Archive for March, 2013

Sunday Morning LitLinks

Sunday, March 31st, 2013



Andrew Shaffer explores the idea of suffering for Art and how antidepressants change writing. (The Huffington Post)

Poet, Paul Muldoon, is featured at (The Guardian)

The nominees for the 2013 Hugo Awards have been announced. (io9)

Sometimes fans get very… intense. You have to read these. (The Huffington Post)

Nick Turse didn’t set out to write a bestseller, but he did it anyway. (Publishers Weekly)

Kate Atkinson talks on the task and privilege of creating a heroine. (Publishers Weekly)

Goodreads rides the commotion of its sale to Amazon – without some of its strongest supporters. (The Huffington Post)

… readers weigh in on the news over at (GalleyCat)

… And Salon gives its take on the acquisition. (Salon)

“On this day in 1809 Edward Fitzgerald was born, and on this day in 1859 his ‘free translation’ of The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam was published. Fitzgerald’s version of the 12th century Persian verse became one of the most popular works of the 19th century and one of the best-selling books of poetry ever. Some say that its religious skepticism had an impact on Victorian England equivalent to Darwin‘s The Origin of Species, also published in 1859….” (Today In Literature)

Saturday Evening Book Reviews

Saturday, March 30th, 2013

Peter Forbes on Adam Rutherford’s The Origin of Life/The Future of Life: “…the perfect primer on the past and future of DNA.” (The Guardian)

Susan Elkin on Jonathan Cott’s Dinner with Lenny: “Jonathan Cott is gifted at making a discussion – presented in the formatting of a play script, with occasional stage directions – feel like a live recording, while we wander from fascinating reflections about languages, the mystic number seven, and Hitler’s effect on 20th-century music, to lovely anecdotes such as the one about Bernstein’s late wife washing the eccentric Glenn Gould’s hair.” (The Independent)

Marisa Siegel on Peter Covino’s The Right Place to Jump: “This is a book that is far-reaching in every way that matters – Covino is unafraid to be here formal, there experimental, here precise and there abstract.” (The Rumpus)

Melinda Bargreen on Jennie Shortridge’s Love Water Memory: “The slow, desultory pace of Lucie’s recovery, and some side issues with Grady (including a fairly serious injury), bog down the pace of the novel. “Love Water Memory” roars back to life in the last seven chapters, however, as Shortridge winds up a compelling and hopeful denouement.” (Seattle Times)

Friday Morning LitLinks

Friday, March 29th, 2013



Where does Junot Díaz like to read? (The Huffington Post)

On authors wearing out their readers with cleverness. (Salon)

A look at resurrections in literature – with a quiz! (The Guardian)

Thirteen pages of chit-chat and advice for writers (and by Oscar Wilde’s hand no less) are discovered in the back of an old wardrobe. (The Huffington Post)

Unseen works of Basquiat will appear in new book. (NPR)

Here are comments from writers who approve of their works’ film adaptations. (The Atlantic)

… and then just some funny things that writers have said about the movies that have been made from their work. (flavorwire)

Amazon buys Goodreads. (Publishers Weekly)

“On this day in 1815, Jane Austen completed Emma, her fourth novel in five years, and the last to appear in her lifetime. Though Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility and Mansfield Park had been popular, anonymously-written novels by provincial women on domestic themes were risky business for publishers, and Austen was offered such poor terms for Emma that she decided to publish it at her own expense. That it appeared with a dedication to the Prince Regent, a person whose debauched lifestyle Austen had condemned, and a type she would normally satirize, is a story that might itself have stepped from one of her books…” (Today In Literature)


Thursday Morning LitLink

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

Virginia Woolf


Virginia Woolf’s last tragically beautiful letter was found on this day in 1941. (Letters of Note)

… and a follow up of condolence letters from her friends and peers. (brainpickings)

… if you haven’t read her work, here’s a free, no-excuses way to read her. (GalleyCat)

Emma Watson is pretty clear on the chances of her playing Anastasia Steele in the film adaptation of FIFTY SHADES OF GREY. (January Magazine)

NBC’s Hannibal promises to stay faithful to author Thomas Harris’ vision. (The Huffington Post)

A bit more book-to-film news is on tap with Stephanie Meyer talking about the big-screen adaptation of THE HOST. (The Chicago Tribune)

