The Sun Singer's Travels

Malcolm R. Campbell's World

Book Bits: Colum McCann, Apple v DOJ, ‘Wilson,’ ‘Hidden Lives of Wolves’

solsticeWelcome to the longest day of the year as we mark the beginning of summer with the solstice at 1:04 a.n. (eastern). In her newsletter, author Katherine Neville says that today “the sun seems to stop in the sky, stop moving north and head south for the winter. Whether the sun was Apollo, Ahura Mazda, or Ra, it always takes him a long time to turn around.”

Here are today’s links:

  1. News: ‘Inferno’ tops bestseller list – “Dan Brown’s thriller ‘Inferno’ maintained its perch on top of the U.S. best-sellers list on Thursday for the fifth consecutive week.” Reuters
  2. MccannInterview: Colum McCann Talks New Novel ‘TransAtlantic’ and Narrative4, with Phil Klay – “The 20th century was the most and least human of times. The most human because of our vast advancements in science and technology – penicillin, the Internet, the awareness of world hunger, the desire to combat it. The least human in terms of the two world wars, random greed, and all the other satellite savagery that erupted around the world. ” The Daily Beast
  3. How To: 7 Tips for Brainstorming, by Mark Nichol – “Whether you’re trying to develop the topic of an essay or the plot of a short story, or you and some of your colleagues have been assigned to propose an idea for a product or a project, a brainstorming session is a means to a successful outcome.” Daily Writing Tips
  4. News: In Parting Shot, Government Paints Apple as Amazon Copycat, by Andrew Albanese – “On the final day of testimony in Apple’s e-book price-fixing trial, U.S. attorneys looked to poke holes in Apple’s claim to be an innovator in the e-book space. With the director of Apple’s iBookstore in the U.S. Robert MacDonald on the stand, U.S. attorney Lawrence Buterman painted Apple’s iBookstore as a copycat of other digital book efforts—including Amazon’s.” Publishers Weekly
  5. wilsonReview: “Wilson,” by A. Scott Berg, reviewed by Brad Hooper – “Berg, author of such highly acclaimed biographies as ‘Max Perkins: Editor of Genius’ (1978) and ‘Lindbergh’ (1998), renders Wilson with an astute, sensitive understanding of the man and his presidency. Berg’s research is deep and thorough and—important for a wide readership—comfortably couched in a graceful, smooth presentation.” Book List
  6. News: ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ Movie Secures Director – “Sam Taylor-Johnson will direct Fifty Shades of Grey, the adaptation of the best-selling novel by EL James.” Hollywood Reporter
  7. Quotation: “Night, the beloved. Night, when words fade and things come alive. When the destructive analysis of day is done, and all that is truly important becomes whole and sound again. When man reassembles his fragmentary self and grows with the calm of a tree.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery
  8. Essay: Special Topics in Mindboggling Physics, by Peter Birkenhead – “Popular science books are all well and good until they ask you to picture a hundred cats playing volleyball in the fourteenth dimension. Writing lessons for astrophysicists.” The Morning News
  9. News: Vince Flynn Dead at 47, by Linda L. Richards – “Very sad to report on the passing of bestselling thriller author Vince Flynn (American Assassin, Term Limits).” January Magazine
  10. littleprinceFeature: Anniversaries: The Little Prince, by Gregory McNamee – “Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, novelist and aviator, had a peculiar talent for crashing planes and walking away from the wreckage…It was while he was in exile in America that Saint-Exupéry wrote a book that would be published in April 1943, just before he returned to the fighting. It was a curious production that began with an unsurprising image: that of a pilot marooned in the desert, ‘more isolated than a shipwrecked sailor on a raft in the middle of the ocean.’” Kirkus Reviews
  11. How To: 6 Vital Writing Skills From Content Mills–Plus 1 You’ll Need, by Liesa C. Baker – “When the siren call of the content mills sucks you in, it’s hard to climb out. But it’s not just desperation that keeps you trapped. It’s fear. I would know. I spent years in the mills, churning out articles like a factory worker. I wrote thousands of words a day, but deep down I knew none of them were good enough.” Make a Living Writing
