The Sun Singer's Travels

Malcolm R. Campbell's World

Book Bits: Khloe Kardashian, Ted Lewis, Reese Witherspoon, ‘Where They Found Her’

BookBitsA lot of today’s headlines appear to be written by amateurs: they contain opinions and/or offer something they don’t deliver. Case in point: “Russia wants to build a supercarrier, and it’s a total waste.” Hardly objective unless the words “total waste” are in quotes and are attributed to somebody other that the author of the story. However, that’s not a Book Bits concern.

Another case in point: “What Is a Literary Novel?” I read the piece expecting an answer. The headline allows us to infer there will be an answer, even a tentative one. What we have here is speculation. What a disappointment, even though it’s an opinion piece rather than news. (Item 4)

  1. News: Khloe Kardashian is writing an advice book – “Khloe Kardashian is coming out with a book this fall — but unlike her sister Kim’s book of selfies, she’ll be doling out words of wisdom. The reality TV star and entrepreneur, 30, is working on a book of advice and lifestyle tips for developing “strength and true beauty” in a “culture that worships skinny,” publisher Regan Arts announced Thursday.”  CBS News
  2. Interview: “‘I’ve got a million head games I play to keep myself intact”: On “Deadwood,’ weed and other essential tools of the writing trade, by Teddy Wayne – ELISA ALBERT, JACOB RUBIN, HEIDI JULAVITS, STUART ARCHER COHEN, KELLY LINK and KATE BOLICK “discuss good habits, bad reviews and the creative weight of loneliness, nostalgia and ghosts.”   Salon
  3. GBHReview: GBH – Ted Lewis and His Kitchen Sink Killers, reviewed by Charles Taylor – “There is no honor, not even the honor among thieves, in the work of Ted Lewis. Lewis, who died in 1982 at the age of forty-two, after completing nine novels and a lot of hard living, is best known as the creator of Jack Carter, the character who, in the mind of noir aficionados, will forever be Michael Caine in Mike Hodges’s 1971 film Get Carter. Like that movie, Lewis’s novel (originally titled Jack’s Return Home) is a mean, cold, tight piece of work. Jack Carter is a fixer for London thugs who returns to his northern hometown to find the men who murdered his brother. Jack also appears in two prequels, the 1974 Jack Carter’s Law and the lackluster 1977 Jack Carter and the Mafia Pigeon (a caper-ish title that implies a certain desperation).”  Barnes & Noble Review
  4. Viewpoint: What Is a Literary Novel? by Warren Adler – “I have been baffled for years over what constitutes the definition of a “literary” novel. Over the course of my career, I have heard numerous definitions, but none quite resonate for me as the one gold standard, definitive answer.”  {More questions than answers in his piece.} The Huffington Post
  5. proopsInterview: Podcast spawns “Smartest Book in the World,” by John Wenzel – “With his crisp suits, black-frame glasses and coiffed hair, comedian Greg Proops certainly looks like someone who would host a podcast called ‘The Smartest Man in the World.’ And when the 55-year-old speaks, letting forth a gravel-flecked accent that has led to voice work in Tim Burton’s ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas,’ ‘Star Wars: The Phantom Menace’ and kiddie fare like ‘Bob the Builder,’ the illusion is complete. But the last thing you should do is take him too seriously.”  The Denver Post
  6. News: Witherspoon to read Harper Lee audio book, by Jocelyn McClurg – “Actress Reese Witherspoon has signed on to narrate the audio version of the year’s hottest book, Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee.”  USA Today
  7. pardloFeature: Gregory Pardlo, Pulitzer Winner for Poetry, on His Sudden Fame, by Alexandra Alter – On an unabashedly glorious afternoon this week, the poet and essayist Phillip Lopate stood in front of a small group of graduate students in Columbia University’s creative writing program. He took attendance, noting a few absences, before turning to a discussion about the German filmmaker Harun Farocki. But first he singled out a student sitting at the lecture table, who was fiddling with his pen and notebook, with a backpack stuffed full of library books at his feet. ‘I just want to embarrass Greg and make an announcement,’ Mr. Lopate said. ‘He just won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry.'”  The New York Times
  8. wheretheyfoundherReview: “Where They Found Her,” by Kimberly McCreight, reviewed by Amy Scribner – “Author Kimberly McCreight is well known for her 2013 best-selling debut, ‘Reconstructing Amelia. With ‘Where They Found Her,’ she has delivered another eerie, harrowing read.’ Through flashbacks and multiple narrators—some more reliable than others—McCreight weaves a deeply satisfying spellbinder that unfolds deliciously to the very last chapter.”  Book Page
  9. News: Amazon Has First Quarter Net Loss, by Jim Milliot – “Sales at Amazon rose 15% in the first quarter ended March 31 compared to the first period of 2014, hitting $22.72 billion. Higher expenses, however, led to a net loss of $57 million compared to net income of $108 million in last year’s first quarter.”  Publishers Weekly
  10. News: Princeton Acquires Rare Yeats Manuscript – “The Graphic Arts Collection at Princeton University has acquired a rare manuscript of W. B. Yeats poems published in 1935. Yeats’s sister, Elizabeth Corbet Yeats, printed just thirty copies of the manuscript on Cuala Press—a small publisher she founded in 1908.”  Poets & Writers
  11. wealllookedupReview: “We All Looked up,” by Tommy Wallach, ages 14 and up – “The end of the world turns into a life-changing opportunity for four high school seniors…A thought-provoking story that will bring out readers’ inner philosophers.” {I hope the actual cover is more legible than this photo.}  Kirkus Reviews
  12. News: CBC to Build Children’s Libraries for Incarcerated Mothers & Babies, by Dianna Dilworth – “The Children’s Book Council (CBC) is teaming up with The unPrison Project, a nonprofit dedicated to mentoring incarcerated women to bring children’s books to mothers behind bars”  Galley Cat
  13. News: Astronaut Celebrates World Book Day in Space with Tiny Tomes, by Tariq Malik – “Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti is not just a space traveler, she’s apparently also a bibliophile who can’t bear to be apart from her books, even while living off planet Earth.” 

LandBetween2015Book Bits is compiled by Malcolm R. Campbell, author of “The Land Between The Rivers: Tate’s Hell Stories,” released today by Thomas-Jacob Publishing.


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