Friday, March 27, 2009

When The Economy Needs Stimulating, Your Hard Earned Dollars Are The French Tickler!

The following lit-related tees are currently available at Even better, if you order between now and Monday, shipping is free!

The 'Plot, It Builds Character' Tee is available here.
The 'Haikus Are Easy' Tee is available here.

The 'Capital' Tee is available here.
The 'League of Cliche Evil Super-Villains' Tee is available here.

Book News, In Brief

Over at The New Statesman, writer Emily Hill calls out the casual racism in bookstore shelving, specifically the way that certain stores segregate fiction according to the color of the author's skin.

SF nerds, meet comic book geeks: The Comics Reporter reports that this year's Hugo Awards will feature a special comics category -- Best Graphic Story. If the response is good, it may become permanent.

It started earlier this year when The Shining's Jack Torrance released his 80 page, "All work and no play" book. Fast forward three months, and now fictional characters are the publishing industry's new 'it' authors.

Librarything has an articlething about an unnamed internet company charging new authors for positive reviews. For $425, insecure self-publishers get a glowing review posted on Librarything, Google Books, Fetchbook and, among others.

Booksquare summarizes the 'New Think for Old Publishers' panel at South by Southwest in three succinct sentences: "Let me be clear. Absolutely clear. Not one word spoken in that session, either from the panelists or from the audience, was new or innovative." Then she provides a detailed analysis as to why. Twice. Ouch.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Skylight Books Done Did It Again

Los Feliz' premier indie bookstore, Skylight Books, makes me jealous. It's not their well-stocked and eclectically arranged bookshelves. And it's not their timber ceiling, or the natural lighting, or the tree that grows in the center of their store. Hell, it's not even their close proximity to my cross-country sister, Caroline (although I'd appreciate it if you didn't tell her that). No, it's their unerring knack for thinking up interesting and unusual ways to display books. (Do you remember their ongoing Corpus Libris project? That sh*t is brilliant, and I'm still steaming over the fact that I didn't think of it first.) Well, Skylight Books has done it again, this time with an endcap display devoted solely to books featuring Converse Chuck Taylors. Simple yet memorable, engaging and endearing. These are the hallmarks of an effective endcap, y'all.
Go, look!

Previously: Go, Look: Corpus Libris

Book News, In Brief

Bourne-again author, Robert Ludlum, pulls a reverse-Fitzgerald; claims whoring himself in Hollywood actually helped his writing.

When Publishers Weekly announced that Cloris Leachman's autobiography was going to detail her 80-some-odd years as a sex addict, an erudite co-worker suggested I link to the article using the pun, "Clitoris leaches men." Lucky for you, I'm too tasteful.

Remember a few days ago when we revealed that men read less than women because they can't keep up their excitement after the first few pages? Well, The Guardian UK thinks that this could be solved if publishers made "a concentrated effort to re-masculate reading." I'm just spit-balling here, but has anyone tried putting mudflap girls on the insides of book flaps?
(Update: It looks like someone has!)

It's Back:
The Where The Wild Things Are Trailer!

The WTWTA set pics
The WTWTA teaser poster 1, 2
The WTWTA skateboard decks
Ain't It Cool News' looong interview with Spike Jonze
The Dave Eggers-penned book-based-on-a-movie-based-on-a-book

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Inkwell Michelle's 30 Second Book Review

Booked to Die
by John Dunning

Finely drawn characters and good hardboiled dialogue propel this mystery to the top of the stack. Denver homicide detective, Cliff Janeway, finds himself on the wrong side of the law when his nemesis and all-around bad guy, Jackie Newton, forces Cliff to action in the name of justice. Cliff is an anomaly among his fellow detectives…he collects rare books, and eventually owns his own antiquarian bookshop. The lore about the collectible book trade is fascinating. Dunning, who owned an antiquarian shop, is the perfect tour guide into the realm of the passionate, unscrupulous, and quirky book collectors and dealers. This one will make you wish for a first edition!

Go, Look!

The Metabunker has posted Jaime Hernandez' contribution to the over-sized, over-priced Kramers Ergot its entirety!
(Note: You're gonna need a magnifying glass attached to a telescope to read it, but I promise you, the effort and eyestrain will be worth it.)
Go, look!

(Image swiped from The Metabunker.)

What if...?

...Walt Disney made The Lord of the Rings?

...Harper Collins dumped print publication?

...Harry Potter was a Zionist conspiracy to promote witchcraft and Satanism?

