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Malcolm R. Campbell's World

Book Bits: National Book Awards changes, ‘Spilt Milk,’ Rosie Schap, Philip Roth, Writers’ Stakeholders

serviceToday is the birthday of Robert Service in 1874, a writer once called “the Kipling of Canada” who seems to have been lost to readers these days. We used to read his “The Shooting of Dan McGrew” and “The Cremation of Sam McGee” in high school literature classes. They were included in his 1907 Songs of a Sourdough collection. The McGrew poem begins like this:

A bunch of the boys were whooping it up in the Malamute saloon;
The kid that handles the music-box was hitting a jag-time tune;
Back of the bar, in a solo game, sat Dangerous Dan McGrew,
And watching his luck was his light-o’-love, the lady that’s known as Lou.

I’m sorry to see one of my favorite writing sites, BibilioBuffet, closing down. (See item 10.) Fortunately, the wonderful essays will remain available in an archive. (See item 0)

  1. News: How a feisty Chinese newspaper stood up for press freedom, by Sui-Lee Wee  – “Journalists at the Beijing News were at home late one night last week when their mobile phones started ringing. Colleagues in the newsroom were telling them of a showdown between the newspaper’s management and propaganda department officials.” Reuters
  2. nbfNews: National Book Foundation announces changes in the National Book Awards review and selection process. – “One change in the process will increase the number of honored books by selecting a “Long-List” of ten titles in each of the four genres, to be announced five weeks before the Finalists Announcement. In 2013, the Long-Lists will be announced on September 12th (forty titles), the Finalists on October 15th (twenty titles) and the National Book Award Winners on November 20th (four titles.)” National Book Foundation
  3. SpiltMilkReview: “Spilt Milk,” by Chico Buarque, reviewed by Christopher Merkel – “Split Milk is, to be very sure, a virtuosic piece of writing. Buarque deserves the courtesy of my envy. As a critic, to be fair (or not, maybe, as the case may be), I realize that I perhaps tend to reserve overt praise. And for an author such as Buarque, who is blurbed by the likes of Saramago and Jonathan Franzen, I suppose that I would tend to reserve criticism entirely.” Bookslut
  4. Feature: Oscar Nominations: ‘Lincoln’ Leads The Pack, But Where Is Kathryn Bigelow? by Linda Holmes – “It turns out that if you ask the Academy at large who are the best directors, you get a very different answer from the one you get if you ask the Directors Guild of America (DGA). “ NPR
  5. How To: What is a sentence? by Mark Bichol – “Multiple definitions exist for sentence, and various sources differ in their interpretation of what constitutes a valid sentence and which forms are incorrect. Here’s a brief survey of what a sentence is.” Daily Writing Tips
  6. drowninghouseReview: “The Drowning House” by Elizabeth Black, reviewed by Matthew Jackson – “The island of Galveston is a strange kind of American microcosm, existing both as its own slightly warped little world and as an important thread in the national fabric. It’s Texas but not Texas; tourist-filled and welcoming, yet uniquely distant; and always dangerously close to natural disaster. Elizabeth Black sets her spellbinding debut novel, a story of secrets, loss and the redemptive power of truth, against this compelling backdrop.”  BookPage
  7. News: Da Vinci Code Author to Debut New Book – “Sonny Mehta, Doubleday publisher and editor-in-chief, announced that Inferno, a Da Vinci Code sequel, will be published on May 14th.”  January Magazine
  8. News: Ralph G. Martin, a “bestselling author of political and celebrity biographies whose subjects included the Kennedys, Golda Meir and Winston Churchill’s mother,” died last week, the New York Times reported. He was 92. Martin’s 30 books included the bestselling, two-volume biography Jennie: The Life of Lady Randolph Churchill. – ShelfAwareness
  9. pratchettInterview: Terry Pratchett, with Linda Richards – On the idea of a Booker Prize for “Thief of Time,” “I heard [that] the judges called it in. Which is to say: Let’s have a look. And that means one or two of the judges thought they should. But we never heard any more. Thank goodness, because I think my earnings would have gone down considerably if I suddenly got literary credibility.” January Magazine
  10. Essay: “A Beautiful Friendship,” by Lauren Roberts – “This issue is BiblioBuffet’s final one. We are closing our doors. The reason is that after seven years I have decided to move on. There were many personal challenges for me in 2012 that caused me to do some serious re-consideration of my life’s choices, and as much as I love BiblioBuffet I want to try some new things and go back to some old things I miss. ”  BiblioBuffet (See also, Nicki Leone’s essay about BiblioBuffet’s closing in “On and Off the Shelves”)
