The Sun Singer's Travels

Malcolm R. Campbell's World

Archive for the tag “Neil Gaiman”

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.



Malcolm’s 2013 Holiday Book Catalogue

seasonsgreetingsShare a gift of stories with your family, friends and neighbors. They entertain forever while lifting one’s spirits. You can find these books on iTunes, OmniLit, Amazon and Smashwords. Nook editions of many of these novels are available at Barnes & Noble. My holiday list also includes books I’ve reviewed. The link for each title is for Amazon.

  • bookstackThe Betrayed – magical realism/contemporary fantasy (e-book): After serving in the Navy during the Vietnam War, David Ward finds refuge from his demons in at a small, Midwestern college where almost everyone is lying about something including those he once thought he could trust. Not for the faint of heart, The Betrayed is a tale of magic, attempted murder, slander and kidnapping.
  • The Sailor – magical realism/contemporary fantasy (paperback and e-book): While David Ward’s heart tells him to dodge the draft by escaping into Canada or Sweden, he bows to the pressure of family and friends and enlists in the Navy where he serves aboard an aircraft carrier in the South China Sea. While a carrier is a dangerous place, the greatest threats to his sanity come from his friends and family back home.
  • The Seeker – magical realism/contemporary fantasy (paperback and e-book): At the urging of his medicine woman grandmother, David Ward climbs the sacred mountain for a vision when he’s 19. He sees his future, but cannot stop destiny from unfolding down hidden pathways. This novel is partially set in the Montana high country during the state’s worst flood. The spiritual and personal deluge is worse than the high water and threatens to carry away the young woman he plans to marry.
  • Emily’s Stories – general fiction/paranormal (paperback, e-book and audio book): Three short stories about a very determined and inquisitive 14-year-old girl who talks to spirits and approaches life’s adventures with a Nancy Drew attitude. She fights to save the sacred forest behind her house, understand the importance of the sweetbay magnolia tree in her grandmother’s back yard, and rescue her father from a grizzly bear. “Mapmaker” and “Sweetbay Magnolia” are set in the Florida panhandle, and “High Country Painter” is set in the Rocky Mountains.
  • Jock Stewart and the Missing Sea of Fire – satire/comedy (paperback, e-book and audio book): In this adventure with a touch of noir, old-style reporter Jock Stewart battles a clueless local government, wimpy editors, lovers who come and go, and a hopelessly inept police force to report the news while looking for the stolen race horse Sea of Fire.
  • Cora’s Crossing – short story/paranormal (e-book): Two students find an assault victim on an old and very haunted bridge on a dark and stormy night and realize her enemies are more dangerous than the ghost.
  • Moonlight and Ghosts – short story/paranormal (e-book): A young man is drawn back to the abandoned psychiatric hospital where he once worked and learns that two of the ghosts there need his special psychic skills to help find a missing young woman.
  • The Land Between the Rivers – Stories/folktales (Kindle e-book): Three short stories inspired by the Seminole creation myth about Panther, Snake Bird and Bear and their learning experiences in the Florida swamp at the dawn of time. Why doesn’t the Florida Panther roar? Why does the Snake Bird create such a ruckus getting airborne? What odd food does the Black Bear eat and how did he ever find it?

