Friday, May 8, 2009

Book Links: The Beautiful & The Bizarre

Edward Scissorhands has a book-slicing sister, and her name is Su Blackwell.

A Journey Round My Skull has put together a list ranking poets by their beard weight. (Via: Super Punch)

Also care of Super Punch, Zejian Shen's artistic "reinterpretation" of Twilight. (In case you're wondering: The lamb is Bella, the lion is Edward.)

Last but not least, the Donkey Bookmobile. (Or, as owner Louis Soriano calls it: The BiblioBurro.) Click here to watch a 3 minute National Geographic profile on Soriano's educational ass.

Boston Based Book News, In Brief

"A citywide drought in large-scale book festivals" has inspired a local nonprofit organization to hold the 1st annual Boston Book Festival this fall. Making good great, it's open to the public...and free!

Roses are red, money is green. The 2009 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize has been given to Fanny Howe of West Tisbury. The $100,000 prize is awarded annually by the Poetry Foundation "for lifetime accomplishments that warrant extraordinary recognition." To sample some of Howe's poetry, click here.

Here's a news item that's sure to make unpublished authors everywhere bitch howl: Catie Copley is the "canine ambassador" at Boston's Fairmont Copley Hotel. She has hew own e-mail address, business cards and a waiting list of hotel guests who want to take her for a walk. Oh, and she's "published" two books.

This past Tuesday, Bostonist interviewed How Professors Think: Inside the Curious World of Academic Judgment author Michele Lamont. Lamont, who is also a Harvard professor, shared some secrets about academic funding, the admissions process, and the best way to get what you’re going after in academia.

The Boston Globe has approached union reps with a proposed 23% pay cut, claiming it's the only way to keep the newspaper from closing. The Guild has made a counteroffer -- a 3.5% pay cut -- claiming it's the only way to keep their members from starving. Will they meet in the middle before the hyperbolic 'Death of Newspapers'? We'll keep you posted.

Globe writers with a knack for saccharine and/or insipid local interest stories might want to head our way. GateHouse Media has announced plans to launch a free, seasonal daily on Cape Cod starting in June. The new publication, Cape Cod Day, will publish Tuesday through Saturday beginning June 23 and running through Labor Day weekend. The paper will have an average daily distribution of 25,000.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Cool Covers from Upcoming Comics

Blade of the Immortal
#131 is available for pre-order here.
Detective Comics #855 is available for pre-order here.

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep #1 is available for pre-order here.
Black Panther Annual #1 is available for pre-order here.

Fables vol. 10 is available for pre-order here...or in our store!
Lone Ranger and Tonto #2 is actually available already, but the cover is so rad, I couldn't resist! To read the first six pages, click here.

Book News, In Brief

Flashlight Worthy has picked their 5 Favorite Books for Poetic Seduction. I'm guessing Neil Strauss' The Game was a close 6th.

The funny thing about classic literature is, even the so-called serious stuff is occasionally silly. Over at NPR, Jack Murnigham slogged through Moby Dick, Ulysses, and The Sound and the Fury, looking for laughs.

J.R.R. Tolkien's son, Christopher, says that most LOTR fans will be "put off" by the poetic form of his father's latest posthumous release, Sigurd and GudrĂșn. That's cool, though. Li'l Tolkien also thinks his pop would've been "puzzled," "baffled," and "indignant" about today's LOTR fans.

Preparing for the West's inevitable demise, Canadian translator Musharraf Ali Farooqi has started a publishing imprint devoted solely to literature translated from Urdu (a major language in both Pakistan and India). The Urdu Project's first release? Muhammad Husain Jah's 125 year old, 8,000 page fantasy epic, Hoshruba. Can you say, 'guaranteed bestseller'?

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Introducing: The Kindle DX

Fun fact: I heard it pronounced 'Kindle dicks' on the radio this morning.

Hmn...I wonder...If I ordered two "dicks," would Amazon delete the Kindle's bestseller listing on grounds of moral propriety?

Related: Early E-Book Adopters Embarrassed To Learn Size Does Matter.

Recommended Viewing:
David Wolman @ Google

The author of Righting the Mother Tongue: From Olde English to Email, the Tangled Story of English Spelling speaks about "the trickery, the confusion, and the infuriation of the English language -- and spelling in particular."

Book News, In Brief

The MN Sun has dropped their swine flu headlines in an effort to alert the public to an even deadlier threat: Poetry Cafe Turns Kids to Beatniks.

Obama really is a bookseller's best friend. After the President told a New York Times reporter that he'd been reading Joseph O'Neill's Netherland, the book received "a double digit increase in sales" and a speedier paperback release.

