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Malcolm R. Campbell's World

Book Bits: Digging up Neruda, Donna Tartt’s new novel, Frost Medal for Robert Bly, David Ferry’s ‘Bewilderment’

BookBitsAccording to ShelfAwareness, Queen Elizabeth tops the list of the “20 most powerful women in Britain.” However, two women from the world of books also made the list: Random House Group CEO Gail Rebuck (10th place) and author J.K. Rowling (13th place…according to a survey by BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour. I agree with a writer friend who said that while the Queen is as an institution, the other women had to pull themselves onto the list through hard work.

  1. News: Chile court orders remains of poet Pablo Neruda exhumed – “A CHILEAN judge has ordered the remains of poet and Nobel laureate Pablo Neruda exhumed in a probe into whether he died of cancer as commonly believed or was killed by agents serving Augusto Pinochet.” The Australian
  2. News: Donna Tartt’s New Novel Gets Title, Release Date, by Jesse David Fox – “The long-anticipated third novel from Donna Tartt, the acclaimed author of The Secret History and The Little Friend, has finally gotten a title and release date. Coming out exactly eleven years from the release of The Little Friend, The Goldfinch: A Novel has been set for an October 22, 2013 release.” Vulture
  3. aloneReview: “Alone on the Ice,” by David Roberts, reviewed by Catherine Hollis – “his winter marks the 100th anniversary season of the “greatest survival story in the history of exploration” you’ve probably never heard of. Fans of Antarctic exploration know well the stories of Robert Scott’s tragic attainment of the South Pole in 1912, or Ernest Shackleton’s two ice-bound years on the Endurance. If we’ve overlooked Douglas Mawson’s 1912-1913 Australasian Antarctic Expedition, perhaps that’s because—as author David Roberts proposes—the expedition was Australian and scientific in purpose, not British and heroically single-minded.” Book Page
  4. Feature: Fiction prescription: why libraries make you happy, by Ella Berthoud and Susan Elderkin – “The recent announcement that GPs may send patients with depression away with the suggestion that they read a “mood-enhancing” book will have entranced some but left others bristling. Is the NHS really so broken that they are sending people off to libraries? Or are the libraries so broken that the government is attempting to inject some energy from the already beleaguered service provided by our hard-working GPs?” The Guardian
  5. dwtHow To: Answers to Questions About Tense, by Mark Nichol – “A reader submitted three queries about which verb forms to use to indicate various tenses. Here are the questions and my responses.” Daily Writing Tips
  6. Viewpoint: Who Should Read Your Unpublished Work? – “Getting feedback from the wrong readers can be more than simply unhelpful — it can steer you in the wrong direction. Worse, you may not even realize the input you’re receiving is bad.” Rachelle Gardner
  7. joycejInterview: Joyce Johnson (“The Voice is All: The Lonely Victory of Jack Kerouac”), with Brad Listi (In-depth, inappropriate interviews with authors) – According to Kirkus, Johnson’s book is “An exemplary biography of the Beat icon and his development as a writer…Johnson [turns] a laser-sharp focus on Kerouac’s evolving ideas about language, fiction vs. truth and the role of the writer in his time…there’s plenty of life in these pages to fascinate casual readers, and Johnson is a sensitive but admirably objective biographer.  A triumph of scholarship.” Other People
  8. Lists: Nine Reasons Authors Still Choose Traditional Publishing, by Melissa Donovan – “Historically, self-publishing was a last resort, an act of desperation by a writer whose work had been rejected countless times. Now, with the advent of the Internet and ebooks, writers are skipping the submission process entirely and actively choosing to self-publish their books. But for many (probably most), traditional publishing is still the most desired route to publication.” Writing Forward
  9. blyNews: Robert Bly Named 2013 Frost Medalist, by Laurie Hertzel – “The Poetry Society of America has bestowed its highest honor, the Frost Medal, on Minneapolis poet Robert Bly, it was announced today. The Frost Medal, which recognizes a lifetime devoted to poetry, has gone previously to Wallace Stevens, Lucille Clifton, Marianne Moore, Gwendolyn Brooks, and others.” Minneapolis star-Tribune
