The Sun Singer's Travels

Malcolm R. Campbell's World

Book Bits: Andersen fairy tale found, Tom Clancy, NYT e-books, Film speed of ‘The Hobbit’

skd188148sdcWelcome to “Book Bits,” the place where you’ll find links to a selection of book reviews, author interviews, how-to for writers, book news and features.  At Christmas, we tend to focus on family, close friends, celebrations, and considering what’s important in our lives.

John Lingan (item 16) captures that feeling of his focus in his look at one of our favorite holiday movies: “‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ is a story about valuing what’s near. Like another nominally Christmas-themed movie from the forties, ‘Meet Me in St. Louis,’ it reminds us that there’s nothing wrong with sticking close to home; there’s even something noble in letting your roots quest deeper into the dirt. ”

  1. News: Amazon wins an e-book fight in Europe. by Husna Haq – “European Union regulators ended an antitrust probe into e-book prices after Apple and other publishers offered to abandon the possibility of pricing agreements that would have hindered Amazon selling e-books more cheaply than their rivals.”  The Christian Science Monitor
  2. News: Unknown Hans Christian Andersen Fairy Tale ‘Tallow Candle’ Found By Danish Historian Esben Brage, by Jan M. Olsen – “For years, the somber fairy tale about a lonely candle that wanted to be lit dwelt in oblivion at the bottom of a box in Denmark’s National Archives. Its recent discovery has sent ripples through the literary world because it is believed to be one of the first tales ever written by Hans Christian Andersen.”  The Huffington Post
  3. threatReview: “Threat Vector” by Tom Clancy and Mark Greaney – “It’s a pleasure, banal or no, to watch the Ryans at work against such fierce competition, and Clancy and Greaney are at the top of their game. ”  Kirkus Reviews
  4. News: New York Times Launches E-book Programs – “The New York Times has announced the launch of two publishing programs–New York Times short e-books co-published with the digital startup Byliner, and TimesFiles with Vook.”  Publishers Weekly
  5. Feature: What Did Kids Read Before Hans Christian Andersen? by Brian Palmer – “Epic poems, religious literature, romances, and Aesop. Scholars argue over when children’s literature—that is, books written exclusively for and read exclusively by children—came into existence. ”  Slate
  6. Contest: 2013 Pacific Northwest Writers Association – fiction, nonfiction, poetry and essays; PRIZES: $700 (first) and $300 (second); DEADLINE: February 22, 1013; FEE: $35 (PNWA member), $50 (non-members).
  7. How To: How to Use a Hyphen, by Mignon Fogarty – “Hyphens are a “look-it-up” punctuation mark. Though hyphens have several uses, we’re going to focus on how to use hyphens with compound adjectives. ”  Grammar Girl
  8. ascensionReview: “Ascension,” by giovanni singleton, reviewed by Hermine Pinson – “‘Ascension,’ giovanni singleton’s debut collection is, in seventies parlance, a trip—in a good way. That is to say, it enjoins the reader to accompany the poet on her journey, on her pilgrimage into light, darkness and the sound of consciousness, into the realm of spirit, dream and reality, across temporal borders, sound barriers, and between life and death.” Poetry Flash
  9. Essay: Speaking Volumes, by Geoffrey Best – “Geoffrey Best reflects on a lifetime collecting books and the difficulties – emotional and financial – of parting with them.”  History Today
  10. Quotation: (from Robert Gray in “ShelfAwareness) – There are some things I don’t miss about working as a bookseller during holiday season crunch time. For example, I don’t miss this conversation:
    “I need to find a book for my uncle.”
    “What kinds of books does he like?
    “Oh, he doesn’t read.”
  11. warnerInterview: Brooke Warner (“What’s Your Book? A Step-by-Step Guide to Get You From Inspiration to Published Author”) with Meghan Ward – “The barriers to traditional publishing are really really high right now, and I do write about that in the book. I was in traditional publishing for thirteen years, and I saw a lot of changes over those thirteen years. You have fewer publishing companies, more agents, more self-publishing options. ”  Writerland
  12. Feature: The Immovable Mr. Darcy, by Allison Pearson  – “The grumpy, snooty hero of “Pride and Prejudice”, is about to reach his double century—and he has never loomed larger. What’s his secret? We asked seven authors for their verdict, starting with the columnist and novelist Allison Pearson.” Intelligent Life
  13. canadaFordLists: 10 Books To Help You Recover From A Tense 2012, by Maureen Corrigan – “2012 has been a very jittery year — what with the presidential election, extreme weather events and the looming “fiscal cliff.” In response to these tense times, some readers seek out escape; others look to literature that directly confronts the atmospheric uncertainty of the age. I guess I’m in the latter camp, because many of my favorite books this year told stories, imagined and real, about ordinary people who felt like they didn’t have a clue what hit ’em.” Includes “Canada,” shown hereNPR
  14. Viewpoint: Twelve Months of Reading – “We asked 50 of our friends to tell us what books they enjoyed in 2012—from Judd Apatow’s big plans to Bruce Wagner’s addictions.” The Wall Street Journal
  15. Lists (about other lists): The Books That Made the Most ‘Best Of 2012′ Book Lists, by Emily Temple – “In an effort to distill all those year’s end book round-ups — and let’s face it, be a little meta — we looked at 16 lists from 14 media organizations and counted up the books that tickled the most critics this year. ”  Flavorwire
  16. wonderfullifeCommentary: Water and Wonder, by John Lingan – “Three times George Bailey enters the water fully clothed, and each time it scrambles his world. ”  The Paris Review
  17. News: Huffington Post strikes deal with Asahi Shimbun to launch Japanese website, by Mark Sweney – “Huffington Post Japan will be a partnership between the Huffington Post Media Group and Asahi Shimbun Company to launch a Japanese-language website that will mark the US company’s first move into Asia.”  The Guardian
  18. Feature: Christmas Reading, by Michael Dirda – “A lot more than Dickens can help invoke the Yuletide spirit”  The American Scholar
  19. Film: As ‘Hobbit’ Opens to Mixed Reviews, Jackson Defends Faster Film Speed – “Director Peter Jackson defended his decision to use new projection technology for “The Hobbit,” calling it an “experiment” designed to give the 3-D fantasy film a more realistic look. ”  Advertising Age

coracover“Book Bits” is compiled by Malcolm R. Campbell, author of contemporary fantasy and paranormal short stories, including the new Vanilla Heart Publishing release, “Cora’s Crossing” set on a rainy night at a haunted bridge.

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