Book Bits: ‘Finnegans Wake’ in China, Ursula LeGuin interview, Maya Angelou, ‘December’s Thorn’
Students and aficionados of Lord Byron are (or might be) celebrating the anniversary of the 1814 publication of “The Corsair.” NPF describes the book as “the tale of a pirate captain willing to risk the love of his life to save a slave in a Turkish harem.” And so it begins. . .
‘O’er the glad waters of the dark blue sea,
Our thoughts as boundless, and our soul’s as free
Far as the breeze can bear, the billows foam,
Survey our empire, and behold our home!
These are our realms, no limits to their sway-
Our flag the sceptre all who meet obey.
Ours the wild life in tumult still to range
From toil to rest, and joy in every change.
Oh, who can tell? not thou, luxurious slave!
Whose soul would sicken o’er the heaving wave;
Here are your reading, writing and book links for Friday:
- News: Heritage House Publishing Acquires Greystone Books, by Leigh Anne Williams – “After months of bankruptcy protection, a silver lining has appeared around some of the storm clouds over D&M Publishers in Vancouver. B.C.-based Heritage House Publishing has acquired all assets of the Greystone Books imprint from D&M.” Publishers Weekly
- News: ‘Finnegans Wake’ Follows Tocqueville Onto Chinese Best-Seller List, by Jennifer Schuessler – “A new translation of the novel has sold out its initial print run of 8,000 since it appeared on Dec. 25, thanks in part to an unusual billboard campaign in major Chinese cities, The Associated Press reported. In Shanghai, where the book was advertised on 16 billboards, sales were second only to a new biography of Deng Xiaoping in the “good books” category, according to the Shanghai News and Publishing Bureau.” The New York Times
- Review: “Hope against Hope: Three Schools, One City, and the Struggle to Educate America’s Children,” by Sarah Carr, reviewed by Vanessa Bush – “Carr goes beyond New Orleans to examine the broader issues of education reform in urban areas throughout the nation as students and parents are caught in a clash of cultures and ideas on how to repair failing school systems and educate inner-city children.” Booklist
- How To: 5 Cases for Requiring a Comma Before a Sentence Tag, by Mark Nichol – “A sentence tag is a word or phrase added to the beginning or end of a statement for emphasis or to provide more information. For the following sentences, I discuss the necessity of preceding end-of-sentence tags with a comma.” Daily Writing Tips
- Quotation: “A personal library is a reflection of who you are and who you want to be, of what you value and what you desire, of how much you know and how much more you’d like to know.” – Michael Dirda
Viewpoint: When a Cover Can Ruin a Book, by Josie Leavitt – “I know I’ve ranted about my utter distaste of covers with photographs of real people, especially teenagers on them, but a friend shared a cover with me that made me gasp. There is a new book that has the first three Anne of Green Gables in one collection.” ShelfTalker at Publishers Weekly
- Lists: Best Blogs for Writers to Read in 2013 – “By the way, this year’s list offers more than 50 blogs. In 2011, I listed 31 wonderful blogs for writers; in 2012, I listed 39 great blogs for writers; this year, the final count is 55. Who knows what the final number will be next year?” My Name Is Not Bob
- How To: Signs You’ve Chosen the Wrong Protagonist, by K.M. Weiland (video with bullet-points transcript) “Most of the time we start writing because a particular character has caught our fancy and we want to get to know him better. The guidelines for confirming that a character is protagonist material usually go something like this.” WordPlay (WordPlay is one of the blogs listed in item 7. Long-time readers of Book Bits will remember seeing posts from Weiland included here before.)
- Review: “Making Habits, Breaking Habits,” by Jeremy Dean, reviewed by David Middleton – “Making Habits, Breaking Habits (DaCapo LifeLong) is a much better book than you’re expecting. The title puts one in mind of pop psychology and change for the sake of change and, really, nothing could be further from the truth.” January Magazine
- Feature: Backpacker-photographer shows China through unfiltered lens, by Solarina Ho – “It’s like watching a child mature and grow, but on fast forward … I think progress and change is inevitable. You can’t lament it. But I think the way the Chinese government has gone about it has been a little bit shameful. (It is) like they’re purposefully trying to erase swaths of history and culture because they want to catch up with America and Japan.” Reuters
- Essay: What Maya Angelou Means When She Says ‘Shakespeare Must Be a Black Girl‘ by Karen Swallow Prior – “The poetry you read has been written for you, each of you—black, white, Hispanic, man, woman, gay, straight.” The Atlantic
- Interview: Getting Away with Murder: The Millions Interviews Ursula K. Le Guin, by Paul Morton – “Every morning, The Oregonian publishes the latest tally of Americans killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Ursula K. Le Guin prints out the number in bold script on standard computer paper and tapes it to her living room window not far from the rainbow peace flag atop her garage. Does this do any good? Does this change anything? You might just as well ask if novels or stories have any real-world effect.” The Millions
- Feature: Bring back shushing librarians, by Laura Miller – “Library users plead for quiet places to read, write and study — but is anybody listening? ” Salon
- Review: “December’s Thorn,” by Phillip DePoy – “Nobody is better at misdirection than DePoy. Nobody is better at making Carl Jung entertaining than DePoy. And if you ever need a psychiatrist, Ceri Nelson is probably the most endearing practitioner in all of mystery fiction.” Kirkus Reviews
- Viewpoint: An Anti-Censorship Handbook for Educators, by David Moshman – “The first academic freedom book of 2013 is, I’m glad to say, an excellent one. Its subtitle is ‘An Anti-Censorship Handbook for Educators.'” The Huffington Post
- Feature: Old favorites return in new mysteries, by Carol Memmott – “Try these gripping crime stories, including one that proves the British don’t have a corner on the mystery market.” Books by Ian Rankin, Peter Robinson, Nele Neuhaus and Charles Todd. USA Today
- Feature: Lunch with the FT: Robert B Silvers, by Emily Stokes – “As the New York Review of Books celebrates its 50th anniversary, its editor for all those years explains why a world without long, serious reviews is ‘unthinkable’” Financial Times
- News: Live like F. Scott Fitzgerald: Buy his Baltimore town house, by Carolyn Kellogg – “What does it take to throw Jazz Age parties like Scottie and Zelda? Bathtub gin? A Victrola playing the Charleston? How about their very own Baltimore town house? F. Scott Fitzgerald’s town house at 1307 Park Ave. in Baltimore is up for sale. For $450,000, it could be yours.” The Los Angeles Times