The Sun Singer's Travels

Malcolm R. Campbell's World

Book Bits: The Oprah Effect, Questions raised about ‘In Cold Blood,’ Jessica Blair is a grandpa, Sarah Hall

5lovePublishers Weekly, in “Tracking Amazon: The Oprah Effect Strikes Again,” notes that Gary Chapman’s The 5 Love Languages has sold 900,000 copies due, in part, to Oprah’s endorsement. Sales are expected to go over the one-million mark soon once the impact of his Sunday, February 10th appearance on  “Oprah’s Lifeclass” is included in the sales mix.

Now, if we could only find a way to spread the love of this kind of publicity to more authors the world would (in my biased opinion) be a better place.

  1. News: New documents spark questions over “In Cold Blood” book – “Truman Capote’s true-crime novel “In Cold Blood” is getting renewed attention after the Wall Street Journal reported it has found evidence raising questions about some details in the celebrated book. The newspaper said it has reviewed a “long-forgotten cache” of documents from the Kansas Bureau of Investigation that casts doubt on the accuracy of two chapters in the book.” Reuters
  2. jessicablairNews: Bills and boon! ‘Female’ romance author Jessica Blair unmasked as 89-year-old grandfather, by Lucy Waterlow – “In the past, female writers such as Charlotte Bronte had to adopt male pen names in order to get their books published. But the tables were turned for former war hero Bill Spence after he wrote a series of romance novels.The grandfather from Ampleforth, North Yorkshire, was told his books would need to be printed under a feminine moniker if he wanted them to sell – and so his pseudonym Jessica Blair was born.” The Daily Mail
  3. beautifulReview: “The Beautiful Indifference,” by Sarah Hall, reviewed by Rebecca Silber – “I enjoy entering a world, for a short time, so different from my normal habitat — stark, dark, unexpected, and raw. British author Sarah Hall’s debut short story collection, The Beautiful Indifference, is all of these things; her writing so honest, I found myself staring at the words, looking for lies that weren’t there.” Bookslut
  4. Interview: Does Social Media Sell Books? Gillian Flynn’s Agent Gives Her Perspective, agent Stephanie Rostan with Fauzia Burke – “Clearly in this case, the books are hugely successful without the author’s investment in social media, so do you think an investment of social media/digital marketing is important for an author’s success?” The Huffington Post
  5. News: Barnsley: bookshops could charge for browsing – “HarperCollins c.e.o. Victoria Barnsley has said the idea of the bookshop as a book club, charging for browsing, is ‘not that insane,’ given the level of threat faced by the general bookshop.” The Bookseller
  6. unexplainedUpcoming Title: “Unexplained Fevers,” by Jeannine Hall Gailey  (New Binary Press, March 2013) – “”Unexplained Fevers plucks the familiar fairy tale heroines and drops them into alternate landscapes. Unlocking them from the old stories is a way to “rescue the other half of [their] souls.” And so Sleeping Beauty arrives at the emergency room, Red Riding Hood reaches the car dealership, and Rapunzel goes wandering in the desert. . .” (According to Gailey, “She Returns to the Floating World,” which went out of print when Kitsune Books closed at the end of 2012, will return in e-book form from Two Sylvias Press.)
  7. Viewpoint: Goodbye to Florida’s Kitsume Books, by Malcolm R. Campbell – “I was sorry to see Kitsume Books, a small press in the Florida Panhandle, close its doors at the end of last year.” Sun Singer’s Travels
  8. edenriseReview: “Eden Rise,” by Robert J. Norrell, reviewed by Mollie Smith Waters – “From the opening lines to the last, Norrell crafts a gripping novel that not only opens our eyes to the injustices many African Americans suffered during the civil rights era, but also shows us a darker truth about what it was like to be a Southern white man who sympathized with their plight.” Southern Literary Review
  9. Feature: Is Fiction Worthless? David Shields Thinks So, by Jacob Silverman – “David Shields is done with fiction, at least as you and I probably know it. After beginning his career as a novelist, the 56-year-old Shields, over the last decade and a half, has drifted toward loose, essayistic forms that tear down the walls between fact and fiction.” The Daily Beast
  10. Lists: 11 practical or unusual books for professional – and aspiring – writers, by Kristin Rawls – “Writers really like to talk about what they do. Because of this, there’s a whole sub-genre of books about writing out there. The vast majority of them are self-help tomes dedicated to helping you find your artistic voice.” The Christian Science Monitor
  11. templeReview: “Temple of a Thousand Faces,” by John Shors, reviewed by Sandra Dallas  – “In “Temple of a Thousand Faces,” Shors turns to the dazzling empire of 12th-century Cambodia to produce a novel as lush and exotic as Angkor Wat itself. Based on the tale of a war a thousand years ago, this story of an epic struggle between Kymers and Chams (Vietnamese) is filled with romance, intrigue, betrayal and battle — in short, everything you could ever want in a novel.” The Denver Post
  12. Feature: “Give Me Everything You Have”: Stalked! by Laura Miller – “A writing teacher describes his years-long ordeal as the object of a former student’s hate-filled obsession ” Salon
  13. How To: How to Write a Memo, by Mark Nichol – “The memo may seem like a thing of the past, long ago supplanted by the email message. However, its general format can be applied to electronic communications, and the hard-copy memo still has its place in businesses and other organizations, especially when providing context for a print publication or another physical object being distributed among a group of people. ”  Daily Writing Tips
  14. friedanCommentary: At 50, Does ‘Feminine Mystique’ Still Roar? by Lynn Neary – “In 1963, Betty Friedan called it “the problem that has no name” and then proceeded to name it — and the name stuck. The problem was “The Feminine Mystique,” which was also the title of her groundbreaking book, published 50 years ago.” NPR
  15. How To: Details and Description—Getting the Facts Right, by Beth Hill – “I was recently on vacation, going places and seeing sights I’ve never experienced. And I can highly recommend the practice as a way to remind writers and editors to look at details and description in a fresh way.” The Editor’s Blog
  16. Feature: Why Asia is Obsessed with Graphic Novels and Comics, by Duncan Jepson – “Printed graphic storytelling is an extension of all that has been performed for centuries across Asia.” Publishing Perspectives

“Book Bits” is compiled several times a week by Malcolm R. Campbell, author of the heroine’s journey fantasy adventure “Sarabande” and the upcoming “The Seeker.”

Contemporary fantasy on Kindle and in paperback

Contemporary fantasy on Kindle and in paperback

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3 thoughts on “Book Bits: The Oprah Effect, Questions raised about ‘In Cold Blood,’ Jessica Blair is a grandpa, Sarah Hall

  1. I read the article regarding “In Cold Blood” with interest. I think that was the first true crime book I ever read (probably because it was just about the first true crime book written), and I was hooked on the genre. Kind of hate to hear some parts of it are in question.

  2. I wondered that, too. The optimistic part of me hopes not. The cynical part of me thinks he probably did.

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