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Montana, 1917: Time of Trouble, Time of Change

The 44th Annual Montana History Conference will be held in Helena, September 21-23, 2017. The theme of this year’s Montana History Conference, which will be held in Helena, is “Montana, 1917: Time of Trouble, Time of Change.” Mentioning this conference during the 4th of July weekend seemed appropriate even though I doubt many of my readers will be heading for Montana. (I just like these historic posters.)

The Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation has generously provided funds for a limited number of travel scholarships to help Montana teachers and students attend the conference. Find more information here.

The history conference will be headquartered at the Best Western Premier
Helena Great Northern Hotel, 835 Great Northern Blvd in Helena. A block
of rooms is being held until September 1. Reservations can be made at or by calling ((800) 780-7234. Be sure to ask for the Montana History Conference rate!

The conference begins with an 8 a.m. September 21 tour: “The first stop on the tour will be Marks Lumber in Clancy, a sawmill in business since 1942 manufacturing flooring, siding, rough-cut timbers, and tongue-and-groove paneling. Next, tour-goers will examine the production of Portland cement at Ashgrove Cement, located at Montana City since 1964. The group will enjoy a sack lunch at the Archie Bray Foundation for the Ceramic Arts, an internationally respected ceramics education center located amid the ruins of Western Clay Manufacturing, an early twentieth century brickyard. After lunch, the group will explore several restored historic brick kilns, residents’ studios, and the Bray’s clay manufacturing facility. The next stop will be East Helena’s High Plains Sheepskin, established in 1984 to fabricate mittens, gloves, slippers, and hats. The tour will then head to McDantim, Inc., a Helena-based factory that has manufactured gas blenders for taprooms and welders since 1988. This year’s tour will end at the Blackfoot River Brewing Co., one of Montana’s earliest microbreweries, with a walk through the brewing process and a sampling of their unique beers.

Presentations include:

Teaching the Progressive Era and World War
Keeping It “All in the Family”: Preserving and Promoting Genealogical Resources in Archival Collections
Show Me the Money! How to Secure Grants for Montana History Projects
Fire and Brimstone: The North Butte Mining Disaster of 1917
Seed, Sedition, Suffrage, and Sobriety: Montana’s Extraordinary Session of 1918
War and Race
Sedition–Humiliation and Hysteria
War and the “Fairer Sex”
Weapons of War–Axes and Prayer
Building on the War
After the War
“Inciting Riot & Bloodshed”: Emma Goldman in Montana
Cons, Roads, and Railroads
Leading Ladies
War and Public Health
Sedition–Guns and Espionage




Clinton vs. Trump: How do you feel about the result?

Regardless of one’s political beliefs, the results from Tuesday’s Presidential election were not what most of us expected. In addition to the feelings we’ve read about–or seen expressed on TV–a fair number of websites have carried personal essays by authors about what happened, what it means to them, and what it might mean for the country.

I am not going to duplicate any of those essays here or say how I feel about the result. What I’m suggesting here is, more or less, an invitation (or possibly a writing prompt) for you to write down how you feel. The importance of writing this isn’t to summarize of repeat the platforms or beliefs of one or both candidates or to quote what authors and analysts have said about the result so far. The importance is understanding yourself in relation to the outcome of the election.

That kind of understanding seems crucial to me–no mater who you voted for–in order to constructively participate in the challenges of moving forward in a nation where the voting split between two diverse candidates was very close to 50-50. Even if Clinton had won the electoral vote and Trump had won the popular vote by the same narrow margin, coming to grips with the continued political and cultural polarization requires, I think, understanding ourselves first so we can speak authentically rather than simply repeating the one-sided, preaching-to-the-choir jousts from either side of the “political aisle” on Facebook and Twitter.

Speed Writing

If you write fiction/nonfiction that mirrors your inner truths or if you keep a journal, then you probably already have a system for getting your most honest and deeply held feelings down on paper. If you don’t have a system for doing that, here’s a method that works for me.

