Archive for October, 2013

Thursday Morning LitLinks

Thursday, October 31st, 2013



Here’s a crop of very short scary stories. (Salon)

Trick or Treat! Books instead of candy? You can, but you might get your house egged. (Missourian)

Hannah Betts shares a real ghost story in (The Telegraph)

Should you reread your favorite books? (The Guardian)

Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch could soon have his own TV show. (GalleyCat)

Even Jane Austen gets airbrushed these days. (BBC)

Daniel Olivas has a chat with Daniel Alarcón in (The Los Angeles Review of Books)

Donna Minkowitz was really disappointed with her interview of Orson Scott Card. (Salon)

… and it’s okay to go see ENDER’S GAME, says the movie’s makers, he won’t be taking any of the profits. (The Guardian)

“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)

Wednesday Quote of the Night

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

“When you read to a child, when you put a book in a child’s hands, you are bringing that child news of the infinitely varied nature of life. You are an awakener.”

― Paula Fox




Wednesday Evening Book Reviews

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

Bill Sherman on Mark Russell and (illustrator) Shannon Wheeler’s God Is Disappointed in You: “Though Russell is attempting to retell the Bible in its own terms, there is no way he can avoid dealing with a work as open to so many interpretations without occasionally falling into interpretation yourself.” (Blogcritics)

Kevin Mulligan on A.W. Moore’s The Evolution of Modern Metaphysics: Making Sense of Things: “Moore’s concentration on the history and philosophy of meta-metaphysics allows him to impose a narrative order on the evolution of metaphysics over four centuries.” (The Times Literary Supplement)

Kenneth Champeon on P.S. Duffy’s The Cartographer of No Man’s Land: “Duffy writes well—if occasionally sentimentally—about war’s privations. Her heroes are not reticent Hemingway types, and her descriptions, especially those of battle, are rich.” (BookPage)

Steven Poole on David Marsh’s For Who the Bell Tolls: One Man’s Quest for Grammatical Perfection: “Despite the deceptive subtitle, much of the rest of the book is not about grammar at all: it dissolves into an entertaining compendium of usage notes and mini-essays. (Lists of common mistakes provide filler, as apparently is inevitable in this kind of book.)” (The Guardian)

Wednesday Morning LitLinks

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

zadie smith


Zadie Smith talks food delivery and customer service in (The New Yorker)

Amazon is offering a huge discount on some of the e-versions of books you may have bought in the paper-flesh. (NPR)

Dennis LeHane is tapped to write the script for the remake of the French film, A Prophet. (Variety)

Maya Angelou has a bone to pick with President Barack Obama. (The Washington Post)

James Wood is one tough critic. (The Millions)

Dr. Nicolás Kanellos’ crusade for Hispanic literature makes the news at (NBC)

Is George Orwell’s 1984 the go-to guide to being a grownup? (Salon)

Amazon’s new short fiction digi-mag, Day One, makes its debut. (

Follow the money. Here’s where it goes in the book industry. (Publishers Weekly)

Foodies will appreciate these ten literary moments. (Bustle)

“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. Approaching the novel more or less as told, early reviewers found it to be “a genteel, well-written novel” as far as ‘domestic literature’ went, and ‘just long enough to interest without fatiguing.’…” (Today In Literature)


Tuesday Quote of the Night

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

“You can’t ask me to explain the lyrics because I won’t do it.”

- Lou Reed




Tuesday Evening Book Reviews

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

Jane Jakeman on Hannah Kent’s Burial Rites: “Hannah Kent’s prose is extraordinarily terse and precise as she tells the story from several different viewpoints: the older housewife whose health is failing, the priest who has to oppose fellow-clergy in his sympathy for the “murderess”, and that of Agnes herself, whose struggle for survival amid the harshest of landscapes and the cruelty of human beings is described with vivid intensity.” (The Independent)

Elizabeth Hand on Anne Rice’s The Wolves of Midwinter: “As for plot, there is only a series of setpieces and occasional supernatural intrusions, all too neatly resolved.” (Washington Post)

Ilana Teitelbaum on Phyllis Chesler’s An American Bride in Kabul: “With its sharp critique of honor killings, polygamy and purdah, with references to the burka as a “sensory deprivation chamber,” An American Bride in Kabul throws down the gauntlet to Western feminists who refuse to condemn these practices. It is a challenge that is at the very least worth hearing.” (The Globe and Mail)

Nathan Goldman on Hilary Plum’s They Dragged Them Through the Streets: “Plum gracefully commands the novel’s tone: each voice remains distinct in that character’s viewpoint and concerns, but also merges with the others in a pulsing thrum of grief and confusion. The device of naming each character mainly by his or her first initial aids in this gentle convergence of voices.” (Full Stop)