You May Also Like

  • cuckooThe Cuckoo’s Calling, by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling) – After losing his leg to a land mine in Afghanistan, Cormoran Strike is barely scraping by as a private investigator. Strike is down to one client, and creditors are calling. He has also just broken up with his longtime girlfriend and is living in his office. Then John Bristow walks through his door with an amazing story. See my review.
  • BAWB 200 x 300Blessed Are the Wholly Broken, by Melinda Clayton – After the heartbreak of losing their newborn son to a previously undiagnosed genetic condition, Phillip and Anna Lewinsky managed to patch their lives back together and move forward, filling the emptiness with friends, work, and travel. When Anna unexpectedly finds herself pregnant again at the age of forty-three, Phillip is thrilled to have a second chance at fatherhood in spite of Anna’s objections. See my review.
  • oceanendoflaneThe Ocean at the End of the Lane, by Neil Gaiman – Forty years ago, our narrator, who was then a seven-year-old boy, unwittingly discovered a neighboring family’s supernatural secret. What happens next is an imaginative romp through otherwordly adventure that could only come from Gaiman’s magical mind. Childhood innocence is tested and transcended as we see what getting between ancient, mystic forces can cost, as well as what can be gained from the power of true friendship. The result is a captivating tale that is equal parts sweet, sad, and spooky. See my review.
  • queeenvictoriaQueen Victoria’s Book of Spells: An Anthology of Gaslamp Fantasy edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling – Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells is an anthology for everyone who loves these works of neo-Victorian fiction, and wishes to explore the wide variety of ways that modern fantasists are using nineteenth-century settings, characters, and themes. See my review.
  • bookofnowThe Book of Now: Poetry for the Rising Tide, edited by Leah Shelleda – Seven lyrical women poets, each accompanied by a study of their work, navigate our contemporary world. They travel to the depths of the psyche, experience exile, rhapsodize on the beauty of our planet, lament loss and celebrate renewal. These poets write courageously on what threatens us: climate change, war, mountain-top removal, loss of species, environmental damage, the scourge of cancer. They are witnesses, ‘Couriers,’ who bring us their visions. As the tide rises they reach out to us in deeply personal and clear voices, each providing a unique experience in contemporary poetry. See my review.
  • faustwomanThe Faust Woman Poems, by Naomi Ruth Lowinsky – In the 1960s and ‘70s the long forgotten and forbidden Great Goddess roused herself from millennia of slumber and took possession of young women’s imaginations. That cast out She offered a Faustian bargain—She would rip you out of your narrow domesticated self image, thrust you into the wilds of sex, power and creativity, initiate you into the mysteries of Earth and Starry Heaven, but you would owe Her your soul. A generation of women followed Her. Some knew her as Feminism, some knew her as the Deep Feminine, many as both. The Faust Woman Poems trace one woman’s Faustian adventures through that time. Most of a lifetime later the Great Goddess returns to the poet. As oceans rise and species die She demands Her due.  See my review.
  • joylandJoyland, by Stephen King – Set in a small-town North Carolina amusement park in 1973, Joyland tells the story of the summer in which college student Devin Jones comes to work as a carny and confronts the legacy of a vicious murder, the fate of a dying child, and the ways both will change his life forever. See my review.

Happy Reading and Happy Holidays!


Book Bits: ‘The Arrivals,’ ‘The Looking Glass Brother,’ Carnegie Medals, Susan Choi

BookBitsIn a week that begins with Serena Williams losing at Wimbledon, goodness knows what will happen next. I guess somebody should have knocked on wood last week when a commentator said that nobody can stop her.

Turning to the saner world of books, authors and publishing, <g> here are today’s links:

