BOOK BITS: Pharrell Williams book deal, ‘My Documents,’ Paula Hawkins
While many of us are digging out of snow or putting up with an ice storm, some of you might be celebrating the anniversary of “Waltzing Matilda” today, written by A. B. (“Banjo”) Paterson in 1864. If you like the song and need to remind yourself what the words in it mean, you’ll find the story in today’s edition of Today in Literature. You can use your knowledge of those words to be a better person and/or win bar bets.
Here are today’s books and authors links:
News: Pharrell Williams Has Deal for ‘Happy’ Picture Book, 3 More – “The Grammy Award-winning performer has an agreement with Putnam Books for Young Readers for four picture books, starting with one inspired by his hit song.” ABC News
- Viewpoint: Looking For Stories To Challenge Taboos? Forget ‘Fifty Shades’ by Matthew Weddig – “As Fifty Shades of Grey continues to stretch out its shelf life with a roundly panned film adaptation, it’s hard not to notice how much attention (as in pieces like this one, which is Not Safe For Work) has been given to how the film deals with the book’s infamously explicit sex scenes. While the film is opening just this weekend, it’s safe to assume its scenes aren’t as explicit as what’s in the book, given its R rating. But while the book is explicit, certainly, what it isn’t is daring.” – NPR
- Review: “My Documents,” by Alejandro Zambra, reviewed by Jenn Fields – “The opening lines of some stories in ‘My Documents’ have an ordinary feel, like dull gray flint at first glance. But there’s a glint in the stone, and it’s a bit sharp around the edges. And with the right strike, it will spark…The opening lines of some stories in “My Documents” have an ordinary feel, like dull gray flint at first glance. But there’s a glint in the stone, and it’s a bit sharp around the edges. And with the right strike, it will spark.” – The Denver Post
- News: – Writer and New York Times media critic David Carr died [February 12] at the Times offices in Manhattan. Carr, who worked at the Times since 2002, wrote about the intersections of media with business, culture, publishing, and government for the past twenty-five years. Times film critic A. O. Scott wrote that Carr “managed to see the complexities of digital-age journalism from every angle, and to write about it with unparalleled clarity and wit.” Carr was fifty-eight.” – Poets & Writers Magazine
- Bestsellers: “Speeding ‘Train’: The book everybody is calling the next Gone Girl has powered its way to No. 1 on USA TODAY’s list much more quickly than Gillian Flynn’s hit did. The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins’ debut psychological thriller about bad marriages and murder, hits the top spot in its fourth week on the list, after three straight weeks at No. 2. It knocks Chris Kyle’s American Sniper, which was No. 1 for three consecutive weeks, to the second spot.” – USA Today
- Essay: Help! I’m 51 and still haven’t read nearly half the books on my bucket list by Danny Heitman – “A couple of days before my recent birthday, my friend Annabelle arrived with a gift: a canvas book bag decorated with a clock face and bearing the words, ‘So Many Books – So Little Time!'” Does that phrase offer hope that one will always have something to read or the defeating realization one will never read everything one wants to read. Heitman explores the realities. – Christian Science Monitor
- Contests: Deadline Approaches for Kenyon Review Short Fiction Contest – Stories up to 1,200 words; Deadline February 28; Entry fee $18; Prize A $2,195 scholarship plus publication.
- News: Brit large: UK picks ‘author’ as its dream job…”Sixty per cent of people in a new YouGov poll would plump for a literary life – while only 5% fancied heading down the mines” by Alison Flood – “James Joyce might have described writing in English as “the most ingenious torture ever devised for sins committed in previous lives”, but the people of Britain appear unconcerned, with the role of author voted the most desired job in the country.” – The Guardian
- Quotation: “People who think they know everything are a great annoyance to those of us who do.” – Isaac Asimov
- Commentary: To Shill a Mockingbird: How the discovery of a manuscript became Harper Lee’s ‘new’ novel by Neely Tucker – “Would you like to understand how the ‘new’ Harper Lee novel, ‘Go Set a Watchman,’ came to be billed as a long-lost, blockbuster sequel to ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ — one of the definitive books of the American 20th century — when, by all the known facts, it’s an uneven first draft of the famous novel that was never considered for publication?” – The Washington Post