Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Cover by: Chris Ware

Need to justify a November 1st spent eating nothing but candy? Point your mom to I Shudder author David Colman's NYTimes article, Living for Candy, and Sugar-Coated Goblins. In it, Colman schools overly-protective parents and no-nothing dentists as to how to live solely on sweets!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Cool Covers by Jennifer Carrow

Jennifer Carrow is a graphic designer based out of Brooklyn, NY. Interviews with her are hella hard to find, leading me to believe that she's either a Greta Garbo-level recluse, or that she simply prefers to let her work speak for itself. (Yeah, I'm betting on the Garbo option, too.) Anyway, here's a small sampling of her playful and eye-catching artistry. To see more, click here.

Security: A Novel by Stephen Amidon
Against Happiness by Eric G. Wilson

Born to Kvetch by Michael Wex
What Caroline Knew by Caryn James

The Paranoia Switch by Martha Stout PhD
God's Ear by Jenny Schwartz

Halloween is less than a day away, and the only sheets you're willing to cut holes in are stained with bodily fluids.

Don't worry, I've got you covered. Print, cut, wear: literary-themed paper masks.

Book News, In Brief

Publishers Weekly has announced their Top 10 Books of 2009, and guess what? It's a sausage party!

In his new autobiography, Open, tennis legend Andre Agassi admits to using crystal meth, but remains suspiciously silent regarding his 80s hair.
Update: Turns out, Agassi does address the hair. It was a wig!

Remember when I linked to that sanctimonious sensitive author's op-ed piece accusing modern crime fiction of misogyny? Well, The Guardian UK has posted a rebuttal.

And another update: Remember when I posted that link to the online petition urging Scholastic to include gay-friendly books in their school book fairs? Well, they've agreed -- to one book.

I hope you left some space in your Sarah Palin window display. A former aide to the Alaskan A-lister is rushing to write an anti-Palin tell-all, and you'd better believe that there are more in the pipeline.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Recommended Viewing:
Viggo Mortenson on The Road

Adaptation News

An extended trailer for Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland has hit the net. You can watch it here.

When you're through with that, head on over to for the new trailer to Martin Scorsese's film of Dennis Lehane's novel, Shutter Island.

While you're at CHUD, you might as well check out their Life of Pi adaptation update. A promising tease: It involves Ang Lee and a completed first draft screenplay.

Having already ripped off writer Harlan Ellison (for The Terminator), IO9 did a little digging around to find out which author James Cameron is cribbing for his newest sci-fi film, Avatar.

Jonathan Demme is planning to make an animated feature of Zeitoun, the best-selling Dave Eggers book about "a man’s true-life experiences in post-Katrina New Orleans." And I thought Shrek was depressing...

The Guardian UK takes Wes Anderson to task for marketing The Fantastic Mr. Fox with McDonald's tie-in toys. (My take: Well, what did you expect? It's not like kids are gonna order Happy Meals for books.)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Inkwell Michelle's 30 Second Book Review

Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie
by Alan Bradley

When Flavia de Luce knocks An Elementary Study of Chemistry to the floor while scaling the bookshelves of her family’s library, her life is changed forever by a consuming fascination with chemistry. She spends her days on the top floor of the East Wing of Buckshaw, the ancestral home of the de Luces, in a glorious laboratory that once belonged to her eccentric Uncle Tarquin. Nothing gives her more joy than conducting experiments and studying poisons, much to the dismay of her sisters, Ophelia and Daphne. When her father is implicated in the death of a stranger found in their garden, Flavia resolves to use her scientific skills to exonerate him. There’s just one problem…Flavia is eleven years old.
Alan Bradley has crafted one of the most charming sleuths ever. Flavia narrates the story with a voice that is clever, morbid, and hilarious. Opening up Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie to any page reveals dialog and prose that sparkle vivaciously, just like Flavia!

Top 10 Reasons Book Club is like Church

10. Half the participants are lonely old women, the other half are just there for the wine.

9. There's always one member who not only falls asleep, they snore.

8. Miss a few meetings, and they make you feel like you're going to Hell.

7. When interpretations vary, arguments follow.

6. Audible farts are inexplicably hilarious.

5. New members = potential mates.

4. No one's ever finished the book/The Book.

3. Donations are strongly encouraged, willfully withheld.

2. You're too chickensh*t to admit that you thought the book/The Book was boring.

1. They keep promising you an author appearance, but in the end...nope.

Book News! In Brief!
(now with extraneous exclamation marks!)

Angels are the new vampires! At least that's what the angel-obsessed Anne Rice thinks.

SFW! The title of this piece may sound like an episode of To Catch a Predator, but Erin Keane's Teen Books Lure Grown-Up Eyes is actually a fascinating look at the modern reader's Forever 21 mindset. (Via.)

WTF?! Also akin to an episode of To Catch a Predator, Reuters reports that a mob of paranoid parents in Beijing lynched a traveling book salesman after rumors spread that he was part of a human smuggling ring. Needless to say, he wasn't.