  1. News: Penguin, Random House Complete Publishing Mega-Merger, by Annalisa Quinn – “Publishers Penguin and Random House have officially merged into one entity known as Penguin Random House (not, as many had hoped, “Random Penguin” or “Penguin House”). The deal “creates the world’s largest publisher of consumer books,” according to The Associated Press.” NPR
  2. arrivalsReview: “The Arrivals,” by Melissa Marr, reviewed by Brian Truitt – “The Arrivals straddles a line between world-building sci-fi and interpersonal, intimate drama, but never forcefully plants its flag in either…Marr does strike an equal balance of both, however, to keep the story humming along, and you’ll want to definitely saddle up for this one since the core concept — of people on a path of redemption in a throwback afterlife — is just too fascinating to ignore.” USA Today
  3. Feature: Start Spreading The News: Booksellers on Measuring Their Newsletters’ Reach, by  Elizabeth Knapp – “From news of store events and book world happenings, to updates on new title releases and staff favorites, booksellers have a lot to tell their customers on a regular basis.” Bookselling this Week
  4. Essay: Boys Don’t Cry: In Praise of Sentiment, by Andrew Sean Greer – “Why is it that at the slightest hint of emotion most critics accuse the writer of being “sentimental”? Novelist Andrew Sean Greer, author of The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells, takes a stand for emotional fiction and against lazy criticism.” The Daily Beast
  5. lookingglassbrotherReview: “The Looking Glass Brother,” by Peter von Ziegesar – “Screenwriter and filmmaker von Ziegesar’s younger brother is also named Peter von Ziegesar. To be precise, they are stepbrothers, and they are called Big Peter and Little Peter. Though Big Peter had been known to occasionally inhale lines of dope, it was Little Peter who was troubled—homeless and either schizophrenic or in the thrall of Asperger’s syndrome…In a memorable memoir reflecting identity, von Ziegesar tells of his stepbrother’s wounds, both psychic and grievously physical, occasionally with fraternal irascibility and more frequently with candid understanding.” Kirkus Reviews
  6. Essay: Mono no aware: The Female Essayist of Medieval Japan, by Mary Mann – “Mono no aware is the bittersweet feeling that accompanies change. It’s the smell of burning leaves and the shouts from a nearby football game when one has left high school behind. It’s seeing your best childhood friend get married. It’s the basis of almost every episode of The Wonder Years. It is, as Sei Shonagon wrote in the tenth century, ‘when one has stopped loving somebody, [and] one feels that he has become someone else, even though he is still the same person.'” Bookslut
  7. carnegieNews: Richard Ford, Timothy Egan Win Carnegie Medals at Packed ALA, by Andrew Albanese – “At a reception last night in Chicago, Richard Ford and TImothy Egan were awarded the second annual Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction. Ford took home fiction honors for his novel, Canada (Ecco), while Egan took home the nonfiction prize for Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher: The Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward Curtis (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt).”  Publishers Weekly
  8. Obituary Note: Oliver Bernard – “Oliver Bernard, a British poet and translator of Rimbaud and Apollinaire who “led a life of dazzling variety,” died last month, the Guardian reported. He was 87.” Shelf Awareness
  9. Choi


    Interview: Steamy Novel An ‘Education’ In Youth, Love And Mistakes – “Susan Choi’s previous novels have pulled from events in the headlines: the Korean War for The Foreign Student; the Patty Hearst kidnapping for American Woman; and the Wen Ho Lee accusations for A Person of Interest. But her latest book, My Education, was inspired by something else — youthful passion.” NPR

  10. How To: How to Make Weird Nouns Plural, by Mignon Fogarty – “A few years ago, a Twitter user name Nick Piesco asked me an interesting question about making product names plural. He wanted to know how to make the name “iPad 2” plural.” Grammar Girl
  11. Commentary: What Does B&N Do Next? by Jim Milliot – “With Barnes & Noble completing a difficult fiscal 2013 with a bad fourth quarter, publishers are continuing to wonder what is next for the nation’s largest bookstore chain and second largest source of book purchases behind Amazon. ” Publishers Weekly
  12. ItalianwaysReview: Not Really a Book About Trains As Such: Tim Parks’s Italian Ways, by Mark O’Connell – “If you didn’t know much about Tim Parks, and you just briefly picked up Italian Ways: On and Off the Rails from Milan to Palermo as you happened to be passing by the Travel Writing display table at your local bookseller, you might be inclined to think of it as exactly the kind of book it isn’t. The cozy-sounding title and the jacket design — with its fetching pasturescapes, its hazily panoramic Florence skylines — might lead you to think of it as one of those harmlessly middlebrow lifestyle memoirs that tend to get written about places like Tuscany and Provence. But that, as I say, is exactly the kind of book Italian Ways isn’t. It is a book about traveling by train in Italy, but it’s not that kind of book about traveling by train in Italy.” The Millions
  13. mythologicaldimensionsFeature: Briefly Noted: ‘The Mythological Dimensions of Neil Gaiman’ by Malcolm R. Campbell – “When Kitsume Books, a small north Florida press, closed its doors last fall I hoped the award-winning The Mythological Dimensions of Neil Gaiman would not disappear. This is an immensely enjoyable study of the works of one of our most popular fantasy authors. While the book is sold out on the press’ web site, it is still available via Amazon in trade paperback and Kindle.” Magic Moments
  14. News: Paula Deen’s Next Cookbook Is Canceled, by Mark Memmott – “Pre-publication orders had made it No. 1 on Amazon, but now Paula Deen’s publisher has said it won’t be putting out her next cookbook this fall.” NPR

