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Book News for Thursday, August 27, 2009

  • In Memoriam: Senator Edward Kennedy died yesterday at the age of 77, following a long battle with brain cancer.

    Kennedy's memoir True Compass has been bumped up to a September 14th publication date, according to the New York Times. But that's far from the late senator's only book appearance.

    In addition to his inclusion in any number of Kennedy dynasty books, he's had his own biographies (including this one from Adam Clymer), a campaign policy book that is credited to him (but was probably largely ghostwritten), and even a children's book with a cute dog on the cover.

    (Not to mention Joyce Carol Oates's novel Black Water, based on the notorious Chappaquiddick incident.)

  • In Memoriam: The literary world lost another giant yesterday when Dominick Dunne succumbed to cancer at the age of 83.

    Remembrances from:
    The Los Angeles Times
    The Associated Press
    Entertainment Weekly
    Tina Brown shares her recollections from years of working together at Vanity Fair
    And here's a less-than-fond one from the Baltimore Sun blog

  • Greene Day: A forgotten Graham Greene novel finally sees the light of day.

    Francois Gallix, a professor of contemporary literature in English at the Sorbonne in Paris, was studying in Austin, Texas, on a Fulbright scholarship when he came across something unexpected among the papers of the late author Graham Greene: an unfinished murder mystery titled The Empty Chair.

    [...] The manuscript, which Gallix describes as containing "a lot of humor," was written in 1926, when the author was 22.

    Greene's children agreed to let The Strand Magazine serialize the novel, which has four lengthy chapters followed by a fifth chapter that ends rather abruptly. The serialization began in The Strand's summer 2009 issue and will continue until summer 2010.

    Click here to read the first chapter online (no fair guessing which author wrote it now).

  • Most Unfortunate News: Cheer up, fans of intense gloom and macabre misfortune! Daniel Handler is hard at work on a new series from his alter ego, Lemony Snicket.

    Mr. Handler told the BBC: "I can neither confirm nor deny that I have begun research into a new case, and I can neither confirm nor deny that the results are as dreadful and unnerving as 'A Series Of Unfortunate Events.'"

    The first book is due in 2012 — assuming the world doesn't end as certain paranoid conspiracy theorists have predicted. Although, really, wouldn't an apocalypse be a fitting way to debut a new Lemony Snicket book?

  • We're Gonna Need a Bigger Blog: Shelf Discovery author Lizzie Skurnick confesses her guilty beach-read pleasure to NPR:

    You're supposed to feel guilty when you secretly like the movie version of a book better than the book itself, but in the case of Jaws — a book I read and reread long before I was allowed to see the film — I'm far more embarrassed to admit I prefer the novel.

    I haven't read the book and don't know that I ever will — I love the movie too much, and I just can't imagine it without the John Williams score.

Book News Round-up:

  • Are you a comics virgin? Say, you're getting ready to receive the new Indiespensable with David Small's amazing graphic novel/memoir Stitches, but you've never read a full-length comic in your life.

    The Examiner has some tips on where and how to get started.

  • An alliance of evil booksellers and literary groups has launched its first strike against the dreaded Google book settlement on a new website,

    The site summarizes the argument by the group against Google’s settlement, which it says "threatens to monopolize the access to and distribution and pricing of the largest digital database of books in the world."

  • NPR offers an excerpt of the second chapter from Suzanne Collins's Catching Fire, the sequel to her bestselling novel The Hunger Games.
  • The Los Angeles Times on Louise Glück's poetry collection A Village Life:

    Not many poets can be electrifying while keeping the stakes this hypothermically low. Glück is a master, finely calibrating the shocks and their intervals. This collection, her 11th, is frightening the way a living statue would be frightening if it were to smile at you.

  • Michael Korda calls Michael M. Thomas's Love and Money "a beach read, but a superior and elegant one, and if you have any beach time left, it would be a good book to take with you."

÷ ÷ ÷

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.

Books mentioned in this post

  1. Edward M. Kennedy: A Biography Used Trade Paper $3.48
  2. America Back on Track Used Hardcover $9.95
  3. My Senator and Me: A Dog's-Eye View...
    Used Hardcover $5.95
  4. Black Water (Plume Contemporary Fiction) Used Trade Paper $5.50
  5. Shelf Discovery: The Teen Classics... Used Trade Paper $7.50
  6. Stitches
    Used Hardcover $14.00

  7. The Life of Graham Greene, Volume... Used Hardcover $5.50
  8. Catching Fire (The Hunger Games #2)
    Used Hardcover $7.50
  9. The Hunger Games (Hunger Games #01)
    Used Hardcover $5.95
  10. Love and Money Used Trade Paper $11.95
  11. A Series of Unfortunate Events No.... Used Trade Paper $3.50
  12. A Village Life Used Hardcover $11.95
  13. True Compass: A Memoir
    Used Hardcover $5.95

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