Book Bits: Ryan Anderson, Haim Gouri, ‘Jefferon’s Daughters,’ Film Noir, Anca Szilágyi

I once asked my ophthalmologist if he felt blurry. “No,” he said. “Darn,” I said, “it must be my eyes.” Well now things are getting blurry again and that means that on Valentine’s Day, I have to go back to the outpatient surgical center for a laser procedure to make the world clear again. Meanwhile, I just bought stronger glasses because I’m not going without books. For those of you who feel the same way about your reading, here are a few links:

  1. News: Ryan Anderson’s book on transgender people is creating an uproar, by Ariana Eunjung Cha – “Ryan T. Anderson’s new book isn’t even out yet, but it has already hit Amazon bestseller lists.” Washington Post
  2. New Title: Tree Story and Other Poems by Douglas G. Campbell. Melanie Springer Mock writes, “Tree Story and Other Poems challenges us to see through a different lens, one that clarifies and sharpens the natural world, and that places humans as supporting actors in the grand drama nature gives us. It beautifully traces the centuries-old life of a Douglas Fir, the tree itself narrating an epic journey with the action occurring at the tree’s roots and around its trunk.”  Oblique Voices Press
  3. Feature:What’s the future of books? by Agatha French – “We ask a psychic at Mystic Journey Bookstore in Venice to tell us straight, by – “As a books reporter in the Digital Age, I’m often asked: What’s the future of books? Although I can honestly say that I believe books are as vital and significant now as they ever have been, the truth is that I can’t predict the future.” Los Angeles Times
  4. Gouri – Wikipedia photo

    Obituary: Haim Gouri, Poetic Voice of a Rising Israel, Is Dead at 94, by Isabel Kershner – “Haim Gouri wrote of the terrible sacrifice of war, and of memory and camaraderie. A celebrated and often critical voice of Israel’s founding generation and its conscience, he also wrote of the wrenching inner dilemmas, complexities and contradictions of the Zionist enterprise that tormented him.” The New York Times

  5. Quotation: ““Please, no matter how we advance technologically, please don’t abandon the book. There is nothing in our material world more beautiful than the book.” – Patti Smith
  6. ReviewJefferson’s Daughters’ tells the story of three of Thomas Jefferson’s daughters – white and black, by Barbara Spindel – “Like all great histories do, Jefferson’s Daughters brings its period vividly to life, a credit to Kerrison’s exhaustive research, her passion for her subject, and her elegant writing. It is unfortunate that so much remains a mystery.” Christian Science Monitor
  7. Film:  Darkly Beautiful Film Noir-Inspired Paintings; Femme fatales and hardboiled detectives get the fine-art treatment, by Allison Nastasi – “If you have an affection for shadowy film fiends and femme fatales, let us introduce you to the work of artist Gina Higgins. The figure painter’s most popular series, called American-Noir, pays homage to the film noir genre. We first spotted the artist’s work on Instagram and Ego – AlterEgo.” Flavorwire
  8. Dialogue: Elastic Realism and Political Fiction; or, A Conversation Between Anca Szilágyi and Susan DeFreitas, by Anca Szilágyi and Susan DeFreitas – “While our novels are very different in style and setting, we’re both writers who grapple with how to engage with current events and past atrocities in fiction, and we both blend realism with fantasy. In anticipation of our “in conversation” event at Powell’s on February 19, 2018, Anca and I have been corresponding via email about writing political fiction in these fraught times.” – Powell’s
  9. Feature: I Spent 24 Hours Reading Last Weekend and I Didn’t Lose My Mind – Actually, I kind of found it, by Jamie Green -“I didn’t come up with this stunt on my own. It’s called 24 in 48, which is really straightforward — you read for 24 hours within 48 hours, from 12:01am Saturday to 11:59pm Sunday. I’d seen the hashtag flitting around Twitter, intermittently, for years. (It took me an oddly long time to figure out what it meant.) This year was the first time that I heard about the scheduled weekend far enough in advance. I blocked it out on my calendar, a two-day event: READATHON.” Electric Lit
  10. Event: Celeste Ng, author of Everything I Never Told You and Little Fires Everywhere, will be the official Author Ambassador for Independent Bookstore Day 2018. Scheduled for Saturday, April 28, the fourth annual Indie Bookstore Day will be celebrated by more than 490 independent bookstores around the country. – Shelf Awareness

“Book Bits” is compiled randomly by author Malcolm R. Campbell. Disclaimer: Douglas G. Campbell is my brother.

