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Archive for the category “Book Bits”

Book Bits: Junot Díaz, Theodora Goss, Harry Potter

Whenever I’m working on a novel–which is most of the time–my desk gets cluttered with notes and stacks of nonfiction books that focus on the location where my story is set. Right now, for example, the two books hogging desk space are Florida’s Wetlands and Florida Wildflowers. As much as I enjoy these reference books, it’s a pleasure finding time to read fiction. What a surprise, then, to pick up a copy of Theodora Goss’ The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter and discover I was reading the best fiction I’ve read in years. See my review below (Item 2).

Books an Authors Links

  1. Upcoming Title: Next From the Novelist Junot Díaz? A Picture Book, by Alexandra Alter – “Even by Mr. Díaz’s glacial standards, his latest book, ‘Islandborn,’ is long overdue — about 20 years past deadline. And it’s a mere 48 pages long. ‘Islandborn’ is a picture book — Mr. Díaz’s first work of fiction for young readers. It grew out of a promise that he made to his goddaughters two decades ago, when they asked him to write a book that featured characters like them, Dominican girls living in the Bronx.” New York Times
  2. Review: “The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter,” by Theodora Goss – “Imagine “monsters” from science fiction and horror classics written by H. G. Wells, Mary Shelley, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Robert Lewis Stevenson working together with Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Watson and Inspector Lestrade to track down the killers in a string of gory London murders.” Malcolm’s Round Table
  3. News: Libraries Clear First Budget Hurdle in Congress, by Andrew Albanese – “The budget battle is kicking up again in Washington, but this time with a note of optimism for libraries and library supporters. Last week, a House Appropriations subcommittee voted to recommend level funding for libraries in FY2018, which would mean roughly $231 million for the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), $183 million for the Library Services and Technology Act, and $27 million for the Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL) program.” Publishers Weekly
  4. News: Bloomsbury goes full Hermione, set to release two Harry Potter ‘History of Magic’ titles in the fall, by Proma Khosla – “Bloomsbury has yet to share an official press release, cover art, or exact dates for the titles, but they will release in October alongside the exhibition opening. It’s unclear if or how J.K. Rowling is involved since the texts have historical context, but they will undoubtedly tempt the obsessive Potter fan.” Mashable
  5. Interview: JOSHILYN JACKSON: “Lives are this way. They have many pieces, and all the pieces touch,” with Andrew Catá – “Well, sure. I am such a coward. I never want to go down into the places that hurt, or might make me look bad, or where I confront my ugliest self. But my characters always seem to want to, and I have learned that if I fight them, I end up with 30,000 words of drivel I have to throw away.” Book Page
  6. Essay: Rebecca Solnit on a Childhood of Reading and Wandering, by Rebecca Solnit – “There are ecological reasons to question how books are made out of trees but metaphysical reasons to rejoice in the linkage between forests and libraries, here in this public library, in the town I grew up in, with the fiber from tens of thousands of trees rolled out into paper, printed and then bound into books, stacked up in rows on the shelves that fill this place and make narrow corridors for readers to travel through, a labyrinth of words that is also an invitation to wander inside the texts. The same kind of shade and shelter that can be found in an aisle of books and an avenue of trees, and in the longevity of both, and the mere fact that both, if not butchered or burned, may outlive us.” Literary Hub
  7. Feature: What makes us curious? New book asks ‘Why?,’ by Matt McCarthy – “I have a friend who is immune to clickbait. She can stare down the link to a provocative article, ponder its potential significance, stifle her own curiosity, and move on with her day. How does she do this, I have often wondered, and why am I such a sucker?” USA Today
  8. Quotation: That’s one of the things setting us apart from the big box bookstores.  They have a lot more things, but we have some highly curated, important things. I hate to sound cheesy, but it also creates buy-in for the staff. This is their section. They’re proud of it. They keep it tidy. They write shelf-talkers so people know what books they’re excited about.” – Aja Martin, Indigo Bridge Books, Lincoln, Nebraska, from Shelf Awareness

“Book Bits” is compiled randomly by Malcolm R. Campbell, author of contemporary fantasy, magical realism, and folklore novels and short stories.



