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Malcolm R. Campbell's World

BOOK BITS Links: Nook Tablet, the fate of ‘whom,’ Lorin Stein and Kate Morton’s ‘The Secret Keeper’

Welcome to “Book Bits” for October 15, 2012. The winner of the Man-Booker Prize will be announced October 16. So far, Hilary Mantel is favored to be the first woman to win the award twice, this time out for Bring Up the Bodies. She won the Booker in 2009 for Wolf Hall.

Here are today’s readers’ and writers’ links

  1. News: Nook Tablet Pre-Orders Sky High, Lynch Tells Investors – “Although many of the statistics Lynch repeated weren’t new, he did tell investors that pre-orders for the new Nook HD and Nook HD+ tablets were far higher than any other device introductions and were running 240% higher than previous Nook launches. He said he was “cautiously optimistic” the new tablets will be one of the hit holiday products.” Publishers Weekly
  2. News: Says E-Book Refunds May Be Coming, by By Jeffrey A. Trachyrnberg  – “Digital book buyers on Saturday got the first indication that they may soon receive refunds on some e-books, the result of settlements stemming from antitrust litigation.” Wall Street Journal
  3. Feature: A Year’s Worth Of Facts From An NPR Librarian – “The people who host NPR programs are often credited with — or accused of — being knowledgeable. But really, the most important bit of knowledge they have is just a four digit extension that connects to Kee Malesky in the NPR Reference Library. ” NPR
  4. Commentary: Is “whom” history? From the mouths of babes, by “Johnson” – “Amazing, this. First, we see how grammatically aware kids are here. Second, we see evidence that girls are usually faster to learn language than boys; this is a very clever point from a four-year-old. Finally, we may be seeing something about the future of whom here, which we’ll return to in a moment.” The Economist
  5. Interview: Lorin Stein (“Paris Review” editor) with Brad Listi via podcast – “Monologue topics:  certainty, uncertainty, strong thinkers, certainty about uncertainty, uncertainty about certainty, the articulation of confusion, a posture of cosmic ambivalence.” Other People
  6. Viewpoint: Rowling’s Amazon Experience, by Malcolm R. Campbell – “As the week winds down, and I sit here with a glass of dark red wine contemplating J. K. Rowling’s negative reviews on Amazon, I have come to the conclusion that the wrong people bought  The Casual Vacancy and then got mad about it.” Malcolm’s Round Table
  7. Feature: Castles in Space: Much more than mere escape, by Michael Dirda – “The early 1960s weren’t just the heyday of science fiction digests. Corner drugstore racks were crowded with weekly or monthly issues of Life, True, Mad, 16, The Saturday Review, The Saturday Evening Post, Modern Romance, True Confessions, Reader’s Digest, Popular Mechanics, and Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, among many others. People read a lot of periodicals in those days. Not anymore. For genre fiction these are especially tough times, even though the short story has always been its best showcase.” The American Scholar
  8. Viewpoint: Simplifying Twitter: Be a Person, Not a Brand, by Nina Badzin – “Enter the search terms “Twitter tips” into Google and you’ll find approximately 918,000,000 results. So why would Writer Unboxed bother adding to the mix? One primary reason: To teach you how to use Twitter as a human being.” Writer Unboxed
  9. Review: Nothing Left to Lose, by Allan G. Johnson, reviwed by Grady Harp – “When will we learn? Likely, the answer is never because we as human beings seem addicted to war. It sometimes takes powerful books such as Allan G. Johnson’s ‘Nothing Left to Lose’ to make us stop – at least long enough to digest this story – and consider the heinous insanity of war.” Literary Aficionado
  10. Lists: The Top 10 Essays Since 1950, by Robert Atwan – “Robert Atwan, the founder of The Best American Essays series, picks the 10 best essays of the postwar period. Links to the essays are provided when available. ” Publishers Weekly
  11. Quote: “When you write a book, an article, a play or a poem, stop and consider that the message you write might not always be the one you deliver. That bullet can stray, ricochet off things you don’t see, and find a home where you didn’t aim.” – C. Hope Clark
  12. Review: “The Secret Keeper” by Kate Morton, reviewed by Liviu Suciu – “The setup of The Secret Keeper is similar to the author’s earlier novels though this time it acquires an extra layer and while the modern (2011) part is occasionally slower, the 1938-1941 parts are pure spellbinding.” Fantasy Book Critic
  13. How To: Dragged Versus Drug, by Mignon Fogarty – “I’ve been renovating a condo, and last week I posted a message on Twitter that started out with the sentence “I drug myself over to the condo.” I was sharing this bit of information to get to the next part of the story, which was that I was so happy to see drywall installed I thought I would cry. But that bit of joy was lost because I’d used the wrong word in my sentence and people kindly let me know.” Grammar Girl
  14. News: Court orders Kafka scripts moved to Israel library, by Lauren E. Bohn – “After a long, tangled journey that Franz Kafka could have written about himself, an unseen treasure of writings by the surrealist author will be put on display and later online, an Israeli court ruled in documents released Sunday.” Associated Press

BOOK BITS is compiled by Malcolm R. Campbell, author of contemporary fantasy, including “Sarabande.”

Follow Malcolm on Twitter. The “Book Bits” hashtag is #bookbits


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