Archive for January, 2013
F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Baltimore townhouse is up for sale. (The Los Angeles Times)
The digitization of older non-fiction presents a problem: what if we know now that the “facts” are wrong? (The New York Times)
Where did 1.5 million books go? (Washington City Paper)
It’s not new, but it’s a new bestseller in China: James Joyce’s FINNEGAN’S WAKE. (The New York Times)
Will Self talks “armchair anthropology” through books. (The Guardian)
Charles DuBow talks about his upcoming release, INDISCRETION. (USA Today)
Brad Meltzer has a chat about his latest bestseller, THE FIFTH ASSASSIN, with the (Daily Sundial)
The NY Times recaps the Jaipur Literature Festival. (The New York Times)
“On this day in 1948, J. D. Salinger’s ‘A Perfect Day for Bananafish’ was published in the New Yorker; in the same magazine, on the same day in 1953, Salinger’s ‘Teddy’ also appeared. These are the first and last selections in Nine Stories (1953), Salinger’s only collection apart from various bootlegged editions of the other, forty-odd stories….” (Today In Literature)
Unanimous vote lands the Costa Award on BRING UP THE BODIES, by Hilary Mantel. (The Guardian)
…Sameer Rahim explains why it was inevitable. (The Telegraph)
Timbuktu’s priceless collection of rare and ancient Islamic manuscripts may have been looted and destroyed. (The Atlantic)
Have a sneak peek at Maurice Sendak’s last work, courtesy of (Vanity Fair)
Here are ten now-common words that some famous writers just made-up. (Mental Floss)
George Saunders on Stephen Colbert’s show makes the grade for (Salon)
The hilarious Amy Poehler is set to pen a memoir this year. (The New York Times)
Here’s a look at who gets the nod for best video game writing. (GalleyCat)
Rachel Ashwell talks about her new book with (The San Francisco Chronicle)
“On this day in 1933 Ezra Pound met with Benito Mussolini. This was a brief, one-time talk, but it would bring out the worst in Pound’s personality and lead to personal disaster; it would also inspire some of the best of modern poetry.
Pound had lived in Italy since 1924, and become increasingly political. Like many in the 20s, he had come to look upon Mussolini as Italy’s salvation and a great man; when granted an audience with him he took along not just some of his poems but an eighteen-point summary of his Social Credit monetary policies. Mussolini ignored Pound’s politics and thought his poems divertente (entertaining), but Pound came away impressed…” (Today In Literature)
“Writing is making sense of life. You work your whole life and perhaps you’ve made sense of one small area.”
- Nadine Gordimer
Peter Craven on Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl: “If there’s something a bit sick-making about the way this book turns out – and there is – a fat fraction of the world is going to feel the shiver and the sparkle of how it unfolds.” (Sydney Morning Herald)
Gerrick D. Kennedy on Cissy Houston’s Remembering Whitney: “A great deal of the book is dedicated to the relationship between mother and daughter, one that grew more fraught as the drug use worsened.” (LATimes)
Gale Zoe Garnett on Susanna Sonnenberg’s She Matters: A Life in Friendships: “…I’m left wishing for a book that allows for the possibility of sustained and balanced sharing between women, a book less centred on failed rescue, without a constant accretion of delight followed by disappointment.” (The Globe and Mail)
Maureen Corrigan on Nele Neuhaus’ Snow White Must Die: “So many subplots fork off the main narrative that this novel should be sold with a GPS.” (Washington Post)
The John Newberry Medal goes to THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN by Katherine Applegate. (The New York Times)
…and here’s a full recap of the ALA’s Caldecott and Newberry awards night. (The Los Angeles Times)
Debut author, Megan Shepherd, talks about her new book, THE MADMAN’S DAUGHTER, its influences, and the movie that may result. (Entertainment Weekly)
Canada’s Globe and Mail loses its book section. (Now Toronto)
Reading makes kids smarter. Here’s the science. (GalleyCat)
Not that he would be one bit pleased by this, but J.D. Salinger’s biography will hit shelves in September. (The New York Times)
Jessica Crispin makes the case that too much capitalizing on the plight of women doesn’t help the plight of women. (Bookslut)
Mary Burton has a chat with (USA Today)
Here’s hoping this doesn’t exist beyond this one bottle: Dead Writers Perfume. Thank you (BookRiot)
Journalist and author, Stanley Karnow, has died. He was 87 years old. Rest in peace. (The Los Angeles Times)
“On this day in 1728 John Gay’s The Beggar’s Opera opened in London. Its satire and singability made it a first-run sell-out, a cultural craze across England, the most produced play of the 18th century, and the original “ballad opera,” first in the Gilbert and Sullivan line. Within the first week one London paper was reporting ‘a very general Applause, insomuch that the Waggs say it hath made Rich [the theater manager] very Gay, and probably will make Gay very Rich.’ The politicians smarted at being portrayed as highwaymen, fences, pickpockets and molls, but the public bought playing cards, fans and parlor screens imprinted with scenes or lyrics of the dashing MacHeath…” (Today In Literature)
“The only imaginative fiction being written today is income tax returns.”
