Friday, September 4, 2009

Are You A Sandman Fan Looking For A Good Reason To Hate Neil Gaiman?

Try jealousy. Shown above is but one corner of Gaiman's home library. Click here to enviously eye the rest.

Dumbass Headmaster Decides to Discard All Books reports, "Cushing Academy has all the hallmarks of a New England prep school, with one exception.

This year, after having amassed a collection of more than 20,000 books, officials at the pristine campus about 90 minutes west of Boston have decided the 144-year-old school no longer needs a traditional library. The academy’s administrators have decided to discard all their books and have given away half of what stocked their sprawling stacks - the classics, novels, poetry, biographies, tomes on every subject from the humanities to the sciences. The future, they believe, is digital.

'When I look at books, I see an outdated technology, like scrolls before books,' said James Tracy, headmaster of Cushing and chief promoter of the bookless campus."

To read the entire article, click here.

A Random Assortment of Book News & Links

So shallow and cruel, it's gotta be true: Gawker lists The Last 5 Ways to Get a Book Deal.

It's already on t-shirts, posters, cartoons and pasta. Is it really so surprising that there are now Naruto postage stamps?

Five of the Top 10 Pirated eBooks of 2009 are sex-related, but you already knew that, didn't you? (Casts accusatory eye.) Didn't you? has made a list of 100 Useful Twitter Feeds for Book Lovers, and yes, we're on it. Hell, I wouldn't link to it if'n we weren't. Via.

Soul of the People author David A. Taylor sat down with the multi-millionaires at to discuss how writers survived the Great Depression. Click here to eavesdrop.

a_tannenbaum, this last link is for you. Flaovrwire has a couple of teasing images from Catherine Corman’s upcoming release, Daylight Noir: Raymond Chandler’s Imagined City. The book "takes readers on a black and white tour of fictional private eye Philip Marlowe’s real world haunts." FYI: This would make a great belated birthday present for me, and/or a wonderful birthday present for imaginary friend, Potato, whose b'day just happens to be -- wow, would you look at that -- today!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Recommended Viewing:
A Fantastic Mr. Fox Featurette

Adaptation News (now in glorious black & white)

While this first one isn't actually an adaptation of anything, it does involve the publishing world, so I figured you naval-gazing industry folk would forgive the thematic lapse. Anyway, CBS has purchased the script for Open Books, a sitcom about a big city editor and her wacky friends. It's written by Will & Grace alumna, Gail Lerner.

USA Today has an interview with Juno director Jason Reitman about his new film, Up in the Air, based on the 2001 novel by Walter Kim. The film is about "a charismatic ax man hopscotching the country downsizing companies and occasionally delivering motivational speeches about the virtue of a relationship-free life," and stars George Clooney.

Steven Spielberg is developing a film of Michael Crichton's posthumously published novel , Pirate Latitudes, an adventure story set off the coast of Jamaica in 1665. My suggestions for financial success? Jurassic Park-level sfx, Johnny Depp as the dreadlocked, eyeliner wearing, male lead, and lots of Bob Marley music. My suggestion for critical success: Don't do it.

A while back I posted a piece about Hollywood's unsuccessful attempts to adapt Budd Schulberg's What Makes Sammy Run? Last Wednesday, two of the folks responsible for these ill-fated attempts -- actor/director Ben Stiller and Permanent Midnight author, Jerry Stahl -- spoke to The Huffington Post about their trials and travails attempting to bring Budd's masterpiece to the big screen. Click here to read.