Here’s a recap of The Great American Novel poll by (Publishers Weekly)

How literary writers struggle to come to terms with writing sex. (The Millions)

Did you know Sylvia Plath wrote a children’s book? (The Millions)

Here’s how it went down at The Bologna Children’s Book Fair. (Publishers Weekly)

“On this day in 1970, James Dickey’s Deliverance was published. Although primarily a poet — thirty collections by the time of his death in 1997, a National Book Award in 1965 for Buckdancer’s Choice — Dickey’s first novel was a best-seller when it appeared, and the movie two years later (Dickey wrote the script and played the Sheriff) was a box-office hit. The tale of four suburb-dwellers on a manly descent into camping nightmare — the human-nature horrors include rape and murder — is described as ‘an allegory of fear and survival’ and ‘a Heart of Darkness for our time’ by the critics….” (Today In Literature)



Wednesday Quote of the Night

Wednesday, March 27th, 2013

“Language fits over experience like a straight jacket.”

? William Golding





Wednesday Evening Book Reviews

Wednesday, March 27th, 2013

Henry Goldblatt on Kimberly McCreight’s Reconstructing Amelia: “… in her debut novel, Kimberly McCreight spins a riveting narrative that somehow delivers thoughtful commentary on working-mom guilt, bullying, police corruption, and Gossip Girl.” (

S. Kirk Walsh Jamie Quatro’s I Want to Show You More: “…a luminous collection that announces a unique literary talent.” (San Francisco Chronicle)

Krys Lee on Tash Aw’s Five Star Billionaire: “… conjures a wonderful picture of the city of Shanghai as a great explosion of speed where, from dark tenement-like apartment buildings to lavish condominiums, lives are made and broken daily.” (Financial Times)

James Rainey on Jack Nelson’s Scoop: The Evolution of a Southern Reporter: “…tells the story of Nelson’s progression from a scrawny kid with middling grades and no particular consciousness about race into a crusader against inequality, who would follow a story’s truth to the most uncomfortable places.” (LATimes)

Wednesday Morning LitLinks

Wednesday, March 27th, 2013

rose tremain


Rose Tremain sits down to a talk of writing and reading and prizing with (Granta)

For your approval (or disapproval) here are the first poems of a number of great writers. (Flavorwire)

STAND ON ZANZIBAR, a novel published in 1969, was so accurate in its depiction of the future that we wonder if author John Brunner had a time machine. (The Millions)

Moshin Hamid explains his views on Pakistan and India and why he writes what he does. (The Guardian)

Buzzword and hot topic, “bullying”, is crowned the next big thing in fiction. (The New York Times)

Designer clothes become a life-altering fascination with famed sports writer, Buzz Bissinger. (The NY Daily News)

Author, Anthony Horowitz, does not like a lot of what he’s seeing on the internet. (The Telegraph)

The State of Massachusetts is expanding its ebook collection to a statewide elibrary. (The Digital Reader)

Bookstore fraud nets man $1.16 million and some jail time. (

“On this day in 1802 William Wordsworth began writing ‘Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood.’ The poem contains some of his most well-known lines and ideas — that ‘the child is father of the man,’ that ‘birth is but a sleep and a forgetting,’ that ‘trailing clouds of glory do we come,’ however these must fade…” (Today In Literature)

Tuesday Morning LitLinks

Tuesday, March 26th, 2013



Halsan Altaf’s reflections on a literature festival reveals a facet of culture and literature in Pakistan. (The Millions)

Marisol Misenta wins the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award for children’s literature. (US News & World Report)

David Sedaris set to writing when his passport got boosted. (The New Yorker)

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s handwritten poems are heading to the auction block. (The Los Angeles Times)

Things are looking up a bit  (a 75% bit) over at Random House. (Publishers Weekly)

Here’s some helpful advice on how to borrow a book you don’t want to read. (BookRiot)

Parallels and perpendiculars between Amazon’s model and an old-house-turned-bookstore in Virginia. (The Banner)

A study shows that American books are more liberally emotional than British books. (Motherboard)

Kickstarter may make Alice Cooper a comic book character. (Michigan Live)

“On this day in 1892 Walt Whitman died at the age of seventy-two. The high and controversial emotions which surrounded Whitman in life attended his death: in the same issue that carried his obituary, the New York Times declared that he could not be called ‘a great poet unless we deny poetry to be an art,’ while one funeral speech declared that ‘He walked among men, among writers, among verbal varnishers and veneerers, among literary milliners and tailors, with the unconscious majesty of an antique god.’…” (Today In Literature)



Madonna Quote of the Night

Monday, March 25th, 2013

“If writers were good businessmen, they’d have too much sense to be writers.”

