Friday, October 16, 2009

2 Lists, 2 Links

The Skirball Cultural Center has Nick Hornby's Top 5 Musical Artists.

O magazine has Junot Diaz' autobiographical piece, Becoming A Writer. (Via: Carleen Brice)

Cracked lists 5 Authors More Badass Than The Badass Character They Created.

The Belgium Library of Kortrijk had a contest where they asked entrants to take pictures of libraries around the world. Click here to view the entries. (Via: Kimbooktu)

This is it: The very last WTWTA-related video to be embedded on this site
(well, until the next one, anyway)

The movie opens today. Go see it!

Book News, In Brief

I'm linking to the following article for two reasons: 1. Cuz it's good. 2. Cuz I know it'll annoy our bookstore neighbors. Anyway, without any further immature ado, The Bookshop Blog's When another book store moves to town it’s good news!

The biggest news of the day (and thankfully, the only bit of the day's bad news that won't directly hurt us): Amazon will be offering same day delivery for purchases made in New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Washington, Baltimore, Las Vegas and Seattle.

The New York Times has posted a bit of back and forth regarding the brain's differing responses to reading words on a page vs. words on a screen. As a test, I read the print version of this article after reading the online version. My verdict? It seemed awfully familiar.

Even if Amazon's Kindle survives the Apple Tablet, the Barnes & Noble e-reader, and a nation of college kids' complaints, is there any way that Amazon can continue to insist on selling Kindle-only e-books now that Google has announced they'll be selling e-books on multiple formats?

Esquire has come up the internet's equivalent of flying planes into buildings -- a controversial cultural critique that instantly inspires comments, conversations, fights and death threats. An excerpt: "Vampires have overwhelmed pop culture because young straight women want to have sex with gay men."

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Recommended Viewing:
Bare Bones, Behind-the-Scenes, WTWTA Footage

Adaptation News

From book to film to Twitter account: New Moon has a posse.

It's a rare case of reverse adaptation: Hammer Films has inked a publishing deal to bring their big screen properties to the puny page.

When Oprah's involved, the film will get made: The Big O has joined forces with director Sam Mendes to bring Joseph O’Neill's novel Netherland to your local megaplex. Word has it that Steadman will be fetching coffee on the set.

Samuel L Jackson has signed on to star in Same Kind Of Different As Me, about an ex-con's friendship with a wealthy Texas art dealer. The film is based on a non-fiction novel of the same name, written by the real-life Texas art dealer and ex-con.

Geeks of Doom regurgitates a PR piece proclaiming, "Legendary Pictures has obtained the rights to turn Gravel into a feature-length film adaptation of the popular comic series from Warren Ellis and Avatar Press." Never heard of the "popular" Gravel? Me either, and I'm in and out of comic book shops multiple times every week.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

When the Artistic Impulse becomes an Uncontrollable Urge

(or: yet another Where The Wild Things Are post)

The impetus was innocent: I wanted a Where The Wild Things Are glove. You know, like those giant, green Hulk hands that they sold in toy stores a few years ago, the ones that the lead singer of the Flaming Lips used to wear during concerts while pouring copious amounts of fake blood over his head. Yeah, one of those. Unfortunately, no one was making them. I mean, if you wanted a $600 set of Max pajamas, you could pull out and a credit card and let the wild rumpus start. But if you wanted to terrorize your tots with an over-sized ogre hand, you were poop outta luck.
"Then make your own!" the little Jiminy Cricket voice inside my head said.
While this voice has been the cause of much grief and considerable court costs over the years, I figured, what the hell. After all, I've always been a sucker for peer pressure, and I'm especially susceptible when it comes from my imaginary friends.
So with some scissors, packing tape, and a couple of small cardboard boxes, I made the glove shown below. While I was aiming for a monster hand like the main character, Carol's, fate (and an alarming lack of talent) intervened, providing me with a four fingered, feathered-looking fin that more closely resembled the Douglas character's dairy-colored digits. Still, it had come together so quickly and with so little fuss that I decided to make a second one for my other hand. That, too, was a piece of the proverbial cake. Admiring the handiwork adorning my hands, I thought, this must be how Jesus felt when he built his cross made wine outta water.

In all honesty, this should've been enough for me. I'm not a particularly crafty fella, preferring lifting weights and having sex with Hollywood starlets to the world of construction paper and glue sticks. Yet for some strange reason, it wasn't. The more I looked at my monstrous mitts, the more I felt...incomplete.
That's when the Jiminy Cricket voice inside my head spoke up again. "What better way to waste a workday than by making even more cardboard costume pieces?"
How right you are, Jiminy!
Fast-forward several large boxes and two and a half cash register shifts, and I had the pullover chest piece, shoulder wing flaps, and sweat lodge/Halloween mask pictured below.