  1. Sit in a room where there are no distractions from other people, pets, cell phones, computers, music, TV, radio, or anything else.
  2. You can type these feelings on a computer or typewriter or write them on paper with a pen or pencil.
  3. You can write for as long as you want, but I think you’ll get a truer result if you write for only four or five minutes.
  4. Write as fast as you can. Don’t stop to think about what you’re going to say next. Don’t stop to fix incorrect grammar or misspelled words or to change the direction of the material.
  5. Choose an animal and place that animal in a little fable of sorts in which that animal is thinking about and reacting to the election. Write in the third person, referring to the animal as, say, “the bunny” and/or by a name the animal might turn out to have in this little story.
  6. Some people set timers when they do this to keep them from having to constantly check a clock to see how long they’ve been writing. Looking at the clock takes you out of the story. On the other hand, timers–whether they make a ticking noise or not–can be distracting, giving some people a sense of having to rush the work to beat a deadline. Decide how you want to know when you’ve written for four or five minutes or so.
  7. When you’re done, read and save your resulting fable. There’s no need to post it anywhere or tell anyone about it, though it’s certainly okay to share it with friends and family as you wish. If writing this fable ends up being helpful to you, others might want to try the same thing before they read your fable.

A lot of people are saying they are either stunned by the result, stunned by the 50-50 polarization of the country’s voters, or both. Many of them say: “I don’t know what to think.” When I’m in a limbo-I-don’t-know-what-to-think state of mind, I find that a speed-writing fable helps me move forward with my life. Maybe it will help you as well.


Free speech groups condemn Turkey’s closure of 29 publishers after failed coup

“Organisations including PEN International have spoken out about the ‘grave impact on democracy’ caused by major crackdown on book trade”

Source: Free speech groups condemn Turkey’s closure of 29 publishers after failed coup | Books | The Guardian

As usual, truth is the first casualty. With the 24-hour news media focused on every comment and innuendo coming out of the U.S. Presidential campaign, stories like this one often remain off everyone’s radar.


Too many calamities to keep up with: Nice, France and other sorrows

This Wikipedia photo shows the celebrated Promenade des Anglais in Nice, France on a good day. Today is not that day.


Today, we mourn more dead and injured. Today, amid reports that police allowed the driver of the truck to park on “The Prom” for nine hours before the attack because he said he was delivering ice cream, we talk about how and why it happened.

When new details are not available, news sites play and replay the video footage of the crime scene while experts and others endlessly debate the issues surrounding these attacks: national policy, ISIS, terrorism, religion, race, and future security measures. Most of this coverage brings little comfort or wisdom. It doesn’t bring back the dead or ensure there won’t be more dead somewhere else tomorrow or next week with more headlines like this:


Today we hear the reactions of national leaders and other famous people. Such words are expected and perhaps in some cases they show the true feelings of the individuals rather than a speech writer’s well-crafted sound bite. We hear these words with the same more-of-the-same reactions we’re starting to have as we view the daily carnage and the daily onslaught of politicized opinions.

Last year, I maintained a WordPress blog called “Calamities of the Heart” because I felt a need to say something about the insane events that flow like rivers of fire through the news. I couldn’t keep up. Like many others, I had no words because all the words of shock about angry people killing co-workers, school shootings, racially motivated violence, and terrorism attacks had already been used up. One might say that 9/11 used up every word we had. If I were a national leader forced by duty and/or compassion to comment on the carnage created by Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel during Bastille Day celebrations in Nice, I’m afraid I would remain mute because the used-up words from previous atrocities have become so cliche that they almost discount the horror and grief of the dead and injured on the scene.

I’m not the first one to ask if the news is desensitizing us to the news. If so, then that may be the greatest calamity. Our struggle here is perhaps not in finding new words or perfect answers, but in realizing that we’re all part of these events whether we live close up to them or far away. The human condition today is often an ugly mess that requires compassionate empathy from all of us even though we don’t really know what to say. We need to stop playing Pokemon Go and look at it, feel it, hear it and take it in before our remaining humanity deserts us. We owe that do both the dead and ourselves.





Gresham, Oregon art show begins December 8


My brother Douglas Campbell has four paintings in this show.

The Daily Aztec : “The real loser in Nat Geo’s sale is science”

Source: The Daily Aztec : The real loser in Nat Geo’s sale is science

“In a $725 million deal announced Sept. 9, National Geographic Society and 21st Century Fox joined forces to create a new for-profit media company, National Geographic Partners. The partners will control National Geographic magazine, television networks, maps, digital and social media platforms, books, and other media. The main shareholder in 21st Century Fox is media tycoon Rupert Murdoch. ”

natgeo1959This sale is a real shock for those of us who’ve loved this magazine for our entire lives. According to news reports, the non-profit society will emerge in a stronger position after the sale doing what it does best in sponsorship of education and research.