  10. flimsyReview: “Flimsy Little Plastic Miracles,” by Ron Currie Jr. – “A postmodern love story, self-consciously playful in a Vonnegut-ian way…Free-wheeling—and at times both moving and hilarious.” Kirkus Reviews
  11. Viewpoint: Wintering: Moving within the Self as a Way of Conceiving One’s Own Writing, by Cassie Premo Steele – “Every mother has a winter season. We don’t talk about it much anymore. We hold up Sexton and Plath as counter-examples, we say, “Oh, how much has changed!” and we rush, in the course of one day,  to job, soccer, homework, yoga, PTA, shopping, and bed. We have more options now, in the outside world. But still, mothering is an inside job. It is emotional. It takes place in intimate spaces. It demands we go down into our inner worlds and then come up for air and light.” Literary Mama
  12. RosieSInterview: Rosie Schaap (“Drinking With Men”) with Scott Korb – “I think that both sites of worship and bars are, in a way, sanctified spaces. They are set apart, they are neither work nor home, and they serve a purpose, or several purposes.” Los Angeles Review of Books
  13. Feature: How Timbuktu Saved Its Books, by Tristan McConnell – “Timbuktu is thought to be home to perhaps 300,000 texts, divided among small heirloom collections, some two dozen private libraries like Haidara’s, and state-owned institutions. The oldest date back nearly a thousand years, the most recent a few hundred. Some are thick, bound volumes, others mere scraps; some are made of paper, others gazelle-skin parchment or tree bark. ” Harpers
  14. News: “Literary NAFTA” Begins This Week, by Linda L. Richards – “Writers and readers in cold climates wanting a blast of warm air with their literature might consider heading down to the San Miguel Writers’ Conference in stunning San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.”  (Feb 13-18). January Magazine
  15. bewildermentReview: “Bewilderment,” by David Ferry, reviewed by Benjamin Moser – “If his book’s themes include loneliness, age, and death, Ferry also stresses continuity, harmony, and the mystic ability of people to speak to each other across time. And it may be this aspect that, despite Ferry’s insistent downplaying of his own originality, makes his one of the most original and moving books of the year.” Critical Mass
  16. vampireNews: The Weinstein Company takes its first young adult franchise: Vampire Academy, by Lucas Shaw – “The Weinstein Company has picked up domestic distribution rights to “Blood Sisters,” the first film adaption from the popular young adult novels, ‘Vampire Academy.’ ‘Mean Girls’ director Mark Waters will direct the film, which should begin shooting this summer. The Weinstein Company wants to release it on Valentine’s Day, 2014, which is also a long weekend due to President’s Day.” Reuters
  17. Bestsellers: (1) “Safe Haven,” by Nicholas Sparks, (2) “Until the End of Time,” by Daniel Steele, (3) “The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia,” by Shigeru, Miyamoto, Eiji Aonuma, and Akira Himekawa, (4) “Gone Girl,” by Gillian Flynn, (5) “Beautiful Creatures,”by by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl – USA Today

“Book Bits” is compiled several times a week by contemporary fantasy author Malcolm R. Campbell


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6 thoughts on “Book Bits: Digging up Neruda, Donna Tartt’s new novel, Frost Medal for Robert Bly, David Ferry’s ‘Bewilderment’

  1. Smoky Zeidel on said:

    Some especially excellent links here today, Malcolm. Will share widely. 😎

    • Thank you, Smoky. I never know what I’m going to find…sometimes everything seems mundane, and other times it seems deep and meaningful.

      • Smoky Zeidel on said:

        I meant to add something to my earlier comment: not sure how I feel about them exhuming Neruda. Does it make a difference, at this point, how he died? Would it change anything? I say, let him rest in peace.

  2. I feel that way, too. I might feel differently if this were a criminal investigation and the exhumation was necessary to prove an individual’s guilt or innocence.

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