Saturday, July 18, 2009

More Romance Novel News Links Than You Can Shake A Phallic Shaped Object At

In an effort to capitalize on this weekend's Romance Writers of America conference in Washington D.C., we've compiled a list of news links centered around softcore smut novels. Randy readers can repay us by sharing their favorite overwritten sex scenes in the comments section below.

It's horny devils meet horn-rimmed glasses when NPR visits the R.W.A.

The Washington Post covers the Romance Writers of America conference. Expect a scandal.

Hoping to take some cash from today's Twilight-crazy teens, Harlequin is launching a brand new imprint: the imaginatively monikered, Harlequin Teen.

“I love to work on my creative process.” This and other choice quotes overheard at the Romance Writers of America Conference can be found at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books.

Bodice-ripping cover art & rape-turns-to-romance plot lines -- these are just a few of the dated and disturbing cliches that turn today's teens off their mothers' romance novels. Via.

The Christian book biz is branching out, and while evangelical vampires are seeing a post-Twilight sales spike, it's the Amish romance novels that are inspiring the most sequels and spin-offs.

Bonus: The Top 15 Bad Romance Novel Opening Lines.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Cool Covers from Recent Releases

Apollo: Through the Eyes of the Astronauts
by Robert Jacobs.
Mission to the Moon by Rod Pyle.

Spacesuits: The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum Collection
by Amanda Young & Mark Avino.
Rocket Men: The Epic Story of the First Men on the Moon by Craig Nelson.

One Small Step: Astronauts in Their Own Words
by David Whitehouse.
The Astronaut's Cookbook: Tales, Recipes, and More by Charles Bourland & Gregory Vogt.

(Question: Has there ever been an astronaut-themed book cover that sucked? It's sort of like the covers to Sophia Loren biographies -- no matter what photo you use, it's gonna be great.)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

An Unlicensed Sequel to This Morning's Book News, In Brief

Earlier today we told you about the manga version of the Twilight books currently being created. Now there's news of a comic book biography of Stephenie Meyer being released this October. Question: Is there anything that Meyer says no to? I mean, besides pre-marital sex?

In that same post, we told you about a proposed bill to put 'A Kindle in every backpack.' Hours after typing up that post, news broke regarding 340 job cuts at educational publisher McGraw-Hill. Are the two connected? Hell naw. But it's a grim glimpse of what's to come should Amazon prove effective in eliminating traditional text books.

As for this morning's last news item -- the one about Vatican City saying that the new Harry Potter film was good? Well, while they're still giving it two crucifixes up, I saw it this afternoon, and with the exception of an exciting opening sequence, I thought it was hella dull.

Pride and Prejudice and The Wire

Some of you may know him as drunk detective Jimmy McNulty in HBO's The Wire. Others will recognize him as the sneering rapist, Theron, in 300. Whichever, it's more than a little jarring to see actor Dominic West sitting back in his reading chair, reading aloud from British literary fiction, his voice the sort gravely, velveteen tone one usually associates with aged uncles named Alastair.
Have I piqued your curiosity? Then click here to watch The Guardian UK's exclusive clip of West reading from Nicci Gerrard's latest novel, The Moment You Were Gone. While you're there, scroll down a bit, where you'll find West's equally unexpected description of his affection for Jane Austen.

Book News, In Brief

Amazon must have some damned good lobbyists. The NYTimes reports, "Some influential members of the Democratic party want to give electronic reading devices to every student in the country. [...] The name of their proposal: 'A Kindle in Every Backpack.'"

Stephenie Meyer must have some shame...somewhere. EW reports, "For those of you who can’t get enough Edward and Bella, EW can announce — exclusively — that Yen Press will be publishing Twilight in graphic-novel form, publication date still to be determined. Though Korean artist Young Kim is creating the art, Meyer herself is deeply immersed in the project, reviewing every panel."

The producers of the new Harry Potter movie must have said some powerful prayers. The Australian reports, "In 2003 [...] Pope Benedict XVI, Joseph Ratzinger, [...] said J.K.Rowling's stories of the boy wizard threatened to corrupt an understanding of Christian faith among the impressionable young. [...] Now, however, the Pope appears to have fallen under the Potter spell. The latest in the film series, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, has won surprising praise from the Vatican newspaper. L'Osservatore Romano said yesterday that even though the Potter saga lacked what it called 'a reference to the transcendent,' the latest film drew 'a clear line of demarcation between good and evil, making clear that good is right, and that in some cases this involves hard work and sacrifices.'"

