytelling, which at times become melodramatic and contrived.” (LATimes)

Carolyn Kellogg swoons over Ben Fountain’s “darkly comic first novel,” Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk. (Chicago Tribune)

Afternoon Viewing: George R.R. Martin Serenaded

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

If you sing at an author, will he write faster?

Thursday Morning LitLinks

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

Author, Paul Theroux, discusses life and his latest book with (The Chicago Tribune)

The New Yorker’s receptionist has a book’s worth of tales to tell. (The New York Times)

Margaret Atwood champions Fanado. (indiegogo)

Flavorwire finds ten books in movies that should exist in real life. (Flavorwire)

Random House’s CEO emeritus, Alberto Vitale, offers his thoughts on a buffet of topics, including the state of publishing and the price of ebooks. (

Steering towards the teenaged reader, some classics get new covers. (The New York Times)

How to rate the rainbow of author deceptions? Here’s a guide from (Salon)

Paris’ famed Village Voice Bookshop to close. (The New Yorker)

USA Today feature an interview with debut novelist, Karen Thompson, on her hit, THE AGE OF MIRACLES. (USA Today)

Contest looks for book-inspired artwork from teens. (The New York Daily News)

“On this day in 1915 Henry James wrote to the British Prime Minister, Herbert Asquith, to inform him of a ‘desire to offer myself for naturalisation in this country.’ James was seventy-two years old, and had been resident in England for forty years; becoming a citizen in the early days of WWI was his way of signaling ‘my explicit, my material and my spiritual allegiance, and throwing into the scale of her fortune my all but imponderable moral weight — ‘a poor thing but mine own.”’…” (Today In Literature)

Wednesday Morning LitLinks

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

Woman of words – on the page and on the screen, Nora Ephron, dies at age 71. RIP. (The Washington Post)

…and Ariel Levy remembers her in (The New Yorker)

From the Just Wow file: Fatwa against Salman Rushdie is a video game in Iran. (The Guardian)

Michael Morpugo stages literacy Olympics for kids. (The Telegraph)

See the world of literature from the point of view of a bookseller in Rangoon. (Irrawaddy)

Hear from ten famous writers why they do what they do. (Flavorwire)

An author’s musing on prison in literature spawns a social debate. (The Yorker)

Via BookRiot, here’s a boggling post on publishers faking book reviews. (Me And My Big Mouth)

On libel and literature from (The Telegraph)

The first chronicle of Holo-language literature is compiled. (Taiwan Today)

“On this day in 1928 Sylvia Beach hosted a dinner party in order that F. Scott Fitzgerald, who ‘worshipped James Joyce, but was afraid to approach him,’ might do so. In her Shakespeare and Company memoir Beach delicately avoids describing what happened, although she perhaps suggests an explanation: ‘Poor Scott was earning so much from his books that he and Zelda had to drink a great deal of champagne in Montmartre in an effort to get rid of it.’…” (Today In Literature)

Tuesday Evening Book Reviews

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

Susie Boyt gives an undervalued “queen among fiction writers” her due in her review of The Complete Short Stories of Elizabeth Taylor. (Financial Times)

Alex Clark calls John Banville’s Ancient Light “a novel criss-crossed with ghost roads and dead-ends and peopled by shifty characters who seem provisional even to themselves.” (The Guardian)

James Grady finds that, in Matthew Quirk’s debut The 500, “over-calculated construction becomes a burden that crushes surprise and makes you care less about the characters.” (Washington Post)

Barry Forshaw says “Swedish crime queen” Asa Larsson’s “grasp of all her characters’ psychology possesses a keen veracity” in The Black Path. (The Independent)

Tuesday Morning LitLink

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

The first Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction are awarded to Anne Enright and Robert K. Massie. (Library Journal)

Here’s a recap of the last Rock Bottom Remainders show. (The Hollywood Reporter)

News Corp. proposed split would cut loose its publishing arm from its entertainment ventures. (The Wall Street Journal)

…and here’s an argument for the benefits of the split from (The Atlantic)

Paralyzed Rutger’s football player, Eric LeGrand, lands a two book deal with HarperCollins. (

New York City considers a common library card to cover all its outlets. (Library Journal)

And more library news: here’s a look at what U.S. States are doing for (or to) libraries, funding-wise. (GalleyCat)

Indie publishers come out against the Department of Justice’s stance and in favor of the Agency Model of ebook pricing. (Publishers Weekly)

