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Book News for Thursday, July 23, 2009

  • A Heartbreaking Interview of Staggering Memoir: Time has a Q&A with Dave Eggers regarding his new book, Zeitoun. Luckily, they manage to also touch on his past:

    It's been nine years since A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius came out, and you went from being unknown to being heralded as the voice of Generation X. What was it like when that book came out?
    It was really unnerving and it shook me up a lot. I thought only a few people would ever read it. The first print run was only 8,000 or 9,000, and the publishers really thought they'd lose money on it. I also hadn't prepared for an older audience, but people with gray hair were reading it. That was unsettling because of all the cursing in the book. I was like, "Oh no, Uncle Fred is going to know I swear!" But I can't complain. I did warn Zeitoun, though. I said, "You have to know what you're getting into. This book might be huge, or it might go nowhere at all. You just never know.

    It occurs to me that I haven't seen "Generation X" written about in... probably nine years, I'd say. Guess Generation Z has taken over the media's fascination — or perhaps they're trying to figure out what to name successive generations now that they've run out of alphabet.

  • Dem Bones: The San Diego Comic Con is underway right now (can you smell the hype wafting all the way to wherever you live?). The best news yet to emerge from the convention is the continuation of Jeff Smith's Bone series.

    [Smith will] collaborate with writer Tom Sniegoski on Bone: Tall Tales, coming next summer. Next comes expansion of the Bone world — the Quest for the Spark Trilogy. Overseen by Smith, the trilogy will be written by Sniegoski and illustrated by Smith. The first book in the trilogy will be out in Fall 2010 and represents the first time Smith has continued Bone's adventures beyond the original series. Scholastic has sold more than 4 million copies of the Bone series.

    Smith also stated that, despite its rocky history in Hollywood, an animated feature of Bone is now "in active development" with Warner Bros.

  • Von but Not Forgotten: Fortunately for his fans, the late, great Kurt Vonnegut left an entire trunk of unpublished stuff lying around for people to publish posthumously. The latest endeavor will be a series of 14 short stories, to be published as individual eBooks.

    They will be released in advance of "Look at the Birdie," a new hardcover collection of Mr. Vonnegut's short fiction that Delacorte will release on Oct. 20. In a news release, the publisher said that the first story, "Hello Red," would be available as an e-book on Aug. 25, and a second, "The Petrified Ants," would be released on Sept. 29; the rest would be available on Oct. 20.

    Didn't Vonnegut himself write a story about an author whose posthumous output was greater than what he published while alive? Well, he should have.

Book News Round-up:

  • Quote of the day: "[Miranda] July's stories are the short fiction equivalent of frottage."

    Well, the subway was swaying an awful lot while she was reading them...

  • Plastic Logic, the makers of the forthcoming "touch-screen" eBook reader, will use AT&T's wireless network.

    My favorite part of the article: the ad that popped up on my page was for the new Kindle.

  • In a sign of the times, USA Today's bestseller list will now include Amazon Kindle sales in its rankings.

    And in related news, Amazon has bought online shoe merchant Zappos.com, making the Internet just a little bit smaller and a few lucky people very, very rich.

  • Aimee Bender writes about her failed marriage for the Washington Post.

    Read Dave's interview with Bender for Powells.com.

  • How Target turns books into bullseyes.

    See what I did there? I did some wordplay with Target and the red bullseye logo and... yeah, it's just not very impressive, is it?

  • HarperStudio puts it well: "Leave it to the French to give us such a civilized vision of how the physical book and electronic book might someday coexist."

    Also, it's nice to see that French men are still depicted in French films (even short Internet videos) as unwashed, unshaved, scruffy-haired, and surly.

÷ ÷ ÷

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. Crown of Horns: Bone Graphic Novels... Used Trade Paper $6.50
  2. Look at the Birdie: Unpublished... Used Hardcover $9.95
  3. Zeitoun
    Used Hardcover $12.95
  4. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering...
    Used Trade Paper $7.95
  5. No One Belongs Here More Than You:...
    Used Hardcover $11.95
  6. Willful Creatures: Stories
    New Trade Paper $14.95

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