Keep those Wolverine TPs in stock! Hugh Jackman has announced he's doing another X-film, this one based on Chris Claremont and Frank Miller's famous, 4-issue, Wolverine mini-series. To read a recent review of this decades-old comic, click here.

Borders has announced their bold, new approach to bookselling: Personal Recommendations. While hyping this as an 'independent-style strategy,' Borders has given it a decidedly corporate spin. Employees are only allowed to recommend from a list of four (four?!) pre-approved titles. Now that's personal!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Early E-Book Adopters Ashamed To Learn:

The Wall Street Journal reports:
On Wednesday, ( plans to unveil a new version of its Kindle e-book reader with a larger screen and other features designed to appeal to periodical and academic textbook publishers, according to people familiar with the matter.

To read the whole article, point your tiny, unsatisfying cursor here.

Tuesday's Tips for Flailing Writers:
So You Wanna Be A Book Reviewer?

The Book Publicity Blog sheds some light on how to get complimentary review copies.

The Poetry Resource Page explains What a Book Review Should Do (and what it shouldn't).

Jonathan Deamer shares The 10 secrets of writing reviews that will keep readers coming back. offers a free, five step tutorial titled, Write A Book Review with Rodman Philbrick. uses Shakespeare's Seven Ages of Man to illustrate The Seven Stages of the Comics Critic.

I think I've used this link before, but as I neglected to post anything related to last month's Earth Day, consider this my recycling bit:'s book reviewers discuss critical snobbery and the need for cultural gatekeepers.

Monday, May 4, 2009

You Heard It Here First Fifth:
How Is Google Gonna Scan All Those Books?

Curious as to how Google was planning to scan millions of books for online resale, New Scientist Magazine searched through stacks of the company's patents, hoping to find an answer. And they did! The story was quickly picked up by NPR, then re-printed by The Guardian UK, then linked to at Publishers Weekly, until finally being squeezed of any remaining life by yours truly.
So what's the answer?
In NPR's words, "Google created some seriously nifty infrared camera technology that detects the three-dimensional shape and angle of book pages when the book is placed in the scanner. This information is transmitted to the OCR software, which adjusts for the distortions and allows the OCR software to read text more accurately. No more broken bindings, no more inefficient glass plates. Google has finally figured out a way to digitize books en masse."
And just like that, one of the world's few remaining mysteries is solved...anticlimactically. If you're the sort of person who enjoys reading patent-ese, click here to view Patent #7,508,978.

The Monday Menagerie:
Literary Costumes for Learned Cos-Players

1. Cthulhu, from H. P. Lovecraft's The Call of Cthulhu.
(Cosmic evil never looked so cuddly!)

2. Zombie Hunter S. Thompson, from the inevitable Seth Grahame-Smith release, Fear and Loathing (and Zombies!) in Las Vegas.
(If this actually happens, I call copyright.)

3. Those Wonder Bread dullards from Twilight.
(Note: These kids clearly went overboard with the white face paint, but they certainly succeeded in capturing the lifelessness of Meyer's prose. My only complaint: NEEDS MORE GLITTER!)

4. Captain Ahab, from Herman Melville's Moby Dick.
(I hate to come off as overly-critical, but 1.the 'wooden leg' looks more like the bottom half of a plastic spoon, and 2.Ahab's drum set had a cowbell.)

5. Almost every woman in nearly every
Candace Bushnell novel.
(Points subtracted for missing handbag, heels. Points added for physician love interest. You go, girl!)

6. Luba, from Gilbert Hernandez' Palomar stories.*

*Thanks for the tip, Heidi!

Crave more literary costumes? Click here.

Book News, In Brief

Cuz folks love answering simplistic questions, Entertainment Weekly asks, Which books made you cry?

Britain has awarded the role of poet laureate to Carol Ann Duffy. Duffy is not only England's first female poet laureate, she's their first lesbian poet laureate as well!

This is totally last week's news, but since Inkwell Michelle is a huge SF fan (Full disclosure: She's also my bo$$), here's a link to almost every Science Fiction book cover created for Penguin Books.

More art, this time a collection of colophons. What are colophons, you ask? The little, iconic emblems used by publishers to identify their imprint. (Think: The Penguin penguin, the Bantam rooster, the Eerie ghost.)

Nothing succeeds like success illness. USA Today reports, "The swine flu outbreak has boosted sales for an acclaimed history of the 1918 pandemic, and helped biologist Nathan Wolfe get a six-figure deal for a book about viruses."

When I first read that author Peter Leeson had proposed to his girlfriend via the dedication page of his new book, I couldn't help but smile. Then I saw that Leeson is an economist, and I thought, 'Stingy bastard's just trying to get out of paying for an expensive dinner.' I admit, this economy has brought my cynicism to a new low.