Friday, August 28, 2009

Book News, In Brief

The Guardian UK has an unflattering piece about the publishing industry's ugly new sales gimmick: Using an author's looks to sell books.

26-year-old Amelia Lester has been hired as The New Yorker's new managing editor. No word yet as to whether Lester will shutter her lemonade stand early, or finish out the busy summer season.

First Margret Atwood starts Tweeting, now comics' #1 curmudgeon, Harvey Pekar has a Twitter account?! Is nothing sacred stagnant? Still, it's a good way to see what Pekar's grousing looks like before it's prettified by Crumb and co.

You've read Bill Clinton's reading list and Obama's beach books. Now what? Well, the folks at have scoured countless articles, interviews and photographs, compiling a list of children's books Michelle Obama has been seen reading. That oughta tide you over 'til the end of the weekend.

Miraculously coinciding with the unfortunate death of Senator Ted Kennedy is news from his publisher, Twelve, that the release date of Kennedy's memoir, True Compass, has been bumped from October to September. USA Today reports, "'We'd always hoped to publish earlier,' Cary Goldstein, spokesman for book publisher Twelve, said in an e-mail to us. 'The production process moved faster than expected, so we were able to shave off some time.'" Wow, what a coincidence!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Go, Look: Ted Kennedy Memorial Comics

Daryl Cagle has compiled a large collection of political cartoonists' reactions to the news of Senator Kennedy's death. Go, Look!

(Thanks to The Comics Reporter for the tip!)

Adaptation News
(It's true they effed up the story, but hey -- the author got a Lexus!)

The first single from the Where The Wild Things Are soundtrack is streaming free here.

Tommy Lee Jones and Samuel L. Jackson will star in an HBO production of The Sunset Limited, an adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's play. Jones is directing, with McCarthy writing the script.

Critical reaction to the video game adaptation of Grant Morrison and Dave McKean's Batman: Arkham Asylum is overwhelmingly positive. The game currently earns a score of 91 out of 100 at

A live-action film adaptation of Go Nagai's manga, The Abashiri Family, is in the works. While The Abashiri Family isn't known to most U.S. audiences, ask your neighborhood geek about Go Nagai's Devilman, Mazinger Z or Cutey Honey and they'll drool.

Terminator: Salvation director McG and Terminator: Salvation star Sam Worthington are eying an adaptation of Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea. Worthington, a white Aussie, wants the role of Captain Nemo, an Indian prince. Ah, Hollywood!

The good news: Jason Schwartzman is starring in a new HBO show titled Bored to Death, written & created by Brooklyn author Jonathan Ames (Wake up, Sir!, I Love You More Than You Know). The iffy news: The show is about a Brooklyn author named Jonathan Ames.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Sales Pitch:
The Umbrella Academy by Way & Bá

"It's X-Men by Edward Gorey."
An anonymous friend of an anonymous commenter.

Go, Look: Highbrow Books w/ Lowbrow Covers

For dozens more, click here.

Book News, In Brief

Burger King is giving away toys based on The Dangerous Book for Boys -- as if eating fast food wasn't risky enough!

This is precisely the sort of news item I live to share: A massive methamphetamine network in CO was using collectible comics to front for drug profits. I wonder, could this have saved my local comics shop?

GalleySmith is planning a book bloggers convention for May 2010. As with every other book industry related event, potential participants have one question they need answered before committing: Will there be swag? Via.

Dan Brown has been named the Goodwill Ambassador to Goodwill stores. Okay, so that's bullsh*t, but a recent survey did reveal that the The Da Vinci Code author is Oxfam's most donated author, with John Grisham and Ian Ranking closing out the Top 3. Via.

The LATimes has a list of Obama's intended beach reads. Now you'll know what to carry around Martha's Vineyard while stalking him so that when you finally make it past the hordes of Secret Service and press, you can casually say, "Oh, what a coincidence -- I'm reading that book, too."

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Writers on Writing

"Finishing a book is just like you took a child out in the back yard and shot it."
Truman Capote

Go, Look: Nathanael West & the Writing of The Day of the Locust

Go, Look!

Tuesday's Tips for Flailing Writers

CopyBlogger has the 12 Things You Shouldn't Do When Writing A Headline.

Quips & Tips for Successful Writers has 5 Tips for Writing Great Conclusions.

Not ready to end it all just yet? Q & T also has 7 Ways to Write Introductions that Hook Readers.

The Buddha of brevity, Frank O'Connor, illustrates The 3 Necessary Elements of a Story -- in just two sentences!

On the opposite end of the economical writing spectrum, Richard Rhodes lists 5 Things An Agent Should (and shouldn't) eight sentences (and two parentheticals).

Whether you're setting a mood, delivering important information or developing your characters, the Heart & Craft blog finds Dialogue is the Writer's Swiss Army Knife.

My favorite tip this week comes from the How Not to Write blog. It's a simple, sensible bit of advice that all successful writers have had to figure out for themselves at one time or another, and now you, you lucky sons and daughters of b**ches, are gonna have it handed to you on a pixelated platter: Commit to Finish. Commit to Begin Again.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Julia Child's Recipe for Making it to the Top of the New York Times Bestseller List

1. Write a book.
2. Start a TV show based on said book.
3. Write more books.
4. Garner awards and accolades across the globe.
5. Become the un-official 'face' of your chosen profession.
6. Have a fan write a bestselling book about their experiences reading your book.
7. Die.
8. Have a hit movie made about said fan's book.
9. Allow hype to simmer for 3-4 weeks, or until its reach its boiling point...
10. ...and voilà!

Book News, In Brief

Would you stand in line for four hours just to have your great-grandmother's mildew covered copy of Uncle Tom's Cabin appraised at $1.99? The creators of a proposed "Antiques Roadshow for books, just books" hope so.

Award-winning author Margaret Atwood has joined the blogosphere. While Atwood currently shies away from talking about her cat's eccentricities, the new shoes she just bought, and/or her favorite sex scenes from this week's True Blood, give her time. She'll learn.

A new line of audiobooks "dedicated to famous 20th century books" will feature celebrity readers and academic audio commentary. The first release is Bette Friedan's The Feminine Mystique read by actress Parker "Party Girl" Posey, with additional audio analysis by Naomi "The Beauty Myth" Wolf. (TMI fun fact: I've had threesome fantasies involving this same duo!)

The English book dealer accused of stealing a Shakespeare portfolio valued at $2.5 million made his first appearance in court this past Friday. According to the Washington Times, "The defendant, Raymond Scott, arrived at the courthouse in a horse-drawn carriage, accompanied by a bagpipe player and wearing a tartan kilt." Please let CourtTV cover this case.

One small setback for Anna Nichole Smith's manager, Howard K. Stern, is one giant step for gay rights. This past Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Denny Chin ruled that Stern could sue an Anna Nichole Smith biographer Rita Cosby for defamation -- but not over gay sex claims. The reason? Because homosexuality is no longer viewed as "contemptible." Allow me to repeat that for all the Far Right Republicans and holier than thou evangelicals in the audience: No. Longer. Contemptible. By law!