The Sun Singer's Travels

Malcolm R. Campbell's World

Book Bits: Ted Hughes biography, Henning Mankell, ‘Pan,’ Neil Gaiman

I was in college when Sylvia Plath killed herself. The news ricocheted BookBitsthroughout my consciousness because I was too young in 1963 to know how a favorite died. Ariel and The Bell Jar became holy writ and Ted Hughes, who was in bed with another woman on the day it happened, became the devil. The debate about whether he caused or merely facilitated Plath’s death has been a stormy one. Jonathan Bate’s new biography of Hughes is, unsurprisingly, also controversial: how could it not be? (Item 4)

  1. panFeature: ‘Pan’ Is Precisely the Mess We All Thought It Would Be, by Alison Herman – “There’s a moment in Pan’s first act when one realizes that even children’s movies about interdimensional flying pirate ships usually have at least some logic to them — and that Pan feels free to toss said logic overboard without a second thought.”  Flavorwire
  2. Obit: Henning Mankell, Swedish author of Wallander, dies at 67, by Allison Flood – “The world of Nordic noir became a little darker this morning with the news that Henning Mankell, the Swedish writer who created one of its best-loved protagonists in the gloomy detective Kurt Wallander, has died at the age of 67.”  The Guardian
  3. News: Giller Prize shortlist announced – “The shortlist for the best in Canadian fiction has been winnowed down to five titles, all of which will vie for the coveted Giller Prize next month, a win that sends book sales soaring overnight.”  Relaxnews
  4. tedhughesReview: Ted Hughes: The Unauthorised Life by Jonathan Bate, reviewed by Jonathan Gibb – “Any book about Ted Hughes is bound to come freighted with controversy. For this one, the second major biography of the late Poet Laureate since his death in 1998, it’s in the relationship with the poet’s estate, which is controlled by Hughes’s widow Carol. Jonathan Bate was originally given the nod for an ‘approved’ (rather than ‘authorised’) ‘literary life’, but this was later revoked.”  Independent  See Also Sir Jonathan Bate on his controversial new biography about poet Ted Hughes
  5. meyerFeature: New ‘Twilight’ novel swaps Edward and Bella’s genders, by Kelly Lawler – “Stephanie Meyer, author of the four books in the original Twilight series, announced Tuesday on Good Morning America that she has penned a new version of the story, with a slight twist — Edward and Bella are now Edythe and Beau.”  USA Today
  6. News: PBS Beefs Up Book Programming, by Claire Swanson – “In November 2014, Book View Now, a PBS show devoted to books and publishing, launched with livestream coverage of the Miami Book Fair International. Over the ensuing months, the program packed its schedule with reporting from some of the biggest events in the publishing industry—the L.A. Times Festival of Books in April, BookExpo America in May, and most recently, the Library of Congress National Book Festival in September. As it sets its sights on its second year of production, the show and the broadcaster are ramping up and diversifying their overall book programming.”  Publishers Weekly
  7. greathalldinnerNews: Warner Bros. to Host Christmas Dinner at Hogwarts, by Maryann Yin – “Have you ever wanted to enjoy a meal at Hogwarts? The movie studio behind the Harry Potter film franchise has decided to throw Christmas dinner inside the Great Hall of the famous wizarding school.”  Galley Cat
  8. sleeperReview: “The Sleeper and the Spindle,” by Neil Gaiman, ages 11-18 – “Is it fair to expect a masterpiece when Gaiman and Riddell work together? Probably…If this book isn’t quite a masterpiece, it’s certainly a treasure, and that’s more than enough.”  Kirkus
  9. Essay: It’s Complicated: Clarice Lispector and Elizabeth Bishop’s fraught relationship, by Alexandra Pechman – “Bishop is often cited as a herald of Lispector’s talent, but Lispector—nearly ten years younger, well connected, elusive—got under her skin like no other writer.”  Poetry Foundation

dreamofcrowscoverMalcolm R. Campbell is the author of the short story “Dream of Crows” which is free on Kindle October 7-9, 2015.



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