Controversy alert! has posted an online petition asking Scholastic to include gay-friendly books at book fairs. If it's a question of available space (note: it's not), they could make room by getting rid of some toys. (Via.)

Diva alert! Maybe it's just The Guardian UK's negative review of his new book causing him to lash out, or maybe Philip Roth really believes that the novel "will dwindle to a 'cultic' minority enthusiasm within 25 years." Whichever, he comes off like a whiny b*tch.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

7 Links to 7 Lists

Classic comics curious? Robot 6 recently put together a Jack Kirby Primer.

Got a bibliosoph on your holiday shopping list? 100 Scope Notes has 10 Things Librarians Fancy.

Own one of those limited edition, H.P. Lovecraft Ouija Boards? IO9 has 12 Unfinished SF Novels We Wish We Could Read.

Considering a job in the book industry? The Intern has compiled the Top 10 Things She Learned About Publishing.

Got a hankering for tentacled toffees? Check out McSweeney's Selections from H.P. Lovecraft's brief tenure as a Whitman's Sampler copywriter.

Looking for good books by great authors that were credited to non-writing no-names? Abe Books has the Top 10 Ghostwritten Books.

Want to drop $50 on comics in less than 5 minutes? Then read The Comics Reporter's David Welsh and a Few Friends on Recommended Spooky, Scary and Supernatural Manga.

Writers on Writing

"Rejection slips, or form letters, however tactfully phrased, are lacerations of the soul, if not quite inventions of the devil - but there is no way around them." -- Isaac Asimov

Tuesday's Tips for Flailing Writers

I'm partial to the 2nd of Annie Dillard's 12 keys to stronger writing: Don’t ever use the word 'soul,' if possible. (Via)

I was mildly bemused while I quickly perused Cracked's 9 words that don't mean what you think they mean.

BookEnds, LLC is a literary agency. (Go on. I'll wait until you're done Googling their email address so you can send 'em your query letter. Done? Okay.) Here's their advice re: deadlines.

Article Writing Tips has 5 things you should and shouldn't say to an editor. (Or, for head-game kicks, you can use all 10 and really throw 'em off balance. This is often referred to in women's magazines as 'giving off mixed signals,' and usually results in making women of low self-esteem want you all the more.)

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Monday Menagerie:
Print, Cut, Wear -- Paper Masks for Literary Cos-Players

The Guy Fawkes mask from Alan Moore & David Lloyd's V for Vendetta.
Available free here.
Jim Rugg & Brian Maruca's Afrodesiac.
Available free here.

Stan Lee & Jack Kirby's Silver Surfer.
Available free here.
J.K. Rowling's Death Eater.
Available free here.

One of Maurice Sendak's many Wild Things.
Created by me(!), and available free here.

Crave more literary costumes? Click here.

Chickensh*t Book News, In Brief

Worried that the Amazon/Wal-Mart/Target price wars will prove a death knell to many indie booksellers, the ABA has announced, "No fair! I'm tellin'!"

Scared that the many e-readers flooding the market this year will curb the current, unsubstantiated 'success' of their Kindle, Amazon will soon be offering free software apps for both PCs and Macs.

Nervous that their combination ostrich approach/let's think positive PR was no longer cutting it in the real world, the publishing industry has decided to try and go for the public's pity when dealing with e-books and e-book piracy. Hence, analysts and their analysis.

Frightened that a small breach in copyright will open the floodgates to, say, an unauthorized lexicon, the lawyers in charge of protecting the Harry Potter(c) brand have put the kibosh on a "one-off" (and yet twice a year for the past few years) Harry Potter(c)-themed Halloween dinner party.

Yee-Haw! It's the Negative Review Round-Up!

Not only are negative reviews easier and more fun to write than positive reviews, they're easier and more fun to read, too. So pick up a torch and join me and the mob as we heap hate upon a few recent releases in this week's installment of The Negative Review Round-Up.
(Note: As most of us are lying, whorish, booksellers ready to sell our souls to make a softcover sale, I've also included small print links to some positive reviews. Feel free to crib liberally from these when dealing with the money-wielding masses.)

Park Slope's in a panic! Their chief news source has labeled their literary wunderkind's latest, Chronic City, tedious, maddening and aimless.
(Then again, The NYTimes loved it.)

The Guardian UK uses their patented British tact, hiding their displeasure with Philip Roth's The Humbling behind the vague phrase, "an embarrassing failure."
(Then again, The Huffington Post loved it.)

The NYTimes disses Piers Dudgeon's J. M. Barrie biography, Neverland, calling it a "crowded and frustrating book" that "blends scholarship, name-dropping and scandal-seeking heavy breathing." And that's just the pull-quote!
(Then again, Shelf Awareness loved it.)

Last but most meta, Jessica Mann, "an award-winning author who reviews crime fiction for the Literary Review," has announced that she is through writing reviews of crime fiction due its disproportionately large amount of violence aimed at women. She backs this stance up quite nicely with a couple of truly f**ked anecdotes.
(Then again, James Ellroy claims his crime fic is a 'critique of misogyny.')