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Sunday Links, November 24, 2013

By (November 24, 2013) No Comment

James McBrideJames McBride has won the National Book Award for his novel The Good Lord Bird.

The Washington Post has published its list of the 10 best books of the year.

Kirkus offers its list of the best books of the year.

tournament of booksIt’ll be time for the Tournament of Books soon. Any thoughts on what books should be included in the competition? BookRiot has some projections for the field.

storySouth’s Million Writers Award is now open for votes. The list of finalists contains links to the stories up for consideration. I like that the finalists come from all genres of fiction, and am looking forward to reading the stories.

Noted horror editor Stephen Jones offers his list of the top 10 horror stories. Of the discussion of the list I’ve seen, most readers seem to think the list too conservative and safe, offering little that’s new to the horror reader. While I find that to be true of some of the entries, I don’t think it’s true across the board. Few, I suspect, have read “The Man Who Drew Cats” by Michael Marshall Smith, for instance; Smith should be read far more broadly than he is. And I’ve thus far missed “Dance of the Dead” by Richard Matheson. I’m going to have to find and read both these stories.

to the letterMaria Popova writes movingly about the value of the handwritten letter at Brain Pickings. I’ve only recently discovered this website, but I’m very impressed with what I’ve read thus far. This article, which discusses Simon Garfield’s To the Letter: A Celebration of the Lost Art of Letter Writing, is delightful. To further the theme, Popova wrote twice about Dear Mark Twain: Letters from His Readers by R. Kent Rasmussen. The first column deals with heart-warming letters. “Missives from Muggings,” the second column, talks about letters that Twain was, um, not thrilled with — including one in which a correspondent asked him to send $10, because, after all, he was rich.

Brain Pickings also offers a wonderful column on how to enjoy poetry. I’ve only come to poetry late in life myself, and that mostly as a consequence of meeting and falling in love with an English professor and poet. Maybe Popova will move you to consider reading poetry, and then we can swap favorites.

If you enjoy ticking off authors but don’t want to write a letter, Ploughshares Literary Magazine has a list of fourteen ways to cause maximum annoyance. I think the author of that list must have just finished a really annoying book tour!

I got a kick out of these publishing stories. Few authors seem to have found the road to wealth and fame to be smooth and easy. If you’d like to try to join their ranks, though, BuzzFeed has some suggestions on how to write your first book in the form of advice solicited from numerous authors. And if you’re suffering from writer’s block, io9 has some suggestions on how to overcome it.

ArrakisThese posters of science fictional locations are delightful. I wish they actually existed; I’d probably buy a few.

We readers are a tribe unto ourselves, aren’t we? And those who aren’t members don’t understand our problems. It’s happened to me more than once that I’ve been in public when I reached a very, very sad moment in a book, and sat there with tears running down my face; that’s always fun. And the interruptions? Oh, yeah, that’s annoying.

Looking for a holiday gift for the reader in your life? BuzzFeed has some suggestions. If those don’t suit, perhaps a science fictional set of DVDs, as suggested by io9.

Southeby's LibraryLooking to buy a nice house with a library? Southeby’s has a few available for purchase. I particularly fond of the properties in Dallas and Ellison Bay, Wisconsin. If anyone has a few million lying around that they’d like to donate to the cause, I’d be happy to accept them. I’m pretty sure most of my books would fit in either of those libraries.

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