Can We Trust Harper Lee’s New Watchman? (Can She?)

Originally posted on The Misfortune Of Knowing:

Go Set a WatchmanAgainst the advice of my lawyer, I’m going to talk about Harper Lee’s new novel, Go Set a Watchman, which HarperCollins plans to release in July 2015 amid controversy, a word that may as well be synonymous with “Harper Lee” these days.

By “my lawyer,” I mean my husband, whose practice includes defamation cases. He was joking when he told me to avoid discussing Harper Lee. He thinks I’ve discussed her enough already on this blog. ;)

Joking aside, virtually everything we know about Lee these days comes from her lawyers or from the lawsuits she’s filed. In 2013, she sued her former agent, Samuel L. Pinkus, for breach of fiduciary duty (among other claims), which I wrote about inWhen Our Literary Heroes Become Victims.

Later that same year, Lee filed a questionable trademark application and then sued her hometown museum over unauthorized merchandise bearing the title of…

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Interview with Author Mike Sirota

Interview with author and writing coach, Mike Sirota … I read Freedom’s Hand (by Mike) and highly recommend. His new book is Stone Woman (in my TBR queue) … looking forward to it.

Must-Read Books by Christina Knowles

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An honor to be included on this list!

Originally posted on Disturbing the Universe:

Snagged from freecomputersonline,com Snagged from freecomputersonline.com

This week my AP students have been presenting speeches on the books they read this quarter, and hearing students talk about my favorite books inspires in me a longing to re-read my favorites. My students often ask me what my favorite book is, and I easily reply, “Winter Garden by Kristen Hannah,” but after that, it gets tough to narrow it down to a list of essentials. I would love to just list ten, but I find it impossible to limit it that much when I begin to write. Here are my absolute must-haves:

  1. Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah: I love this book because it is the most beautiful novel I have ever read. It’s about regrets, misunderstandings, and relationships—relationships between sisters, mothers and daughters, fathers and daughters, and husbands and wives. It is thought-provoking, poignant, and reads like poetry. Within the contemporary story, lives fairytale…

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Write Well, Not Fast

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Wise words from longtime author and writing coach, Mike Sirota.

Originally posted on Mike Sirota's Blog - Swords, Specters, & Stuff:

Okay, this week I’m going to be a curmudgeon—something that I do quite well, actually. There are organizations, conferences, workshops—whatever—that stress sitting down with your laptops on fire and writing novels just as fast as you can. Write 5,000 words over a weekend. Or better still, write 50,000 words in thirty days. As a professional novelist and writing coach of nearly four decades, I disagree with this method of helping writers, or wannabe writers, to explore their creativity. Let me explain.

For starters, the reason I’m bringing this up right now is that November has been books 2designated National Novel Writing Month by a nonprofit organization of the same name—though better known as NaNoWriMo. They urge participants to write a “50,000-word novel” during the thirty days of the month, with a specific deadline of “11:59 p.m. on November 30th.” (Forget the fact that 50,000 words do not constitute a…

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Amazon Must Be Stopped? OK. Any Volunteers?

Originally posted on Polishing Your Prose:

amazoncom_logo_RGBRe: Amazon Must Be Stopped: It’s too big. It’s cannibalizing the economy. It’s time for a radical plan. (Franklin Foer, New Republic, Oct. 9, 2014)

All humans are self-serving and short-sighted to some degree; most humans are self-serving and short-sighted to a large degree. Wal-Mart’s Sam Walton and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos understand this; thus, their business models thrive, and despite all the whining, more and more consumer products are Made in China or other enclaves of cheap labor, while our employment base evolves from manufacturing and production jobs to comparatively lower-paying service jobs.

We, as consumers, reward these business practices when we buy their products.

Pogo’s celebrated quip come’s to mind.

In terms of the book biz, I laughed out loud at the comment about “dilettantism.” Let’s see, dilettantes E. L. James and Amanda Hocking (among others) pen best-selling ebooks that take Amazon by storm, then the “antediluvians,” who…

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His Name Was Ben Amazon Rank: #8 Best Seller Kindle Store

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My good friend Paulette Mahurin’s new book stats (all proceeds go to dog rescue!):

Originally posted on The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap:

Screen Shot 2014-10-11 at 6.15.48 PM A huge thank you to everyone who has purchased the book, written a review, or spread the word about this book. The first check was mailed to help rescue dogs.

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Is Literature Disappearing Up It’s Own A-Hole?

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Via one of my favorite bloggers, the always fascinating A.M.B., at The Misfortune of Knowing:

Originally posted on The Misfortune Of Knowing:

Horace Engdahl seems to think so.

In comments to Le Croix, Horace Engdahl (of the Swedish Academy responsible for the Nobel Prize) criticized the “professionalization” of writing through financial support from foundations and educational institutions that allow writers to leave their “day jobs” to devote more time to writing. Noting that it’s particularly a problem for the “western side” of the world, he said:

Even though I understand the temptation, I think it cuts writers off from society, and creates an unhealthy link with institutions… Previously, writers would work as taxi drivers, clerks, secretaries and waiters to make a living. Samuel Beckett and many others lived like this. It was hard – but they fed themselves, from a literary perspective.

If we set aside Engdahl’s hypocrisy — he’s a literary academic linked with an institution — there’s a kernel of truth in his words: experience matters. Real-life experiences inform…

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