- Irvin S. Cobb




Monday Evening Book Reviews

Monday, March 25th, 2013

Brian Truitt on Owen King’s Double Feature: “The son of horror master Stephen, the younger King delivers a darkly humorous and often heartfelt work that’s part ode to low-budget movies, part family drama and part screwball comedy with a slew of oddball characters…” (USAToday)

Kevin O’Kelly on Jessica Francis Kane’s This Close: “In spite of certain dark moments and some unhappy endings This Close is ultimately a book about the myriad ways we can choose to be there for each other in the darkest times.” (The Rumpus)

Janet Maslin on Kate Atkinson’s Life After Life: “…ultimately centered on the brutal British experience of World War II, with characters caught in the blitz and Ursula joining a rescue unit for injured civilians. As powerful as the rest of “Life After Life” is, its lengthy evocation of this nightmare is gutsy and deeply disturbing, just as the author intends it to be.” (NYTimes)

V.V. Ganeshananthan on Sonali Deraniyagala’s Wave: “One of the simple beauties of Deraniyagala’s prose is her drift between tenses. She remembers her remembering, and then gives us her mind moving, in the present tense, to an image of one of her loved ones.” (San Francisco Chronicle)

Monday Morning LitLinks

Monday, March 25th, 2013

Matt Haig


Matt Haig has learned a thing or 30 in a decade in the book business. Read his list of ’30 Things That Every Writer Should Know’ at (The Telegraph)

Author, Stephanie Burgis, ponders the fate of her young-reader trilogy in the wake of the dispute between Simon & Schuster and Barnes & Noble. (

… also Delilah S. Dawson. (deliliahpaints)

… and Chuck Wendig, in his inimitable (and possibly nsfw) style, kneecaps schadenfreude. (Terrible Minds)

Despite her express wishes, Willa Cather’s private letters will be published next month. (The New York Times)

Plagiarism inquiry delays Jane Goodall’s book. (The Los Angeles Times)

Dean Bakopoulous gives us a glimse inside his hugely popular annual fiction workshop. (The New York Times)

Junot Díaz takes Britain’s top short fiction prize. (The Guardian)

Pulitzer-winner, Anthony Lewis, has died. He was 85 years old. Rest in peace. (Salon)

“On this day in 1957, U.S. Customs agents seized 520 copies of Allen Ginsberg’s Howl on the grounds of obscenity. Ginsberg had given the poem its first, legendary reading a year and a half earlier, at Six Gallery in San Francisco. In the audience were many later-famous Beat writers, among them Jack Kerouac, thumping on his wine jug and shouting “Go, Go,” at the end of every long line….” (Today In Literature)



Sunday Quote of the Night

Sunday, March 24th, 2013

“Writing a novel is a terrible experience, during which the hair often falls out and the teeth decay. I’m always irritated by people who imply that writing fiction is an escape from reality. It is a plunge into reality and it’s very shocking to the system.”

- Flannery O’Connor



Sunday Evening Book Reviews

Sunday, March 24th, 2013

David Takami on David Neiwert’s And Hell Followed with Her: “…a taut true-crime story told with a measure of gravitas, gripping as much for the grisly particulars of a violent murder as for the fascinating context of the anti-immigrant movement playing out along the U. S-Mexico border.” (Seattle Times)

Jim Ruland on William H. Gass’ Middle C: ” An academic satire is a peculiar choice for a swan song, but a thoroughly entertaining one that will be remembered long after the music stops playing.” (LATimes)

Melissa Maerz on Elizabeth Strout’s The Burgess Boys: “How do you build empathy for the characters in your book? Make them suffer. That’s an old trick of the trade, and Elizabeth Strout, the Pulitzer-winning author of Olive Kitteridge, uses it brilliantly…” (

Katy Guest on James Wheatley’s Magnificent Joe: “… a brutal little novel that manages also to be tender and funny.” (The Independent)

Here I Am, Stuck In The Middle With You (and you, and you, and you…)

Sunday, March 24th, 2013

So here’s the thing: since Three Graves Full launched in February, I’ve been keeping my fingers crossed for a speedy resolution to the contract negotiations between Simon & Schuster and Barnes & Noble. I’m not the only one. Author, MJ Rose, started the day with this.

