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Book Bits: ‘Amour’ is critics 2012 film pick, McChrystal’s memoir, Julia Quinn, Turkey lifts book ban

BookBitsWelcome to “Book Bits,” a twice-weekly compilation of links to book reviews, book and publishing news, writer’s how-to articles, features, commentaries and opinions. I try to avoid sites with paywalls, so some of your favorite publications may be missing. Since everyone seems to be in a hurry these days, I hope this blog will serve as a quick stop to the reading and writing information that makes your day.

  1. amourNews: Critics pick ‘Amour’ as best film of 2012 – “The National Society of Film Critics selected “Amour” as the best picture of 2012 during its annual meeting Saturday. The critics chose the star of ‘Amour,’ Emmanuelle Riva, as the best actress, and Daniel Day-Lewis was chosen best actor for ‘Lincoln.’ ” The Associated Press
  2. News: Stanley McChrystal Book: Retired General Speaks Out, Takes Blame For Rolling Stone Article, by Kimberly Dozier – “Speaking out for the first time since he resigned, retired Gen. Stanley McChrystal takes the blame for a Rolling Stone article and the unflattering comments attributed to his staff about the Obama administration that ended his Afghanistan command and army career.” The Huffington Post
  3. ladyReview: “The Lady Most Willing,” by Juliia Quinn, Eloisa James and Connie Brockway – “Quinn, James and Brockway are all Regency legends, and they are at their best in this sexy, touching, powerful romance. A great read for anyone who loves a good romance, a must-read for historical-romance fans.”  Kirkus Reviews
  4. Feature: Well-Versed: Five Poets With Punch, by Kevin Young – “All these recent books seem to me deeply personal, but not simply so — they manage to make metaphor from what happened, which is after all one of the poet’s chief jobs. Here are five books of transformation, channeling love, loss, history and language.” NPR
  5. Essay: Don’t Burn Your Books—Print Is Here to Stay, by Nicholas Carr – “It may be that e-books, rather than replacing printed books, will ultimately serve a role more like that of audio books—a complement to traditional reading, not a substitute.”  The Wall Street Journal
  6. News: Turkey lifts ban on thousands of books – “From communist works to a comic book, thousands of titles banned by Turkey over the decades were taken off the restricted list Saturday, thanks to a government reform.” Beruit Daily Star
  7. DorianFiftyNew Title: Fifty Shades of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde and Nicole Audrey Spector  – “Meet artist Rosemary Hall and follow her inevitable downfall brought by her lust for the famous Dorian Gray — a tale both familiar and new in this erotic mash up of one of the world’s most beloved novels.”  January Magazine
  8. Feature: André Aciman’s Favorite Novellas of Unconsummated Loves – “Everyone knows what a novella is, but try to define the genre. The easiest and most flat-footed definition would be the one I frequently use: a novella is a long short story that is not a novel. But this can hardly pass for a definition. ”  The Daily Beast
  9. Lists: 10 of Our Favorite Profiles of 10 of Our Favorite Writers, by Emily Temple – “we’ve put together a few great profiles that you can read online to slake your literary lust. Read through for some choice quotes and links to the original articles, and do point us toward your own favorite author profiles for further reading in the comments.” Flavorwire
  10. Essay: A Dreamer’s Tale: Resolutions for the New Year, by Michael Direda – “What books would I read if I could simply read for my own sweet pleasure? Well, there are at least a dozen major classics of English fiction that I’ve never quite gotten round to—yet. Samuel Richardson’s Clarissa, for example, and—hangs head in shame—Henry James’s Portrait of a Lady. There are, alas, others comparably important. But, in truth, the books I really want to read are far stranger, and far lesser works. What titles, you ask?”   American Scholar
  11. greatagnosticReview: “The Great Agnostic: Robert Ingersoll and American Freethought,” by Susan Jacoby – “Attention American history buffs, here’s a name you might not have heard before: Robert Ingersoll. According to author Susan Jacoby, he was ‘one of the most famous people in America in the last quarter of the 19th century.'” – NPR
  12. News: Penguin to publish Thomas Pynchon’s ‘The Bleeding Edge,’ by Prachi Gupta – “The New York Times reports that Penguin Press is set to publish a new novel by reclusive author Thomas Pynchon called “The Bleeding Edge.” The publishing house has not set a publication date, however. Washington Post Book World fiction editor Ron Charles noted via Twitter that at this point, “everything is tentative.””  Salon
  13. Feature: The Bestselling Books of 2012, by Gabe Habash – “Half of the top 20 bestselling books of 2012 in print were either Fifty Shades titles or Hunger Games titles, and only one book not written by E.L. James or Suzanne Collins—Jeff Kinney’s latest Wimpy Kid title—cracked the one-million-copies-sold mark for the year, according to Nielsen BookScan, which tracks 75%-80% of prints sales.”  Publishers Weekly
  14. hughesInterview: Gayle Swedmark Hughes (“Two Thousand Daffodils”) – “As a product of small town life, I am a person who treasures long-term friendships and has a strong sense of place. Amelia Island, Florida and nearby Cumberland Island define me in many ways and find their way into my stories. ”  Writers4Higher
  15. News: October Family Matters Contest Winners – “October Family Matters Contest Winners has won first place in ‘Glimmer Train’s” Family Matters Contest” NewPages
  16. How To: Pronouns for People and Animals: “Who” or “That”? by Mignon Fogarty – “Today we’re going to talk about a grammar myth: that you can never use the word “that” to refer to people. Then we’ll get to the burning questions of whether your dog is an “it” or a “she” or “he” and whether you can talk about a table whose legs are scratched.”  Grammar Girl
  17. Feature: Don’t Make Your Book Launch Like a Trip to the Dentist, by Dan Blank – “With 1.5 million books published last year, writers nowadays know that publicity for their books around book launch can be challenging. The days where you can silently write your book, and then scream about it on launch day are producing lesser results than they may have once done.”  Writer Unboxed

Seeker“Book Bits” is compiled by Malcolm R. Campbell, author of “The Seeker,” a new fantasy adventure novel to be released in March by Vanilla Heart Publishing.

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