Archive for November, 2012

Friday Quote of the Night

Friday, November 30th, 2012

“Self-expression must pass into communication for its fulfillment.”

- Pearl S Buck



Friday Evening Book Reviews

Friday, November 30th, 2012

Christopher Fowler on Ian Rankin’s Standing In Another Man’s Grave: “Rankin gives us bare and melancholy locations, ruminations on mortality and an inner darkness born of his hero spending time in too many autopsy rooms, but Rebus remains crime fiction’s most consistent character, even though his television incarnation conjures a slightly different figure.” (Financial Times)

Carrie Rickey on Margaret Talbot’s The Entertainer: Movies, Magic and My Father’s Twentieth Century: “Talbot dispenses with her father’s final 50 years in 70 pages. Though this gives the book an aftshortened feel, “The Entertainer” is as nimble as its subject.” (San Francisco Chronicle)

Ross Southernwood on Paul Ham’s Sandakan: The Untold Story of the Sandakan Death Marches: “… even if there is nothing particularly new, it matters little, for Ham has given us a highly comprehensive and worthwhile military history.” (Sydney Morning Herald)

Kent Shaw on M.A. Vizsolyi’s The Lamp With Wings: “…a celebration, an apology, and a healthily problematized succor.” (The Rumpus)

Friday Morning LitLinks

Friday, November 30th, 2012

Herta Müller, Nobel laureate for literature in 2009, is less than impressed with the award going to china’s Mo Yan this year. (The Washington Post)

Jeff Kinney and his Midas Wimpy Kid are worth quite a bit of money. (CNN Money)

It’s not that people aren’t reading, it’s how the numbers are interpreted that’s putting publishing in crisis. (The Nation)

E.L. James named PW’s Publishing Person of the Year. (Publishers Weekly)

So, The New York Times narrows it down to their 10 Best for 2012. (The New York Times)

New Zealand literature gets its very first anthology. (The Financial)

No writer, no story. Here are the 25 most bankable authors in Hollywood. (The Hollywood Reporter)

Literary Agents may feel the Random House/Penguin merger more than anyone. (The Daily Beast)

Charles Dickens gets his own Top 10 list, presumably not for 2012. (Publishers Weekly)

Paul Young, of THE SHACK fame, sits down with (The Houston Chronicle)

“On this day in 1667, Jonathan Swift was born in Dublin. The exact location seems pregnant with significance: a few blocks this way was St. Patrick’s Cathedral, where Swift would be Dean; much closer that way, almost his backyard, was Dublin Castle, representing the Englishness he would both covet and skewer; the specific address, his uncle’s home at 7 Hoey’s Court, almost perfect for perhaps the most famous scoffer in literature….” (Today In Literature)

Thursday Morning LitLinks

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

Poet, Jose Manuel Caballero Bonald, takes the 2012 Cervantes Prize (The Boston Herald)

John le Carré heads to The Hay Festival for the first time next year. (The Telegraph)

Love this. Here’s a “Hipster Lit Flow Chart” from (Goodreads)

Have a list of the best children’s books of 2012 according to (The New York Times)

Author, Terri Donald, claims filmmaker, Tyler Perry, got his Good Deeds from her BAD APPLES CAN BE GOOD FRUIT. (Reuters)

Oh dear. Counting your Orange Prize chickens before they hatch can lead to a misprinted book cover. (The Guardian)

… but, Ann Patchett, still has great things to talk about – Parnassus Books, for one. (The Atlantic)

Random House e-imprint to open its submissions to unagented writers. (

Yeah, I keep lending my books out, too. An ode to the empty spot on your bookshelf. (The Guardian)

What follows up THE HUNGER GAMES? Suzanne Collins announces an autobiographical picture book. (Scholastic)

Could it be? 25 million people in China read only on their cellphones. (The Atlantic)

“On this day in 1811 a final notice appeared in the Richmond, Virginia Inquirer asking for donations in aid of the destitute young actress, Eliza Poe, and her children, two-year-old Edgar and his baby sister, Rosalie:

    To the Humane heart. On this night Mrs. Poe, lingering on the bed of disease and surrounded by her children, asks your assistance and asks it perhaps for the last time. The Generosity of the Richmond Audience can need no other appeal….

A week later, Eliza Poe died…” (Today In Literature)

Wednesday Quote of the Night

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

“Literature is indispensable to the world. The world changes according to the way people see it, and if you alter, even by a millimeter, the way a person looks at reality, then you can change it.”