The trouble with finding my book (and some wonderful others linked below) at Barnes & Noble right now stems from an upper level business dispute between two industry powerhouses. In tough economic times, both parties are working diligently to ensure their stability. What else would they do? It’s business. And sometimes there is fallout. At the moment, it’s a bunch of books and a lot of people’s hard work.

It became news this week with an article by Jeffrey Trachtenberg in The Wall Street Journal.This was followed up in short order by an article at The New York Times and a statement from The Authors Guild.

From the NYTimes article, here’s what’s happening, nutshelled:

A standoff over financial terms has prompted the bookstore chain Barnes & Noble to cut back substantially on the number of titles it orders from the publishing house Simon & Schuster, raising fears among other publishers, agents and authors that the conflict may harm the publishing industry as a whole.

Industry executives, as well as authors of recently published Simon & Schuster books and their agents, say that Barnes & Noble has reduced book orders greatly, to almost nothing in the case of some lesser-known writers.

I’m very grateful to Mr. Trachtenberg for mentioning Three Graves Full in his article. As a debut author, visibility is vital for connecting with readers. It’s almost all I’ve got. But I’m by far not the only one pinched between this rock and hard place.

Here is a list of some new (and very well-received) books that you probably aren’t seeing displayed right now at your local Barnes & Noble. That being that, browse here instead. If a title catches your eye and its cover your fancy, click the picture, follow the links and pick up a copy.

And, if you’re so inclined, please link to this article in social media so that your readerly friends can have a look at what they, too, might be missing.

The Book of Lost Fragrances The Comfort of Lies The Next Time You See Me The Storyteller

The Mapmaker's War Ordinary Grace When She Was Gone The Chalice

If I Were You Heart Like Mine Lessons In French Three Graves Full

Love Water Memory

Sunday Morning LitLinks

Sunday, March 24th, 2013

dh lawrence


DH Lawrence, now uncensored. (The Guardian)

Why bookstore browsing is vital to a healthy publishing industry. (The Bookseller)

Jason Boog maps out what happens to ideas that become books. (GalleyCat)

Dwight Garner reflects on Chinua Achebe’s contribution to Literature and to the world. (The New York Times)

How the wheels came off the wagon at D & M Publishers. (Publishers Weekly)

We lost James Herbert, but we still have Stephen King. How they rate against each other is the question at (The Telegraph)

Author Emily Rapp sits down with Time Magazine in an interview about her heartbreaking book, THE STILL POINT OF THE TURNING WORLD. (Time)

NPR has a chat with Philip Roth. (NPR)

Children’s book duo, Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld, are featured at (Kirkus)

Michael Morpugo (author of WAR HORSE, among other things) has written a play about the World War I Christmas Truce. (The Independent)

“On this day in 1882 Henry Wadsworth Longfellow died, at the age of seventy-five. Longfellow was the most venerated and taught American poet of his day. His mythic tones, classical allusions and measured rhythms were a long way from Walt Whitman‘s ‘body electric’ — Whitman was just a dozen years his junior — but they rang like Tennyson in the New World, and were extremely popular in both….” (Today In Literature)

Saturday Morning LitLinks

Saturday, March 23rd, 2013



The NYT and Author’s Guild post about the conflict between Simon & Schuster and Barnes & Noble. Special guest appearance by AuthorScoop’s own Jamie Mason in the article at (The Wall Street Journal)

Julian Barnes confronts and maps grief. (The Telegraph)

Author, Caroline Leavitt, has a chat with David Henry Sterry at (The Huffington Post)

This Kickstarter project is hoping to adapt Lovecraft for kids. (GalleyCat)

Author, Julie Myerson, discusses her comeback with (The Guardian)

PW explores 10 fictional countries. (Publishers Weekly)

