Friday, May 1, 2009

Go, Look:
Darwyn Cooke Adapts Richard Stark

Click here to read the first nineteen pages.

Boston Based Book News, In Brief

Are you smarter more depressing than a 5th grader? A 10-year-old Allston poet summed up the current economic crises in less than ten lines. Bostonist has the whole thing.

Here's a li'l insider info: Whenever a blogger tosses up a list (or worse, a link to someone else's list), it means they've run out of interesting things to post. That said, here's a link to's chatroom query, What's Your Favorite Boston book?

Less than an hour after posting yesterday's Unnecessary Newsflash: Newspapers Are Dying!, this news hit the AP: "The publisher of The Boston Globe has warned employees to be ready to make sacrifices but said he's hopeful that the paper will survive a threatened closure." Um...jinx?

A Lawrence, MA elementary school principal has been placed on indefinite leave for "peddling her romance novel on school grounds." School committee members said she acted "unethically and irresponsibly in promoting her writing during the workday and bringing a steamy, at times sexually explicit, book near the children." If you read the entire article, you'll see no mention of her actually 'peddling' the book to any of the kids, but mob mentality is a motherf**ker, innit?

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Unnecessary Newsflash: Newspapers Are Dying!

Everybody knows that newspapers are dying. Whether it's the daily layoffs, the weekly closures, or the monthly editorials where one side makes an argument for reading the NYTimes on the Kindle while another side tries to convince the world that 'Nothing is better than the smell of newsprint,' the not-so-subtle sneak peeks at newspapers' obituaries are everywhere. But all of these portents of doom pale in comparison to a simple, succinct charting of the ever-dropping circulation numbers.

That's where Fitz & Jen come in. Dressed in dark, hooded cloaks and wearing neon orange-strapped newspaper delivery bags over their shoulders, they've put together an easy-to-read list of the country's Top 20 Sunday newspapers, comparing the circulation in 2000 to the circulation today. The results are predictably depressing. A 20% drop seems about average, with our home state heroes, The Boston Globe, dropping 35.4%. (If it makes you feel any better, Boston Globe, The Dallas Morning News fell a whopping 39.4%!)

This Sunday, I want y'all to remember to take a good, long sniff at that newsprint. It's a scent soon to go the way of the Sex Panther.

Book News, In Brief

Waterstone's sales continue to slide. Starf**ked store reps blame a decreased interest in celebrity biographies.
Related: The New Statesman's 'How celebrities saved, then killed, the book trade.'

The sales lost during Amazon's recent anti-gay glitch has prompted The Globe & Mail to ask, If you don't exist on Amazon, do you exist at all?
Related: Publishing Talk's 'amazonfail - 10 unanswered questions'.

Bad news for Google may mean increased sales for Facebook-savvy indies. New research shows that while people are spending less of their time online shopping, 'they are clicking-through to online retailers from social networks at an increasing rate.'
Related: The WP's 'Who Killed the Bookstore? The Reader, at Home, With the Computer.'

Sometimes, getting laid off isn't such a bad thing. The Ann Arbor Business reports that "ousted Borders Group Inc. CEO George Jones made a total of $4.6 million in salary, stock awards and severance pay during his last year," and that his "payout was heavily boosted by a severance payment that could top $2.3 million and consulting payments of $170,000 a month in January, February and March of this year." Borders, I beg you: Fire me!
Related: Reuters' 'Borders' net income dives, expects weak 2009.'

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Recommended Viewing:
Jerry Stahl Reads Pain Killers: A Novel

Humorous Excerpts From Recent Reviews

From Chris Eckert's review of Hulk #11:
As if the 1990s weren’t back already with Skrull Kill Krew and Fantastic Force on the shelves, this book channels that decade's insatiable appetite for splash pages. This issue's got forty four panels over the course of twenty two pages. [...] If you're young or drunk, I guess this might be OKAY. It aspires to be nothing other than dumb slam-bang action, and its little stubby T-Rex arms of ambition can handle such a short reach.

From Tucker Stone's review of The Flash: Rebirth #1:
That audience that feels they own these characters? Those people who slab comics and buy variant covers? That's the only audience that exists for Flash: Rebirth. [...] This isn't the comic book character that Steven Spielberg uses as props in his look-how-awesome-the-past-was movies. This is a delivery system for an expectation that no one but old people had.

From Jog's review of Adrian Tomine's Shortcomings:
Join rib-tickling hero Ben as he grimaces his way through 112 pages of horny, pained culture crisis. [...] There was a time not so long ago when you'd have to delve into Dave Sim territory to find an easier target than Tomine among certain audiences; he was seriously #3 or something on the You're Ruining Comics cognoscenti shit list for years running. Even today, he remains a (if maybe no longer the) poster child of right proper literary funnies, all curled-from-ice immaculate cartoon illustration and interpersonal self-destruction, stately as you want it and sensitive and doomed and designed to the hilt.

