The Sun Singer's Travels

Malcolm R. Campbell's World

Book Bits: Paul Theroux, Microsoft Nook? ‘Vintage Tomorrows,’ Gail Godwin

BookBitsWelcome to “Book Bits,” a compilation of links to book news, reviews, features, how-to articles and essays. Comments related to each post are welcome, including suggestions to book and publishing sites I may be overlooking.

Those of you who send the weekly spam about home loans, viagra, dating sites, real estate deals, and zombie supply houses should check back by the blog and see that few if any of those comments make it into print no matter how creative the purported comment may be.

  1. ZonaVerdeNews: “The Last Train to Zona Verde,” Paul Theroux’s African signoff, by  Randall Mikkelsen – ” Paul Theroux said his literary goodbye to Africa at a train station in Luanda, Angola, five decades after he first visited the continent as a Peace Corps volunteer. In his new book, “The Last Train to Zona Verde: My Ultimate African Safari,” Theroux describes a journey through South Africa, Botswana, Namibia and Angola that dead-ended at the depot when he felt no need to go further. The book, he says, represents a final chapter on his travels in Africa. ” Reuters
  2. News: Microsoft Mulling Nook Media LLC Purchase For $1 Billion, by Eric Eldon – “Microsoft is offering to pay $1 billion to buy the digital assets of Nook Media LLC, the digital book and college book joint venture with Barnes & Noble and other investors, according to internal documents we’ve obtained.” TechCrunch (According to Publishers Weekly, B&N has not yet commented on this report.)
  3. virtuespoetryReview: “The Virtues of Poetry,” by James Longenbach, reviewed by Ryan Vine – “Nobody likes to be told how to think. What’s worse is when we’re told how to feel. This is probably why poetry critics, when they consult the list of occupations we intensely dislike, find their job always near the top. What if we give them a chance, though? What if we think of a good critic more like we do a beloved coach? ” Minneapolis Star-Tribune
  4. Essay: Haruki Murakami on Translating ‘The Great Gatsby’ – “To fully grasp its essence, I had to plunge into its heart—then and only then could his writing burst into bloom.”  Murukami says that this novel is his favorite and that none of the other Japanese translations seemed to do it justice.  Columbia University Press
  5. News: UK Comics Mag Tripwire Celebrates Its 21st Birthday in Style, by Joel Meadows – “British comic and genre magazine Tripwire didn’t make its Kickstarter campaign goal to raise money for its publication, but we will still be going ahead with its 21st anniversary book in May.” Publishing Perspectives
  6. vintagetomorrowsReview: “Vintage Tomorrows,” by James H. Carrott and Brian David Johnson, reviewed by  Lincoln Cho  – “A futurist and a cultural historian walk into a bar.’ The name of the first chapter is like a lead in to a joke, but is instead the set-up for a deeply interesting book deeply enmeshed in the culture of ‘what if?'” January Magazine
  7. Viewpoint: Forsaking the Zone by Leah Lindeman – “Reality is that most of us fight to a gain a sense of peace and to be in a comfortable state when we write. Writing isn’t about being comfortable; it’s about forsaking our comfort zone.” My Name is Not Bob
  8. On the list

    On the list

    Lists: 10 Disappointing Film Adaptations of Classic American Novels, by Tyler Coates – “Not all great American novels make great American movies, and after three previous Gatsby movies, it’s surprising that Baz Luhrmann decided to try his hand at Fitzgerald’s novel. With the exception of John Steinbeck (and, depending on your taste, John Grisham), few American authors have produced a handful of novels fit for the cinema. ”  Flavorwire

  9. Contest: Short Fiction, prize $500, Stories 5,000 words or less, Deadline May 17, no entry fee, winner to be published in Flavorwire
  10. vqrEssay: My Avatar, My Self, by Dani Shapiro – “In the last five years or so, writers have started to juggle three realities, and it isn’t graceful, or easy—in fact, it’s complicated, and many of us are awkward about it. We have our “real” selves, of course—the ones who put dinner on the table and drive the kids to school and go out for a few beers with friends; then we have our creative selves, which require the solitude, the space to access the private, internal place which we write from; and then we have this whole other self, one that threatens to encroach on the other two: our ‘avatar’ selves” Virginia Quarterly Review
  11. saulReview: “Saul Bellow’s Heart: A Son’s Memoir,” by Greg Bellow, reviewed by Justin Taylor – “After a long and apparently successful career as a ‘psychoanalytically oriented psychotherapist,’ Greg—himself a man of some 70 years now—has, ‘despite my doubts about writing publicly … determined to learn more about my father, to reassess my patrimony as a writer’s son, and to have my say.'” New York Observer
  12. How To:  How to Style Titles of Print and Online Publications, by Mark Nichol – “The rules for formatting titles of compositions and their constituent parts may seem complicated, but they follow a fairly straightforward set of guidelines, outlined below.”  Daily Writing Tips
  13. stewartbrandFeature: Stewart Brand’s Whole Earth Catalog, the book that changed the world, by Carole Cadwalladr – “For nearly five decades, Stewart Brand has been hanging around the cutting edge of whatever is the most cutting thing of the day. Largely because he’s discovered it and become fascinated with it long before anyone else has even noticed it but, in retrospect, it does make him seem like the west coast’s answer to Zelig, the Woody Allen character who just happens to pop up at key moments in history.”  The Guardian
  14. floraReview: “Flora,” by Gail Godwin, reviewed by Karen Cullotta – “In Gail Godwin’s luminous new novel, Flora, the best-selling author has once again breathed life into a child heroine, weaving a narrative that is both plaintive and charming, and above all, almost eerily authentic in capturing the linguistic patois and emotional nuances of youth during the final months of World War II…Darkly hypnotic, mesmerizing and magical, Godwin’s latest novel is not to be missed.”  BookPage
  15. News: Dame Jacqueline Wilson challenges publishers to halt the pink tide, by John Bingham – “One of Britain’s most eminent children’s authors has spoken out against the way marketing experts use the colour pink to lure young girls in.”  The Telegraph

“Book Bits” is compiled by Malcolm R. Campbell, author of “The Seeker”

Released Kindle and trade paperback

Released in Kindle and trade paperback


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