Tuesday Morning LitLinks

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

jk rowling


JK Rowling takes up a heart-wrenching cause. (The Daily Mail)

The end to Bill Clinton’s copyright extension looms ahead. What then? (The Washington Post)

The Telegraph checks in with the ever-lovely Terry Pratchett. (The Telegraph)

Fiction’s roommates are a goldmine. (The Guardian)

Rand Paul rips off Wikipedia? (The Daily Beast)

Guillermo del Toro talks books and Halloween with (The Wall Street Journal)

JJ Abrams has a chat with (The Los Angeles Times)

Allie Brosh makes it to print. (The Telegraph)

… and here’s more from the Hyperbole and a Half creator in (Salon)

Publishing’s Paul Scherer has died. He was 79 years old. Rest in peace. (The Bookseller)

“On this day in 1933 Dylan Thomas’s ‘The force that through the green fuse’ was published. It is one of his most anthologized poems, and its publication in a London newspaper just two days after Thomas’s nineteenth birthday would cause the scholar William Empson to mark the calendar: ‘what hit the town of London was the child Dylan publishing ‘The force that through the green fuse’ … and from that day he was a famous poet.’ This comment confirms what biographer Paul Ferris (Dylan Thomas, rev. ed. 2000) says: that sooner or later everyone who writes about Thomas arrives at…” (Today In Literature)

Monday Morning LitLinks

Monday, October 28th, 2013

self improvement


Who cares if reading makes you a better person? (Slate)

A look at what Lou Reed wrote. (GalleyCat)

Why is it fiction vs. non? (The New York Times)

Amazon’s book recommendations are rubbish, according to (The Guardian)

Marc Haddon’s THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHTTIME battles for its spot on the school library shelf in Riverside. (thetimes-tribune)

Melissa Foster, in defense of the romance novel. (Shelf Pleasure)

Here are five kids’ books that work for adults just as well. (The Millions)

Will guaranteed print editions fall away from the norm? (Publishers Weekly)

Feast your eyes on literary feasts. (The Telegraph)

Ireland’s Censorship of Publication Board could be dismantled. (The Guardian)

“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’: They are something more substantial than fame, as my back knows, which has borne them up two flights of stairs to a place similar to that to which they trace their origin…. I have now a library of nearly nine hundred volumes…” (Today In Literature)

Sunday Evening Book Reviews

Sunday, October 27th, 2013

Ana Menéndez on Daniel Alarcón’s At Night We Walk in Circles: “The intricate narrative delivers much more than the publisher-promised meditation on “fate” or “identity.” “At Night We Walk in Circles” is a provocative study of the way war culture ensnares both participant and observer, the warping fascination of violence, and the disfiguring consequences of the roles we play in public.” (NYTimes)

Krys Lee on Amy Tan’s The Valley of Amazement: “This is one writer’s particular idiom and vision of the world – and within that she offers us a rich cast of characters who both repel and compel.” (Financial Times)

Jane Shilling on Carlos Acosta’s Pig’s Foot: “Episodes of savage violence and almost equally savage sex are punctuated with tender depictions of family life.” (Telegraph)

Amanda Petrusich on Robert Hilburn’s Johnny Cash: The Life: ” Hilburn does an artful, enviable job of reconciling all the facets — the man Cash wanted to be (a pious, steadfast, fearless figure) and who he more often was (a loving prankster with a weakness for women and pills).” (LATimes)

Sunday Morning LitLinks

Sunday, October 27th, 2013

dave sedaris


Dave Sedaris shares a heavier, wonderful look into a sad corner of his history. (The New Yorker)

Daljit Nagra has a talk with (The Telegraph)

A printing error or a planned promotion? David Jason’s memoir gets spliced into Bridget Jones. (The Los Angeles Times)

The City of Boston draws up plans for a one-of-a-kind literary district. (The Boston Globe)

Remembering Maurice Sendak with (The Huffington Post)

Stephen Jones makes a case for these being The Top 10 Horror Stories in (Publishers Weekly)

Consider this plea to Dave Eggers to stop writing sex scenes. (BookRiot)

Lindsay Hill tells about the twenty year journey to his poetry collection, SEA OF HOOKS. (Publishers Weekly)


