There’s been a lot of nastiness floating around on the Internet lately, even in the usually genial segment of the Internet that we call the book blogosphere. It’s sad and disheartening to watch readers go after each other. So today I want to offer an antidote and share a few bookish things I (mostly) found online that are making me smile.
1. On Friday, I saw on Twitter that Kate Atkinson will have a new novel out in spring 2013. And if that weren’t enough to get me jumping up and down with glee, you can add the fact that it’s not a Jackson Brodie novel. As much as I love me some Jackson Brodie, it’s Atkinson’s pre-Brodie novels that make me adore her work. The new novel, Life After Life, looks like it’ll be sort of historical, sort of sci-fi. Sounds good to me! (And in case you’re wondering, today’s post title is an Atkinson shout-out.)
2. In news of another reliable crime fiction favorite, I have to tell you now much I enjoy following Mary Russell on Twitter. Russell may be a centenarian, but she gets social media. A lot of her tweets are about her upcoming memoirs, thanks to readers, and reminders that Laurie R. King is her literary agent, not the author of her memoirs thank you very much. This week has been especially amusing because she’s been tweeting about some super-secret intrigue that she and Holmes have been asked to consult on. I asked her if the current adventure would be fodder for a future memoir, and she told me she tries to keep notes, but that it’s hard to do when you’re out till 1 a.m. It’s good fun and an example of an author (or an author’s publicity reps) doing social media right.
3. And speaking of fictional characters who have an online presence, I really enjoyed this Salon piece by Patrick Somerville about the e-mail correspondence between a New York Times editor and the lead character in Somerville’s novel. The correspondence started when the editor e-mailed the character’s address on Somerville’s website to determine whether the NYT review contained a factual error. It’s charming, and it shows a classy way of dealing with a negative review. (It feels like an antidote to some of the recent unpleasantness.)
4. And turning back to reliable authors, there’s been a minor fracas over at Salon about the literary merits of Stephen King’s writing. Scott Beauchamp at Book Riot wrote a particularly good response.
5. Last weekend, I was visiting family in the Shenandoah Valley, which meant a visit to the Green Valley Book Fair. I’ve been so happy with my slowed down book acquisitions that it wasn’t too hard to show restraint, but I’ve been kicking myself since I passed over the complete historical works of Dorothy Dunnett for $4 per book the last time I went. This time, they didn’t quite have her complete works, but I managed to get four Lymond books and four Niccolos. Plus, they had several great short story and essay anthologies for $4 or $5 each. (The massiveThe Art of the Personal Essay was only $5!) If you’re ever near Harrisonburg, Virginia, you must check it out.
6. And while I was with my family, I let them talk me into watching Mirror Mirror, the Snow White adaptation I hadn’t heard much about. (Snow White and the Huntsman seems to be winning all the billboard space.) Oh my goodness, did I ever have a good time watching this! It’s delightfully silly and gorgeous to look at. Perhaps it’s not a great movie in terms of artistic caliber and all that, but it’s been a long time since I laughed so hard at a movie. Here’s the trailer, which includes a few of the funny bits (but not the funniest ones).
So what’s your good news this week?