Thursday, August 14, 2008

Book News, In Brief

I know it's rather late in the season to be foisting yet another summer reading list on y'all, but this one was too good to keep to myself. Via CBR: Comics luminaries share their picks.

Via finance.sympatico: "By opening its channels to a million outside sellers, Amazon has undercut (eBay) and is winning the battle for Internet sales. Next up: A challenge to eBay's PayPal."

Via MSNBC: "The U.S. Government Accountability Office reported that college textbook prices increased at twice the rate of inflation between 1986 and 2004. Is there any way to avoid this crippling expense? Actually, there are several."

Via "Amazon's Kindle e-book reader will sell more than 380,000 in 2008, according to analysts at CitiGroup...Analyst Mark Mahaney reckons a Kindle is going to be the must-have item for this Christmas, pointing out that his predicted sales are roughly the same as those achieved by the iPod in its first year...He also reckons that by 2010 the Kindle will be contributing $1 billion annually to the online-bookseller-turned-everything-emporium - four per cent of their total revenue."

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Recommended Reads: Geeks

Spirited Away: BFI Film Classics by Andrew Osmund
From the Anime News Network's article/press release:
In Spirited Away: BFI Film Classics, Osmund details the filmmaking process of Hayao Miyazaki on the 2002 work and how it relates to his previous films and the themes that he expounds. The British Film Institute book includes quotes from Miyazaki and his colleagues and over 60 color images. Osmund also wrote Satoshi Kon: The Illusionist, a book that profiles the acclaimed director of Perfect Blue, Paprika, and Paranoia Agent.

Bottomless Belly Button by Dash Shaw
From the NYMagazine author profile:
Bottomless Belly Button tells the story of a week in the life of the Loony family, whose parents, Maggie and David, are divorcing after 40 years...Shaw’s avoided the path that young writers so often follow, for better or for worse: He’s not really writing about himself. His parents are still married, and he seems to have been drawn to the story of a disintegrating family as a genre exercise. “It was interesting to me how there are differences in family relations”... Bottomless Belly Button, it seems, was created out of a desire to see what would happen if characters from a traditional family drama—“super-dysfunctional and super-dramatic”—were placed alongside characters from a more reserved family story: a narrative game, rather than a dead-serious uncovering of emotional trauma.

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz
From the NYTimes book review:
Díaz shows impressive high-low dexterity, flashing his geek credentials, his street wisdom and his literary learning with equal panache. A short epigraph from the Fantastic Four is balanced by a longer one from Derek Walcott; allusions to Dune, The Matrix and (especially) The Lord of the Rings rub up against references to Melville and García Márquez. Oscar’s nickname is a Spanglish pronunciation of Oscar Wilde, whom he is said to resemble when dressed up in his Doctor Who costume for Halloween.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Congratulations, Yiddish Policemen's Union!
(are you done winning things yet?)

Michael Chabon has been awarded the prestigious Hugo Award for his most recent novel. Where does he find the shelf space?

Book News, In Brief

How true to life (i.e. scandalicious) is Britney Spears' mom's book going to be? Not very, judging from that soft focus book cover. For a more fitting distillation of the book's themes, click the image to the left.

Last week, disappointed readers of Breaking Dawn (are there any other kind?) were calling for a book burning. This week they're rallying behind a new plan: returning the books for full refunds. Ha! Go back to burning 'em, suckers. Caveat emptor, and all that.

Booksellers get labeled as nerds, sure, but we've got it a hell of a lot better than our brethren, the comic bookseller. Their public ridicule knows no bounds. Here's a link to a website dissing a comic book shop owner simply because he gave the new Astonishing X-Men a negative review. Although the comments section seems to side with the dissing, the piece raised a couple of question in my mind: Should negative reviews be nixed from a shopkeeper's spiels? Are they bad for business, or do they help to build a buyer's trust?

(Editor's Note: The fact that we've called our patrons suckers in one news item, only to then ponder customer loyalty in the next was not unintentional. To quote Full Metal Jacket, we're only "trying to suggest something about the duality of man...the Jungian thing.")

Monday, August 11, 2008

Book News, In Brief

McSweeney's asks tweens, teens and their online predators:
Did you see Shakespeare's Facebook pics?
(OMG!!! He's hot!!!)

Kafka and Thomas -- the new Britney and Lindsay?
Dylan Thomas' dirt filled diaries are up for public perusal, while an upstart publishing house has put out a book cataloging Kafka's vast and varied porn collection.

Edjumacated dudes predict Oprah's endorsement is worth a million votes. Considering the staggering quantities of East of Eden that she managed to sell to an otherwise illiterate America, I'd have to agree.