Book Bits: Dan Brown, Ruth Ozeki, ‘Persepolis’ controversy, ‘She Matters’
If your name is “Dan Brown” and you have a new novel coming out called Inferno, you can forget the blog tours filled with interviews and excerpts. In fact, you don’t even need a series of bricks and mortar bookstore readings and signings.
One appearance in the U. S. will do. According to ShelfAwareness, “Brown will appear at Avery Fisher Hall in Lincoln Center in New York City on May 15, an event that will be streamed live to bookstores and libraries in the United States.”
- News: Chicago schools order book on Iran out of some classes, by Mary Wisniewski – “The Chicago Public Schools ignited a controversy this week by ordering that “Persepolis,” a critically acclaimed graphic novel about a girl growing up in Iran at the time of the Islamic revolution, be removed from some classrooms.” Reuters
- News: Malaysian novelist wins top Asian literary prize, by James Pomfret – “Malaysian writer Tan Twan Eng won the 2012 Man Asian Literary Prize on Thursday for a novel dealing with the aftermath of Japan’s wartime occupation of his country, becoming the first Malaysian to claim one of Asia’s main literature prizes.” Reuters
- Commentary: My Amazon bestseller made me nothing, by Patrick Wensink – “My novel shot to the top of the site’s bestseller list last summer. You won’t believe how little I got paid ” Salon
- Review: “A Tale for the Time Being,” by Ruth Ozeki – “Ozeki’s magnificent third novel (All Over Creation, 2003, etc.) brings together a Japanese girl’s diary and a transplanted American novelist to meditate on everything from bullying to the nature of conscience and the meaning of life…A masterpiece, pure and simple.” Kirkus Reviews
- News: Guidebook author injured, companion presumed killed in Colorado avalanche, by Keith Coffman – “The author of a hiking guidebook suffered multiple injuries and her climbing partner was presumed killed when an avalanche swept the pair off a ridge inside Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park, authorities said on Monday.” Reuters
- Essay: A Servant of One’s Own: On Virginia Woolf, Domestics, and Downton Abbey, by Alexis Coe – “If Downton is to be taken at its word, this is not a purely financial arrangement. British servants regard their masters as major celebrities; a few garner mockery and disdain, but they are unlikely to ever learn of this reputation. Most are held in great esteem, their smallest gesture of kindness dissected and debated for weeks on end.” The Million
- How To: 7 Types of Narrative Conflict, by Mark Nichol – “Every work of literature, and much nonfiction narrative, is based on at least one of the following conflicts.” Daily Writing Tips
- Review: “The Faust Woman Poems,” by Naomi Ruth Lowinsky, reviewed by Malcolm R. Campbell – “Naomi Ruth Lowinsky (Adagio & Lamentation) speaks of the journey through life’s lunar phases with words that are simultaneously darkly earthy and shining with the energy of the light of night.” Literary Aficionado
- Commentary: Going Non-Native: How reading flawed English can make us better writers, by Paula Marantz Cohen – “I have always believed that the more facility one has with language, the more sophisticated one’s thinking is likely to be. But lately I’ve been reconsidering this notion.” The American Scholar
- Feature: Who Really Invented the Smiley Face? – No, it didn’t happen the way it did in “Forest Gump.” “It’s largely accepted that the original version of the familiar smiley face was first created 50 years ago in Worcester, Massachusetts by the late Harvey Ross Ball, an American graphic artist and ad man. Ball came up with the image in 1963 when he was commissioned to create a graphic to raise morale among the employees of an insurance company after a series of difficult mergers and acquisitions.” Smithsonian Magazine
- Review: “The New Mind of the South,” by Tracy Thompson, reviewed by Laura Miller – “A daughter of the South says the region is changing more than even those who live there realize” Salon
- Feature: How to Use Words, by Carol Tice – “There are so many different kinds of writing, too. My general feeling is that there is a writing market out there somewhere, for most writers with the drive to do this for a living. But we can all, always improve our writing.” Make a Living Writing
- Reviews: Brief reviews of “She Matters,” by Susanna Sonnenberg, and “Dinner With Churchill: Policy-Making at the Dinner Table,” by Cita Stelzer – “Susanna Sonnenberg’s “She Matters: A Life in Friendships” brings to mind those coffee commercials where female friends laugh and languish over cappuccinos and confidences…Winston Churchill invariably figures prominently on those fantasy lists of titans with whom mere mortals would wish to dine. Turns out the great man had a list of his own.” Minneapolis Star-Tribune
- Feature: Breaking Down Barriers for Mexican Graphic Novels, by Adam Critchley – “Daily life in Mexico lends itself very well to cartoons, to the fantastical and surreal.” Publishing Perspectives
- News: Amazon Publishing promises authors faster royalty payments, by Laura Hazard Owen – “Amazon Publishing said in a letter to literary agents Monday that it will start paying its authors royalties on a monthly basis, up from every three months.” paidContent
- Essay: On the business of literature, by Richard Nash – “Publishing is tremendously susceptible to the availability heuristic for two significant reasons. First, prior to recent innovations, manuscripts not published were unavailable for analysis. So the universe of knowledge we have about books, literature, and publishing excludes that universe of books that were never published. It also mostly excludes those books that were commercial or critical failures. One doesn’t see books that don’t sell, not on store bookshelves or in friends’ houses, not on Top Ten lists, not on Twitter, not in the Times (London, New York, Irish), and so on.” Virginia Quarterly Review
- Review: “The Drunken Botanist,” by Amy Stewart, reviewed by by Camila Domonoske – “The next time you’re sipping on a glass of something boozy, consider the plants behind your beverage. Some of them might spring immediately to mind: grapes in your wineglass, rye in your whiskey bottle, juniper in your gin and tonic. But what about sorghum and coriander? Cinchona and bitter orange?” NPR
- News: Amazon Publishing Debuts Literary Fiction Imprint, Little A – “Amazon Publishing has begun rolling out the first titles in its newly created literary fiction imprint, Little A. A.L. Kennedy’s The Blue Book was just released and Jake Arnott’s The House of Rumour goes on sales March 19. The imprint, headed by senior editor Ed Park, will release novels, memoirs and story collections. A total of 10 titles are planned for release this year.” Publishers Weekly
“Book Bits” is compiled several times a week by Malcolm R. Campbell, author of “Emily’s Stories,” released this week by Vanilla Heart Publishing on Kindle.
Emily Walters is a sharp, inquisitive fourteen-year-old north Florida girl who loves maps, her rusty old bike, and the forest behind her house. Sometimes her dreams tell her the future and sometimes her waking hours bring wise birds and other spirits into her life. In these three short stories, join Emily in her adventures and mysteries.