Archive for December, 2012

Monday Evening Book Reviews

Monday, December 31st, 2012

David L. Ulin on George Saunders’ Tenth of December: “…what the book at its best achieves is a vivid synergy between the ridiculous culture we have built for ourselves and the heartbreak and longing of our inner lives.” (LATimes)

Alastair Smart on Juan Gabriel Vásquez’s The Sound of Things Falling: “Vásquez follows Balzac’s maxim that “novels are the private histories of nations.”” (The Telegraph)

Michelle Salcido on Eva Saulitis’ Many Ways to Say It: “…explores the web of connections between nature, science, language, and the continually opening territory of the self, where all of those topographies intersect and the individual must navigate a course through their beauty, terror, and mystery in order to reach that “far-off country,” a place to which the only map is her poems.” (The Rumpus)

Seth Lerer on (editor) Rose Styron’s Selected Letters of William Styron: “In the selection assembled by his widow, Rose, and writer R. Blakeslee Gilpin, he comes off as sensitive, erudite, caring, self-reflective and observant. There’s very little tell-all in the letters – no rants, no rages, no revenge.” (San Francisco Chronicle)

THREE GRAVES FULL & Jamie Mason’s Read-a-Thon of Distraction

Monday, December 31st, 2012

Win a book, then assign any book for me to read


There are still a few Advance Review Copies of THREE GRAVES FULL left, and so the fun begins.

As you can imagine, I’m quite excited and preoccupied with the goings on here recently. That’s the nicest way to put it. What I am, actually, is a hepped-up hamster on a squeaky wheel of hyper-vigilance. It’s this |—| close to making me hate myself. And I hate hating myself. So in order to get my head out of my own… er… well, book, I’ve decided to stage a contest for readers, and a week’s worth of mental vacation for myself via some intensive reading – to the tune of five books, one each day, Monday thru Friday, January 21st to January 25th.

And I need your help.

Here’s how the contest will work:

- leave a comment – a nice or at least neutral one please, thankyouverymuch – here or on my website (use the Contact form) and make sure I’ll be able to find you again!

- I’ll put all the names into a randomizer and let it select five responders, each to win an ARC of THREE GRAVES FULL (these are books with shovel cover, in paperback)

- if you’re selected, I’ll sign a copy and send my book right off to you and, in turn, you get to pick one book – any genre, fiction or non – for me to read in my Five-Books-In-Five-Days Readathon (Please no 1,000 page epics, or impossible to find volumes – I’d like to be able to actually do this assignment.)

(Best if you have two or three in mind, just in case it’s something I’ve read before – AND DON’T TELL ME BEFORE THE SELECTION PROCESS IS OVER. I want the surprise.)

The contest is open from now (December 31st) until 11:59pm on Friday, January 11th. This should be good fun, and thanks for entering!


Monday Morning LitLinks

Monday, December 31st, 2012


Enjoy an illustrated interview with the late, great Maurice Sendak. (The New York Times)

The greatest literary heroines of 2012 are honored in (The Atlantic)

Seth Godin discusses Kickstarter as a problematic resource for authors. (The Domino Project)

Gawker crowns the most obnoxious Letter to the Editor of the year. (Gawker)

The University of Iowa and Prairie Lights collaborate on new publishing venture. (Stamford Advocate)

Here’s a peek at what’s been tapped as the Best Nonfiction of 2012 over at (The Boston Herald)

BookRiot combs their 2012 archives for the very best articles of 2012. And BookRiot’s best is pretty darned good. (BookRiot)

January Magazine like crime fictions so much, its Best of list takes two days to post! (Day 1) (Day 2)

…and have their picks for the best kid’s books of 2012, for good measure. (January Magazine)

NPR squeezes in recommendations of four great 2012 graphic novels  – just under the wire. (NPR)

“‘New Year’s Eve,’ by D. H. Lawrence, is a love poem from a collection titled, Look! We Have Come Through!, published when Lawrence was in his early thirties. The collection tells a connected ‘story, or history, or confession,’ Lawrence says in his Foreword, ‘of a man during the crisis of manhood, when he marries and comes into himself.’ Autobiographically, the ‘crisis’ was provoked by the emotional tumult of Lawrence’s recent past — his meeting, running off to Europe with, and marriage to Frieda Weekley.”… (Today In Literature)



Friday Quote of the Night

Friday, December 28th, 2012

“I must always forget how one word is able to pick out another, to manner another, until I have got something I might have said… but did not.”