? Herman Wouk
Michiko Kakutani on Teddy Wayne’s The Love Song of Jonny Valentine: “Instead, Mr. Wayne depicts Jonny as a complicated, searching boy, by turns innocent and sophisticated beyond his years, eager to please and deeply resentful, devoted to his unusual talent and aware of both its rewards and its costs. This is what makes “The Love Song” more than a scabrous sendup of American celebrity culture; it’s also a poignant portrait of one young artist’s coming of age.” (NYTimes)
Adam O’Riordan on Alejandro Zambra’s Ways of Going Home: “The novel has an air of insomniac attentiveness: a sharpened observation of daily routine, an accumulation of detail and interleaving of banality and profundity.” (The Telegraph)
Rachel Howard on Elena Passarello’s Let Me Clear My Throat: Essays: “… wonderfully literary way to gain this education, while absorbing the life tales of a few great crooners, actors, and sportscasters besides.” (The Rumpus)
Douglas Wolk on Peter Bagge’s Reset: “Bagge has adapted the tools of slapstick to what’s essentially a drawing-room comedy, if a cheerfully profane one, and his enthusiasm for sabotaging Hollywood-style resolutions makes the few hopeful moments of “Reset” even sweeter.” (Seattle Times)
PRIDE AND PREJUDICE celebrates 200 years in print. (The New York Times)
…and here’s a peek at Jane Austen’s many film adaptations. (The Telegraph)
…and she heads up a list of wonderful opening lines in Literature. (The Telegraph)
Susanna Rustin makes a case for not awarding Hilary Mantel the Costa Prize. It’s along the lines of “Give someone else a chance.” (The Guardian)
The Department of Defense un-censors some of what it cut out of Anthony Shaffer’s OPERATION DARK HEART. (The New York Times)
Allen Ginsberg’s candid photos give us a look at The Beats. (The Huffington Post)
On the enduring relevance of SE Hinton’s THE OUTSIDERS. (NPR)
Alfred A. Knopf is full of piss and vinegar on Twitter. Or is he? (Melville House)
Joan Didion’s A BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER heads to the big screen, Campbell Scott at the helm. (Variety)
Sam Husain, CEO of Foyles Bookstores appeals to publishers and booksellers everywhere: change your ways! (The Bookseller)
David Shanks, the chief executive over at Penguin, is selling fruit on the side. (Newsday)
Author, Simon Lane, has died. He was 55 years old. Rest in peace. (The Guardian)
“On this day in 1873 Colette (Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette) was born outside Paris. Even given her mythologizing, and her intentional blurring of the lines in her autobiographical fiction, Colette’s full and sensational life made her one of the most popular writers and personalities in the first half of the twentieth century. She wrote over fifty books, and is credited and blamed with much: having invented the modern teenager (presented in her early Claudine novels)…” (Today In Literature)
Stephen King sells an essay on guns (and on pulling his novel, RAGE, from publication) through Amazon Singles. Proceeds to charity. Food for thought to all interested parties. (Slate)
Karen Bender didn’t mean to become a writer. (The New York Times)
The Huffington Post is tapping its feet and admonishing a baker’s dozen to get to writing already. (The Huffington Post)
The now weekly staple of opening lines from (The San Francisco Chronicle)
The American Library Association hosts its midwinter conference. (Publishers Weekly)
Somebody has gone to a lot of trouble to map the journey of the One Ring To Rule Them All. (GalleyCay)
Anne Frank’s diary – there’s an app for that? Really? (The Telegraph)
Elizabeth Day interviews Dave Eggers for (The Guardian)