Audiobooks for your summer vacation

Let’s face it, no matter how much you like traveling, there will be periods of inactivity when an easy-to-listen-to audiobook might keep you from going nuts (or worse). Expediently, here are for of mine for you consideration:

Eulalie and Washerwoman

AudioFile Magazine: Narrator Tracie Christian’s spirited style is ideal to portray the fantasy world of conjure woman Eulalie Jenkins and her shamanistic cat, Lena, who live in Florida in the 1950s. Christian captures Eulalie’s shock when she learns that Jewish merchant Lane Walker, who’s always traded fairly with the local African-Americans, is being forced to give up his store to the Liberty Improvement Club, which forbids serving blacks. Lively descriptions of Eulalie reading possum bones and casting spells; tender scenes with her old beau, Willie Tate; and feline Lena’s communication with Eulalie via secret thought speech add to the local atmosphere. Listeners will be thrilled when Eulalie transports herself into an alligator to save Walker. S.G.B. © AudioFile 2017

Conjure Woman’s Cat

AudioFile Magazine Red Earphones Award Winner: Wanda J. Dixon’s warmth and gorgeous singing voice are superb in this story about Conjure Woman Eulalie, which is told through the voice of her cat and spirit companion, Lena. Dixon zestfully portrays Eulalie, who is “older than dirt” and is kept busy casting spells, mixing potions, and advising people–that is, when the “sleeping” sign is removed from her door. Most distinctive is Eulalie’s recurring sigh, which conveys her frustration with Florida in the 1950s, when Jim Crow laws and “Colored Only” signs were routine. Dixon’s Lena is fully believable when she spies around town and reports to Eulalie that rednecks have raped and murdered a young women. They almost escape until Eulalie persuades a witness to come forward. Listeners will marvel at the magical realism in this story and benefit from the helpful glossary of the charming local dialect. S.G.B. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2016

Jock Stewart and the Missing Sea of Fire

AudioFile Magazine: Narrator R. Scott Adams’s rapid-fire delivery mirrors the speech of fast-talking old-style newshound Jock Stewart. Listeners need all their skills of concentration, or they’ll miss the story’s wit and even the occasional clue. Sea of Fire is a missing racehorse, but the mystery of his whereabouts sometimes seems merely incidental. The story is high on humor but light on plot–a vehicle for sex, cigarettes, steak, and zinfandel. Stewart, a print journalist, is a likable dinosaur in a changing world. Adams’s timing is perfect, but a second listen is recommended to catch what is missed first time around. C.A.T. © AudioFile 2015

Emily’s Stories

Reader Review: I like it when kids are smarter than adults in stories like this. It gives me hope. The author ‘s writing had a ‘Peter Pan’ feel to it – not that it reads like ‘Peter Pan’ but it’s a kid being powerful and doing something positive. And there is also a magical ‘The Secret Garden’ kind of feel in here.The kid is powerful because she can see & hear the beauty and the magic in Nature. This audiobook has the coldest, scariest ghost voice in the world and also the wonderful open, free and uninhibited voice of ‘Emily’. AND the voices of birds and much more. The widest range of voices I’ve heard from a narrator. And all seemed real, not forced. I believed it – I believed this could happen. M. Stein

Book Bits: Drag Queen Story Hour, Smoky Zeidel, Mass Market Paperbacks, Jean Stein

Here are a few items that forced themselves into my consciousness while I was trying to use up the day (after grocery shopping) reading an ancient novel by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. (Mother Night). It’s a trade paperback from the days when trade paperbacks were the best way of buying inexpensive books as long as you didn’t have to have them as soon as the hardback edition was released. Today, the industry doesn’t seem to know whether to keep using this format or not (Item 3).

