Friday, August 21, 2009

Recommended Viewing:
Grant Morrison & Clive Barker @ Meltdown

This is part one. Parts two through six can be found here.

Sci-Fi Lit Links

IO9 presents a Steampunk primer

The Squandered Promise of Science Fiction by Jonathan Lethem

Fresh Fiction tries to explain Why A Reader Attends a Science Fiction Fantasy Literary Convention

WSFS has announced the finalists for their annual small press award. Celebrate their genius now, because by this time next year, half of them will be writing Star Wars novels. proposes a "discussion of making decisions about reading priorities that draws on the facts of human maturation in ways shaped by scholarship as well as personal impression." Then they start one.

Book News, In Brief

Barnes & Noble's 2nd quarter earnings fell 27% -- and they're spinning this as good news!

According to The Chicago Sun-Times, owning a bookstore is The New Urban Dream. Lest the nightmarish realities of retail shake anyone from their slumber, the Sun-Times has kindly cobbled together an overly optimistic lullaby made up of shopworn 'Shop Locally' cliches.

The web site of the American Library Association proclaims, "Policies should not unjustly exclude materials and resources even if they are offensive to the librarian or the user." So why are more and more libraries restricting access to certain books?

Mayme Clayton spent her life scouring yard sales and used bookstores, collecting and cataloging hundreds of thousands of rare and important bits of Black history. Now her son is working to open a library that will house it all -- The Mayme A. Clayton Library & Museum of African American History & Culture. What have you done for your mom lately?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Go, Look: Why Hunter S. Thompson Passed on Covering the O.J. Trial

Was it the lack of available satellite dishes, a dying paper's inability to provide "an unlimited expense account," or a lack of spare suites at the Chateau Marmont? All of the above, actually -- and more. Click here for the full story.

Adaptation News
(They're gonna cut your favorite scenes & completely change the ending. Get over it.)

Take one part Twilight, another part Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean, and a dab of Iron Man's debonair playboy, Tony Stark, and you just might have the makings of a Robert Downey Jr. re-boot of the Interview With The Vampire film franchise.

Michael Douglas' Further Films is developing Shirley Jackson's 1962 novel, We Have Always Lived in the Castle, about a reclusive and reputedly murderous family. Over the years, such creepy creatives as Stephen King and Vincent Price have hailed Jackson as their inspiration.

Jean-Jacques Annaud, the French director of the snoozefest Seven Years in Tibet, will helm an adaptation of the Chinese novel, Wolf Totem. Totem tells the tale of the relationship between Mongolian nomads and wolves, and is often credited as a critter-filled critique of Communism.

Rob Weiss, an executive producer of HBO's Entourage, has acquired the rights to Robert "Iceberg Slim" Beck's 1969 autobiography, Pimp: The Story of My Life. Don't hold your breath waiting for this film, though. In the past ten years, this project has been in and out of development more times than Beck has been in and out of prison.

Neil LaBute is writing an adaptation of Charles Willeford's 1971 neo-noir novel, Burnt Orange Heresy. The story, about a "fast-talking, backstabbing, womanizing art critic Jacques Figueras [who] will do anything - blackmail, burglary, fencing, assassination - to further his career," seems perfect for the grim, grinning auteur behind In the Company of Men and Your Friends and Neighbors.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

You know Twilight fever has hit its peak (and/or nadir), when you pull up behind this:

Image swiped from's ever expanding List of Dumb.

30 Second Book Review:
Filthy Rich by Azzarello & Santos

This is the perfectly brilliant hard-boiled story of a former football player and failed used car salesman who gets caught up in a world of privilege, sex and danger when he is hired to be the bodyguard of a spoiled rich girl with a penchant for getting herself into the tabloids. It is a fast and fluid read. The art is fantastic and only contributes to the feel and pace of the story. I have a feeling that anyone who has enjoyed Brubaker's Criminal whould enjoy this book. It has sex, double cross, interesting characters and a glimpse at the dark side of privilege and fame. It's really good stuff.

Note: This review comes courtesy of Inkwell Irregular and Talkin' 'Bout Comics creator, Rob H. Thanks a million, Rob!