“On this day in 1722 Daniel Defoe’s Moll Flanders was published. Defoe’s title page is one of literature’s longest come-hithers, and casts a wide net: ‘The Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Famous Moll Flanders &c who was born at Newgate, and during a Life of continued Variety for Threescore Years, besides her Childhood, was Twelve Year a Whore, five time a Wife (whereof once to her own Brother), Twelve Year a Thief, Eight Year a Transported Felon in Virginia, at last grew rich, liv’d Honest, and died a Penitent.’ Lest readers get too much of the wrong idea, Defoe follows this up with a preface in which we are told that the Penitent part of the story is uplifting…” (Today In Literature)
“The story and study of the past, both recent and distant, will not reveal the future, but it flashes beacon lights along the way and it is a useful nostrum against despair.”
? Barbara W. Tuchman
Hector Tobar on Joshua Bloom and Waldo E. Martin Jr.’s Black Against Empire: The History and Politics of the Black Panther Party: “The most important contribution of “Black Against Empire” is simply to treat the Black Panthers as the serious political and cultural force they were.” (LATimes)
Isabel Berwick on Tracey Thorn’s Bedsit Disco Queen: How I Grew Up and Tried to Be a Pop Star: “…a nostalgia-fest for anyone who remembers that vanished age when people judged and were judged on the basis of the record collections visible on the shelves of rented flats.” (Financial Times)
Kathryn Hughes on Fanny and Stella: The Young Men Who Shocked Victorian England: “Purists and puritans may balk at the book, both its tone and its way of proceeding. But everyone else will have a ball.” (The Guardian)
Malcolm Forbes on Manuel Gonzales’ The Miniature Wife: “The stronger stories showcase Gonzales’ fecund imaginative abilities. There are true moments of Kafkaesque absurdity and Borgesian fantasy, but also hints that Gonzales is tracing that long line of Russian surrealists, from Gogol’s madcap antics to Ludmila Petrushevskaya’s bleak little fairy tales.” (San Francisco Chronicle)
Nobel Prize-winner Derek Walcott sounds off about the Caribbean’s apparent indifference to the arts. (January Magazine)
A student justifies her study of literature in (The Philippine Daily Inquirer)
Richard Davies offers up some advice on collecting books at (Publishers Weekly)
Agent Kristen Nelson shares what self-publishers know that trade publishers should. (Pub Rants)
Some speculation on who might be the worst novelist in history. (Slate)
If you missed Richard Blanco’s poem at the inauguration, here it is. (GalleyCat)
One of mega-reviewer James Wood’s former students reviews the master’s latest book. (Commonwealth Magazine)
Here’s preview (of previews) of books & comics that will be films in 2013. (Library Journal)
When dance meets literature. (The Huffington Post)
“On this day in 1788 Captain Arthur Phillip brought the first British convict ships to anchor in Botany Bay, Australia. Over the next eighty years 825 such ships would bring 160,000 men and women to serve their “transportation” sentence — seven years for most, fourteen or life for some, no time at all for the significant number unable to survive the eight-month voyage. Captain Phillip went on to become the first Governor of Australia, and today became Australia Day — the nation so proud of being bad-to-the-bone that web sites such as convictcentral.com offer a full listing of all those transported and an adopt-a-service for those disappointed to find no founding criminals in the family tree….” (Today In Literature)
Author, Joe McGinniss, reveals he’s fighting prostate cancer. (USA Today)
The Costa Short Story Prize has three unpublished writers among this year’s finalists. (Book2Book)
Get on Burns’ level – the contemporaries of poet, Robert Burns. (The Guardian)
Joan Crescenz loses her legal battle against Penguin and author, Michael Capuzzo, for libel. (Law.com)
“Cash mob” bolsters a Lynchburg, Virginia bookstore. (The News Advance)
A set of correspondence, including a grumpy letter from Raymond Chandler to his agent, is up for auction. (Booktryst)
