Friday, September 26, 2008

Book News, In Brief

Having garnered the ire of every bookstore, Amazon is hoping to make a brand new enemy: Apple/iTunes.

I'll admit it. I'd been purposefully avoiding linking to the dozens of different 'Text Books Are Too Expensive for College Kids!' articles littering the web. Every other book blog was posting them, so I figured, why bother? But this new angle -- Textbooks are bad for your health -- well, I've gotta give the kids credit for coming up with this one.

Damn. If I'd seen this ten minutes ago, I'd have blog-jacked the whole page and saved myself a 'Book News, In Brief' post. Via The Guardian UK:
Antonia Fraser on writing biography
Wendy Cope on writing poetry
Robert Harris on writing novels
Simon Jenkins on journalism

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Blog-Jacking: Boing Boing (again!)

Book-spines turned into stories
Originally posted by Cory Doctorow, September 25, 2008 9:59 AM
The Sorted Books project picks books out of collections whose spines, when placed in sequence, can be made into a sentence or story. (There's plenty more pics at Sorted Books)
Blow Boing Boing a kiss.


The stock market crashing...the skyrocketing price of pudding induced impotence...
We'll worry about those some other day.
For now, let's celebrate the following, via the AP:
Purr-fect ending to battle over Hemingway's cats
KEY WEST, Fla. - The famed six-toed cats at Ernest Hemingway's island home aren't going anywhere.
The Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum announced Thursday it reached an agreement with the federal government that lets the 50 or so cats continue roaming the grounds, ending a five-year battle that could have resulted in them being removed or caged.
I repeat: Phew!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Dirty/Literary Joke of the Day

As told by The Office's B.J. Novak:
With all due respect to Edgar Allen Poe and Lord Byron and Franz Liszt...there is simply no such thing as a 'romantic period.'
Thank you. Goodnight.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Blog-Jacking: Boing Boing

Burning Bookmark
Originally posted by David Pescovitz, September 23, 2008 8:47 AM
Just in time for Banned Books Week (9/27-10/4), the good folks at Gama-Go are taking orders for this new "Burning Bookmark." It's $6.
Link: Burning Bookmark/Gamma Go
Hit up Boing Boing here.

Recommended Viewing:
Bookslut Interviews Eddie Campbell

Visit the Bookslut website by clicking here.

Book News, In Brief

S'funny, I was just having a similar discussion with Inkwell Michelle the other night: Humor Books - They Don't Get No Respect.

It's not nearly as lurid as Franz Kafka's porn stash, but it's still worth a look: Charles Schulz' bookshelves.

When I first read the following headline, I thought it said, Barbarians Still Turning to Books. That would've been awesome. But Barbadians Still Turning to Books? Zzz...

Monday, September 22, 2008

Jonathan Lethem on The Dark Knight

"After a long summer spent laboring in the salt mine of a novel-in-progress," Lethem ventured out to the multiplex to see this year's biggest film. Here are a sampling of his thoughts on the pic, as expressed to the NYTimes and its readers:

No wonder we crave an entertainment like “The Dark Knight,” where every topic we’re unable to quit not-thinking about is whirled into a cognitively dissonant milkshake of rage, fear and, finally, absolving confusion.

It may be possible to see the nightly news in a similar light, where any risk of uncovering the vulnerable yearnings, all the tenderness aroused by, yes, the seemingly needless death of a promising young actor or of a brilliant colleague, all hope of conversation between the paranoid blues and the paranoid reds, all that might bind us together, is forever armored in a gleeful and cynical cartoon of spin and disinformation. Keywords — “change,” “victory” — are repeated until adapted out of meaning, into self-canceling glyphs. Meanwhile, pigs break into the lipstick store, and we go hollering down the street after them, relieving ourselves of another hour or day or week of clear thought.

Beneath the sniping, so many real things lie in ruins: a corporate paradigm displaying no shred of responsibility, but eager for rescue by taxpayers; a military leadership’s implicit promise to its recruits and their families; a public discourse commodified into channels that feed any given preacher’s resentments to a self-selecting chorus. In these déjà vu battles, the combatants forever escape one another’s final judgment, whirl off into the void, leaving us standing awed in the rubble, uncertain of what we’ve seen, only sure we’re primed for the sequel.

If everything is broken, perhaps it is because for the moment we like it better that way. Unlike some others, I have no theory who Batman is — but the Joker is us.

To read Lethem's full review/political diatribe, click here.

Book News, In Brief

A Washington public library was robbed of 150 books -- all at once. A ninja/robber walked in, picked out a stack of books ranging from 101 Secrets a Good Dad Knows to Don't Sweat the Small Stuff about Money, and then waltzed out the front door. When asked to comment, the oblivious library staff said, "Shh," and pointed to a 'No Talking: Computers in Use' sign.

The biggest literary prize currently out there: The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award. It's named for the Pippi Longstocking author, awarded to authors of kids' books, and gets the winner roughly $800,000. (Thanks to PW for the initial heads-up.)

I've never heard of Christine Angot (a.k.a. 'The Queen of Auto-fiction') or her supposedly once-famous rapper boyfriend (the delightfully named Doc Gynéco), but the two of them sound ripe for a critical beatdown. Zut alors! The French oblige.