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Archive for the tag “reviews”

Buy It or Review It (Or Preferably Both)

If you are a writer, ask to be paid for your work. If you are asking a writer to appear, pay them. If you read a book, pay for it. If you accept a free book, post a review. Anything else is eroding the careers of writers everywhere.

via Buy It or Review It (Or Preferably Both) | FundsforWriters

This post, from several days ago, is in many ways about writers helping each other and notes that many people–including those on writers’ Facebook friends lists or who follow their blogs–sign on to accept a free copy of a book but then never read it, much less review it.

As Hope Clark mentions, it’s bad enough when a reader requests an ARC (advance readers copy) and then never posts a review; it’s worse when another author does it.  An Amazon-style review can be posted in a few minutes and it can make a big difference between the success or failure of a mid-list or an emerging author’s work.

We need to help each other and keep our promises.




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.”


Review: ‘The Mermaid’s Sister’ by Carrie Anne Noble

The Mermaid's SisterThe Mermaid’s Sister by Carrie Anne Noble
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When a novel already has 2,842 reader reviews on Amazon, one has to ask whether adding his or her own two cents has any purpose. Nonetheless, here are several thoughts: This book is a gently told young adult fairy tale about a girl name Clara whose sister Maren is becoming a mermaid. The book’s compelling, if somewhat predictable adventure, is finding a way in a world of travel via horses and wagons of getting Maren to the sea before Maren dies outside of what is fast becoming her natural environment.

In this Amazon breakthrough Y/A novel of 2014 and Realm Award Winner for Best Speculative Fiction of the Year of 2016, “The Mermaid’s Sister” generally lives up to the promises such awards give to prospective readers. The novel’s inventive world is carefully and realistically built and presented in language that’s often quite charming and well focused.

If the book has a flaw, it is perhaps the need for a bit of streamlining during the opening chapters where some readers will see a little too much backstory about where the primary characters came from and what motivates them in the here and now. Even those stories are believable within the context and style of the novel; however, they delay the necessary rush to take Maren to the ocean. Readers who push through this somewhat of a slow start will be rewarded by adventures on the journey to the ocean and a satisfying conclusion .

As a debut novel, the book is well worth reading for its own sake and for the clues it provides for the novelist’s future stories.

View all my reviews


Malcolm R. Campbell is the author of magical realism, folktales, contemporary fantasy, and paranormal stories and novels.

Briefly Noted: ‘Put It Down: Going From Bullied to Bold,’ by Maya Claridge

Put It Down: Going From Bullied to Bold, by Maya Claridge, Global Publishing Group LLC (March 13, 2016), 102pp

Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose.

I was bullied in grade school because I was different. When my parents moved to Florida just before I began the first grade, I was the outsider who was born in California, who didn’t have a southern accent, and who didn’t know any of the customs, including the slang.

putitdownIf I’d had a time machine at my disposal and came to 2016 for a copy of Maya Claridge’s Put it Down: Going From Bullied to Bold and put her suggestions into practice, I would have been a much happier student.

The book details the bullying Maya suffered in school, how she felt about it and began to excuse it or blame herself (which is what a lot of targets of bullying do), how she finally solved the problem, and the lessons she learned that can help kids in secondary school deal with it effectively.

As she says, being bullied turns kids into lonely kids who believe they have nowhere to turn. Some of those kids’ “solutions” are destructive and make the bullying worse–or lead them to commit suicide. I know about this.

Who should read this book?

  • Secondary school students who are being bullied.
  • Students whose friends are being bullied.
  • K-12 teachers and administrators.
  • The parents of secondary school students.
  • Helping professions including psychologists, ministers, school counselors, youth group leaders who may be asked to help.

This is a brave book, I think, because the author has used self-disclosure to show one way the problem can get started. It’s also a must-read book for those who are suffering from bullying right now and want to know how to stop it.



