Friday, January 11, 2008

Book News, In Brief

Striking screenwriters have decided to try writing kiddie books. They claim it's cuz kids lit and movies are both a melding of words and images. I say it's cuz both are sparsely scripted and aimed primarily at drooling idiots.

Book sales are stagnant. I'm not talking about the numbers, though. I'm talking about the titles. This week's NYTimes bestseller list read like a Xerox of June 2007's: A Thousand Splendid Suns, I Am America, The Dangerous Book for can this be? The ranking authors are even more tired tried and true: James Patterson, Sue Grafton, Dean Koontz. Zzzz...

Former New Yorker editor and Princess Diana biographer, Tina Brown, is writing a book about Bill Clinton. Something about a cigar...something about Talk magazine...see you next week!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Book News, In Brief

Don't give in to that post-Xmas suicide urge just yet -- 2008 has comics worth living for. The Savage Critic(s) list(s) 'em.

Via Reuters: Joel and Ethan Coen win the 20th annual USC Libraries Scripter Award for their film adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's novel, No Country For Old Men. Who else thinks that The Nanny Diaries was robbed? (Cue: crickets chirping)

The Wagner Clan ain't nuthin' to f**k with. English biographer Jonathan Carr dishes the dirt on Germany's most famous musical family...and what dirt there is! One of them -- Wagner's granddaughter, Winifred -- used to call Hitler by a pet name, 'Wolf,' and was so smitten with Der Fuhrer that she attended Hitler Youth reunions until her death in 1980.

Free Comic Book Day Goes Worldwide
(Well, Sort Of)

Via AFP: "China's ruling Communist Party will release an anti-graft comic book during the upcoming Lunar New Year holiday to help officials avoid corruption. The pocket-size comic book, which includes caricatures depicting common forms of graft and bribery, will be distributed as a gift to 100,000 party members."

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Recommended Viewing:
Dennis Lehane Interview

Parts 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Book News, In Brief

Publisher's Weekly lists the 15 Trends To Watch in 2008. E-books take up nine spots. Of the remaining six, three have to do with publishers' websites, two have to do with the pros & cons of Barnes & Noble's "sophisticated supply chain," and one hints strongly at the elimination of traveling sales reps. Cheery.

It's a bad time for literary fiction, and the librarians are to blame. From the GuardianUK: "(There has been) a shift in the priorities of libraries, which used to be a guaranteed haven for several thousand copies of hardbacks that take a bit of brain work, but which are now rapidly ceding shelf-space to Citizens Advice Bureau leaflets or DVDs." (Editor's note: The Inkwell unequivocally absolves all sexy librarians of any blame.)

Locus Magazine interviews fantasy/SF author Nnedi Okorafor (Zahrah the Windseeker, The Shadow Speaker) about a wide variety of topics, the most interesting to me being why science fiction hasn't made further inroads in Africa: "I guess people write what they know. From my experience with the Nigerians, most don't read stuff specially categorized as ‘fantastical.’ (...) Maybe this category doesn’t exist in Nigeria because it’s not needed. The fantastical is naturally a part of the Nigerian world already.”

Monday, January 7, 2008

Recommended Viewing
Alan Moore - Monsters, Maniacs and Moore

Book News, In Brief

The reason Tom Wolfe left longtime publisher Farrar, Straus & Giroux should have been obvious to anyone who'd ever read his work: money. Dude is obsessed with it. Apparently, he wanted a $5 million advance for his new book. Hmn...maybe if he revealed his secret recipe.

Princess Diana's controversy-courting biographer, Andrew Morton, has completed his unauthorized book on Tom Cruise. In it, Morton claims that Cruise is now the second in command of the Church of Scientology, and "suggests" that Cruise's daughter, Suri, was conceived using frozen sperm from the movement's dead founder L Ron Hubbard. Needless to say, the Church of Scientology is suing the author and his publisher, St Martin's Press, while fear of legal reprisal has already caused the cancellation of the book's publication in the UK. suggests that Barack Obama's reason for not having a plan to reduce foreign corporate control of the U.S. book publishing industry (and other U.S. media industries) is based -- at least partially -- around the $1.7 million two-book contract that he received from the Random House/Crown Publishers/Alfred Knopf subsidiary division of Bertelsmann AG. Does have any proof? Of course not. But they're a blog, so they don't have to, right?