The Most Inconsequential 'Book News' You're Likely To Read Today

A survey of fantasy cover art* revealed swords to be the genre's most popular and enduring motif. This news comes as an unwelcome shock to those folks still reeling over the recent revelation that the most iconic image in Sci-Fi cover art was spaceships and that 9 out of 10 LOLCat books feature (gasp!) kittens.
*Christ, how much did they have to pay the aesthetic masochist hired to do that job?

The Johnson County Library in Kansas was given the advertising campaign of a lifetime when the mad men (and women!) of the Barkley Advertising Agency redesigned four of the library's courier trucks to resemble the delivery trucks of some of literature's most famous characters. To behold the beauty of Captain Ahab's Seafood, Kafka's Pest Control, Benjamin Button's Diaper Service, and a two-sided Dr. Jeckyll/Hr. Hyde's Pharmacy truck, click here. Via: Super Punch.

Allow me to direct all "ballers" and "shot callers" towards AbeBooks' list of The Top 10 Most Expensive Trilogies Sold by AbeBooks. While it might seem strange for a bookstore to steer its clientele to the site of a competitor, I feel that in this case, we're at no risk of losing any potential sales. After all, we just sold out of our $5,000 copies of Isaac Asimov's Foundation trilogy this morning.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Recommended Viewing:
Steven Brust on Writing & Other Animals

The author of the Vlad Taltos series shares his thoughts on first novels, short stories, writers' groups, and the lies that authors must tell themselves to survive.

Tuesday's Tips for Flailing Writers

You're a failure. But wait -- that's a good thing!

Camera shy? You'd better hope not. Cuz The Book Deal swears a video will help you sell your book.

I wouldn't recommend wasting your money on a freelance editor, but if'n you're loaded, The Book Deal has a few tips for choosing one.

Another 'tip' I disagree with but still feel is worth reading: Booker nominated author A.S. Byatt warns against what she calls "faction," or writing which blends "biography and fiction, journalism and invention."

Maybe it's the heat, or maybe I'm just one ornery sonuvabitch, but here's a third 'tip' I'm spotlighting solely for the sake of disagreeing with it: Storytellersunplugged's Titles and their Unimportance. As to why I disagree, allow me to quote the piece's second paragraph. "The fact is the title is the only aspect of a book or story’s first impression that an author can control. The other items such as the cover art, the back cover or end flap plot summation, the story placement in the anthology, and the accompanying illustration in the magazine, are left to the editor and publisher. The title is (generally) the author’s choice."

Monday, August 17, 2009

Go, Look: Chapter 1 of Dave Eggers' Where The Wild Thing Are

The New Yorker has the first chapter of Dave Eggers' full length adaptation of his own feature film adaptation of Maurice Sendak's children's book, Where The Wild Things Are. To read it, click here. While you're there, make sure to read the accompanying interview with Eggers.

Gift Tips for the Bookish:
Homemade, Unlicensed & Undoubtedly Illegal Author Tees

What Would Amy Sedaris Do? Tee: $25.00
William S. Burroughs Tee: $17.00

Albert Camus Tee: $25.00
Oscar Wilde Tee: $20.00

Alice Walker Tee: $30.00
E.E. Cummings Quote Tee: $16.00

Book News, In Brief

Finished every book on the Obama Reading List? Then why not travel back in time to the days of our "First Black President," Bill Clinton, and catch up on Bubba's Lit Picks?

The blurbs on the back of an MTV Books release will look a lot like the front tables at The Ivy: A bunch of celebrities, a couple rock stars, and maybe one or two high profile literary luminaries...if there's room.

An autographed copy of Adolph Hitler's Mein Kampf recently sold for 21,000 pounds sterling. For those of you too poor (or too young) to have snagged the mass murderer's autograph, remember, Cheney's book tour starts in 2011.

The endless barrage of We Love the Google Settlement/We Hate the Google Settlement press releases is becoming a bit monotonous. Or, to put it another way, were any of you even the slightest bit tempted to click either of those links?

