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Book News for Friday, February 6, 2009

  • Not the Endpoint: We haven't quite seen the last of John Updike yet. Knopf has announced a trio of upcoming books by the late author, including his final collection of poems, Endpoint, whose publication has been pushed up to April — fittingly, for for National Poetry Month.

    Knopf will also publish two other books by Updike this year: a new collection of short fiction called My Father's Tears and Other Stories, to be published in June, and, in August under the Everyman's Library imprint, The Maples Stories, the first hardcover publication of 17 stories originally issued in paperback by Fawcett in 1979 under the title Too Far to Go, as well as a new story.

    I wouldn't be at all surprised, either, to find newly repackaged editions of all his other works in the next year or so.

  • The Nightmare before Valentine's Day: This week's big opener at the cineplex is Coraline, director Henry Selick's stop-motion-animated adaptation of Neil Gaiman's award-winning children's book.

    Over on Metacritic, the film has a supremely positive ranking of 80/100. A sampling of responses:

    • "This thrilling stop-motion animated adventure is a high point in Selick's career of creating handcrafted wonderlands of beauty blended with deep, disconcerting creepiness." — Entertainment Weekly
    • "A classic fairy tale with a contemporary sensibility and a spooky horror under the candy-house fantasy." — Seattle Post-Intelligencer
    • "A remarkable feat of imagination, a magical tale with a genuinely sinister edge." — Los Angeles Times
    • "Coraline lingers in an atmosphere that is creepy, wonderfully strange and full of feeling." — The New York Times
    • "Coraline is essentially faithful to the spirit of its source material. But it's also so visually inventive, and so elaborately tactile, that it stands apart as its own creation." — Salon.com
    • "This is a gloomy film with weird characters doing nasty things. I've heard of eating chocolate-covered insects, but not when they're alive." — Roger Ebert
    • "For all its visual delights, however, Coraline remains more an engaging spectacle than a connective drama. That is chiefly because of the writing. Director-writer Henry Selick doesn't reach for the kind of universality that would enrich the movie." — The Washington Post

  • It's About Bloomin' Time: IDW Publishing has announced the commencement of The Bloom County Library, which will reprint the entirety of Berke Breathed's acclaimed '80s comic strip, beginning in October 2009.

    Beginning in October 2009, each of the five volumes will collect nearly two years worth of daily and Sunday strips, in chronological order...."Fans have pestered me for years," said Berkeley Breathed, "for this ultimate Bloom County collection in that polite, respectful badgering way that only fans can manage. Thank God I can now tell them something better than just 'please remove your tent from my lawn.' I can say, 'It's coming!'"

    The hardcover volumes sound as though they'll be somewhat similar to Fantagraphics' Complete Peanuts series, only much shorter. And with more drug use.

Book News Round-Up

  • Brooklyn poet Matthea Harvey has won the $100,000 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award from Claremont Graduate University, for her book Modern Life: Poems.

    Portland poet Matthew Dickman got the $10,000 Kate Tufts Discovery Award for his book All-American Poem.

  • The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals gave the Miami-Dade County School District the go-ahead to start yanking copies of a book about Cuba from its libraries: "The board has argued that the books, for children ages 5 to 8, present an inaccurate view of life in Cuba."

    Heavens knows we don't allow inaccurate representations in our public schools.

  • Bestselling juggernaut John Grisham just says no to politics. "I've got the easiest life in the world," he announced — at which point a hidden band of crazed literary critics popped up and started hurling copies of Strunk and White at the fleeing author.
  • The New York Times looks in on Bryan Lee O'Malley, making his first appearance at the New York Comic Con to present the fifth Scott Pilgrim graphic novel, Scott Pilgrim vs. the Universe. The series has been optioned for film, with Michael Cera playing the lead.

÷ ÷ ÷

Brockman is the head writer for the daily Book News posts on the Powells.com blog. In his free time he's hard at work on his fictional memoir, which changes titles daily.

The views and commentary posted by Brockman are entirely his own, and are not representative of the whole of Powell's Books, its employees, or any sane human being.


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One Response to "Book News for Friday, February 6, 2009"

  1.  
    what the… February 6th, 2009 at 2:44 pm

    IDW is publishing several other high-quality reprints of comic strips, including Dick Tracy, Little Orphan Annie, and Terry & the Pirates. I would bet the book design for Bloom County will bear some resemblance to these books, albeit with its own Berkeley Breathed madness. All these reprints are part of a golden age of reprinting golden age newspaper strips from publishers such as IDW, Fantagraphics, Drawn & Quarterly, Sunday Press, and others. It's enough to make this middle-aged man drool...

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