? James Baldwin



Wednesday Evening Book Reviews

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

Kevin J. Hamilton on Jon Meacham’s Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power: “…a top-flight biography of the American president who presided over a pivotal era in America’s development.” (Seattle Times)

Naomi Alderman on Glyn Dillon’s The Nao of Brown: “The book is very funny about the experience of learning meditation and Buddhism – however hard we try to rise above ourselves, we’re always irritatingly anchored, and the beaming faces of the slightly over-keen teachers at Nao’s local meditation centre tell the reader it’s OK to laugh, even while Nao is taking it all extremely seriously.” (The Guardian)

Lisa Schwarzbaum on Grace Coddington’s Grace: “Coddington’s narrative manner is forthright, whether she’s musing about working with celebs or about her late sister’s drug addiction.” (

Nicholas Delbanco on Sheila Hale’s Titian: His Life: “This is a long book about a long life, a large volume about a large talent.” (LATimes)

Wednesday Morning LitLinks

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

The first Twitter Fiction Festival is off and running today. (The Guardian)

Dennis Lehane moonlights as creative consultant to HBO’s Boardwalk Empire. (The Boston Herald)

The Costa Short Story Prize will go to a public vote. (The Guardian)

Charles Dickens and the scandal that almost knocked him off his perch. Hint: it’s the same scandal every other scandal-haver seems to employ. (The Huffington Post)

Caroline Kennedy appointed Honorary Chair of National Library Week. (STM Publishing News)

More Best of Books in 2012 from…

(The New York Times)



(The Telegraph)

Ann Patchett’s Nashville shop, Parnassus Books is thriving in a time where that’s news for a bookstore. (USA Today)

A new self-publishing service from Simon & Schuster, Archway, opens its doors to the public. (GalleyCat)

“On this day in 1960 the expatriate American writer Richard Wright died in Paris at the age of fifty-two. Wright’s last fifteen years in France were a final stop in a life of migrations. As the son of an illiterate Mississippi sharecropper his early years were spent in poverty on the farm and then moving city to city in the South. He lived with both parents, then only his mother; with one uncle and then another and then a grandmother. He moved to Chicago, expecting the North would be better; he moved to New York to edit the Daily Worker, thinking the Communist Party was the answer…” (Today In Literature)

Tuesday Morning LitLinks

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

Oh dear. A Chinese newspaper has taken The Onion seriously. (The Gawker)

John McCullough wins the Polari Prize for 2012 with a volume of poetry, FROST FAIRS. (The Bookseller)

The Library of Congress hosts a display of Civil War diaries. (CBS)

Someone’s been fiddling with the Oxford English Dictionary. A new book claims it was one of OED’s editors. (The Guardian)

THE BOY KINGS OF TEXAS, by Domingo Martinez, heads to the silver screen via Salma Hayek. (GalleyCat)

Film director, Gary Ross of HUNGER GAMES fame, releases an epic tale in rhyme for kids. (The Los Angeles Times)

Librarian, Nancy Pearl, offers up her choice picks from 2012 for young(ish) readers. (NPR)

Representative Todd Akin, infamous for advancing the notion that women’s bodies can shut down reproduction in the case of “legitimate” rape, is having a serious think about writing a book. (The Huffington Post)

Some Bay area booksellers make recommendations for readers looking to fill out their to-be-read lists. (The San Fransisco Chronicle)

“On this day in 1909 James Agee was born in Knoxville, Tennessee. Agee was a poet (Permit Me Voyage), an influential film critic (collected as Agee on Film), a social documentarist (Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, based on his six weeks with Alabama sharecroppers), and a screenwriter (The African Queen), but he is best remembered for his autobiographical novel, A Death in the Family. The car crash which killed his father was probably caused by alcohol, but the family avoided saying so…” (Today In Literature)

Monday Evening Book Reviews

Monday, November 26th, 2012

Daniel Larison on Evan Thomas’ Ike’s Bluff: President Eisenhower’s Secret Battle to Save the World: “…an examination of Dwight Eisenhower’s record that seeks to understand how he successfully kept the United States out of a major war during the eight years of his presidency.” (NYTimes)

Brook Wilensky-Lanford on Andrew Solomon’s Far From the Tree: “Author Andrew Solomon sets out to understand how parents raise children who are radically different from them, children whose “vertical” identity, traits passed from parent to child, is overshadowed by extraordinary “horizontal” traits, 10 of which he explores in great detail: deafness, dwarfism, Down syndrome, autism, schizophrenia, disability, genius, children of rape, crime and transgenderism. What can possibly be said about all of these conditions together?” (San Francisco Chronicle)

Clive Stafford Smith on Ian Cobain’s Cruel Britannia: “Cobain has used declassified materials from years gone by to demonstrate a pattern that has been recycled with the perceived terrorist threat faced by each generation.” (The Guardian)