“Book Bits” is compiled several times a week by Malcolm R, Campbell, author of contemporary fantasies including the recently released “The Sailor.”


Book Bits: Reviews of ‘The Ocean at the End of the Lane’

oceanendoflaneBy now, most readers who love myth, fantasy, a hint of magic, and wonderful stories know that Neil Gaiman’s first novel for adults in eight years is available online and at nearby bookstores. Everyday E Book calls The Ocean at the End of the Lane “a Gift for Your Inner Child.”

Here’s a roundup of recent reviews:

  • Kirkus Reviews: “From one of the great masters of modern speculative fiction: Gaiman’s first novel for adults since Anansi Boys (2005)…Poignant and heartbreaking, eloquent and frightening, impeccably rendered, it’s a fable that reminds us how our lives are shaped by childhood experiences, what we gain from them and the price we pay.”
  • Christian Science Monitor: “‘The Ocean at the End of the Lane,’ pairs themes from Gaiman’s young adult novels – a lonely child having to outwit an evil masquerading as a caregiver – with a middle-aged melancholy. It’s his most successful “grown-up” book since 2001’s Hugo and Nebula-winning ‘American Gods,’ at one-third the page count.
  • Minneapolis Star-Tribune: “If you like Neil Gaiman’s books, chances are you enjoy his voice as much as anything he might choose to say with it. Whether he describes forgotten gods down on their luck or a transcendentally brilliant plan to swap a dad for goldfish, the voice remains a familiar and kindly sort of trickster, smiling its affectionate smile, intending to lead you down to a very dark place and abandon you there.”
  • The Columbus, Ohio Dispatch: “Gaiman has stripped away the glamour and frippery of some of his previous stories and writes sparely of a child’s joys, sorrows and courage. He paints a child’s life with wrenching sympathy and precision, and delivers an engrossing myth for our age. The Ocean at the End of the Lane, full of discovery and bonding, sacrifice and heroism, will gratify Gaiman fans and new readers alike.”
  • The Guardian: “This is Gaiman’s first adult novel since Anansi Boys in 2005 and his millions of fans will be mad for it. It tells the story of a man who returns to Sussex for a funeral and then finds himself driving “randomly” to the scenes of his childhood. He is drawn to the Hempstock farmhouse wherein, he remembers, there lived three generations of powerful and mysterious Hempstock women. The youngest of these, Lettie, used to call their duck pond her “Ocean” – later revealed (in a beautiful passage) to be a metaphor for what might best be described as the cosmic life force. And it is by this Ocean that the narrator sits down and recalls the magical and traumatic events that befell his seven-year-old self.”
  • The Washington Post: “This is a novel of nostos — that ineffable longing for home, for the sensations and feelings of childhood, when the world was frightening and magical all at once, when anything and everything were possible…’The Ocean at the End of the Lane’ is a small thing with much joy and heartache, sacrifice and friendship, beautifully crafted and as lonesome as the ocean.”
  • Barnes & Noble Review: “I think, Gaiman would be better to follow his character’s advice and let his attempts at myth just be. When he does, ‘The Ocean at the End of the Lane’ is not just very good but cleaves quite close to greatness. It suggests that the process of growing may be learning how those “greater things” the narrator reflects on are entwined with the small things he took pleasure in as a child — much as the pond at the Hempsteads’ farm is actually, as one of the women there insists, an ocean.”
  • Salon: “The novel begins and ends with the narrator, now an adult, returning to the English village where he grew up, for a family funeral. (The deceased is never identified, but there are hints it is the man’s father.) We learn that he’s been married and separated, that he is a working artist, that he has grown children. When he looks back on the strange events of his childhood, it is through the mellowed and slightly melancholy lens of middle-age. What the story sacrifices of the sweet, glassy purity of a child’s view, it compensates for with the complex sepia of maturity; it’s the difference between a bright young white wine and a well-aged burgundy.”
  • Book List: “Gaiman mines mythological typology—the three-fold goddess, the water of life (the pond, actually an ocean)—and his own childhood milieu to build the cosmology and the theater of a story he tells more gracefully than any he’s told since ‘Stardust’ (1999). And don’t worry about that “for adults” designation: it’s a matter of tone. This lovely yarn is good for anyone who can read it.”

