The Sun Singer's Travels

Malcolm R. Campbell's World

Book Bits: Scholastic multimedia series, ‘The Painted Girls,’ Publishing Trends, Con Slobodchikoff

BookBitsHere are your reading and writing links to get you started for the week of January 14:

  1. News: Man Asian Literary Prize Announces Shortlist – “The Hong Kong-based Man Asian Literary Prize has announced the shortlist for its 2012 prize. Of the five finalists, culled from an original long list of fifteen, one winner will receive an award of thirty thousand dollars. ” Poets & Writers
  2. Quotation: “These days, self-help is unembarrassed, out of the bedside drawer and up on the coffee table, wholly transformed from a disreputable publishing category to a category killer, having remade most of nonfiction in its own inspirational image along the way. ” – Boris Kachka in New York Magazine (See item 9)
  3. scholasticlogoNews: Scholastic to launch new multimedia series, by Bob Minzesheimer – “In the latest attempt at boosting books in a digital world, Scholastic, the children’s publisher, is launching its third “multiplatform” adventure series supplemented by online games.” USA Today
  4. How To: Numbers in Fiction, by Beth Hill – “This article covers a few common specifics of using numbers and numerals in fiction. I’m just going to list the rules here, without much explanation, laying out those that you’ll typically make use of in a novel. Keep in mind that there are always exceptions. For the most part, you’ll want to stick to the standards to make the read smooth and easy for the reader and create consistency within the manuscript.”  The Editor’s Blog
  5. Essay: The Impact of Evan Connell, by Wendy Werris – “Connell’s career enjoyed something of a revival when Jack Shoemaker published his Son of the Morning Star: Custer and the Little Bighorn, in 1984. The book sold 30,000 copies in hardback and was made into a TV miniseries in 1991.” Publishers Weekly
  6. paintedgirlsReview: “The Painted Girls,” by Cathy Marie Buchanan – “Just who is The Little Dancer, Aged 14? Who is the actual girl, cast 2/3 of her life size by Edgar Degas? That little dancer was Marie van Goethem, one of three sisters left to fend for themselves after their father dies and their mother begins spending her washerwoman’s income on absinthe.” NPR
  7. How To: How to Format the Interior of Your Book – “You might have written the next Moby-Dick, but if customers are so used to the way that big publishing houses format their books that they might be put off by yours if it’s not similar!” BookWorks
  8. Feature: Getting Started in Fantasy Reading, by Malcolm R. Campbell – Sites and links for those ready to sample the diverse world of fantasy for the first time.  Malcolm’s Round Table
  9. Essay: The Power of Positive Publishing: How self-help ate America, by Boris Kachka – “How-to writers are to other writers as frogs are to mammals,” wrote the critic Dwight MacDonald in a 1954 survey of “Howtoism.” “Their books are not born, they are spawned.” MacDonald began his story by citing a list of 3,500 instructional books. Today, there are at least 45,000 specimens in print of the optimize-everything cult we now call “self-help,” but few of them look anything like those classic step-by-step “howtos,” which MacDonald and his Establishment brethren handled only with bemused disdain. ”  New York
  10. mansbachInterview: Graffiti and Glory Days: The Millions Interviews Adam Mansbach, by Buzz Poole – “In the past couple of years, Adam Mansbach has gone from respected novelist to pop culture lightning rod thanks to a little book he wrote about trying to put his daughter to bed. Having already been a go-to expert for all things hip hop, as well as fiction writing and the politics of race, he unexpectedly found himself answering endless questions about parenting. ”  The Millions
  11. News: ‘New York Times’ makes Hall of Fame statement with blank cover, by Chris Strauss – “One of the most striking statements following the failure to induct any new members into the Baseball Hall of Fame Wednesday comes from Thursday’s New York Times, which decided to devote a blank space where a usual story would have gone.” USA Today
  12. goingclearReview: “Going Clear,” by Lawrence Wright, reviewed by Paul Elie – “”Going Clear” is sometimes hard going on account of its subject matter. But it is an utterly necessary story even so. As “In Cold Blood” is now a monument to the age of New Journalism, “Going Clear” may wind up a monument to an age of enlightened corporate journalism, a time when powerful magazine editors and their book-publishing counterparts had the wherewithal to devote resources to vital stories of scant direct pertinence to their readers—stories told by full-time, expenses-paid writers backstopped by researchers, fact-checkers, lawyers and insurance companies. ”  The Wall Street Journal