Murdock says he won’t mess with the magazine even though he’s messed with everything else he’s bought up to now. Some say the society had no choice because in spite of some highly profitable years, they saw a tsunami of red ink on the horizon.

Hard to judge that from the outside. But, we can all read the magazine that we end up with and decide where it suffers the moral and scientific and quality losses people are expecting.

This is a dark day for a historic publication even if it weathers the storms of layoffs and tinkering.


Book Bits: ‘The Girl in the Spider’s Web,’ Scarlett Johannson, James Joyce letters, Ursula Le Guin

BookBitsBook Bits is a compilation of links to book news, author interviews, reviews and other publishing information that appears on this blog on Tuesdays.

In a Facebook discussion with another author about book series that continue to be produced after their founding authors have died, we agreed (subjectively, perhaps) that there’s a difference between a series in which the author has chosen another author to continue on and a series where somebody else is hired by the estate or the publisher to write more novels. While I read Stieg Larsson’s original novels, I have mixed feelings about another author writing more “girl” stories even though the New York Times likes the new novel. (Item 1)

Here are today’s links:

  1. spiderswebbookNews: A new life for Stieg Larsson’s ‘Girl’ series, by Jocelyn McClurg – “David Lagercrantz uses the word ‘passionate’ repeatedly to describe his feelings about writing the new Stieg Larsson crime novel and resurrecting Lisbeth Salander, the fierce hacker heroine from the best-selling Millennium series. And another word: ‘Nervous.'”  USA Today
  2. Looking Back: “In 1952, The Old Man and the Sea is published in LIFE; five million copies of the magazine sold in two days.” – Literary Hub
  3. Obituary: Paul Kropp – “Canadian author and publisher Paul Kropp, who wrote more than 70 books, co-founded High Interest Publishing and “will be remembered by the generations of reluctant readers whose lives he touched with his books,” died August 22, the Toronto Globe & Mail reported. He was 67.”  Shelf Awareness – See Sandra Guilland’s tribute “In Memory of Paul Kropp (1948 – 2015)”
  4. On the list

    On the list

    Lists: 33 Must-Read Books for Fall 2015, by Jonathan Sturgeon – “Even though Jonathan Franzen’s Purity is the first book on this list, it is in many ways the least important. The truth is that after a dizzying autumn, we may not remember Franzen’s novel at all.”  Flavorwire

  5. News: Novel Scarlett Johannson wanted banned is due out in English, by Alison Flood – “The bestselling French novel that Scarlett Johansson went to court over in an attempt to block translation is due out in English next month. The award-winning novelist Grégoire Delacourt’s La Première Chose Qu’on Regarde (The First Thing You See) opens as mechanic Arthur Dreyfuss is paid a visit by a woman he believes is Johansson. ”  The Guardian
  6. Feature: Survey finds Millennials most irked by bad grammar and spelling slips, by Leanne Italie – “It’s the LOL generation that appears most annoyed by bad grammar and spelling slips, according to a survey by The site found in an online Harris Poll done July 31 to Aug. 4 that 80 percent of American adults 18 and older consider themselves good spellers, but they may be overestimating their abilities.” US News & World Report
  7. udallatreesReview: “Under the Udala Trees,” by Chinelo Okparanta, reviewed by Jaclyn Fulwood – “Marriage equality has created so much conversation in the United States recently that it is perhaps easy to forget that gay rights are a global battleground. This first novel from Chinelo Okparanta (after the story collection Happiness, Like Water) throws into sharp relief the historical and continuing struggles of the LGBTQ population of Nigeria.”  Shelf Awareness
  8. News: Rare James Joyce letters sold in US auction, by Alison Flood – “Two ‘extremely rare’ handwritten letters by James Joyce, in which the Irish author laments the problems in finding a printer for Ulysses in the UK, have been sold in America for almost 10 times their guide price.”  The Guardian
  9. Oliver Sacks

    Oliver Sacks

    Obituary: Oliver Sacks – “Author and neurologist Oliver Sacks died yesterday at the age of eighty-two after a battle with cancer. Sacks authored numerous books, including Awakenings (1973) and The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat (1985), about treating patients who suffered from various brain disorders; his books served as detailed meditations on consciousness and the intersections of science, art, and the human condition.” Poets & Writers