“Book Bits” is compiled several times a week by Malcolm R. Campbell, author of the Vietnam War-era contemporary fantasy “The Sailor”


Book Bits: BEA ‘Power Readers,’ CIA novel, Dolly Parton, ‘Duel with the Devil’

Here are a few readers and authors links for your weekend:

  1. bealogoEvent: Public Invited to Attend North America’s Largest Annual Book Convention. “Power Readers” to Participate in BookExpo America on Saturday, June 1st, 2013. The expo is taking place New York City at the Jacob K. Javits Center, May 29 – June 1, 2013.
  2. Viewpoint: BEA 2013: ‘The Whole Damn Thing,’ by Judith Rosen – “In an opening session intended to be provocative, Macmillan CEO John Sargent and outgoing American Booksellers Association president Becky Anderson, co-owner of Anderson’s Bookshops in Naperville, Ill., may not have necessarily covered “Publishing, Bookselling, and the Whole Damn Thing,” but they definitely got the conversation going, which was Sargent’s goal.”  Publishers Weekly
  3. News: Simon and Schuster gets green light to publish Canadian books domestically, by John Barber – “Long restricted to distributing foreign titles, the Canadian branch of New York based Simon and Schuster will now be permitted to publish books in Canada by Canadian authors, according to a statement released by Heritage Canada.”  The Globe and Mail
  4. wolfwatchmanReview: ‘The Wolf and the Watchman: A Father, a Son, and the CIA’ by Scott C. Johnson, reviewed by Jeff Stein – “There comes a time in many a CIA family when a child has to be sat down and told the facts of life. No, not the birds and the bees: It’s that Dad or Mom is a spy. That no, they don’t really work for the State Department (or an oil company or an import-export firm). Those are pretend, or cover, jobs. They work for the CIA’s operations arm.” The Washington Post
  5. Feature: How does copyright work in space? – “CHRIS HADFIELD has captured the world’s heart, judging by the 14m YouTube views of his free-fall rendition of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity”, recorded on the International Space Station (ISS). The Canadian astronaut’s clear voice and capable guitar-playing were complemented by his facility in moving around in the microgravity of low-earth orbit. But when the man fell to Earth in a neat and safe descent a few days ago, after a five-month stay in orbit, should he have been greeted by copyright police?” The Economist
  6. guardianlogoViewpoint: The Guardian has opened a coffee shop. No, it’s not a joke– “Deep in the murky, hipster-ridden depths of London’s Shoreditch emerges a new beast dedicated to bringing you bitter, overheated arguments, alongside its bitter, overheated journalism.” The Commentator
  7. Quotation:  “Librarians wield unfathomable power. With a flip of the wrist they can hide your dissertation behind piles of old Field and Stream magazines.” – Librarian Avengers
  8. Lists: 11 Neil Gaiman Quotes on Writing, by Chris Higgins – “Neil Gaiman is a prolific author spanning genres — he has hits in the worlds of comics, young adult fiction, grownup fiction, television, film, and even nonfiction (I particularly enjoyed Don’t Panic, his Douglas Adams/HHGTTG companion). Here, eleven quotes from Gaiman on writing.” Mental Floss
  9. duelwithdevilReview: “Duel With the Devil,” Paul Collins. reviewed by Laura Miller – “Crime and punishment: Dostoyevsky was far from the only writer to recognize how much a society reveals about itself in the way it handles both. For novelists, a detective can serve as a roving eye, licensed to peer into the secrets of every social stratum, while a trial, with its pitched adversaries and high stakes, becomes a dramatic way to decide not only what happened but who, if anyone, is to blame. That’s how Paul Collins uses the famous real-life murder mystery at the center of ‘Duel With the Devil.’ ” Salon
  10. Essay: Poetry is not drowning, but swimming into new territory – “News of plummeting sales do not, as some fear, indicate a dying art. In fact, the genre is adapting well to a new publishing age.” The Guardian
  11. Gardner