“On this day in 1922 Virginia Woolf’s Jacob’s Room was published. This was the first full-length book published by the Woolfs’ Hogarth Press, with a Post-Impressionistic cover designed by sister Vanessa. Having her own publishing house — this is literal, as the Woolfs began with a small handpress in their dining room — meant the freedom to experiment. Shortly before starting the book, Virginia said she was after ‘a new form for a new novel … no scaffolding; scarcely a brick to be seen; all crepuscular, but the heart, the passion, the humour, everything as bright as fire in the mist.’…” (Today In Literature)

Friday Morning LitLinks

Friday, October 25th, 2013

lionel shriver


Mamas don’t let your babies grow up to be writers: a word from Lionel Shriver. (New Republic)

Amazon’s publishing venture retreats a ways. (GigaOm)

Spoilers abound, so if you don’t want to know what happens in Veronica Roth’s ALLEGIANT, don’t read this. But if you already know, or it doesn’t matter, and you just want to see fans of a series pitching a collective online fit, here you go. (BookRiot)

In Arizona, Mexican-American studies gets back seven banned books. (NPR)

Iran claims to relax its stance on book censorship. (The Guardian)

The heroines of classic YA literature get ranked by (Flavorwire)

B & N recommends some ghost stories for this season. (Barnes & Noble)

What’s JJ Abrams reading? (The New York Times)

When is a writer’s work done? (Forbes)

James Patterson peeks over his shoulder and sees stacks of money. (Reuters)

Did these nine bestsellers almost miss the cut? (The Huntington Post)

“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)

Thursday Quote of the Night

Thursday, October 24th, 2013

“One need not be a chamber to be haunted;
One need not be a house;
The brain has corridors surpassing
Material place.”

? Emily Dickinson




Thursday Evening Book Reviews

Thursday, October 24th, 2013

Scott Martelle on Richard A. Serrano’s Last of the Blue and Gray: Old Men, Stolen Glory, and the Mystery that Outlived the Civil War: “…a solid work on an intriguing subset of American history: scam artists and those whose insecurities drove them to conjure up military pasts they never had.” (LATimes)

Gaby Hinsliff on (editor) Ruth Winstone’s A Blaze of Autumn Sunshine: The Last Diaries by Tony Benn: “It is hard to read these diaries without feeling enormously nostalgic for a quasi-mythical lost age of public service, a time when politics was about big ideas and the power of intellect rather than petty machinations (not that Benn was above those in his heyday, of course).” (The Guardian)

Dwight Garner on James Wolcott’s Critical Mass: Four Decades of Essays, Reviews, Hand Grenades, and Hurrahs: “He can pack his coiled sentences too tightly; it’s as if he perms each one’s hairdo before pushing it out the door. (“Having made his hoofprint in Hollywood as a horrormeister,” commences a sentence about Mr. De Palma.) He goes to the well too often for battle metaphors — every sally is a “bazooka blast” or a “switchblade flick” or a “catapult attack.” It’s as if Mr. Wolcott has been playing too many first-person shooter games on his Xbox.” (NYTimes)

Melissa Maerz on Nora Ephron’s The Most Of Nora Ephron: “Many people already know how Ephron felt about her neck (bad) and what she’d miss when she died (bacon). But while these gems are included here, they’re offset by the ruthless young Ephron, who skewered journalistic ethics at The New York Times and made Gloria Steinem and Helen Gurley Brown cry during interviews.” (

Thursday Morning LitLinks

Thursday, October 24th, 2013



Emily Dickinson’s complete works and archives go digital. (The Telegraph)

With the release of the final volume, ALLEGIANT, Veronica Roth shares things you should know about her series. (Publishers Weekly)

Author, Pat Conroy, makes an offer he hopes Robert Duvall can’t refuse. (USA Today)

Morrissey’s autobiography blows up the sales charts. (The Guardian) 

Here’s what books are on offer for 2014′s World Book Night. (USA Today)

The film version of ENDER’S GAME is just around the corner. Will Orson Scott Card’s social opinions derail its success? (The Telegraph)

Neil Gaiman on the necessity of fiction. (The Guardian)


We’ve been waiting for a new Oxford English Dictionary for 18 years… (The Telegraph)

“On this day in 1958, Raymond Chandler began his last novel, the never-completed (by him) Poodle Springs. This was Chandler’s name for Palm Springs, where ‘every third elegant creature you see has at least one poodle,’ and where Philip Marlowe had chosen to settle down with his new wife, the socialite Linda Loring. Chandler envisioned this unlikely scenario as ‘a running fight interspersed with amorous interludes,’ but he lost interest in the idea after a few chapters and set it aside….” (Today In Literature)

Wednesday Morning LitLinks

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013



Stephen King: life-saver. (The Atlantic)

Donna Tartt talks with (Salon)

Other writer’s characters get new adventures from some contemporary wordsmiths. (The New York Times)