? Anne Sexton




Friday Evening Book Reviews

Friday, December 28th, 2012

Barry Forshaw on James Lee Burke’s Creole Belle: “…those on his wavelength will see this as a more powerful and ambitious novel about America than most written today – and certainly more relevant than Tom Wolfe’s latest effort.” (The Independent)

Julie Orringer on Jami Attenberg’s The Middlesteins: “…caustic, entertaining and bighearted…” (NYTimes)

Stuart Kelly on Selina O’Grady’s And Man Created God: “…O’Grady’s expansive and intelligent book addresses a problem that vexed thinkers as different as Edward Gibbon and Friedrich Nietzsche: how did an apocalyptic sect in first-century Judaea turn into an imperial power that dominated the west, politically and philosophically, for two millennia?” (The Guardian)

Valerie Ryan on Mo Yan’s Pow!: “Because he has combined several stories, the main narrative is interspersed with other vignettes; some self-contained, some ongoing. If it sounds confusing, it can be — but in the end it all makes sense.” (Seattle Times)

Friday Morning LitLinks

Friday, December 28th, 2012


Margaret Atwood lights up the possibilities for online publishing. (NPR)

Craig Davidson’s career gets a boost from the film adaptation of his work. (Quill & Quire)

Print sales tick upwards to the highest level in three years. (The Bookseller)

Phil Rickman talks to (The Telegraph)

The New York Times compares and contrasts libraries and bookstores. (The New York Times)

Bedbugs in the library – ugh. (The San Fransisco Chronicle)

Priya Elan explores the common denominators in celebriaty memoirs. (The Guardian)

Almost 1 in 4 Americans have read a book this year. (Pew)

Perry Link makes the case for criticizing Mo Yan at (New York Books)

What George RR Martin got for Christmas is the topic at (The Huffington Post)

Dennis Lehane’s dog goes missing. (GalleyCat)

“On this day in 1917, H. L. Mencken’s ‘A Neglected Anniversary,’ his hoax article on the American invention of the bathtub, was published in the New York Evening Mail. Mencken’s lifelong campaign to deride and derail Main Street America — the ‘booboisie’ — had a number of easy victories, but this joke succeeded beyond his wildest dreams and in Swiftian proportions….” (Today In Literature)


Thursday Morning LitLinks

Thursday, December 27th, 2012


A critic weighs ON THE ROAD against On The Road. (The Los Angeles Times)

Correspondence between JM Coetzee and Paul Auster will be a book next year. (The Guardian)

Here are the Top 10 Most Read Books in the World. (GalleyCat)

Go ahead, judge these books by their covers. (The New York Times)

The Atlantic makes a slideshow of the most anticipated books of 2013. (The Atlantic)

The best kids books, according to (The Telegraph)

Bank of Books in Malibu isn’t just your run-of-the-mill bookstore. (

…and an employee looks for avenues to purchase her beloved Learned Owl. (

The ebook year in recap from (Digital Book  World)

Chick-fil-A publishes a book-length advertisement aimed as children. (Salon)

Online shopping and book-buying: the new peas and carrots. (The Bookseller)

“On this day in 1904 Dublin’s Abbey Theatre opened, premiering W. B. Yeats‘s “On Baile’s Strand” and Lady Gregory’s ‘Spreading the News.’ Growing out of the general Irish literary renaissance of the time, the Abbey quickly rose to international fame for both the quality of its productions and the controversies which often surrounded them. Yeats, Gregory and the others who ran the Abbey had a political agenda, and for whatever religious, class, or nationalistic reasons, some segment of Irish society was always taking offense… (Today In Literature)


Wednesday, December 26th, 2012

“If people knew the story of their lives, how many would then elect to live them?”

