The Sun Singer's Travels

Malcolm R. Campbell's World

Book Bits: Gao Yu convicted, Candice Bergan, 99 cent shorts from Vintage, Scribd Expands Library

gaoyu“International PEN, the worldwide association of writers, was founded in 1921 to promote friendship and intellectual cooperation among writers everywhere; to emphasize the role of literature in the development of mutual understanding and world culture; to fight for freedom of expression; and to act as a powerful voice on behalf of writers harassed, imprisoned, and sometimes killed for their views.” – PEN America

I like visiting the PEN websites from time to time to catch up on issues that aren’t always covered in the mainstream press except when famous authors are sanctioned, threatened, imprisoned or killed. Freedom of expression is under attack everywhere. It’s a basic right and not only for writers. Sometimes those of us in the U.S. don’t focus on authors and journalists having trouble elsewhere because we’ve been brought up to feel insular. In a global world, insular is not only a head-in-the-sand approach, it’s naive, for it presupposes that ideas stay, for better or worse, in their countries of origin. (Item 1)

  1. News: Conviction of Gao Yu Part of China’s Effort to Silence Journalists – “Prominent Chinese journalist and activist Gao Yu’s conviction today on spurious charges delivers another blow to free expression and press freedom in China, PEN American Center said today. Gao Yu, 71, was accused of revealing state secrets, a charge often used against journalists in mainland China. She has been sentenced to seven years in prison.” Pen American Center
  2. News: ABA Announces 2015 Indies Choice & E.B. White Award Winners – “The 2015 Indies Choice Book Awards and the E.B. White Read-Aloud Award winners, which are voted on by independent booksellers, were announced yesterday by the ABA.” “All the Light We Cannot See” was selected as the adult fiction book of the year.  Publishers Weekly
  3. fineromanceReview: You’ll fall for Bergen’s ‘Fine Romance,’ by Sharon Peters – “You’ve got to love Candice Bergen. Despite her patrician good looks, Swiss boarding school upbringing, Beverly Hills credentials and hefty collection of shiny Emmys, she’s a regular woman who’s hauling around the usual overflowing cartload of guilt, insecurities, disappointments and embarrassments.”  USA Today
  4. News: Vintage Shorts Celebration to Be Launched in May, by Maryann Yin – “Vintage Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House, announced plans for a Short Story Month celebration. For every day throughout May, the team will digitally release a new Vintage Short fiction piece. These eBooks will be priced at $0.99 each.”  Galley Cat
  5. King


    Interview: From Judy Blume to Virginia Woolf: A Q & A with Lily King, Newtonville Books – “I think the trick is to accomplish more than you initially anticipated. That initial vision of the book is limited, because you don’t have the familiarity, the intimacy, with the material yet. so it’s an intellectualized vision, and not something more visceral and felt. I don’t like to rank my books, so I will pass on that part, if you don’t mind, but the most successful are the ones that have pushed passed that initial vision.”  Literary Hub

  6. Looking Back: “On this day in 1981 the University of Pennsylvania Press issued their edition of Theodore Dreiser’s Sister Carrie, in which some 40,000 words are restored to the text and various changes to the original manuscript are reversed. Far from settling the issue, the Pennsylvania edition provided yet another chapter to one of the most famous and controversial stories in American book publishing.” Today in Literature
  7. Evaristo


    News: Report finds UK books world has marginalised and pigeonholed ethnic minorities, by Alison Flood – “Black and Asian authors in the UK say they are being shoehorned by a publishing industry which is almost blindingly white into writing fiction that conforms to a stereotypical view of their communities.Interviewed as part of a major new piece of research into diversity in publishing, the award-winning novelist Bernadine Evaristo was scathing in her indictment of the British books world. ‘Three decades ago, few novels were published by Britain’s Black and Asian novelists, while 20 years ago, a breakthrough occurred that became a short-lived trend,’ said the author of ‘Blonde Roots,’ a novel that flips history to put whites in the role of slaves. But ‘for the past few years, we have seen a return to the literary invisibility of the past, concealed by a deceptive tokenism.'”  The Guardian

  8. News: Scribd Expands Its Audiobook Library,  Maryann Yin – “Scribd will add 9,000 audiobook titles to its library. The new offerings come from the Penguin Random House Audio list.”  Galley Cat
  9. Feature: Publishing Has Become a Civil War, says Prominent UK Editor, by Mark Piesing – “The shrill comments posted underneath publisher Philip Gwyn Jones’s piece on self-publishing in The Bookseller last year made him start to think about what had happened to the ‘collaborative culture that used to exist in publishing where author, agent, publisher and bookseller may have grumbled about each other but they fundamentally knew they were on the same team’ — and why its place had been taken by a culture that, if it resembled anything, resembled a community tearing itself to pieces in a bloody civil war.”  Publishing Perspectives
  10. lostinNYCReview: “Lost in NYC: A Subway Adventure,” by Nadja Spiegelman , illus. by García Sánchez , Lola Moral, coloring, children and young adult, reviewed by Jennifer M. Brown – “Eisner Award–nominated author Nadja Spiegelman (Zig and Wikki in Something Ate My Homework) and European cartoonist Sergio García Sánchez, making his U.S. debut, deftly combine history, geography and a touch of engineering in a graphic novel centered on a budding friendship between two classmates on a field trip in New York City.”  Shelf Awareness
  11. Feature: Use Art to Imagine What Couldn’t Be Said: Megan Mayhew Bergman and Priya Parmar in Conversation – “It seems everyone, everywhere, has an opinion – and a vocal one, at that — about women writers, their subjects, and the choices that both writers and their characters make. Both Megan Mayhew Bergman (‘Almost Famous Women and Birds of a Lesser Paradise’) and Priya Parmar (‘Vanessa and Her Sister’) have conjured the lives of the infamous and the overlooked in their novels and short stories, so we turned to them and asked them to riff on what drove them to step into the shoes of women who have already captured the public’s attention.”  Barnes & Noble Review


KIndle cover 200x300Book Bits is compiled by Malcolm R. Campbell, author of the 1950s-era Conjure Woman’s Cat about granny and her kitty vs. the Klan in the North Florida piney woods.





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