REVIEW: COLD COLD HEART by Tami Hoag. . .and other book news

COLD COLD HEART by Tami Hoag | Kirkus.

coldcoldheart“In Hoag’s (The 9th Girl, 2013, etc.) latest, talented young newscaster Dana Nolan is left to navigate a psychological maze after escaping a serial killer…A top-notch psychological thriller.” Kirkus (click on the link for the complete review)

Also in the News:

  • Interview: “In her new book ‘Ghettoside,’ journalist Jill Leovy studies the epidemic of unsolved murders in African-American neighborhoods and the relationships between police and victims’ relatives, witnesses and suspects.” – NPR
  • Coming Soon: Malcolm R. Campbell (yes, that’s me) has signed a contract with a Florida publishing company to release his new novella Conjure Woman’s Cat. Campbell is the author of Emily’s Stories which is also set in the Florida Panhandle.
  • News: “Buzz Books 2015′ offers Maria Bello excerpt: Want a sneak peek at upcoming books by Maria Bello, Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzezinski, Neal Stephenson, Sarah Dessen, Dennis Lehane and a host of mariabelloother writers? Exclusive excerpts from 65 “buzzed-about books” to be published this spring and summer are available through two free e-books from Publishers Lunch.”
  • News:Long-lost “Don Quixote” author finally found? Experts searching for the remains of Miguel de Cervantes said Monday that they found wooden fragments of a casket bearing the initials “M.C.” with bones in and around them in a crypt underneath the chapel of a cloistered convent in Madrid.” – CBS News
  • Quotation: “Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.” ― Mark Twain

I have a feeling a sleepy conscience is probably harder to acquire than the friends and the books.


A note from your sponsor – a variety of blogs

Er, that would be me.

Thank you to the recent new followers. Since this blog also serves as my website, you’ll find notes here about my books, settings for novels, and writing ideas. You’ll also find links to stories about authors, books and publishing. I hope you like the mix.

I’ve added several new tabs on Malcolm’s Round Table and Magic Moments.

roundtablecoverMalcolm’s Round Table now has a tab called “On a personal note” along with the date. These are notions of the day. While yesterday’s note was political–about the shooting down of the Malaysian airliner–most of these entries will focus on brief thoughts about writing, libraries and related subjects.


Magic Moments now has a tab for random quotes. This is not a long list because I see no point in trying to compete with the quotation sites which already offer many thousands of entries. I’ll be adding some of my favorite quotes to this tab over time, often including why I like them and/or something about the authors.


On blogger, I have The Sun Singer’s Muse, a blog that focuses on writing ideas. If you’re a writer, you might find things of interest here. The focus is tips and techniques, not how to market, format, or find an agent.


Some of my reviews appear on Literary Aficionado. The site, which has been on blogger, is transitioning to a new location with new services. The old site with all the archived reviews is here. The new site, which appears to have now pulled in the reviews from the old site, is here.

As always, blogging keeps trying to become a full-time occupation. With luck, some of the blogs will please some of the readers some of the time.



Book Bits Reviews on Friday: Laurie Halse Anderson and Gabriel Sherman

Kirkus Reviews displays a weekly list of books with thumbs up and thumbs down graphics labeled BUY IT, BORROW IT and SKIP IT. Kirkus gives thumbs up to two books this week:

The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson


  • Publisher’s Description: “For the past five years, Hayley Kincaid and her father, Andy, have been on the road, never staying long in one place as he struggles to escape the demons that have tortured him since his return from Iraq. Now they are back in the town where he grew up so Hayley can attend school. Perhaps, for the first time, Hayley can have a normal life, put aside her own painful memories, even have a relationship with Finn, the hot guy who obviously likes her but is hiding secrets of his own.”
    Kirkus: “A characteristically honest and deeply felt exploration of the lingering scars of war. (Fiction. 14 & up)”
  • New York Times: “In ‘The Impossible Knife of Memory,’ Anderson sensitively portrays a growing, complex problem particularly relevant in the United States today: the devastating ripple effects of post-traumatic stress disorder.”
  • Interview: Learn more about Laurie Halse Anderson in her Huffington Post interview with Monica Edinger

