The Sun Singer's Travels

Malcolm R. Campbell's World

BOOK BITS: ‘Heaven’s Gate,’ Barbara Kingsolver, Dragons, Geraldine Brooks and ‘Totally Mad’

Welcome to “Book Bits,” your source for links to recent book news, author interviews, writing how-to articles and reviews. In addition to the hyperlinked items in the list, most graphics are also links.

Here are your links for November 8, 2012:

  1. News: Booksellers Resisting Amazon’s Disruption, by David Streitfeld – “Amazon prides itself on unraveling the established order. This fall, signs of Amazon-inspired disruption are everywhere.” – The New York Times
  2. News: Submit Your NaNoWriMo Novel to Avon Impulse, by Jason Boog – “Editors at HarperCollins’ Avon Books are looking for NaNoWriMo romance novels, sponsoring “National Romance Writing Month”–encouraging writers submit their work directly to the imprint.” GalleyCat
  3. Commentary: Would the Internet Have Rescued “Heaven’s Gate”? by Richard Brody – “When Michael Cimino’s nearly four-hour-long Western, “Heaven’s Gate” (there’s a new DVD release from Criterion, which I write about in the magazine this week), opened on November 19, 1980, it was the victim of a critical assassination.”  The author suggests that in an Internet age, the critics wouldn’t have gotten away with their views and basically killed the film. The New Yorker
  4. News: Britney Spears close to signing book deal: Report, by Malene Arpe – “It looks like Britney Spears is close to signing a deal to write a book for HarperCollins imprint It Books. ” The Star
  5. Carter – Wikipedia photo

    Obituary: Elliott Carter dies; Pulitzer Prize-winning American composer was 103, by Anne Midgette – “Elliott Carter, the Pulitzer Prize-winning American composer who fused European and American modernist traditions in seminal but formidable works, and who lived to hear ovations for music that was once thought to be anything but listener-friendly, died Nov. 5 at his home in New York City. ” The Washington Post

  6. Review: “Flight Behavior,” by Barbara Kingsolver, reviewed by Stephenie Harrison in ‘Kingsolver Speaks for Mother Earth’ – “Kingsolver’s concern for the earth has never been so palpable—or so passionate—as in her latest novel, Flight Behavior, where global warming causes things to heat up in small-town Tennessee.” BookPage
  7. Quotation:  “We just got a long, handwritten thank you letter from a woman who was staying at the shelter down the street from the bookstore. She was thanking us for the books we donated, said they got her through the bad experience of staying in the shelter. She left there because she felt unsafe and went home to her ruined house, which she described in her letter. She also included some details about the horrific conditions in Sea Gate (no heat or power, looting, police everywhere) but she also notes that she hears the sounds of hammers and hope. This letter. It’s enough to break your heart but it’s also a reminder about how it’s important never to lose your humanity, even in the face of it all.” – Greenlight Bookstore, Brooklyn
  8. Essay: Where Dragons Come From: The villains of countless stories, the mythical beasts have roots in Rome’s Pliny—and nature, by Matt Kaplan – “Peter Jackson’s “Hobbit” movie is on its way, and with it will come the resurrection of the vile dragon Smaug. With fiery breath, razor-sharp claws, scales as hard as shields and a vast underground lair, Smaug is portrayed in J.R.R. Tolkien’s text as a merciless killer. But where did the idea for such a bizarre beast—with such an odd mixture of traits—come from in the first place?” The Wall Street Journal
  9. Feature: Google Ngram and “Impact” as a Verb, by Mignon Fogarty – “The most exciting improvement in Ngram Viewer 2.0 is the ability to designate parts of speech. ” Grammar Girl
  10. Review: Standing in Another Man’s Grave, by Ian Rankin, reviewed by J. Kingston Pierce – “Scottish author Ian Rankin sent his long-running and persistently rebellious Edinburgh copper, Detective Inspector John Rebus, off into an unwelcome retirement in Exit Music (2007). Or at least, that’s what his many fans thought. But suddenly, Rebus back. He’s a civilian consultant, hired to look into the very cold cases of five young women who disappeared over a decade-long period.” The Rap Sheet
  11. Commentary: Plagiarism Problem Plagues $150,000 Prize Winner from Peru, by Adam Critchley – “The 2012 International Book Fair (FIL) in Guadalajara, Mexico, announced the winner of its annual Literature Award in Romance Languages on September 3rd. But Echenique’s journalistic career has been tainted by allegations of plagiarism, prompting numerous calls for the writer to renounce the award.” Publishing Perspectives
  12. Feature: Southern Magic Reader’s Luncheon, by Barbara Vey – “The programming is tight with a meet and greet, buffet luncheon, achievement awards for their members, door prizes donated by authors, raffles baskets with proceeds going to Literacy, a welcome speaker and keynote and a popular booksigning.” The November 3rd luncheon was hosted by the Birmingham Chapter of Romance Writers of America. Publishers Weekly
  13. Review: Mad magazine’s legacy of humor and subversion, writ large, by John Wenzel – Mad Magazine Editor said, of the new book, “”I tried to represent all of the longtime Mad contributors so at least they were in there. I tried to make the book something of a historical piece. It was quite a chore and it easily took me 15-20 minutes.” The Denver Post
  14. Viewpoint: There Is No Time for Despair – Even though publishing is changing and sales are hard to predict, there’s no reason for writers to give up. Rachelle Gardner
  15. Author Event: Terry Ehret and Richard Silberg. November 9, Berkeley, CA – “Last Word presents a reading by Richard Silberg, The Horses: New and Selected Poems, and Terry Ehret, Night Sky Journey, open reading follows; co-hosted by Dale Jensen, Ralph Dranow, John Rowe, and Grace Grafton, good food, Nefeli Caffe, 1854 Euclid Avenue, near Hearst, Berkeley, free, one drink or food item minimum, 7:00-9:00″ Poetry Flash
  16. Review: “Elsewhere: A Memoir,” by Richard Russo, reviewed by Harvey Freedenberg – “From his Pulitzer Prize-winning EMPIRE FALLS to novels like NOBODY’S FOOL and BRIDGE OF SIGHS, Richard Russo has mined a rich lode of stories based on his childhood in upstate New York’s Gloversville. Until now, he’s held back from writing about his experiences there in a work of nonfiction. ” Book Reporter
  17. Essay: People Of The Bookshelf, by Geraldine Brooks – “Alpha by subject … or by dinner party seating rules? Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Geraldine Brooks on a shelving obsession.” – The Global Mail
  18. News: Biography of 17th century physician scoops UK award – “‘Circulation,’ Thomas Wright’s biography of the 17th century English physician William Harvey who accurately described how blood circulates through the human body, has won the Wellcome Trust Book Prize which celebrates medicine in literature.” Reuters

“Book Bits” is compiled by Malcolm R. Campbell, author of contemporary fantasy, including “The Sun Singer” and “Sarabande.”


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