Friday, March 28, 2008

British Book News, In Brief

Anne Frank's Diary and the works of C.S. Lewis rank in the Top 10 Favorite Reads of 11-14 Year Olds in England. Of course, the rest of the list is Harry Potter books and tabloid magazines, but why focus on the negative, right? Via The Guardian UK: Predictably, the most loathed read is homework. It is followed by Shakespeare, books of over 100 pages and stories about skinny celebrities in magazines.

Also embarrassing the English is a report that finds 1 in 10 Brits skipping classic literature in favor of feature film adaptations. Even more cringe-inducing is this pitch for the classics' relevancy in the modern day, via The Guardian UK: But despite one-third of adults admitting they never read the classics, there are those who think modern life is imitating the traditional. Dickensian Britain has been reborn in the modern binge-drinking culture, according to 54% of those surveyed. And 47% believe that many young people are suffering from Peter Pan syndrome, unwilling to grow up just as in JM Barrie's classic novel. There is also evidence that the "wag" culture may not be such a new phenomenon - 30% believe that trying to find a rich husband mirrors the themes of Jane Austen's novels.

Bonus! Former Colonies News Item:

But will they waive the late fees? Via The Times of India: An ancient library dating back to 300 years was reopened after a gap of 40 years at the historical monument Water Mill in Aurangabad, sources said. The library housing manuscripts and other precious and rare books like the Holy Quran written by the last Mughal emperor Aurangzeb Alamgir, was thrown open recently to the public.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Book News, In Brief

Bad news, good points...via The LATimes: Book publishers are bullish on the economy -- as a subject, that is. As the stock market gyrates, authors' proposals flourish. But will their financial advice be relevant by the time a book's in print?

According to Financial News Online, Borders has hired JP Morgan Chase and Merrill Lynch to 'advise them on strategic alternatives' as they 'struggle to shore up their capital base amid the widespread tightening of credit.' (That's press release for: This is The Beginning of the End.)

The Beat has posted a link to a recent study in Gender and Reading Habits. The study re-affirms the usual (boys read less than girls, except where superhero comics are concerned), but does so in an enlightened manner. Do make a point to check out the Beat's link to the piece, though, where great lines such as, "Valenti marshals as much statistical evidence as she can and talks to librarians to explore the topic, which shows that for teen boys, books are as great a marketing wasteland as superhero comics have been for adult women" abound.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Good News for Geeks

DC comics has confirmed that they will be releasing a hardcover collection of the Captain Marvel storyline, The Monster Society of Evil, later this year. This 1940's classic is the only comic besides the Hernandez Bros.' Love & Rockets to ever infect my dreams after reading it. The story chronicles Captain Marvel/Billy Baston's battles against a four colored menagerie of animals and monsters, culminating in a one-on-one with their leader/creator, a genius caterpillar by the name of Mr. Mind. Shazam!
(Initial tip: Newsarama)

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Children's Book News, In Brief

Ugly authors everywhere are outraged by a fashion model's book being nominated for a children's book award. Something about the book being ghost-written, or some such petty, jealous nonsense.

Yikes. If those authors are worried about the integrity of kids' lit, they're really gonna love yesterday's announcement that Danielle Steel is writing a tome for tots. (Editor's note: And they wonder why kids don't read.)

Turning our attention to a more esteemed and established children's book author, J.K. Rowling's legal battle over the publication of a Harry Potter encyclopaedia has been delayed until mid-April. To tell you the truth, I'd almost forgotten about this case. But now that I've been reminded, I can't say as I like J.K. and her billion dollar bullying much more than the aforementioned authors and their crimes against the craft.

Monday, March 24, 2008

The History of the Ray Gun - Revealed!

IO9 has posted a time line charting the appearance and evolution of the stylish spaceman's weapon of choice. To think, it all started with H.G. Wells...

Book News, In Brief

We probably should have posted this last. You know, just in case you're feeling fragile.
Via A scientific guide to DIY suicide is to go on sale in the Netherlands to help people end their lives quickly and painlessly. The book, the first of its kind to be published, is by a group of respected scientists and psychiatrists. It contains detailed information on using drugs as well as committing suicide by starvation, including the quickest and least painful way to do it. There are also chapters on the ethical and judicial questions for those who aid suicides. Its authors are also planning English, French and German editions.

Aw, heck. Since we're already on the subject...
Via Wauchope: Harry Potter author JK Rowling said she had felt suicidal after her divorce from her first husband, the British paper Sunday Times reported. She had been suffering from depression and sought medical help and attended a therapy after her divorce from Portuguese journalist Jorge Arantes in the early 1990s, the author told the newspaper. Rowling added: "We're talking suicidal thoughts here, we're not talking 'I'm a little bit miserable'."

You still with me? Good. Only, we're not done discussing death just yet.
Via The Christian Science Monitor: The first people Roberto Saviano sees every morning are his bodyguards – the three Italian policemen who pick him up in a bulletproof sedan, drive him to the gym, or take him on errands. They haven't left him alone since Gomorrah – his fierce critique of the Neapolitan mafia, the Camorra – hit best-seller lists in October 2006, bringing fame, fortune, and death threats from some powerful and ruthless enemies. But today, because of international and British laws that don't permit him the usual retinue of government bodyguards here in London, he's been entrusted to me – 135 pounds of journalistic muscle. Mr. Saviano doesn't speak English, and I – a native Neapolitan, myself – do; so his agent thinks I'm some sort of protection for him, and I laugh half-heartedly when the agent jokes about me being his bodyguard for a day.
(For the full story, click the above excerpt.)

Having followed this morose theme thus far, why not end it all with a brief (o)bit on The Death of Traditional Literature?
Via According to a 2007 survey, more than 70 million people in Japan use mobile phones daily to surf the net, especially during long commutes. Inevitably, some have started to read, as well as write, novels on their handsets. Several novice mobile authors have emerged as writers, the Independent reported. Traditionalists, however, are not amused with the new style of writing which apparently lacks respect for Japan's 1,000-year literary tradition.

Editor's Note: Please refrain from posting suicide notes and/or last will and testaments in the comments section. Thank you.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Free Online Manga: Death Note

The Inkwell Bookstore is proud conflicted to present to you complete page scans of Death Note, the hottest manga of the moment (not titled Naruto).

Click here to begin.