The Sun Singer's Travels

Malcolm R. Campbell's World

Book Bits: PEN shortlists, ‘Lexicon,’ ‘The Cuckoo’s Calling,’ Charles Stross

BookBitsOn July 16, 1951, J. D. Salinger’s “Catcher in the Rye” was published. As Today In Literature notes, if you have a signed copy of the first edition of this book, you have “one of the most elusive of 20th century books.”

Here are today’s links:

  1. News: PEN American Center Announces 2013 Shortlists, by Edward Nawotka – “The [PEN Literary Awards] are given to honor outstanding voices in literature, across such diverse fields as fiction, poetry, science writing, essays, sports writing, biography, children’s literature, translation, and drama. In all, PEN will give out 16 distinct awards, fellowships, grants, and prizes in 2013, awarding nearly $150,000 to writers, editors, and translators.” Publishing Perspectives
  2. lexiconReview: “Lexicon,” by Max Barry, reviewed by Graham Sleight – “Years ago, there was a “Monty Python” sketch about the world’s funniest joke devised by the British in World War II. The joke was so hilarious that it caused everyone who heard it to die laughing; when translated into German and read to opposing troops, it proved a devastating weapon. In a sense, “Lexicon” is a book-length version of that sketch, done in earnest as a thriller.”  The Washington Post
  3. News: Neil Gaiman Breaks Book Signing World Record, Doesn’t Recommend It, by David Barnett  – “Not content with a New York Times chart-topping novel in The Ocean At The End Of The Lane, author Neil Gaiman might also have scooped a world record for the number of books signed in a single sitting—though it’s not an accolade he particularly wants.” Tor
  4. Essay: Damn the Writers, by Owen Egerton – “We have traded in the bars and bullfights for university jobs and Netflix. We sink into credit card debt awaiting publication, then find the advance won’t cover the monthly interest. Oh Lord, the books that took us years and blood have the shelf life of warm goat milk.” The Huffington Post
  5. cuckooReview: “The Cuckoo’s Calling,” by Robert Galbraith, reviewed by Barbara Clark – “First-time author Robert Galbraith has added a singular new voice to the genre of crime fiction with his engaging debut novel, The Cuckoo’s Calling, which keeps the form of a classic mystery while introducing Detective Cormoran B. Strike, a private investigator straight out of today with a personality as offbeat as his name.”  (This review was posted before the news broke that “Galbraith” is J. K. Rowling’s pseudonym.) Book Page
  6. Lists: 50 Places Every Literary Fan Should Visit, by Jason Diamon – “If you’re like us, and you hear that you’re in an area that is home to a place that has any little bit of literary historical significance, you have to go and visit it. Since (statistically speaking) there’s a pretty good chance that you’ll soon be hopping in your car or your friend’s car, or boarding a train, bus, plane, or some other mode of transportation that will bring you to another place that isn’t the city you spend the rest of the year living in, we’ve compiled this list of literary places all over the world that you should visit if you happen to be in the neighborhood. ” Flavorwire
  7. copyrightCommentary: Is It Fair Use? 7 Questions to Ask Before Using Copyrighted Material, by Brad Frazer – “Authors create copyrights when they express their ideas into or onto a tangible medium. This means the author has the right to make copies of the work; the right to create derivative works; the right to distribute copies of the work; the right to publicly perform the work; the right to display the work; and, in the case of sound recordings, the right to perform the work by means of a digital audio transmission.” Jane Friedman
  8. neptuneReview: “Neptune’s Brood,” by Charles Stross – “In the same universe as “Saturn’s Children” (2008) but thousands of years later, Stross invents an entire interstellar banking system, shows us how it works—and then how to defraud it…Agreeable characters, a fascinating backdrop and brilliant plotting, with a further outlook of lengthy grins and occasional guffaws.” Kirkus Reviews
  9. Feature: My Little Library in Anatolia, by Kaya Genc – “Although the books were old and deep in hibernation, the people who came to read them were very much alive. So in my small library in a distant Anatolian town I learned an awful lot about what young Turkish men enjoyed reading under the gun. I watched them as they read for relief. I watched them as they read for pleasure. I watched them as they read for keeping sane.”  The Millions
  10. Commentary: Everything you need to know about the great e-book price war, by Laura Miller – “How the DOJ’s antitrust lawsuit against Apple and the Big Six book publishers will affect the business of lit “ Salon
  11. amazonlogoNews: J.K. Rowling’s Pseudonymous Book Hits Number One on Amazon – “Fewer than 24 hours after it was revealed that J.K. Rowling used the pseudonym Robert Galbraith for the crime novel The Cuckoo’s Calling, the book was #1 on Amazon and backordered for 10-14 days. It was #20 in the Kindle store and #1 overall in print on Barnes & Noble. ” Publishers Weekly
  12. How To: You Gotta Start Somewhere, by Beth Hill – “Yet I’m going to suggest that before you put hands to keyboard or pen to paper, you first consider three key fiction components. It’s not that you can’t change these particular three elements once you’ve started, if you find they don’t work as they should. It’s simply that they’re such an integral part of both story and the writing process that you could very well be wasting a lot of time should you begin without a proper examination of these three foundational elements.” The Editor’s Blog
  13. oceanendoflaneReview: “The Ocean at the End of the Lane,” by Neil Gaiman, reviewed by Malcolm R. Campbell – “Readers may recall by the time they reach the epilogue that they, too, have elogies they can sing about their lost childhoods and that in the shuffle of memories and years, the best friends and mentors who were there for them have slipped their minds. Gaiman knows how to find childhood and how to retrieve it from the land of the lost with words and magic.” Magic Moments
  14. Commentary: Like a Novel: The Marketing of Literary Nonfiction, by Jeff Sharlet – “Tom Wolfe made the phrase like a novel his own in the introduction to his influential 1973 anthology, The New Journalism. ‘Like a novel, if you get the picture,’ he wrote; emphasis his. Wolfe really did have Dickens in mind, nineteenth-century fiction that derived its ‘unique power’ from its ‘immediacy.’ But immediacy is an illusion, the disguise of the mediation that is the author standing between you and the reality depicted by the story. Immediacy is fiction.” Virginia Quarterly Review
  15. leachInterview: William Leach, with Jacki Lyden in Racing Hearts, Fluttering Wings: American ‘Butterfly People’ – “‘My father constructed a net for me made from cheesecloth and a hanger. And he gave me a very cheaply constructed cigar box to put the butterflies in once I caught them.’ That moment was a turning point for Leach, setting him off on a life-long adventure. He spent 14 years researching his book, chronicling the pursuits of butterfly research pioneers.”” NPR
  16. News: Zimmerman Juror B37 Decides Not To Go For That Book Deal After All, by Sara Morrison – “Massive outcry, ‘return to society in general’ and losing her literary agent caused B37 to re-think her plans”  The Wrap

“Book Bits” is compiled several times a week by Malcolm R. Campbell, author of contemporary fantasy novels including “The Sailor”

In multiple formats at Smashwords

In multiple formats at Smashwords


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