Friday, November 6, 2009

Bookish Conspiracy Du Jour

Valentines Day is to greeting card companies what NaNoWriMo is to print on demand websites.

Knitted Covers to Classic Novels

Wanna see more of Olympia Le-Tan's work? Click here and/or here.

Book News, In Brief

One less reason to visit your neighborhood bookstore: Google Magazines! (Sniff, sniff. We'll miss your awkward porno purchases.)

One more reason to visit your neighborhood bookstore: Borders will shutter approximately 200 of its remaining 330 mall-based Waldenbooks by January. Feign surprise. (Via)

Over at The Huffington Post, Debbie Stier asks (and answers!) the question, Does Twitter really sell books? (Via: Twitter -- proof that it's good for at least one thing.)

This Sunday's New York Times will feature a list of 2009's Top 10 Illustrated Books. To learn what the lemmings will be requesting en masse, head on over to (Just do us a favor and ignore their embedded Amazon links, okay?)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Famous Authors' NaNoWriMo Tips
(as found on twitter)

Here's a li'l something for those insane souls who have taken up the National Novel Writing Month challenge (a.k.a. the completion of a 50,000 word novel in just 30 days). It's a collection of famous authors' Tweets re: your unwieldy undertaking. Some of their tips will surely help you with your writing, the others will simply kill a couple seconds. Either way, they'll prove a temporarily distraction from your writer's block.

@C_Bushnell #NaNoWriMo tip:Use SpiceGirls speak.Instead of "Whaddya want?" say "Tell me what you want,what you really really want" +8 words!

@Steph_Meyer #NaNoWriMo tip: @C_Bushnell: I have one, too!!! Use "oh my god" instead of OMG. +2 words!!!

@JRR_Tolkien #NaNoWriMo tip: My favorite word count cheat? Write a poem in Elvish, then, in the next paragraph, translate it in2 English.

@JimCarroll #NaNoWriMo tip: It's not easy to stay awake and writing for 30 days straight. I recommend crystal meth and frappuccinos.

@AnneFrank #NaNoWriMo tip: Avoid distractions! When I wrote my book, I locked myself in the attic & refused to let any1 in.

@S_Palin #NaNoWriMo MEMOIR tip: My real life sex w/ Todd lasts a minute & a 1/2. To add Xtra words I lie about 4play ;)

@JK_GrrRowling #NaNoWriMo tip: Pacing 1self is 4 muggles. Finish all 50k words by the 15th, leaving plenty o time for sequels & lawsuits.

@Maya_Angelou #NaNoWriMo tip: In 'Aliens from Planet Zyx' I had a character recite the 1st act of Hamlet on a dare. Hella word count bump

@PlaywrightGibson #NaNoWriMo tip: Deaf characters r great. They force other characters 2 constantly repeat themselves, thereby adding words

@TheRealMelville #NaNoWriMo tip: Give a character a peg leg. You'd be surprised how many extra words U can get from sound effects alone!

@$tephenKing #NaNoWriMo tip: The number 1 tip for increasing word count? "Adverbs," he said slowly, succinctly, solemnly.

Tuesday's Tips for NaNoWriMo Writers
Top 10 Night Before NaNoWriMo Tweets
Famous Authors' NaNoWriMo Tips (as found on Twitter) Part II!

Underwhelming Adaptation News
(don't say I didn't warn you)

Those wacky Twilight books are being adapted again. This time, as Barbie dolls.

Entertainment Weekly has "first look" photos of the film version of Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and honestly...meh.

Equally unimpressive, the trailer for How To Train Your Dragon is now online. Ah, generic CGI cartoons -- I hate you and the stupid families that make you profitable.

The New York Times feigns surprised at what computers can do these days, heaping hyperbolic praise upon Robert Zemeckis' 3D/CGI A Christmas Carol.

Big budget television adaptations of four of China's most popular novels have the world's largest country glued to their sets. For a peek at what all of the hub-bub is about, click here.

2005's Sin City is one of those films that seems better and better the longer it's been since you've watched it. Apparently, directors Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller agree: Filming of the sequel will begin in the second half of 2010.

