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Malcolm R. Campbell's World

Book Bits: Speed reading app, ‘Shotgun Lovesongs,’ John Lefevre, Simon Vance

BookBitsWhile in college, many of us could have used a speed-reading device. Professors assigned reading to classes as though each course was the only course the students were taking. So, we carried around boatloads of books. So now, maybe there’s an application for such times (Item 4). Otherwise, I see no need to “enjoy” novels in a fraction of the time I now read them. When I pay for “a big book” I want it to last for weeks. Having it over before the day’s over seems to me as fulfilling as attending a feature film that’s over in fifteen minutes. But, the world seldom asks me if stuff’s okay to sell.

Here are today’s links:

  1. News: GSElevator Author Says He Will Fight to Keep Advance, by Rachel Deahl – “John Lefevre, the man behind the popular parody Twitter handle @GSElevator, who scored a reported six-figure book deal with Simon & Schuster, has had his forthcoming book, Straight to Hell, canceled, as Business Insider first reported. The situation has left Lefevre feeling cheated and, as he told PW, ready to take the publisher to court if it attempts to recover any portion of the advance it paid him.”  Publishers Weekly
  2. ShotgunlovesongsReview: “Shotgun Lovesongs,” by Nickolas Butler, reviewed by Peter Geye – “We all have them, right? Those songs that indelibly mark the milestones in our lives? Songs that stir up our deepest feelings and remind us of who we are: the anthems of our youth, our wedding songs, the old classics that are as much a part of our lives as our feet beneath us. It’s what makes music so powerful, the head and the heart and the gut all working in concert.”  Minneapolis Star-Tribune
  3. News: Claire Cameron joins Atwood, Catton on Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction longlist, by Sue Carter Flinn – “Claire Cameron’s novel The Bear (Doubleday Canada) has been longlisted for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction, the U.K.’s only annual book award for fiction written by women.”  Quill & Quire
  4. Feature: The Need for a Speed Read, by Nicholas Mancusi – “What if you could read a thousand-page book in a matter of hours? Gravity’s Rainbow on the train to work. Infinite Jest during an afternoon on the hammock. Crime and Punishment over a lunch break or two. With the technologically facilitated speed-reading offered by a new app, called Spritz, soon to be released for the Samsung Galaxy S5 and the Gear 2 Watch, it just might be possible.”  The Daily Beast
  5. Vance


    Interview: The Voice of the Poets: The life and work of an audiobook narrator, by Bruce Holsinger and Simon Vance – “There is still a divide between those who think audiobooks are “cheating” and those who swear by them—but I think the distance between those factions is narrowing. I have total respect for people who enjoy the feel of the book (or tablet!) in their hands and the ability to interpret the author’s words in their own way. But I also think it’s possible to view the audiobook as an artistic endeavor in its own right.”  Slate

  6. Essay: Baffling Dictums: On the Rules of Writing, by Ethan Hauser – “Ask any writer about the rules he’s heard throughout the years, and he will be able to recite a litany as deeply embedded as the Lord’s Prayer.  Show, don’t tell.  Write what you know.  The first sentence is key.  The last sentence is key.  All writing is rewriting.  No adverbs.  No one aside from you finds your dreams interesting.  You should never write in the second person. ”  The Millions
  7. inthebloodReview: “In the Blood,” by Lisa Unger, reviewed by Gerald Bartell – “The psyche is the “ultimate puzzle,” observes Lana Granger, the narrator of Lisa Unger’s brisk, crafty and fascinating psychological thriller “In the Blood.” And, indeed, Unger’s tale bears out Lana’s observation. For all the questions the author poses in her plot — and there are many — what ultimately confounds, unsettles and jolts the reader is the mystery of its narrator’s mind.”  The Washington Post
  8. Looking Back: “On this day in 1948, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s wife, Zelda, and eight other patients were killed in a fire at the Highland Mental Hospital in Asheville, North Carolina. This was eighteen years after Zelda’s first mental breakdown and eight years after Scott’s fatal heart attack — a world away from the Jazz Age they helped to define, and which helped to defeat them.” – Today in Literature
  9. tinhouselogoFeature: Tin House: 15 Years of Fostering Lively, Diverse Literature, by Joy Hawley – “Portland’s Tin House Press, born out of the eponymous magazine, continues to foster a community of engaged readers interested in eclectic small press publishing.” Publishing Perspectives
  10. Viewpoint: After You Sign the Contract, by Anita Agers-Brooks – “You did it! You succeeded in acquiring an agent, your book sold, and you just signed your contract. Ahhh. Life is amazing. But…There’s more work to do.” Wordserve water cooler
  11. Feature: Is the LRB the best magazine in the world? by Elizabeth Day – “The London Review of Books has become the most successful – and controversial – literary publication in Europe. Just what is Mary-Kay Wilmers, its 75-year-old editor, getting so right?”  The Guardian
  12. childrenofrevolutionReview: “Children of the Revolution,” by Peter Robinson, reviewed by Connie Fletcher – “An A-list staple, Robinson’s Inspector Banks series has a devoted following, especially in libraries, and this is one of the series’ highlights.”  Booklist
  13. Viewpoint: There’s no jot of shame in leaving the books on your shelf unread, by Christopher Howse – “A survey has found that half of an average home’s 138 books go unread. I’m surprised it is as low as a half. Books aren’t meant to be read.”  The Telegraph
  14. News: Poet Ned O’Gorman Dies – Award-winning poet Ned O’Gorman, “who gained his widest attention for starting a storefront school [Children’s Storefront] in Harlem–a ‘liberation camp,’ he called it–to bring literature, Latin and love to disadvantaged children,” died Friday, the New York Times reported. He was 84. In addition to a memoir, The Other Side of Loneliness, his books included six poetry collections. The Night of the Hammer won a Lamont Poetry Prize from the Academy of American Poets in 1958. Shelf Awareness

Emilyaudio“Book Bits” is compiled by Malcolm R. Campbell, author of “Emily’s Stories”

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