And now my obligatory Where The Wild Things Are post, via The Museum of Modern Art has announced the first-ever exhibition to focus on Spike Jonze, "celebrating his work as a director, producer, cinematographer, writer, actor, choreographer, and sometime stuntman." Among the many music videos, skateboard films, mini-documentaries and Hollywood blockbusters to be screened is a short film Jonze made with Maurice Sendak during the production of Where The Wild Things Are. If, like me, you can't make it to NYC to bow down in front of one of your cinematic idols, yesterday's NYTimes had a nice, looong piece on Jonze and his WTWTA film.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Go, Look: Kurt Vonnegut Charts Life vs. Drama

This graph should look familiar to everyone. After all, it's 'real life' in all its soul-sucking mediocrity. Much more exciting are the dramatic, fairy tale-inspired lives that your boy/girlfriend secretly believes you're denying him/her. To view Vonnegut's graphs for those, click here.

Book News, In Brief

Summer's over and the schools are back in session. You know what that means -- it's book banning season! For an up-to-date accounting of your state's self-righteous indignations, check the ALA's Map of Book Bans & Challenges.

Viva la resistance! French publisher Hachette has spoken out against the self-appointed 'future of books,' claiming hardback books could be killed if Amazon's e-books and Google's digital library force publishers to slash their prices. has created an algorithm that compiles a book's Amazon sales rankings, customer reviews, and search hits on Google, creating a Terminator-approved list of The 100 Best Business Books. Yes, fellow bookstore clerks, our shelf-talkers are now positively passe.

Stephenie Meyer is finally responsible for a good book selling. A new edition of Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights, -- blurbed on the front cover as the 'favourite book' of Twilight's Bella and Edward -- is currently topping the British bestseller charts.

Update: Super Punch has photos of HarperCollins' Wuthering Heights w/ Twilight-inspired cover art!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Writers on Writing

"Try to leave out the parts that people skip."
Elmore Leonard

Disney Is Buying Marvel for $4 Billion

Expect anthropomorphic animals in comic book crossovers & grim 'n' gritty theme park rides where the operators wear spandex.

For a detailed description of the deal, click here.
To visit Khary Randolph, the artist behind the image above, click here.

Update: Disney stock has dropped $1.5 billion since this deal was announced.

Tuesday's Tips for Flailing Writers

Hubris alert! Writing Forward claims to have the 22 best writing tips...ever.

Writer Lee Masterson offers 3 tips for adding character depth through perception.

When struggling through an uncreative spell, the Creative Penn recommends knowing your goals.

In a two-part post, agent Cec Murphy attempts to explain everything from signing with an agent to firing one.

When writing your query letter (and more importantly, your book), The Intern suggests that you annihilate the arbitrary.

Here's an oh-d'oh-is-me puctuation blunder I've been guilty of on more than one occasion -- confusing dashes and hyphens.

Monday, August 31, 2009

The Monday Menagerie:
Literary Costumes for the Li'l Ones

1. Lobster Bisque, from Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking.
(Note: Serve cold!)

2. Max, from Maurice Sendak's Where The Wild Things Are.
(I wish this costume came in adult sizes.)

3. An Oompa Loompa, from the Roald Dahl's, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
(This one, not so much.)

4. Baby Cthulhu, from H.P. Lovecraft's The Call of Cthulhu.
(Creepy, yet cute.)

5. Diapered Dictator, from Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf.
(Creepy,, just plain ol' creepy.)

Crave more literary costumes? Click here.

Book News, In Brief

A delightful time-waster for a busy Monday: Fictional Characters who Tweet

Star Trek fans will soon be seeing a lot more of LeVar Burton at SF conventions, as The Reading Rainbow is no more.

ReadWriteWeb proclaims, Amazon, Open Your eBooks...or Watch Out! The reasons oughta be obvious, but if you're a luddite (...or corporate record label exec) (...or Jeff Bezos) you may want to read their reasoning.

Why don't more Black boys read? This is a question that sociologists and educators have been asking for years, yet for some reason, the publishing industry has pretty much ignored. CatalystChicago wonders, could this be the problem? Via.

The Daily Mail has crowned Somerset Maugham "the first superstar novelist" and "the most debauched man of the 20th century." You know what he needs now? A badass nickname. 'Somerset' just doesn't do the debauchery justice. Via.