Saturday, May 16, 2009

Booksellers Pick Their Favorite Book Books

Is it any surprise that booksellers are obsessed with books? Using Twitter, my bookselling friends and I rapid-fired off this list of our favorite books about books. Thanks to @readandbreathe, @RichRennicks, and @bookavore for the great suggestions!

Essential Reading - Books About Books

  • If on a Winter's Night a Traveler by Italo Calvino
  • Reading in Bed by Steven Gilbar
  • Library at Night by Alberto Manguel
  • The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
  • Women Who Read Are Dangerous by Stefan Bollmann and Karen Joy Fowler
  • A Reading Life by Alberto Manguel
  • Living with Books by Alan Powers
  • On the Bookshelf by Henry Petroski
  • 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff
  • People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks
  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
  • The Dante Club (and others) by Matthew Pearl
  • The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde
  • On Reading by André Kertész
  • Possession by A.S. Byatt
  • Ex Libris by Ann Fadiman
  • A Gentle Madness by Nicholas A. Basbanes
  • Sixpence House by Paul Collins
  • Patience and Fortitude by Nicholas A. Basbanes
  • A Book of Books by Abelardo Morell and Nicholson Baker
  • The King's English by Betsy Burton
  • So Many Books by Gabriel Zaid
  • Booked to Die by John Dunning
  • Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
  • The Company They Kept by Robert B. Silvers and Barbara Epstein
  • Time Was Soft There by Jeremy Mercer
  • The Whole Five Feet by Christopher Beha
  • Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón and Lucia Graves

Posted by: Inkwell Michelle

Friday, May 15, 2009

Hollywood Fellates Your Favorite Authors

Oprah Winfrey called James Frey to apologize for tearing him a new hole to hide his heroin in. Even better, the apology came just in time for the paperback release of Frey's most recent novel, Bright Shiny Morning. Kismet!

The trailer for the film version of Cormac McCarthy's The Road has hit the internet. Although the trailer hints at a dumbed down/hyped-up translation, an early review swears by the film's faithfulness, calling it "a brilliantly directed adaptation of a beloved novel, a delicate and anachronistically loving look at the immodest and brutish end of us all." (Which means he likes it. A lot.)

The leads have been cast in Tran Anh Hung's adaptation of Haruki Murakami’s Norwegian Wood. Via TokyoGraph: Kenichi Matsuyama (Death Note) has been chosen to play the lead as the college student Toru Watanabe, while Rinko Kikuchi (Babel) plays his emotionally troubled lover Naoko. The story’s heroine, a lively young woman named Midori, will be played by ViVi fashion model Kiko Mizuhara in her very first acting role.

From Jeff Wells' review of Bright Star: Jane Campion's Bright about the subdued and conflicted passions that governed the brief love affair between poet John Keats (Ben Whishaw) and seamstress Fanny Brawne (Abbie Cornish) from 1818 until Keat's death, at age 25 from tuberculosis, in 1821. It's been done quite perfectly...But it struck me nonetheless as too slow and restricted and, well, just too damnably refined. Wait, so they cut out Keats' famous car chase through the streets of San Francisco? Bummer, dude.

Book News, In Brief

A sequel to Catcher in the Rye is about to be published in Europe, and (surprise, surprise) it wasn't written by J.D. Salinger.

A Michigan man just inherited a comic book collection from his father valued at over $100,000. (Editor's dream-destroying note to recent comics 'investors': These books dated back to the 1940's and did not include any Barack Obama guest appearances. You = FAIL.)

An unpublished memoir by William H. McMasters -- publicist for famous fraudster Charles Ponzi -- was recently found among a private collection of "books, manuscripts and pamphlets about financial sharpies, charlatans, and their schemes to defraud." Who wants to bet it's a fake?

Have you ever seen that Sarah Silverman bit where she talks about sending cowel neck sweaters to kids in Africa, and how they sent her a letter thanking her and telling her that the sweaters were delicious? From The Portland Tribune: "Beaverton couple sends truckloads of books to countries in need." Mmm...books.

A group of New England scientists is traveling to this year's Calaveras County Fair and Jumping Frog Jubilee. Although they're all fans of Mark Twain, their reason for attending is strictly business: They're trying to figure out why Southern frogs jump farther than their Northeastern kin.

Kuz I kan't make it a week without at least one Kindle news item: Amazon has unveiled a program which pays bloggers for Kindle subscriptions to their posts. For taking the time to write, reference, fact-check, and come up with lame, Klu Klux Klan-inspired spelling gags, the blogger receives anywhere from 3-6 cents per monthly subscription. Amazon, unsurprisingly, makes a whole helluva lot more.

