Friday, March 7, 2008

Book News, In Brief

Because I just can't get enough of Margaret Seltzer, I'm passing on this link to the first chapter of her made up memoir, Love and Consequences. I wish she'd still do a book tour. I'd love to see her in a red bandanna and khakis, tossing up gang signs & smoking "bigarettes." I'd purposefully wear all blue and then try to create a 'love conquers all'/West Side Story-style romance for the two of us.

Junot Diaz's The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao won the National Book Critics Award for fiction. Here's how I describe this book to folks who have never heard of it: If Tina Fey was Oprah Winfrey, this is the type of inspirational fiction that she'd be pushing.

Publishers Weekly has an Indie Publishers Update, cataloging the recent successes in the minor leagues. Fans of e-books, OJ Simpson and glycemic diets will be thrilled.

Lastly, a quick bit of day-late comic book-to-film news. Click here to see the Watchmen in their superduds, and snikt here to see Wolverine and Sabertooth in their matching sideburns.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Recommended Viewing:
Gregory Rodriguez on The Colbert Show

Steven Colbert mulls over our neighbors to the South with the author of Mongrels, Bastards, Orphans and Vagabonds: Mexican Immigration and the Future of Race in America. Enlightening.

Religious Book News, In Disbelief

Inspired by 2007's record breaking run of Atheism-centered bestsellers, members of the believing team are coming out with hard cover counter arguments of their own. My advice: turn the other cheek, guys. After all, your book is still the #1 bestseller of all time.

Godless liberals take note: Tony Perkins and Bishop Harry Jackson's Personal Faith, Public Policy argues that the Religious Right isn't dead, it's just "splintering." (Insert wooden crucifix joke here.) Until someone reunites Davey & Goliath for one last show, though, I ain't buying it.

Keery Shook, the senior pastor of Fellowship of The Woodlands, has just published One Month To Live, a self-help book which seeks to inspire its readers by asking the well-worn cliché: 'What would you do if you only had one month to live?' Me, personally? I'd stop brushing my teeth, have lots of unprotected sex, rob a bank just for the hell of it, do all of the drugs I was too scared to do when I thought I had, say, two months to live...basically anything besides sit and read your book, Shook.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Book News, In Brief

Okay, I'll admit it. I'm addicted to Margaret Seltzer's literary fraud in ways that I never was James Frey's or J.T. Leroy's. She's sooo bad at being "hood," and yet she fooled an entire publishing house, a bunch of newspapers, magazines, bloggers, etc. Click here for an unintentionally hilarious interview where Seltzer describes what it was like to cook up crack, why Bloods smoke "bigarettes," and why she hates when people assume that everybody from South Central LA is in a gang -- despite the fact that she was in the middle of telling her own gangbanger-from-South-Central-LA-story!

Once original comic book art was accepted as a smart investment, it was only a matter of time before kids' lit illustrations got gobbled up by the wealthy, as well.
Via the AP: "You can quibble about the critical side of the art, but the market is bearing out that yes, original children's book artwork is getting out there," said Timothy Young, an author on the topic and curator of Yale University's Betsy Beinecke Shirley Collection of American Children's Literature.
Read more here. (You poor folks needn't bother.)

A growing number of Arab countries are planning to boycott the Salon du Livre international book fair in Paris. This is due to the festival's decision to dedicate the event's prestigious "Pavilion of Honour' solely to Israeli writers.
Via Guardian UK: A statement issued by Isesco said that "the crimes against humanity Israel is perpetrating in the Palestinian territories" make it an unworthy recipient of the honour. Christine de Mazières, speaking for the French Publishers' Association who organise the Salon, said it was an unfortunate move. "What is happening in the Middle East is very sad, but it is not linked to our event." Israel, she stressed, was not being honoured for its politics but for its writers."
Read more here.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

And Today's Fruadulent Writer Is...
Margaret Seltzer!

This white, affluent, liberal activist admitted Monday that her critically acclaimed "autobiography", Love and Consequences, was a crock of sh*t. The book, a tale of a half-Native American foster child growing up selling drugs among the gangbangers of South Central Los Angeles, was, according to Seltzer's biological mother, all a mistake.
"I think she got caught up in the facts of the story she was trying to write," Gay Seltzer said. "She's always been an activist and she tried to draw on the immediacy of the situation and became caught up in the persona of the narrator. She's very sorry and very upset."
Oh, is that right? Then it's all good. And kudos to Seltzer's publishers at Riverhead Books. They managed to weed out all of her typos, but not the fact that she was a private school-educated rich girl. Is there a reason why no one fact checks the memoirs they're peddling?

Poetry News, In Brief

Scandalous! In The Times UK, Justine Picardie investigates whether Emily Brontë's poems were really written by her "reprobate" brother Branwell. Spoiler: Picardie doesn't solve the mystery, but the story is fascinating, nonetheless.

