- The $40 Million Question: Bestselling novelist Patricia Cornwell is suing her accountants and business advisers to find out how it's possible that she could have lost $40 million. I only wish she'd lost it a little closer to my house.
The famed crime writer claims that Anchin, Block & Anchin LLP — a blue-chip New York financial-management firm that specializes in "privately held businesses and high net worth individuals," including such celebrities as Robert De Niro — mishandled not only her own money, but that of her spouse of two years, Harvard neuroscientist Staci Gruber.
Her new Kay Scarpetta book, The Scarpetta Factor, is available now.
- State of E-mergency: Hold the (cell)phone on that e-reader boom business we've been hearing so much about. Bloomberg sizes up the current e-reader situation, and finds it sadly lacking:
Everyone from desperate publishers to techno-lusting consumers knows what an e-reader should be: a thin, light, affordable tablet with a bright color touch screen, decent battery life and fast wireless access to books, magazines, newspapers and work documents.
A flood of new e-readers will hit the market over the next few months, and none of them will come anywhere close to that vision. E-readers are still in their infancy, saddled with monochrome screens ranging from bad to adequate, and user interfaces that few would describe as elegant. They also have limited flexibility in terms of where you can go for content and what you can do with it once you get it.
So, maybe the revolution isn't here quite yet. Babysteps to the revolution, people.
- The Vampire King: Stephen King will make his comic book-writing debut with American Vampire, a new supernatural series from Vertigo (DC's adult imprint) that was created by Voodoo Heart author Scott Snyder.
The series twists the well-trod vampire legend by allowing the creatures to evolve into a distinctly American creature and will follow the adventures of Skinner Sweet, a sociopathic outlaw in the Wild West who becomes the first American vampire. Unlike European vamps, Skinner is powered by the sun and, true to his native environment, has rattlesnake fangs. Each cycle, consisting of five individual comic issues, will take place in a different period of time in American history, tracing Skinner's descendants, with Skinner himself as a recurring character.
When American Vampire was in the early stages of being greenlit, the editors at Vertigo asked Snyder if he knew anyone that would be willing to give a blurb to the project. Snyder had maintained a friendship with Stephen King after King had written a blurb for Voodoo Heart, so he sent King what he had so far of the series.
"He came back saying he loved it and he'd actually be willing to do a few issues at some point if we wanted him to," Snyder says. "I went back to Vertigo and pretty much made sure that they were gonna take it regardless. It was really important to me that they weren't going to take it because Steve was involved, because I'm the one who has to carry the series beyond Steve."
King will pen the first five issues of the series, which debuts in monthly installments in March 2010.
Book News Round-up:
- Just in time for Halloween, NPR offers Three Hauntingly Unforgettable Literary Houses. Quick — close your eyes and guess which three. Betcha get at least one (if not two) dead-right.
- Spiritual guru James Arthur Ray, whose pedigree includes appearances on The Oprah Winfrey Show, is being investigated for his involvement in a fatal "sweat lodge ceremony" last month that cost three people their lives.
Now his publisher, Hyperion, has postponed the paperback version of Ray's book Harmonic Wealth: The Secret of Attracting the Life You Want and the hardcover release of his new book, The Seven Laws of True Wealth: Create the Life You Desire and Deserve.
- If you missed last weekend's New Yorker Festival, fear not — The Rumpus has an overview, including readings from Mary Gaitskill, Jonathan Franzen, George Saunders, Gary Shteyngart, Malcolm Gladwell, and actor James Franco — although I'm not exactly clear why he was there, and the piece doesn't offer much in the way of suggestions.
- The new cookbook All Cakes Considered offers a year's worth of cakes approved by the staff of NPR's All Things Considered.
- For all the bells and whistles on the new Barnes & Noble e-reader the Nook, The Daily Beast's Nicholas Ciarelli thinks it's the lowest-tech feature that will make it a hit: "lending a book to a friend."
- Can the Apple Tablet Kill the Kindle?
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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