Friday, February 6, 2009

Book News, In Brief

Gwyneth Paltrow is writing a cookbook. Judging from her bobblehead appearance, the recipes will all be macrobiotic and the last page will read, "Now puke."

Twilight director Catherine Hardwicke is writing a memoir about the making of the hit film. Will she dish the dirt as to why she wasn't asked to direct the sequels, or will it just be one big sparkly, remember-when?

Here's something freakishly unique: An upcoming release that actually sounds good! Knopf is bumping up the release of Endpoint, John Updike’s final collection of poems, to April. No, this isn't an early, unfunny April Fools joke. Knopf's doing it to coincide with National Poetry Month. (And to capitalize on Updike's recent passing, of course.)

Last but not least, a little Lois Lane Haiku care of Comics Oughta Be Fun!:

Clark Kent, where are you?
That man is never around.
Look, it's Superman!

Let me puncture Clark
With this pin. If he's super
He won't feel a thing.

You're a fiend, Luthor!
Superman will stop you cold.
What's with the green rock?

Crave more? Click here.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Go, Look:
The Pop-Up Book Art of Sabuda & Reinhart has posted a wonderful interview with pop-up book artists Robert Sabuda and Matthew Reinhart. There's a brief, two minute video that provides a peek at their new book, Fairies, but the real gem here is the interview's accompanying photo gallery. It's amazing to see the secrets of these modern masters' work. Go, look!

Random Links -- And Just In Time!

Just in time for the demise of neighborhood bookstores, has put together 10 Ways to Sell Your Book on Facebook.

Just in time for your crappy, homemade Valentine's Day card, has compiled The 100 Most Beautiful Words.

Just in time for that last minute Valentine's Day gift, The Guardian UK has provided excerpts of the six books shortlisted for the Romantic Novel of the Year award.

Just in time for my coffee break, Books On the Nightstand has provided me with my fourth Random Link: They've posted a 'How We Stock Our Staff Picks Table' piece that Inkwell Kathleen did for our monthly newsletter.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Cuz Anti-Meyer News Bits are like Manna to the Blogosphere...

...check out this t-shirt from For purchasing info and links, click here.

Rubbing Salt in the Wounds:
The Comic Book Industry Edition

Less than a week after putting a pillow to the face of indie comics publishers with a new, $2,500-per-item monthly minimum order, Diamond Distributors has laid their c*ck on the corpse's lips.
Via "Marvel Comics was named Comic Book Publisher of the Year and DC Comics received eight awards, including Original Graphic Novel of the Year for its Joker Hardcover and Trade Paperback of the Year for perennial bestseller, “The Watchmen TP,” at the 2008 Diamond Gem Awards."
But by handing out awards to their biggest corporate clients, is Diamond dissing the artistic merit of the indies? Not according to Diamond's PR peeps: "Diamond Comic Distributors’ annual event is recognized within the comic book industry as the pinnacle of sales achievement for comic book artists, writers, publishers and industry executives."
Oh, okay, now I get it. The Gem Awards are like the '#1 Whore' coffee mugs a pimp gives his top earners.
Congratulations corporate comics. I bet you're really gonna clean up next year!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Rubbing Salt in the Wound:
The Horror Novelists Edition

Poor Stephenie Meyer. Less than a week after bitching about not being able to finish her new novel because some of it had leaked onto the internet, she's been given yet another reason not to write.
Via Stephen King's opinion may drive a stake through the heart of "Twilight" author, Stephenie Meyer. In an interview with USA Weekend, the bestselling author compared Meyer with J.K. Rowling , the author of the Harry Potter series. According to Stephen, "Both Rowling and Meyer, they're speaking directly to young people... The real difference is that Jo Rowling is a terrific writer and Stephenie Meyer can't write worth a darn. She's not very good."
Please-oh-please-oh-please let this be the bit of un-constructive criticism that turns her into a J.D. Salinger-style recluse.

Recommended Viewing:
Jack Kirby on Jack Kirby

This is a clip from an out-of-print documentary called The Masters Of Comic Book Art. Harlan Ellison provides a brief introduction and biography.

"My inspirations were...I hadda make sales." Jack Kirby

Book News, In Brief

London, like the rest of the world, is losing its bookstores. Feeling nostalgic, The Guardian UK has created a multimedia scrapbook of Charing Cross Road's legendary booksellers.

The Hipster Bookclub presents The Guy's Guide to Pride and Prejudice: "Kyle (Olson) reads Jane Austen's most beloved novel and learns a bit about women in the process."

The NYTimes widens the generation gap with an op-ed piece titled Click and Jane. It's topic: Is learning to read using a computer the same as learning to read using books? "I try to believe that reading online is reading-plus, with the text searchable, hyperlinked and accompanied by video, audio, photography and graphics. But maybe it’s just not reading at all."

A bit of fiscal wisdom from Conversational Reading: How to Publish in a Recession. "I've seen a lot of coverage in newspapers and magazines regarding the economic woes of major New York publishers...but I haven't heard much about what's happening with our many independent and/or small presses. Are they hurting too?" An ongoing series of interviews with indie publishers follows.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Inkwell Michelle's 30 Second Book Review:
The Tomb of Zeus by Barbara Cleverly

Clever dialogue, a feisty and intelligent heroine, along with vivid descriptions of the culture and landscape of Crete circa 1928 meld to create a perfect historical mystery. Fans of Elizabeth Peters (Amelia Peabody series) and Jacqueline Winspear (Maisie Dobbs series) will be equally charmed by this first book in the Laetitia Talbot series.
Laetitia Talbot finds herself not quite welcome at Villa Europa, the home of Theodore Russell who is a prominent archaeologist on the island of Crete. Laetitia is an aspiring amateur archaeologist, but her excitement for her first dig is tempered by the inexplicable hostility of Mr. Russell, and by the apparent suicide of his wife Phoebe.
The twists of the plot and the wonderful characterizations add to the storytelling, however it is the well-researched, fascinating tidbits about the history of Crete and the ancient Minoan civilization that delight the reader. The Tomb of Zeus succeeds with a depth beyond the traditional mystery. It also reads like a good travel essay by sparking an urge to explore Crete - its history, food, and culture come to life in the pages of Cleverly’s book.

Book News, In Brief

Happy days are here again. Barack Obama's Australian publisher speaks on his recent good fortune.

A week ago we linked to an article criticizing Elizabeth Alexander's inaugural poem. For the sake of fairness, here's a pro-poem piece.

Who wants to be a millionaire minority? A self-described "Hollywood conservative" has penned a rich, White, heterosexual's tale of societal alienation.

The subject of this weekend's best online debate was: Should comics reviewers say whether or not they paid for the books they're reviewing? The Beat's Heidi started it on Friday with a semi-sarcastic 'pet peeve' piece she did. (She says that announcing how you get your comics makes a reviewer seem unprofessional.) Then, on Saturday, Comics Worth Reading's Johanna Carlson wrote a contradictory response. (She says that doing so is helpful to the reader and serves as a sort of 'full disclosure.') Commentors on both sites quickly chimed in with their own opinions...repeatedly.