? Cormac McCarthy



Wednesday Evening Book Reviews

Wednesday, December 26th, 2012

Louis Bayard on Sebastian Faulks’ A Possible Life: “At first blush, it is a collection of five longish short stories, self-containable, not obviously related, ranging in era from early19th century France to futuristic Italy. Faulks, however, insists the book is “a novel in five parts” and has compared it to a Beethoven symphony with separate movements arching into “a satisfying unity.”" (LATimes)

John Gapper on (editor) Carol Loomis’ Tap Dancing to Work: Warren Buffett on Practically Everything, 1966-2012: “…a sometimes patchy and incoherent work but one stuffed with nuggets and insights – a Christmas fruitcake for the investor.” (Financial Times)

Jane Juska on Joan Frank’s Because You Have To: A Writing Life: “What her collection does is to cover the bases of writing from the frustration of being called out before you even get up to the plate to the home run of publication.” (San Francisco Chronicle)

Tina Jordan on Barbara Vine’s The Child’s Child: “a sinister, constantly shifting Rubik’s Cube of motives, betrayals, and violence.” (

Afternoon Viewing: The Friday Society, by Adrienne Kress

Wednesday, December 26th, 2012

Wednesday Morning LitLinks

Wednesday, December 26th, 2012


I like Edgar Allan Poe just fine, but apparently, there are people out there who are obsessed with him, and they need presents, too. (The Los Angeles Times)

Paramount and Mario Puzo’s estate finally reach an agreement. (Reuters)

Look to the west and find a list of the best books of 2012 from (The San Fransisco Chronicle)

Library Journal weighs in on what books were best from 2012. (Library Journal)

… and they also post a list of 16 alternate choices. (Library Journal)

Bookspan Book Club offers its best picks of 2012. (Yahoo! News)

We might as well have a peek at the best according to UK publishers (The Guardian)

And the New York Daily News has a list for us as well. (New York Daily News)

…the Huffington Post jumps the gun and picks the best books for 2013. (The Huffington Post)

Random House lets a bunch of perfect strangers in. (The Huffington Post)

“On this day in 1936, Clare Boothe Luce’s The Women opened on Broadway, the first of its record-breaking 657 performances. Some reviewers (usually male) were more appalled than enthralled with the eye-scratching gossip of “best-bred hellcats and social filth mongers” all dressed up in “ermined smut,” but the play brought first-fame to Luce, and opportunities which her beauty, considerable ambition and adequate talent would not waste….” (Today In Literature)

Happy Holidays from AuthorScoop

Friday, December 21st, 2012

As we’re in the midst of the season for family, friends, food and that ever-elusive concept of relaxation, Jamie and I are going to take a few days off to unwind… and take care of some techy housekeeping in the process.

AuthorScoop will be back on Wednesday December 26th—on a brand new server (thanks, Kirk!).

Until then, have a great holiday.

Afternoon Viewing: Virtual Tour of The New York Public Library

Thursday, December 20th, 2012

Thursday Morning LitLinks

Thursday, December 20th, 2012

After this next one, Neil Gaiman’s all done with book tours. (The Los Angeles Times)

Bret Easton Ellis apologizes to Kathryn Bigelow for drinking and tweeting. (The Daily Mail)

From the Just-In-Case Files, here are some apocalypse tips from literature. (The Guardian)

A writer should carry a notebook – always. (Forbes)

Macmillan stands its ground in Department of Justice lawsuit. (PublishersWeekly)

What’s okay in literature for young people, and where are the lines? (GMA News)

USA Today has a Top Ten list of 2012 books. (USA Today)

Patti Smith has had way too much life for just one memoir. (Billboard)

The priciest books of the year, presented by (GalleyCat)

The Tournament of Books for 2012 is on. Check it out. (The Morning News)

“On this day in 1929 D. H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover was banned in the United States. This was only one of a string of bannings from its first publication the year before until the landmark obscenity trials in 1959 (U.S.) and 1960 (Britain), but for Lawrence personally it may have been the most devastating. Lawrence expected, wanted and got a fuss over the book, and knew from the start that no mainstream publisher would touch it…” (Today In Literature)

Wednesday Quote of the Night

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

“It had been startling and disappointing to me to find out that story books had been written by people, that books were not natural wonders, coming up of themselves like grass.”

- Eudora Welty



Wednesday Evening Book Reviews

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

Meredith Blake on Benjamin Lorr’s Hell Bent: Obsession, Pain, and the Search for Something Like Transcendence in Competitive Yoga: “…part undercover investigation, part initiation, as Lorr, almost against his better judgment, becomes more and more committed to the practice.” (LATimes)

Elena Seymenliyska on Ben Elton’s Two Brothers: “There are so many twists and turns that it becomes academic who is who, with whom and where. They are not people, they are mechanisms.” (The Telegraph)

Scott Sturgis on Seth Casteel’s Underwater Dogs: “…will let any family get up close and personal with swimming dogs. Maybe even better than real life.” (