    Lists: 5 Things Writers Should Know Right Now, by Rachelle Gardner – “As everyone in publishing deals with a rapidly changing environment, replete with opportunities as well as disappointments, it’s easy to lose sight of the overarching truths that can serve to keep us centered. I think it’s important to go back to basics every now and then so that we can better focus on what’s important.”  Books & Such

  12. News: Lydia Davis hints at move to microblogging fiction, by Vanessa Thorpe – “Booker Prize winner, known for her succinct tales, says her publisher is keen for her to try writing stories on Twitter.” The Guardian
  13. AkinsonInterview: Rick Atkinson (“The Guns at Last Night”) with Alden Mudge in “Capturing the calamitous tapestry of war” – “Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Rick Atkinson left the Washington Post in 1999 “to raise my game, to become a historian and use the longer lens of history” to write about World War II in Western Europe. He didn’t know that it would be 14 years before he typed the final words of The Guns at Last Light, the brilliant, more-than-worth-the-wait final volume of his epic Liberation Trilogy.” Book Page
  14. Lists: 5 Ways to Find the Right Freelance Book Editor, By Stacy Ennis – “If you’re ready to hire and work with an editor, you may not know the first thing about how to start looking for one or how to evaluate candidates once you’ve found them.” Jane Friedman
  15. PartonInterview: Country Music Legend Dolly Parton’s New Role: ‘Book Lady,’ with John Merrow – “Country music legend Dolly Parton has delivered nearly 50 million free books to children’s homes. Called Imagination Library, the program started in 1996 in one one rural Tennessee county and has spread to 1,400 communities across the United States, England and Canada.” PBS Newshour
  16. News: Literary event combining public readings and knitting coming to Regina, by By Alyssa McDonald  – “A publishing company is spicing up a cross-Canada literary event by adding knitting to the equation.” Metro

“Book Bits” is compiled several times a week by Malcolm R. Campbell, author of novels set in Glacier National Park, including “Sarabande” and “The Seeker.”

Only $4.99 on Kindle

Only $4.99 on Kindle

Book Bits: Lonely Planet, Specialty cookbooks, Owen King, Neil Gaiman, ‘Z’

lonelyplanetHappy 40th birthday to  travel publisher Lonely Planet.  Just after they were married, Tony and Maureen Wheeler travelled across Europe and Aisa, happy but flat broke. They wrote their first travel guide because so many friends kept asking questions about their trip. The stapled-together book sold 1,500 copies. They never got traveling, or guidebooks, out of their systems.

Lonely Planet is now the number one guidebook publisher with over 500 titles and 100 million copies sold.

