The Sun Singer's Travels

Malcolm R. Campbell's World

Book Bits: Amazon, Harry Potter backstories, WikiEgo, ‘Imperial Dreams,’ Stephen King

BookBitsWelcome to “Book Bits,” a several-times-a-week listing of book news, author interview and review links. For more reviews, see yesterday’s post: Book Bits Reviews: Niffenegger, Hosseini, Packer, Adichie, Mahaffey, Scalzi.

  1. News: Amazon Fights to Keep Secrets in E-book Trial, by Andrew Albanese – “Amazon attorneys last week filed a letter with the court asking that it be allowed to redact sensitive business information about its Kindle e-book program gathered as evidence for the upcoming Apple price-fixing trial. Apple attorneys, however, are fighting the effort with a letter of its own, arguing that Amazon does not come close to meeting the legal standard for having the information in question redacted or sealed, and asking the court to grant public access to evidence gathered from Amazon.” Publishers Weekly
  2. firsteditionsNews: J.K. Rowling Tells ‘Harry Potter’ Backstories, by Annalisa Quinn – “J.K. Rowling, Seamus Heaney, Hilary Mantel, Tom Stoppard and Ian McEwan, together with dozens of other well-known authors, have annotated first editions of their novels for an auction on Tuesday to benefit English PEN, an organization that promotes freedom of expression. An interactive project at The Guardian lets you scroll through the annotations online. ” NPR
  3. Feature: The novel resurgence of independent bookstores, by Yvonne Zipp – “Defying the onslaught of the e-book revolution, many small bookshops see a rise in sales, aided by savvy business practices and the ‘buy local’ movement.”  The Christian Science Monitor
  4. ALAQuotation for Librarians: “Your biggest resource is your library users. This means that you or another staff member must spend a significant amount of time talking to library users and identifying those who are best positioned to reach out to the community. Children can be effective media spokespeople; parents know the value of the library to them and to their children. Seniors often rely on the library for reading materials or Internet access and use it as a community center. While developing your human resources may take time, cultivating these supporters will be worth the effort, and the network you build can be used for years to come.” – American Library Association
  5. holtInterview: Elliott Holt (“Are One of Them”), with Lidia Jean Kott – “I asked Holt to make a list of her favorite books about living abroad and then called her to interview her about her choices. We spoke about what it’s like to be in your 20s, how Lolita is more than just a surprisingly sympathetic account of a pedophile, and why expat stories are the most classic stories of all.” NPR
  6. Feature: Revenge, ego and the corruption of Wikipedia, by Andrew Leonard – “The unmasking of a writer who took extraordinary advantage of online anonymity to pursue old vendettas… In the wee hours of the morning of January 27, 2013, a Wikipedia editor named “Qworty” made a series of 14 separate edits to the Wikipedia page for the late writer Barry Hannah, a well-regarded Southern author with a taste for the Gothic and absurd ” Salon
  7. Quotation: On this day in 1937 W. H. Auden’s Spain was published. Proceeds from sales of this pamphlet-length poem went to the Medical Aid Committee, one of many international organizations supporting the anti-Franco cause in the Spanish Civil War, and a group which Auden had tried to join as an ambulance driver. – Today in Literature
  8. imperialdreamsReviews: The Browser: “Imperial Dreams,” “The Stranger” by Camilla Lackberg, reviewed by David Shaffer – “A quick look at recent releases: ‘Imperial Dreams,’ by Tim Gallagher, and ‘The Stranger,’ by Camilla Lackberg,” The Minneapolis Star-Tribune
  9. Viewpoint: Constructive Criticism: Reviewing the Idea of Reviewing, by Ben Greenman – “Some authors get so upset over a negative book review that they want to murder someone. Novelist and sometime critic Ben Greenman critiques the practice of criticism—and admits to having written reviews about books he didn’t care about. ” The Daily Beast
  10. Essay: Where Is Jay Gatsby’s Mansion? And can I visit it? by Gabrielle Lipton – “Citizen Kane’s Xanadu fell into disrepair before it was ever finished. Hogwarts is now a tourist trap in Florida. Even Eloise’s quarters at the Plaza Hotel have recently been relocated to Brooklyn. Of all the fictionalized places to live, there are few that have remained dignified in their power of fantasy for as long as Jay Gatsby’s mansion. Its opulence, raucous throw-downs, and deep metaphors have rendered it one of the sexiest houses ever conjured and the everlasting cathedral of the Jazz Age. “ Slate
  11. stepoffaithReview: “A Step of Faith,” by Richard Paul Evens – “The diary of a traveler. The young widower, Alan Christoffersen, decides to deal with his grief by planning a walk across America from Seattle to Key West…The stories collected on this journey, as in life, are left unfinished, raise many questions and, depending on what the reader brings, might provide some answers. ”  Kirkus Reviews
  12. How To: Compare My Manuscript to a Famous Book—A Writer’s Question, by Beth Hill – “On an blog article about query letters, a reader asked about comparing manuscripts to existing books. I’m guessing that other writers might have the same concern, so I’m giving the topic an article of its own.” The Editor’s Blog
  13. joylandNews: Stephen King Publishing Joyland in Print Only – “Reverse course! Stephen King, who in 2000 surprised the industry by making his novella Riding the Bullet available only as an e-book, will now offer his new novel, Joyland, only in a print edition, the Wall Street Journal reported.” – ShelfAwareness
  14. Feature: Syphilis, sex and fear: How the French disease conquered the world, by Sarah Dunant – “I still remember the moment, sitting in the British Library, when I came across details of Torella’s treatise in a book of essays on syphilis. There is nothing more thrilling in writing historical fiction than when research opens a window on to a whole new landscape, and the story of how this sexual plague swept through Europe during the 1490s was one of the turning points in Blood and Beauty, the novel I was writing on the rise and fall of the Borgia dynasty.”  The Guardian


EmilyaudioMy three-story set about a savvy and inquisitive teenager who talks to spirits, is now available as an audiobook as well as on Kindle. Two of the stories are set in north Florida and one is set in the Montana mountains.


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