  1. Feature: ‘Drag Queen Story Hour Puts the Rainbow in Reading,’ by Una Lamarche – “This is Drag Queen Story Hour. The brainchild of the writer Michelle Tea and Radar Productions, it is exactly what it sounds like: drag queens reading stories to children. It began in San Francisco in December 2015 and spread to Brooklyn last summer, thanks to social media attention.” The New York Times
  2. New Title: ‘Shadowed Places: A Collection of Short Stories’ by Smoky Zeidel (Thomas-Jacob Publishing May 21) – “Breathe: how many people can pinpoint the precise time their marriage died; can repeat verbatim the words that sent the marriage plunging into the grave? Goodbye, Emily Dickinson: Sometimes the delusion is what helps us get through the reality. Lesser Offenses: Stepmothers had disappeared before, for lesser offenses. It was Carlotta’s time to go.” Amazon
  3. Viewpoint: ‘Is Mass Market Dying, Or Just Evolving—Again?’ by Rachel Deahl – “In steady decline for years, the format is either enduring an incredibly slow death or has begun to right itself in the market.” Publishers Weekly
  4. Quotation: “Owning this store was never a dream or fantasy of ours because it never would have occurred to us. It turns out it’s a lot of people’s fantasy, though they don’t realize how hard it is. It’s been this full immersion into this world that we barely knew, but now represents really everything we care about.” – Lissa Muscatine, co-owner with Bradley Graham of Politics and Prose Bookstore, Washington, D.C. Shelf Awareness
  5. Benton

    Interview: Janet Benton with Lauren Bufferd, ‘A tale of motherhood set on the brink of modernity’ – I’ve written fiction since I was very young, and I have an MFA in fiction writing. But Lilli de Jong is the first novel I’ve finished. The voice I heard from the beginning was that of Lilli telling her story. I didn’t choose how to explore the story; it never struck me as a subject area, but rather as an embodied and urgent tale.” Book Page

  6. Obituary: ‘That Voice, Those Parties: Remembering Jean Stein,’ by Guy Trebay and Jacob Bernstein – “To conjure Jean Stein you must first imagine the voice — a soft and breathy near-whisper, by turns merry or full of steel. It was a voice suited to late-night telephone conversations and dinners at the corner tables of now-forgotten Manhattan restaurants.” New York Times
  7. Feature: ‘Body of work: Women writers on disordered eating, writing the body and the book launch diet’ by Joanna Novak – “Before my book came out I thought about dieting, despite my history. Was I being shallow? Was I alone?” Salon

Book Bits is compiled randomly by Malcolm R. Campbell, author of magical realism, paranormal, and contemporary fantasy short stories and novels.

Book Bits: NEA, ‘The Shack,’ Greg Iles, ‘The Stranger in the Woods,’ Margaret Atwood

Even recovery from minor surgery involves a strange stew of painkillers, antibiotics, probiotics and pills with long names that nobody knows what they do. What they all do is create a listless and rather tedious reverie. I re-read “The House of the Spirits” and found out it wasn’t the book I remembered. (Item 3). Otherwise, here are a few other things than caught my attention–or seemed to catch it.

