Friday, December 14, 2007

Book News, In Brief

Via AP: This holiday season, publishers are hoping to bleed 401ks dry with a barrage of books about 'the good old days,' 'when music was better.' The Inkwell recommends that any of our older readers planning on living to see the Spring of 2008 (knock on Wood) hold off on buying these books until then. It is our educated guesstimate that all of these titles will be available at significantly Slash-ed prices once this season's influenza has (literally) killed off much of their intended audience.

I had never heard of The Animal Dialogues: Uncommon Encounters in the Wild by Craig Childs until I happened across this snippet of Sarah Rose's review in the AP: "A packed subway train crawls toward Manhattan from Brooklyn. I'm pushed on all sides, smashed against the door reading Craig Childs' newest set of essays, The Animal Dialogues. Tears well in my eyes as I read about a perfect blue shark dying on a desolate beach." Now, I've gotta be honest. I'm not sure if that review qualifies as a success or a failure. On the one hand, I have no interest in reading The Animal Dialogues. But on the other, I'm fiending to read a million more melodramatic reviews by Ms. Rose. Her writing reminds me of 'Dwight' from The Office.

This is the way the bookstores end. Not with a bang or a Kindle.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

And Now, Back To The Morbid

Jog has posted a great piece about the effective mixing of bloody, nasty horror with laugh out loud comedy in manga. It's titled, It's OK to Laugh. Recommendations for new readers are included.


Alright, you sappy f***s. Here's a cheery post. Via Boingboing:

Neil Gaiman helps fan propose to girlfriend through book inscription

Jason wanted to propose creatively to his girlfriend, Maui. So he conspired with comix legend, sf writer and all-round mensch Neil Gaiman: when Neil spoke in the Philippines, they would attend and Maui would queue up for a signature afterward. When she reached Neil, he would write "Will you marry Jason?" on the inside of her book and hand it back to her, and romance would ensue.

It worked flawlessly (see the video). Maui was delighted and surprised, Jason got down on one knee, the crowd applauded and Neil sat there, grinning like a maniac.

How lovely!

...and Maui actually failed to notice Neil's dedication because she was so starstruck. It took him about three times to actually get her to read the darn thing.

Maui (squealing, closing the book): Thanks!!!

Neil: Aren't you going to read what I wrote? You have to read it..

Maui (opening the book, shrugging, then closing it again): Thanks!!!

Me: You have to read the dedication...

And she bent over to give Neil a kiss, STILL not noticing what was going on.

Neil: You really have to read this...

When she did (FINALLY!)...

(Click here for a two minute video of the event.)

A Brief Reprieve

Yesterday I got a little maudlin, I'll admit. That's why, today, I'd like to start things off a wee bit cheerier. Via every other book blog on the web: Best-selling fantasy author Terry Pratchett has been diagnosed with a rare form of early onset Alzheimer's.

Damn it. That wasn't...I'm sorry.
I'll post something later. Something better.
I promise.

Until then...


(That didn't work, either, did it?)

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Not Books...

R.I.P. Ike Turner

You had some serious demons in you, demons that you never did get completely under control. But you were a genius, an undeniable musical visionary, and Tina never sounded so good without you.

Random Assortment of Various Links

Salon has posted their Best Books of 2007 list. Surprise, surprise. Your self-published memoir isn't on it. If only you'd followed some of Sam Leith's secrets to writing a Christmas-time best seller -- you still wouldn't have made the cut, but at least you'd be making some money off of your shameless tragedy-whoring. Still, all hope is not lost. We're in the age of the Kindle. And according to the Arizona Republic, crap books sell well in e-book form. Burning them is another story.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Coming Soon: A Coffee Table Book About A Band That Used To Sleep On The Floor

Via ITNUK: "The widow of rock star Joe Strummer has unearthed a treasure trove of material by the former Clash frontman. After his death five years ago at the age of 50 following a heart attack, his wife Lucinda Mellor went through some suitcases and found that each one contained about 30 plastic bags. She said: 'I suddenly realised that each bag was pertinent to a week on tour or a session - each bag told a story which was amazing.'
All the material found - plus some Clash lyrics discovered in mouldy tea chests - have been put on file, photographed, carefully stored and catalogued. Ms Mellor is planning to publish a book containing unreleased songs and rarities, with his friend the artist Damien Hirst. She added: 'One day we will do an amazing book. It's going to be beautifully done - it'll be like an art book, with photographs, lyrics, drawings, maybe unreleased songs, rarities. It'll have CDs in it, rare Joe stuff - we'll see what we've got.'"

Gift Ideas for the Bookish:
The Zaky Infant Pillow

Let's face it, babies eat away at more than just our sanity, our sex lives and our savings. Their constant craving for attention eats away at our reading time, as well. That's why these creepy little gems are such a genius idea. For $38.98, your baby feels loved, and you get to finish your book club book for the first time ever. Available at The Pregnancy Store.
(Thanks to for the initial heads up.)

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.