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Book News for Monday, May 29, 2006

Just a word of note before we commence: this week's guest, Chris Ballard, will start blogging with tomorrow's entry. It seems that most people have today off... something about a Memorial Day... I don't know, I'm hearing all kinds of rumors while I work at my desk...

  • Despite not-so-great reviews, X-Men: The Last Stand opened at an estimated $107 million, setting a new Memorial Day record. I'm only mentioning it, really, so I can slip in another shameless plug for our sale: Buy any two new X-Men books and get a third (of equal or lesser value) free! Really — whatever books you buy have got to be better than the movie.
  • For those of us who have the kind of job that makes you work on Memorial Day (not to mention Labor Day, President's Day, Arbor Day...), QuickMuse might help the hours pass a little faster. It's "a cutting contest, a linguistic jam session, a series of on-the-fly compositions in which some great poets riff away on a randomly picked subject" whose best feature is the playback session that "lets you watch the poems unfold, second by second." Which means staring at a page for 15 minutes while words appear, disappear, reappear, etc. What, you've got something better to do?

    Today's poet match-up is Paul Muldoon and Thylias Moss. Tomorrow, look for Julianna Baggott and Robert Pinsky.

  • Marjane Satrapi's acclaimed graphic novel Persepolis is being adapted into an animated feature from Sony Pictures Classics — co-directed by Satrapi. No release date yet.
  • Even with the guilty verdict against Ken Lay and Jeffrey Skilling, Enron books just aren't selling that well:

    Enron's legacy includes several well-regarded books, an Oscar-nominated documentary, a mountain of memorabilia and — based on sales of those items — lots of yawns.

    Seriously? Readers aren't fascinated by the complex inner workings of a company whose very existence nobody actually understands? Curious.

  • Remember the Kaavya Viswanathan ordeal? All the laughter, the tears, the shock, the schadenfreude... the memories we made together. You've already forgotten, haven't you? How you break my heart.

    Anyway, here's the best take on the whole affair I've read yet:

    Forbidden, silenced, the novel now becomes readable, as gripping as a mystery. The bizarre tonal changes suddenly make sense: The whole thing isn't a cloying fantasy of having it all, but the nightmare of answered prayers. Paragraphs dripping with entitlement conceal not only purloined prose, but also clues that sound, chillingly, like a cry for help.

    Which begs the question: when will someone write How Opal Mehta Stole from Authors, Got Caught, and Went Apesh*t with a Semiautomatic Rifle?

  • Oh, how I wish Fantagraphics had turned thirty when I was a teenager: "Look, Mom! People can have careers reading and writing about comic books, and then establish a highly successful independent line that runs for thirty years. It's legit, Mom, I swear!"

÷ ÷ ÷

Brockman is the head writer for the daily Book News posts on the 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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