Friday, December 21, 2007

Book News, In Brief

Tired of waiting months for your manuscript's inevitable rejection letter? Creative Byline wants to help! Writers upload their manuscripts for $19.00 and 'first readers'—readers trained to look for basic writing ability—review them. Writers who don't make the cut receive targeted feedback on how to improve the work. Writers who make the cut receive a list of editors who are a potential match for the work -- and then the waiting that they thought they'd avoided finally begins. (Link)

The best selling books so far this holiday season: Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia by Elizabeth Gilbert, A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini, and I Am America (And So Can You!) by Stephen Colbert.

Borders has launched an e-book program in conjunction with Sony, hoping to re-Kindle the interest of their prodigal patrons. (Link)

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Book News, In Brief

The New York Times has a two page article on, a website promoting free, anonymous book trading in public places. 4.4 million books have been registered in the "catch and release" program thus far, with 600,000 readers registered.

Via Guardian UK: "Americans go for self-help, the French for philosophy and the British for trivia. Stuart Jeffries investigates the phenomenon of the Christmas bestseller and wonders what this year's big successes will be."

Have no fear, white trash, teenage baby-mommas: Britney Spears' mother may have canceled her proposed parenting book (something to do with her 'other daughter' -- aged 16 -- recently revealing her pregnancy), but Eminem's mom has announced an autobiographical accounting of her and her son's estranged-is-putting-it-mildly relationship.

Steam engine thought has everyone running stories about the dearth of reading among boys and men. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution asks, Why don’t men do book clubs?, and then leaves it up to those folks frequenting the comments section to answer the question. The Minneapolis Star Tribune covers their school system's efforts to get boys interested in books besides Harry Potter and Star Wars spin-offs, posing their own Yoda-like query: Boys and books: How do you get them together? The Asheville Citizen Times does more than just ask broad questions. They describe a local librarian's semi-controversial attempt to refocus boys on books by separating the sexes into different reading groups designed to better deal with issues specific to each gender. My solution: slip some short fiction into Maxim Magazine.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Crazy Alert!

Keifer Bonvillain claimed to have hours of taped interviews proving that Oprah is not what she seems, and wanted to write a book about it. When no publisher would risk incurring her wrath, Bonvillain went the self-published route. While I have no plans to order the book myself (the website's shoddy design and the author's use of a comic book-worthy nom de plume do little to instill confidence in this credit card holder), the website's worth a look, if for no other reason than the loony chapter descriptions.

Here's a few:

Chapter 1: A Chance Encounter
The author is contacted by Harpo employee.

Chapter 2: Oprah's Attorney Called and He's Scared!
Author shares transcribed tapes of his conversation with Oprah’s attorneys.

Chapter 4: Did He Say Extortion?
The day of author’s arrest. (Includes never before released legal documents surrounding author’s arrest and the seizing of his property.)

Chapter 5: I’m the Infamous Oprah Extortionist
Author discusses world-wide media coverage of his arrest. (Includes documents showing how FBI kept author’s car for a month.)

Chapter 10: Lord I Need You
Author seeks spiritual guidance.

Chapter 16: Mystique around Oprah’s Sexual Preferences
The Other Woman.

Chapter 17: A Mutually Beneficial Subterfuge
Author discusses Oprah’s relationship with Stedman Graham.

Chapter 24: Birds of a Feather
The author discusses shocking statistics and uncovers a dark bond between Oprah and Obama. What you should know before you cast your presidential vote.

(Editor's note: I'd almost dismissed it as tabloid trash until I read the description of Chapter 10. Now I'm a believer!)

Monday, December 17, 2007

Big News (to me!)

DC Comics and Darwyn Cooke have announced a follow-up to DC: The New Frontier, titled Justice League: The New Frontier Special. The one-shot comic will feature a "lost chapter" detailing a Superman vs. Batman battle (alluded to in the original), as well as shorter stories about Wonder Woman, the Black Canary, and Robin, the Boy Wonder. Cooke is handling the art and writing for the S vs. B story, and is writing the scripts for the rest. Release is slated for March 2008.

(For Inkwell's review of DC: The New Frontier Absolute Edition, click here.)

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Book News, In Brief

One of my All Time Top 10 cartoonists, Joe Sacco (Palestine, Notes from a Defeatist), gets grilled over at The Comics Reporter. No jokes, jabs or jibes here. I love dude.

Angela's Ashes author Frank McCourt has written what can most charitably be described as Christmas fanfic...using his own critically acclaimed, Pulitzer Prize winning, best selling characters. To hear McCourt try and make a case for Angela and the Baby Jesus, head on over to Simon & Schuster's podcast page, 12/13/07.

In ever-so-slightly-related news, fanfic has a legal defense team! Via Boingboing: "The Organization for Transformative Works has just launched. It's a fascinating new proto-nonprofit determined to defend media fandom from the excesses of copyright and to help fanfic writers and vidders maintain control of their remixed works. The word "transformative" looks like they're throwing down the gauntlet in copyright battles, insisting that fic is fair use as a transformative work." Yes, soon you will be able to write and release all of the Harry/Ron romance scenarios your devious mind can conjure, but that unofficial lexicon you've been laboring away at will still be off limits.

Millionaire Mystery Buyer Unmasked, Revealed To Be Faceless Corporation

By now, everyone's heard that J.K. Rowling's handwritten collection of Potterworld short stories sold in an auction on 12/13 for nearly $4 million. What wasn't being so heavily hyped was the identity of the mystery buyer -- According to Thaindian News, "Amazon has plans to publish reviews of the books content on its official website The website will also facilitate an online discussion of Harry Potter fans." This, in conjunction with Rowling's court ordered injunction against the self-published Potter Lexicon, is straight killing J.K.'s street cred, fer reals.

Update: has officially announced their purchase. Amateur photos, unrestrained hyperbole and brief, gushing reviews can be found here.