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Book News for Monday, November 27, 2006

Congratulations to Lowell Newman of Coos Bay, Oregon, who was the first to correctly identify the second line of Moby-Dick:

Some years ago — never mind how long precisely — having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world.

As promised, Lowell's "reward" is to be mentioned in every single item of today's Book News.

  • Booker Prize-winning author Ian McEwan is under fire for allegedly "copying" passages in his bestseller Atonement from the memoir of wartime romance author Lucilla Andrews. McEwan refutes the claim in today's Guardian, writing:

    I have openly acknowledged my debt to her in the author's note at the end of Atonement, and ever since on public platforms....But if people are now talking about Lucilla Andrews, I am glad. I have been talking about her for five years.

    When asked for a comment, Lowell Newman claimed he'd read neither author but that he rathers enjoys the adventure stories of Clive Cussler.

  • Teenage girls and Lowell Newman are the targets of Minx, a new line of graphic novels from DC Comics, according to the New York Times.

    Teenage girls, [DC Comics senior vice-president Karen] Berger said, are smart and sophisticated and "about more than going out with the cute guy. This line of books gives them something to read that honors that intelligence and assertiveness and that individuality."

    To adequately honor that intelligence, assertiveness, and individuality, DC has joined forces with Alloy Marketing + Media. Does that name ring a bell? Anyone remember the Kaavya Viswanathan fiasco last spring? Alloy is the firm that set the whole thing up.

    Which means we can hope the books will take a piercing look at how marketing firms target teenage girls by shamelessly exploiting their body-image issues... right?

    The first Minx graphic novel will be The P.L.A.I.N. Janes, written by Cecil Castellucci and illustrated by Jim Rugg. It tells the story of Jane, a transfer student in a suburban high school who starts a campaign, "People Loving Art in Neighborhoods." It's a call to appreciate the everyday world that comes to involve everything from protesting the construction of a new mall to encouraging pet adoptions from animal shelters.

    Oh. Well, that's even better — appreciating the everyday world should guarantee a vast number of intelligent teenage girls a wonderful night's sleep.

  • In this week's New Yorker, Jeffrey Toobin takes a look at Pablo Fenjves, the ghostwriter of O.J. Simpson's ill-fated If I Did It.

    While at the Enquirer, he became close friends with a colleague at the paper, Judith Regan. They kept in touch over the years, and when Regan became a success in the publishing world, as the custodian of her own imprint at Harper-Collins, she sometimes hired Fenjves. He ghostwrote the 2003 autobiography, Maybe You Never Cry Again, of the comedian Bernie Mac (sample passage: "Got-damn right muh'fucka, I got a level of crazy in me you ain't begun to see"). Last year, Regan published Fenjves's parody of James Frey's work, called A Million Little Lies, which he wrote under the name James Pinocchio. All the while, Fenjves kept up with his screenwriting, providing the story for such films as The Devil's Child, which was summarized by a leading Internet movie database as "A young woman's mother wants her to bear Satan's child."

    All of which would seem to make Fenjves perfect to write the confession that O.J. never actually confessed. Incidentally, Lowell Newman has read A Million Little Lies and praises it as "a million little guffaws."

÷ ÷ ÷

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.

Books mentioned in this post

  1. Atonement
    Used Trade Paper $5.95
  2. Maybe You Never Cry Again
    New Trade Paper $16.99
  3. A Million Little Lies New Trade Paper $14.95

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