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Archive for the tag “Simon and Schuster”

Book Bits: GoodReads turmoil, Pat Conroy, ‘Archangel,’ Eleanor Catton

BookBitsAs a reader, I am discouraged about the turmoil at GoodReads. I would like to be able to go there and read fairly written and objective reviews about the books I’m thinking about buying.

I don’t want to read fake reviews by readers who lavish sight-unseen praise on their friends’ books as a matter of course. I also don’t want to read one-star reviews by readers who have a grudge against certain genres and certain authors and in many cases, haven’t even read the books. I hope the site’s management will find a smoother way of sorting out the problem than it has up to now. (Item 9)

Here are today’s writing links:

  1. News: ‘Santini’ writer Pat Conroy has an offer for Robert Duvall, by Bob Minzesheimer – “He’s offering “for free” the memoir’s film rights to Duvall, 82, and his three co-stars. All they have to do is reprise their roles in a non-fiction sequel about what Conroy calls ‘this ridiculous family I was born into.'”  USA Today
  2. archangelReview: “Archangel,” by Andrea Barrett, reviewed by James Orbesen – “Andrea Barrett, winner of the National Book Award and author of the new collection ‘Archangel,’ attempts not only to tell a story but also to communicate with the reader. Comprised of several longer short stories, ‘Archangel’ is a dispersed narrative that features characters, some fictional and others not, cropping up again and again in different places and in different circumstances. Stretching from a lonely island off the East Coast, to a torpedoed freighter in the North Atlantic, to the scattered American bivouacs around the Russian city of Archangelsk, ‘Archangel’ has scope.”  Bookslut
  3. Viewpoint: Public Letter on Standardized Testing from Authors and Illustrators of Books for Children and Youth – “We the undersigned children’s book authors and illustrators write to express our concern for our readers, their parents and teachers. We are alarmed at the negative impact of excessive school testing mandates, including your Administration’s own initiatives, on children’s love of reading and literature. Recent policy changes by your Administration have not lowered the stakes. On the contrary, requirements to evaluate teachers based on student test scores impose more standardized exams and crowd out exploration.” FairTest
  4. simonNews: Simon & Schuster to Launch Science Fiction, Fantasy Imprint, by Jim Milliot – “Simon & Schuster is preparing to up its presence in the science fiction, fantasy and horror market with the launch of a new imprint dedicated to the category. The as yet unnamed imprint will be overseen by Jon Anderson, executive v-p and publisher of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, but will, S&S said, publish books “for readers of all ages.” Anderson told PW the audience for the new imprint is seen as “YA and above.””  Publishers Weekly
  5. highmoonInterview: Patricia Chapple Wright (“High Moon Over the Amazon”), with Barbara J. King – In answering why she wrote about South American monkeys, Wright said,’High Moon’ is the unique story of how a simple curiosity about my pet monkey’s behavior led to my lifelong obsession with the wilds from where it came. The book describes my struggles as a young single mother venturing to a remote jungle of the Amazon with a toddler, on a quest many deemed impossible.”  NPR
  6. Essay: God’s Workshop, by sam Apple – “Love, love, love the Noah chapter. My only concern is that there’s an awful lot of “telling.” Is there a way to do more “showing” so that we can see Noah experiencing 40 days and nights on a boat with two of every living beast on Earth? That had to have been crazy?! Like, where did they all go to the bathroom? ” Slate
  7. News: Romania’s ReadForward Angles to Be “Facebook for Education,” by Daniel Kalder – “Bucharest-based developer Read Forward has produced original ebooks, luxury digital editions of classics and is now moving into education, with fully interactive HTML5 textbooks.”  Publishing Perspectives
  8. lionseekerReview: “The Lion Seeker,” by Kenneth Bonert, reviewed by Kenneth Champeon – “As the subject matter demands, The Lion Seeker is an ambitious novel. Sometimes its ambition gets the better of it: Bonert’s facility with and delight in language, including the incorporation of Afrikaans slang and what the characters call “Jewish,” can disrupt the storytelling. This becomes less so as the novel progresses—Bonert’s Joycean aspirations take a back seat to his compelling historical tale, and the reader is less required to peer through thickets of linguistic virtuosity to see Isaac courting a girl or cuckolding an abusive colleague.”  Bookpage
  9. Commentary: How Amazon and Goodreads could lose their best readers, by Laura Miller – “A small but growing faction of longtime, deeply involved Goodreads members are up in arms about recent changes to the site’s enforcement of its policies on what members are permitted to say when reviewing books, and many of them blame the crackdown on the Amazon deal. ”  Salon
  10. on the list

    on the list

    Lists: 11 Psychological Stories That Will Make You Worry for Your Sanity, by Jason Diamond – “There are books that simply scare you, and then there are books that actually get into your head. Maybe you call them thrillers; others deal with characters whose point of view might be distorted for whatever reason, and some just build you up for hundreds of pages only to reward you with an “Oh my God” moment that you won’t be able to get out of your head for days. Since this is the time of year that we tend to go for things that give us instant scary payoff, here are ten great books that go a bit deeper than just giving us chills.” Flavorwire

  11. How To: Biweekly Versus Semiweekly, by Mignon Fogarty – “I have some friends who work in New York, and a couple of years ago they received a notice that said they were going to be paid biweekly from now on. The problem was that nobody could tell what ‘biweekly’ meant, and their Human Resources department reported being inundated with calls from confused employees. ”  Grammar Girl
  12. Catton


    Interview: Eleanor Catton: ‘Male writers get asked what they think, women what they feel,’ by Charlotte Higgins – “The 2013 Man Booker-prize winner on the unfair treatment of female writers and why her book The Luminaries riled male critics of a certain age.” The Guardian