  11. spectacleReview: “Spectacle,” by Susan Steinberg, reviewed by Kathryn Savage – “In the 12 linked stories that make up Susan Steinberg’s latest collection, “Spectacle” (Graywolf Press, 135 pages, $14), troubled, unnamed women (or the same unnamed woman) drift between cities — Baltimore, Boston, Warrensburg, Mo. — narrating tales of lust, substance abuse, theft and domestic violence.” Minneapolis Star-Tribune
  12. Essay: Status Updates by Julianna Baggott – “Last year, a line in an article on the fate of Barnes & Noble gave my heart pause — and sent me on an all-consuming tear. If we lose more brick-and-­mortar bookstores, the article noted, the classics in particular will be hard hit. ”  The New York Times
  13. Feature: Bexar set to turn the page on idea of books in libraries, by John W. Gonzalez – “Today, after months of planning, Wolff and other county leaders will announce plans to launch the nation’s first bookless public library system, BiblioTech, with a prototype location on the South Side opening in the fall.” My SA
  14. enemyReview: “Enemy of Mine,” by Brad Taylor – “This is Taylor’s third Pike Logan thriller, and it’s a good one. The United States government has secretly brokered a peace deal between Israel and Palestine, and terrorist forces plan to subvert it. Logan heads a clandestine Taskforce team that’s determined to identify and root out the threat while there is still time.” Kirkus Reviews
  15. Lists: All the World’s A Page: The 9 Woes of the Writing Life – “Recently at the end of a creative nonfiction class I taught, a student came to me with a helpless shrug of her shoulders. “I want to write. I want to be a writer. That’s what I want to do with my life.” I felt a gush of pride that I had managed a convert, but pity came next, then fear:  What had I done? I immediately knew I needed to fill in what I left out from the class script, the off-stage notes that turn out to be the most important. ”  Word Serve Water Cooler
  16. Viewpoint: Why Publishing’s Future is All About Globalized Brands by Roger Tagholm – “It’s not about digital or physical anymore, believes Erich Huang, New Business and IP Acquisitions Director at Penguin Children’s UK: it’s about brand.” Publishing Perspectives
  17. stmarysFeature: “The Pinecone”: Forgotten genius: Sarah Losh and the strange, beautiful, “pantheistic” church she built in an obscure corner of 19th-century England, by Laura Miller – “In a remote rural corner of northern England stands a small, deceptively simple-looking church, built in the early 1840s. ” Salon
  18. News: Philip Roth Content with his Retirement by Tim Molloy – “Philip Roth says that since retiring from writing, he wakes up each morning and has a glass of orange juice. Then he goes back to bed and reads. ‘I’m doing fine without writing,’ he said Monday. ‘Someone should have told me about this earlier.'” Reuters
  19. News: 2012 National Jewish Book Award Winners Announced – “New York, January 15, 2012 — The Jewish Book Council announced the inners of the 2012 National Jewish Book Awards today, naming author and Nobel Prize–winning neuropsychiatrist Professor Eric R. Kandel as the recipient of its Lifetime Achievement Award.” Jewish Book Council
  20. RosieSInterview: Rosie Schaap with Brad Listi – “Rosie Schaap is the guest. She is a contributor to This American Life and, and she writes the monthly “Drink” column for The New York Times Magazine. Her memoir, Drinking  With  Men, will be published on January 24, 2013 by Riverhead Books.” Other People
  21. Lists: Most-Viewed Posts of 2012 – “If you are a blogger, you owe it to yourself to study your blog stats at least annually, if not more often. It’s fascinating what you can learn and how much you can improve your blogging by paying attention to your traffic patterns. In just a few minutes of looking at my most popular post rankings for 2012, I gleaned some useful tidbits” Rachielle Gardner
  22. Viewpoint: Find Someone Who Is a Stakeholder in Your Writing Life, Find a Few Someones, by Kate Gale – “When you run a nonprofit, the big conversation is about stakeholders. To make the organization thrive, you need a group of people who believe in what you are doing, who want to keep the ship afloat, who want to see your organization thriving for the next twenty years or more. As a writer, you need the same thing. ”  Glimmer Train Bulletin

“Book Bits” is compiled by Malcolm R. Campbell, author of paranormal short stories and fantasy novels including “Sarabande.”

Only $4.99 on your Nook

Only $4.99 on your Nook

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One thought on “Book Bits: National Book Awards changes, ‘Spilt Milk,’ Rosie Schap, Philip Roth, Writers’ Stakeholders

  1. Infact i love this short story may god bless you all?

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