  13. Commentary: Everyone’s life is interesting: Defending confessional nonfiction, by David L. Ulin – “There’s a fundamental flaw in “Journalism Is Not Narcissism,” Hamilton Nolan’s recent Gawker post deriding confessional nonfiction: The first-person essays he finds so self-indulgent are not journalism. Sure, they appear in newspapers and magazines, but so do comics, op-eds, commentary — none of which are exactly news. That’s the beauty of mass market publications, that they can encompass a range of approaches, that one form does not have to preclude another, that, ideally, there is something for everyone.” The Los Angeles Times
  14. herethereFeature: Off the couch, onto the road: ‘Here, There, Elsewhere’ by William Least Heat-Moon,  by Stephen J. Lyons – “With bridges burning brightly in the background, the no-longer-editorially-constrained Heat-Moon hits the road to diverse environs such as Japan and New Zealand in search of “the overlooked and presumed humdrum” and, occasionally, an excellent pint of home brew.” Minneapolis Star-Tribune
  15. Feature: The Best Book Covers of 2012, As Chosen by Our Favorite Book Cover Designers, by Emily Temple – “2012 was a great year for books — and maybe even a better one for book covers. We were so overwhelmed by the number of great ones that we couldn’t rally our thoughts to any kind of end-of-year list — so we figured we’d go to the experts (book jacket designers, of course) and ask what they thought.” Flavorwire
  16. Viewpoint: Social Media: How to Avoid Burnout, by Meghan Ward – “Something we don’t talk about very often in the world of online networking is the importance of taking a break. We hear a lot about the value of posting to our blogs, Facebook and Google+ pages, and Twitter accounts frequently and consistently. We read about the necessity of blogging on a schedule. The most successful bloggers will tell you they “have never missed a scheduled post.” But what few people talk about is the importance of setting your social media tools down and putting your feet up, of taking a vacation from your online life the same way you take a break from your professional life for a couple weeks every year.” Writerland
  17. crushedFeature: “A Little Crushed,” by Vivian Brentanos – Book of the Week, with an excerpt, reviews and an author bio – “A Little Crushed is provocative and will linger with you long after the last page is turned. This age-old tale of student/teacher attraction is told with intelligence and depth. ” Angie’s Diary
  18. Commentary: 5 Trade Publishing Trends to Watch For in 2013. by George Lossius – “There is every chance that, in the not too distant future, 2012 will be referred to as the start of a new era in trade publishing, when the industry fully accepted that it is no longer serving a market of consumers converting to digital; rather digital has become a naturalized part of the core offering of the industry.” Publishing Perspectives
  19. How To: How to Price Your Kindle Book to Get the Most Sales, by Kristen Eckstein – “The options for Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing system can be confusing unless you approach pricing from a strategic position.” The Ultimate Book Coach
  20. doolittleReview: “Chasing Doctor Dolittle,” by Con Slobodchikoff, reviewed by Amy Stewart – “Con Slobodchikoff, professor emeritus of biology at Northern Arizona University, has devoted his career to the study of animal language, and he chronicles his findings in “Chasing Doctor Dolittle.” His own work on prairie dogs takes center stage, as it should: In a fascinating series of experiments, Slobodchikoff and his team analyzed the warning calls made by prairie dogs in a colony they studied.” The Denver Post
  21. Commentary: Graphic in Nature, by Colleen Mondor – “I never expected to be urging readers to seek out a book on economics, and yet when I was putting together this month’s column on graphic novels I found myself consumed with Michael Goodwin’s Economix: How and Why Our Economy Words (And Doesn’t Work), in Words and Pages. Frankly, this nonfiction title is far more entertaining than it has a right to be, given its subject.”  Bookslut

“Book Bits” is compiled by Malcolm R. Campbell, author of paranormal short stories and contemporary fantasy novels including “The Sun Singer” and the upcoming “The Seeker” (March 2013).

Only $4.99 on Nook

Only $4.99 on Nook


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