Carolyn See on Howard Jacobson’s Zoo Time: “Readers hate to be swindled. I have a feeling most of them will get up and leave the room long before the end of “Zoo Time.”” (Washington Post)

Monday Morning LitLinks

Monday, November 26th, 2012

The big names at The Telegraph offer up their picks for the best (and most giftable) books of 2012. (The Telegraph)

…and a few more invited guests weigh in to fatten the list. (The Telegraph)

Here’s the best of 2012 according to (Kirkus)

…and some of the best out of Candada from (Quill & Quire)

The Guardian digs up Mary Shelley’s thoughts on FRANKENSTEIN. (The Guardian)

A review of Calvin Trillin’s DOGFIGHT, by The New York Times’ Michiko Kakutani raises eyebrows at (Salon)

HarperCollins shows faith in the renewal of the short story and launches a new imprint, HarperTeen Impulse. (The New York Times)

…And NPR has some short story recommendations, too. (NPR)

Do you own your status updates? It’s a matter of copyright is the question over at Facebook. (Salon)

“On this day in 1919, twenty-two-year-old William Faulkner published his first prose, a short story entitled “Landing in Luck.” It is a lighthearted tale about an air force cadet’s first solo flight, and it gives little sign of the style or fame to come, but the autobiographical details behind its telling are pure, playful Faulkner….” (Today In Literature)

Sunday Morning LitLinks

Sunday, November 25th, 2012

Colm Tóibín has gone there. His next book, THE TESTAMENT OF MARY, is told from The Virgin’s point of view. (The Daily Beast)

Ever wonder how a copyeditor gets through life? Have a peek inside. (Granta)

Elizabeth Smart heads to the page with a story to tell. (The Daily Beast)

The Observer posts its Books of the Year list. (The Guardian)

Black Friday put people around the block to get into WalMart. Small Business Saturday put President Barack Obama at the cash register of indie bookstore. (Yahoo! News)

…you can kinda see what he bought in this picture. (Twitter)

A literary slot machine? Sort of. Here’s a Random Book Dispenser. (GalleyCat)

Some notable names weigh in on what’s on their bookshelves. (The Guardian)

“On this day in 1970 Yukio Mishima committed seppuku (ritual suicide, also known as hara-kiri). Mishima was a three-time Nobel nominee, the most famous and translated Japanese writer of his generation — The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea, The Sea of Fertility, ten other novels — and, in his last year, so internationally popular that he made Esquire magazine’s ‘Top 100 People in the World’ list….” (Today In Literature)

Saturday Quote of the Night

Saturday, November 24th, 2012

“Our feelings are our most genuine paths to knowledge.”

- Audre Lorde




Saturday Evening Book Reviews

Saturday, November 24th, 2012

Tina Jordan on Melissa Francis’ Diary of a Stage Mother’s Daughter: “What makes Diary of a Stage Mother’s Daughter so compelling aren’t just the behind-the-scenes details but the spirited conclusion: Francis cut all ties to her mother and made her own life, first at Harvard and later in broadcast journalism.” (

Christopher Fowler on Sam Hawken’s Tequila Sunset: “After his gritty debut… Hawken delivers another bleak, haunting novel.” (Financial Times)

Christine Cremen on Kerry Greenwood’s Unnatural Habits: “It’s a pity… that an accomplished historical mystery such as this should be marred by several glaring anachronisms.” (Sydney Morning Herald)

Ruth Scurr on Alice Munro’s Dear Life: “…Munro has laid bare the foundations of her fiction as never before.” (The Telegraph)

Saturday Morning LitLinks

Saturday, November 24th, 2012

Terry Pratchett may be done jousting book signings. (The Guardian)

Sara Mosle’s NYT ope-ed on What Should Children Read? has gone viral. (The New York Times)

CS Lewis gets recognition at Westminster Abbey’s Poet’s Corner. (The Telegraph)

Jonathan Zimmerman on the metamorphosis of a screenwriter. (The Los Angeles Review of Books)

Novelist, Khaled Hosseini, maps the gap between Afghanistan and the West. (The Christian Science Monitor)

In London, they’ve greenlighted a plan to blow up Earl’s Court. Where will The London Bookfair live now? (The Guardian)

The challenge: write a story using only the 1,000 most common English words. (GalleyCat)

Some books are really expensive. (Publishers Weekly)

So what books on the Young Adult shelf will Hollywood mine for the next TWILIGHT? (Reuters)

“On this day in 1947 John Steinbeck’s The Pearl was published, to coincide with the release of the film version. Steinbeck developed his ‘parable’ from a traditional Mexican folk tale, and in such a way as to guarantee it a permanent position on the high school curriculum, but some biographers interpret it in a more personal way. Kino, the poor-but-happy fisherman who finds ‘the Pearl of the World,’ is Steinbeck finding international wealth and fame with his previous book, The Grapes of Wrath…” (Today In Literature)

Friday Quote of the Night

Friday, November 23rd, 2012

“Writing is making sense of life. You work your whole life and perhaps you’ve made sense of one small area.”