The Loudest Voice in The Room by Gabriel Sherman


  • Publisher’s Description: “When Rupert Murdoch enlisted Roger Ailes to launch a cable news network in 1996, American politics and media changed forever. Now, with a remarkable level of detail and insight, New York magazine reporter Gabriel Sherman brings Ailes’s unique genius to life, along with the outsize personalities—Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, Megyn Kelly, Sarah Palin, Karl Rove, Glenn Beck, Mike Huckabee, and others—who have helped Fox News play a defining role in the great social and political controversies of the past two decades.”
  • Kirkus: “Eye-opening biography of the would-be political kingmaker and Fox News mastermind…A well-reported, engaging book. A bonus: Bill O’Reilly won’t like it, either. Politics and media junkies, on the other hand, will have a field day.”
  • The Globe & Mail: “It’s not the nastiest book about Ailes – that’d be 2012’s The Fox Effect, by David Brock and Ari Rabin-Havt of media watchdog Media Matters. But Sherman’s book distinguishes itself in its diligent characterization of Ailes as something more than just some political P.T. Barnum.”
  • Interview: Learn more about Gabriel Sherman in the published highlights of his interview on NPR’s Fresh Air.

“Book Bits” is compiled by Malcolm R. Campbell, author of the comedy/mystery “Jock Stewart and the Missing Sea of Fire.”

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:Tolino Shine e-reader, Joyce Carol Oates, ISBNs dissappearing? ‘Guilt,’ PEN World Voices

BookBitsLinda L. Richards writes in January Magazine, “With National Grammar Day zooming towards us March 4th, you’d best be careful where you put that apostrophe.” Wise words, Ms. Richards. We have the entire weekend to think about them and prepare for Monday, a day when everyone who is still saying “Its raining” instead of “It’s raining” will be sent to jail without passing GO or collecting $200.

Here are Saturday’s links:

  1. Click for YouTube Video

    Click for YouTube Video

    News: German book retailers team up against Amazon with new eReader – “German book retailers have teamed up with Deutsche Telekom to produce their own eReader to challenge the dominance of in the growing market for digital books.” Reuters