The 'Mmm...books' photo comes courtesy of Bookavore. To follow her Twitter feed, click here.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Where The Wild Things Are Has A Blog
(and a top 10 list of its own!)

The blog describes itself thusly:

In October 2009 Spike Jonze’s feature film rendition of Maurice Sendak’s classic story Where The Wild Things Are will hit movie theaters worldwide.

The film represents years of work from hundreds of different artists, writers, photographers, musicians, actors, and creators of all degrees.

This place has been established to help shed some light on many of the small influences that have converged to make this massive project a reality.

Go, look!

Related: WTWTA links

10 Top 10s

Owen Davies' Top 10 Grimoires

John Reader's Top 10 Potato Books

Reading Copy Book Blog's Top 10 Egg Books

Stephen Smith's Top 10 Subterranean Books

Bookfinder's Top 10 Books About Bookselling

Resume Bear's Top 10 Career & Job Search Books

MereComments' Top 10 Bad Books Everybody Read

Brian McGilloway's Top 10 Modern Irish Crime Novels

Michael Krepon's Top 10 Books on Nuclear Weapons & Arms Control

Best Damn Creative Writing Blog's Top 10 Books Americans Want Banned

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Go, Look: Vroman's Quotes Inkwell

Bookstore blogs plugging other bookstore blogs is eerily incestuous, but it's also essential. Cuz if we aren't pimping each other's posts, then no one is. Anyway, here's Vroman's blog piece on e-book piracy, complete with Inkwell Michelle quotes. Go, read!

Crap-tastic Covers from Upcoming Comics

All New Savage She Hulk
Who's the target audience for a female superhero? You'd think the answer would be 'females,' but looking at this cover art...apparently not. Unless the females they're aiming for are gay chicks. But even then, they'd have to be gay chicks who are into poorly drawn green chicks, and that's gotta be a pretty niche crowd.

Youngblood #10
It's like a bad, 80's toy commercial: "Barack Obama, the President of Peace -- now with laser firing hand cannon!" Oh, and is just me, or is that the laziest likeness of Obama ever? The face looks nothing like our Commander in Chief's. Artist Rob Liefeld literally put a big-eared Black guy in a dress shirt and called it a day. (But I'll grant Liefeld this: He did give the Prez a pretty impressive package.)

Pride & Prejudice #2
As if releasing a comic book based on Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice wasn't risky enough, the publishers were apparently trying to trim down their potential audience even further with this cover. I mean, they were never going to convince Savage She Hulk fans to buy this book, but when they tried to sell an English romance/period piece as a modern-day Matthew McConaughey rom-com, they pushed away the self-described intellectuals and comics-curious Anglophiles, too.

If'n Oof
I'm including If'n Oof as an example of good crap-tastic. Featuring writer/artist Brian Chippendale's surreal blend of childlike cartooning and Parkinson's page layout, this is the sort of over the top mess that makes even the most jaded reader at least a little bit curious as to what's inside. Think about it. You look at the covers to the other three books, and you can pretty much guess what's going to happen. (Okay, so maybe not in the Obama book.) But with this cover, you don't know if you're getting hipster comics, a kindergartner's magnum opus, or both. Another key element on display here: The artist's enthusiasm. You don't see that in the other three, do you?
To pre-order If'n Oof, click here.

Book News, In Brief

Sarah Palin has signed a deal to write her memoirs with publisher, HarperControversy...I mean, HarperCollins.

Chuck Palahniuk did an interview with TIME Magazine. In it, he describes the story behind, the politics of, and the fractured dialect in his new book, Pygmy.

The London Free Press recently ran an interesting piece about their city's used booksellers. Not the normal, everyday, used bookstore booksellers, but the city's traveling used booksellers.

The Guardian UK has cast its monocle on the curious world of literary mapmakers. They're the imagination-fueled cartographers who draw up detailed diagrams of their favorite fictional territories (and perhaps the only folks producing fan-fic that will ever have a chance of being published).

Publishers Weekly posted a long list of ways in which the publishing industry is being transformed by the recession. Among the many vertical wrist-slitters are slipping hardcover sales, library budget cuts, and the decline of brick & mortar stores' share of the market. Among the slightly less depressing, horizontal wrist-slitters are the phasing out of print catalogues, a de-emphasis on in-person sales conferences, and reduced travel and attendance at trade shows.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

More News Re: The Death of Newspapers

Knight Digital Media has posted piece on how a 1995 court case kept the newspaper industry from competing online.
An excerpt:

Perhaps the (relative) old-timers among us will remember Stratton Oakmont v. Prodigy. That 1995 case pitted a New York securities firm against the Prodigy online service. The plaintiffs argued that an anonymous poster on a Prodigy discussion forum defamed the firm and its president by claiming that they committed fraud during the IPO of another company.