The NYTimes again, this time with a puff piece about Peter Jackson and his upcoming Lovely Bones adaptation. In it, you'll learn that Jackson had to approach this film in a 'different manner' than he did his gory, low budget ghost pics. I never would've guessed!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Hypocritical Zealots Propose Pre-Approved Reading Lists

Catholic school administrators are proposing all books undergo a central review & approval process before being allowed into the classroom. As a former Child of God who -- on repeated occasions -- successfully masturbated to the Song of Solomon, I've gotta ask: Will the metaphor-heavy softcore smut contained therein be enough to get the Bible banned?

Book News, In Brief

An old man hollers hyperbole, makes national headlines. (Or: John Grisham proclaims printed books an 'endangered species.')

The late Stieg Larsson's girlfriend and family can only agree on one thing -- Death: It's all fun and games until it's time to split up the dead dude's fortune.

Journalista! tipped me off to this next one, and it's as depressing as it is funny: A scan of cartoonist Horst Rosenthal's 1942 satirical tour of a Nazi internment camp...drawn just before Rosenthal was killed in Auschwitz later that year...and "starring" Mickey Mouse.

The owner of San Francisco's Ocean Avenue Books took offense at a Yelp reviewer labeling her store a "TOTAL MESS," tracked down his address (which he'd never even given to Yelp), and tried to force her way into his home. Looks like the thin line between 'crazy cat person' and 'bookstore with cat' just got a li'l bit thinner.

The Minnesota Post's Joe Kimball has a nice write-up about the W/T/A Price Wars. Unlike most of the other articles out there, Kimball keeps things fact based and relatively unbiased, resisting the urge to pen paeans to the indies. That said, as soon as he passes the mic to said indies, they can't wait to nominate themselves for sainthood. Yay us!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Bookish T-Shirt of the Day

It's comfy cuz it's true!
(To order, click here.)

Go, Look: The Comics Reporter on The Best American Comics 2009

In his review of the '09 edition of The Best American Comics, The Comics Reporter's Tom Spurgeon does a great job describing the mental push and pull of these inherently argument-inducing 'Best Of' books. I particularly like the line, "Most passionate comics readers with the ability to do so read the best the medium has to offer (at least in their view) somewhere between two months before the book comes out to two weeks after it hits the stands." In my opinion, this is the capital-d Difference between the target audience of The Best American Comics collections and those of the, say, poetry and short story collections. Most comics readers (myself included) are hyper-obsessive, highly opinionated motherf*ckers who -- before they've even opened a 'Best Of' book -- have already cataloged a laundry list of stories and strips that they believe are waaay more worthy of inclusion than the ones being blurbed on the cover. I mean, I may be wrong, but I doubt the folks reading The Best American Magazine Writing 2009 feel that they've read the lion's share of this year's premier periodical pieces, but I know for damned sure that your average comics reader believes they've read the best that their chosen art form has to offer. They're assh*les like that. (Myself included.)
Anyway, I'm rambling. Click here to read similar ideas expressed more succinctly.

Tuesday's Tips for NaNoWriMo Writers

This week's installment of Tuesday's Tips is dedicated to those insane souls who have taken up the National Novel Writing Month challenge: The completion of a 50,000 word novel in just 30 days. While some of the tip's titles may seem sorta obvious, I'd still recommend checking them out. After all, you're attempting to write a book in a month. You're gonna need all the help you can get.

With NaNowriMo already 36 hours in (EST), it may be a bit late to point you towards Robot's 6's advice regarding Hooking Readers in the First 8 Pages.

Keep in mind, though, that hooking the reader is only the beginning (literally!). Once that's accomplished, you've gotta figure out a way to keep them hooked. How? Cliffhangers.

As the pile of paper you hope to hold in your hands come December 1st will be -- at best -- a first draft, Between Fact & Fiction's Tips for First Drafting seems pretty damned apt.

There's no two ways about it -- 50,000 words is a lot of words. The temptation to pad things out with a bunch of thesaurus entries will no doubt prove awfully tempting. But when choosing words, should you eschew the arcane? (Or, to put it simpler: Big words -- yes or no?)

