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Book News for Wednesday, February 7, 2007

It's been one of those mornings where you wake up with a song embedded in your mind — you don't know where it came from, you aren't really sure you want it in your head any longer, and yet, try as you might, you can't seem to exorcise it. You listen to other music on your iPod but every time you hit STOP, there's that song again. For me, it's this song.

I'm finding, however, that it helps to change the lyrics to "I just wanna use your blog tonight..."

  • I wish I were the only person in the world who knew about the bizarre astronaut love triangle/kidnapping attempt that is making headlines everywhere. What a potentially fantastic screenplay/novel/TV movie/MySpace page/what-have-you it would make!

    Excuse me... will make.

    By now, of course, half of Hollywood is fighting over the rights and probably more than half of the publishing industry's star journalists are falling over each other to write the tale (Sebastian Junger, you let Erik Larson out of that scissors grip this instant!).

    But a fella can dream, can't he?

  • Slate is frequently publishing excerpts from Clive James's not-yet-published Cultural Amnesia, "a re-examination of intellectuals, artists, and thinkers who helped shape the 20th century."

    The most recent piece concerns Jorge Luis Borges, wondering if an author can be blind to the world around him. I have a list of names of such writers, but I'm trying to be nice today, so I'll just keep it to myself.

  • How in the name of all that's holy did Neil Gaiman wind up on Good Housekeeping's list of "10 Wonderful Romance Novels"?

    Stardust by Neil Gaiman (HarperCollins). In this reissued young-adult magical fantasy, Tristran Thorn searches for a fallen star so he can win the love of Victoria, the prettiest girl in town. Along the way, he encounters witches and unicorns and learns valuable lessons about love in the land of Faerie.

    Oh. That's how. (Via Gaiman's journal.)

  • Editor and sometime sex columnist Rachel Kramer Bussel interviews author David Matthews about his memoir, Ace of Spades, in SMITH Magazine.

    You repeatedly emphasize that in the Baltimore where you grew up, the only choices were black and white. Other races were non-existent in your world and "mixed" or "biracial" was not an option. The subtext to your choice is presented in the form of your absent Jewish mother and black nationalist father. How much of the pressure to choose related back to your family vs. the social ramifications for either option? Did it feel like a choice to you or did passing seem like the only legitimate thing to do if you could get away with it?

    Passing is and was, for anyone who does it — an active choice. For me, white meant a better life. White people were rich; black people were poor. Cops liked white people; they arrested black people. I looked more like the white kids I knew; and the black kids didn't really accept me. I sounded different, looked different. It was simply and irreducibly easier in this country to be white instead of black. It was less a "legitimate" thing to do than an expedient thing to do. It was like that scene in Goodfellas where Ray Liotta's character takes Elaine Bracco's character to the supper club and the seas part for them. It was never a matter of family life, as my family was poor, and I knew I didn't want to be poor anymore. I conflated race and class, which is a logical conflation in this country, still.

  • Here's some footage of this week's guest blogger (and, as far as I'm concerned, our next Poet Laureate) Joe Hill winning British Fantasy Awards for Best New Horror Writer and Best Collection for his book 20th Century Ghosts.
  • The 11 Least Intimidating Movie Villains.

    Alas, "Jealousy-crazed Astronaut with Big, Fluffy Hair" isn't on the list... yet. (Via Ed Rants.)

÷ ÷ ÷

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. Cultural Amnesia: Necessary Memories...
    Used Hardcover $11.95
  2. Stardust (P.S.)
    Used Trade Paper $8.00
  3. Caught Looking: Erotic Stories of... New Trade Paper $14.95
  4. Ace of Spades: A Memoir
    Used Hardcover $9.95
  5. Goodfellas New DVD $24.57



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