Malcolm

 

Book Bits: Writing tip, the other ‘Fire and Fury,’ Frankenstein, Natasha Trethewey, Rae Paris

There’s so much writing advice on the Internet that I’m often cynical about it, viewing much of it as being like those bottles of patent medicine that used to be sold from the backs of wagons years ago. But sometimes I find something worthy passing along. (See item 1.)

  1. Writing Tip: How to Grow as a Writer, by Eva Deverell – “I firmly believe that as long as you’re willing to put in the work and play the long game, you can improve your writing – just like you can improve any other skill – and grow into a great writer. Here are some areas you might want to focus on…” Eva Deverell
  2. NewsAuthor Of The Other ‘Fire And Fury’ Book Says Business Is Booming, by Ari Shapiro and Kelley McEvers – “Hansen’s book is Fire And Fury: The Allied Bombing Of Germany 1942-1945. The beginning of that title “Fire and Fury” is the same as that of journalist and author Michael Wolff’s new exposé about the Trump administration, Fire And Fury: Inside The Trump White House.” (Suddenly, it’s selling well.) NPR
  3. EssayMan As God: ‘Frankenstein’ Turns 200, by Marcello Gleiser – “Perhaps Frankenstein’s 200th anniversary should be celebrated with a worldwide effort to build safeguards so that scientific research that attempts to create new life, or to modify existing life in fundamental ways, gets regulated and controlled. This includes CRISPR, a new technology capable of editing and modifying genomes. As with so many scientific developments, it has great promise and the potential for good and evil. At the most extreme, it offers the possibility of modifying the human species as a whole, a sort of final Frankenstein take over.” – NPR
  4. Wikipedia photo

    Interview: Natasha Trethewey: Say It, Say It Again, with Rob Weinert-Kendt – “Poet Natasha Trethewey’s Pulitzer-winning 2007 collection Native Guard, which partly memorialized an African-American Civil War soldier protecting a Union-captured fort on Ship Island, Miss., was first turned into a stage work in 2014 at the Alliance Theatre. It returns Jan. 13-Feb. 4. Trethewey was U.S. poet laureate from 2012 to 2014.” American Theater

  5. Quotation: “But to speak strictly as a writer, I wouldn’t be where I am if not for independent bookstores. My first book, Drown, stayed alive, and in turn kept my career alive, because independent booksellers continued to put the book in people’s hands long after everyone else had forgotten it. For 11 years, I had no other book and yet indie booksellers kept their faith in me. To them, I owe very much. I’ll definitely be in a lot of indie bookstores on this tour, as many as will have me.” – Junot Díaz in Shelf Awareness
  6. ReviewTHE ALICE NETWORK: The story of a spy, by Kate Quinn, reviewed by Matthew Jackson – “Historical fiction is all about blending the original with the familiar, about those delicate new stitches woven into the tapestry. The best practitioners of this often subtle art can sew those new threads without ever breaking the pattern, until the new and the old, the real and the fictional, are one and the same. With her latest novel, Kate Quinn announces herself as one of the best artists of the genre.” Book Page
  7. Essay: Has Ann Quin’s time come at last? by Jonathan Coe – “The experimental writer, who committed suicide aged 37, was disregarded in her lifetime. But her strange staccato style now seems quite in vogue.” The Spectator
  8. ReviewThe Forgetting Tree: A Rememory, by Rae Paris, Reviewed by Bruce Jacobs – avored with both vulnerable hesitation and uncompromising resolution, poet and essayist Rae Paris’s debut, The Forgetting Tree, is the memoir of a young black woman’s search to understand her personal and racial past. In a journey of backwards migration, Paris leaves her past in the Los Angeles streets south of Compton on a road trip into her family’s roots in New Orleans. From there she crisscrosses the South to uncover the raw truth of slavery, segregation and racism at former plantations, cemeteries, Klan meeting houses, civil rights battlegrounds, lynching trees and graves of both famous and unnamed black ancestors.”  Shelf Awareness

