The Sun Singer's Travels

Malcolm R. Campbell's World

Book Bits: Harper Lee Competency, Indie author deal with GCP, ‘The Grace of Kings’

BookBitsDistilling Maria Popova’s (yet another) wonderful essay to four points is probably a travesty. As she ponders the why of literature, she notes that it saves us time, makes us nicer, cures loneliness and prepares us for failure. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. We may never discover all the benefits of books. To some of us, it doesn’t matter: we read because we like to do it. But if you wonder why we like to do it, Maria Popova has a Brain Pickings essay that’s a good place to start–assuming you haven’t already started and are ready for more inspiration. (Item 2)

  1. News: Alabama Officials Find Harper Lee in Control of Decision to Publish Second Novel, by Serge F. Kovaleski – “The lawyer for the author Harper Lee, Tonja B. Carter, received notice on Friday that an investigation by Alabama officials into whether Ms. Lee, 88, and confined to an assisted living facility, was manipulated into publishing a second novel has been closed and no evidence of abuse or neglect had been found.”  The New York Times
  2. Essay: What Books Do for the Human Soul: The Four Psychological Functions of Great Literature, by by Maria Popova – “Writers open our hearts and minds, and give us maps to our own selves.”  Brain Pickings
  3. Viewpoint: Sci-fi’s right-wing backlash: Never doubt that a small group of deranged trolls can ruin anything (even the Hugo Awards), by Arthur Chu – “Lazy democracy is like an open comments section — left unmoderated and unguided, the worst people take over.”  Salon
  4. wildNews: GCP Signs Indie Author Wild to 7-Figure Deal, by Rachel Deahl – “In the third major deal for an indie author struck during the run-up to next week’s London Book Fair, Grand Central’s Forever imprint has signed Meredith Wild to a five-book, seven figure agreement. ”  Publishers Weekly
  5. Quotation: “Live as if you were living already for the second time and as if you had acted the first time as wrongly as you are about to act now!” – Viktor Frankl from Literary JukeboxNews: Michael Connelly Auctions Off Chance to Star in Book, by Dianna Dilworth – “Ever wanted to be the subject of a book? Author Michael Connelly is letting one lucky bidder star in his next novel ‘The Crossing!'”  Galley Cat
  6. lisagenovaFeature: Inside Lisa Genova’s medical best sellers, by Jocelyn McClurg – “Lisa Genova’s improbable journey from neuroscientist to hit novelist includes a storybook scene right out of fiction: sitting at the Academy Awards in joyful tears, watching Julianne Moore win an Oscar for Still Alice.”  USA Today
  7. Essay: Difficult, Dated, Frustrating, Prophetic: Teaching Thomas Pynchon, by Nick Ripatrazone – “In a 1978 debate with William Gass at the University of Cincinnati, John Gardner said the fiction of Anthony Trollope is rarely taught “because it’s all clear.” In contrast, “every line of Thomas Pynchon you can explain because nothing is clear.” The result: “the academy ends up accidentally selecting books the student may need help with. ”  The Millions
  8. graceofkingsReview: “The Grace of Kings,” by Ken Liu, reviewed by Amal El-Mohtar – “Liu’s world is beautiful, nuanced, fierce, original, and diverse; it’s refreshing to read door-stopper fantasy where the geographies and cultures aren’t Europe-with-more-apostrophes. But neither does this feel like alt-China: it reads much more like a world invented than transposed, and the warring states of Dara draw on a multitude of influences and references without being reductive fantasy-world allegories of any of them.”  NPR
  9. News: Poetry on Twitter – “To honor National Poetry Month, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs is hosting its sixth annual Twitter poetry competition. From today through April 13, participants across the country are invited to tweet their 140-character poems with the hashtag #PoetweetNYC. The winning poem will be published in the New York City newspaper Metro.”  Poets & Writers
  10. Commentary: How to find time to read, by Oliver Burkeman – “The web’s full of listicles offering tips – Give up TV or Carry a book with you at all times – but in my experience, such methods don’t work’”  The Guardian
  11. shadowdaysReview: “Shadow Days,” by Melinda Clayton, reviewed by ?wazithinkin – “This story gives the reader a realistic inside look at what it is like to deal with a loved one who suffers with mental illness. In retrospect Emily begins second guessing herself, did she do the right thing hiding Greg’s illness from her sons? Did she do all she could to support Greg while he was battling his illness? She feels shame, confusion, and guilt. She has completely lost her sense of self.”  Five Stars Big Al’s Books and Pals
  12. News: University of Virginia Fraternity to Go After Rolling Stone for Rape Article, by Ravi Somaiya – “The University of Virginia fraternity at the center of a retracted article by Rolling Stone magazine that detailed a purported gang rape by its members said on Monday that it planned ‘to pursue all available legal action against the magazine.'”  Editor & Publisher
  13. Commentary: Amazon is a More “Modest Beast,” says UK Tech Expert, by Mark Piesing – “‘Amazon is no longer as powerful as it seemed’” and is suffering a crisis, argues Charles Arthur, ex-tech editor of the Guardian and author of Digital Wars.”  Publishing Perspectives

Book Bits is compiled by Malcolm R. Campbell, author of Conjure Woman’s Cat.

 

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