Saturday, June 14, 2008

Recommended Summer Reading

It's not often that the staff at Inkwell reads the same book; we have an unwritten rule that we should diversify our reading selections to cut a wider swath through the books released each season. Who gets to read what is determined by who is the swiftest at attacking the new ARCs (Advance Reading Copies).

So when two copies of The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows (Dial Press, $22.00) floated around the store, Kathleen and I both snared a copy without realizing the other had one. When we discovered that not only were we reading the same book, but that we both absolutely loved it, all that was left to do was to select it as our top pick for the summer. It hits bookshelves on July 29th, and we can't wait to start handselling it to our fellow avid booklovers.

Here's the basic plot:
January 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of WW2, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she’s never met, a native of the island of Guernsey, who has come across her name written inside a book by Charles Lamb. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, born as a spur-of-the-moment alibi when its members were discovered breaking curfew by the Germans occupying their island, boasts a charming, funny, deeply human cast of characters.

Both witty and moving, the novel is told entirely through letters sent between the characters. Mary Ann Shaffer has worked as a librarian and bookseller, and her love for books shines throughout the pages. The power of literature to transform lives is evident in this wonderful book. Don't miss it!

p.s. Thanks to Michael Kindness, our Random House rep, who handed the book to me and told me I would love it. He was so right! To see more perfect picks by our Random House reps, Michael & Ann, visit their blog/podcast, Books on the Nightstand, by clicking here.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Making Hamburg of Your Sacred Cows #32:
Shel Silverstein Was A Porn Fan

There are few things that our staff agrees upon, but one of them is surely the joy derived from breaking the hearts of the pretentious, Woods Holier-than-thou types when you tell them that their beloved Shel Silverstein not only loved porn, but produced it as well. Yes, the old perv was employed by Playboy for a number of years, writing columns (later collected in the book, Around The World), drawing nudie cartoons, and enjoying the full perks package available to a 60's writer of said skin mag -- namely, hanging out at the Playboy Mansion, shagging the bunnies, and making skin soup in Hef's grotto. For a short while, Silverstein even called the place home!

For a complete list of Silverstein's contributions to Playboy, click here.

For a free ringtone of Shel's raunchy classic, Everybody's Got Some But Me, click here.

Here's a Booklist review of Silverstein's Around the World, written by Gordon Flagg:
Best known as a children's author but also a successful songwriter ("A Boy Named Sue") and playwright, Silverstein started out as a cartoonist. In the 1950s and 1960s, Playboy sent him around the world to draw a travel journal. His 23 dispatches hailed from such far-flung locales as Japan, Moscow, London, Paris, and Africa, as well as such closer-to-home precincts as Greenwich Village, Haight-Ashbury, White Sox training camp, and a nudist colony. Most of the cartoons' gags play against cultural stereotypes, with a befuddled Silverstein as the butt of the joke: in a gorgeously limned Swiss village, he complains, "I'll give them 15 more minutes and if nobody yodels, I'm going back to the hotel." Befitting their provenance, many depict Silverstein's efforts to score with the local damsels. They feature the same deceptively casual line work that makes his children's books so visually compelling, and since far too little of Silverstein's work for adults is currently available, this engaging document of the countries he visited and of its era is a welcome delight.

This post is dedicated to all of the Waldorf School kids. Have a great summer, gang! Now's your chance to socialize outside of your economic strata!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Disney Book News, In Brief

Who is Rocket Johnson? I'll let the official website answer that: Who is Rocket Johnson? is a 72 page graphic novel anthology being self-published by Walt Disney Animation Studio's Story Artists and Directors. It's an all-ages book in which every artist answers the question: "Who is Rocket Johnson?" It will be sold exclusively at booth 2302 in San Diego ( and is a limited edition of 1,000 copies. Contributing artists include Steve Anderson, John Musker, Mike Gabriel, Glen Keane, Arthur Adams, and twenty more!

Former Disney animator Davy Liu will be releasing his second children's book, Fire Fish, on June 28th. The book "follows three little fish, Sarai, RaaOn and Sesom, who embark on a daring quest to find their missing parents." Hmn...sounds a bit like Finding Nemo, no?

