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Malcolm R. Campbell's World

Book Bits: ‘Cat’s Cradle,’ PEN fuss, Joan Rivers, Rowling’s ‘Very Good Lives’

BookBitsAs Today in Literature reminds us, this is the anniversary of the 1948 release of Norman Mailer’s “The Naked and the Dead.”  The London Times didn’t like it, said it was “incredibly foul and beastly.” I don’t know how it would fare in today’s climate where everyone and their brother is in a rush to tell the world how offended they are about something. The naked would probably take offense at the nudity and the dead would haunt us with their lamentations about those whose number was unfairly up.

Meanwhile, many of those who jumped on the Je suis Charlie bandwagon not too long ago are jumping back off for the PEN Awards because they don’t like the message they think Charlie Hebdo was disseminating. Even though they’re wrong, they deserve their “right” to be offended because that’s the politically correct way to be. Their offendedness offends me. (Item 9)

  1. News: Cat’s Cradle will be adapted for television, by Kate Stanhope – “IM Global Television is ramping its development slate with several hot properties including Kurt Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle and the Darkover series.”  The Hollywood Reporter
  2. News: New E-book Bundling Service BitLit Adds Macmillan, by Rachel Deahl – “BitLit, a start-up with an app that allows customers to purchase e-book editions of titles they already own, has added Macmillan to its roster of publishing partners. Macmillan, the second of the Big Five houses to add its titles to the service, joins over 300 other publishers that have signed contracts with the Vancouver, BC-based company.”  Publishers Weekly
  3. mainereviewNew Title: New Lit on the Block :: The Maine Review, by Denise Hill – “Editor Katherine Mayfield and Intern Bonnie Irwin bring readers and writers The Maine Review, a new print/e/Kindle quarterly publishing short fiction, CNF, poetry, essays on writing, and black-and-white interior art. They also publish annual collections of short fiction (summer) and poetry (winter).”  NewPages
  4. Essay: Is a Developmental Editor Right for You? by Shawn Inmon – “According to Big Al’s Publishing Process Survey, only 45 of the 85 respondents paid to work with an editor, although another 17 traded services. There are a number of reasons, ranging from the artistic to the monetary, for deciding not to work with an editor. I’ve taken the other path and worked with at least one editor on every project I’ve published. ”  Indies Unlimited
  5. UALNews: Rhapsody, a Lofty Literary Journal, Perused at 39,000 Feet, by By Alexandra Liter – “As airlines try to distinguish their high-end service with luxuries like private sleeping chambers, showers, butler service and meals from five-star chefs, United Airlines is offering a loftier, more cerebral amenity to its first-class and business-class passengers: elegant prose by prominent novelists. There are no airport maps or disheartening lists of in-flight meal and entertainment options in Rhapsody. ”  The New York Times
  6. endisnighCommentary: Does Post-Apocalyptic Literature Have A (Non-Dystopian) Future? by Jason Heller – “The end of the world sure is taking a long time. Ever since the breakout success of Cormac McCarthy’s 2006 novel The Road, America has been degraded, devastated, and decimated time and time again — at least, on the page. Granted, McCarthy didn’t invent post-apocalyptic fiction. But he helped spark a literary trend that shows no signs of abating.”  NPR
  7. Obituary: Ruth Rendell, Best-Selling Crime Writer, Dies At 85 – “Prolific crime and mystery writer Ruth Rendell, perhaps best known for her Chief Inspector Wexford novels, died Saturday, said her publisher, Penguin Random House. She was 85.”  The Huffington Post
  8. bookofjoanReview: Melissa Rivers remembers mom in memoir, by Jocelyn McClurg – “Yep, Joan Rivers is probably chortling somewhere up in the great Comedy Club in the sky. Melissa Rivers says she wanted to write a book that would have made her mother laugh. And Joan, who died last September at age 81, and her jokes ripple throughout Melissa’s affectionate ‘memoir.'”  USA Today
  9. Viewpoint: The PEN Gala and the Gall of the Boycott, by Bernard-Henri Lévy – “Blinding ignorance is what really lies behind the statements of those PEN members who’ve attacked the decision to honor Charlie Hebdo.”  The Daily Beast
  10. Feature: Most Common Writing Mistakes, Pt. 40: Unnecessary Scenes, by K. M. Weiland – “What is a story but scenes? Put one scene after another–and you have a story! Of course, it’s a little more complicated than that. Those scenes have to hang together in a way that makes sense. They have to create a contiguous arc. Every one of those scenes needs to be integral to that arc. If a scene isn’t integral, then it doesn’t belong in the story. ”  K. M. Weiland Site
  11. News:  Independent Bookstore Day was a success for many, by Moly Driscoll – “Independent bookstores celebrated the first Independent Bookstore Day (inspired by California Bookstore Day) this past weekend and according to industry newsletter Shelf Awareness, executive director of IBD producer Northern California Independent Booksellers Association Hut Landon said more than 20 stores told him sales were better for that day than the same day last year.”  The Christian Science Monitor
  12. verygoodlivesReview: “Very Good Lives,” by J. K. Rowling, reviewed by Tyler Kane – “Who wouldn’t welcome some life advice from J.K. Rowling? The British author has struck gold twice—first with the bestselling Harry Potter series, then again with her Robert Galbraith moniker, under which she published an independently successful crime novel before she was outed as the true author. This was after years and years of hard times; as popular legend has it, Potter started on the back of a cafe napkin. ”  Paste
  13. News: Rushdie says fellow authors aren’t good reads on Goodreads, by Caitlin Dewey – “Goodreads, the Amazon-owned social network for readers, allows its users to rate the books they read on a five-star scale. Rushdie is one of those users. But he didn’t realize that all his reviews were public when he doled out middling ratings to several darlings of publishing.” Minneapolis Star-Tribune

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


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