  2. News: The New York Times Expands Flipboard Apps to Android & Kindle Fire, by Dan Rowinski – “The New York Times is expanding its mobile footprint. The Gray Lady announced today that it is launching its digital content on Flipboard to both Android and Kindle Fire tablets. The Times Flipboard content had previously only been available on the iPhone and iPad. ” Editor & Publisher
  3. accursedReview: “The Accursed,” by Joyce Carol Oats – “Oates (Sourland, 2010, etc.) finishes up a big novel begun years before—and it’s a keeper…Though it requires some work and has a wintry feel to it, it’s oddly entertaining, as a good supernatural yarn should be.” Kirkus Reviews
  4. Commentary:  International Standard Book Number (ISBN): Digital publishing may doom yet another analogue standard – “LOOK inside any book published since 1970 and you will find a number. But perhaps not for much longer. The International Standard Book Number (ISBN), invented in Britain in 1965, took off rapidly as an international system for classifying books, with 150 agencies (one per country, with two for bilingual Canada) now issuing the codes. Set up by retailers to ease their distribution and sales, it increasingly hampers new, small and individual publishers. Yet digital publishing is weakening its monopoly.” The Economist
  5. Feature: ‘I Urge You to Drop E67-02’: Course Syllabi by Famous Authors, by Emily Temple – “Every once in a while, one of eminent professor and author David Foster Wallace’s syllabi emerges on the Internet, and devotees head to their local bookstores. In that spirit, I’ve taken this opportunity to pull together a series of famous authors’ syllabi and reading lists. Who needs to go to college when you’ve got a list of texts from the best and a public library?” The Atlantic
  6. GuiltReview: “Guilt,” by Jonathan Kellerman, reviewed by Gerald Bartell – “In ‘Guilt,’ Jonathan Kellerman crafts a solid, poignant tale of violence and innocence” – The Washington Post
  7. Event: Announcing the 2013 PEN World Voices Festival – “With Salman Rushdie returning as chairman, the PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature will bring more than 100 writers from around the world to New York City to discuss both their art and politics this spring, from April 29 through May 5. One major theme of this year’s edition of the festival, the ninth, will be the notion of bravery in those realms, with panel discussions and other events honoring writers who have shown courage in their lives and work.” PEN America
  8. Feature: A Festival of Cookbooks in the City of Light, by Mark Rotella – “For a book fair devoted exclusively to cookbooks, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better venue than, say, the Louvre Museum. And that was the case this past weekend when that the Paris Cookbook Fair took place in the Carrousel du Louvre, below the Pyramid.The fair brought in nearly 3,000 attendees to visit 102 booths of publishers, writers, and agents.” Publishers Weekly
  9. How To: The Logic Behind “-logic” and “-logical” by Mark Nichol – “Why does the English language allow one to select between, say, biologic and biological, neurologic and neurological, and technologic and technological? Why complicate our language lives with the choice? Is the universe malicious?” Daily Writing Tips
  10. frostReview: “The Art of Robert Frost,” by Tim Kendall, reviewed by Alexandra Yurkovksy – “The Art of Robert Frost indeed enjoyably treads a parallel path with the poems, via close readings strewn with expressions of an “ordinary” reader’s pleasures. A talented analyst, Kendall elucidates both the poems and his study’s underlying focus: ulteriority. Technically an invented term, ulteriority may be defined as Frost’s unique brand of irony. Splicing Frost’s words with his own, a device the author regularly employs to bolster his arguments (note well all the double quotes herein), Kendall asserts that Frost’s goal “‘to be a poet for all sorts and kinds'” was closely linked to “‘the pleasure of ulteriority’—that is, ‘saying one thing and meaning another, [or]…in terms of another.'” (p. 3) Frost’s notion and use of “ulteriority” is the heart of Kendall’s study, pulsing its significance among the essays. ” Poetry Flash
  11. News: Scientific American Sees Digital Boom, by TJ Raphael – “Founded in 1845, Scientific American is one of the oldest continuously published magazines in the United States and the brand has been working to extend its authority online through a variety of digital channels.” Folio


Book Bits: Hatchet Job of the Year, ‘Time’ for sale? Alaya Dawn Johnson, Haruf’s ‘Benediction,’ ‘Zero Hour’

BookBitsWhile I was going to journalism school, we considered book reviews to be journalism, a mix between the editorial and the editorial column, with a focus on the worlds of fiction and nonfiction. Like any good opinion piece, reviews had to start with facts, use a standard of some kind for considering those facts, and then leave the reader with an opinion or criticism.

Now, as magazines and newspapers seek new identities in a digital worlds, we’re stuck with reader reviews which, more often than not, are opinion only without the facts or standards of judgement. Some, however, are very good. Among the good, are those which find flaws in books without becoming nasty.

hatchetGoodness knows, acerbic book/art/theater/fashion reviewers are part of the tradition. There used to be a reviewer on a broadcast network who delighted in tearing movies apart. I got the feeling as I listened that his reviews were written from an “all about me” perspective. That is to say, he wasn’t writing “A Review of Film XYZ,” he was writing a review of “Learned Me Reacting to the film.” In short, he was showing off at the expense of authors, directors, screen writers and stars.

When you read about the Hatchet Job of the Year winner (item 0), you can decide whether the review is about Aftermath or about Camilla Long reading Aftermath