LORD OF PUBLISHING, the memoir of alpha literary agent, Sterling Lord, has the industry-curious abuzz. (The Huffington Post)
Janice Greene talks about the heroines of popular teen fiction. (The San Francisco Chronicle)
Author, Richard G. Stern, has died. He was 84 years old. Rest in peace. (The New York Times)
Playwright and poet, Dolores Prida, Has died. She was 69 years old. (The New York Times)
“On this day in 1759 Robert Burns was born in Alloway, Scotland, and on this night lovers of Burns or Scotland or conviviality will gather around the world to celebrate the fact. Burns was elevated to national hero in his lifetime and cult figure soon afterwards, the first Burns Night celebration occurring almost immediately upon his death. This is due partly to the poetry and partly to the legendary details of the ploughman-poet life — his years as a poor tenant farmer; his enthusiasm for women (fifteen children, six born out of wedlock); a patriotism that would not allow him to take money for his songs; his death at thirty-seven….” (Today In Literture)
If author, Mark Pryor, seems recently familiar here at AuthorScoop, that’s because we saw him just a few weeks ago to discuss his debut novel, THE BOOKSELLER. Hot on its heels, Mark employs his other calling – the law – bringing to the non-fiction shelves a cold case story more than twenty years in the making. We’re as pleased as we can be to have him back to tell us a bit about AS SHE LAY SLEEPING.
We’d like to thank him for coming back once again to be part of our “5 Minutes Alone” interview series.
AuthorScoop: Twice in a (thus far, very short) year, we get the scoop on a new book by Mark Pryor. You’ve been a busy boy. Tell us about your latest, AS SHE LAY SLEEPING.
Mark: This is my first non-fiction book, it’s part memoir and part true crime. It begins with the murder of a beautiful young woman in Austin Texas, Natalie Antonetti, who is found battered and bleeding by her teenage son on their downstairs couch. She tries to talk, but can’t, and eventually sinks into a coma and dies. Police never have a good suspect and the case goes cold.
Twenty years later, police get an anonymous call that points them to Dennis Davis, Natalie’s former boyfriend and a respected music producer. That anonymous tip comes from Davis’s wife, of all people, and soon after making it she stops cooperating with police. Davis also has an alibi and when the detective checks with the woman he claims to have been with, she can’t remember (unsurprisingly). However, she used to keep a detailed diary and goes to look for the one covering the 1985 murder date. Sure enough, she wasn’t with him. Witnesses slowly come forward, including one who said Davis admitted to her that he killed Natalie.
I was the lead prosecutor handling the case, my first ever murder case, which went to trial in April 2011. We had no DNA, no eye-witnesses, and a lot of uncooperative witnesses. The book aims to be a detailed look at a fascinating case, as well as giving the reader an inside look at how the case was worked up and presented to a jury.
AuthorScoop: With fiction you have to craft a narrative around something that never happened, while with non-fiction, you have to choose just the right words to do justice to something that actually has. How has the contrast between these two disciplines felt from atop the hotseat?
Mark: You’re right. With fiction you can just make up people, and places, events to suit the narrative, to help the story along. But with non-fiction you are chained to a set of events that you have to make interesting, while sticking to the truth. Sometimes, and this will shock your readers, but the practice of law (even in a murder case) can be a little slow and boring. Then again, when an editor is waiting for your next book, that’s a lot of pressure on the creative engines whereas with non-fiction the story is all laid out.
