Monday, December 10, 2007

Book News, In Brief

I don't know if the religious right is really to blame, but they're certainly lining up to take the credit. Via Reuters: "Golden Compass loses its way at U.S. box office." Of course, this is a Hollywood headline, and ought to be taken with a grain of Hollywood salt. After all, the film was the number one moneymaker this weekend, taking in some $40 million over the first three days.

Via Charles Bukowski's Hollywood home is up for historical preservation, but its current owner, Victoria Gureyeva, wants it destroyed. "This man loved Hitler," Gureyeva, who is Jewish, told the alternative newspaper LA Weekly. "This is my house, not Bukowski's. I will never allow the city of Los Angeles to turn it into a monument for this man." The way I see it, both parties can have their way. Raze the home, and leave the ruble as a monument to Bukowski's self-destructive lifestyle.

Via the AP: "The Fair Use Project at Stanford's Center for Internet and Society announced Tuesday that it had signed on to aid the defense of Michigan-based RDR Books, which had planned to release The Harry Potter Lexicon this fall." Finally, someone with an actual understanding of fair use/copyright laws is speaking out in defense of this book. Up 'til now, the legal work and press relations have been handled primarily by the lexicon's publisher -- a well-meaning, hyperbolic, blowhard with delusions of political martyrdom and a caps lock key seemingly stuck in the ALL CAPS position -- and it hasn't been going well.

It's like Black Like Me, only in reverse...and without the effed-up makeup and wig stuff. Author Dave Matthews has just released, Ace of Spades, a memoir focusing on the twenty years he spent as a light skinned Black man "passing" for White. Adding another layer of complexity to the already Rubikian scenario is the fact that Matthews grew up in Baltimore (which, as every loyal viewer of The Wire knows, is a predominantly Black city). Commenting on this in an interview with, Matthews said:
It’s completely contradictory from a psychological standpoint, I know. Basically, I felt that the black kids who preyed on the white kids (in whose ranks I cluelessly considered myself) were less powerful in the larger context of America than they were in the streets of Baltimore. I never lost sight of the “prize”—being white, and knew that once I said I was black I would never be able to go back. So it was easier to suffer among the “master race” than to lord amongst “the slaves.” Plus, my TV showed me every day that there was a world out there where white people ran everything, so I figured if I just bided my time, my day would come. (Have I mentioned that I was a moron?)
To read the first chapter of Ace of Spades, click here.