Alex Estes on James Arthur’s Charms Against Lightning: “We may just find this collection under the heading “An Uneven Debut From a Poet That Went on to Astonish.” There have certainly been quite a few of those.” (The Rumpus)

Wednesday Morning LitLinks

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

If you get paid to write a book about A-Rod, you need to write a book about A-Rod. (The Smoking Gun)

Hometown bookstores report that the 2012 holiday shopping season is being kind to them. (The New York Times)

It’s all champagne and woo hoo at Random House UK. (The Bookseller)

I enjoy Word of the Day as much as the next nerd, but a little self-policing would have saved the OED some embarrassment. (The Huffington Post)

…and on the topic of individual words, here are the “worst’ words of 2012 according to (The Atlantic Wire)

Richard Russo’s memoir, ON HELWIG STREET, diagrams the evolution of a writer. (The Telegraph)

Kirkus posts its picks for the best Indie books of 2012. (Kirkus)

The brilliant Jennifer Egan packs up from Knopf for Scribner. (The New York Times)

Penguin settles with the Department of Justice. (GalleyCat)

“On this day in 1848 Emily Bronte died at the age of thirty. Of all the death and drama in the Bronte household over the surrounding eight months — events which now stand as famous and poignant as any in the Bronte novels — none seems to impress or import more than Emily’s. In September, thirty-one-year-old Branwell had died in his exuberant manner, the last stages of his dissolution and tuberculosis expressed in delirium tremens cursing and despair….” (Today In Literature)

Tuesday Morning LitLinks

Tuesday, December 18th, 2012

Books are made of words, and sometimes the words themselves are a curiosity. Here’s why there’s a ‘b’ in the word ‘doubt’. (io9)

James Wood offers his picks for the best books of 2012 at (The New Yorker)

…and Elizabeth Menkel reflects on her year with her nose in a book at (The Millions)

Rosetta takes the e-collection of Arthur C. Clarke’s work to a ereader near you. (Publishers Weekly)

The Green Carnation Prize goes to Patrick Gale and Andre Carl Van der Merwe for A PERFECTLY GOOD MAN and MOFFIE, respectively. (The Bookseller)

A mother and her daughter’s murderer tell the story – jointly – in a new book, WILDFLOWERS IN THE MEDIAN. (USA Today)

The Guardian continues its series on darkness in literature. (The Guardian)

According to Facebook, no one gets read more than Suzanne Collins. (GalleyCat)

“On this day in 1946 Damon Runyon’s ashes were scattered over Broadway by his son, in a plane flown by Eddie Rickenbacker. Runyon was born in Manhattan, Kansas; he arrived at the bigger apple at the age of thirty, to be a sportswriter and to try out at Mindy’s and the Stork Club and any betting window available his crap-shoot worldview: ‘All of life is six to five against.’ Broadway became his special beat, and in story collections like Guys and Dolls he developed the colorful characters — Harry the Horse, the Lemon Drop Kid, Last Card Louie — and the gangster patois that would swept America throughout the thirties and forties…” (Today In Literature)

Monday Quote of the Night

Monday, December 17th, 2012

“It is not true that people stop pursuing dreams because they grow old, they grow old because they stop pursuing dreams.”

- Gabriel García Márquez


Monday Evening Book Reviews

Monday, December 17th, 2012

Michiko Kakutani on Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s Antifragile: Things That Gain From Disorder: “A reader could easily run out of adjectives to describe Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s new book “Antifragile: Things That Gain From Disorder.” The first ones that come to mind are: maddening, bold, repetitious, judgmental, intemperate, erudite, reductive, shrewd, self-indulgent, self-congratulatory, provocative, pompous, penetrating, perspicacious and pretentious.” (NYTimes)

Ken Tucker on Eric Deggans’ Race-Baiter: “Drawing upon phenomena as varied as news coverage of the Trayvon Martin killing, the casting of blacks in prime-time lead roles, and Hurricane Katrina, Deggans makes a smartly presented call for more civil discourse.” (

David Morley on Andrew Motion’s The Customs House: “There is no desire to press a bright-red antiwar poetry button; no call for the trickery of literature; and no call above the quiet truths and sensibilities of those on the front line.” (The Guardian)

Scott Esposito on Jacqueline Raoul-Duval’s Kafka in Love: “…blends historical fact with novelistic whimsy.” (San Francisco Chronicle)