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Malcolm R. Campbell's World

Book Bits: Elmore Leonard, ‘Jungleland,’ 2012’s overused words, ‘Le Grand Meaulnes,’ ‘Escape Velocity’

happynewyear2013According to the latest reports, the United States might not be falling off the so-called fiscal cliff. For a while, it looked like we were going to be so busy falling, lemming-like into the abyss that reading would be put on hold. When things get so bad, we can’t find the time or energy to read a book, I  begin to worry. Ah, but maybe all is not lost after all.

Among other things, we may soon find new bestselling books appearing with names like “25 Ways to Keep from Falling Off the Fiscal Cliff,” “From Fiscal Cliff to Fiscal Swamp” and “Man on LSD Creates Illusion of Fiscal Cliff and Laughs all the Way to the Bank.”

At any rate, here are some links to help get the year underway:

  1. leonardNews: Award buoys novelist Elmore Leonard to write again, by Kurt Anthony Krug – “As he struggled writing his forthcoming book, “Blue Dreams,” best-selling American author Elmore Leonard thought his 47th novel would probably be his last. Then, inspiration came in the form of a medallion.” Reuters
  2. News: Pearson Takes Stake in Nook Media; B&N Holiday Sales Miss Targets, by Jim Milliot – “Barnes & Noble released some mixed news Friday morning, announcing an $89.5 million investment in its Nook Media subsidiary, while also reporting that it expects holiday sales to fall below expectations and that results in its Nook business will not meet forecasts for fiscal 2013.” Publishers Weekly
  3. Lists: 3 Things Every Freelance Writer Needs To Change In 2013, by Dan Smith – “Whilst I believe every freelance writer needs to have their own development points based on their specific needs, there are a few aspects that all freelancers should make changes to to ensure continued success.” Get Paid to Write Online
  4. austenReview: The Missing Manuscript of Jane Austen, by Syrie James – “A standout addition to the crowded archive of Austen homages…A standout addition to the crowded archive of Austen homages.” Kirkus Reviews
  5. How To: How to create an e-book – “This page details my experience of creating eBooks with Smashwords (I went with them first because they give you a free ISBN) and Amazon.” Morgen Bailey’s Writing Blog
  6. Quotation: There is much to mock about titles like the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, which has so many constituent books for teens, preteens, dog lovers, and so forth that it occupies its own shelf in Barnes & Noble. There are serious criticisms, too: that self-help distracts Americans from a fraying social safety net and disintegrating communities, or that an obsession with self-actualization breeds people unwilling to sacrifice for the greater good. But at its best, self-help captures something uniquely American: the belief that anyone can pursue happiness. – Laura Vanderkam in “The Paperback Quest for Joy”
  7. junglelandReview: “Jungleland,” by Christopher S. Stewart, reviewed by Laura Miller – “The true story Christopher S. Stewart has to tell in “Jungleland” resembles nothing so much as the set-up for one of H. Rider Haggard’s old pulp adventure novels. It’s got a fabled lost city somewhere in the midst of a trackless rainforest, intrepid explorers, stoic guides, assorted dangerous animals and sinister bad guys, and a dash of espionage. ” Salon
  8. Essay: 366 Days, 366 Books, by Jeff Ryan – “Like many of you, I have a nagging problem: I’m not a heroin user. Nor am I a knuckle-cracker, a nail-biter, or a thumb-sucker. I (usually) pay off my credit cards every month. I travel, I see my family, I’m not stressed. And the big three—drinking, dieting, and smoking cessation? I’m good.” Slate
  9. Feature: Visions of Proust, by Sam Sacks – “André Maurois not only adored “Remembrance of Things Past”; he married one of its characters. ” The Wall Street Journal
  10. Lists: The Most Overused Words of 2012, by Mark Nichol – “Words are sometimes randomly reincarnated to serve new purposes, and usually, the new usage is anything but offensive, and its connection may even be obscure: Does anyone object to the use of the word plane (meaning, basically, “surface”) to describe aircraft? Often, however, the extension of a term to a new connotation invites contempt. Here’s a rundown of some of the online commentary about new senses of words that have worn out their welcome.” Daily Writing Tips