The Kindle is quickly losing traction as the e-Book of choice. Its chief rival? Apple's always updating iPhone. According to GalleyCat, "between April and July, the number digital book applications users skyrocketed by 300 percent."

Oprah Winfrey is getting sued for a trillion dollars by author Damon Lloyd Goffe. Goffe claims the almighty O ripped off his book, A Tome of Poetry, in her internet published work, Pieces of My Soul. For me, the real jaw-dropper here is the fact that Ms. Winfrey has allegedly sold 650 million copies of the $20 book -- online!

Warning! This is one of those effed up author anecdotes that will pop into your head every time someone mentions one of their books. Still with me? I'll keep it brief: While writing Lord of the Flies, author/teacher William Golding not only "experimented" on his pupils, he attempted to rape a 15 year old girl. On the bright side, you high school kids now have an inscrutable new angle for this year's LOTF/Summer Reading book reports!
(Editor's Note: J.M., you are one sick f**k.)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

If We Were Hipper, We'd Juke These Lists

8/9 - 8/15
Inkwell's Fiction Top Sellers:

1. Still Alice
By Lisa Genova
Pocket Books, $15.00
Still Alice is a compelling debut novel about a 50-year-old woman's sudden descent into early onset Alzheimer's disease, written by a first-time author who holds a Ph.D. in neuroscience. Reminiscent of A Beautiful Mind and Ordinary People, this work packs an emotional punch.

2. Time Traveler's Wife
By Audrey Niffenegger
Harvest Books, $14.95
A dazzling debut novel told in a most untraditional fashion. Fall in love with the remarkable story of Henry DeTamble, a dashing, adventuresome librarian who travels involuntarily through time, and Clare Abshire, an artist whose life takes a natural sequential course.

3. I See You Everywhere
By Julia Glass
Anchor Books, $15.00
From the author of the bestselling Three Junes comes an intimate tale of two sisters, together and apart, told in their alternating voices over 25 years. I See You Everywhere offers a piercingly candid story of companionship and sorrow, life and death.

4. That Old Cape Magic
By Richard Russo
Knopf, $25.95
In this follow-up to Bridge of Sighs, Russo delivers a novel of deep introspection and every family feeling imaginable, with a middle-aged man confronting his parents and their failed marriage, his own troubled one, his daughter's new life and, finally, what it is he thought he wanted and what in fact he has.

5. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
By Stieg Larsson
Vintage, $14.95
In this European publishing sensation, a crusading journalist joins forces with a 24-year-old pierced and tattooed genius hacker to investigate the whereabouts of a missing woman from one of the wealthiest families in Sweden.

8/9 - 8/15
Inkwell's Nonfiction Top Sellers:

1. Born to Run
By Christopher McDougall
Knopf, $24.95
Part adventure story, part extreme sports, Born to Run is a riveting story about one journalist's quest to discover the secrets of the world's greatest distance runners, a reclusive Indian tribe living deep in the Copper Canyon of northern Mexico.

2. Red Leather Diary
By Lily Koppel
Harper, $14.99
A New York Times journalist discovers a discarded old diary - a find that introduces her to an extraordinary woman - Florence Wolfson - and a glamorous, forgotten time. Evocative and entrancing, The Red Leather Diary recreates the romance and glitter of 1930s New York.

3. What I Talk About When I Talk About Running
By Haruki Murakami
Vintage, $15.00
Murakami's new book is by turns funny and sobering, playful and philosophical; this memoir is both for fans of this masterful yet guardedly private writer and for the exploding population of athletes who find similar satisfaction in distance running.

4. A Colossal Failure of Common Sense
By Lawrence G. McDonald
Crown Business, $27.00
McDonald, a former vice president at Lehman Brothers, offers an intimate look inside the mad house that Lehman became, and shows beyond a doubt that Lehman's top executives were totally out to lunch, allowing Lehman's risk profile to reach gargantuan proportions.

5. We Two
By Gillian Gill
Ballantine, $35.00
Gill presents a 21st-century perspective on a giant of English history, Queen Victoria, and her marriage to German Prince Albert. As Gill shows, the marriage of Victoria and Albert was great not because it was perfect, but because it was passionate and complicated.