...the best contemporary illustrators were asked to illustrate the world's greatest children's books? went all the way to France to visit the Asterix theme park, only to end up riding a carousel in a character's butt?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Cape Author's Book Threatens Georgia Town's Gentility

Parent Complaint Removes Book from Ringgold Middle Library
by David Carroll
RINGGOLD, GA - Ringgold Middle School's library includes one less book after a parent filed a complaint over "inappropriate content."
The book is The Burn Journals by Brent Runyon. Although critically acclaimed, the book's opening pages include several uses of the "F-word," a passage about a boy sliding his hand down a girl's sweater and pants, a crude slang reference to a girl's breasts, starting a fire in a school, a theft of school supplies, a girl's menstrual period, teen suicide attempts, and a boy setting himself on fire.

Quick question for the child-rearin', God fearin', folks of Ringgold, GA:
With the exception of the "F-word" (and maybe sweaters), doesn't the Bible make mention of everything else in your complaints list? Hell, the Old Testament alone has sex passages galore, breasts being referred to as pomegranates, an angelic arson in the cities of Sodom & Gomorrah, the theft of gold chalices, livestock and Joseph's coat of many colors, at least two mentions of menstruation, multiple references to both suicide and murder, and a guy who prepares a human-sized spit so's he can slow roast his son in a sacrifice to God.
Now, I know what you're gonna say:
But the Bible mentions all of these things to help educate its readers regarding right and wrong. Well, so does Runyon's The Burn Journals. Did you actually read the damned thing? Every complaint on your laundry list of 'offensive topics' is used in the book to illustrate the author's thoughts and actions before he matures, before he begins to think about how his actions affect others, before he becomes basically the sort of stand-up fella that you all want so desperately for your kids to become.
I urge you to take the time to (re-)read the book. While it's true that many parts are disturbing (it's about Runyon's failed attempt to kill himself, after all), none are romanticized or unnecessarily lurid. It's actually a beautiful and compassionate book. A book that doesn't talk down to kids, but to them, and in doing so, attempts to help them through the always tempestuous emotions accompanying adolescence.
This book was written to keep kids from hurting themselves and others. You'd think that parents would applaud such a thing.

Previously on our blog: Author du jour: Brent Runyon

Tuesday's Tips for Flailing Writers:
Your Book Is Written. Now What?

Option I
You can YouTube! Storytellers Unplugged has tips for turning your book into a trailer.

Option II
Axe that prologue! Daily Writing Tips provides three reasons to ditch the damned thing.

Option III
Mosey 'round the internet! The Creative Penn put together 99 brilliant writing and book links.

Option IV
Put your paltry stimulus check towards promotion! Joanna Campbell has 50 things under $50 you can do to promote your book.

Option V
Start rewriting! If you're scared you'll sully your classic, The Abbeville Manual suggests you start by editing someone else's. Follow this link to read their rewrite of The Lord's Prayer.

Option VI
Face reality! There are more would-be authors now than ever before. Did you really think that your book would be picked from the millions of manuscripts making their way across the desks of NYC's most jaded agents and risk-averse publishers? Dream on! Still, you wrote a book. That's no small feat. Most folks only talk about writing a novel. You did it. So why not go out on a high note? If you really want to ensure that your magnum opus gets read, make it your last wish that everyone who attends your funeral has to read your book. You'd be surprised how far grief and guilt will go towards guaranteeing you an audience.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Recommended Viewing:
I'd Like To Have Been At That Meeting...

A special tip of the hat to Books On The Nightstand for finding this gem.

More Wild Things Pics
(And A Lesson In Internet Civility & Humility)

How does CHUD do it? How do they continually find the newest Where The Wild Things Are info before everybody else? My guess: black magic with a side of sexual favors. They say: scouring news sites each night before bed.
As I'm not an elderly Black woman with her own psychic hotline, I can't say with 100% certainty who's right. And in the grand scheme of things, it really doesn't matter. But the fact remains, CHUD had the link to USA Today's exclusive pics before anyone else, so if you want the link, you're gonna have to head there first.

The WTWTA teaser poster
The WTWTA skateboard decks
Ain't It Cool News' looong interview with Spike Jonze
The Dave Eggers-penned book-based-on-a-movie-based-on-a-book

Book News, In Brief

The Guardian UK thinks that women read more than men for the same reason that Viagra exists: Men have trouble staying excited.

According to The Guardian UK, the British Library has misplaced more than 9,000 books. The library says the missing books have not been stolen, but are somewhere in the building. D'oh!

A warning to bookstore workers everywhere: Kate's Book Blog has posted a quote from George Orwell where the 1984 author blames his loss of book-love on his time spent bookselling.

A notice to financially secure Shakespeare fans: The city of Verona is now offering couples the chance to get married on the balcony from Romeo & Juliet. (The rest of you will have to settle for the Cinderella castle at Walt Disney World.)

In an effort to provide work for one lucky ghost-writer, Barack Obama's autobiography, Dreams From My Father, is being adapted for the kids lit market. Considering the number of Barack-centric baby books currently being bought by li'l liberals, it's a wonder it took this long.