Book News, In Brief

The new Wolverine movie hits theaters this weekend. Anticipating the inevitable resurgence of interest in the character, Creative Loafing has put together a list of recommended Wolverine trade paperbacks.
Related: IGN has put together a similar list.

A group of Children's Laureates were recently asked to pick their favorite kids' books. Their answers range from the classics (Little Women, Anne Frank's Diary) to the not-so-classic (The Wolves of Willoughby Chase).
Semi-related: Mark Nobleman's "We are in the Golden Age of Picture Book Biography." Via: Rab62

After reading The Record-Eagle's article on book-buying habits during a recession, we at The Inkwell are breathing a collective sigh of relief that we added used books to our store a couple of years ago. Now if we could only figure out a way re-launch ourselves as a for-profit library...gosh, we'd be thousandaires.

In a move designed to stave off the Kindle's demise, Amazon has bought Lexcycle, the creators of iPhone's e-reader app. This purchase puts the popular Stanza e-book app under the complete control of its chief rival, and ensures that any new technological advances will not pass the Kindle least until the newest 'Next Big Thing' comes along.

The Deseret Book, a bookstore owned by the Mormon church, has removed all copies of Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series from its shelves. While Twilight's vampire-centric plot would seem to be at odds with a religious book shop's stringent morality, Meyers is -- arguably -- the most famous Mormon in the world. You think the church would want to exploit that a little. Hell, if I was king of the Mormons, I'd make a cartoon caricature of Meyer to use as our jingle-singing spokeswoman.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

I Wonder If It Tastes As Good As It Looks

Do you think this was a case of:
a. A supermarket bakery chef working under serious time constraints.
b. A blind supermarket bakery chef working under serious time constraints.
c. A supermarket bakery chef with 20/20 vision and plenty of time on his/her hands who opted to use the tools of his/her trade to subtly critique Stephenie Meyers' hack writing style.

Image courtesy of

As We're Not Above A Li'l Flu-Related Fear Mongering...

...we're more than willing to pass on this link to a free download of David Lasky's state-funded comic book promoting "pandemic flu preparedness."

See also: David Lasky's MySpace
Interstitial Arts' interview with D.L.
And a most special thanks to The Comics Reporter for the timely -- and possibly life-saving -- tip!

Tuesday's Tips for Flailing Writers: Mo' Links

Bookslut declares, 'Good writing begins with good reading.'

The Fiction Desk offers The Ins and Outs of a Query Letter.

The Writing Life details How to Create Effective Back Cover Copy.

Writer Al Kennedy admits to going crazy, then shares his Secrets to Securing (some semblance of) Sanity.

Flashlight Worthy picked a number between one and 100, then came up with '33 of the Best Books about Writing Fiction.'

NPR's preamble rambles, "There are said to be only a few basic plot lines in the western narrative tradition. But what do storytellers do when technology makes old plots seem implausible? How do you do a story about star-crossed lovers like Romeo and Juliet, when these days, Juliet could text message Romeo: 'Just napping. Don't drink poison.'"

Monday, April 27, 2009

Inkwell Michelle's 30 Second Book Review

What Angels Fear
by C.S. Harris Signet

With a great eye for period detail, and the ability to create a cast of charming, clever characters, C.S. Harris delivers a perfect historical mystery. Sebastian St. Cyr, a former soldier and a gentleman, is forced into hiding when his dueling pistol is found at the scene of a murder. He becomes the prime suspect in the brutal slaying of an actress who had suspicious political connections. St. Cyr discovers that he can’t even trust his family, and so he dons multiple disguises as he traverses the streets and alleyways of London on a dangerous quest to clear his name. With insight and humor, Harris gives us a story filled with the most classic themes: deception, love, betrayal, friendship, and honor. What Angels Fear is a fantastic start to Harris’s Regency mystery series featuring the beguiling St. Cyr.

Book News, In Brief

It's not funny. I know it's not funny. Still, who hasn't felt this way while inside Wal-Mart?

Hoping for a bit of the same re-branding & re-evaluation that Al Gore received with the release of An Inconvenient Truth, England's Prince Charles is planning to release his own environmentally themed book and film in 2010.

After two years of political controversy and community small-mindedness, The Stonewall Library and Archives -- a collection of gay-themed materials -- finally opened in Fort Lauderdale, FL. Here's hoping they didn't order their books from Amazon!

From CBR: "BOOM! Studios announced today that Roger Langridge's The Muppet Show Comic Book #2 [...] has sold out - a week before the issue hits store shelves!" If you haven't checked out the first issue yet, you're missing out on something strangely brilliant.

Here's a cool idea. A group of Canadians plan to place permanent markers displaying text from stories and poems in the locations where they take place. The markers are being called "Bookmarks Across Canada,' and the first one was unveiled last week at the Prince Edward Viaduct. (I wonder: How long 'til we get a Scott Pilgrim marker at the Casa Loma?)