  13. Feature: Twain to Tartt, a long tradition of author uniforms, by John McMurtrie – “Tartt’s author photo shows her wearing her trademark crisp black jacket and white dress shirt, an androgynous look — topped off with bobbed hair — that she’s had since the publication of her breakthrough novel, ‘The Secret History,’ in 1992. This got us wondering about other author uniforms, as it were. Below is a gallery of notables. Can you think of others?” San Francisco Chronicle
  14. News: World Book Night U.S. Announces 2014 Book Picks – “Following Wednesday night’s announcement of the titles for the April 23, 2014, celebration of World Book Night in the U.S., the application process has opened for those who would like to be part of the event’s army of 25,000 volunteer book givers.”  Bookselling This Week

LandBetweenCover“Book Bits” is compiled by Malcolm R. Campbell, author of contemporary fantasies, paranormal short stories and folktales, including “The Land Between the Rivers.”

“The Land Between the Rivers” begins where the Seminole Creation Myth ends and imagines life in the Florida swamps for Panther, Snake Bird, and Black Bear at the dawn of time.


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: Breakthrough novel award, ‘Between Heaven and Here,’ Lit search engine, Lydia Millet

Some years ago, we (in the U.S.) lost Roquefort cheese and Champagne. Can we possibly lose Amazon? (Item 15)

  1. News: Amazon Announces 2013 Breakthrough Novel Award: Amazon will begin accepting entries January 14 in a competition that includes more winners and publication via Amazon rather than Penguin. – Amazon
  2. News: Rowling’s “The Casual Vacancy” Wins GoodReads 2012 Choice Awards – 1,156,852 votes were case in voting for fifteen book categories  Goodreads
  3. betweenheavenandhereReview: “Between Heaven and Here,” by Susan Straight, reviewed by Karen Grigsby Bates – “Many of the stories from Straight’s neighbors and friends end up woven through her books, although it can take a while for them to get there. A riveting story, first told by an elderly family friend decades ago, finally made its way into Between Heaven and Here, her latest novel in a trilogy that spans three centuries.” NPR
  4. Feature: New search engine connects literary dots, by Hillel Italie – “Author Jennifer Gilmore is reading a biography of the late David Foster Wallace. She’s curious about his most famous book, the novel “Infinite Jest,” and wants to poke around on the Internet to learn more. Her destination is Small Demons,, an encyclopedia and “Storyverse” that catalogues names, places, songs, products and other categories for thousands of books.”  Salon
  5. Feature: Barefoot Books: Making a Difference By Selling Differently, by Dennis Abrams – ““You’ve got to enjoy the process and the journey. It was a business venture and now it’s a way of life,” says Barefoot Books co-founder Nancy Traversy.” – Publishing Perspectives
  6. milletInterview: Lydia Millet (“Love in Infant Monkeys,” “Magnificence”) with Brad Listi – “Monologue topics:  chest colds, tuberculosis, the consumption, agent, manuscript, uncertainty, reading, the concept of “good” art, self-perception.”  Other People
  7. News: Simon and Schuster and HarperCollins In Merger Talks, by Kara Bloomgarden-Smoke – “HarperCollins’s parent company News Corp. is interested in acquiring Simon & Schuster from CBS, according to The Wall Street Journal, which is also owned by News Corp. The prospect of a merger between Simon & Schuster and HarperCollins doesn’t come as a surprise to publishing insiders.”  New York Observer
  8. News: Britain’s Specsavers National Book Award winners were announced last evening, with Lee Child’s A Wanted Man (Bantam Press) being named the Crime & Thriller of the Year.  The Rap Sheet
  9. valleyReview: “The Valley of Unknowing,” by Philip Sington – “Amadeus meets The Lives of Others in a compelling story of jealousy and betrayal behind the Iron Curtain.”  Kirkus Reviews
  10. Feature: ‘The Hobbit’: How to throw your very own Shire-style party. by Pamela Cyran – “Getting excited about the release of the first ‘Hobbit’ movie? Celebrate Middle-earth style!”  The Christian Science Monitor
  11. Feature: Second Bananas and Sidekicks, by Beth Hill – “The lead characters in our stories also need others. They need family, friends, those who agree with them and those who challenge them.”  The Editor’s Blog
  12. News: Cosmopolitan & Harlequin to Publish ‘Red Hot Reads,’ by Jason Boog – “Cosmopolitan magazine and Harlequin will publish a line of romances called Red Hot Reads, a series that ‘will present independent, adventurous women in contemporary settings and feature fast-paced plots, great dialogue and compelling romance.'”  GalleyCat
  13. reenactmentsReview: “The Reenactments: A Memoir,” by Nick Flynn, reviewed by Donna Seaman – “In dramatically condensed, metaphor-rich chapters that can stand as prose poems, Flynn illuminates how art is made and catharsis sought, affirming that for him, ‘being Flynn’ is to embrace life in all its tragedies and radiance.”  BookList
  14. News: Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 will test, with its “‘The Twelve Tribes of Hattie” by Ayana selection, whether Winfrey can sustain her power to propel books onto best-seller lists without her daily TV talk show, which she left in 2011 to focus on cable network OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network and her magazine O, the Oprah Magazine.”  Reuters
  15. News: South America, Amazon square off in fight over control of .amazon domain name, by Lee Moran – “Brazil and Peru have lodged formal complaints to the Internet governing body over Amazon’s plan to register the .amazon domain name.” New York Daily News

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

Only $4.99 on your Nook

Only $4.99 on your Nook

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