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Malcolm R. Campbell's World

Book Bits: ‘The Company You Keep,’ Proust’s Handwriting, Jennifer Close, Debbie Reynolds

WBookBitse thought we had a book emergency, but the coast is clear. Without mentioning the author’s name, the books we ordered–then thought we already had them, then decided we didn’t–came out of one of those long-running series with similar themes, characters and plots.

They’re fun to read, but sometimes the blurbs make it hard to tell whether you’ve read one of them before. And then there’s the publishers’ habit of issuing and re-issuing the titles with different covers so that old books suddenly appear to be new books, especially when a novel from twenty years ago has a blurb about a recently written novel. Ah, the perils of keeping up with prolific authors.

Here are today’s links:

  1. News: New Imprint to Reissue Forgotten YA Literature, by Claire Kirch – “Ig Publishing, which for more than a decade has maintained a list of fiction and nonfiction for adult readers and reissues for the academic market, is moving into a new direction this fall with the launch of Lizzie Skurnick Books. The imprint, explained Ig publisher Robert Lasner, will ‘bring back the very best in young adult literature, from the classics of the 1930s and 1940s, to the thrillers and social novels of the 1970s and 1980s.'”  Publishers Weekly
  2. companyoukeepFilm Review: Robert Redford Keeps Revolutionary ‘Company’ by Mark Jenkins – “Crisp in execution and classic in ambiance, The Company You Keep is star Robert Redford’s most persuasive directorial work since 1994’s Quiz Show. It’s a pleasure to watch, even if the payoff is rather less substantial than the backstory.”  NPR
  3. Commentary: Against Enthusiasm: The epidemic of niceness in online book culture, by Jacob Silverman – “Whereas critics once performed one role in print and another in life—Rebecca West could savage someone’s book in the morning and dine with him in the evening—social media has collapsed these barriers. Moreover, social media’s centrifugal forces of approbation—retweets, likes, favorites, and the self-consciousness that accompanies each public utterance—make any critique stick out sorely.” Slate
  4. Feature: The Thrill of Proust’s Handwriting by Mary Hawthorne – “The first time I saw Proust’s bedroom, in the Musée Carnavalet, in Paris—a tiny tableau cordoned off by a chain, lined in cork, and crammed with undistinguished, illogically placed furniture—I was struck more than anything by the modesty of the bed. Proust famously preferred to write in bed, and, between chronic illness and predisposition, ended up spending much of his life there.”  The New Yorker
  5. ebertQuotation: “Roger (somehow I think of him as ‘Roger,’ not ‘Ebert,’ though I never met him in the flesh, and spoke to him only once, by telephone, in the early 1970s when both of us were young and dinosaurs roamed the earth) has been my favorite film critic since forever. I did not always agree with him, but I always found him insightful and fun to read. He was not just a terrific critic, he was a terrific WRITER. His shows with Gene Siskel, SNEAK PREVIEWS and SISKEL AND EBERT AT THE MOVIES, were must-see TV for me. A hundred other teams have tried to recapture their magic, but none came close.” – George R. R. Martin in Not a Blog
  6. Lists: Ten Tips For Journalists To Get Picked Up By Google News, by by: Denis Pinsky – “Traditionally, news readers first picked a publication and then looked for headlines that interest them. Google changed that process with its computer-generated Google News site. ” Editor & Publisher
  7. smartoneReview: “The Smart One,” by Jennifer Close – “Close, whose first novel (Girls in White Dresses, 2011) romped with recent college grads newly on their own, focuses here on two sisters on the cusp of 30, both torn between independent womanhood and lingering dependence on parents…An unassuming but far from vacuous domestic comedy, perfect for the beach or a long plane trip.”  Kirkus Reviews
  8. How To: Legal and Effective Pinning on Pinterest, by Erin MacPherson – “Pinterest is primarily an image sharing tool. If your pin doesn’t have a great image, it’s probably not going to be noticed. Which means the images you repin and upload can make a big impact on your marketing efforts.” Rachelle Gardner
  9. fiveactsReview: “The Five Acts of Diego Leon,” by Alex Espinoza, reviewed by Marie Arana – A Mexican out of luck “is the story Alex Espinoza sets out to tell in “The Five Acts of Diego Leon,” a novel that takes its hero from the crucible of the Mexican Revolution to Hollywood during a heady transformation — from silents to talkies. It is a story undertaken with gusto, imagined with daring and executed with mixed results.”  The Washington Post
  10. News: After three decades, an e-book for Sandra Cisneros, by Hector Tobar – Sandra Cisneros’ first novel, “The House on Mango Street,” published in 1984, will be released on April 30, Vintage Books The Los Angeles Times
  11. Dermont


    Interview: Amber Dermont (“Damage Control”), with Teddy Wayne – “The sexiest and most seductive thing a person can do in life is to make someone else laugh. I’ve fallen in love over a punch line, a double entendre, a pratfall, an obscene balloon animal. Comedy will never receive the credit and reward it deserves over drama because comedy belongs in the margins.”  Salon

  12. Bestsellers: “Six Years” by Harlan Coben. “The Accursed” by Joyce Carol Oates, “Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn, “The Dinner” by Herman Koch, “Where’d You Go, Bernadette” by Maria Semple The Los Angeles Times
  13. Contest: PEN PARENTIS WRITING FELLOWSHIP FOR NEW PARENTS, deadline April 17, 2013, entry fee $25, prize $1,000, website publication – “Submissions call for a new, never-published fiction story—any genre, on any subject—of up to 1,200
  14. unsinkableFeature: The ‘Unsinkable’ Debbie Reynolds Looks Back On Life, Love And A Boozy Busby Berkeley – “Debbie Reynolds has been in show business for more than 60 years — beginning as an ingenue chirping a novelty tune called “Aba Daba Honeymoon” in one of her first films, a Jane Powell/Ricardo Montalban vehicle called Two Weeks With Love. That was 1950. Today, she’s indisputably a grand dame of show business, working with names like Matt Damon and Michael Douglas.” NPR
  15. News: Bookstore’s love poem competition down to a few finalists, by Laurie Hertzel – “You can’t miss the finalists in the Common Good Books first annual amateur love poem contest–they’re printed on huge sheets (three by four feet) of posterboard and are suspended from the ceiling of the bookstore. You can read them even without your bifocals. And then, after you’ve found them and read them, you can go up to the counter and vote for your favorite.”  Minneapolis Star-Tribune
  16. How To: Marking Time with the Viewpoint Character, by Beth Hill – “Showing the passage of time is one of the easiest ways of dealing with setting and moving a story forward, but more than a few times I’ve read manuscripts with no time markers, no indicators for either the when of a story or to show how much time has passed from one scene or one event to the next.”  The Editor’s Blog

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2 thoughts on “Book Bits: ‘The Company You Keep,’ Proust’s Handwriting, Jennifer Close, Debbie Reynolds

  1. K'lee on said:

    Poor Proust…obviously stoned, drunk, high, or otherwise messed up by some chemical compound. His chronic illness was likely drug induced

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