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Malcolm R. Campbell's World

Book Bits: Toni Morrison at Google, ‘Ghana Must Go,’ Puterbaugh Festival, ‘The Book of Killowen’

BookBitsAs a young writer, I felt the sarcastic side of the universe when, just weeks after a literary magazine rejected my short story or poem, the offending magazine would send me a subscription request. What gall! I serious considered returning some of those requests with a form rejection slip using the same wording that the magazine used when rejecting my material.

The voice of reason prevailed and I never did it. However, Chris Haven’s “reader tax” (Item 9) has possibilities. After all, a writer can use up a considerable number of billable hours a week processing the unending stream of mail from magazines that don’t like him but want him to like them.

  1. News: ‘New Yorker’ Plagiarist’s Book Pulled From Shelves, by Annalisa Quinn – “Houghton Mifflin Harcourt has decided that disgraced journalist and author Jonah Lehrer’s second book, How We Decide, will be taken off shelves at bookstores after the publisher’s internal investigation uncovered “significant problems,” The Daily Beast reports.”  NPR
  2. heartbreakNews: Vanilla Heart Publishing has released “Hunting Heartbeak,” a debut novel by Marie Hampton. Hamtpon’s novel took first place in the romantic suspense category of the publishers new author contest. From the publisher’s description: “On the flashy Las Vegas strip, Kasumi Yoshida tracks down her marks– assassinating gamblers who pay their loans with their lives. Business becomes scarce when a past lover and fellow Yakuza member betrays the honor system and rescues Kasumi’s future clients.”
  3. Feature: Toni Morrison Talks To Google About Creativity, by Hillel Italie – “The 82-year-old Nobel laureate was the latest, and most literary in memory, of a long line of famous guests from Stephen Colbert to Lady Gaga who since 2005 have dropped in on Google Inc. in New York and the home offices in Mountain View, Calif. After her talk, she stayed on to take questions online, part of Google’s “Hangout” series.” The Huffington Post
  4. GhanaReview: “Ghana Must Go,” by Taiye Selasi, reviewed by Lauren Bufferd – “Novelist Taiye Selasi coined the word Afropolitanism eight years ago to refer to educated, multilingual, multiethnic Africans living around the globe. In her ambitious debut, Ghana Must Go, she brings us into the world of bright, urban professionals, raised in the United States, but with roots in Africa.”  Book Page
  5. Quotation:  “Just as young audiophiles are returning to LPs and culinary types assert the attraction of ‘slow food,’ we could very well be witnessing a retro-fueled backlash against the digital tide. It could be more than wishful thinking that the rise of e-books has slowed. Let’s call the attraction of ink on paper the ‘slow books’ movement.” – Steve Paul, Kansas City Star
  6. pewCommentary: Twitter Reaction to Events Often at Odds with Overall Public Opinion – “The reaction on Twitter to major political events and policy decisions often differs a great deal from public opinion as measured by surveys. This is the conclusion of a year-long Pew Research Center study that compared the results of national polls to the tone of tweets in response to eight major news events, including the outcome of the presidential election, the first presidential debate and major speeches by Barack Obama.” Pew Research Center
  7. crescendoReview: “Crescendo,” by Deborah L. Ledford, reviewed by Malcolm R. Campbell – “This is a richly told psychological and physical thriller. Ledford, who knows her characters and her settings well, increases the volume of this story until the last shot is fired.”  Malcolm’s Round Table
  8. Feature: 45 Years of Bringing the World’s Greatest Writers…to Oklahoma! by Will Evans – “Far, far from the New York publishing establishment, out on the Great American Plains, the Puterbaugh Festival of International Literature and Culture has quietly brought many of the world’s greatest writers to the University of Oklahoma in the springtime for over forty years now. This year’s Puterbaugh Festival will take place April 9-12 in Norman, Oklahoma, and will feature a keynote address by the 2013 Puterbaugh Fellow, Ethiopian writer Maaza Mengiste, author of the novel, Beneath the Lion’s Gaze.” Publishing Perspectives
  9. Viewpoint: Announcing a New Reader Tax, by Chris Haven – “It is with a mixture of regret (the feeling I would like to project) and unrestrained joy (my actual feeling) that I would like to announce that I am now charging a $3.00 processing fee for all new subscription requests sent to me by literary magazines.” The Millions
  10. KillowenReview: “The Book of Killowen,” by Erin Hart, reviewed by Carole E. Barrowman – “In her latest Nora Gavin mystery, Hart weaves the discovery of two bodies with the mystery of language and an ancient book…All of this [Irish] history serves the novel’s carefully measured suspense and adds to the book’s splendor.”  Minneapolis Star-Tribune
  11. Lists: 12 Classic Literary Beefs, by Emily Temple – “Today is the first day of The Morning News‘s epic annual Tournament of Books, an excellent and wordy alternative (or supplement) to March Madness for all us literary types. To celebrate, we asked the ToB’s organizers — the venerable Rosecrans Baldwin, Kevin Guilfoile, John Warner, and Andrew Womack — to act as judges for a few imaginary literary match-ups.” Flavorwire
  12. jfrankObituary: “Joseph Frank, “whose magisterial, five-volume life of Fyodor Dostoevsky was frequently cited among the greatest of 20th-century literary biographies,” died last week, the New York Times reported. He was 94.” – Shelf Awareness
  13. How To: “Only”: The Most Insidious Misplaced Modifier, by Neal Whitman – “His point was that you need to put the adverb “only” as close as possible to the word it modifies.” Grammar Girl
  14. Feature: March 1963: Ian Fleming caught between two worlds – “Fifty years ago this month, Ian Fleming was a busy man. Maybe too busy. He would soon be caught between the worlds of movies and television.” The HMSS Weblog
  15. Essay: The Tyranny of the Queen Bee, by Peggh Drexler – “Women who reached positions of power were supposed to be mentors to those who followed—but something is amiss in the professional sisterhood.” The Wall Street Journal
  16. goldfarbInterview: Ann Goldfarb (“The Face Out of Time”), with Morgen Bailey – “I try my best to write every day and if I don’t get the chance, I feel simply ‘out of sorts.’  As far as writer’s block is concerned, I have too many ideas and dialogues bouncing around in my brain. I sometimes suffer from “writer’s ability to organize!”” Morgen Bailey’s Writing Blog
  17. News: Holocaust survivor saved by Schindler writes book – “One of the youngest Holocaust survivors saved by Oskar Schindler has a book deal, for a manuscript completed shortly before he died. Leon Leyson’s “The Boy On the Wooden Box” will be published by Atheneum on Aug. 27, the publisher announced Monday. ” The Denver Post
  18. News: Beyond Angry Birds: great cellphone reads, by David Wright – “Short stories are perfect for reading on your smartphone (or tablet); in the space of a bus ride you can sample some fine short fiction.”  The Seattle Times

“Book Bits” is compiled several times a week by Malcolm R. Campbell, author of contemporary fantasy novels, including “Sarabande.”

Contemporary fantasy on Nook and in paperback

Contemporary fantasy on Nook and in paperback

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2 thoughts on “Book Bits: Toni Morrison at Google, ‘Ghana Must Go,’ Puterbaugh Festival, ‘The Book of Killowen’

  1. Recently I went through that process. Apparently there is no magical switch alerting others you have been published requiring they choose YOUR work. 😉

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