Friday, December 7, 2007

Book News, In Brief

Hachette Book Group USA’s graphic novel imprint, Yen Press, has acquired world rights to a graphic edition of James Patterson’s young adult series Maximum Ride, and plans to make them into manga. When will American publishers learn that the kids absolutely do not want non-Asian manga. (All of the big comic book companies have tried. All have failed.) Hell, I'm not even sure if it really even is manga if it doesn't come from Asia. Isn't it just digest-sized comics with bigger than usual eyes? Honestly, it feels sort of like Al Jolson cartooning. Mammy-san.

Harvard professor Khaled El-Rouayheb will discuss his book, Before Homosexuality in the Arab-Islamic World, 1500–1800, on campus Wednesday, December 12, 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. In case he runs long, allow me to tell you my favorite part of the time spent I touring my amateur drag act in Iran: eye makeup only, and I never had to shave!

The LA Times tries to make up for dropping their Books section by coming out against the Kindle. Some of their reasons as to why it doesn't meet or exceed regular books are sentimental crap:
"Anyone who first read Treasure Island at age 11 could still tell you whether the cover illustration on that copy had Long John Silver in a red pantaloon or a black one."
(Yeah, and people who first heard Sgt. Peppers on vinyl have fond memories of staring at that album cover. But guess what? That wasn't nearly enough to stop the music biz from becoming 99% online -- and unpaid for.)
But other reasons are irrefutable:
"There's no way you could read...a book like War and Peace...or John Richardson's multipart biography of Picasso...on a screen. You've got to be able to concentrate on it, to go back, and go ahead, and look at the footnotes."
(Of course, this doesn't address the fact that most people only read pop-lite, bestsellers, but hey, I'm on your side.)

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Book News, In Brief

The Guardian UK does an author profile of Golden Compass author and current whipping boy of the religious right, Philip Pullman. In the article, Pullman is described as being "as happy woodworking as (he is) writing." What a co-inky-dink. So was that bloody guy from The Passion.

Just when it seemed like the whole world was finally starting to agree with me about Chris Ware's penchant for drawing only one mood -- misery, he goes and releases his second sketchbook collection. Apparently, Eeyore's not always the one-note, style-over-substance mope-aholic he makes himself out to be. So why doesn't Ware ever show this second dimension in his 'official' comics work? Branding and marketing, of course!

Kimberly Steele, author of the hit vampire novel, Forever Fifteen, gives a good interview with The Haunted Vampire blog. And if you're too cheap to buy her book, she offers up the whole thing as an audiobook on her website. (One complaint about the Haunted Vampire blog, though. A nit-pick, really. It's just that the proprietor -- purportedly a bloodsucker -- tops his webpage with a photo of himself. But doesn't that go directly against the whole 'vampires can't be photographed' thing? Or have today's goth bloggers evolved to such a point that the old rules -- lack of reflections, fear of sunlight and crosses, etc. -- no longer apply? Could the magnetic pull of the awkwardly angled webcam be their one remaining weakness? +++, just in case.)

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Book News, In Brief

According to Reuters, Doris Lessing's publisher will read the 2007 literature laureate's Nobel lecture, as the author is said to be "too ill to pre-record a speech." Eff that. I know how to smoke her out. Let's start a rumor that there is no Doris Lessing; that she's just the construct of some young, gay, cross-dressing hustler raised in the truckstops of the Southern United States. Then she'll have to show.

Christopher Hitchens is still mad at a God he does not even believe in. This month, Hitchens will release an anthology, The Portable Atheist: Essential Readings for the Nonbeliever, a sequel of sorts to his best-selling God Is Not Great. I don't know about you, but I worry that if Al Sharpton and Quincy Jones don't step in soon, that this is gonna end in a similar manner to the Biggie/Tupac beef in the 90s -- with Hitchens being gunned down in a car driven by Suge Knight, while Jesus gets a few more holes added to his stigmata after leaving a Vibe Magazine party in Los Angeles. Can't we all just get along?

It's like the Necronomicon in the Evil Dead movies! Via Guardian UK: "A 17th century book believed to be bound in the skin of a priest executed for treason appears to bear a 'spooky' image of his face on the cover, according to the auctioneers who are selling the book." (Remember when I said I wasn't going to recommend any books to y'all as gift ideas? I'm making an exception here. If you've got a germaphobe in your life, this would make the ideal gag gift -- in both senses of the word.)

Monday, December 3, 2007

Film Adaptation News
(a.k.a. Underwhelming Information Regarding Upcoming Disappointments)

What's even less inspiring than the official website of the upcoming feature film, Watchmen? Why, the exclusive set photos included therein! It's like someone recreated Stanley Kubrick's crappy looking 'New York Street' set from Eyes Wide Shut, and then added a comic book shop. Hopefully, the director -- Zach Snyder, of 300 fame -- will at least bless us with a couple dozen well-oiled visions of gay lust and some more of those small breasted, long nippled pseudo-actresses to help distract us from the mess he makes out of Alan Moore's brilliant work.

Hollywood insiders/internet outsiders predict that the film, The Golden Compass, will make upwards of $500 million this Christmas. If Christian watchdog groups are to be believed, the film is also slated to create a similar number of atheists in middle schools all across middle America. The Jew York Times maps the long and winding road that Hollywood's harlots and homosexuals walked to bring Philip Pullman's anti-Christ-like novel to the screen. Ye godless sinners can click here.

Again, the New York Times. This time, Ian McEwan is interviewed regarding his novel, Atonement , and it's feature film adaptation. Unfortunately, they never get around to asking McEwan what he thinks of KeiraKnightley's one-stop/all-emotions scrunching-of-the-face acting technique. Paging James Lipton...