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Malcolm R. Campbell's World

Book Bits: Judy Blume, Sue Monk Kidd, ‘The Son,’ Rebecca Solnit

BookBitsAndrew Franklin, speaking at a recent digital conference, took aim at writers who self-publish. (Item 11) Most self-published books are terrible, he said. Self-publishing is being hailed by many as democracy in publishing. Yet, most self-published books are met with silence. So, what’s the attraction? See if you agree with him.

  1. News: Glen Ellyn reinstates banned book after Judy Blume weighs in, by Stacy St. Clair – “Are you there, Glen Ellyn? It’s her, Judy. And she’s not happy with efforts to ban “Perks of Being a Wallflower” from middle school classrooms. Legendary author Judy Blume joined the fight against the book’s removal from Glen Ellyn District 41, and maybe her clout helped turn the tide. School board members voted 6-1 Monday evening to reinstate the book.” The Chicago Tribune
  2. Kidd


    News: New novel coming from Sue Monk Kidd – “Today, more than eight long years [after “The Mermaid Chair”], her publisher (Viking Press) announced that her third novel, The Invention of Wings, will be released on January 7, 2014.” Book Page

  3. Feature: See Salvador Dali’s Illustrations for the 1969 Edition of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – “It’s 1969. Psychedelia gets weirder, the Age of Aquarius dawns, Grace Slick falls down the rabbit hole at Woodstock. Unrest and revolution break out all over the topsy-turvy world. What better time to release a new edition of Lewis Carroll’s never-out-of-style surrealist fable? And who better to provide the illustrations than Salvador Dali? ” Open Culture
  4. eyesopenReview: Derek Raymond’s “He Died with His Eyes Open” and “I Was Dora Suarez,” reviewed by Joyce Carol Oats – “Minimalism in fiction is rarely conjoined with outbursts of passionate lyricism, and still more rarely do novels about crime and detectives carry out a philosophical quest. Derek Raymond’s much-admired “Factory” novels are bold and intriguing hybrids: as with the two novels under review (first and fourth in the series of five all now published by Melville House), they are idiosyncratic police procedurals narrated by an unnamed Detective Sergeant of the London Metropolitan Police who so identifies with the victims of his investigations that he becomes involved in their (imagined) lives and is drawn, often at great risk to himself, into their (imagined) suffering.” The New York Review of Books
  5. Essay: The Struggle to Make a Living – “It doesn’t matter the forum. Wherever editors gather, there are two groups of editors: those making a living from their editing work and those struggling to do so. By making a living, I mean earning enough to give the editor the life the editor wants.” An American Editor
  6. Becky Sharpe, in Thackeray's novel "Vanity Fair," is on the list.

    Becky Sharpe, in Thackeray’s novel “Vanity Fair,” is on the list.

    Lists: Literature’s Ten Most Disturbing Sociopaths, by Kimberly Turner – “We all have dark urges—at least I hope it’s not just me or this is going to be one seriously awkward article—but very few of us act on them, which might be why we love reading about people who do. Many sociopaths are charming, witty, and intelligent. They’re also free of the guilt, emotional consequences, and moral dilemmas that plague the rest of us.” Lit Reactor

  7. News: “Following its overwhelming passage last month by the Senate, the Marketplace Fairness Act (H.R.684) is currently awaiting consideration in the U.S. House of Representatives. The American Booksellers Association is urging members to write to their representatives in support of the bill, especially if their congressperson is a member of the House Committee on the Judiciary.” Shelf Awareness
  8. thesonReview: “The Son,” by Philipp Meyer, reviewed by Ron Charles – “With its vast scope — stretching from pre-Civil War cowboys to post-9/11 immigrants — ‘The Son’ makes a viable claim to be a Great American Novel of the sort John Dos Passos and Frank Norris once produced. Here is the tale of the United States written in blood across the Texas plains, a 200-year cycle of theft and murder that shreds any golden myths of civilized development.” The Denver Post
  9. mrzipFeature: Happy 50th Mr. Zip, by Stefany Anne Golberg – “It took a while for Americans to start using ZIP codes — about 15 years. 15 years of persuasion, encouragement. 15 years of re-positioning and rearranging deep-rooted beliefs about the manner in which an envelope ought to be addressed. 15 years is a long time to get used to writing five digits on a letter. And now we hardly give ZIP codes a second thought. ” The Smart Set
  10. How To: Don’t Fake It—Learn the Craft, by Beth Hill – “I’ve mentioned in other articles that you don’t have to know everything about writing and fiction and novels in order to begin your first novel. And that’s true whether you’re writing or editing. But you do need to know something. A lot of somethings.” The Editor’s Blog
  11. Viewpoint: The Overwhelming Majority of Self-Published eBooks Are Terrible, by Michael Kozlowski – “At the Writing in a Digital Conference in London, Andrew Franklin, founder and managing director of Profile Books, blasted authors who self-publish. “The overwhelming majority of self-published books are terrible—unutterable rubbish, they don’t enhance anything in the world.”” Good E Reader
  12. Solniy


    Interview: Rebecca Solnit (“The Faraway Nearby”), with Walter Biggins – “In ‘The Faraway Nearby’, Rebecca Solnit delves into her complicated, contentious relationship with her mother just as her mother is beginning to decline due to Alzheimer’s. ‘Decline,’ though, is a funny word. Her mother shifts — in some ways gradually, in many ways suddenly — into a different person than she was, a woman who’s more open and joyful and accepting of her daughter and of herself than she ever was before the illness.”  Bookslut

  13. News: ABFFE Joins Campaign Against NSA Surveillance – “The American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE) has joined a number of other civil liberties organizations, including the ACLU, to protest the National Security Administration’s surveillance of Americans’ Internet activity and phone records. The recently revealed news of the NSA’s actions spurred ABFFE and the other groups to write an open letter to members of Congress.” Publishers Weekly
  14. silvercrownCommentary: How werewolf erotica found its way to prison, By Laura Miller – “Much amusement greeted the announcement, earlier this month, that the 1st District Court of Appeal in San Francisco had overturned previous rulings to allow an inmate of a state prison to receive a book. The book, “The Silver Crown” by Mathilde Madden, had been confiscated by prison authorities. The case raises serious issues about the control prison administrators have over the reading material inmates may access, but the sniggering was over the book itself, a work of “werewolf erotica.”” Salon
  15. 1984britcoverNews: Sales of Orwell’s ‘1984’ Spike – “It’s 29 years late, but has Big Brother finally arrived? Readers are flocking to buy George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984, which describes a totalitarian surveillance state, since news of the National Security Administration scandal broke.” The Daily Beast
  16. News: Charlotte Brontë essay brought home to Haworth, by Vanessa Thorpe – “Brontë Society pays £50,000 for Charlotte’s single-sheet French homework about l’amour filial” The Guardian
Now at B&N

Now at B&N

“Book Bits” is compiled several times a week by Malcolm R. Campbell, author of a new contemporary fantasy novel about love, magic and fate called “The Seeker”

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