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Malcolm R. Campbell's World

Book Bits: Rowling Donates Royalties, ‘The Ghost Bride,’ Adelle Waldman, America’s Biggest Library

BookBitsHumans, through (perhaps) feelings of arrogance or entitlement, tend to ignore the realities of nature. We build houses and resorts as close to rivers and oceans as possible to enjoy the pleasant sides of sunny beaches and lazy rivers. Then when storms and floods come and our buildings are damaged or swept away, we protest, saying, “Somebody needs to fix the problem.”

As has often been said, you can’t fix stupid. When we build in dangerous places, the dangers need to be factored in as part of the future.  Joshua Jelly-Schapiro discusses John Gillis’ suggestion in The Human Shore that we need to find new ways to relate to our beaches. (Item 12)

Today’s Links:

  1. News: JK Rowling wins ‘substantial donation’ to charity from law firm behind Robert Galbraith confidentiality leak, by Matilda Battersby – “The author has also revealed she is donating three years’ worth of royalties from The Cuckoo’s Calling to The Soldiers’ Charity” The Independent
  2. ghostbrideReview: “The Ghost Bride,” by Yangsze Choo, reviewed by Becky Ohlsen – “Plenty of girls daydream about their future weddings. Usually these dreams include, at minimum, another human being. In that sense, the first marriage proposal in Yangsze Choo’s debut novel, The Ghost Bride, is a little unusual: It comes from someone who’s been dead for months.” Book Page
  3. Lists: 7 Things I Take to Writers’ Conferences, by Meghan Ward – When you pack your bags for your next (or your first) writer’s conference, consider the idems that Ward takes with her. Writerland
  4. News: Amazon, Overstock Race To Bottom In Book Price War, by Andy Meek – “The two e-commerce retailers are aggressively trying to undercut each others’ book prices, which is great for consumers but not so much for authors. ” BuzzFeed
  5. bobcatReview: “Bobcat and Other Stories,” by Rebecca Lee, reviewed by Carol Memmott – “But it’s not so much the plots that resonate as much as the characters. They embody our own fears and misgivings about family and love and our willingness to compromise. As the dinner party host says in ‘Bobcat,’ ‘the dream of a happy family can be so overpowering that people will often put up with a lot to approximate it. Sometimes a little blindness keeps the family together.'” Minneapolis Star-Tribune
  6. Feature: Abandoned Walmart is Now America’s Largest Library – “There are thousands of abandoned big box stores sitting empty all over America, including hundreds of former Walmart stores. With each store taking up enough space for 2.5 football fields, Walmart’s use of more than 698 million square feet of land in the U.S. is one of its biggest environmental impacts. But at least one of those buildings has been transformed into something arguably much more useful: the nation’s largest library.” Web Urbanist
  7. waldmanInterview: Adelle Waldman (“The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P.”) with Brad Listi – “Katie Roiphe, writing for Slate, says ‘We have lately heard ad infinitum the new sensitive literary man’s account of his life and times… what we haven’t yet heard enough of is the smart literary woman’s view of him.’…Monologue topics: poem, Michael Earl Craig, Primitive Men.” Other People
  8. Essay: The Hole in Our Collective Memory: How Copyright Made Mid-Century Books Vanish, Rebecca J. Rosen – “A book published during the presidency of Chester A. Arthur has a greater chance of being in print today than one published during the time of Reagan. ” The Atlantic
  9. othertypiistReview: “The Other Typist,” by Suzanne Rindell, reviewed by Emily St. John Mandel – “There’s a certain amount of unnecessary exposition in the first half of the book, and the novel is hampered at times by a weakness for excessive foreshadowing; in the early chapters especially, there are a great many of those “but little did I know what would come next” asides that do little to move a story forward and that can even suggest a certain — in this case entirely unwarranted — insecurity on the part of the writer. But Rindell is a fine writer, and she’s written a suspenseful and well-executed novel. The Other Typist is an elegant debut. ”  The Millions
  10. Feature: The Smell Of Chocolate Boosts Book Sales, Study Says, by Annalisa Quinn – “The smell of chocolate boosts book sales, according to a study by Belgian researchers published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology. The researchers, led by Lieve Douce of Belgium’s Hasselt University, spent 10 days observing customers in a Belgian bookstore.” NPR
  11. amazonlogoCommentary: Bookseller Reaction to President’s Amazon Visit Receives Widespread Media Attention, by Rosemary Hawkins – “On Monday, in a letter to the President, the American Booksellers Association’s Board of Directors and CEO Oren Teicher said the decision to use an Amazon warehouse as a platform to promote job creation was misguided.” American Booksellers Association
  12. humanshoreReview: “The Human Shore: Seacoasts in History,” by John Gillis, reviewed by Joshua Jelly-Schapiro – “Describing the varied mythological traditions by which people everywhere came to distill their views about the sea, he notes the commonality of belief in land symbolizing order and sea chaos. Coasts, accordingly, were looked on as shifting zones of sharp rocks and deadly sirens: scary sites that belonged more to the realm of the god Oceanus than to the land. It was only as the old maritime empires became modern states (and tamed Oceanus, at least in mind, by dividing its contiguous mass into “seas” with their own names) that the modern urge to transform our shores’ terra infirma into territory, and thus to fix the frontier between order and chaos, grew ascendant.” The Chronicle of Higher Education
  13. News: Dundurn Press Buys Canadian Thomas Allen Publishers, by Leigh Anne Williams – “Toronto-based Dundurn Press is acquiring Thomas Allen Publishing, the publishing arm of Thomas Allen & Son, which is refocusing on its core distribution business.” Publishers Weekly
  14. Contest: Short Story Award for New Writers: Prize $1,500 and publication, Deadline Auguat 31, “Open only to writers whose fiction has not appeared, nor is scheduled to appear, in a print publication with a circulation over 5,000.” Glimmer Train

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

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