  10. Feature: Tracing a Father’s Escape From Auschwitz, by Malcolm Forbes – “Göran Rosenberg’s A Brief Stop on the Road from Auschwitz and Monika Held’s This Place Holds No Fear are born from deep, immersive study. Rosenberg has sifted books and documents to plot his father’s journey to freedom; Held has interviewed Auschwitz survivors to craft what she terms “fiction out of reality.” Both books are expertly translated—Rosenberg’s by Sarah Death, Held’s by Anne Posten—and both make for sobering but deeply rewarding reading.” This story also contains information about other Holocaust books.  The Daily Beast
  11. steertingInterview: Ursula Le Guin (“Steering the Craft: A Twenty-First-Century Guide to Sailing the Sea of Story”), with Scott Simon – “She says she doesn’t believe in a lot of do’s and don’ts in writing. But she does run writing workshops in which serious writers might test what works well, and what doesn’t quite do the job. Back in the ’90s, Le Guin wrote a manual for aspiring writers called Steering the Craft. And she’s just released a new edition of the book, updated for the 21st century.”  NPR
  12. News: Oxford Dictionaries Adds ‘Hangry’ and ‘Manspreading’ by Maryann Yin – “Oxford Dictionnaires—the division of Oxford responsible for updating the masses on just how stupid everyone sounds—has updated its list of words.” Galleycat
  13. How To: Introduce Me with a Comma, by Beth Hill – “Comma use is tough for many of us. We check CMOS, Hart’s and our favorite grammar books, and sometimes we’re still not certain when to include a comma and when it’s safe to exclude them.”  The Editor’s Blog
  14. manwhofellReview: “The Man Who Fell From The Sky,” by Margaret Coel, reviewed by Leslie Doran – “Boulder author Margaret Coel’s mystery series features the unusual team of Father John O’Malley and Vicky Holden. Father John is a Jesuit priest who has been in charge of the St. Francis Mission on the Wind River Reservation for more than a decade. Vicky is an Arapaho attorney with a close relationship with the priest. They work together unofficially to solve crimes on the Wind River Reservation, or ones involving the Arapaho people.”  The Denver Post

KIndle cover 200x300Book Bits is compiled by Malcolm R. Campbell, author of the Jim Crow era novella “Conjure Woman’s Cat.”

This and that – a word from your sponsor (AKA me)

This is another one of my jumbled word from your sponsor posts.

  • from ABC News

    from ABC News

    I have been preoccupied this week with the 4,000-acre fire in Glacier National Park’s St. Mary Valley. An Elite Team arrived on the scene on Thursday and appears to already be having an impact. Unfortunately, a historic structure burned before they arrived. See my post: Historic Cabin Destroyed by Glacier Park Fire

  • LadyoftheBlueHourcoverMy paranormal/magical realism Kindle short story Lady of the Blue Hour will be free on Amazon between July 26 and July 30. In the story, a student comes home from a band trip to find his parents mysteriously missing while a lady hunts for the dead on his neighborhood street.
  • Speaking of magical realism, we have a blog hop coming up with cool posts by writers and readers who love the genre. The hop runs between July 28 and July 31 and will include a post of mine on my Malcolm’s Round Table blog. Stop by, enjoy KIndle cover 200x300the post, and then trek off to some of the other bloggers taking part.
  • The Kindle edition of my magical realism novella Conjure Woman’s Cat will be on sale on Amazon sometime during the week of August 20th. I’ll post more here when I know the exact date. It will be reduced to 99 cents. The novel features a conjure woman fighting the KKK with magic and a very helpful kitty.
  • As some of you may know, my wife and I moved in January from northeast Georgia to northwest Georgia where we put up a sunflower07252015house on a corner of the farm which has been in my wife’s family for five generations. The vibes are with us, for we put our garden in on the same spot where my wife’s grandmother had a nice garden  some 50+ years ago. So far, we’re getting tasty banana peppers, squash and tomatoes. For the heck of it, we planted a sunflower right in the middle of it and some rose bushes nearby in front of the ancient smokehouse. The roses are sitting where my wife’s grandmother’s roses once sat.

Best wishes for a great weekend!


