The Sun Singer's Travels

Malcolm R. Campbell's World

Book Bits: Paire-Davis dies at 88, Crumbling Poe House, Books as prescriptions, ‘Schroder’

Karen Blixen

Karen Blixen

“On this day in 1959, Carson McCullers hosted a small luncheon party in order that seventy-four-year-old Baroness Karen Blixen-Finecke (Isak Dinesen) could meet Marilyn Monroe. By all accounts, the three women hit it off wonderfully — though Arthur Miller says the legend of them dancing together on the marble-topped dinner table is an exaggeration.” – Today in Literature

  1. News: Lavonne Paire-Davis dies at 88; inspiration for Geena Davis’ character in ‘A League of Their Own,’ by David Brown – “The classic baseball film “A League of Their Own” immortalized the life of Lavonne “Pepper” Paire-Davis, though you might not have made the connection at first. Paire-Davis, the inspiration for the character played by Geena Davis, died Saturday of natural causes at age 88.” Yahoo Sports
  2. News: B&N Names ‘Discover’ Finalists – “Barnes & Noble has named the six finalists in its annual writing contest, the Discover Great New Writers Award. ” Publishers Weekly
  3. schroderReview: “Schroder,” by Amity Gaige – “A man’s collapsed marriage and growing madness imperils his young daughter in this bracing third novel by Gaige…Smart, comic, unsettling, yet strangely of a piece—not unlike its disarming lead character.” Kirkus Reviews
  4. Commentary: Are the Ravens responsible for the fall of the house of Edgar Allan Poe? by A. N. Devers – “The city of Baltimore — and the Ravens — rely on their most famous writer’s legacy. And they’re letting it crumble?” Salon
  5. News: A 12-book longlist has been announced for the $15,000 Lionel Gelber Prize, which honors the “world’s best nonfiction book in English on foreign affairs that seeks to deepen public debate on significant international issues.” A shortlist of five titles will be released February 19, and the winner named March 25. – ShelfAwareness
  6. Feature: What Agents Are Doing These Days – “‘Do authors need agents anymore?’ While I can’t answer the question for any individual author, I can tell you that agents are busier than ever helping authors find their readers — one way or another. Here are some of the things we’re doing.”  Rachelle Gardner
  7. brothersbookFeature: Sendak’s ‘Brother’s Book’: An Elegy, A Farewell – “Over the course of his life, Sendak wrote and illustrated more than a dozen widely acclaimed books and illustrated almost 80 more. And although he died last May at 83, Sendak still has one more volume on the way.” NPR
  8. How To: Starting a Sentence With “However”: Right or Wrong? by Mignon Fogarty – “Today’s topic is how to use the word however in a sentence. It’s probably more complicated than you think it is.” Grammar Girl
  9. How To: How To Break Out of Your Freelance Writing Comfort Zone, by Francesca StaAna – “Freelance writers usually find themselves in it when they’re earning a satisfactory amount of money and have collected a respectable number of works for their portfolio. And while there’s certainly nothing wrong with staying in your comfort zone for a short time (go ahead, bask in your achievements—you deserve it), lingering in it for too long can be dangerous.” The Renegade Writer
  10. MalcolmCampbellFLInterview: Malcolm R. Campbell with Deanna Jewel – “I always tell aspiring writers that I have no clue what they ought to do to become successful because set formulas and advice are usually a lot worse than figuring out who you are as a writer in your own way. ” Deanna’s Tidbits
  11. Feature: Do you have the write stuff to be a novelist? by Tim Bowler – “The book industry is in the middle of an existential crisis as the rise of e-books and the internet threaten overturn its traditional business methods.” BBC
  12. Quotation: “Where the storyteller is loyal, eternally and unswervingly loyal to the story, there, in the end, silence will speak. Where the story has been betrayed, silence is but emptiness. But we, the faithful, when we have spoken our last word, will hear the voice of silence.” – Isak Dinesen
  13. Feature: Beyond the Alps: The Forgotten Legacy of Three Swiss Writer-Travelers, by Daniel Shvartsman – “Consider Switzerland. “In Switzerland they had brotherly love. They had 500 years of democracy and peace. And what did that produce? The cuckoo clock.” Orson Welles’s famous words from Graham Greene’s screenplay for The Third Man. Greene, an intrepid traveler in his day, may have penned the ultimate word about Switzerland. But before he could cut the Alpine country down to size, three Swiss writers had already taken to the road, found wilder climes, told the tale, and, in two of the three cases, died in absurdly mundane fashion. “ Bookslut
  14. sugarReview: “Sugar in the Blood: A Family’s Story of Slavery and Empire,” by Andrea Stuart, reviewed by Barbara Spindel – “‘Too much sugar is bitter,’ an old Nepalese proverb warns, and Andrea Stuart proves it so in her epic and deeply felt Sugar in the Blood: A Family’s Story of Slavery and Empire. The Caribbean-born author uses her own complex family tree to anchor a vivid exploration of the terrible costs of sugar cultivation on the island of Barbados and far beyond.” Barnes and Noble Review
  15. News: Just what the doctor ordered: Books will be prescribed as medicine in the UK, by Husma Haq – “Under the Books on Prescription program, doctors can prescribe books to patients with mental health problems, including anxiety, depression, and panic attacks.” The Christian Science Monitor
  16. Essay: Based on a True Story: How historical fiction alters our perception of the past, by Paula Marantz Cohen – “Historical fiction is one of the most enduringly popular literary genres. The general assumption is that it helps history go down, bringing us the facts with a little imaginative sugar. But it seems to me that its appeal is more nuanced.”  The American Scholar
  17. portoReview: “The Woman of Porto Pim,” by Antonio Tabucchi, reviewed by Malcolm R. Campbell – “Widely known for “Pereira Declares: A Testimony” and “Indian Nocturne,” Italian novelist Antonio Tabucchi (1943 – 2012) brings his trademark minimalist prose to The Woman of Porto Pim, a collection of fragments and stories about small islands and a large sea. While reading, one understands again why Tabucchi has been compared to the late Italo Calvino: the words here suggest possibilities rather than defining certainties.” Literary aficionado
  18. News: Myanmar Celebrates As Censorship Recedes, by Annalisa Quinn – “The Irrawaddy Literary Festival in Rangoon featured such international authors as Vikram Seth and William Dalrymple, along with around 80 Myanmarese writers, most of whom have not been translated into English. ” NPR

“Book Bits” is compiled several times a week by Malcolm R. Campbell, author of contemporary fantasy adventures including the upcoming release of “The Seeker” in March from Vanilla Heart Publishing.

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