- Nadine Gordimer



Friday Evening Book Reviews

Friday, November 23rd, 2012

Mary MacVean on Ashley Edward Miller and Zack Stentz’s Colin Fischer: “…there’s no trace of superheroes here. Instead, the first-time authors use journal entries and footnotes to flesh out the interior life of an unusual teenager who happens to love mysteries.” (LATimes)

Jonathan Gibbs on Simon Gough’s The White Goddess: An Encounter: “Maybe we don’t want our poets to be such sacred monsters as Graves these days, but that doesn’t stop this book reading at a gallop. It makes the case for poets as necessary lightning rods for our passions; and Graves’s poetry is still very much alive, no matter that he is read more today for his prose.” (The Independent)

Moira Macdonald on Ian McEwan’s Sweet Tooth: “…moves elegantly toward its inevitable conclusion: Trust — in life, and in narrative fiction — is hard-earned, and surprisingly elusive.” (Seattle Times)

David L. Ulin on Ellen Forney’s Marbles: “…reads less like a comic than a scrapbook, in which traditional strip-style layouts alternate with lists, sketchbook pages, re-created photos — all to reproduce the swirling chaos of her inner life.” (Chicago Tribune)

5 Minutes Alone… With Greg Bardsley

Friday, November 23rd, 2012

Author, Greg Bardsley, debuts his sense of adventure (and sense of humor) with his crime caper, CASH OUT, released last month from Harper Perennial. A former reporter and speechwriter, he’s taken what he knows and strapped it to some high intensity wheels for quite a ride for the intrepid reader. He’s a busy man, but fortunately, we caught him on his way out the door…

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

AuthorScoop: What was your very first publication credit?

Greg: In eighth–grade, I wrote for the school “newspaper” and pitched to do a feature on the head custodian, a cool guy named Ralph. So I came up with a feature called The Ralph Report. All I recall is writing something like, “Ralph has a Z28 from ’78.” I also recall there being a showdown between Ralph, who was a low-rider, and another young custodian at the school, who was a high-rider (with a Chevy, I think) and trying to write about the rivalry. But that piece never ran.

AuthorScoop: Tell us about your latest release.

Greg: Harper Perennial has just released my debut novel, Cash Out. It’s about a working stiff who’s found himself at a white-hot startup in Silicon Valley. He only has three days left until his stock options vest to the tune of $1.1 million. He thinks it will be an easy three days–so easy, in fact, that he gets a vasectomy during that time. But then things go awry, starting with a pack of elfin IT geeks who try to blackmail him into a series of ill-advised activities. If he fails to keep the geeks happy, they will release some of his online activity to his employer, which will get him fired just days before he can cash out. …Oh, the novel also involves spry older men in skin-colored Speedos, toilet sabotage, irresponsible use of canine pressure collars and small men getting shaved against their will. From what I understand, this would not be categorized as a “cozy.”

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

Greg: I think getting out of my “ecosystem” helped a ton. There was a time when all I did as an aspiring author was focus on novels. That worked out okay. With my second unpublished manuscript, I found an agent, who suggested that I should try getting some short stories published. I really hadn’t given that any thought, as I was so focused on writing a successful novel and hadn’t seen a lot of fun and interesting crime shorts. But I gave it a try and found that I loved it. Getting shorts out there allowed me to experiment with different characters, voices and stories, and do so without the massive upfront time and emotional investment of writing a novel. And the payoff was far more immediate—you could write a short, share with friends, revise the short, submit to journals and ’zines, and sometimes see it published in a matter of months.

The shorts also helped me develop Cash Out. Some of my more popular short-story characters (Crazy Larry, Calhoun, Janice from Finance, Stephen Fitzroy) ended up playing important roles in the novel.

But most importantly, the shorts allowed me to meet an amazing group of likeminded writers who were eager to help one another. Over the course of years, our community grew and strengthened, and one day at a conference one such author introduced me to David Hale Smith, the agent who would sell Cash Out to Harper Perennial nearly two years later.

So if I look back at how Cash Out came to be on the shelves, it all started with getting out of my regular ecosystem.