Book Bits: ‘Go Set a Watchman,’ DOJ asked to investigate Amazon, Alice Munro stamp, Mardi Jo Link

BookBitsReaders who loved To Kill a Mockingbird have been in a state of shock for the last week or so as early reviews of Go Set a Watchman painted beloved character Atticus Finch as a racist. Some hoped that since Go Set a Watchman was written first, that Atticus saw the light before Mockingbird and Gregory Peck’s starring role in the movie created a memorable character in American literature. Yet, Go Set a Watchman is not a prequel but a sequel. “What the hell happened?” people asked. I plan to read te book before I decide. Apparently, I’m not alone since sales are brisk in spite of the controversy. For a sampling of early reviews, see Item 2.

  1. ABAlogoNews: Authors, ABA to DOJ: Investigate Amazon’s Abuse of Its Dominance in the Book Market, by David Grogan – “Today, in an unprecedented joint action, U.S. booksellers, authors, and literary agents called on the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to investigate the business practices of The action comes as similar efforts are underway in the European Union.” American Booksellers Association
  2. Audio Edition

    Audio Edition

    Commentary: Will ‘Go Set a Watchman’ Spoil ‘Mockingbird’? by Jane Ciabattari – “The July 14 publication of Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman is, indisputably, news. The reclusive author, now 89, was never expected to follow up on her Pulitzer Prize-winning classic To Kill a Mockingbird, first published in July 1960. But is Go Set a Watchman a good book? How will its publication affect Harper Lee’s literary legacy? And how are book critics shaping the early discussion?” Literary Hub

  3. Quotation:  “A significant aspect of this novel is that it asks us to see Atticus now not merely as a hero, a god, but as a flesh-and-blood man with shortcomings and moral failing, enabling us to see ourselves for all our complexities and contradictions.” – Former U. S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey’s in Harper Lee’s ‘Go Set a Watchman,’ a less noble Atticus Finch.   Washington Post
  4. News: Oyster Subscribers Can Now Access 2,000 Macmillan Digital Books, by Maryann Yin – “Macmillan will make an additional 1,000 titles available to Oyster users. The newly added books come from a variety of genres such as nonfiction, young adult, and mystery.”  Galley Cat
  5. Obituary: Chenjerai Hove – “Novelist, poet and playwright Chenjerai Hove, one of Zimbabwe’s best-known writers and a leading critic of President Robert Mugabe, died July 12, BBC News reported. He was 59. Hove won several awards for his work. He is perhaps best known for Bones, ‘set after independence on a white-owned farm, the book asks what difference the end of colonial rule in 1980 really made,’ BBC News wrote.” Shelf Awareness
  6. Cover font fot "Watchman"

    Cover font for “Watchman”

    Feature: For Font Designer, ‘Watchman’ Proves an Unexpected Thrill, by Anisse Gross – “This week, while Harper Lee is thrust back into the spotlight because of her much-anticipated sophomore novel Go Set a Watchman, someone else, heretofore unrelated to the book, is experiencing a unique satisfaction.”  Publishers Weekly

  7. Feature: Dickens’s marginalia reveal famous contributors to his journal, by Alison Flood – “In a lucky coincidence that would not look out of place in a Charles Dickens novel, an antiquarian book dealer has stumbled across what is believed to be Dickens’s own personally annotated copy of a literary periodical he edited. The find reveals, for the first time in around 150 years, the names behind 1,500 anonymously authored pieces in All the Year Round, from Elizabeth Gaskell to Wilkie Collins.”  The Guardian
  8. Quotation: “‘A short story is like a T-shirt. A novel is a suit and tie, sometimes overcoat and hat—it simply has more amplitude and ambition, larger, with more implication.’ Bomb has published the final interview with author James Salter. The acclaimed writer passed away last month at age ninety.” Poets & Writers
  9. bloodonrosesNew Title: “Blood on the Roses,” by Robert Hays, (Thomas-Jacob Publishing, LLC July 10, 2015), 228 pages – “In 1955, at the height of alarm over the Emmett Till murder in Mississippi and after the Supreme Court ruling against school segregation, Associated Press reporter Rachel Feigen travels from Baltimore to Tennessee to report on a missing person case. Guy Saillot’s last contact with his family was a postcard from the Tennessee Bend Motel, a seedy establishment situated on beautiful Cherokee Lake. But they have no record he was ever a guest.” Thomas-Jacob
  10. Viewpoint: HarperCollins UK CEO says “Publishing Entering a Golden Age” by Roger Tagholm – “On a glorious summer’s evening in the elegant courtyard of London’s Victoria & Albert Museum earlier this month HarperCollins UK CEO Charlie Redmayne could not have sounded more positive as he welcomed guests to the publisher’s annual Summer party in honor of its authors.”  Publishing Perspectives
  11. News: Alice Munro featured on new Canada Post stamp – “Nobel Prize–winning author Alice Munro has been honoured with a new stamp by Canada Post, released today in celebration of her 84th birthday. The stamp features a photograph of Munro taken by her daughter, Sheila, some of the author’s handwriting, and images of her hometown of Wingham, Ontario.” Quill & Quire
  12. Raleigh