The Prisoner

Till let my tyrants know, I am not doom'd to wear
Year after year in gloom and desolate despair;
A messenger of Hope comes every night to me,
And offers for short life, eternal liberty.

He comes with Western winds, with evening's wandering airs,
With that clear dusk of heaven that brings the thickest stars:
Winds take a pensive tone, and stars a tender fire,
And visions rise, and change, that kill me with desire.

Desire for nothing known in my maturer years,
When Joy grew mad with awe, at counting future tears:
When, if my spirit's sky was full of flashes warm,
I knew not whence they came, from sun or thunder-storm.

But first, a hush of peace--a soundless calm descends;
The struggle of distress and fierce impatience ends.
Mute music soothes my breast--unutter'd harmony
That I could never dream, till Earth was lost to me.

Then dawns the Invisible; the Unseen its truth reveals;
My outward sense is gone, my inward essence feels;
Its wings are almost free--its home, its harbour found,
Measuring the gulf, it stoops, and dares the final bound.

O dreadful is the check--intense the agony--
When the ear begins to hear, and the eye begins to see;
When the pulse begins to throb--the brain to think again--
The soul to feel the flesh, and the flesh to feel the chain.

Yet I would lose no sting, would wish no torture less;
The more that anguish racks, the earlier it will bless;
And robed in fires of hell, or bright with heavenly shine,
If it but herald Death, the vision is divine.

Another old scandal! Baroque in Hackney tells the tale of the night poet Wallace Stevens got his wish to have a fistfight with Ernest Hemingway. Hemingway hit Stevens three times before Stevens connected his first punch. When Stevens finally did land one, he broke his own hand! (Making the story even better, Hemingway was 36, Stevens was 56.)

The Plot Against the Giant

First Girl
When this yokel comes maundering,
Whetting his hacker,
I shall run before him,
Diffusing the civilest odors
Out of geraniums and unsmelled flowers.
It will check him.

Second Girl
I shall run before him,
Arching cloths besprinkled with colors
As small as fish-eggs.
The threads
Will abash him.

Third Girl
Oh, la...le pauvre!
I shall run before him,
With a curious puffing.
He will bend his ear then.
I shall whisper
Heavenly labials in a world of gutturals.
It will undo him.

Millions' Poet -- a poetry version of American Idol -- is currently the hottest show in Arabia. The Millions' poem reprinted below reminds me of another TV show: Kids Say The Darnedest Things.

Respect For Your Parents

by Muhammad al-Manhali

A child asks his father: “O father, where are you
going? Please tell me why you’re pulling my
grandfather on his bed instead of him using his

He replied: “I’m throwing away your grandfather in
the sea, there is no place for him here any more.
What do you want?”
The boy says: “I want his blanket, so that when
tomorrow comes and you grow old and come
under my shadow I can wrap you with it and throw
you along with him.”

Know people, that God blesses and will be pleased
to those who are always willing to serve and help
their parents, for as much as they are pleased with
you; so too will he be

Monday, March 3, 2008

Book News, In Brief

Sunday, the Associated Press announced that 'Brief Books Are In,' prompting lazy writers everywhere to rush to their local UPS stores with their bare bones manuscripts. The only problem? The AP was talking about nonfiction historical biographies penned by established celebrity scribes. In other words, y'all just wasted a lot of time and money on overnight Monday delivery.

The Comics Reporter has posted his list of The Twenty-Five Stories To Remember: 2007. Regular readers of the CR will be none too surprised to see that editor Tom Spurgeon has put the controversy over the Danish Muhammed cartoons at number one. Dude eats that story up like Wimpy does hamburgers.

Friday we had a news bit 'bout Asiana Airlines offering audiobooks on their flights. Today we've got some similar news, but located a hell of a lot closer to Inkwell HQ. According to the Educated Quest, US Airways has joined with RIF (Reading Is Fundamental) to launch a new kids' literacy campaign, 'Fly With US, Read With Kids.' The campaign gives a free copy of Lucy’s Cousins’ Come Fly with Maisy to pint sized passengers traveling domestically during the month of March.

In related news, RIF’s 'Read with Kids Challenge' continues through May. The 'challenge' here is to get parents to spend more time reading with their kids, with a cumulative goal of one million minutes. Interested parties are encouraged to log their time on the RIF website. One lucky family will win a vacation to Walt Disney World, where no one is required to read anything, ever.

Enough RIF, onto WIF (Writer is fraudulent):
"Eleven years after the publication of her best-selling Holocaust memoir - a heartwarming tale of a small Jewish girl trekking across Europe and living with wolves - Massachusetts author Misha Defonseca admitted the whole story was a hoax. In a statement issued by her Belgian lawyer, Defonseca, whose book, Misha: A Memoire of the Holocaust Years, has been translated into 18 languages and is the basis for a new French movie, Survivre avec les Loups (Surviving With the Wolves), confessed that she is not Jewish and that she spent the war safely in Brussels."
For the full story, click here.