  1. NEWS: WRITERS RESPOND TO DEFUNDING THE NEA AND NEH: Postcards to Inspire a Movement to Save the Arts – “Writers and artists across the country have mobilized to voice their opposition to the cuts, and in solidarity with these movements, we asked writers to share the postcards they will be sending to their representatives to demand that the NEA and NEH remain funded. ” Literary Hub
  2. NEWS: iBooks Bestseller: Unshakeable ‘Shack’, by John Maher – “William P. Young’s The Shack stays at the top of the iBooks bestseller list as the film adaptation continues to screen in theaters nationwide.” See the top twenty list. Publishers Weekly.
  3. IDEAS: Re-reading a classic: ‘The House of the Spirits’, by Malcolm R. Campbell – Ever time we re-read a classic novel, it seems like a different book. Are the words changing on the pages? Malcolm’s Round Table
  4. REVIEW: THE STRANGER IN THE WOODS by Michael Finkel– “A journalist’s account of a Massachusetts man who went deep into the Maine woods to live a life of solitude and self-sufficiency … A thoughtful, honest, and poignant portrait.” Kirkus Reviews
  5. FILM: DOCTOR DOLITTLE HEADS BACK TO BIG SCREEN – “Generations of children have loved the story of a doctor who talks to animals, from the time that Hugh Lofting first started writing the Doctor Dolittle series from the trenches of the First World War in 1914-1918, when real news was too horrifying. The first book, The Story of Doctor Dolittle: Being the History of His Peculiar Life at Home and Astonishing Adventures in Foreign Parts Never Before Printed, was published in 1920 … Now word is that a new [film] version will head into production with Robert Downey Jr as the talented doctor.” January Magazine
  6. Iles

    INTERVIEW: Greg Iles, with Bruce Tierney – “Mississippi novelist Greg Iles’ bestselling Natchez Burning trilogy comes to a close with a gripping tale of revenge and dangerous family secrets … How does it feel to complete this 2,000-plus-page project? How did you celebrate?” Book Page

  7. QUOTATION: “A review of another author’s work carries a heavy responsibility, because you can’t–unfortunately–just make stuff up. Fiction’s task is to be plausible, but criticism’s task is to be accurate in fact, generous in appraisal, and considered in judgment. A real book is at stake, with a real person attached at the other end–most of the time–and every author knows how much work and anxiety have gone into a book–any book.” – Margaret Atwood from her acceptance speech upon receiving Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award given by the National Book Critics Circle this month.

Book Bits, occasionally created on painkillers, is compiled randomly by Malcolm R. Campbell, author of magical realism novels, including “Eulalie and Washerwoman.”


Book bits: Indie Bookstores, Christina Ricci, Zelda Fitzgerald, Self Publishing

BookBitsThis occasional feature shares some of the book news I notice while reading the entire Internet every day. (Okay, maybe I skip the boring parts and the fake news.)

  • Quotation: “Thanks, Amazon! Not Indie Bookstores are Booming – Indies are thriving because of Amazon, not in spite of the Internet behemoth. This is a story of two different types of bookstores: one with vast inventory, low prices and algorithm-driven recommendations, and another that lures customers seeking tightly curated collections and a community of bookworms.” –Kristiano Ang  ShelfAwareness
  • tagoreNewsA Nobel Tradition: Rabindranath Tagore — the First Songwriter to Win the Prize, by Caroline Eden  – “Calcutta-born poet Rabindranath Tagore was awarded the prize in 1913. The Nobel website states that it was given to him ‘because of his profoundly sensitive, fresh and beautiful verse, by which, with consummate skill, he has made his poetic thought, expressed in his own English words, a part of the literature of the West.’” LA Review of Books
  • Interview: Z: The Beginning of Everything’s Christina Ricci on Adapting a Southern Accent and Why Zelda Fitzgerald Would Have Loved Instagram, with E. Alex Jung – “I was surprised by how young they died [Zelda was 47 when she died, F. Scott was 44]. I guess it does surprise me that she wasn’t stronger and able to get out of the situation she was in. I do understand the time period and I do understand that she really did make an effort, but I think also she just felt so bound to him and so responsible for him.” Vulture
  • luckyboyReview: Lucky Boy, by Shanthi Sekaran, reviewed by Chika Gujarathi – “At its core, Shanthi Sekaran’s compassionate second novel is a spectacular saga of motherhood and the choices we make to achieve it. Supporting the main cast are side characters who lend intriguing perspectives born of their own culture and belief systems: the Cassidys, who employ Soli; Uma, Kavya’s traditionally minded mother; and Silvia, the cousin who takes Soli in.” Book Page
  • Quotation: “I wrote a few children’s books. Not on purpose.” – Steven Wright
  • Claire Conteras

