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Authors, readers, critics, media — and booksellers.


Book News for Tuesday, November 3, 2009

  • A Load of Bull-ano: An essay by Horacio Castellanos Moya, reprinted in Guernica magazine, disputes the North American romance of the late author Roberto Bolaño.

    Moya's argument isn't entirely clear to me — it seems to be something along the lines that Bolaño's U.S. publishers (and, by extension, readers) are buying a manufactured image of the author as iconoclastic, youthful rebel rather than the family man he later became when he wrote his acclaimed novels The Savage Detectives and 2666.

    American readers, with The Savage Detectives, want to confirm their worst paternalistic prejudices about Latin America...like the superiority of the Protestant work ethic or the dichotomy according to which North Americans see themselves as workers, mature, responsible, and honest, while they see their neighbors to the South as lazy, adolescent, reckless, and delinquent.

  • Lacuna Matata: NPR is launching a new feature called "What We're Reading" and they want you to weigh in.

    The first segment features the new Barbara Kingsolver novel, The Lacuna, along with new books by Jonathan Safran Foer, Paul Auster, and Philip Roth.

    On a related note, Maureen Corrigan has not-so-nice things to say about The Lacuna on this Fresh Air segment:

    Kingsolver deserves kudos, if only because she seems to be single-handedly keeping consumer zest alive for the literary novel. I wish I could say she also deserves kudos for writing a spectacular work of fiction, but to tell you the truth, it's just — at best — so-so. In fact, as a piece of historical fiction, it has a lot in common with those conventional works of genre fiction that Amazon and the big box stores are hawking at cut-rate bargain prices.

    Well, even if the book turns out to be a disappointment, at least it will have helped run any number of independent booksellers out of business.

  • Where Authors Win Glory: In his new book, Where Men Win Glory, Jon Krakauer asserts that the current commander of the U.S. forces in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, was involved in the cover-up of former NFL star Pat Tillman's death.

    The assertion made headlines recently after a Meet the Press interview, but the Huffington Post points out that the subject actually came up in Krakauer's Daily Show interview a month ago.

    Here's the interview to prove it:

    The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c
    Jon Krakauer
    Daily Show
    Full Episodes
    Political Humor Health Care Crisis

Book News Round-up:

  • The review editors of Publishers Weekly have compiled their first-ever "Top 10 list of the best adult books of the year." The honored titles include Stitches by David Small, Shop Class as Soulcraft by Matthew B. Crawford, and The Lost City of Z by David Grann.

    Click the respective links to read the Powells.com interviews with David Small, Matthew B. Crawford, and David Grann.

  • Barnes & Noble is getting sued over the design of its new e-reader, the Nook.

    According to Spring Design, the two companies had been in contact with each other over ereader designs since the beginning of the year, with various executives exchanging calls, meetings and product details under NDA — which would certainly explain why there are suddenly two Android-based ereaders on the market with dual electronic ink and capacitive LCD touchscreen displays.

    Compare their designs: here's the Spring Design Alex vs. the B&N Nook.

  • Is the Kindle threatened by iPhone eBook apps? PC World says yes. Wait... sorry, PC World also says no. Guess that adds up to a "maybe."
  • R.I.P. hardcovers? How am I gonna rock my guns without lifting those heavy suckers while I read?

÷ ÷ ÷

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

One Response to "Book News for Tuesday, November 3, 2009"

    KevinS November 3rd, 2009 at 4:21 pm

    Wow. It's good to know that NPR is thinking outside the box and touting fresh talent. Kingsolver? Foer? Auster? Roth? I've never heard of any of these dudes!

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