Staring into the backroom bathroom's spittle speckled mirror, dressed from head to potbelly in my cumbersome cardboard couture, a familiar voice spoke to me once more.
"I sure hope you're happy with your construction paper and your glue sticks, cuz as soon as the photos of you wearing that thing hit the internet, you're never getting laid again!"
Ah, how right you are, Jiminy.

Well, that's my story, my Where The Wild Things Are costume, and my pride, all laid out before you like a self-serving sacrificial offering. Handle with care.

Related: My mini WTWTA store display

Book News, In Brief

The bloodless magazine industry disses the headless publishing industry in The New Yorker's scathing satire, Subject: Our Marketing Plan.

Speaking of lumbering literary giants, Publishing Perspectives has released their list of The World's 200 Most Powerful Publishers. It's like the Special Olympics of power rankings!

They're already down. Wanna kick 'em some more? The Huffington Post has posted a piece proclaiming the publishing industry dead. Its title? This Halloween, I'm Going As a Book Publisher.

Now that we've shat upon your livelihood, let's move on to your faith. A Catholic professor walks into a bar and says, "The first verse of the Bible was a mistake." And that's it. There's no joke. Dude really thinks that Genesis 1:1 was f**ked in translation.

Cue righteous indignation in three...two..."In a case with potentially major implications for scholars and publishers, a Stanford University professor who often serves as an expert witness against tobacco companies is fighting an effort by lawyers for the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company to obtain the manuscript of his unpublished and unfinished book on that industry."
To read the rest, click here.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Need A New Wallpaper?

Try tiling this eye-catching Where The Wild Things Are drawing by Justin Ridge. (For a peek at what this will look like, click here.) Then, as a way of saying thank-you for this unlicensed appropriation of Ridge's unlicensed illustration, stop by Justin's blog to see what else he's been doodling.

Writers on Writing

"The good writers touch life often. The mediocre ones run a quick hand over her. The bad ones rape her and leave her for the flies."
Ray Bradbury

Tuesday's Tips for Flailing Writers

Ignore amateur bloggers and learn from a pro! Wikipedia has Kurt Vonnegut's 8 Rules for Short Story Writing.

The Editorial Ass has a checklist of Positive Attributes that The Perfect Author Possesses. (Note: Almost all of them have to do with unabashed editor-appreciation.) Via.

This one's for the soon-to-be-bankrupt self-publishers who wouldn't take the hint that their book wasn't ready for publication: How to Craft a Book Cover -- Front & Back.

The Writer's Relief Blog has put together a lengthy list of The Crap that Literary Agents Don't Want to Read in Your Query Letter. I'll add another one: Absolutely everything found in the 2nd sample query letter found here.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Recommended Viewing:
Sonny Gerasimowicz on WTWTA

This is twelve minute chat with Sonny Gerasimowicz, the artist who visually translated the drawings in the WTWTA book into the monster suits you see in WTWTA the movie. In this behind-the-scenes PR clip, Gerasimowicz talks about growing up an art fiend, whoring himself out to Hollywood, working with Maurice Sendak, and what it’s like to be a Wild Thing.
(Spoiler alert: In the WTWTA film, the Wild Things are actually people in suits and NOT monsters. Bummer, huh? Anyway, Gerasimowicz was the man in the Alexander suit.)

The Monday Menagerie:
Literary Costumes for Learned Cos-Players IV

1. Reverend John Hale and Abigail Williams from Arthur Miller's The Crucible, via The Costume Holiday House.

2. Tyler Durden and the anonymous protagonist from Chuck Palahniuk's Fight Club, via

3. The titular foods from Dr. Seuss' Green Eggs and Ham, via Best Costumes 2005.

4. Calvin & Hobbes from Bill Watterson's Calvin and Hobbes, via With Great Blogging Comes Great Responsibility.

5. Two characters from Edward Gorey's opening titles to Mystery!, via Laughing Squid and Super Punch.

Crave more literary costumes? Click here.

Book News, In Brief

It's a mini-merger interesting only to indie bookstore folk and, apparently, Patti Smith: Vroman's is buying Book Soup.

This news is four weeks too late for 'Talk Like A Pirate Day,' and yet sadly still apt: Booksprung's How Publishers Encourage Piracy.

Sarah Palin's editor has written an anti-Palin gag book. While the book sounds (mildly) funny, it does raise an ethical question: How long are whores supposed to wait before speaking out against their Johns?

More Palin book news! According to EW, the Wassila wildcat's upcoming memoir, Going Rogue: An American Life, is just one of waaay too many recent releases to use the flag-waving subtitle. Thanks, 9/11 -- first you gave us jingoistic ribbon magnets, and now this!

Playboy CEO Scott Flanders says that they are putting Marge Simpson on the cover of the November issue in an effort to attract younger readers. This immediately brought two things to mind: 1. Didn't Camel Cigarettes catch hell for using cartoon imagery in their ads for an equally 18+ product? 2. Since when do kids prefer cartoon porn?