Saturday, April 11, 2009

Second Only to Where The Wild Things Are in My Movie-Going Heart:

From Edgar Wright, the director of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz...
Based on the comics by Bryan Lee O'Malley...

Friday, April 10, 2009

Book News, In Brief

In response to last week's announcement that two of Micheal Crichton's recently "found" novels were going to be published posthumously, the Guardian UK pleads, Leave unfinished works alone - let their authors rest in peace!

Semi-related is a second Guardian UK piece, this one regarding Agatha Christie. But where the previous piece called on folks to let sleeping scribes lie, this one quotes from 'textual analysts' who believe they've found signs of Alzheimer's disease in Christie's later novels.

A 51-year-old IL woman plans to publish first novel serially. No, wait. Make that cereal-ly. Lori Degman was crowned the winner of Cheerios' second annual Spoonful of Stories contest. Her book, One Zany Zoo, will be stuffed into select boxes of Cheerios in the Spring of 2010.

A recent article about self-publishing doubled as a profile piece for local author, Lisa Genova. Not only has Genova proven countless nay-saying literary agents and publishing houses wrong with the runaway success of her novel, Still Alice, she'll be speaking at our store on April 18th.
(Editor's Note: If that sounded like shameless're damned right!)

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Depending on Your Tolerance for Glittery Goths, This News is Either Gonna be Great or Grim

From the four-color hotel doormat, USA Today:
Twilight author Stephenie Meyer continues to dominate USA TODAY's Best-Selling Books list. Sales of her novels accounted for about 16% of all book sales tracked by the list in the first quarter of 2009. That's about one in seven books.

David Foster Wallace +/vs. Premier Magazine

Film writer Glenn Kenny waxes nostalgic in an interview with The House Next Door, reminiscing about the times he edited David Foster Wallace for Premiere movie magazine.

Some choice quotes:
Dave would often be commissioned to do pieces at 5,000-7,500 words so he understood that at a certain point in the process it was quite possible this would happen, but in a way he was constitutionally incapable of keeping to a word length. It was a tacit agreement you had with him when you commissioned a piece that you were going to get something long. But if you can run a piece that long, he’s one of the cheapest first rate literary writers out there—you pay him X amount of dollars per word, but you get five times the words.


Dave could just walk around, getting as much out of the environment as possible. After 45 minutes of looking, he’d go out into the hallway in the convention center, sit up against the wall and write in his legal pad for 20-30 minutes, which was a good thing for him, because then he could zone out and not notice anything that was happening around him. I think the reason he had such an aversion to severely urban areas was the sensory overload of having to perceive that much.


We talked about things like addiction. He was always solicitous of your own condition, your own health. I know he had some very profound struggles in areas like that. Even had he not been depressed, I don’t think Dave was adverse to happiness but I think he was incredibly suspicious because of all of the false things in the culture that are proposed to simulate happiness. He looked at the concept askance because of that. Part of his personal struggle was to find a form of happiness that was not ersatz.

It's a great piece, one which enriches not only your appreciation of D.F.W., but also the value of a good editor/author relationship. To read the whole thing, click here.

Comic Book News, In Brief

Bookslut recently ran a wonderful interview with comics legend, Jules Feiffer. Topics ranged from racism in comics to sexism in comics to children's books.

Comics letterer & logo designer, Todd Klein, has a blog. In it, he reviews new books, reassesses his old work, and analyzes the progression of various logos from funnybooks' past.

To help promote their upcoming Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers mini-series, Marvel Comics is holding a contest. The rules are simple: Take a picture of your pet dressed up as a Marvel superhero, then send the incriminating photos to their Pet Avengers Flickr group. The actual 'prizes' are crap, but isn't publicly humiliating your furry friend reward enough?

In 1970, writer William S. Burroughs and artist Malcolm McNeill teamed up to write a graphic novel, Ah Pook Is Here. Excessive printing costs (some of the full color illustrations are over 25 feet long) and insufficient public interest (it was, after all, only a comic book) eighty-sixed its release. Fast forward 39 years, and a project history, story synopsis, and gallery of McNeill's mindblowing images have been put on line. Click here to enjoy.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

A Litmus Test of Literary Links
(Or: If you don't find this sh*t cool, give me back my friendship bracelet.)

The second Where The Wild Things Are movie poster has hit the net. Please, God, don't let me die before October.
(See also: Assorted WTWTA adaptation links)

Vietnam (Việt Nam) 1. A communist state in Indochina 2. A scenic backdrop for the acid flashbacks of drug-addled veterans. 3. A book lover's Shangri-la.
(See also: DW-World's Booksellers Flee Paris to Create City of Books)

Lucy Knisley (French Milk) read all four Twilight books in one weekend. Upon recovery, she made two hilarious comic strips about the harrowing experience.
(Thanks to AutumnBottom for the tip!)
(See also: AutumnBottom's 10 Tips From A Former Traveling Sales Rep)

Entertainment Weekly has posted an exclusive excerpt of Elmore Leonard's next novel, Road Dogs. Fans of Out of Sight's Jack Foley will want to check this out, as he's the star of this book, too.
(See also: My slavish, slobbering ode to Leonard)

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

In Troubled Times, Our Leaders Turn to Kids' Lit

When world leaders met last week at London's G20 summit, it wasn't the collapsing economy or the threat of North Korean missiles that had everyone buzzing. It was J.K. Rowling.
From The Telegraph UK's article, G20 summit: Barack Obama is a fan of Harry Potter:
The President made a beeline for Miss Rowling at the end of the Downing Street G20 dinner, and told her that he had read all her books himself and to his children Sasha and Malia.
Miss Rowling then received a second presidential seal of approval for the boy wizard from Russia's President Medvedev and his wife Svetlana, who not only admitted to having read the Harry Potter books but also asked for her autograph.