Today’s links:

  1. News: Indie Bookstore Sales of Kobo Ebooks Dwarf Google; Still Small, by Jeremy Greenfield – “Just six months after forging a partnership with the American Booksellers Association (ABA) to help independent bookstores sell ebooks, Canadian upstart Kobo has shown that it can crush the competition – even when the competition is one of the world’s largest and most admired companies.” Digital Book World
  2. News: Thin Reads, an online guide to e-singles, launches, By Laura Hazard Owen – “Thin Reads, a website devoted to e-singles, launched Monday. The site offers reviews and author interviews, bestseller lists drawn from Amazon and a database of titles.”  Paid Content
  3. cookboksReviews: “150 Best Desserts in A Jar” by Andrea Jourdan and “150 Best Ebelskiver Recipes by Camilla V. Saulsbury,” reviewed by Linda L. Richards – “When it comes to esoteric cookbooks, there aren’t a lot of outfits who can beat Robert Rose. It’s not that the company produces weird cookbooks. And they’re mostly pretty good. What gets me is what would seem to be the limited potential market for some of these books. ”  January Magazine
  4. schiefferViewpoint: Bob Schieffer: Newspapers’ decline could lead to unprecedented ‘corruption’ by Steve Friess – “Local news stations must pick up the slack in local investigative journalism brought on by the demise of newspapers or the nation will be beset with a wave of unprecedented official corruption, CBS anchor Bob Schieffer said as he accepted the National Association of Broadcasters’ Distinguished Service Award on Monday in Las Vegas.” Politico
  5. Viewpoint: Scott Turow decries ‘slow death’ of the American author, by Alison Flood – “Novelist and Authors Guild president fulminates against depletion of writers’ incomes by publishers, libraries and copyright changes”  The Guardian
  6. Iowenkingnterview: Owen King (“Double Feature”), with Brad Listi – “Larry McMurtry says ‘Double Feature is a beautiful, wrenching beginning, and Owen King is a young writer of immense promise.’…Monologue topics: listener feedback, overdoing gender politics, Bad Sex in Fiction Award.”  Other People
  7. Quotation: “The codex, which is the ancestor of the book, was invented 2,500 years ago, and ever since then the book business has been in incredible flux, and it’s not going to change. But one thing that’s also not going to change is people love to go to bookstores, and people still have tremendous loyalty for the physical book. And our task and our challenge is to give the people of Concord the best bookstore that we can possibly put up.” – Michael Herrmann, owner of Gibson’s Bookstore, Concord, N.H
  8. littleprinceLists: The 25 Books Every Kid Should Have on Their Bookshelf, by Emily Temple – “This month marks the 70th anniversary of one of our favorite children’s books of all time, the beautiful, contemplative novella The Little Prince. To celebrate the book’s legacy (and to encourage any parents currently dragging their feet to get it for their little ones), we’ve put together a list of 25 essential books that every kid should have on his or her bookshelf growing up.” Flavorwire
  9. News: B&N Launches Nook Press – “Nook Media, a subsidiary of Barnes & Noble, has launched Nook Press, a self-publishing e-book program designed with input from PubIt!, B&N’s original self-publishing platform, and using technology from partner FastPencil.” – ShelfAwareness . . .for details, see the Digital Book World story.
  10. WBookNight2013Event: Kick Off events for World Book Night 2013, by  Erin Cox – “While World Book Night is completely focused on the 25,000 volunteers and getting you the books and materials, supporting the bookstore and library host locations, and the 500,000 future book recipients, we DO want to get publicity for World Book Night, of course. We want to support your efforts as you go out on April 23, and we want to increase awareness of the value of reading and community.” World Book Night
  11. Essay: Paucity of Art in the Age of Big Data: A Dispatch from San Francisco, by Lydia Kiesling – “My quest to find the great tech novel — something sprawling and social and occurring inside the Teach-Up and outside the restaurant and around the home of the displaced shopowner and the H1B-visa programmer — is in itself a kind of solutionism. Novels are captured social data. ”  The Millions