Ultimately, a court held that because Prodigy had hired "board leaders" to monitor the forum, that made Prodigy the "publisher" of the information, and, thus, responsible for it. The court noted a distinction with a previous, similar case involving CompuServe: In that case, CompuServe did not hire anyone to monitor its forum, so it was simply a conduit, not responsible for what people posted. The lesson the newspaper industry took from the case? Forums and comments are okay... only if newspaper staff do not edit, or even read, them.

Stratton Oakmont v. Prodigy
lasted just one year as precedent...but risk-averse newsroom and website managers weren't persuaded. They continued to insist that their papers could be held liable for any defamatory statements made by readers on their website if newspaper staffers engaged in or managed those discussions.

To find out how this paranoid lapse in litigious judgment played out, click here.

(All praise be to Journalista! for the link.)

Comic Book News, In Brief

It's a fact: Neil Gaiman's name garners site hits. That's why we're leading today's CBN with an interview the eternally trenchcoated author did with World Famous Comics wherein he brushes aside his leonine mane of 80's alt-rocker hair and reassesses his work on The Sandman.

Dozens of artists contributed drawings of X-Men's Kitty Pryde for a fundraiser benefiting the Hemophilia Treatment Center at OHSU. To check them all out without any commitment, click here, cheapskate. To check them all out with intention to bid, click here, friend.

The Comics reporter just put up a great interview with Darwyn Cooke and Ed Brubaker. It covers crime fiction/comics in general, and Cooke’s upcoming adaptations of Richard Stark’s Parker series in particular. Click here to read the interview. Click here to read the first 19 pages of the comic.

Unthinkable writer Mark Sable was detained by the TSA for 30 minutes after a random airport search turned up a copy of his comic's most recent script. Seems Sable's book deals with a government think tank assigned to thinking up possible terrorist scenarios, and this made the guards nervous. To read Sable's Twittering of the event, click here.

Tuesday's Tips for Flailing Writers

The Ready Steady Blog asks, When Choosing Words, Should We Eschew the Arcane? (Or, to put it simpler: Big words -- yes or no?)

An ugly cover, a minimally challenging message, and a one-note enemy. According to Vicki Kunkel, these are three of The 8 Primal Factors that Create Blockbuster Success.

This link is going to be a buzz-kill for everyone who'd hoped that writing would soon replace their 'real' jobs. The Creative Penn presents 5 Reasons Having a Day Job Helps Your Writing.

If there's one thing that every online writing site tells you, it's that authors oughta be blogging. But why? And about what? At last month's New York Round Table Writers' Conference, a panel of pros debated these questions, and Media Bistro took notes.

You've just received the first 500 copies of your print on demand autobiography, and you can't wait to start sending them out to family, friends, book reviewers and old high school sweethearts you're still trying to impress. Then you realize how much the postage is going to cost, and you instantly have the plot for your suicidal sequel. Ah, but fear not! has compiled 5 Tips to Get Your Ship Together.

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Monday Menagerie:
This Is How A Germaphobe Sees Library Books

For more art by Cara Barer, click here.

To view more of Georgia Russell's art, click here.

To view more of Robert The's art, click here.

Note: No books were harmed in the making of this menagerie.
(Yeah, right.)

Book News, In Brief

The tourists are coming! The tourists are coming! And if there's one question they ask more than, "Do you have a public restroom?" it's, "Do you have any new books about New England?"
(From the archives: 2007's New Books Set on Cape Cod)

Does the big G have a plan B? For several weeks, Book Square has been wondering, 'If Google's controversial settlement with the Author's Guild is rejected by the judge, what happens next?'
(Related: Google plans to scan every book in existence for on-line sale. Here's how.)

Christian Bale hearts J.G. Ballard. Having already portrayed the young J.G. in the film version of Empire of the Sun, Bale is now dropping hints that he might return to the author's oeuvre with a lead role in Concrete Island.
(Tangentially Related: Mike Doherty's Modest Muse: Author J.G. Ballard’s influence on modern music)

The Bookshop Blog asks, Opening Hours of a Great Bookstore - Is Less More? Full disclosure: I'm posting this in hopes that my bosses will read it and then re-write our schedules using those legendary, lax, European business hours.
(Also from The Bookshop Blog: Why Encouraging Literacy Should be Part of Your Business Plan)

Calling all Jo-it-alls! The Little Women of Jezebel are compiling a Glossary of Terms Inspired by the Ladies of Kids Lit, and they need your help. Example: Granger Danger: What one finds oneself in when they insist upon correcting their friends and acting like a general know-it-all on a daily basis.
(Thanks to ABA's Omnibus for the tip!)