    Claire Conteras

    Viewpoint: Advantages of Self Publishing, Claire Conteras, with Poornima Apte – “From my experience, the biggest perk about self-publishing is that I have 100 percent control of everything I do. That can be a gift and a curse. It’s very difficult to carry the burden of marketing, editing, promoting, etc., while maintaining a consistent writing schedule. It’s definitely not for the weak.” Kirkus

Book Bits is compiled randomly by Malcolm R. Campbell, author of the Florida folk magic mystery Eulalie and Washerwoman.


Book Bits: NBCC Awards Finalists, Russian PEN protests, Adult nonfiction

BookBitsA few items in the news caught my attention:

  • National Book Critics Circle: “Ann Patchett’s ‘Commonwealth,’ a novel inspired by her own family, and Michael Chabon’s ‘Moonglow,’ a novel based on the life of his grandfather, are among the finalists for this year’s National Book Critics Circle fiction prize. The fiction finalists, announced Tuesday morning, also include ‘LaRose,’ the latest novel about the Ojibwa people of North Dakota by Louise Erdrich, and ‘Swing Time,’ by British novelist Zadie Smith.” – The Washington Post
  • sevlanaRussian PEN: “Nobel prize winner Svetlana Alexievich has quit the Russian PEN centre to protest against the expulsion of journalist and activist Sergey Parkhomenko, joining 30 other writers including novelist Boris Akunin and poet Lev Rubinstein leaving the organisation.” – The Guardian
  • Adult Nonfiction Stayed Hot in 2016 – “The category, still benefiting from the adult coloring book boom, had a 7% print unit gain last year over 2015.” – Publishers Weekly
  • Obituary – ‘Exorcist’ Author William Peter Blatty Has Died – “William Peter Blatty, the novelist and filmmaker best known for The Exorcist, died Thursday in Maryland. He was 89. The New York City native was the author of several acclaimed novels (including Elsewhere, Crazy, and John Goldfarb, Please Come blattyHome) and screenplays (including The Great Bank Robbery, Gunn, Darling Lili, and the early Inspector Clouseau film A Shot in the Dark).” – Flavorwire
  • Interview: Edward Jay Epstein (“How America Lost its Secrets), with Clayton Moore – Once Epstein began re-tracing Snowden’s steps, he started discovering other mysteries—days in Hong Kong when Snowden was unaccounted for, as well as contradictions in his public statements. The journalist found it all perplexing.” – Kirkus


Malcolm R. Campbell’s Kindle novel “At Sea” is free at Amazon January 15-17. His short story “Willing Spirits” is free on Kindle January 18-20.


Lit Links: Tanith Lee, Margaret Atwood, Love Letters from Your Writing,Times suit

Here are a few quick links for your Friday afternoon. The biggest news was, perhaps, the announcement about Rowling’s new Harry Potter book, the script of her screen play. I didn’t include that because if you’re a Potter fan, you probably already know about it. If you aren’t, then you’re probably not going to buy the book anyway.

  1. TannithObituary: Prolific Fantasy And Science-Fiction Writer Tanith Lee Has Died, by Bill Chappell: “British science-fiction and fantasy writer Tanith Lee has died, according to her publisher. Lee, 67, was a prolific author who also worked in radio and television; her dozens of books include Don’t Bite The Sun and Death’s Master — the latter of which was part of her popular Flat Earth series.” NPR
  2. Interview: Margaret Atwood speaks about hope, science and writing about the future, with Ed Finn: “The Future Library is in itself a very hopeful thing because No. 1, you’re assuming that there will be people a hundred years from now. That’s a big hope. No. 2, you assume that the forest will grow. You’re assuming that the library will still be there. You’re assuming that people will still be able to read and that they will still be interested in reading. All of these are very hopeful emotions to have. It is a vote of confidence in the future.” Slate
  3. VisitingAuntRubyCoverNew Release: “Visiting Aunt Ruby,” a new “Tate’s Hell Stories” short story from Malcolm R. Campbell was released today on Kindle. Everyone needs a bawdy aunt like her to keep them on the straight and narrow–or, at least, laughing. Thomas-Jacob Publishing
  4. Viewpoint: Why Is The New York Times Suing Over an Art Book? by Ben Collins: “The New York Times is threatening to sue a small publisher for an alleged publishing infraction, but what motivation really lies behind the lawsuit?” The Daily Beast
  5. valentineroseFeature: More Love Letters from Your Writing, Nadxi Nieto: “Writers, each Valentine’s Day we like to remind you that your neglected writing also needs a little love.” Electric Literature

