The Sun Singer's Travels

Malcolm R. Campbell's World

Book Bits: Christian book sales drop, ‘Finn Fancy,’ Miranda July, Oprah’s pick

BookBitsBook Bits is a randomly posted selection of links taking you to news, reviews and opinions in the world of books. It’s a very large world and, as always, there’s more to read than we have time for reading. But we try, remembering David Bailey’s comment that “The best advice I ever got was that knowledge is power and to keep reading.”

  1. News: No Panic Over 15 Percent Drop in Christian Fiction Sales, by Ann Byle – “Christian publishers say they are remaining calm, despite recent date from Nielsen BookScan indicating that Christian fiction sales dropped 15% from 2013 to 2014. Although fiction sales in all categories dropped during this time period, the hit Christian fiction took was more dramatic.” – Publishers Weekly
  2. finnfancyReview:Finn Fancy’ Is Urban Fantasy With A Pop Culture Sweet Tooth – “Fantasy’s turn toward the grim has not lessened lately, nor should it. The success of George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire not only justifies all that brooding darkness, it’s opened the doors for many other excellent and similarly grim books. Randy Henderson, however, has something else in mind entirely with his debut novel, Finn Fancy Necromancy. Strictly speaking, it’s an urban fantasy, one that takes place in and around present-day Seattle.” – NPR
  3. News: 2015 Freedom to Read Award goes to prize’s founder Ron Brown – “The Writers’ Union of Canada has announced the recipient of the 2015 Freedom to Read Award is the prize’s founder, Ron Brown. The award aims to recognize ‘advocacy on behalf of free expression in Canada.’ TWUC chair Harry Thurston says in a press release that he ‘can’t think of a more deserving recipient” than Brown.’” – Quill & Quire
  4. mirandajulyInterview: Miranda July: The Beating Heart, with Michele Filgate – “Her debut novel, The First Bad Man, centers on a middle-aged woman named Cheryl. She lives by herself, suffers from a nervous condition known as globus hystericus (she often feels like she has a lump in her throat), and works for a self-defense organization. The life she has settled into is radically changed when her bosses’ 21-year-old daughter, Clee, moves in with her—and not by Cheryl’s choice. Clee’s parents need a place for her to stay. The two women make an odd pairing, and their relationship morphs from a tense dynamic to an unexpected intimacy.” – Barnes & Noble Review
  5. News: Minimum Wage, Maximum Concern for Independent Bookstores – “At the American Booksellers Association members town hall meeting yesterday afternoon during Winter Institute 10 in Asheville, N.C., booksellers took the floor to discuss a range of topics, particularly the rising tide of minimum wage in parts of the country.” Shelf Awareness
  6. valentinesdayFeature: What Is the Best Portrayal of a Marriage in Literature? – “This week, Charles McGrath and Leslie Jamison discuss the best portrayals of marriage in literature… McGrath: ‘Marriage in Trollope’s Palliser novels is not ecstatic, but a shifting arrangement of trade-offs.’ … Jamison: ‘This is marriage: not knowing one’s wife, but constantly relearning her.’” – The New York Times
  7. How To: Get Pushy—Push Character Conflict and Reader Emotion, by Beth Hill – “While novels can be differentiated by a variety of elements—genre, theme, setting, level of humor, and the writer’s style, a few among many—writers can make any story stand out due to entertaining plots, captivating characters, and high-quality writing.” – The Editor’s Blog
  8. rubyNews: Why Oprah Winfrey chose ‘Ruby’ for her book club by Hillel Italie – “’I put it down and waited until I was in bed with the flu to start reading it. I found the language and descriptions so vividly compelling that sometimes I would have to take a breath and repeat the sentences out loud.’” Christian Science Monitor
  9. Viewpoint: Why “Gone Girl?” Why Not “Gone Woman?” by Roger Tagholm – “When it comes to titling fiction why is there such a preference for the word ‘girl’ over ‘woman’?” – Publishing Perspectives

Book Bits is compiled by Malcolm R. Campbell, author of “Emily’s Stories,” “The Seeker,” and the upcoming “Conjure Woman’s Cat.”

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