Perhaps the hardest part, as you suggest, is doing justice to the people in the book. You don’t have to worry about that with fiction, your imaginary detective isn’t going to feel slighted by the way you describe him or what he does. But I had to work hard to represent people as they are, or appeared to me anyway, and not sell them short. With so many players in a murder case, that was hard!
AuthorScoop: In your career as a prosecutor, your head has to have been filled with many fascinating stories. Would you do it again, write it up in a book?
Mark: If I had the right case, I might. Maybe. It’s exhausting to live through a case like that and then recreate it on the page, it’s like living through it a second time almost. I don’t think I’ll have that concern, though, I have a lot of fiction rattling around in my head so I will busy myself with that for now.
That said, there’s nothing to stop me from taking snippets from the case and things I’ve seen and slipping them into my fiction, I’ve not done too much of that but one of the books I want to write will definitely include a few carefully disguised tidbits.
AuthorScoop: With two books (and probably most-if-not-all of a third, by now) under your belt, do you find that the experience of reading has changed for you?
Mark: That’s a great question because actually, it has. For one thing, with so much going on I don’t get to read as much as I used to. People have started asking me for blurbs, too, which is very flattering but also time consuming. On top of that, when I read for pleasure, and even though I try to stop myself, I find I’m very analytical, looking at word choice, plot structure, the mechanics of the book. I have to take a breath and get back to being a reader and not a writer.
Of course, the downside of that is when I’m reading a book by someone like Tana French, which makes me wonder if I can ever be that good!
AuthorScoop: Finally, what’s next for Mark Pryor?
Mark: A few days off?! Well, I suppose I’ll be gearing up for the release of my second mystery, THE CRYPT THIEF, in May, and I’m neck deep in the third book so I need to finish that up soon. If there’s a number four, I’ll have to think about where to set that and I do have a couple of stand-alone books in mind that I’d like to get to. In other words, not much slowing down in my future, as far as I can tell. I don’t mind though, this is a fun ride and I feel very lucky to be on it.
D.A. Confidential is Mark Pryor’s hub of up-to-date information on what he’s up to, but you can also find him on his website and Facebook. And do look for AS SHE LAY SLEEPING. In fact, why don’t you start right here.
Anne Yoder interviews poet, Megan Kaminski, for (The Millions)
The Man Booker International Prize for 2013 gets its list narrowed to the finalists. (The Man Booker Prizes)
Jezebel has a cow over the new 50th anniversary edition cover of Sylvia Plath’s THE BELL JAR. And yikes, too. (jezebel.com)
Of course it would come to this. Somebody is suing Lance Armstrong because his books weren’t in the fiction section. (The Bookseller)
Kit Steinkellner writes about reeling in the afterglow of a really, really great book. (BookRiot)
HuffPo honors Edith Wharton to commemorate her birthday. (The Huffington Post)
Penguin editor-in-chief, Peter Carson, is remembered at (The Guardian)
Alain de Botton fields a Q & A with (The New York Times)
Betcha haven’t got one of these: The letters from the flagship Borders store sign are up for auction. (GalleyCat)
“On this day in 1670 English playwright William Congreve was born. His ‘comedy of manners’ toasted and tilted at the “gala day of wit and pleasure” enjoyed by those who lived in the inner circles of Restoration power, or wished they did. His characters live the court-life fast and loose, and always rise to their names: Fondlewife, Maskwell, Wishfort, Witwoud. They are, as the Cambridge History says, ‘men and women of quick brains and cynical humours’ who talk ‘with the brilliance and rapidity wherewith the finished swordsman fences.’…” (Today In Literature)
“Finishing a book is just like you took a child out in the back yard and shot it.”
