The Sun Singer's Travels

Malcolm R. Campbell's World

Book Bits: Streisand memoir, ‘The Wright Brothers,’ Sarai Walker, Sally Mann

BookBitsThe late William Zinsser (Item 12) said, “Every time you look at a blank piece of paper, you’re doing something new. You have to step onto that blank territory and remind yourself the sky didn’t fall in the last time you wrote. Writing is a question of overcoming your fears—and everybody has them.” Nonetheless, the “blank page” can be frightening in spite of its potential. Book bits, which appears on this blog once or twice a week, features news, features and reviews focused on writers who made something out of “that blank territory.”

  1. News: Barbra Streisand memoir scheduled for 2017 – “The legendary singer-actress-filmmaker has a deal with Viking for her life story, the publisher announced Wednesday. The book is currently untitled and scheduled for 2017. According to Viking, Streisand will reflect on her childhood, her career and on the private life she has carefully guarded.” CBS News
  2. News: TWIN PEAKS Season 3 Gets Expanded, 18-Episode Order, by Haleigh Foutch – “Let the celebrations continue! David Lynch is officially back in the director’s chair for Twin Peaks season 3, and according to stars Sheryl Lee and Sherilyn Fenn the new season just got a doubled 18-episode order.”  SSN Insider
  3. wrightbrothersReview: “The Wright Brothers,” by David McCullough – “In The Wright Brothers (*** out of four), McCullough has turned his focus to Wilbur and Orville, as well as their lesser-known sister, Katharine, and their invention of powered flight. With McCullough, their story gets iconic treatment, which they mostly deserve. Their discovery was legitimate, despite the efforts of scoundrels and con men of the time who claimed they had beaten the brothers into the air.” USA Today
  4. News: Homer’s Odyssey to Get Hunger Games Treatment – “It’s no secret that epic book-based franchises like Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter and The Hunger Games did really, really well on the large screen. It’s no wonder that filmmakers continue looking for book-based series of movies that will slot in as simply and do as well as these earlier films. Enter Lionsgate’s adaptation of Homer’s epic poem, The Odyssey.”  January Magazine
  5. News: Margaret Atwood and Salman Rushdie join protest at ‘impunity’ of Bangladesh bloggers’ killers, by Richard Lea – “More than 150 writers have written an open letter to the Bangladeshi government calling for action to protect free expression and to bring perpetrators to justice.”  The Guardian
  6. Walker


    Interview: Sarai Walker (“Dietland”), with Trisha Ping – “In Dietland, timid Plum Kettle is sure that losing weight is the key that will unlock the life she wants to live. But when she crosses paths with a mysterious young woman, she ends up involved in a full-on riot grrl ride to a feminist awakening. Author Sarai Walker answered a few questions about her edgy, girl-power debut.”  Book Page

  7. News: Amazon and Penguin Random House said to be in dispute, by Jennifer Rankin – “The world’s biggest publisher, Penguin Random House, has entered talks with Amazon that risk repeating the feud between the US online bookseller and French book publisher Hachette, which ended last year after a bitter six-month battle.”  The Guardian
  8. News: Publishing World Gathers This Week for Book Conventions, by Hillel Italie – “Diversity will get an extra push at this week’s BookCon and BookExpo America…Panels include ‘In Search of Diverse Book Buyers,’ about the African-American market, and ‘The Diversity of Success: How Publishers Create Captivating Stories.’ Ellen Oh will be moderating ‘WNDB Presents: Diversity, Be the Change You Want to See.'”  ABC News
  9. On the List

    On the List

    Feature: 17 Unrepentantly Trashy Beach Reads for 2015, by Jonathon Sturgeon – “According to the National Ocean Service, almost 40 percent of the American population lives in a county located directly on a shoreline. If you then imagine America as a giant sanitation vehicle, and if you also figure that most Americans can read, then you arrive at a simple conclusion: we are all, in one way or another, human literary trashcans destined for the beach. With this in mind, here is a selection of the most interesting literary trash of 2015 so far.”  Flavorwire

  10. News: Jason Rezaian of Washington Post Goes on Trial in Iran, by Thomas Erdbrink – “Jason Rezaian, the Washington Post correspondent accused by Iran of espionage who has been imprisoned for more than 10 months, went on trial in a Tehran courtroom on Tuesday morning, state news media reported.” Editor & Publisher
  11. holdstillReview: “Hold Still: a Memoir with Photographs,” by Sally Mann – “An invitation to deliver the prestigious Massey lectures at Harvard inspired photographer Mann (Sally Mann: Immediate Family, 2014, etc.) to embark on a search for her past, beginning with boxes stored in her family’s attic. She hoped to find ‘a payload of southern gothic’: juicy details of ‘deceit and scandal,’ including suicides, fortunes made and lost, and even a murder. Her sources did not disappoint her, and she effectively weaves a “tapestry of fact, memory, and family legend” in this candid and engrossing memoir. ”  Kirkus Reviews
  12. Zinsser


    Commentary: Remembering Bill Zinsser, by Corby Hummer – “On Friday, family, friends, and legions of former students will gather in a church in New York to celebrate the life of William Zinsser, whose On Writing Well has sold more than 1.5 million copies and taught several generations of writers how to bring clarity, simplicity, specificity, and, most of all, their own voices to their writing.”  The Atlantic

  13. Quotation: “Great minds have purposes, others have wishes.” – Washington Irving
  14. Obituary: Tanith Lee, 1947-2015 – “We are saddened to report the passing of science fiction, fantasy, and horror writer Tanith Lee. Lee had a long and prolific writing career, publishing over 90 books and 300 short stories, as well as several poems, four BBC Radio plays, and two episodes of the BBC’s sci-fi television series Blake’s 7.” Tor

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



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