Archive for October, 2012

Wednesday Morning LitLinks

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

It’s All Hallows Read, so get yourself some free books. (GalleyCat)

Margaret Atwood gets into the spirit of the season with her comic novel, THE HAPPY ZOMBIE SUNRISE HOME. (Publishers Weekly)

Recall Henry James’ THE TURN OF THE SCREW. (The New Yorker)

And The Guardian makes its spine-tingling recommendations for Halloween reading. (The Guardian)

Author, Laurie Halse Anderson, auctions a critique of a YA or mid-grade manuscript to benefit the Red Cross’ relief efforts for the victims of Superstorm Sandy. (Kate Messner)

Will Ferguson takes the Giller Prize for his novel, 419. (Scotia Bank)

Jeanette Winterson takes the Independent Booksellers’ Book Prize for her memoir WHY BE HAPPY WHEN YOU COULD BE NORMAL? (The Bookseller)

Harlequin isn’t thanking 50 SHADES OF GREY for boosting interest in smooching and spanking. (The Globe & Mail)

How fact-checking works at The New Yorker. (Columbia Journalism Review)

Lemony Snicket’s bookstore appearances can get messy. (Wired)

“On this day in 1611 The Maid’s Tragedy, by Francis Beaumont (left) and John Fletcher, was entered for printing in the Stationers’ Register. Beaumont and Fletcher wrote over fifty plays — together, or with a handful of other collaborators, or each on their own — and they dominated English theatre throughout the 17th century. Their plays were produced and praised at four or five times the rate of Shakespeare’s plays….” (Today In Literature)

Tuesday Quote of the Night

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

“Nothing stinks like a pile of unpublished writing.”

- Sylvia Plath




Tuesday Evening Book Reviews

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

Alexander Heffner on Sophia A. McClennen’s Colbert’s America: Satire and Democracy: “In a comprehensive, erudite, and lucid single volume… Pennsylvania State University professor Sophia A. McClennen analyzes the cult of Colbertism.” (

Roger K. Miller on Richard Russo’s Elsewhere: A Memoir: “…the chronicle of a curious mother-son bond, cemented on her side by love and need and on his by love, duty and guilt.” (Chicago Sun-Times)

Rebecca Armstrong on Susan Hill’s Dolly: A Ghost Story: “In a book as short as this, what’s left out is as important as what’s left in. There’s a sense of each character’s life beyond the page which reveals Hill’s immense skill.” (The Independent)

Barbara J. King on James L. Gould and Carol Grant Gould’s Nature’s Compass: The Mystery of Animal Navigation: “That our planet is alive with the movement of migrating animals is one message… Another is that whenever we, Homo sapiens, swell with pride at our superior abilities, we might stop and think about how other animals migrate from place to place.” (Times Literary Supplement)

5 Minutes Alone… With Linda Joffe Hull

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

Linda Joffe Hull hits the shelves twice in quick succession, debuting in November with a send-up of tangled suburban anxieties, and then on to a bit of mystery. As such, Ms. Hull is apt to be more than a little busy in the coming weeks and months, so we’re fortunate to get her here in our little corner of the internet for a bit of background before she goes into the spotlight.

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

AuthorScoop: What was your very first publication credit?

Linda: Technically, the first thing I ever published was an article on incarcerated teens and their lawyer mentors for California Lawyer magazine in the early 90’s, but The Big Bang, which officially releases in November is my debut novel. Eternally 21, the first in my Mrs. Frugalicious mystery series, comes out in June 2013, from Midnight Ink.

AuthorScoop: Tell us about your latest release.

Linda: I like to describe The Big Bang as a suburban satire/pregnancy whodunit. The novel is set in Melody Mountain Ranch, an upscale, covenant-controlled community in suburban Denver where secret affairs, home shopping parties, religious fundamentalism and a power hungry homeowner’s board keep the local residents distracted from the fact that their homes are literally rotting beneath them. Secret affairs, teen witchcraft and a power-hungry homeowner’s board have their personal lives deconstructing even faster. On Wonderland Valley Way, blonde, beautiful, interior decorator Hope Jordan is desperate for a baby. As Hope struggles through unsuccessful fertility treatments, her neighbors Will Pierce-Cohn, a stay-at-home dad and community activist, Frank Griffin, a minister-cum-homeowner’s board president, and Tim Trautman, a soon-to-be father of five, jockey for her attentions. When Hope inadvertently eats hash brownies at the playground ribbon-cutting gala/Memorial Weekend poolside potluck she falls into the arms of one of her three wanna-be paramours. Maybe all three—she wakes up with only fleeting memories of the evening and soon discovers she’s pregnant. While she tries to piece together what happened, with whom and what to do about it, the homes on her cul-de-sac begin to crack and leak. Hope and her neighbors are forced to work together to dig out of a hell of their own making.

