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Book News for Wednesday, December 3, 2008

  • Reviews to Watch Out for: The New York Times reviews The Essential Dykes to Watch Out for.

    As you can surmise from the title, the book is a collection of Alison (Fun Home) Bechdel's long-running comic strip about the most important artificial slopes running alongside rivers that may be overflowing to a dangerous degree, threatening the local populace.

    Wait, I seem to have misunderstood the title:

    For more than 20 years Bechdel has been the creator of "Dykes to Watch Out For," a weekly comic strip, printed mostly in college-town alternative newspapers, about the fractious lives and loves of an articulate group of lesbians in a city that resembles Minneapolis. The strip is sexy, sometimes in an R-rated way — imagine "Doonesbury" with regular references to sex toys — and it's political, in a feisty, lefty, Greenpeace meets PETA meets MoveOn.org kind of way. Ms. Bechdel's lesbians wanted to impeach the first George Bush.

    Do we have to imagine "Doonesbury" with sex toys? Didn't Trudeau do a whole storyline about that one time? He's always been fond of depicting various characters as objects, such as a feather for Dan Quayle, and in that story... hmm, I may be wrong about this, too.

    Could be I'm confusing "Doonesbury" with "The Family Circus."

    Taken together, these comic strips don't have the tightly coiled impact of "Fun Home," but in some ways they offer greater consolations — they're looser, more funny, and they offer the chance to watch a group of very appealing women grow and change and struggle to have better sex over the course of more than two decades.

    If that description didn't prompt you to instantly add The Essential Dykes to Watch Out for to your online shopping cart, I don't think I want to invite you to Brockman's Annual Non-Denominational, Totally Naked Holiday Extravaganza.

  • Twi-lit Up: If you don't think Twilight (the book or the movie) can mess up your brain, check out what it's done to the film's star:

    All those hunky vampire boys done fried up Kristen Stewart's brain! Evidently the creatures of the night don't just lure innocent teens into premarrital sex or tempt them to drink human blood — they also coax them into smoking the devil's weed!

    And giving really bad, flat performances. While uttering inane dialogue that no sane (or, well, sober) human being can hear without laughing uncontrollably.

    The evil must be stopped, I tell you — STOPPED!!!

    Or invited to provide party refreshments for Brockman's Annual Non-Denominational, Totally Naked Holiday Extravaganza.

  • Cover Story: The Book Design Review offers its favorite covers of 2008.

    You should never judge a book by its cover, of course, but these covers are too good to ignore.

  • Some Like It Holt: Huzzah for the return of Pat Holt's Holt Uncensored — this time as a blog!

    If you were a bookseller in the late '90s/early '00s, you no doubt subscribed to Holt's weekly email and eagerly anticipated the moment when her spiky opinions would enliven your work day. And now... she's back!!

    Regardless of how many corporations have taken it over, how much Amazon has changed it, how few independent booksellers are left, how broke libraries and schools have become or even how little time any of us have to settle down with a good book, the same questions are going to occur for everybody in publishing when it comes to determining the fate of a new book: How good is the writing, where is the audience, how can quality be raised and prices kept low.

    Also, Why would anyone be so obsessed over ALF? It was a stupid puppet on a bad '80s sitcom!

    To which I could only respond, with a whiff of defensiveness: It was also not one, but TWO really great Saturday morning cartoon series! Which should explain it all.

÷ ÷ ÷

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. The Essential Dykes to Watch Out For
    Used Hardcover $14.50

  2. Twilight (Twilight Saga)
    Used Mass Market $0.95

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