Book Bits is compiled randomly by author Malcolm R. Campbell

Book Bits: Workplace abuse, In memoriam, literary forums,’Wrinkle in Time’ movie, stolen books

It’s getting more and more difficult to talk about books, publishing, and authors without straying into political issues that often have a very polarized reader-base.  Some people believe CNN 100%, while others believe FOX 100%. I’ve more or less stopped posting anything political on my Facebook page because it always ends up with people shouting at each other. Sexual harassment is one of those issues. I mention this here because Publishers Weekly ran into a few snags with a recent article about sexual harassment in our business (Item 1). Maybe they’ll get it sorted out this time.

  1. IssuesLetter from the Editors: Covering Sexual Abuse in the Book Business, By Jim Milliot, Rachel Deahl, and John Maher – “The difficult nature of covering the subject hit home on December 5, when we ran a story announcing the resignation of Giuseppe Castellano, executive art director of Penguin Workshop, following claims of sexual harassment by actress and comedian Charlyne Yi. The article we published was intended to be a balanced account based on verifiable facts. Not everyone agreed that it was. Some readers expressed frustration that we put too much emphasis on Castellano’s account over Yi’s.” Publishers Weekly
  2.  News: Notable Literary Deaths in 2017, by Emily Temple – “This has not been the best year. In addition to, well everything, we lost a number of literary luminaries in 2017: beloved novelists, champions of the written word, legendary editors, and genre-defining journalists.”  Literary Hub
  3. One of the new forums focusing on book and writers.

    News: The Tale of Two Literary Forums, by Malcolm R. Campbell – “If you were out on the Internet in the 1980s, you probably remember that CompuServe was a major ISP, providing e-mail and forums for millions of users. In those days, almost every hi-tech company, whether hardware or software, had a forum staffed in part by representatives of the company to help people with bugs, usage issues, and other information. In addition to these forums, CompuServe also maintained forums for pets, religion, political discussions, hobbies, and literature.” Malcolm’s Round Table