  1. timeNews: Time Inc. Reportedly on the Block, by Bill Mickey – “Speculation about Time Warner selling off its publishing unit Time Inc. has been a favorite pastime of media watchers for years now. Partly because of the thrill of imagining the country’s largest publisher being spun off and partly because of revenue and operating income challenges that have nagged the unit when compared to TW’s other groups. ” Folio
  2. News: Indie Bookstores Holding the Fort – “Despite increased crumbling of the big chains and ever more encroachment from electronic fronts, book sales numbers from 2012 indicate that independent bookstores continue to be the cornerstone of the industry. From Christian Science Monitor.” – January Magazine
  3. amazonlogoNews: Sale of Used E-books Getting Closer, by Judith Rosen – “At a time when many independent booksellers both here and abroad are beginning to gain traction selling Kobo e-books, other retailers are eyeing the secondary market for e-books and other digital content. Boston-based ReDigi, which opened a used digital music storefront in late 2011, may have gotten there first, but megaretailer Amazon isn’t far behind. ” Publishers Weekly
  4. flavorFeature: 25 Writers on the Importance of Libraries, by Alison Nastasi – “We gathered a few passionate statements from 20 writers that emphasize why libraries aren’t “sentimental” institutions. See what Neil Gaiman, Judy Blume, Ray Bradbury, and other writers have to contribute to the conversation.” Flavorwire
  5. ADJohnsonInterview: Alaya Dawn Johnson (“The Summer Prince”) with Petra Mayer – “Alaya Dawn Johnson has written a number of novels for adults (including the delightful Zephyr Hollis series), and now she’s venturing onto the young adult shelves with The Summer Prince, a complex science-fiction narrative set in post-apocalyptic Brazil.” NPR
  6. How To: How to Get Out of the Slush Pile – “If you want to get out of the slush pile, one of the worst things you can do is write a lackluster first paragraph. Don’t make the mistake of thinking: the really fine writing starts on page three of my story, and I’m sure they’ll appreciate it when they get there.  By page three, I’m frustrated. If you want out of the slush pile, you must prove it from the first paragraph, from the first line.” Ploughshares
  7. Quotation: “People don’t just come to you because you posted your story somewhere. You have to work the system and coax people to come to you. That means lots of social media, maybe even a newsletter. You have to act as if the book has been published and you are seeking readers to buy.” – Hope Clark
  8. benedicitionReview: “Benediction” by Kent Haruf (Alfred A. Knopf, 2/26/2013), reviewed by Tucker Shaw – “Colorado author Kent Haruf has an extraordinary grasp of quiet. You’ll find proof in his masterful new novel, “Benediction,” a gentle but forceful rendering of protagonist “Dad” Lewis’ last days in the high plains town of Holt.”  The Denver Post
  9. Viewpoint: Make a Call, Take a Meeting – “Most business is done by email these days. And why not? It’s convenient and it’s non-intrusive — you can write or respond to emails on your own schedule. I’ve noticed that many of us have even become phone-averse and actively avoid the phone in favor of email. But I think something has been lost when we do our business primarily through written, electronic communication.” Rachelle Gardner
  10. zerohourTV Review: “Zero Hour, starring Anthony Edwards and Jacinda Barrett, ABC, reviewed by Tim Goodman – “Lots of twists and turns involving Nazis, Rosicrucians and clocks make this crazy ABC drama starring Anthony Edwards worth the ride. ” Hollywood Reporter
  11. News: Survey Underway on LGBT Reading Habits and Book Discovery, by Dennis Abrams – “The Lambda Literary Foundation (LLF) and St. Cloud State University Collection Management Librarian Rachel Wexelbaum are conducting an international study on the book reading preferences of 21dt century LGBT people to determine what type of books LGBT people like to read and how and where do they find the book that they like to read.” Publishing Perspectives
  12. ghostmanReview: “Ghost Man,” by Roger Hobbs (Knopf, 02/12/2013), reviewed by Alden Mudge – “The enigmatic hero of Hobbs’ thriller has a distinctive voice, a passion for translating Latin and no fixed identity.” Book Page
  13. News: Hatchet Job of the Year goes to assault on Rachel Cusk, Alison Flood – “Camilla Long’s scathing review of Cusk’s memoir Aftermath draws most blood in contest for the best bad review.”  The Guardian See Also: The review itself for The Sunday Times
  14. Contests: Imaginary Friend Press Poetry Book Contest, prise, $250 plus publication and copies, deadline, March 15, 2013, entry fee $11, Imaginary Friend Press

“Book Bits” is compiled several times a week by Malcolm R. Campbell, author of contemporary fantasy adventures including “The Seeker” (coming in March)


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