The Sun Singer's Travels

Malcolm R. Campbell's World

BOOK BITS Links: Amazon’s Q3 earnings down, ‘Island of the Bones,’ Tom Wolfe, ‘The Stockholm Octavo’

I agree with January Magazine’s assessment that Arthur Krystal’s “It’s Genre. Not That There’s Anything Wrong With It!” (item 4) in The New Yorker will probably insult everyone. But, I couldn’t resist including the link here with the suggestion that only a somewhat pretentious magazine would publish such a put down of everything that doesn’t get shortlisted for a Booker.

Since there will be no “Book Bits” on Monday, October 29th while I’m in a non-Internet area, the following links will help fill the gap.

  1. News: The Birth of a Literary Prize, by Linda L. Richards – “There are times in life when we are galvanized by inequity. So it was for a group of women who were touched by a panel at the recent Vancouver Writers Festival and determined to do something to right a perceived wrong. ” January Magazine
  2. News: Amazon’s Q3 Results Fall Short of Analyst Expectations, by Tricia Duryee – “Amazon’s revenue in the third quarter narrowly missed analyst projections, and its losses were wider than expected.” All Things D
  3. News: ‘The Panther’ debuts at top of U.S. bestseller list – “Nelson DeMille’s “The Panther” debuted at the top of Publishers Weekly’s bestseller list on Thursday, pushing J.D. Rowling’s “The Casual Vacancy” into second place.” Reuters
  4. Viewpoint: It’s Genre. Not That There’s Anything Wrong With It! by Arthur Krystal – “Despite my professed admiration for many genre writers, I was blasted [after writing an earlier article] for thinking that literary fiction is superior to genre fiction, and for not noticing that the zeitgeist had come and gone while I was presumably immersed in ‘The Golden Bowl.’” The New Yorker
  5. Review: “Island of the Bones,” by Joy Castro, reviewed by Pamela Miller – “Those who don’t fit anywhere are freer to shape their own destinies, says a writer who has spent her life doing just that. ” Star-Tribune
  6. Feature: Poetry’s new place in “smart” era, by David Milofsky – “With some important exceptions, poetry collections are found in the back aisles of bookstores, if they are there at all and, to add insult to injury poetry has by and large been left out of the revolution in electronic publishing now sweeping the country.” The Denver Post
  7. Lists: Ghost Words, by Mignon Fogarty – “In 1886, a lexicographer named Walter Skeat first used the phrase “ghost words” to describe words that he said had “no real existence.” Ghost words are words that weren’t real to begin with—they came about because of an error or misunderstanding—but they made it into the dictionary anyway.” – Grammar Girl
  8. Review: “Back to Blood,” by Tom Wolfe – “Back to Blood is set in Miami, which Wolfe describes as the only city where an immigrant community rose to dominate the political landscape in just over a generation. The novel deals with racial and ethnic conflict among the city’s diverse inhabitants, including immigrants from Cuba, Haiti and Russia, as well as the city’s long-established African-American and Anglo communities.” NPR
  9. Feature: The Book Tour as Military Campaign, by Dylan Foley – “Last March, the writer, filmmaker and Iraq War veteran Benjamin Busch’s memoir Dust to Dust came out to strong reviews. His publisher Ecco flexed its formidable publicity muscles and got Busch some major media attention, including TV spots on “Fox and Friends” and NBC, as well as an interview in the Huffington Post. Busch’s memoir covers his time in Iraq, pictured here. Busch, however, had other ideas for the book tour.” Publishing Perspectives Feature:
  10. Obituary: Jacques Barzun Dies at 104, By Edward Rothstein – “Jacques Barzun, the distinguished historian, essayist, cultural gadfly and educator who helped establish the modern discipline of cultural history and came to see the West as sliding toward decadence, died Thursday night in San Antonio, where he lived.”The New York Times
  11. Commentary: The Theory Generation, by Nicholas Danes – “If you studied the liberal arts in an American college anytime after 1980, you were likely exposed to what is universally called Theory. Perhaps you still possess some recognizable talismans: that copy of The Foucault Reader, with the master’s bald head and piercing eyes emblematic of pure intellection;  A Thousand Plateaus with its Escher-lite line-drawing promising the thrills of disorientation; the stark, sickly-gray spine of Adorno’s Negative Dialectics; a stack of little Semiotext volumes bought over time from the now-defunct video rental place.” n+1
  12. Book Review: “The Stockholm Octavo,” by Karen Engelmann, reviewed by Michael Alec Rose – “Even the most stalwart fans of the genre would admit that historical fiction often relies on stereotyped characters. In The Stockholm Octavo, debut author Karen Engelmann turns a nifty card trick, transforming this convention into her novel’s supreme virtue.” BookPage
  13. Lists: 9 SEO Tips for Authors, by Meghan Ward – “If you’re a blogger, you’ve probably heard the term “SEO,” short for “search engine optimization.” You may even know what SEO is (a method for improving your website’s ranking in Google and other search engine results). But why should you care about SEO? Because few people look past the first page of results when they do a web search. ” Writerland
  14. Quote: I suggest that—given the changes happening in the industry—traditional publishers will need to be more author-focused in their operations by offering tools, community, and education to help authors be more successful, to everyone’s greater benefit. If publishers fail to do so, then authors, who have an increasing number of publishing options available to them, will depart for greener pastures.” – Jane Friedman

“Book Bits” is compiled by Malcolm R. Campbell, author of contemporary fantasy and satire.


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