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Malcolm R. Campbell's World

Book Bits: ‘The Luminaries,’ Illinois’ Amazon tax, Norman Mailer biography, Watterson interview

BookBitsToday is the birthday of Alfred Nobel. Born in 1833, he made his fortune in explosives and, rather than leaving his fortune to his family, established the foundation which awards the famous prizes every year. As Today in Literature says, “Why such an unromantic semi-recluse and borderline misanthrope should leave his money to those who ‘shall have conferred the greatest benefit on mankind’ and, in literature’s case, to moving mankind in ‘an ideal direction,’ is something of a puzzle.”

Here are today’s links to publishing news, essays and reviews:

  1. News: Bloomsbury Launches Pop Science Imprint, Sigma – “Bloomsbury has launched a new imprint called Sigma that will publish books in the popular science category. Noting that the category has seen a growth of 8% from 2012 to 2013, Bloomsbury said Sigma will focus on narrative titles on subjects ranging from robotics to evolutionary biology.”  Publishers Weekly
  2. doublelifeReview: “Norman Mailer: a Double Life,” by J. Michael Lennon, reviewed by David Kirby – “Lennon brings Mailer thoroughly alive in this great wallop of a book. His is the reporter’s eye, not the judge’s, and he captures the entirety of a man who embodied his era like no other.”  The Washington Post
  3. Lists: The Devil’s 10 Best Appearances in Literature, by Jason Diamond – “Try not to forget that no matter how evil any psycho killer, ghost, ghoul, or goblin might be, the devil is the baddest bad guy of them all. And whether you call him Lucifer, Satan, Beelzebub, fallen angel, antichrist, or Ted Cruz, he’s had a long and fruitful relationship with literature; here are his ten best moments.” Flavorwire
  4. News: Illinois Supreme Court strikes down ‘Amazon tax’ – “An Illinois law aimed at leveling competition between online and brick-and-mortar retailers while collecting more state sales taxes is unconstitutional, the state supreme court ruled Friday, upholding a Cook County judge’s decision. The opinion is another shot in the highly contentious nationwide battle over who should collect online sales tax and how.”  The Chicago Tribune
  5. Essay: Silently, Side by Side: Reading with My Son, by Philip Graham – “Maybe those days of curling up in bed with a story were long gone, but what if we read the same book together silently in the living room? If I bought two copies of a novel, we could take on chapter-length chunks each evening and then discuss what we’d just read. Perhaps in this way I could gently lead my son to an appreciation of the deeper internal landscapes that literature offers.”  The Millions
  6. morethingshighReview: “More Things in Heaven and Earth,” by Jeff High, reviewed by Donna Meredith – “The novel starts with this sentence: “In medical jargon it’s called a Code Blue.” The new doctor in Watervalley, Tennessee, faces a life or death situation in a clinic with inadequate supplies. Jeff High gives you action that has consequences and hooks you right from the get-go. The outcome is somewhat unexpected, and only after turning the last page do you realize how beautifully that first chapter sets up the rest of the book.”  Southern Literary Review
  7. News: Calvin and Hobbes’ reclusive creator gives rare interview, by Erin McCann – “US magazine Mental Floss succeeds where others have failed by securing interview with notoriously private Bill Watterson.”  The Guardian
  8. Clayton

    Clayton

    Interview: Melinda Clayton (“Blessed Are the Wholly Broken”), with Malcolm R. Campbell – “I wanted to explore that dynamic, the path one might travel that could lead from euphoria to despair, from hopeful to hopeless…The writing of ‘Wholly Broken’ was more about an examination of the unraveling of a life than it was about reaching closure.” Malcolm’s Round Table

  9. News: Lemony Snicket will release a short story collection, by Molly Driscoll – “Snicket published the second book in his “Questions” series – “When Did You See Her Last” – earlier this month. Now he says that he will publish a short story collection this April (April 1, or April Fool’s Day, to be precise) titled ‘File Under 13: Suspicious Incidents,’ which will be a group of 13 shorter mysteries all set in the same universe as ‘Questions.'”  The Christian Science Monitor
  10. GoldfinchReview: “The Goldfinch,” by Donna Tartt, reviewed by Kevin Nance – “Tartt manages to deliver wistful, always wise meditations on class divisions, the contradictions of the art world, the power of memory and the randomness of fate, in which life can take all sorts of seemingly disastrous turns and yet, in true Dickensian fashion, turn out all right in the end.”  USA Toda
  11. Feature: 5 Easy Ways to Promote Your Book, by Meghan Ward – Websites, being social, partipating in online communities and alternating book pitches with other content comprise this list.  Writerland
  12. Quotation: “I intend to leave after my death a large fund for the promotion of the peace idea, but I am skeptical as to its results.” – Alfred Nobel
  13. luminariesReview: “The Luminaries,” by Eleanor Catton, reviewed by Lauren Bufferd – “Eleanor Catton’s historical suspense novel The Luminaries is built like a triple Decker—one of those 19th-century novels that were so substantial, they were published serially in three volumes. Clocking in at over 800 pages, this pitch-perfect Victorian pastiche set in New Zealand has all the right elements: long-lost siblings, hidden caches of letters, a séance and a villainess so wicked she could have walked right out of a Wilkie Collins novel.”  BookPage
  14. Essay: Why All the Fuss About Proust? by Andre Aciman – “The 100th anniversary of Swann’s Way reminds us of his introspective genius.”  The Wall Street Journal
  15. News: Poor health keeps Alice Munro from attending Nobel ceremony – “Nobel Prize for Literature winner Alice Munro will not attend the award ceremony in Stockholm on Dec.10.” – Quill & Quire

MoonLightandGhosts“Book Bits” is compiled my Malcolm R. Campbell, author of the paranormal short stories on Kindle, “Moonlight and Ghosts” and “Cora’s Crossing.”

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