Speaking of love, have you bought your spouse and/or lover a card and an exciting Valentine’s Day gift yet?

Okay, if you want to read about J. R. Rowling’s new book, click here.


92% of college students prefer print books to e-books, study finds

“If you imagine millennials are just young people entranced by their cellphones or tablet computers, you might want to think again. According to a new study , 92% of college students would rather do their reading the old-fashioned way, with pages and not pixels.”

Source: 92% of college students prefer print books to e-books, study finds – LA Times

In another article, the author cited statistics showed that slightly less than 40% of Americans read only print books. Perhaps the future will continue to bring us multiple reading/listening options.


Book Bits says goodbye again

I canceled Book Bits once before and then brought it out of retirement. Now it’s time to say goodbye again.


It’s getting in the way of my own writing as well as the many projects my wife and I have to do on this section of a farm we moved to earlier this year.

So, once again, thank you to everyone who has stopped by these posts and (I hope) found a link or two out of the batch that they found interesting.

If you want a quick digest of U.S. publishing news, you can find it on weekdays at Poets and Writers Magazine. For Canadian news, check Quill & Quire’s “Quillblog.” For a retail slant on book news, see Shelf Awareness. They have two newsletters, one for readers and one for the book trade.

Publishers Weekly and Galley Cat will bring you recent publishing information, while Flavorwire will bring you lists of books grouped around current themes. For heavier duty features, look at Literary Hub and The Millions.

I’ll continue to post book-related news and features such as the Jane Smiley essay I found earlier today. But, compiling Book Bits is now at the end of its road–unless I get bored some day and bring it back again.

Thanks for reading.



Book Bits: Room to Read, Marlon James, National Book Award finalists, Obama interviews Robinson

BookBitsLearning about Room to Read’s efforts to bring books, schools and libraries to children in faraway places was better than any tonic or pill I could have taken this morning. Imagine walking into a library in Nepal and finding several books there and then having the vision and grit to return a year later with 3,000 more. I can understand why the joy of that would be catching, leading former Microsoft executive John Wood to make a habit of it. (Item 6)

  1. manbookerlogoNews: Marlon James wins the Man Booker Prize, by Carolyn Kellogg – “Marlon James won the Man Booker Prize on Tuesday for his multivoiced novel “A Brief History of Seven Killings” at a black tie event in London. The prize is a the leading literary event in the UK and comes with an award of $78,000.”  The Los Angeles Times
  2. Quotation: “Literature may be weak because it has no real power in the world, but in a way it is the grandest narrative of all, in that it puts ourselves into question with fiction. We challenge ourselves and refuse to take the world as a given. We challenge all correctives of opinion, all appeasements, all fears. Literature is the unafraid form.” – Salman Rushdie at the Frankfurt Book fair.
  3. Click here to propose a book for translation

    Click here to propose a book for translation

    News: “AmazonCrossing, the translation imprint of Amazon Publishing, said it will spend $10 million over the next five years to increase the number and diversity of its books in translation. According to the company, the money will go toward fees paid to translators as well as increasing the countries and languages represented on the imprint’s list.”  Shelf Awareness

  4. On the list.

    On the list.

