The Sun Singer's Travels

Malcolm R. Campbell's World

Book Bits: Allen Neuharth, ‘Red Spectres,’ Rebecca Miller, French Literacy Campaign

BookBitsWhen “USA Today” appeared on the scene in 1982, it changed the way we view newspapers with national scope. Unlike the more staid New York “Times” and the Wall Street “Journal,” the new kid on the street borrowed a bit from magazine layouts and provided us with something that was easy to read without becoming a sensationalistic tabloid. An era ends with founder Allen Neuharth’s passing. (Item 2)

  1. News: Penguin Close to Ending DoJ, EU Price-fixing Suits, by Jim Milliot – “Penguin is several steps closer to resolving e-book price fixing charges in the U.S. and in the European Union. Thursday, the Department of Justice filed a motion with Judge Denise Cote asking her to approve the final judgment against Penguin, which has until May 3 to file any counter papers. In the EU, the European Commission said Penguin had agreed to changes in e-book pricing that pave the way for a settlement with the company.”  Publishers Weekly
  2. newharthObituary: USA Today founder Allen Neuharth dead at 89, by Michael Martinez – “Allen H. Neuharth, who revolutionized American newspapering by founding USA Today with its colorful layouts and concise storytelling that influenced many media empires, died Friday in his home in Cocoa Beach, Florida, the newspaper said. He was 89.”  CNN
  3. Contest: Elderberry Short Fiction Contest, deadlines May 31, Aug 31, November 30, prize $500, Entry Fee $18, length 3,000 to 5,000 words.
  4. Factoid: Author Ian Flemming’s original name for super spy James Bond was James Secretan. He changed his mind. – from the Rap Sheet
  5. lauraEssay: When a Lovely Flame Dies, by Jim Napier – Napier looks back at Vera Capasry’s “Laura,” often called the 20th century’s greatest femme fatale novel. The novel was recently re-issued by Vintage. (Click on the cover for the American version published by the Feminist Press in 2005.) – The Rap Sheet
  6. Feature: The Secret Life of Punctuation, by Keith Houston – “Punctuation, as any dictionary will tell you, consists of the marks that dance around the letters of a text to mark clauses, sentences and inflection. What, though, is minimal punctuation? Is it in the range of marks that a writer uses?” Shady Characters
  7. Feature: ‘Game of Thrones’ Author George R.R. Martin Isn’t Living the High Life, by Kelly Woo – “The 64-year-old fantasy writer lives in a modest home and talks to his fans.” Yahoo
  8. redspectresReview: “Red Spectres: Russian Gothic Tales from the Twentieth Century,” edited and translated byMuireann Maguire – “An excellent anthology of psych-and-spook mischief from behind the Iron Curtain, where a literature rich in such things held sway during the Soviet era…Students of Soviet-era Russian culture will enjoy reading between the lines. Readers who love a good ghost story will enjoy it, period.”  Kirkus Reviews
  9. How To: Tone, Mood, & Style—The Feel of Fiction, by Beth Hill – “Each piece of fiction, each section of text, has a particular feel. The feel of a story or scene is primarily achieved through three elements—tone, mood, and style. And while you may hear the words used almost interchangeably, they are different. They are achieved differently and they create different effects.”  The Editor’s Blog
  10. rebeccamillerInterview: Rebecca Miller (“Jacob’s Folly”) with Meredith Turits – “An eighteenth-century Jewish peddler reincarnated as a fly in present-day Long Island serves as the narrator of Rebecca Miller’s new novel, Jacob’s Folly — but once the reader is immersed, Jacob’s physical manifestation is hardly the most ambitious facet of the book. Three plotlines weave masterfully together, at once exploring questions of faith, guilt, and belonging.”  Bookslut
  11. Feature: Clever French Literacy Campaign Will Make You Look Twice at Ads, by Emily Temple – “French ad agency DDB Paris recently won a Yellow Pencil (one of the highest awards given by the UK’s Designers and Art Directors Club) for a literacy campaign that cleverly transforms common advertisements into emblems of illiteracy awareness.”  Flavorwire
  12. astororphanReview: “The Astor Orphan”: Rich little poor girl, by Laura Miller – “A woman descended from the fabled Astor clan describes growing up among eccentric artists in a crumbling mansion.”  Salon
  13. Feature: Daily Rituals, Entry 3: Marcel Proust, Franz Kafka, and other artists who did great work in the wee hours, by Mason Currey – “So let’s take a few moments to celebrate the night owls, of whom there are certainly plenty of illustrious examples in my Daily Rituals book. Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec did his best creative work at night, sketching at cabarets or setting up his easel in brothels. The German poet-historian-philosopher Friedrich Schiller almost exclusively worked at night; the same was true for Samuel Johnson, Gustave Flaubert, Marcel Proust, and George Sand, who produced a minimum of 20 manuscript pages nearly every night of her adult life.” Slate
  14. lukasNews: Andrew Solomon Wins Lukas Prize – “Congratulations to Andrew Solomon, who has won the Lukas Book Prize for one of the most acclaimed books of 2012: Far from the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity, in which Solomon interviewed hundreds of subjects for a study of how parents cope with extraordinary children, whether they are deaf, autistic, suffering from Down Syndrome, or transgender.”  The Daily Beast
  15. News: Bill for compulsory science fiction in West Virginia schools, by Allison Flood – “Republican state delegate Ray Canterbury says move would inspire pupils to use practical knowledge and imagination in the real world”  The Guardian
  16. gracefifthanniversaryNew Editions: Vanilla Heart Publishing has re-issued “Redeeming Grace” by Smoky Zeidel in a fifth anniversary edition. – “In the book, the tragic deaths of her mother and two younger siblings have left Grace Harmon responsible for raising her sister Miriam and protecting her from their abusive father, Luther, a zealot preacher with a penchant for speaking in biblical verse who is on a downward spiral toward insanity.” Smoky Talks
  17. How To: Refine Your Characters With the Pizza Test, by K.M. Weiland – “All fiction begins with people and the premise that people are interesting. The term people covers all species and forms of characters, human or otherwise, who command your attention as a writer, for if the people of a story cannot hold your interest as a writer, no reader will be interested in them, either. ”  WordPlay

“Book Bits” is compiled several times a week, except when the Universe has other ideas about it, by Malcolm R. Campbell, author of contemporary fantasy novels and short stories.

Released this month in Kindle and trade paperback

Released this month in Kindle and trade paperback


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