The Sun Singer's Travels

Malcolm R. Campbell's World

Book Bits: ‘The Arrivals,’ ‘The Looking Glass Brother,’ Carnegie Medals, Susan Choi

BookBitsIn a week that begins with Serena Williams losing at Wimbledon, goodness knows what will happen next. I guess somebody should have knocked on wood last week when a commentator said that nobody can stop her.

Turning to the saner world of books, authors and publishing, <g> here are today’s links:

  1. News: Penguin, Random House Complete Publishing Mega-Merger, by Annalisa Quinn – “Publishers Penguin and Random House have officially merged into one entity known as Penguin Random House (not, as many had hoped, “Random Penguin” or “Penguin House”). The deal “creates the world’s largest publisher of consumer books,” according to The Associated Press.” NPR
  2. arrivalsReview: “The Arrivals,” by Melissa Marr, reviewed by Brian Truitt – “The Arrivals straddles a line between world-building sci-fi and interpersonal, intimate drama, but never forcefully plants its flag in either…Marr does strike an equal balance of both, however, to keep the story humming along, and you’ll want to definitely saddle up for this one since the core concept — of people on a path of redemption in a throwback afterlife — is just too fascinating to ignore.” USA Today
  3. Feature: Start Spreading The News: Booksellers on Measuring Their Newsletters’ Reach, by  Elizabeth Knapp – “From news of store events and book world happenings, to updates on new title releases and staff favorites, booksellers have a lot to tell their customers on a regular basis.” Bookselling this Week
  4. Essay: Boys Don’t Cry: In Praise of Sentiment, by Andrew Sean Greer – “Why is it that at the slightest hint of emotion most critics accuse the writer of being “sentimental”? Novelist Andrew Sean Greer, author of The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells, takes a stand for emotional fiction and against lazy criticism.” The Daily Beast
  5. lookingglassbrotherReview: “The Looking Glass Brother,” by Peter von Ziegesar – “Screenwriter and filmmaker von Ziegesar’s younger brother is also named Peter von Ziegesar. To be precise, they are stepbrothers, and they are called Big Peter and Little Peter. Though Big Peter had been known to occasionally inhale lines of dope, it was Little Peter who was troubled—homeless and either schizophrenic or in the thrall of Asperger’s syndrome…In a memorable memoir reflecting identity, von Ziegesar tells of his stepbrother’s wounds, both psychic and grievously physical, occasionally with fraternal irascibility and more frequently with candid understanding.” Kirkus Reviews
  6. Essay: Mono no aware: The Female Essayist of Medieval Japan, by Mary Mann – “Mono no aware is the bittersweet feeling that accompanies change. It’s the smell of burning leaves and the shouts from a nearby football game when one has left high school behind. It’s seeing your best childhood friend get married. It’s the basis of almost every episode of The Wonder Years. It is, as Sei Shonagon wrote in the tenth century, ‘when one has stopped loving somebody, [and] one feels that he has become someone else, even though he is still the same person.'” Bookslut
  7. carnegieNews: Richard Ford, Timothy Egan Win Carnegie Medals at Packed ALA, by Andrew Albanese – “At a reception last night in Chicago, Richard Ford and TImothy Egan were awarded the second annual Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction. Ford took home fiction honors for his novel, Canada (Ecco), while Egan took home the nonfiction prize for Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher: The Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward Curtis (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt).”  Publishers Weekly
  8. Obituary Note: Oliver Bernard – “Oliver Bernard, a British poet and translator of Rimbaud and Apollinaire who “led a life of dazzling variety,” died last month, the Guardian reported. He was 87.” Shelf Awareness
  9. Choi


    Interview: Steamy Novel An ‘Education’ In Youth, Love And Mistakes – “Susan Choi’s previous novels have pulled from events in the headlines: the Korean War for The Foreign Student; the Patty Hearst kidnapping for American Woman; and the Wen Ho Lee accusations for A Person of Interest. But her latest book, My Education, was inspired by something else — youthful passion.” NPR

  10. How To: How to Make Weird Nouns Plural, by Mignon Fogarty – “A few years ago, a Twitter user name Nick Piesco asked me an interesting question about making product names plural. He wanted to know how to make the name “iPad 2” plural.” Grammar Girl
  11. Commentary: What Does B&N Do Next? by Jim Milliot – “With Barnes & Noble completing a difficult fiscal 2013 with a bad fourth quarter, publishers are continuing to wonder what is next for the nation’s largest bookstore chain and second largest source of book purchases behind Amazon. ” Publishers Weekly
  12. ItalianwaysReview: Not Really a Book About Trains As Such: Tim Parks’s Italian Ways, by Mark O’Connell – “If you didn’t know much about Tim Parks, and you just briefly picked up Italian Ways: On and Off the Rails from Milan to Palermo as you happened to be passing by the Travel Writing display table at your local bookseller, you might be inclined to think of it as exactly the kind of book it isn’t. The cozy-sounding title and the jacket design — with its fetching pasturescapes, its hazily panoramic Florence skylines — might lead you to think of it as one of those harmlessly middlebrow lifestyle memoirs that tend to get written about places like Tuscany and Provence. But that, as I say, is exactly the kind of book Italian Ways isn’t. It is a book about traveling by train in Italy, but it’s not that kind of book about traveling by train in Italy.” The Millions
  13. mythologicaldimensionsFeature: Briefly Noted: ‘The Mythological Dimensions of Neil Gaiman’ by Malcolm R. Campbell – “When Kitsume Books, a small north Florida press, closed its doors last fall I hoped the award-winning The Mythological Dimensions of Neil Gaiman would not disappear. This is an immensely enjoyable study of the works of one of our most popular fantasy authors. While the book is sold out on the press’ web site, it is still available via Amazon in trade paperback and Kindle.” Magic Moments
  14. News: Paula Deen’s Next Cookbook Is Canceled, by Mark Memmott – “Pre-publication orders had made it No. 1 on Amazon, but now Paula Deen’s publisher has said it won’t be putting out her next cookbook this fall.” NPR

“Book Bits” is compiled several times a week by Malcolm R, Campbell, author of contemporary fantasies including the recently released “The Sailor.”



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