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Book News for Tuesday, March 20, 2007

  • Half an Emperor: Just as I feared round two of the Tournament of Books would shuffle along predictably, in steps BookSlut's Jessa Crispin to step things up.

    Today's match-up: Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie vs. The Emperor's Children by Claire Messud.

    Jessa wastes no time in drawing blood:

    Claire Messud is a fantastic writer. It’s just a pity that she doesn’t seem to have anything to say.

    So I'm thinking: Win to the writer whose name I can't pronounce! But not so fast...

    Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, on the other hand, is a young writer, and it shows. The pacing of Half of a Yellow Sun is off, and chunks of the book could be removed and no one would notice.

    Now I'm wondering if Jessa will just flip a coin and then throw the coin out the window and declare no winner for this round. Not quite.

    I was so disappointed with The Emperor’s Children that I became bitter enough to whoop with joy when one of the three main characters is attacked and permanently scarred. In keeping with the shallowness of the rest of the book, however, of course the scar only works to make the character more handsome. So even though I wouldn’t normally consider Half of a Yellow Sun one of the best books of 2006, it’s moved on to the next round by default.

    Which will no doubt disappoint many Messud fans, but not me — yours truly foresaw this very outcome!

    Unfortunately, I have no way to prove it since I biffed it in both first round predictions for this bracket, somehow fooling myself into believing The Echo Maker would wind up facing off against Absurdistan. Look, this is why I don't blow my money at the horse track, okay?

    Don't count me out yet! The Road could still prevail in the next bracket, and maybe Absurdistan will be the book that returns in the Zombie Round, which means I might yet be proved victorious...

  • It's Not Easy Being Green: Has the world finally turned some sort of corner where suddenly green is the prevailing color?

    The 784-page Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, which will get the world's biggest first printing (12 million copies!) for its July 21st publication date, will also be environmentally friendly.

    Scholastic Inc. announced Tuesday that it had agreed with the Rainforest Alliance, a conservation organization that works with the business community, on tightened environmental standards...

    Among the details of Tuesday's agreement:

    • The paper used will contain "a minimum of 30 percent post-consumer waste (pcw) fiber."
    • Nearly two-thirds of the 16,700 tons of paper will be approved by the Forest Stewardship Council, an international organization with a mission to "promote environmentally responsible, socially beneficial and economically viable management of the world's forests."
    • A "deluxe" edition of the new book, which has a first printing of 100,000, will be printed on paper that contains "100 percent post-consumer waste fiber."

    Along with the Rainforest Alliance's sustainable forestry program, I applaud this decision — and to show my solidarity with the cause, I henceforth promise to use only recycled news stories every day on the blog.

  • Shamelessly without Shame: Portland's own Willamette Week has a story on our recent online book buying program. And by "story," I mean they basically reprint the press release with a teensy bit of an intro. Enjoy!

÷ ÷ ÷

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. Half of a Yellow Sun
    Used Hardcover $9.95
  2. The Emperor's Children
    Used Hardcover $7.95
  3. The Echo Maker: A Novel
    Used Hardcover $6.95
  4. Absurdistan: A Novel
    Used Hardcover $8.50
  5. The Road
    Used Hardcover $13.50
  6. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows...
    Used Hardcover $8.95

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