  11. fournierFeature: Le Grand Meaulnes: The girl at the Grand Palais – “SAL PARADISE, hero of Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road”, carries only one book on his three-year travels across America. On a Greyhound bus to St Louis he produces a second-hand copy of “Le Grand Meaulnes”, stolen from a Hollywood stall. Entranced by the Arizona landscape, he decides not to read it after all. Such is the fortune of Alain-Fournier’s story, one of France’s most popular novels, in the English-speaking world. Much loved yet little read, for almost a century this strange, earnest and inconsolable novel has haunted the fringes of fiction.” Economist
  12. Interview: Talking with Daniel Mendelsohn about the year in literary criticism, by Laura Miller – “Two critics discuss 2012’s raging debates over sock puppets, Twitter cheerleaders and hatchet-job reviews ” Salon
  13. Feature: Close Out The Year With Some Best-Selling Last Words, by Kee Malesky – “People often make lists of the greatest opening lines in fiction, but closing lines really appeal to me. They’re your final moments with a book and can help you remember and treasure it forever.” NPR
  14. curiousViewpoint: Author Ben Fountain’s Book Picks For 2013 – “We asked Fountain to share with us what he’s looking forward to in the book world next year. He says he’s read about 25 (including “A Curious Man”) books for release in 2013 and tells host Jacki Lyden, ‘The state of American fiction is really strong, at least from where I’m standing.’” NPR
  15. Lists: The 25 Best Movies of 2012, by Jason Bailey – “Let’s begin by just saying it, in plain and simple terms: It was a remarkable year for movies. After a rather dry period where we had to chase down the corridors of our memories to summon up even a handful of picture worth remembering at year’s end, this year’s cinema offered an embarrassment of riches — so many that we had to forgo the normal Top 10 List for a top 15, and then another list of the year’s best documentaries. It was that kind of year.” Flavorwire
  16. News: Novel takes on the tumult of bipolar disorder, by Andrea Burzynski – “”Too Bright to Hear Too Loud to See” is a work of fiction, but author Juliann Garey said the protagonist’s struggles with bipolar disorder are based on her own reality.” Reuters
  17. escapeReview: “Escape Velocity: A Charles Portis Miscellany,” editor Jay Jennings, reviewed by Bill Morris – “If you share my fascination with the mysterious ways writers get made, you’ll be thrilled by a new book called Escape Velocity: A Charles Portis Miscellany. Edited by a long-time Portis devotee, the Arkansas-based writer Jay Jennings, this collection is a virtual connect-the-dots diagram of how Portis the novelist was forged in the newsrooms of the Memphis Commercial Appeal, the Arkansas Gazette and the New York Herald Tribune, the papers where Portis worked as a reporter and columnist from the late 1950s until the mid-1960s.”  The Millions
  18. How To: Get ‘er Done, by Beth Hill – “And I hope you finish one of the writing projects that’s been hanging over your head, demanding some kind of closure.  If you’ve got a novel begun but not finished, finish it this year. Don’t start over with another idea yet again—finish one project.  If finishing means completing the first draft, do it. Make that your goal for 2013.”  The Editor’s Blog
  19. News: Tribune Co. emerges from bankruptcy, by Robert Channick – “After spending more than four years embroiled in a contentious Chapter 11 bankruptcy case, the reorganized Chicago-based media company emerged Monday under new owners and a newly appointed board, freed from its massive debt and facing an uncertain future. ” The Chicago Tribune

“Book Bits” is compiled about twice a week by Malcolm R. Campbell, author of contemporary fantasy novels and paranormal short stories



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4 thoughts on “Book Bits: Elmore Leonard, ‘Jungleland,’ 2012’s overused words, ‘Le Grand Meaulnes,’ ‘Escape Velocity’

  1. Thank you for the inclusion, Malcolm. 🙂

  2. The Golden Eagle on said:

    Thanks for the links! I’ll have to check out some of these articles.

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