    Interview: Reviewer IndieView with RaeleighReads – “I look for a book that grabs my attention from the get-go. I’m more a fan of action than of romance, and I adore scenes that are described in painstaking detail – scenes that transport me out of my reading room and into another world. For that to happen, there can’t be errors in grammar and usage. So, for me, a really well edited book is a must. Beyond that, I look for authentic, meaningful dialogue that is character-appropriate. There is nothing worse than reading a gorgeous line your favorite character would never utter. Again, this type of mistake rips the reader out of the scene. Reading is my means of being transported out of my real life, and a really great book will keep me in its world until the end.”  The Indie View

  13. Lists: A Visual Diary of Gorgeous Technicolor Films, by Alison Nastasi – “Through August 5, MoMA’s retrospective Glorious Technicolor examines this brilliant chapter in Hollywood history. We’re celebrating along with them by offering this visual diary of gorgeous Technicolor films that remind us of the magic of movies.”  Flavorwire
  14. drummondReview: “The Drummond Girls,” by Mardi Jo Link, reviewed by Henry L. Carrigan Jr. – “In 1993, Mardi Jo Link was a 31-year-old wife and mother of two and a bar waitress with a college degree. Just before sunrise on an October Michigan morning, Link and three friends set off on what would become an annual get-the-hell-out-of-Dodge adventure to the isolated refuge of Drummond Island on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. In 1993, Link was the newest member of the sorority, but she eventually became the chronicler of the highs and lows of the annual island weekend.”  Book Page
  15. Commentary: Why newsrooms should care about virtual reality, by Abigail Edge – “From Vice to The Wall Street Journal, many newsrooms are already experimenting with virtual reality as a new way to engage audiences and offer different perspectives on stories.  The 2015 Trends in Newsrooms report from the World Editors Forum flagged VR as one of the top nine trends in news outlets around the world.”




KIndle cover 200x300Book Bits is compiled by Malcolm R. Campbell, author of the Jim Crow era novella set in the Florida Panhandle, “Conjure Woman’s Cat”




Book Bits: Bloomsday, ‘In the Country,’ Aziz Ansari, Book Dominoes uproar, Dorothea Benton Frank


Happy Bloomsday. Need help? See Open Culture’s Everything You Need to Enjoy Reading James Joyce’s Ulysses on Bloomsday. Or, click on the graphic above for the official Bloomsday site.

