The Sun Singer's Travels

Malcolm R. Campbell's World

Book Bits: Motherhood & creativity, Willa Cather’s letters, books for dads, ‘Oh Dear Silvia’

BookBitsOn Father’s Day, I cannot help but think of my late father, Laurence R. Campbell, who was the dean of the former Florida State University School of Journalism and the author of many textbooks and articles about high school and college student publications. He’s been gone since 1987, but his words, example and encouragement remain a strong force in my writing life.

  1. News: ‘Motherhood is not a threat to creativity’ — Zadie Smith and other prominent authors react to controversial article, by Zeljka Marosevic – “Zadie Smith and other prominent female writers have reacted against an article published by The Atlantic entitled: ‘The Secret to Being Both a Successful Writer and a Mother: Have Just One Kid’. In the essay Lauren Sandler, author of One and Only: The Freedom of Having an Only Child, and the Joy of Being One asks how we can ‘negotiate the balance between selfhood and motherhood?’ and posits the idea that perhaps, ‘stopping at one child [is] the answer, or at least the beginning of one?’” Melville House
  2. catherlettersReview: “The Selected Letters of Willa Cather,” Andrew Jewell and Janis Stout editors, reviewed by Jonathan Clarke – “Willa Cather did not want her letters published, ever. She could not have been clearer or more emphatic on this point. There is, then, a respectable argument that Selected Letters should not be in the world, inasmuch as its publication does violence to the wishes of the very author whose legacy this book’s editors purport to serve. I am inclined to disagree with that argument, but I find it impossible to state the affirmative case for posthumous publication of letters and unfinished texts in terms I would care to defend.” The Millions
  3. News: McFadden wins Griffin Poetry Prize, by Julie Baldassi – “Canadian poet David McFadden briefly took to the stage at last night’s Griffin Poetry Prize gala to accept the $65,000 award – the richest in the world for a single book of poetry – for his latest collection, What’s the Score?, published by Toronto’s Mansfield Press.” Quill & Quire
  4. suwCommentary: The Future Of Self-Publishing, by Suw Charman-Anderson – “Last week I had an interesting chat on Twitter with Joe Abercrombie, Tom Standage, Damien Walter, and Sam Missingham about the problems with territory-by-territory releases, windowing and what a monumental amount of work self-publishing is. I suspect most people can agree that publishing books, and especially ebooks, at different times in different territories is nothing but frustrating for readers, and that delaying ebook publishing until months after the hardback comes out is just stupid.” Forbes
  5. How To: How to Avoid a Common Comma Error: The Comma Splice, by Mignon Fogarty – “First, we have to figure out what a comma splice is. Maybe you’ve never even heard of the problem. It sometimes also goes by the name “comma fault” or “comma error,” but I think “comma splice” makes the most sense because the problem is using a comma to splice together things that the comma wasn’t meant to splice or join.” Grammar Girl
  6. On the list

    On the list

    Viewpoint: A Few Good Books for Dads, by John Elder Robison – “Just in time for Father’s Day, author John Elder Robison recommends a few unconventional books to help dads become better dads. ” The Daily Beast

  7. Essay: Can you inherit an e-book? by Danny Heitman – “Passing on your favorite books to your heirs has sentimental value. But how will that work if your library is digital? ”  The Christian Science Monitor
  8. Quotation: “When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years.” – Mark Twain
  9. ohdearReview: “Oh Dear Silvia,” by Dawn French, reviewed by Tucker Shaw – The novel “takes place entirely in the intensive-care ward of a London hospital where Silvia, recently estranged from her husband, lies unconscious. How she got there, and why, is revealed by the parade of visitors who come to visit her.”  The Denver Post
  10. Commentary: DOJ v Apple: Jedi Mind Tricks, Double Deletes and Spiderwebs, by Edward Nawotka – “Following the reports on testimony at the Department of Justice trial against Apple for allegedly colluding with five of the then ‘Big Six’ publishers (Random House being the exception) for ebook price fixing has had more than a few moments of entertaining linguistic absurdity.”  Publishing Perspectives
  11. Feature: Want to Learn How to Think? Read Fiction, by Tom Jacobs – “Are you uncomfortable with ambiguity? It’s a common condition, but a highly problematic one. The compulsion to quell that unease can inspire snap judgments, rigid thinking, and bad decision-making. Fortunately, new research suggests a simple antidote for this affliction: Read more literary fiction. ” Pacific Standard
  12. growingmyselfInterview: Judith Handelsman Smith (“Growng Myself: A Spiritual Journey Through Gardening”) – “Everything I do is art. Instead of pushing myself too hard to write, I allow myself to create in whatever way I am moved. It really helps everything to flow. I always meet deadlines. I have come to know that and don’t worry about how I get there.” The Writer’s [Inner] Journey
  13. Quotation: “Oh, the comfort, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person, having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all out, just as they are, chaff and grain together, certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and with a breath of kindness blow the rest away. “ – Dinah Craik
  14. cheeseLists: Tender is the Cheese: Ten Amazing Cheeses and their Literary Counterparts , by Freedie Moore – “It’s hard not to love celebrity cheeses like Brieonce and Al Gorgonzola. After all, who doesn’t enjoy a good cheese pun every now and then? But let’s get serious here – a little food for thought – with literature and gourmet cheese. Readers, rev your pallets. Let’s get cheesy with it.” The Airship
  15. News: The Lady’s for turning… into a revenge novel, by Katy Guest – “It is a popular trope in English novels that revenge is a dish best served cold. So believes Paul Blezard, who is to publish a fictionalised account of his time as literary editor of The Lady magazine, nearly four years after he was fired.” The Independent
  16. bloodanddaringReview“Blood and Daring: How Canada Fought the American Civil War and Forged a Nation,” by John Boyko – “The American Civil War of 1861 to 1865 haunts the United States to this day. Canadians also have an enduring fascination with the conflict that set state against state, community against community, family against family and killed around 750,000 Americans in the North and South. But Canadians at the time were more than mere spectators: The war threatened British North America, pushing the weak Canadian colonies together for protection to withstand the annexationist dreams of many in war-inflamed Washington.” The Globe & Mail
  17. News: The nominees for the 2013 Nero Wolf Awards are Antiques Disposal, by Barbara Allan (aka Max Allan Collins and his wife, Barbara; Kensington), Burning Midnight, by Loren D. Estleman (Forge), Dead Anyway, by Chris Knopf (Permanent Press), The Truth of All Things, by Kieran Shields (Crown). The awards are presented in December. – The Rap Sheet

“Book Bits” is compiled several times a week by Malcolm R. Campbell, author of paranormal short stories and contemporary fantasy novels.


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