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Our Top 3 'Search Keywords' According to Google Analytics

1. Michael Jackson bookstore
This makes sense, as our R.I.P. Menagerie of M.J. book covers was a huge hit among the morbid.

2. books set in Cape Cod
We sell books, we're on Cape Cod. A perfect fit!

3. crystal meth and 24 hour bookstores
Um...we're not open 24 hours.

Adaptation News
(for those who prefer to watch)

Harry Potter and the Whatever His New Bad Teacher Is Up To made $22.2 million. In one night.

To quote the folks at, "Hey kids. Like Harry Potter? The Percy Jackson trailer hopes so!"

Theme park rides count as adaptations, right? Here's a long article detailing the detailed theming of Universal Studios' upcoming Harry Potter-themed land. (Via: Super Punch)

John Krasinski's film version of David Foster Wallace's book, Brief Interviews With Hideous Men, is coming to theaters this September. (Out of curiosity, have any of you seen Krasinski in the Dave Eggers' penned film, Away We Go, yet? It's actually much better than the critics are letting on.)

And cuz I'm obsessed: Only 93 more days 'til Where The Wild Things Are is released!
(Related: Assorted WTWTA links)

Book News, In Brief

Zombie George Carlin will be releasing a new book this November. Carlin (1937-2008) had been writing the aptly titled Last Words for the last ten years of his life.

You want to break into the geek lit biz? Write fantasy sequels. According to a dataset compiled by Strange Horizon's Valentin D. Ivanov, the popularity of sword and sorcery sequels is at a ten year high. Via.

This is weird. For what seems like the first time in forever, single issue comic book sales have risen (6%), while graphic novel sales have plummeted (35%). Industry insiders speculate that the floppies' bump is due to the release of Captain America #600 and Batman and Robin #1. As for the drop in graphic novel sales, could it be that we've finally realized the 'One Watchmen in every home' dream of our forefathers?

There's even less good news in the world of picture-less books. According to a recent survey by Publishers Weekly, 70% of the industry folk polled reported hiring freezes at their companies, 63% reported layoffs, 11% said they feel "very insecure" about their job safety, and over 60% said that their companies have cut marketing, travel and entertainment budgets. And that's not all. In another PW piece, they're reporting that bookstore sales fell 3% in May. This, after a 3.2% drop in April. Gulp.

Mega-ginormous props to Vromans Bookstore blog for steering me towards this ridiculously self-righteous, pro-book banning website. Among the site's many flaws: Consistently poor spelling, unintentionally atrocious grammar, and Barnes & Noble's corporate sponsorship. Yes, you read that right. One of the United States' (a.k.a. the home of free speech & freedom of the press) largest booksellers is sponsoring a website which proudly proclaims, "Celebrate Banned Books 2008 by helping us censor immoral and indecent books. Lets [sic] keep bad books out of our schools, libraries, and Bookstores [sic] - WWJD. [sic]"

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

What Sort of Bookstore Recommends Television?

Us! Hence this literacy-reducing recommendation of The Daily Show's Best Harry Potter Moments. This one's a tease. There's seven more where that came from. (Via!)

Inkwell Irregulars, Assemble!

Here's an easy post: A list of links to bookish blog posts made by our Inkwell Irregulars. Not only does it save me the time of sorting through an unwieldy assembly of AP articles featuring the words 'book,' 'publisher,' and 'bookstore,' it links you (our beloved blog reader) to them (our other beloved blog readers). Incestuous? Sort of. But this is a cult -- that sort of thing is par for the course.

WildEve has photos of the outside of Louisa May Alcott's house. (Wait, does that sound stalker-ish?)

Pol Culture reviews Alan Moore's entire run of Swamp Thing, providing my all-time favorite analysis and assessment of my all-time favorite comic.

Liyana is a part of the Royal Reviews online collective, a group of obsessive YA readers posting thoughtful, humorous, and sometimes scathing reviews on an almost daily basis. (Psst, Liyana -- hook us up with some reviews, too!)

I featured A Journey Round My Skull's f-f-f-freaky covers to an old German SF magazine last week, but I could just as easily post a link to them every day. They've collected some of the world's coolest classic book covers, and really should be a part of your daily blog roll.