    News: Finalists Unveiled For This Year’s National Book Awards, by Colin Dwyer – “Shortlists for the National Book Awards went public Wednesday, halving the number of nominees to just 20 finalists. Among the books that have survived the second round of cuts, a few clear favorites are beginning to emerge — while others have been displaced by less familiar names.”  NPR  See Also: Fates and Furies is the latest choice for NPR’s Morning Edition Book Club

  5. Winnette


    InterviewNovels Don’t Lie: A Conversation Between Robert Kloss and Colin Winnette, by Colin Winnette & Robert Kloss – “Can a genre really die? Maybe it gets boring or overplayed or we go through a period where no one is skewing it in a fresh way or breaking expectations, but dead? That line of thinking is depleting and unfun, right? Genre is just a way of categorizing books. You can re-sort them and discover new groupings for books that might otherwise have been written off as “a type of Western.” Our books can loosely be called “Westerns,” but they are different from one another in just about every other way.”  Los Angeles Review of Books

  6. Feature: Library builder’s monument of books, by Bill Hicks – “At some point this year, a child somewhere in the developing world became the ten millionth beneficiary of Room to Read, a non-profit organisation created 15 years ago after a high-flying Microsoft executive quit his job to help children in Nepal.”  BBC News
  7. News: Yes, people DID buy ‘Playboy’ for the articles, by Roger Yu – “Now that Playboy has decided to stop publishing photos of naked women, the old joke about guys claiming to read it for the articles will truly be put to the test.”  USA Today
  8. littlelifeReview: “A Little Life,” by Hanya Yanagihara, reviewed by Nicole Lee – “Hanya Yanagihara’s new novel, “A Little Life,” is a witness to human suffering pushed to its limits, drawn in extraordinary detail by incantatory prose.”  The Washington Post
  9. Interview: Marilynne Robinson (“Lila,” “Gilead”), with Barack Obama – “But one of the things that I don’t get a chance to do as often as I’d like is just to have a conversation with somebody who I enjoy and I’m interested in; to hear from them and have a conversation with them about some of the broader cultural forces that shape our democracy and shape our ideas, and shape how we feel about citizenship and the direction that the country should be going in…And so we had this idea that why don’t I just have a conversation with somebody I really like and see how it turns out. And you were first in the queue…”  The New York Review of Books
  10. Viewpoint: Why Svetlana Alexievich’s Nobel Prize Is Good for Literature, by Jonathan Sturgeon – “Alexievich’s Nobel Prize should be celebrated instead of shrugged at, even if an appreciation of her work requires dispensing with some of the bromides of American literature and publishing.” Flavorwire
  11. heargoeslastReview: “The Heart Goes Last,” by Margaret Atwood, reviewed by Stephanie Harrison – “magine a world in which the economy has tanked, jobs have dried up, society has crumbled, and people are doing anything and everything they can just to scrape by. For most of us, such a cataclysmic state of affairs is all too easy to envision, which makes Margaret Atwood’s latest dystopian thriller, The Heart Goes Last, all the more unsettling and eerily prophetic. ”  Book Page
  12. Feature: 5 times Jonathan Franzen trolled us this year, by Anna Silman – “True to form, amidst the media flurry surrounding “Purity’s” September rollout, we have had the pleasure of watching our favorite gaffe-prone Great American Author sound off on topics such as: Gender bias, social media, climate change, Iraqi war orphans, poverty, and how much he likes Chipotle. (Apparently “store credit was a decisive factor” in publishing a story on the fast-casual burrito joint’s cups.) And Franzen himself seems to be having as much fun as we are, as most of his remarks seem deliberately engineered to push our buttons and send social-media spiraling into a tizzy.”  Salon

SarabandeCover2015Book Bits is compiled by Malcolm R. Campbell, author of the new second edition “Sarabande” to be released by Thomas-Jacob Publishing on November 1. The Kindle edition is already available for pre-order.



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