“On this day in 1284, the Pied Piper lured the children away from Hamelin, to something better or worse, depending on which legend, poem, play, film, song, scholar or physician you consult. The oldest document for the event is a note in Latin, written 150 years after the fact, although possibly earlier sources include a stained glass window with an inscription describing how there ‘came a colorful piper to Hamelin and led 130 children away to calverie on the koppen mountain.’…” (Today In Literature)

Monday Quote of the Night

Monday, June 25th, 2012

“I’m a bit of a grinder. Novels are very long, and long novels are very, very long. It’s just a hell of a lot of man-hours. I tend to just go in there, and if it comes, it comes. A morning when I write not a single word doesn’t worry me too much. If I come up against a brick wall, I’ll just go and play snooker or something or sleep on it, and my subconscious will fix it for me. Usually, it’s a journey without maps but a journey with a destination, so I know how it’s going to begin and I know how it’s going to end, but I don’t know how I’m going to get from one to the other. That, really, is the struggle of the novel.”

- Martin Amis

Monday Evening Book Reviews

Monday, June 25th, 2012

Louis Sahagun says The Huston Smith Reader “collects works that compose a rich portrait of the comparative-religion academic.” (LATimes)

Despite “considerable media hype,” Winsor Dobbin is underwhelmed by Kenneth Macleod’s The Incident. (Sydney Morning Herald)

Craig Fehrman has mixed feelings about DW Gibson’s Not Working: People Talk About Losing a Job and Finding Their Way in Today’s Changing Economy. (San Francisco Chronicle)

Tanya Gold awards Jeremy Vine’s memoir, It’s All News to Me, 4 out of 5 stars, saying the author is “silly and joyful and he has written a silly and joyful book.” (The Telegraph)

Sunday Morning LitLinks

Sunday, June 24th, 2012

FROM DICTATORSHIP TO DEMOCRACY author and political scientist, Gene Sharp, is profiled at (CNN)

The Library of Congress rolls out its exhibit ‘Books That Shaped America’. (USA Today)

Helene Hegemann resurfaces after her plagiarism debacle. (The Guardian)

The summer reading lists seem to be stacked with novels, but here’s a crop of non-fiction recommended reads. (Seacoast Online)

…and Claire Needell Hollander advises on all sorts of summer reading in (The New York Times)

A new installment of the never-ending debate of what is art? (The Atlantic)

Author, Jilly Cooper, declares the modern woman’s sex drive dead and cold. (The Telegraph)

A new literary prize is announced for Caribbean writers. (Trinidad Express)

Levi Asher looks at the accomplishments and influence of Robert Caro. (LitKicks)

Veronica Roth talks killing off characters over at (GalleyCat)

Laurie Hertzel reflects on books set in Duluth. (The Minneapolis Star-Tribune)

“On this day in 1842, the writer-reporter-wit Ambrose Bierce was born in Horse Cave Creek, Ohio. Those familiar with Bierce usually approach him through his Civil War stories (‘An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge,’ ‘Chickamauga,’ etc.) and then stay to enjoy, or at least marvel at, his celebrated aphorisms and definitions. These offer a scoff for every situation, and are so thoroughly, happily bitter that even H. L. Mencken recoiled in horror…” (Today In Literature)

Saturday Morning LitLinks

Saturday, June 23rd, 2012

On the merits of copyeditors, via the story of the revered Lu Burke. (The New Yorker)

David Milofsy imagines poetry filling a daily space in the digital age. (The Denver Post)

Fictional characters in the LeBron James tradition? You bet. (The New York Daily News)

Next year BEA will vie for headlines with the long-awaited anti-trust trial over ebook pricing. (Bloomberg Businessweek)

Daniel Friedman breaks down the less-than-a-handful-ways a mystery can end. (The Millions)

Andrew Zack explains all the goes into making (and therefore, pricing) and ebook. (The Huffington Post)

With James Joyce’s ULYSSES off the copyright chain, The New Republic opens its archives for a look at the masterwork. (TNR)

“On this day in 1961, John Steinbeck’s The Winter of Our Discontent was published. Steinbeck was fond of reading Shakespeare — he and his family would play quotation games with the sonnets — and he approached the publication of this book with the hope that it might very well make ‘glorious summer’ of his various discontents. His previous book, a treatment of Arthurian legend, had bogged down — for good, it turned out…” (Today In Literature)

Friday Evening Book Reviews

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

Jack Massarik declares Frances Osborne’s Park Lane “the sort of mum-lit you would expect from a former barrister – measured and workable, if lacking in flair.” (The Scotsman)

Carolyn Kellogg enjoys Laurent Binet’s “well told” debut novel, HHhH. (LATimes)

Roberta Alexander takes on yet another debut, Eleanor Kuhns’ A Simple Murder, and concludes: “The plot is complicated, the characters lively, and there are plenty of giggles. Hang on tight because it’s a wild ride.” (San Jose Mercury News)

Michael Upchurch says Christopher Simon Sykes’ “writing has a real raconteurial flair from the get-go” in David Hockney: The Biography, 1937-1975. (Seattle Times)

Afternoon Viewing: Book Sculpture from Hachette Australia

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

Jeffrey Deaver: Crime Minstrel?