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

Linda: I feel really lucky to have an incredibly supportive spouse who has played everything from proofreader to cheerleader over the years. I also have two of the best editors around in Ben LeRoy at Tyrus Books and Terri Bischoff at Midnight Ink. There is no way I could have gotten my first (as yet unpublished) novel finished, much less navigated my way through the ever-changing and always confusing world of publishing without the support of Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers. I literally learned how to write by showing up and participating in one of their local critique groups. They also offer monthly programs, a great annual conference and an overall commitment to helping novel length fiction writers become published authors.

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

Linda: I have three children, one of whom is in first grade, so I work from 8:30-3:15 when they are in school. I also work in the evening after everyone’s in bed. I’ve noticed my very best writing somehow seems to happen between 2 and 3 in the afternoon when I’m rushing to wrap things up before pick-up time.

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

Linda: If you want to be published, don’t give up. It took me eleven years to get that first publishing deal on my three book mystery series. Six months later, I signed a contract with Tyrus Books for The Big Bang, my standalone mainstream debut. When I say, don’t give up, I know of what I speak. I should qualify that statement, though. If you are compelled to write, are willing to put the time and effort in to hone your craft, and not only listen, but hear what others say to improve your work, stick with it. Oh, and attend as many writer’s conferences as you can. It’s very difficult to get that foot in the door with agents and editors. Your very best chance is to go to a conference and get to know the agents and editors there. You will have a much better sense if your work may be a fit for their agency or publishing house and they will be much more likely to look at your work because of the personal connection you’ve established.


Find Linda Joffe Hull on the internet at her website, on Facebook, and 140 characters at a time on Twitter.

Tuesday Morning LitLinks

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

Can you copyright a cat? (The Guardian)

Some NYC bookstores open the morning after… (GalleyCat)

Poet, Cecil Day-Lewis’ archives go to Oxford’s Bodleian Library. (The Telegraph)

Canada’s D&M Publishers is very deep with their creditors – to the tune of $6 million. (The Vancouver Sun)

A few artists speculate on what the new Random House/Penguin logo might look like. (Digital Book World)

Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus, authors of THE NANNY DIARIES, react to collateral opinions of the Krim tragedy. (The Daily Beast)

Swipe a book, then translate it: an author discovers his unauthorized foreign markets. (The Atlantic)

Author, Jonathan Maberry, fields some Hostile Questions from (Booklist)

“On this day in 1811 Jane Austen’s first novel, Sense and Sensibility, was published. Promotional advertisements called it a ‘New’ or ‘Extraordinary’ or ‘Interesting’ novel, which in the jargon of the day indicated a love story. Its anonymous author was given as ‘a Lady’ or’ Lady ____’ for reasons of privacy, but also to add romantic allure…” (Today In Literature)

Monday Quote of the Night

Monday, October 29th, 2012

“In order to write the book you want to write, in the end you have to become the person you need to become to write that book.”

? Junot Díaz

Monday Evening Book Reviews

Monday, October 29th, 2012

Michael Upchurch on Robert Macfarlane’s The Old Ways: A Journey on Foot: “…savvily examines humankind’s oldest mode of transportation: hoofing it.” (Seattle Times)

Lisa Cody on Marilyn Yalom’s How the French Invented Love: Nine Hundred Years of Passion and Romance: ” provides an entertaining journey from Héloïse and Abélard to Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre and beyond. She shows how certain erotic themes – say libertinage – had their distinct moment in literature and life.” (San Francisco Chronicle)

Charles Solomon on Royall Tyler The Tale of the Heike: “In his elegant new translation, Royall Tyler divides the text into something resembling an opera libretto, with recitatives, arias and dialogue.” (LATimes)

Kevin Nolan on Robin Sloan’s Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore: ” a fast read and a clever book.” (The Rumpus)

Monday Morning LitLinks

Monday, October 29th, 2012

If you’ve bought a book in an airport, chances are Hudson Booksellers made the transaction. Here are their bestsellers of 2012. (Market Watch)

Random House & Penguin to merge late next year. (Early Word)

…Pearson chairman, John Makinson, weighs in on the deal. (Publishers Weekly)

…and here’s some speculation on what it may mean for authors and agents in (The Guardian)

Joyce Carol Oates on Normal Mailer. (The Daily Beast)

Paul Tough talks children and success in San Antonio. (

The Faulkner estate sues Woody Allen. (The New York Times)

USA Today gets some romance writers’ favorite scary books. (USA Today)

Alice Vincent and Sam Parker consider The 50 Scariest Characters From Literature. (The Huffington Post)

“On this day in 1618, English adventurer, courtier, soldier, historian and poet, Sir Walter Ralegh (also Raleigh) was executed. Though neither a major writer nor a central historical figure, ‘the last Elizabethan’ lived and died with flair, and on the main stage. Whether he threw down his legendary cloak for her or not, Elizabeth I made him her favorite, and conferred many lucrative properties and positions upon him — until imprisoning him in the Tower for secretly marrying one of her attendants….” (Today In Literature)

Sunday Quote of the Night

Sunday, October 28th, 2012

“I like to be surprised. The best writing is when it defies me, when it starts going a different way than I had planned.”