Walt's People Volume 6 is now in stores. Didier Ghez' exhaustive series of interviews with the many writers, artists and office folk from the golden age of Disney just keeps on going. The newest installment includes chats with Ollie Johnston and Eric Larson, among others.

Attention UK readers! Disney and The Daily Mail have joined forces to provide readers of the D.M. with free copies of Disney's Wonderful World of Knowledge encyclopedias. The first volume went out with June 10th's copy, with 22 more volumes to follow.

Hyperion, the book arm of Disney's corporate Voltron, has announced their plans to publish the first two 'adult' novels by Gossip Girl author, Cecily Von Ziegesar. The first book, Cum Laude, is about a group of college freshmen. How 'adult'!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Tangible Proof That Oprah's Book Club Is Better Than Yours

The people have spoken airbrushed.

Book News, In Brief

Author Susan King (I'm the King of the Castle) blogs about the lies that lay beneath an author's book sale boasts. Now you'll have some ammo to sling at that pretentious and demanding author acting like an ass at their next in-store appearance.

Via The
'Bawdy' Bible Shows Good Book's Naughty Side
Examine Bible stories top to bottom - particularly the "bottoms" - and you will find a blue vein of sexual and scatological humor not-so-hidden in the verses, say two scholars of Hebrew Scriptures and an evangelical satire writer. Their new book, "The Uncensored Bible: The Bawdy and Naughty Bits of the Good Book," in stores this week, raises such questions as "Which "bone' was Eve made from?" Or whether, in the Book of Judges, a king's assassin escapes through a latrine in a tale laden with euphemisms for feces.

Chuck Norris jokes on the internet are as played out as complaining about prices at the gas pump. In light of this, I'll just stick to the facts: Norris has dropped his lawsuit against the kid who wrote 'the book of mythical facts' about him.

For smart, barbed comics reviews, head on over to The Factual Opinion. Writers Nina and Tucker Stone must have balls the size of Brian Micheal Bendis' word balloons, offering up such controversial true-isms as: "that's what (the newest issue of) American Splendor reminded me of: bad haikus" and, in regards to Lethem and Dalrymple's Omega The Unknown, "Nine issues in, and all that's been produced is something that's a valiant attempt to out-weird Steve Gerber and some great, downright fantastic work by Gary Panter. Somebody, somewhere, tell comics to stop trying to be cool. The fact that nobody reads the Bible in Williamsburg doesn't make reading the Bible in Williamsburg indy-rock."

The Comics Journal billed the following link as, "The Most Awesome Thing You'll See Today." Lo and behold -- the hyperbolic moniker actually fits! Click here for the awesomeness.

I know that if I try hard enough, I can find a way to blame Sex & The City.
Via More Women Reject Poet Laureate Post
Fleur Adcock and Ruth Padel, who have both been tipped for the role of poet laureate, have suggested that the post's responsibility of writing for the Queen was probably more trouble than it was worth, reports the Independent...Wendy Cope previously poured scorn on the post, saying that she "never wanted" to be laureate. "Personally I feel it is an archaic post and means nothing. It's simply not important," she said.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Recommended Viewing:
J.K. Rowling's Harvard Commencement Speech

Click here to view.

Book News, In Brief

A new book titled When Good People Have Affairs claims that an affair could actually save your marriage. Note to readers: If you catch your mate clicking the previous link, you might want to consider couples counseling.

If you'd been busily writing a Hilary book, you might want to invest in some White Out. According to the AP, from now 'til the election, Obama books will be the public's preference. A wide variety of works about Senator are planned for the summer and fall -- everything from children's stories and photographs to attacks from both the left and the right.

A sign o' the times, care of The New York Times: A few years ago, when the housing market was white-hot, companies that publish how-to books were tripping over themselves to pump out titles about buying property and making money in the real estate business. Now that the bottom has fallen out of the housing market, the opposite is true: publishers are updating their backlist titles as well as rushing out newly acquired manuscripts to advise consumers who may have stumbled in the housing game.

And now the Top 10 Bestseller Lists (well, the links to them): HC Fiction, HC Nonfiction, Manga and E-book.