  12. secretlifewolvesReview: “Hidden Lives of Wolves,” by Jim and Jamie Dutcher, reviewed by Kyle Wagner – “Jim and Jamie Dutcher — wolf experts, authors and photographers — have spent the past two decades studying wolf behavior, and the past several actually living with them (lucky!), specifically the famous Sawtooth pack at the edge of the Sawtooth Wilderness in Idaho. ” The Denver Post
  13. Lists: O, Dystopic Irony: A Few of the Most Misused Literary Terms, by Emily Temple – “At Salon this week, Morten Høi Jensen argues that “Big Brother” is a less apt Orwellian concept for our times than “the relationship between politics and the English language.” Perhaps so. Though this is a case of misplaced cultural emphasis more than a misunderstanding of a term, it still sparked a question — what about the literary terms we so frequently misuse? ” Flavorwire
  14. Viewpoint: Why Did Ralph Ellison Never Publish His Second Novel? by Paul Devlin – “One of the great mysteries of 20th-century literary history is why Ralph Ellison never completed the highly anticipated second novel that he worked on for four decades after Invisible Man was published to wide acclaim in 1952. ” Slate
  15. watchtowerReview: “The Watch Tower,” by Elizabeth Harrower, reviewed by  Michael Dirda – “In ‘The Watch Tower,’ Elizabeth Harrower lives up to her last name. This is a harrowing novel, relentless in its depiction of marital enslavement, spiritual self-destruction and the exploited condition of women in a masculinist society. ” The Washington Post
  16. News: Alice Munro says she’s ‘probably’ done writing, by Hillel Italie – “Less than a year after Philip Roth announced he had stopped writing books, another literary great may be retiring: Alice Munro.” The Miami Herald
  17. Feature: “It Feels Like We Lost a Guy We Knew,” by J. Kingston Pierce – “In a piece today for Flavorwire, Jason Bailey muses on why TV and film watchers so appreciated actor James Gandolfini, the star of The Sopranos, who died yesterday at age 51.” The Rap Sheet
  18. oceanlaneReview: “The Ocean at the End of the Lane,” by Neil Gaiman, reviewed by Laura Miller – “In his first adult novel in eight years, the master of modern fantasy tells the story of a lonely, bookish boy…Like all of Gaiman’s novels, this is a kind of fairy tale, populated by mythic creatures who are not always fully identified. The narrator leaves the funeral for a contemplative drive and finds himself rolling down the titular lane to stop at a farm. He’s greeted by a vaguely familiar old lady, and walks out to have look at the duckpond, whereupon he suddenly remembers the momentous events of his eighth year. It is these memories that make up the main body of the novel.” Salon
  19. News: Obituary Note: Roberta Karsh – “Roberta Karsh, who opened the Footnote Bookstore, “a landmark business in the original Larimer Square in downtown Denver,” in 1967, died last week, Intermountain Jewish News reported. She was 86. ” Shelf Awareness
  20. battle499New Title: ‘The Battle of $9.99,’ a PW Original E-book – “Little did Apple know when it introduced the iPad in 2010 that it would be setting itself up to land in federal court on price-fixing charges. This blow-by-blow account charts how five of America’s six largest publishers, afraid that bookselling powerhouse Amazon’s $9.99 price for Kindle e-books would undermine the industry, spent a few frantic weeks in early 2010 deep in negotiations with Apple to introduce a new business model for e-books, just in time for the launch of the iPad and the iBookstore. The catch is, it all may have been illegal.” Publishers Weekly
  21. News: Digital News is Finally Starting to Pay, by Robert G Picard – “Newspaper publishers beleaguered by digital developments for the past decade are starting to believe that business models to support digital journalism have emerged. Their increasing optimism is driven by a number of factors: the growing revenue from paywalls and digital apps for tablets and smartphones, as well as a more favorable shift in public attitudes towards paying for online news.” Editor & Publisher

Seeker“Book Bits” is compiled two or three times a week by Malcolm R. Campbell, author of a novel of love, fate and destiny, “The Seeker,” now on sale on Kindle for only $2.99.


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