  1. News: Amazon’s E-Books Business Investigated by European Antitrust Regulators, by David Streitfield and Mark Scott- “European regulators said on Thursday that they were beginning an antitrust investigation into whether Amazon used its dominant position in the region’s e-books market to favor its own products over rivals.”  The New York Times
  2. Obituary: “Hilary Masters, who wrote 10 novels and whose fiction, nonfiction, poetry and essays won numerous awards, died Sunday, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported. He was 87. His books include Post: A Fable, In Rooms of Memory: Essays, Last Stands: Notes From Memory and How the Indians Buried Their Dead: Stories. He was the son of poet Edgar Lee Masters.” – Shelf Awareness
  3. inthecountryReview: “In the Country,” by Mia Alvar, reviewed by Maureen Corrigan – “The initial “selling point” of Mia Alvar’s debut short story collection, In the Country, is its fresh subject matter: namely, Filipinos living under martial law in the 1970s in their own country and in exile, working as maids, engineers, teachers, health care workers and hired hands in the Middle East and the United States.”  NPR
  4. News: And Other Stories to Publish Only Women for a Year, by Dennis Abrams – “Publisher Stefan Tobler of And Other Stories in the UK has committed to a year of publishing only books by women, in response to ‘gender bias’ towards men.”  Publishing Perspectives
  5. Quick Look: “Tell No Harm” – BUY IT, “Elton Musk” – SKIP IT, “Kick Back” – BORROW IT, “Our Souls at Night” – BORROW IT, “On the Page” – BORROW IT, and “Radiant Angel” – BORROW IT.  – Kirkus Reviews
  6. ansariInterview: Aziz Ansari (“Modern Romance”), with Donna Fredkin – “If there’s one universal truth out there, it’s that love hurts. And it’s a topic comedian/actor Aziz Ansari explores in Modern Romance (Penguin Press), co-written with NYU sociology professor Eric Klinenberg. The book, inspired by topics Ansari riffs on during his stand-up act, looks at how Tinder and texting have impacted the way we date and mate, and why.”  USA Today
  7. News: Japanese Library Causes Uproar for Attempting to Break ‘Book Dominos’ World Record, by Katie Barasch – ” large majority of the Japanese public, in the wake of Gifu City Library’s planned attempt to break a world record, are up in arms about this seemingly obscure question. According to the Telegraph, the book domino event “was intended to promote Gifu as a ‘book city,’” as well as to celebrate architect Toyo Ito’s renovations.”  Electric Literature
  8. Feature: US poet laureate Juan Felipe Herrera: ‘Poetry is one of the most beautiful ways of participating’ by Michelle Dean – “‘It’s a good thing, you know, it’s a good thing,’ Juan Felipe Herrera told me on the phone last week, as he reacted to the news that he was going to be the next poet laureate of the United States – the first Hispanic American to receive the honour. But he would rather not stop there: ‘The more we engage in society, the more firsts we have, then there will be a moment when we have no more firsts.” He thinks about that statement for a second, then adds, “Or maybe there will always be new firsts.'”  The Guardian
  9. soulsatnightReview: “Our Souls at Night,” by Kent Haruf, reviewed by Michael Alec Rose – “When an author begins a novel with ‘And then there was the day’—as Kent Haruf begins Our Souls at Night, a brief, final testament completed shortly before his death last November—you know he knows we know what he’s talking about. This is Holt, Colorado. Over three decades, Haruf has given us six novels counting up all of Holt’s days, beginning with The Tie That Binds in 1984. That title is a principle that covers a lot of ground, straight through to this last one.”  Book Page
  10. Viewpoint: Taking the guilt out of guilty pleasures in reading, by Laurie Hertzel – Last winter, I was on NPR along with a couple of other people talking about books — the best books of 2014, the big titles coming up in 2015. Toward the end of the hour, the host threw us for a loop. She asked, ‘What was your favorite guilty pleasure this year?’ I was glad the others answered first, so that I could collect my thoughts. Guilty? What did I feel guilty about reading? I lamely offered up a Tana French murder mystery, even though I hadn’t felt guilty while reading it. Actually, I had loved reading it.”  The Minneapolis Star-Tribune
  11. singleladiesReview: “All the Single Ladies,” by Dorothea Benton Frank, reviewed by Amie Taylor – “In her position as a nurse at the Palmetto House Assisted Living Facility, Lisa St. Clair has seen her share of patients come and go. As a geriatric specialist, she knows that the odds are great that her patients eventually will make their departure to the great beyond while under her care. Unfortunately, when one of Lisa’s favorite patients, Kathy Harper, dies of cancer while only in her late 50s, Lisa takes her death especially hard.”  Book Reporter
  12. Feature: Does writing a memoir help an author to heal? by By Randy Dotinga – “Three writers share their thoughts and concerns about sharing deeply personal secrets in a memoir.” The Christian Science Monitor
  13. Bestsellers (Self-Published): (from Shelf Awareness)
  • shelfawarenessBeautiful Sacrifice (Maddox Brothers Volume 3) by Jamie McGuire
  • When an Alpha Purrs (A Lion’s Pride Book 1) by Eve Langlais
  • Kane (Slater Brothers Book 3) by L.A. Casey
  • Dirty Boys of Summer by Various
  • The Perfect Gift (Bluegrass Singles: Volume 3) by Kathleen Brooks
  • Hearts in Danger by Various
  • One Night With You by Marie Force
  • Forever (An Unfortunate Fairy Tale: Volume 5) by Chanda Hahn
  • Marrow by Tarryn Fisher
  • Just Say When by Kaylee Ryan

SnakebitCOVERBook Bits is compiled by Malcolm R. Campbell, author of the Kindle short story “Snakebit.”


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