The Sun Singer's Travels

Malcolm R. Campbell's World

Book Bits: ‘The Sandman,’ Daniel Silva, How Amazon can fail, Attracting an agent

BookBitsIn spite of the growing popularity of e-books and the various browse, sample and “look inside” features of online booksellers, a lot of people still like picking up a book and look it over before they buy it.

Many readers rely on the back cover blurb and synopsis to help them decide, but that is obscured in on line listings. When I pick up a book, I quickly notice whether it has extraordinarily wide margins, larger-than-normal type, and more than the usual space between the lines. If it does, I know it has been padded out to make it look longer than it is.

So it is, that Evan Hughes makes some good points in “Here’s how Amazon self-destructs” (Item 8) when he says that crushing bricks and mortar bookstores is not in the the company’s best interests.

  1. News: Google starts selling ebooks in nine more European countries, by Laura Hazard Owen – “Google has launched Books on Google Play in nine more European countries: The Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Greece, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Poland and Romania.” Paid Content
  2. skiesbelongReview: “The Skies Belong To Us,” by Brendan Koerner, reviewed by Daniel Stashower – “It is bizarre to think that there was a stretch of time in America’s cultural history when the image of a gunman entering an airplane cockpit became a staple of television comedy. The first hijacking in American airspace occurred in the spring of 1961, when a Miami electrician pressed a steak knife to the throat of a National Airlines pilot and declared, ‘If I don’t see Havana in 30 minutes, we all die.’ The incident touched off a phenomenon that gathered momentum as it went along. Over the next 11 years, some 159 commercial flights were commandeered, sometimes at a rate of one per week, or even two in a single day.”  The Denver Post
  3. Viewpoint: The Agents’ View: A Case Study in Agent-Assisted Publishing, by Jason Allen Ashlock and Adam Chromy – “One year ago we began work on a small digital experiment called The Rogue Reader, a showcase for suspense fiction by authors represented by Movable Type. Its aims were two-fold: it was both an effort in platform- and audience-building for our authors, as well as a laboratory for us to test some of our theories on digital publishing.” Publishing Perspectives
  4. JFKReview: “JFK’s Last Hundred Days,” by Thurston Clarke, reviewed by  Erik Spanberg – “November marks the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination in Dallas. That means an avalanche of books, documentaries, and articles can be expected in the months ahead…But all of the upcoming retrospectives will be hard-pressed to match the haunting work of Thurston Clarke. Author of a well-received history of Bobby Kennedy’s 1968 campaign, which, like his older brother’s presidency, ended in assassination, Clarke makes a compelling case that President Kennedy came into his own in the 100 days before Lee Harvey Oswald murdered him in Dallas.”  The Christian Science Monitor
  5. Feature: The Bill Gates Book Club – “What do Oprah Winfrey, Jon Stewart and Bill Gates have in common? Aside from drive, passion and a certain geeky charisma, all three have created themselves as literary stylemakers almost as a by-product of the other — much more visible things — they do.” January Magazine
  6. TiferettalkRecent Title: The Tiferet Talk Interviews by Melissa Studdard – “Some of the world’s most notable writers and spiritual leaders share their thoughts on writing, tolerance, and the world we live in today. Gain incredible insight into their perspective on ways to tell the truth of our lives, access creativity, and balance magic and craft.” January Magazine
  7. How To: Can You Start a Sentence with a Preposition? by Mignon Forgarty – “When I posted the article Can You End a Sentence with a Preposition, I was surprised by how many people asked if you can start a sentence with a preposition…Prepositional phrases at the beginning of sentences are common and grammatically correct.” Grammar Girl
  8. amazonlogoCommentary: Here’s how Amazon self-destructs, by Evan Hughes – “If Amazon puts bookstores out of business, it will destroy the main way readers learn about new books to buy.” Salon
  9. Feature: With ‘The Sandman: Overture,’ the book that launched a business returns, by Seth Rosenblatt – “‘The Sandman’ became a phenomenon at the end of the 1980s as it singlehandedly catapulted the graphic novel into the spotlight. 25 years later, author Neil Gaiman talks up its prequel at Comic-Con.” CNET
  10. EnglishGirlReview: “The English Girl,” by Daniel Silva, Reviewed by Roz Shea – “THE ENGLISH GIRL is a top-notch, old-fashioned East-meets-West, cloak-and-dagger thriller from the old school, with a ripped-from-the-headlines theme…Someone once said that their favorite books are ones that entertain and inform at the same time. THE ENGLISH GIRL is one of those novels.” Book Reporter
  11. How to: 13 Ways to Convince a Literary Agent to Represent You, by Rachelle Gardner – “You’ve been trying to crack the code for getting an agent’s attention, whether in a query or a face-to-face meeting, right? You’ve been searching high and low for the secret to making an agent sit up and say ‘Wow!'” The Write Life
  12. News: Zambian Press Freedom Crisis – Journalists Arrested and Websites Blocked, by Roy Greenslade – “The Zambian government has stepped up its harassment of independent media outlets by arresting journalists and jamming two news websites.” Editor & Publisher
  13. on the list

    on the list

    Lists: Summer books that Goodreads users are loving, by  Stephan Lee – “Goodreads users — like most passionate readers — are an opinionated bunch, so it’s rare for them to come to a consensus about any book. But there are some summer books that are indisputable slam-dunks for the beach, the plane, or inside next to the air-conditioner. The data-crunchers at Goodreads have named for us the seven summer books that seem to be taking off with their readers, judging from stellar ratings and comments” Shelf Life

  14. Essay: Elevate the Reader: Lessons in the art of editing, by Brian Doyle – Editor Floyd Kemske “said many other memorable things. ‘Elevate the reader,’ that was my favorite, and ‘clarity is first and verve is second,’ and ‘writing that is all about the writer is selfish and writing that is about the reader is at least useful.’ Mostly he would say these things while leaning back in his chair during editorial meetings, thumbs hooked in his suspenders.” The American Scholar

“Book Bits” is compiled by Malcolm R. Campbell, author of paranormal short stories and contemporary fantasy novels, including “The Seeker.”

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