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Author Archive: "Lewis"

Book News for Friday, August 4, 2006

We are faced with very slim pickings for book news today, so rather than report news about books I am going to relate other stories and then attempt some really awkward segues to some books I particularly like.

  • All right, well this first one is sort of book related. It is an eerie, creepy story about bookbinding and the old practice of binding medical books in human skin. This is a tenuous stretch, I grant you, but it reminds me of the weird and wonderful world of The Museum of Jurassic Technology, which is brilliantly documented by Lawrence Weschler in his book Mr. Wilson's Cabinet of Wonder. The last time I visited the museum it had a new tea room and some excellent mugs with bees on them.
  • Magicians share their secrets at the World Championship of Magic and keep the rest of us in the dark, as usual. Wouldn't you love to sneak in and discover what they were saying in there? Well, perhaps you'll discover the odd magic trick in the new novel by one of my favorite authors, Louise Welsh. It is


Book News for Thursday, August 3, 2006

  • Orange Prize-winning author Lionel Shriver writes an article for the Guardian about how difficult it is to get a good cover design. She takes umbrage at computer generated design as opposed to original art like a drawing or painting and writes "I fear that, like so many recent art school graduates, most of these technologically nimble professionals do not know how to draw." I'd say Shriver's award-wining We Need To Talk about Kevin's jacket art illustrates her point beautifully.
  • The LA Times reports that Stephen King and John Irving have made a plea to J.K. Rowling not to kill off Harry Potter. Rowling wasn't making any promises but pointed out that the two of them had killed off many more characters that she has ever done. (By the way — aren't these French Sorciers just adorable!)
  • And I feel compelled to point you to this fascinating story about a scientific imaging team that has found hidden writings of Archimedes within an ancient palimpsest. Tomorrow Stanford University will be running a live webcast which will feature scientists and scholars discussing their findings


Book News for Tuesday, August 1, 2006

  • Slate has been airing a podcast featuring conversations about books. I have been led to it from Edward Champion's blog who cites Tayari Jones's posting on the discussion about Toni Morrison's novel Beloved. Tayani asks: "Will somebody go listen to the rest of the broadcast (I just can't!) and see if they realise how racist it is to assume that a work by an African American woman author must suck? It's a crazy paradox, I must say. The panelists seemed to take her success as further proof that her writing must be terrible."

    Edward Champion listened for just a little longer: "Metcalf’s chief objection to the book is that 'the sense of history felt so abstract.' And at this point, I Alt-F4ed the player, realizing that listening to any more of this nonsense would dull my mind. And if I wanted to lose brain cells, I preferred to do it through heavy drinking."

    I listened for an extra seven or so minutes further, and I can reassure Tayari and Edward it does not get any better — well, actually it becomes a little less brutal, but not


Book News for Monday, July 31, 2006

  • Armistead Maupin's riveting novel The Night-Listener has been turned into a movie starring Robin Williams and the divine Toni Collete. The movie will open this Friday. The Night Listener is about a late-night radio host who befriends a young listener whose horrific past has granted him wisdom beyond his years. The book actually bears resemblance to a particular literary hoax that was exposed a while ago. However, I worry in even saying that I'm giving too much away. Maupin will be on Jimmy Kimmel Live tonight actually. I wonder if the hoax topic will come up?
  • More authors on the telly — tonight Peter Beinart, author of The Good Fight: Why Liberals — And Only Liberals — Can Win the War on Terror and Make America Great Again, is on the dazzling Colbert Report this evening as well. Beinart is also editor at large of the New Republic, the fabulous magazine which hosts our Thursday reviews, and which receives both the most negative and positive reactions from our subscribers.
  • And then of course, there is Roger Mellie, The Man on the Telly. Oh... except he isn't


Book News for Friday, July 28, 2006

  • One of Powell's favorite authors, Gary Shteyngart, writes of his summers in Russia as a small boy in today's New York Times. While his reminiscences are fascinating and seem so different to how many of us recall our childhood holidays, it is worth bearing in mind his opinion expressed in his interview with Dave for

    Growing up, I always thought Russia would become more like America — more democracy, some kind of functioning market system — but I think America is becoming more like Russia. That's the sense I got when I was writing Absurdistan. Look, you have a country that spies on its own citizens — it's straight out of Brezhnev.