- Wally Lamb




Sunday Evening Book Reviews

Sunday, October 28th, 2012

Tessa Hadley on John Carter Wood’s The Most Remarkable Woman in England: “Wood has the academic’s virtues, the opposite of the novelist’s. No invention, no effort to imagine himself inside his characters, just sober reportage, inhibited by a good historian’s scruples.” (The Guardian)

Owen Richardson on Robert Drewe’s Montebello: “…Drewe uncovers good material about the fate of the Australian soldiers and sailors who witnessed the tests, many of whom died young of cancer.” (Sydney Morning Herald)

Catherine Taylor on Joseph O’Connor’s Where Have You Been?: “(James) Joyce is the immediate reference for the opener of O’Connor’s first collection of stories in more than 20 years.” (The Telegraph)

Janet Maslin on Neil Young’s Waging Heavy Peace: “There may be a large part of the reading populace that has no interest in Mr. Young’s broken toe, collection of funky old cars, obsession with toy trains, plans for an earthshaking new type of sound technology, plaid shirts, favorite planks of wood or anything else. That’s fine with him.” (New York Times)

Sunday Morning LitLinks

Sunday, October 28th, 2012

Stephen King’s DIFFERENT SEASONS is banned, then unbanned from a Sacramento high school. (The Los Angeles Times)

As if it could be otherwise, rumor has it that there’s a lot of cash on the table in the Penguin/Random House merger talks. (Reuters)

James Bond is psychoanalyzed at (Salon)

Lorin and Sadie Stein have a think on The State of the Short Story. (Publishers Weekly)

Here’s an op-ed on the gloomiest outlook for self-publishing. (The Huffington Post)

Sam Leith defends emoticons over at (Prospect Magazine)

Fresh off her Booker win, Hilary Mantel chats with (The Telegraph)

Sony revs up its ebook bookclub. (GalleyCat)

“On this day in 1853 Henry David Thoreau received back from his publisher the 706 unsold copies of his first book, A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers. Only 1000 copies had been published four years earlier, at the author’s own expense. In his journal entry for this day, the ever-resilient Thoreau recorded these reflections upon his ‘purchase’…” (Today In Literature)

Saturday Quote of the Night

Saturday, October 27th, 2012

“Writers are always selling somebody out. ”

- Joan Didion





Saturday Evening Book Reviews

Saturday, October 27th, 2012

Tina Jordan on Richard Russo’s Elsewhere: “The scrappy strivers who dot Russo’s fiction (Empire Falls, Nobody’s Fool) spring to real life on the pages of Elsewhere.” (

Francesca Segal on Emma Donoghue’s Astray: “After each of these – sometimes very short – narratives, Donoghue steps out from behind the curtain to give us the facts, both the source of her inspiration and what happened after the vignette of her story.” (Financial Times)

Fiona Sturges on Sylvie Simmons’ I’m Your Man: The Life of Leonard Cohen: “There are delicious morsels that even dedicated Cohenites might find surprising: that he wrote TV scripts, dabbled in Scientology, watches The Jerry Springer Show, and used to stuff tissues into his shoes to make himself taller.” (The Independent)

Carol Memmott on John Grisham’s The Racketeer: “This is the kind of story that built Grisham’s reputation as a lion of the literary thriller.” (Chicago Sun-Times)

Friday Morning LitLinks

Friday, October 26th, 2012

Penguin and Random House sittin’ in a tree… Big news: they might merge. (The New York Times)

… and some projected analysis of the Leviathan-that-might-yet-be from (The Telegraph)

A Nigerian perspective on women in literature is the topic at hand at (The Guardian Nigeria)

Have a ponder on the 10 Most Dysfunctional Families in Literature. (Publishers Weekly)

Poet Laureate Emeritus, Philip Levine, talks about what he’s been reading lately. (The Huffington Post)

Author, Daniel Olivas, and poet, Andrew Allport, do the Q&A thing at (LA Observed)

John Grisham sits down for a chat with (The New York Times)

CLOUD ATLAS author, David Mitchell, weighs in on the film treatment of his work. (BBC America)

Two books on the topic of books are brought into focus over at (The Australian)

Publishers Weekly revisits some painful reviews of classic books. (Publishers Weekly)

Historian, Jacques Barzun, has died. He was 104. Rest in peace. (The New York Times)

“On this day in 1822, seventeen-year-old Hans Christian Andersen enrolled in school, taking his place in a second form classroom of eleven-year-olds. Andersen was born in the slums of Odense, Denmark, and his parents — his father a cobbler, his mother a washerwoman — were too poor and protective to provide their only child with much education. Andersen had spent some time in school, but he was odd-looking and a loner, interested mostly in reading stories and sewing clothes for the characters in his toy theater….” (Today In Literature)

Thursday Quote of the Night

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

“Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.”

