The Sun Singer's Travels

Malcolm R. Campbell's World

BOOK BITS: Several Saturday Links – Agent lunches, digital publishing lessons, Booker shortlist authors

Yesterday, my mood was rather dark as I skimmed through the reader rants masquerading as reviews for J. K. Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy. (See my post on Malcolm’s Round Table.)  Among other things, these BOOK BITS posts are my attempt to display links to the “other side of the coin,” that is to say, to reviews written by journalists and critics who understand that a real review is a lot more than a sloppy, uniformed opinion of a book written in a style or a genre the writer knows nothing about.

On the other hand, as the linked article (item 3)  ‘Fitzgerald Deserves a Good Shaking” demonstrates, professional reviewers can also be mistaken, especially when we look back on their opinions years later with 20/20 hindsight.

My favorite link in today’s list, however, isn’t a review. It’s the feature article (item 6) of authors’ comments about their shortlisted Booker titles. I like the perspectives here. Readers see the why behind each novel and writers get a rare glimpse of the how. I’m now tempted to order all of the shortlisted titles and start reading them before the winner is announced.

Saturday’s Links

  1. Contest: The 2012 Arthur Ellis Awards – Accepting crime/mystery/thriller novel, novella and short story entries by Canadians until December 15, 2012, entry fee $15-$35, prizes $500 to $1,000.
  2. Factoid: “One-third of high school graduates never read another book for the rest of their lives. Forty-two percent of college graduates never read another book.” BiblioBuffet
    Viewpoint: In praise of Nobel obscurity, by Laura Miller – “Quit saying the Nobel Prize should go to Philip Roth or Bob Dylan ” Salon
  3. Feature: ‘Fitzgerald Deserves a Good Shaking’: Scathing Reviews of Classic Novels – “There are some literary classics that would seem to be near unimpeachable: works like Lolita, Ulysses, The Great Gatsby—the best of the best. Except that they’re decidedly not unimpeachable—and they certainly weren’t when they first hit bookshelves.” The Atlantic
  4. Feature: Digital Publishing: Lessons Learned, by Amanda DeMarco – “What lessons can trade publishing learn from the music and film industries? Richard Mollet, chief executive of the UK Publishers Association, suggests it can learn far more from the successes of scientific and academic publishing.” Publishing Perspectives
  5. MacLeod

    Feature: Why Agent/Editor Breakfast, Lunch, Coffee, Ice Cream, Cupcake and Drink Dates Are Important, by Lauren MacLeod – “One of most important parts of a literary agent’s job is matchmaking. First, of course, I have to find a manuscript/author that I want in my life, and woo him or her into signing an engagement letter with me. Once we are hitched and have a polished manuscript ready then the real matchmaking work begins—creating a list of editors/houses/imprints who I think would be perfect for my shiny new client and his/her manuscript. This is where the eating comes in.” Publishing Crawl

  6. Feature: The Man Booker 2012 shortlist: the authors on their novels – “The Man Booker prize is awarded on Tuesday. Ahead of the judges’ decision, the six hopeful authors (Tan Twan Eng, Jeet Thayil, Hilary Mantel, Will Self, Deborah Levy and Alison Moore) introduce their shortlisted novels” The Guardian

BOOK BITS is compiled by Malcolm R. Campbell, author of contemporary fantasy novels, including “Sarabande” (VHP, 2011). His Kindle short story “Moonlight and Ghosts” was released September 26th.


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