  • This has to be one of the television highlights of the week, the month, the season — for me, anyhow: two of my favorite authors, Martin Amis and Margaret Atwood, speaking about religion on Bill Moyer's PBS program Faith and Reason. I'm picturing some sort of boxing match between Faith and Reason. I'm on Reason's side personally, although living in America you're a fool if you didn't put your money on Faith.


Book News for Thursday, July 27, 2006

  • July 29th not only marks Farley's 30th birthday it also is the 25th anniversary of Lady Di's wedding to Prince Charles. On that day, when the whole world watched, she wore an enourmous, poufy dress, with ribbons and bows and sleeves bigger than her head. Oddly enough, Harper Design has chosen to celebrate the dress in a book called A Dress for Diana. (More about the dress here at USA Today)
  • Leora Skolkin-Smith, author of Edges: O Israel, O Palestine, is organizing a book reading for Seeds of Peace, to be held in September at the McNally-Robinson Booksellers in New York. Authors so far slated are Robb Forman Dew, Binnie Kirshenbaum, Katharine Weber, Leora Skolkin-Smith, and Masha Hamilton.
  • This is an interesting article about the fading of Da Vinci Code fever, a phenomenon that has persisted for over three years!
  • Funnily enough, Shelf Awareness mentions that Sony's eReader's launch, which was supposed to occur last spring, is now scheduled for fall, "just in time for the holidays." The first books available at the launch are listed as The Da Vinci Code


Book News for Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Even Bookdwarf admits it is a quiet day in the book world today. Bookdwarf is taking her mother to an art gallery. I, on the other hand, am waiting for Dave to return from lunch with some new flavor of Gatorade he is keen on. He is determinded to prove that Gatorade is not only drinkable, but indeed tasty. We'll see about that...

  • Well, yet another romance publisher is getting into the reader particpation game. An imprint of Harper Collins, Avon Romance is introducing a contest encouraging readers to create an original story online (I'm dying to see how "original" a romance plot is going to be). Although this doesn't start until August 23rd, you can sign up and be notified when the games begin.
  • The Australian Federal Attorney General wants broader powers to ban books that "urge or provide instruction or praise for acts of terrorism." While Turkey continues to prosecute writers who insult "Turkishness."
  • The New Statesman features an article by John Gray called The Battle of the Books, and which asks, "What works can be said to have altered history?"

    On a side


Book News for Tuesday, July 25, 2006

  • Publishers Weekly announced that Sam Raimi, the man responsible for the legendary Evil Dead trilogy, and more recently the Spider-Man franchise, has optioned Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth series and has plans to create a TV mini-series from them. There are currently ten books in Goodkind's series and the eleventh and final installment is due out in 2008.
  • Harlequin romance begs the question "What is Love?" and asks for reader participation at
    Submissions could feature in an upcoming Harlequin title (your words, Fabio's chest). Read some of their examples ("a strawberry banana smoothie on a hot day," anyone?) and be inspired!
  • Ex-Jeopardy contestant, blogger, and author of the forthcoming book Prisoner of Trebekistan, has created a short promo video wherein he hurls every cruddy drug store item he has received since being on Jeopardy into a pile. The video is somewhat eye-opening, but not as hilarious as his publisher insists his book will be. However, the book is blurbed by Joss Whedon, so I guess I'll be reading it anyhow. (Courtesy of
  • The new hot title for all those fans of Freakonomics and Malcolm Gladwell is Chris


Book News for Monday, July 24, 2006

I start today's book news with a piece of sad news. Our intrepid blogger Brockman has been involved in what can only be described as a ruinous encounter with some greenery whilst on vacation down in Cancun or Belize, or someplace like that. It was hard to understand much of what he said, but we're afraid he might be gone for a while. Please be patient as I attempt to keep timely and at least somewhat entertaining.

So, on with the news:


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