– Truman Capote
T.F. Rigelhof on Caroline Adderson’s The Sky is Falling: “Her writing isn’t simply deft: Adderson is very, very funny, but her wit is wry, cleverly controlled…” (The Globe and Mail)
W. G. Runciman on Christophe Boesch’s Wild Cultures: A comparison between chimpanzee and human cultures: ” Boesch doesn’t directly address the current state of research on the performance of individual chimpanzees who have been trained to understand the representative function of symbols or combine lexigrams in accordance with grammatical rules used by their minders.” (Times Literary Supplement)
Nahal Toosi on Jonathan Katz’s The Big Truck That Went By: How the World Came to Save Haiti and Left Behind a Disaster: “…Katz elegantly uses personal anecdotes and the stories of Haitians whose lives were turned upside down to paint a portrait of a struggling yet beguiling country.” (Sacramento Bee)
Meganne Fabrega on Elizabeth Black’s The Drowning House: “…her writing style often overshadows the plot, sending the reader to and fro between characters and side stories that never satisfactorily come to fruition.” (Minneapolis Star Tribune)
Hilary Mantel’s WOLF HALL and BRING UP THE BODIES will be adapted for the stage by The Royal Shakespeare Company. (The Bookseller)
Americans in Paris. Specifically, American authors doing well in Paris. (The Millions)
Matthew Quick (of THE SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK success) strikes while the iron is hot and sells his next novel, THE GOOD LUCK OF RIGHT NOW, to Dreamworks. (GalleyCat)
The reading public seems to be devouring military stories, so Osprey Publishing expands with from military history to military fiction with new imprint. (Publishers Weekly)
Last week’s Digital Book World as recapped by (The New Yorker)
Not sure it’s definitive, but here’s a list of The 10 Worst Book Covers In The History Of Literature from (So Bad So Good)
A few university libraries in Nova Scotia are working out a system to share ebooks. (Library Journal)
Sheila Heti finds great books that start with speech. (The Guardian)
Vulture wonders if Bret Easton Ellis is better at Tweeting than anything else. (Vulture)
Scientology pushes back, a little, against Lawrence Wright’s new book, GOING CLEAR. (The Daily Beast)
“On this day in 1930 Derek Walcott was born on St. Lucia. Walcott’s two-dozen collections of poems and plays — one recent work, Tiepolo’s Hound, widens the range by including his paintings — earned the 1992 Nobel. The Nobel committee cited the “multicultural commitment” in Walcott’s work, and so many followed suit (often adding ‘post-colonial’) that interviewers now get a forewarning: ‘If anybody uses the word ‘multiculturalism’ I’m walking out of the room.’ There is a similar island breeze in Walcott’s other interviews: Describe a typical day? ‘I work very early until noon, then look at nonsense on the TV in my pajamas.’…” (Today In Literature)
Margaret Atwood reflects on George Orwell’s impact on her writer’s sensibilities, even before she knew she was a writer. (The Guardian)
Read the complete text of Richard Blanco’s inaugural poem. (ABC)
What libraries seem to have is a PR problem, according to PEW. (Publishers Weekly)
Japan’s top literature awards land with one writer who is 75 years old and one who is 23. (The Japan Times)
A look into why the Jaipur Literature Festival is such a magnet for controversy. (FirstPost)
BookRiot finds the coolest libraries and collections. (BookRiot)
So if Lance lied about doping are his books fiction, too? (The Guardian)
Filmmaker, Patrick Alvarez, takes on one of David Sedaris’ essays, with the author’s blessing, but without his input. (USA Today)
Kathy Carpino advises to go into self-publishing with Guy Kawasaki’s advice, or don’t go at all. (Forbes)
The Guardian hosts The Great American Novelist tournament. (The Guardian)
Watch a calligrapher at work. Really. It’s quite something. (Salon)
“On this day, fifteen years apart, Arthur Miller’s The Crucible (1953) and Thornton Wilder’s Our Town (1938) premiered. Although both were poorly reviewed to start, The Crucible would win a Tony and Our Town a Pulitzer; and both would become not only classics of American theater, but classic, opposite statements on the idea of community living….” (Today In Literature)