  12. oceanlaneReview: “The Ocean at the End of the Lane,” by Neil Gaiman, reviewed by Ray Olson – “Gaiman mines mythological typology—the three-fold goddess, the water of life (the pond, actually an ocean)—and his own childhood milieu to build the cosmology and the theater of a story he tells more gracefully than any he’s told since Stardust (1999). And don’t worry about that “for adults” designation: it’s a matter of tone. This lovely yarn is good for anyone who can read it.” BookList
  13. Feature: Are you Writing to Reach a Particular Kind of Reader? by Pat Bertram – “I am the reader I was writing for. There were stories I wanted to read and couldn’t find, so I wrote them. The dichotomy of this is that I always wanted to reach a large readership and make a living by writing, so it would have been more practical to write books that a large number of people would like. ”  Angie’s Diary
  14. beachblanketCommentary: Annette Funicello: End of an Era, by M. R. Moore – “Annette Funicello’s death, at age seventy, occurred one day after the Sunday night premiere of season 6 of Mad Men. The pilot of the show, you will recall, was set in the year 1960: the same year Annette Funicello segued from The Mickey Mouse Club (which aired from 1955 to 1959) to her career as a singer and performer in a passel of musicals produced in Hollywood, before the British Invasion transformed youth culture. ”  The Paris Review
  15. Feature: To: 5 Tips for Self-published Authors to Maximize Rights and Licensing Deals, by Hannah Shepphard – “The discussion of the pros (and cons) of self-publishing (or indie publishing, if you prefer) rages across a wide gamut of publishing media every day. But the debates all focus on the idea of getting a book published in one market — what few fail to address is how self-published authors can maximise the full potential of their creative work in terms of rights licensing deals.”  Publishing Perspectives
  16. deserterReview: “Deserter.” by Charles Glass, reviewed by Chitra Ramaswamy – “150,000 Allied soldiers deserted in the Second World War. Now the stories of three of them are told for the first time in a fascinating new book…”Deserter” explores “the last untold story of the Second World War” through the individual histories of three combat soldiers who deserted: Steve Weiss, John Vernon Bain, who fought with the Gordon Highland Regiment in North Africa and Normandy, and Al Whitehead, who survived Omaha Beach. ”  The Scotsman (This book is titled “The Deserters” in the U.S.)
  17. Feature: Searching for Bill Watterson by Liv Combe – “The creator of “Calvin and Hobbes” is notoriously reclusive. Does he owe it to his fans to stay in the spotlight? ”  Salon
  18. fowlerInterview: “Z,” by Therese Anne Fowler. . .Giving Zelda ‘a fair shake’ in a fictional memoir, by Cat Acree – “As it turns out, Zelda wasn’t crazy. She was probably misdiagnosed as schizophrenic and more likely suffered from bipolar disorder. Her wild behavior in New York has also been exaggerated over time (though she did jump from a table down a flight of stairs). ” Book Page
  19. Obituary: Peter Workman Dies at Age 74 – “Peter Workman, who founded Workman Publishing in 1967 as a book packager and turned it into one of the country’s most successful independent publishers, died April 7 after a battle with cancer. He was 74.” Publishers Weekly
  20. News: Meet the 17-Year-Old Who’s Already Got a Three-Book Deal with Random House, by Jen Doll – “Beth Reekles is the 17-year-old Welsh high school student who posted her first novel, The Kissing Booth, online at the story-sharing site Wattpad, where it got more than 19 million views—not to mention the eyes of editors at Random House Children’s Publishers UK. They reached out, which led to her book’s release in Britain.”  Atlantic Wire
Nook, Kindle and Paperback

Nook, Kindle and Paperback

“Book Bits” is compiled several times a week by Malcolm R. Campbell, author of contemporary fantasy novels and short stories, and the satire “Jock Stewart and the Missing Sea of Fire.”

Author’s Website

Post Navigation