- E. L. Doctorow




Thursday Evening Book Reviews

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

Janet Maslin on David Skinner’s The Story of Ain’t: “Mr. Skinner’s expansion of his article to book length can be indirect and convoluted; he has the habit of introducing parties to the reference-book brawl long before explaining the roles they played in the brouhaha.” (NYTimes)

Kyle Anderson on Peter Ames Carlin’s Bruce: “The best (and least warmed-over) material here concerns Bruce’s pre-fame existence in and around his decaying hometown. Carlin gives those passages an airy, nostalgic glow, creating a tactile world where Springsteen jams at coffeehouses, works and lives in a surfboard factory, and passes on a booking at the Woodstock music festival in 1969.” (

Nina Schuyler on Lucy Wood’s Diving Belles: “In story after story in her debut collection, a previously inert world becomes animated. The dead are here, houses have spirits, the buccas will take your loved ones if you are not careful.” (The Rumpus)

Lucy Popescu on Jounana Haddad’s Superman is an Arab: “…a bold and often very funny polemic on patriarchy in the Arab world.” (The Independent)

Thursday Morning LitLinks

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

The Telegraph features an interview with Irish author, Colm Tóibín. (The Telegraph)

Friend to AuthorScoop, Tasha Alexander, hits the NYT Bestseller list with DEATH IN THE FLOATING CITY, and sits down for a chat with (

The Newspaper Guild of New York appeals to Arthur Sulzberger to bridge the gap between the staff and the management of The New York Times. (FishbowlNY)

On Shakespeare and St. Crispin’s Day… (The Millions)

With Halloween days away, it’s a good time to reflect on Stephen King film adaptations. The Houston Press weighs in on their top 10. (The Houston Press)

…speaking of All Hallows Eve, USA Today spooklights some Halloween books for the kiddies. (USA Today)

Sam Sacks dreams of bookstores. (Page-Turner)

Library Journal takes a longer look at how HarperCollins is handling their ebooks. (Library Journal)

Margaret Atwood and Naomi Alderman collaborate on a zombie novel. (The Guardian)

“On this day in 1984 Richard Brautigan’s body was found in his California home, a suicide some weeks earlier. The literary critics have never been kind to the writing, and the biographers have been unable to penetrate the writer’s life, but Brautigan was a counter-culture hero in the late sixties and seventies. This was largely based on the 1967 best seller, Trout Fishing in America, but The Pill versus the Springhill Mine Disaster and In Watermelon Sugar were also hits…” (Today In Literature)

Wednesday Quote of the Night

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

“There’s an epigram tacked to my office bulletin board, pinched from a magazine — “Wanting to meet an author because you like his work is like wanting to meet a duck because you like pâté.”

― Margaret Atwood



Wednesday Evening Book Reviews

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

Dick Lochte on Dennis Lehane’s Live by Night: “Lehane’s style combines detailed, almost poetic description, vigorous action and nuanced dialogue. And if style isn’t enough, he’s creative and generous in providing all the romance, surprises, violence, betrayals, treacheries and plot twists necessary to keep the pages turning. (LATimes)

Nisi Shawl on Cory Doctorow’s Pirate Cinema: “Along with its other attractions — David-and-Goliath-like encounters between kids and rich lawyers, epic feasts on jellied eels and other gourmet garbage finds, shivery alley escape routes — “Pirate Cinema” offers ample and appetizing food for thought.” (Seattle Times)

Lionel Shriver on T.C. Boyle’s San Miguel: “This is a dense, lushly detailed novel, and each of the three sections is rich with incident and populated with a cast of well-drawn side characters – although the main character in this novel is the island itself.” (Financial Times)

Kevin G. Keane on Janet Wallach’s The Richest Woman in America: Hetty Green in the Gilded Age: “… filled with colorful historical details of an economic time that eerily parallels our own – an unpredictable real estate market, lax banking policies and over-exuberant investors who rode the next big thing until its inevitable crash.” (San Francisco Chronicle)

Afternoon Viewing: Ezra Pound, 1939

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

More a listening than a viewing, I suppose. Here’s a rare recording of Ezra Pound giving a reading of SESTINA: ALTAFORTE