  4. Film: Hollywood’s Once and Future Classic, Hollywood’s Once and Future Classic, Why it took 54 years to turn A Wrinkle in Time into a movie, By Eliza Berman – “A Wrinkle in Time, a Disney movie based on Madeleine L’Engle’s 1962 novel of the same name, will come out on March 9, 2018. The film brings to life the story of Meg Murry, a gangly adolescent who travels across dimensions to rescue her scientist father. Meg is guided by a trio of guardian angels collectively called “the Mrs.” The book, and the movie, is about what it means to be a source of light in a world in which darkness seems only to proliferate. It also makes the case for thinking independently when conformity is the norm.” Time Magazine
  5. Quotation: “When I see a store, I MUST GO IN. I’m a sucker for books, but indie bookstores take that up a few levels because they’ll curate for me. I go in saying I want to learn about some obscure topic and they won’t look at me as if I’m from Mars! Instead it’s almost as if I see my own curiosity reflected back at me, and they share it instantly. I’ve had that same experience happen in multiple cities, so I think it’s common to independent bookstore owners and I love them for it.” – Author Jessee Mecham Shelf Awareness
  6. Review: THE ICE HOUSE – Home is a long way from here, by Laura Lee Smith, reviewed by Thane Tierney – “The Scots didn’t invent stubbornness, but they perfected it, raised it to a high art where irresistible force and immovable object are sometimes locked like two neutron stars in a perilous dance. So it is with American immigrant Johnny MacKinnon and his Scottish son, Corran, in Laura Lee Smith’s second novel, ‘The Ice House.'” Book Page
  7. Lists: The Ultimate Best Books of 2017 List, by Emily Temple – “It’s the end of the year, and everybody has an opinion. And of course, where there’s an opinion, there’s a listicle. The river of Best of 2017 lists can be exhausting this time of year, so as a public service, and because my math skills are always in need of a little exercise, I’ve created a streamlined master list of the books that the most people loved this year.” Literary Hub
  8. News: Cat Person author’s debut book sparks flurry of international publishing deals, by Alison Flood – “Following her viral short story hit, Kristen Roupenian’s You Know You Want This has been sold to Cape in the UK, with the US auction said to be topping $1m.” The Guardian
  9. ReviewLITTLE LEADERS: Bold Women in Black History, by Vashti Harrison ; illustrated by Vashti Harrison (Age Range: 6 – 12) – “Visual artist Harrison introduces 40 trailblazing black women from United States history in this inspiring volume for young readers…Perfect for exploring together at bedtime or for children to browse independently, a gorgeous invitation for children of all backgrounds, and especially for black girls, to learn about black women who were pioneers.” Kirkus Reviews
  10. News: Indie Bookstores Tell Us About Their Most Stolen Books – Which volumes walk out the door most often, and why? by Jo Lou – “Independent bookstores are magical, endangered places. Stealing from these small, often struggling establishments is a mortal sin and the Book Gods will smite you. If you must kidnap books (which you shouldn’t, because libraries exist) then steal from big box stores instead.” Electic Lit

Book Bits is compiled randomly by Malcolm R. Campbell, author of paranormal, contemporary fantasy, and magical realism novels and short stories.

Keeping up with author and book news

Have you found my re-started “Book Bits” posts yet?

They run twice a week on my Sun Singer’s Travels weblog. An earlier version ran daily, but after a hundred posts, I realized that keeping up with author and book news wasn’t leaving me any time to write. This time, the posts featuring links to book news, author interviews, book reviews, writing tips and features, and commentary about today’s publishing world are under control. Hmm, well, they seem to be.

Not long after shutting down the daily “Book Bits,” I started to miss it. Plus, I was still spending time reading about authors and books. So, why not bring it back? I’m enjoying it. I hope you will, too.

I’ll continue to use this blog for book reviews, briefly noted posts about new books, writing ideas, and musings about some of my writing themes such as the recent Tarot card post. The readers’ and writers’ links, announcements and personal writing notes will be in Sun Singer’s Travels. Nature, natural cycles, magic, and fantasy will usually appear in Magic Moments.

You can keep up with all of us at Vanilla Heart Publishing via our Reader’s Group. Be the first to hear about new books, author presentations and talks, and a variety of other programs.

You’ll also find links to writing samplers, book trailers and websites for VHP’s authors: Smoky Trudeau Zeidel, Chelle Cordero, Marilyn C. Morris, Kate Evans, Robert Hays, L.E. Harvey, Collin Kelley, Malcolm Campbell, Charmaine GordonJanet Lane Walters, Anne K. Albert, S.R. Claridge, Melinda Clayton, Angela Kay Austin, Joice Overton, Ramey Channell, Scott Zeidel and Namid.

Have fun with all of the blogs. Leave comments. Ask questions. And, for goodness sakes, leave the online world every day and take some time reading.

Malcolm

Malcolm R. Campbell is the author of contemporary satire and satire novels. His paranormal story “Moonlight and Ghosts, how available on both Kindle and Nook, was published last month.

“Book Bits” provides daily information for writers and readers

Writers like keeping up with contests, tips and techniques, publishers and magazines where they can submit their stories and articles, and advice on how to market their work once it’s published.

Readers like keeping up with their favorite writers, upcoming books in the genres they read the most, and information about authors’ future book signings and other appearances.

