Book Bits: Theodora Goss, Scott Adams, Tár, James Bond

This column about books, authors, publishing, and related films used to appear here frequently. I hope you enjoy the links and find a few things to strike your fancy.

I try to avoid sites with paywalls unless they give people several free reads before the paywall kicks in. I know how irritating it is to find interesting links on Facebook only to discover when I click on the that I’m now allowed to see the stories.

  1. cover image Tell Me Everything: A MemoirReview: Tell Me Everything: A Memoir – “Actor Kelly recalls her far-from-privileged upbringing and reflects on the skills that helped her survive it in this heart-stopping debut. In nonlinear vignettes, Kelly recounts her chaotic childhood as the daughter of an addict.” Publishers Weekly  Additional Info, Wikipedia: Minka Kelly is an American actress and model. Her first starring role was in the NBC drama series Friday Night Lights and she has also appeared on the shows Parenthood, Charlie’s Angels, and Almost Human. From 2018 to 2021, Kelly portrayed Dawn Granger /Dove on the DC Universe / HBO Max series Titans.
  2. FeatureA flood destroyed all of Sarah’s books, but a gift from a librarian changed her life  – “In 2001, Tropical Storm Allison hit Houston. More than 70,000 houses were flooded, including the home of Sarah Feldman and her family. At the time, they were in Connecticut on vacation, so they didn’t know what kind of damage they were going to face when they got home to Texas. But then Feldman’s grandparents called with bad news: all of her books had been destroyed in the flooding. Feldman was 14 at the time and loved reading.” NPR
  3. cover image The Collected EnchantmentsReview: The Collected Enchantments, by Theodora Goss  – “This vibrant collection brings together World Fantasy Award winner Goss’s exquisite interpretations of and variations on familiar folk and fairy tales. The 48 poems and 25 stories span the length of Goss’s career.” Publishers Weekly – Goss is also the author of three fantasy novels in the Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Club series.
  4. News ‘SNL’ Takes Aim at ‘Dilbert’ Creator Scott Adams Following Racist Rant – “The centerpiece of “Saturday Night Live’s” March 4 ‘Weekend Update’ segment was a Scott Adams 2017.pngskewering of ‘Dilbert’ comic creator Scott Adams, who went on a racist rant last month that spurred dozens of newspapers to drop his long-running syndicated cartoon strip.” Variety See also ‘Dilbert’ cartoonist Scott Adams will be ‘backpedaling’ from his racist remarks for ’years’: Rich Lowry
  5. ReviewThe Writing Retreat, by Julia Bartz – Five writers, four weeks, and a $1 million book deal for the lucky winner. Unless they disappear first. . .Despite Alex’s somewhat whiny nature, the book’s THE WRITING RETREATpacing—a slow roll of dread and horror, especially in the first half—is exceptional. Bartz hits all the gothic highlights, but, far from feeling stale, they work. A perfect winter night’s haunting.” Kirkus Reviews. See also:  WITHOUT SHAME: FEMALE WRITERS ON FEMALE PSYCHOPATHS by Julia Bartz in “Crime Reads.”
  6. OpinionWhy Tár should win the best picture Oscar – “Cate Blanchett is wonderfully Tár poster.jpgcommanding as the sociopath musical megastar whose life is crumbling around her but it is the steely menace in Todd Field’s film that is simply delicious. The great crack-up of Lydia Tár, the Berlin Philharmonic’s entirely fictitious but docudramatically real-seeming chief conductor, has given the cinema its greatest spectacle, its greatest provocation and its greatest pleasure. If there is any justice, it will be producer-director Todd Field, with fellow producers Alexandra Milchan and Scott Lambert, who will be invited up on stage at the end of the evening to receive the climactic best picture statuette.” Guardian
  7. Ian Fleming.jpgNews:  Fleming’s Bond Novels To Be Edited for Language, by Michael Schaub – “Ian Fleming Publications Ltd., the company that manages the literary estate of the British author who created 007, is republishing the writer’s spy novels this spring, in a celebration of the 70th anniversary of the first Bond book, Casino Royale. The new editions of the books were reviewed by sensitivity readers, who recommended that the n-word be removed from the novels. Other racially insensitive passages have been changed, including one from Live and Let Die, which originally described patrons at a Harlem nightclub as “panting and grunting like pigs at the trough.” The new version reads, “Bond could sense the electric tension in the room.” Kirkus Reviews (Comment: The sensitivity police strike again.)



Book Bits: Harlan Ellison, The Essay, Booker Prize, James Patterson

As “Poets & Writers” reports, this is a busy week in books news:  “Barack Obama’s highly anticipated memoir released today, the National Book Awards will be announced on Wednesday, the Booker Prize ceremony is on Thursday, and the Times will release its “100 Notable Books of 2020” list on Friday.” Seemed like a good day to post my first Book Bits in a while. 

  • NewsAn Epic Week for the Books Desk – “We talked to Pamela Paul, the editor of The Book Review, and Andrew LaVallee, a deputy editor on the Books desk, about how they’ve been preparing for the big week, the impact of the pandemic on the publishing world and what titles they’re keeping on their own night stands.” (The New York Times)
  • Wikipedia Photo
    Feature. Harlan Ellison’s The Last Dangerous Visions may finally be published by Alison Flood- “It is the great white whale of science fiction: an anthology of stories by some of the genre’s greatest names, collected in the early 1970s by Harlan Ellison yet mysteriously never published. But almost 50 years after it was first announced, The Last Dangerous Visions is finally set to see the light of day.” (The Guardian)
  • Interview. What Makes a Great American Essay? by Phillip Lopate – “Talking to Phillip Lopate About Thwarted Expectations, Emerson, and the 21st-Century Essay Boom.” (Literary Hub)
  • Upcoming Title: New Fiction from Robert Hays – “When faced with the end, how does one reconcile the pieces of an ordinary life? Does a man have the right to wish for wings to carry him to a summit he believes he doesn’t deserve to reach?” (Thomas-Jacob Publishing)
  • News: “The New York Times reports on the ongoing bidding over Simon & Schuster, which was put up for sale by its parent company, ViacomCBS, early this year. Penguin Random House and Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, which owns HarperCollins, are considered leading bidders.” (Poets & Writers)
  • Point of View: Wikipedia, “Jeopardy!,” and the Fate of the Fact by Louis Menand – “Is it still cool to memorize a lot of stuff? Is there even a reason to memorize anything? Having a lot of information in your head was maybe never cool in the sexy-cool sense, more in the geeky-cool or class-brainiac sense. But people respected the ability to rattle off the names of all the state capitals, or to recite the periodic table. It was like the ability to dunk, or to play the piano by ear—something the average person can’t do. It was a harmless show of superiority, and it gave people a kind of species pride.” (New Yorker)
  • Wikipedia Photo
    News: Patterson Was Decade’s Bestselling Author by Jim Milliot – “From 2010 to 2019, James Patterson sold 84 million units across print and e-book formats, making him the past decade’s bestselling author at outlets that report to NPD BookScan. Patterson’s sales total was double that of Dr. Seuss, and more than those of Stephen King, David Baldacci, and John Grisham combined, BookScan said.” (Publishers Weekly)
  • Book Bits used to be compiled randomly but now appears to be compiled sporadically by author Malcolm R. Campbell