Book Bits: Whitman House, Amazon Reviews, Ben Okri, Summer Reads
Okay, this post should have been out here many hours ago, but I got pulled into watching Wimbledon tennis matches all morning. Then, en route to checking book news, I found a response from a subject matter expert who had an answer to a question of mine that relates to my work in progress.
She was so detailed, I couldn’t help but think of all the folks who have helped me over the years with bits and pieces of information that make my novels and short stories all the richer for having verifiable facts. Yes, we write what we know, many of us, but sometimes it’s long ago and far away and we need help remembering. No acknowledgements section of any book can ever adequately communicate to readers how grateful authors are for the help they receive.
- News: Walt Whitman’s family home in West Hills New York is on the market, by Claire Kelley – “Want to live in a house on the property that “inspired Leaves of Grass” and was owned by Walt Whitman’s family? It will set you back $749,900, but it’s now possible.” Melville House
- Viewpoint: Amazon Steps in as Big Brother, by Brenda Perlin – Read this post and the comments for more about the current uproar over Amazon removing book reviews from readers who “know the author.” Some say, reviewers are “gaming the system” by trading or selling five-star reviews; others say that authors are on each others Facebook friends lists and hope this isn’t grounds for having reviews removed. Indies Unlimited
- News: Wall Street Journal to publish first chapter of Harper Lee’s Go Set A Watchman, by Isabella Biedenharn – “The first chapter of Harper Lee’s Go Set A Watchman will be published online at The Wall Street Journal on July 10, four days before the hotly anticipated To Kill A Mockingbird follow-up goes on sale. ” Time
- Essay: Ben Okri: Beyond Myth and Magic: Porochista Khakpour Revistis a Masterpiece of the New African Canon, by Prochista Khakpour – “This year, Barnes & Noble’s Discover Great New Writers program marks its 25th Anniversary. In celebration, they’ve asked their favorite writers to take a fresh look at some of the works selected for the program in its first five years, many of which—like Ben Okri’s The Famished Road, the story of a distinctly modern community told through the singular lens of Yoruban myth—have become hallmarks of a moment in literary history. ” Lit Hub
- News: Court Denies Class Action in Author Solutions Case, by Andrew Albanese – “In a legal victory for self-publishing service provider Author Solutions, federal judge Denise Cote has denied class certification in a case that accused the company of fraudulent conduct. In a 30-page written opinion, Cote ruled that the plaintiff authors failed to produce evidence to back up their fraud claims.” Publishers weekly
- Interview: Julia Pierpont (“Among The Ten Thousand Things”), with Megan Labrise – “‘After I finished writing [Among the Ten Thousand Things], I realized what really fascinated me was the discrepancy between what you accept in adult relationships and what you tell your children,’ Pierpont says, ‘and at what point those two things meet in the middle—when kids realize that everything they’re being taught is not really how their parents live. Sometimes you can’t keep them from the truth.'” Kirkus
- News: Man Booker Int’l, Independent Foreign Fiction Prizes Merge “The Man Booker International Prize and the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize are merging to create one annual award for a work of literary fiction translated into English, the Bookseller reported.” Shelf Awareness
Feature: 50 of the Greatest Summer Reads of All Time, by Emily Temple – “Summer reading lists: everyone’s got ’em. But what makes an ideal summer read? It sort of depends on who you are and what you’re doing, but here are a few suggestions: something light, something funny, something sun-drenched and atmospheric, something to travel with, something that will hold your attention no matter what’s going on around you, something exciting — but still literary. ” Flavorwire
- News: Malala Yousafzai Launches the #BooksNotBullets Hashtag, by By Maryann Yin – “Nobel laureate and education activist Malala Yousafzai has launched the #BooksNotBullets social media hashtag. In honor of her 18th birthday, she hopes that world leaders will consider redirecting eight days’ worth of military spending for educational pursuits.” Galley Cat