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

Greg: I have a day job and a family. So I’m busy and have little time. That means I usually write my fiction late at night, after my wife and kids had fallen asleep. With Cash Out, some days I wrote at lunch, or when the family was out for an hour. Some nights I couldn’t stop, and I’d write into the very early morning. The first draft of Cash Out was written during a thousand stolen moments over the course of a few years.

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

Greg: Write. Write a lot. Then write some more. Ask for feedback from people you trust. Listen to the feedback. Write some more. Have fun. Keep writing. Try different types of writing. Solicit more feedback. Have more fun with your writing, and with the process. Create a writing life that is rewarding no matter how much (or little) external success you realize. Diversify your emotional investments with writing (i.e., pursue shorts and novels, for instance). Celebrate your milestones, whether it is completing a story, getting a nibble or a nice comment. Then write some more. And have fun.


Find CASH OUT wherever books are sold, but since you’re right here at your computer, you could always click here for it. And you can find Greg himself on his website and blog, and also on Facebook.

Friday Morning LitLinks

Friday, November 23rd, 2012

AuthorScoop hopes your Thanksgiving was excellent. If the company you kept left you with indigestion, just know it could have been worse. Here are the top 10 worst fictional families to have the holidays with, courtesy of (BookRiot)

At age 78, Pakistani author, Jamil Ahmed, is a debut novelist and already shortlisted for one of the regions most prestigious literary awards. (The International Herald Tribune)

Here’s a new crop of fresh first sentences that have caught the eye of (The San Fransisco Chronicle)

Books are hot commodities, too, right? Publishers try their hand at Black Friday deals. (The Bookseller)

It’s official: EL James’ 50 SHADES OF GREY is the all-time top ebook seller on Kindle. (GalleyCat)

A new book explores Graeme Greene’s political writings. (Reuters)

Belgium angles to clamber up the comic-book ladder. (The Atlantic)

Trilby Kent takes the Canadian Children’s Literature Award for 2012. (The Vancouver Sun)

Pope Benedict debunks some elements of the traditional Christmas story in JESUS OF NAZARETH – THE INFANCY NARRATIVES. (CNN)

Author, Bryce Courtenay, has died. He was 79 years old. Rest in peace. (Reuters)

“On this day in 1678, ‘Ephelia’ had her first public writing licensed by the King’s censor, thereby marking her official entry into the world of Restoration literature. The writing in question is a poem on the ‘Popish Plot’ hysteria that was rocking the Court and all of England, but more interesting than poem or occasion is Ephelia herself. Once ‘a reputedly intractable case in the annals of English pseudonyma,’ she has now been almost conclusively identified, thanks to some recent, intrepid literary sleuthing….” (Today In Literature)

Wednesday Morning LitLinks

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

Gary Shteynhart took some zingers at his roasting on Tuesday night. (Flavorwire)

Are HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster considering a Penguin/Random House-type union? (The Bookseller)

Gregory Maguire donates his handwritten notes for WICKED and his other works to his alma mater, The University at Albany. (The Wall Street Journal)

Author, Yann Martel, weighs in on the film adaptation of his mega-selling, LIFE OF PI. (The National Post)

Corrections officers on San Quentin’s Death Row have prevailed in court to confiscate an inmate’s copy of THE BLACK PANTHERS, by Stephen Shames. (The San Fransisco Chronicle)

Here’s a peek at the Costa Awards shortlist for 2012 with both usual and unusual suspects making an appearance. (The Telegraph)

The DSC Prize for South Asian Literature posts its shortlist as well. (The Hindu)

Kindle gets its ehands on some unpublished work of Kurt Vonnegut’s. (MediaBistro)

Anne Lamott chats with (The New York Times)

Random House’s ebook strategy in China seems to be paying off. (China Daily)

The phenomenon of Young Adult blockbusters gets chewed over by some industry insiders at (Publishers Weekly)

Peruse the publishing industry’s auction offerings for a benefit to aid the recovery efforts after Hurricane Sandy. (Publishing Gives Back)

“On this day in 1694 Voltaire (Francois Marie Arouet) was born. Few could have predicted his Age-defining stature, but apparently the young Voltaire showed every sign of becoming, as biographer Theodore Besterman puts it, ‘one of those over-life-size personages who seem perpetually to attract equally extraordinary events.’ As a teenager in Paris, Voltaire was so fond of the freethinking “libertins” that his father had him removed to Caen and then the Netherlands, for instruction in the political arts….” (Today In Literature)

Tuesday Quote of the Night

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012

“Some writers confuse authenticity, which they ought always to aim at, with originality, which they should never bother about.”

- W.H. Auden