Kami Garcia remembers some of literature’s most memorable orphans. (The Huffington Post)

Will the Nobel Prize stave off Alice Munro’s retirement? (The Wall Street Journal)

… and what’s this about her not having an MFA? (The Millions)

… but if you’re going to apply for an MFA program, here’s some advice on how to do it. (GalleyCat)

Jonathan Franzen gives writerly advice. (GalleyCat)

“On this day in 1939, Zane Grey died. Grey was born as Pearl Zane Gray in Zanesville, Ohio, a town founded by his ancestors. After high school, his first move was not west but east, to study dentistry at the University of Pennsylvania, financed by a baseball scholarship. His next move was to New York City as a dentist, but only because New York was a literary center, a place where Grey would pull teeth by day and write or play baseball by night. By the time of his death he had written 89 books…” (Today In Literature)

Tuesday Quote of the Night

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

“Open your mind to new experiences, particularly to the study of other ­people. Nothing that happens to a writer – however happy, however tragic – is ever wasted.”

? P.D. James



Tuesday Evening Book Reviews

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

CR on Max Barry’s Lexicon: “The book was a good read, but it was even better as food for thought about language and privacy rights (with “newsy” interludes sprinkled throughout, like Internet quizzes and items about cover-ups).” (Citizen Reader)

James Orbesen on Andrea Barrett’s Archangel: “For a novel-in-stories largely about science, the work hums from start to finish. The prose wraps you up and transports you alongside the characters, marveling, as they do, at the world around them.” (Bookslut)

Katie Haegele on Ali Liebegott’s Cha-Ching!: “Cha-Ching! is Liebegott’s third book, and her writing, which has had flashes of brilliance all along, has gotten stronger and more fully developed. There is something about her perspective that makes her descriptions of things utterly unique.” (

Bruce Ramsey on Earle Labor’s Jack London: An American Life: “Labor’s “Jack London: An American Life” is not as lively as Haley’s “Wolf,” but if any biography is definitive, it is probably Labor’s.” (Seattle Times)

Tuesday Morning LitLinks

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013



Paul Thomas suggests Neil Gaiman for US Secretary of Education. (The Washington Post)

Noel Gallagher’s stance on reading fiction draws scrutiny of his own work. (The Guardian)

The Telegraph examines a list of the best crime fiction ever written. (The Telegraph)

Haruki Murakami shares a short story in (The New Yorker)

Jeremie Ruby-Strauss, an editor with Simon & Schuster, talks about publishing trashy books. (The New Republic)

Kidnapping survivors, Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus, are reportedly collaborating on a book about their ordeal. (Yahoo! News)

Here’s a recap of the writerly part of Comicon from (Publishers Weekly)

The Whiting Writers’ Awards are announced for 2013. (GalleyCat)

There are some major new book releases today. Have a look. (The Millions)

Sometimes becoming a parent censors your reading list for you. (The Guardian)

“On this day in 1885 Arthur Rimbaud wrote to his mother that he had decided to become a gun-runner in Ethiopia, so beginning the last phase of his wild, infamous and short life. By the age of twenty-one, Rimbaud had renounced Paul Verlaine and poetry for a vagabond tour of Europe — tutor, beggar, docker, factory worker, soldier, thief, and more. By the age of twenty-five, he had renounced Europe for Africa, becoming at first a coffee trader and then turning to gun-running…” (Today In Literature)

Monday Quote of the Night

Monday, October 21st, 2013

“Hemingway said:
‘It don’t come anymore.’
So where did it go?”

― William S. Burroughs



Monday Evening Book Reviews

Monday, October 21st, 2013

Mark Sanderson on Mark Lawson’s The Deaths: “The uncertainty, as when watching a one-armed juggler, makes for an uneasy experience. The set pieces – a theatre visit, a weekend in Marrakesh – are vivid but, again, overextended.” (Telegraph)

Suzi Feay on Peter Ackroyd’s Three Brothers: “The opening pages are written in a flat, declarative style, without flourishes… The story soon evolves without necessarily becoming much richer in verbal texture.” (The Independent)

Chris Lites on Max Barry’s Lexicon: ” If William S. Burroughs was right, and “language is a virus,” then Max Barry’s Lexicon turns the idea into the literal truth.” (The Rumpus)

Bob Hoover on A. Scott Berg’s Wilson: “Berg might have managed this massive historical record best by aiming a laser beam through it to illuminate the essential Woodrow Wilson and his precedent-shattering presidency, yet he often gets sidetracked by the sheer bulk of the material.” (Cleveland Plain Dealer)