John does an autobiographical web comic called Sorry. The drawing style is decidedly indie (always a good thing!), and his shades-of-blue color palette couldn't be more fitting. His most recent strip is about a family friend who committed suicide, and he's also got comics about ex-girlfriends, sleazy guy friends, and the inevitable cruelty of blind date reveals.

Oh, and if you'd like to join our slowly expanding band of backwoods, book-loving belligerents, click here. All we ask is your life-long devotion, adoration, and a firstborn or two.

Tuesday's Tips for Flailing Writers

Fiction Matters has 5 Lessons for D.I.Y. Line Editing.

The Word Strumpet offers a brief, unique, and compelling argument for The Law of Threes.

The Guardian UK courts break-ups by listing The Pros and & Cons of Letting Loved Ones Edit Your Work.

Because 18 was too many, and 16 was too few, The Adventurous Writer offers 17 Reasons Your Manuscripts Are Rejected.

The Writer's Digest has some encouraging words for the untalented hacks out there: Not All Books Need to Be Well-Written to Sell.

The Adventurous Writer again. This time, they've sussed out 5 Tips for Developing Your Writer's Voice. (Note: Don't steal theirs.)

Since some folks get hung up on the small sh*t, Daily Writing Tips settles the ol' 'One Space or Two At The End of a Sentence?' debate once and for all.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Literary Quote of the Day

"The difference between fiction and reality? Fiction has to make sense."-Tom Clancy (Via)

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

The following items are just a small sampling of the handmade, literary themed crafts for sale at As they're made by indie artisans, and we're an indie bookstore, we thought the links were apt.

1. Hunter S. Thompson Finger Puppet, created by Mullish Muse.
Available for $12 here.
2. Laura Ingalls Wilder Miniature, created by Uneek Doll Designs.
Available for $16 here.

3. Anaïs Nin & Henry Miller Earrings, created by Persephone Plus.
Available for $20 here.
4. Mary & Percy Shelley Earrings, created by Persephone Plus.
Available for $20 here.

6. Kurt Vonnegut T-Shirt, created by Zen Threads.
Available for $17 here.
7. Charles Bukowski T-Shirt, created by Trext Shirts.
Available for $16 here.

8. Flannery O'Connor Postcards, created by Lavatican.
Available for $2.50 here.

Book News, In Bulk

Redacted. Pulchritude. Chillax. Appalled. These are just a few of the words that England's poets hate.

Here's a pie chart that's sure to make you sick: A dollar-by-dollar breakdown of the average American's spending habits. Of all the expenditures listed, guess where books rate? If you guessed dead-f**king-last, you're not only a foul-mouthed pessimist, you're absolutely right!

A recent poll of middle aged women found that, "more than anything else," they want to read about sex. In related news, I've just begun shopping around my newest novel, Menopausal Menage à Trois. Interested publishers can contact me via the cougars' den of choice, Facebook.

If you ask me, it's not Amazon's Kindle or Sony's e-Reader that's gonna convert the average Harry Potter/Twilight/Eat, Pray, Love reader into a digital book buyer. No, the once-a-year, literary lemming is only gonna go paperless when they feel it's both convenient and cool to forgo their previous purchasing habits in favor of something shiny, sleek, sexy and pocket-sized. This is what Apple's iPod did to make MP3s appealing to the mainstream music listener, and this is what Apple and Amazon (and countless other, smart, tech-savvy sonuvab*tches) are currently trying to figure out how to do with the iPhone apps. (An unsolicited word of advice to my fellow booksellers: Y'all might want to start writing your own romance novels, a.s.a.p.)

We were a li'l late to the Twitter party, so it's our own damned fault we missed its peak. Still, how many cat-related Tweets must one scroll through before finding a choice one-liner or informative link? (My guess: The amount of licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll Pop x pi.) That's why, in an effort to help make your daily (hourly?) (minutely?) Tweet-scroll more productive (well, as productive as a deliberately distracting dalliance like Twitter can be), we're gonna start highlighting one Twitter feed per week, one we guarantee won't bore you. This week's recommendation? Children's Poet Laureate, Mary Ann Hoberman. She's peppy beyond belief, a caffeinated rainbow rhyming everything from her TV viewing habits to her to-do lists. In my head, she sounds like The Wiggles doing Shakespeare, but maybe that's just me.