The Writer's Digest's 4 Techniques to Fire Up Your Fiction is actually closer to 27 techniques, as each of the aforementioned 4 are outline headings with 6 or 7 sub-divisions. Tricky? Yes. But who in their right mind is gonna purposefully click on a link boasting over two dozen writing tips when they're frantically trying to type 1,667 words per day?

To close this out, I'm offering a special link to those of you who promised your friends and family that you would not be participating in this year's madness. Consider it a sort of self-help group for folks trying to kick the NaNoWriMo habit: All Things Good's Saying No NaNoWriMo.

Related: Top 10 Night Before NaNoWriMo Tweets

Monday, November 2, 2009

Recommended Viewing:
Run DMC on Reading Rainbow

All praise be to Green Apple Core for the heads up!

Top 10 Night Before NaNoWriMo Tweets

National Novel Writing Month began on November 1st at 12:01 AM. While publishers and literary agents view this annual event as a 30 day ticking time-bomb destined to set off an unwanted explosion of query letters (most of which took longer to write than the actual books they're pitching), I prefer to see it as a global outpouring of unencumbered creativity (cuz I'm a shameless bullsh*itter) and a great way to while away some of those newly acquired hours of unemployment (cuz I'm also a realist).
To commemorate the 10th anniversary of 'NaNoWriMo' (and to buy the aforementioned agents and publishers some time to delete their Facebook accounts and change their email addresses), I rifled through thousands of 10/31's #nanowrimo tagged Tweets, whittling them down to these, my ten favorites.
Please enjoy.
(Then get back to writing!)

10. loudmouthman: Just think, if I put all the effort I put into twittering into #nanowrimo, I would have a lot of short, rather random chapters.

9. yougottawonder: Will the voice in my head that's telling me I'm not going to be able to write 50k words in 30 days please be quiet? #NaNoWriMo

8. inkwell_bkstr (I'm biased. So what?): All Gandhi did was not eat for a few weeks. #nanowrimo folk are writing a book in 30 days. Eat that Gandhi!!!

7. Babybahamut: My novel notes consist of one written line. That line is "//COMMENT//". :( #nanowrimo

6. TonyNoland: Agents: I am now taking bids for representation for the #nanowrimo I'm about to write.

5. writeranonymous: Are sex scenes an easy way of filling up the word count? #nanowrimo

4. DavidRozansky: There are no #nanowrimo failures, only #nanowrimo experiments.

3. ellejohara: I am so going to need gin for November. Lots of gin.

2. isaprospero: I have four and a half hours to make up a plot.

1. johnayliff: I have to write a novel.

Book News, In Brief

Wanna know how I made myself feel even worse about wasting a week's vacation at a sister-of-a-friend's wedding in rural WI? I read the LATimes' Literary Tour of Manhattan.

Book thieves take note: Yesterday's NYTimes printed a veritable shopping list of libraries where rare and expensive books are kept out in the open for public perusal. Think I'm exaggerating? Then why was the article in the Travel section and not the Books section?

A survey of more than 700 UK "town centres" found that 731 indie bookstores closed their doors in the first nine months of 2009. Apparently the funerals held for these stores were wreath-free affairs, as the same survey reports similarly sh*tty statistics for "town centre" florists.

More bad news. Indie bookshops hoping to take advantage of Amazon's deep discounts (many of which offer a better price than the publishers!) will want to start opening up alternate accounts today. PW reports that the online behemoth is limiting customers to three copies per title.

Edan Lepucki's About the Author is exactly the type of bookish blog post I love to read. It starts off conversational, morphs into the educational, and then, just when you're feeling relaxed, it smacks you upside the head with a razor sharp critique that forever changes the way you think of the subject being blogged about. I mean, it takes a touch genius to verbalize the ridiculousness of the 'I love my dog!' author photo, not to mention the corny cliche that is the 'Trench Coat Club.'

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Happy 13th Birthday Skylight Books!

Send 'em your well-wishes here.