The story behind Achebe’s magnum opus, THINGS FALL APART. (Slate)

More remembrance of African literary giant, Chinua Achebe from around the world:


(The New York Times)

(The Toronto Sun)

(The Guardian)

“On this day in 1917 Leonard and Virginia Woolf purchased a small, used handpress; a month later, it was delivered to Hogarth House, their West London home, and the Hogarth Press was born. Over the next three decades the Woolfs would publish 525 titles, many of them by other influential modernists — Mansfield, Forster, Eliot — and most of them collector’s items today….” (Today In Literature)


Friday Quote of the Night

Friday, March 22nd, 2013

“What was any art but a mold to imprison for a moment the shining elusive element which is life itself- life hurrying past us and running away, to strong to stop, too sweet to lose.” 

? Willa Cather




Friday Evening Book Reviews

Friday, March 22nd, 2013

Micah McCrary on Rus Bradburd’s Make It, Take It: “The hurdle in writing about a microcosm of society, whether it be an Arizonan college basketball team or high school Texas football, is that each facet be treated sincerely.” (Bookslut)

Amanda Foreman on Simon Morrison’s The Love and Wars of Lina Prokofiev: “Morrison, at least, has given this footnote its due and told the story of a woman who was a desperate little nobody when she was married, and became a courageous heroine when she was single.” (New Statesman)

Richard Shelton on W. Jeffrey Bolster’s The Mortal Sea: Fishing the Atlantic in the age of sail: “Based on a comprehensive set of original sources, it charts the fascinating and ultimately disastrous story of how successive waves of European seafarers arrived to take advantage of the fishing opportunities that had become distant memories in their own more circumscribed and heavily exploited home waters.” (The Times Literary Supplement)

Alexander Alter on a quadruple-shot of Zelda Fitzgerald novels: “The cluster of Zelda novels promises to dramatically reshape her image as an artist and writer as well as a wife and muse. They are also likely to reignite a long simmering literary controversy over Scott’s use of Zelda’s diaries, letters and dialogue in his novels, as well as his efforts to curtail her writing, which he claimed encroached on his creative territory.” (Wall Street Journal)

Friday Morning LitLinks

Friday, March 22nd, 2013



And this year’s Diagram Prize for the oddest book title goes to, GOBLINPROOFING ONE’S CHICKEN COOP, by Reginald Bakeley. Because some days are like that. (US News & World Report)

George RR Martin lends his thought on video games, piracy, and other things to (The Verge)

How dedicated are you to happily everafter in your reading? Take a quiz to find out. (The Guardian)

Nobody likes the word “whom”. Bullying of grammar ensues. (The Atlantic)

Does Condoleeza Rice’s book deal signpost a Presidential bid in 2016? (The Christian Science Monitor)

Caroline Kennedy has a chat By The Book with (The New York Times)

Book and publishing journalist, John Mark Eberhart, has died. He was 52 years old. Rest in peace. (The Kansas City Star)

THINGS FALL APART author, Chinua Achebe, has died. He was 82 years old. Rest in peace. (The Los Angeles Times)

… and The Atlantic remembers him by republishing a story of his they ran back in 1959. (The Atlantic)

“On this day in 1908 the Western writer Louis L’Amour was born in Jamestown, North Dakota. L’Amour wrote 113 books, 260 million copies of which have been sold worldwide in dozens of languages, and thirty of which have been turned into movies where guys like John Wayne, Yul Brynner, Anthony Quinn and Tom Selleck could be guys like Hondo Lane…” (Today In Literature)


Chinua Achebe (1930-2013)

Friday, March 22nd, 2013


From The Guardian:

Chinua Achebe, the Nigerian novelist seen by millions as the father of African literature, has died at the age of 82.

African papers were reporting his death following an illness and hospital stay in Boston this morning, and both his agent and his publisher later confirmed the news to the Guardian.

Simon Winder, publishing director at Penguin, called him an “utterly remarkable man”.

“Chinua Achebe is the greatest of African writers and we are all desolate to hear of his death,” he said.

In a statement, Achebe’s family requested privacy, and paid tribute to “one of the great literary voices of all time. He was also a beloved husband, father, uncle and grandfather, whose wisdom and courage are an inspiration to all who knew him.”