To read the rest, tap your wand here.

The AP Wants To Sue Me...For Linking To An AP Article About The AP Wanting To Sue Me!

Okay, so the Associated Press doesn't really want to sue me personally, but they do plan to start filing lawsuits against websites that link to their articles and/or reprint their headlines without permission and/or a pay-off. The AP's lawyers are also eyeing Google Web Search, Yahoo News, and personal Facebook feeds -- in other words, anyone who has ever linked to anything other than an lolcat.
To find out more, click here and here.
(Warning: The second one's an AP link!)

Tuesday's Tips for Flailing Writers

It's a basic question, but one which boggles a good many writers: What's the difference between story and plot? IO9 explains.

Repeated rejection is funny. At first it hurts, then it annoys, then it causes a numbing sensation that makes you wonder, 'Why bother?' But if you truly believe in your work, you can't give up. Remember, even the most well-respected authors were once rejects like you.

Self-publishing inevitably means self-promoting. But just as everyone with an idea is not necessarily a writer, everyone with a book is not necessarily a publicist. In an effort to help, Comics Worth Reading offers a few things to avoid when pimping your prose.

While we're on the topic of what-not-to-do, here's another: Should you go the self-publishing route, please-oh-please-oh-please do not make fake special orders of your book in an attempt to get it into bookstores. Not only will the duped bookstores do everything in their power to sabotage the sale of your book, they'll warn other bookstores, effectively ending your writing career before it's even begun.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Go, Look: The Yummy & The Yuggoth

This is why I love Super Punch. I mean, where else are you gonna find photos of a Where The Wild Things Are bento box paired up with a link to a Lovecraftian take on that same story?
Answer: Nowhere.
Go, look!

The Perfect Prose for a Pisces Like Me

While I'm a big fan of genre fiction, I'm an even bigger fan of the sub-genres. That's why I nearly vomited with joy when I read a recent post by The Hipster Book Club's Dorothy Parka describing an almost fetishistic off-shoot of the historical fiction/romance genre: Scottish Female Herring Worker fiction.
A quick Googling of this phrase brings up just two applicable results. The first is an article from the Social Semiotics scholarly journal analyzing the way SFHWs are portrayed on the covers of romance novels. (Cost to read it: $30. Amount I'm being paid to write this blog post: $0. Guess it's gonna have to wait.*) The second is a name: Evelyn Hood.
Google Hood's name, and you'll find that she's a Scottish journalist-turned-novelist and the author of at least two different SFHW titles, A Sparkle of Salt and The Shimmer of the Herring. According to the reviewers on, both books are well worth picking up. Apparently, Hood is an accomplished storyteller whose detailed descriptions of salty seas, gutted fish, and passionate embraces have helped many a reader reach orgasm. (No small feat!)
Anything this bizarre is usually worth at least a cursory glance. But this is sooo bizarre...I don't know...I feel like I need to read an SFHW novel A.S.A.P. If anyone has a recommendation for a title to start with, please let me know in the comments section below. Until then, I'll be down at the docks, looking for horny herring girls.

*Although I've never been published in any quote-unquote "scholarly journals," I do tend daily to a barely read, bookstore blog. I figure that's gotta qualify me to write at least two lines of cover art analysis, no? Hell, I'll even try and make it dry and pretentious like a real scholarly journal. Well, here goes: The SFHW covers look like old, Chinese propaganda posters as redesigned by Leni Riefenstahl and Alex Ross. Of particular note is the complete lack of any painterly portrayals of Fabio-looking lotharios, which hints at a more progressive brand of female wish fulfillment. Voila! Painless and pretentious, just like I promised. And best of all, it was free!

For more information on the real life 'herring girls' who inspired these nutty niche novels, click here and here.

Book News, In Brief

Every year, a random reporter with a crush on Franny Glass convinces his or her editor to fund a fruitless trek to New Hampshire in hopes of landing an interview with J.D. Salinger. Every year, the results are the same. Click here to read 2009's EPIC FAIL.

April is National Poetry Month. It is the sacred duty of every God-fearing American to come up with at least one dirty limerick involving the Isle of Nantucket. Once that's finished, head on over to Books On The Nightstand and The Guardian UK for various poetry-related links.

Chinese police have arrested a young woman accused of stealing nearly 2,000 books from bookstores in and around Taiwan. Before you feel any pangs of pity for the underprivileged overachievers of the East, realize this: Homegirl wasn't a voracious reader with a limited income. She was stealing the books to sell on-line.

After dumbing down bookselling to the point where every other 'customer' was actually just a caffeine addict looking to read the newest issue of Maxim for free, Borders has decided to re-make their image into a place where "real book people belong." Uh...good luck with that, fellas.

Cost-conscious Kindle owners have staged an uprising, boycotting any and all e-books priced over $9.99. When their Amazonian overlords were asked to comment, they cackled maniacally and said, "These suckers spent $400+ on a poorly reviewed e-reader. Their financial advice is not to be taken seriously."