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

I had the pleasure of meeting Jeffery Deaver at Killer Nashville in 2010. But lucky for him (and for us all) his trip to country music’s capital city yielded more compelling fruit than just getting a chance to chat with me across the keg at Killer Nashville’s founder, Clay Stafford’s, house.

The two of them have collaborated on something truly unique – a tie-in album to Deaver’s latest thriller, XO. Here’s the scoop (click here for the full, fascinating story):




With an incredible 29 novels under his belt as a mystery/crime novelist since the late ’80s, Jeffery Deaver –the internationally acclaimed bestselling author Newsweek calls “a suspense superstar”– has sold books in 150 countries and had his work translated into 25 languages.

Three of his titles have been turned into films, most notably The Bone Collector, starring Denzel Washington and Angelina Jolie, and the HBO production Dead Silence, based on his A Maiden’s Grave, starring James Garner and Marlee Matlin. Deaver has topped bestseller lists in the New York Times, London Times and Los Angeles Times, and has been nominated for seven Edgar Awards from the Mystery Writers of America and numerous other accolades in his genre. In 2011, he was tapped to write the latest James Bond novel Carte Blanche.

But how many of his millions of fans around the globe know that his first love is music?

Long before he was keeping readers up at night, scared but still turning pages, Deaver aspired to be the next Bob Dylan or Paul Simon– and performed original songs at clubs from his hometown of Chicago to San Francisco, where he moved after receiving his journalism degree from the University of Missouri.

A few decades after that dream took shape, Deaver has at last found the perfect voice to help him share his formidable songwriting talents: Kayleigh Towne, the beautiful and talented pop/country singer protagonist of XO, the third novel in his series featuring heroine Kathryn Dance, released June 12, 2012…


Friday Morning LitLinks

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

Marco Rubio’s memoir may be timed for release to dovetail with his announcement of becoming Mitt Romney’s running mate. (The Christian Science Monitor)

Fiction and non-, here’s a thorough recommended summer reading list from (The Houston Chronicle)

Windows Phone to get Audible app for audio books. Nice!. (The Street)

Conrad Black is most displeased with how he’s come off in THIEVES OF BAY STREET – to the tune of a $1.25 million dollar lawsuit. (The National Post)

Novelist, Richard Brautigan, committed suicide in 1984 and a researcher at The Bancroft Library makes a rather gruesome discovery in his papers. (Booktryst)

The Pew Internet and American Life Project survey on libraries is a mixed bag of good and bad news. (Publishers Weekly)

The New Yorker gets taken to task for source-citing in (Slate)

Author, Amy Elizabeth Smith, has a Q & A session with (USA Today)

P.S. I STILL HATE IT HERE is an hilarious compilation of kids’ letters from camp. (The Huffington Post)

Highlights from the Bath Festival of Children’s Literature on tap at (The Telegraph)

Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg team up for a new series of crime novels (with a twist of romance.) (GalleyCat)

“On this day in 1964 the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a lower court ruling that found Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer to be obscene. This was three years after the book’s first publication in America, thirty years since its publication in Europe, and a hundred years since Comstock began to patrol the mails for such ‘vampire literature.’…” (Today In Literature)

Thursday Quote of the Night

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

“Art hurts. Art urges voyages – and it is easier to stay at home.”

- Gwendolyn Brooks




Thursday Evening Book Reviews

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

Dylan Hicks finds an “impressive if not wholly satisfying novel, centered on an uncanny rock formation and its seekers” in Hari Kunzru’s Gods Without Men. (

David Stuart declares Andrew Robinson’s Cracking the Egyptian Code a “highly enjoyable book.” (Wall Street Journal)

Bill Desowitz discovers that “missing branches have been restored to the first lady’s elusive family tree” in American Tapestry: The Story of Black, White, and Multiracial Ancestors of Michelle Obama, by Rachel L. Swarns. (USAToday)

D Gilson takes on Double Shadow by Carl Phillips and observes that “(D)uring a time when much of American poetry is criticized for being poetry lite, Phillips can move us in a single poem from complete joy to utter heartbreak.” (The Rumpus)