Sunday Salon: Today There Will Be Good News

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?

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26 Responses to Sunday Salon: Today There Will Be Good News

  1. Alex says:

    My good news is that much against my expectations, given the other stand alone novels she’s written, Lindsey Davis’ non Falco book ‘Master and God’ turned about to be a cracker. I’ll be blogging about it during the coming week.

  2. I am so glad there is someone else out there who prefers Kate Atkinson’s pre-Brodie novels. I love those first three books, especially Human Croquet. I just hope the new ones lives up to my expectations!

    • Teresa says:

      Human Croquet is the only one of her early novels I haven’t read. (I’ve been holding out on reading it, partly because I feared she was going all Brodie all the time.) Emotionally Weird is my favorite.

  3. Lisa says:

    I can’t think of any other author than Stephen King who sparks essentially the same debate on such a regular basis. I missed the unpleasantness this week – so I think that is my good news.

    • Teresa says:

      One of the comments on Book Riot noted that the fact that King sparks this near-constant debate shows he must be doing something better than a lot of other popular writers, which I thought was a pretty good point.

      And missing the unpleasantness was good! Honestly, I probably wouldn’t have known about it if I weren’t on Twitter, which makes me wonder why I’m on it at all. But then again, how else could I chat with Mary Russell?

  4. My good book news is that yesterday was my library’s book sale, and I volunteered in the morning and then bought six amazing books. I’m planning on writing a book haul post about it sometime this week.

    Also, non-book related, I unexpectedly have today off of work!

  5. nymeth says:

    The new Atkinson novel does sound good! This was also a good week for media news for me: the upcoming Sandman prequel, the fact that Legend of Korra is getting a few more seasons, and my discovery that there’s a third Before Sunrise/Before Sunset movie in the works all have me very excited. It’s good to remember to focus on this rather than on the Internet happenings that sometimes get me down :)

    • Teresa says:

      I just looked up Legend of Korra, and it’s good news to me that there will be more from the Avatar universe when I finish The Last Airbender.

      I get so sucked into thinking about the nastiness, even when it doesn’t touch me personally (and it rarely does). It is much nicer to focus on the positive.

  6. Yay, thank you for this! All the online nastiness this week was really starting to get me down. I’ve never read Kate Atkinson — suggestions on which book to start with (if you think she’s an author I might enjoy)? I wasn’t really interested in watching Mirror, Mirror, but with your endorsement maybe I’ll give it a whirl!

    • Teresa says:

      It was getting me down to, so I needed this!

      For Atkinson, I suggest starting with Behind the Scenes at the Museum. On the surface, it’s a pretty typical intergenerational family story, but the narration sets it apart. Or if you want to try her crime books, Case Histories is very good.

      I was surprised at how fun Mirror Mirror was. It’s sort of a parody of fairy tales while being a fairy tale.

  7. I try to slide out of the fray of nastiness and retreat to books. Haven’t had as much time to read this weekend as I normally like, but I’m about to make some time to finish up a few titles. Loved your links!

    • Teresa says:

      I tell myself to ignore the fray, but it’s easy to get sucked in. I just have to remember how much nicer it is to be reading a book instead!

  8. oh I’m glad to hear Mirror Mirror was fun, I want to watch it!

  9. aartichapati says:

    What unpleasantness happened this week? Gosh, I seem to miss all of it. It’s interesting how much of it stems from Twitter- I’m glad I generally avoid that site now!

    As for pleasant book-related events for me this week? I am now more than 50% done with A Suitable Boy! Over the hump, and now on the downward slope, which makes me feel quite accomplished :-)

    • Teresa says:

      The main thing I saw was a particularly nasty site directed at a group of Goodreads users. And there was some spillover about the recent unpleasantness regarding bloggers taking too many ARCs at ALA. I still enjoy Twitter, but I hate how it both discourages nuance and makes it easy to spread around nastiness that might otherwise stay confined to a small circle.

      Getting halfway through A Suitable Boy is a major achievement! I have yet to read anything by Seth, but I want to.

  10. Jeane says:

    I must not frequent the right sites, because I haven’t noticed anything amiss! Shenandoah is beautiful- I went there just last month with my family to visit this museum with beautiful manicured grounds and gardens. It was all about the history of the valley.

    • Teresa says:

      I only learned about it through links on Twitter, which I should know better than to follow :)

      Where was the museum? Despite having grown up in Virginia, I’ve not visited many of the attractions. When I go to Harrisonburg/Waynesboro, I just end up hanging out with family.

  11. Susan says:

    I felt as if I was on Twitter too much this past week but I missed all the drama. I did see the Kate Atkinson announcement and was thrilled to learn it was a stand-alone novel.

    Human Croquet is one of my all-time favorite novels. I think I may work in a reread before the new book comes out.

    • Teresa says:

      And I felt I wasn’t on Twitter much at all, yet I caught wind of it. I guess it’s all a matter of when you log on and who you follow. I actually did a little unfollowing this week after getting too caught up in following the arguments

      I must read Human Croquet. It’s the only one of her novels I haven’t read!

  12. Nicola says:

    Oh I hear you on Atkinson. Never was keen on Brodie. I like her short stories, though.

  13. Aparatchick says:

    I could do with a lot less ugly-Goodreads-connected unpleasantness and a lot more Patrick Somerville & Ed Marks. Well done, both of them!

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