Book Bits brings you the links to this kind of information six days a week.  Quite simply, Book Bits is a blog in which every post is a list of links covering the latest reviews, books and author features, contests,  marketing and social networking advice, “writer’s how to” posts, and essays and features about authors, books and publishing.

Book Bits Titles

Book Bits is numbered from the first issue onward toward infinity. The higher the number, the more recent the post.  The titles are designed to attract attention, so they include the names of authors/events most likely to lure people into the post. For example, the title for this morning’s post looked like this:

Book Bits #117 – Hedy Lamarr, Roberto Bolaño, Elmore Leonard and more writing news

So now you know I’ve made 117 posts. This one included a review of Roberto Bolaño’s latest novel, a biography about Hedy Lamarr, and an article about author Elmore Leonard who, says “why not,” when asked why (at age 86) he’s still writing.

This morning’s Book Bits had 24 links.  In addition to those attention-getting names in the title, the other offerings featured a link to a blog hop where you might win a Kindle, a story about the return of the Lit Fest to Haiti, and the names and novels of the ten finalists in Georgia’s Townsend Prize for Fiction.

Naturally, some posts will bore you. My top picks on those days will be authors you’ve never heard of or genres you never read. I try to include a variety, though, in hopes that every time you stop by, you’ll find at least one link you want to click on.

Some posts will take over you’re entire day because, heck, you’ll want to click on every feature, news story and review. The reviews will tempt you to read books. The contest announcements will tempt you to write books, or maybe short stories or poems.

This morning, you might have followed the link to this review:

  • Review: Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers – “With characters that will inspire the imagination, a plot that nods to history while defying accuracy, and a love story that promises more in the second book, this is sure to attract feminist readers and romantics alike.” – Booklist

Or the link to this advice:

  • Lists: 10 Ways to Get Paid for Online Writing, with Lior Levin – “Selling words for dollars is easy, if you are aware of two things: -How to put down the words together. -How to sell your piece in the right market.”

I invite you to surf over to Book Bits, read a few posts and see what you think. That’s sort of like kicking the tires on the car you just might want to buy. Unlike the car, Book Bits is free.

Sure, you’ll see some banners at the ends of the post with links to my author’s site and my novels. Maybe those banners will tempt you. If not, have fun. Goodness knows, I have a lot of fun every day finding the news and rev iews for each post. I tell me wife I’m working, but I think she suspects I’m just surfing the net for the heck of it.

Coming in tomorrow’s Book Bits, a link for a wonderful piece of satire that pokes good-natured fun at the Antiques Road Show (imagine people bringing in crime evidence rather than antiques) and some pithy advice for authors planning to self publish their books. Oh, and reviews, too. There are always reviews.

Malcolm

P.S. When the “Book Bits” title is short enough for me to squeeze in an extra word, I add the #bookbits hashtag to help people find the posts on Twitter. Now, here’s an example of a book banner:

contemporary fantasy for your Kindle

Introducing ‘Book Bits’ featuring links for writers

Book Bits is my new blog of writers’ links. Here you’ll find information about reviews, new titles, author interviews quotations, and book news. I invite you to stop by, skim through the offerings and click on a few links such as:

  • News: Harlan Ellison Would Kill Timberlake Film – “Harlan Ellison, filed a copyright suit last week that alleges that a new film borrows heavily from his 1965 short story” See the book’s listing on Amazon here.
  • Quote: “Always read stuff that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it.” — P. J. O’Rourke
  • Viewpoint: Coming to a Bookstore Near You.  Maybe. – Thoughts about others telling us what to read as Banned Book Week  approaches.

I see these kinds of links every day and thought it would be fun to start sharing them.

Coming Attractions: Author Beth Sorenson (Divorcing a Dead Man) will contribute a guest post here on September 28 and L. E. Harvey (Impeccable) will be here on her birthday September 30.

You May Also Like: Now I can finish ‘The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant’ – I stopped reading my favorite fantasy series years ago because I thought it might incluence my work on my novel The Sun Singer.

Malcolm