Poetry Madness

From the Authors


Original Essays

Powell's Q&A

Tech Q&A

Kids' Q&A



Authors, readers, critics, media — and booksellers.


Book News for Wednesday, June 4, 2008

  • Crack the Bestseller List: Hey, author! Yeah, I'm talking to you — the writer who got a book published that earned some decent reviews but never made the New York Times Book Review and isn't selling too well.

    Wanna boost those sales? Try getting arrested for drugs.

    Oh, you think I must be smoking drugs on the pot to come up with such a harebrained scheme? Well, take a look at this:

    HarperCollins hopes the whiff of scandal [for her recent drug bust] will push sales of Tatum O'Neal's memoir higher, based on the line (OK I'll stop now) the publisher is selling in a new press release touting the three-year-old book.

    Look, it's worth a shot, right? Maybe it works, maybe not — but what's the worst that can happen, a little prison term? Well, then you've got material for a memoir — and those are all the rage on the bestseller list!

    You're welcome.

  • Can't Ankerous: All my life, all I've ever wanted was to be referred to as "cantankerous."

    In casual conversation: "Oh, that cantankerous Brockman!" And in my obituary: "Cantankerous lit-blogger Brockman perished last night in a shoot-out with police." And, of course, in bed: "You were so cantankerous last night, you magnificent pagan god!!"

    That's all I've ever wanted. And a million dollars and a flying puppy. But that's it.

    And now it appears I have to win a freakin' Nobel Prize and a Booker AND proclaim that there are no good writers anymore to be called "cantankerous."

    Cantankerous Trinidadian novelist V.S. Naipaul, who has won the Nobel Prize for Literature and the Booker, lets us know that we've "quite simply" used up our allotment of awesome writers: "Publishing has gone down in quality so much in recent years and the problem is that there is no literary life any more because there are quite simply no more great writers." To further undermine his point, he called the attendees of a book fair "incredibly ugly."

    If they keep raising the bar like this, how will I ever compete? Guess I'll be stuck with "that annoying/mildly amusing/brief and unfulfilling Brockman" for the rest of my days...

  • Invasive Procedures: Even the world's geekiest, nerdiest politicians can save the world — in a comic book. Witness the Prime Minister of Britain:

    Gordon Brown, who has been in the political doldrums of late and is often described as buttoned down, is depicted in a heroic light in Captain Britain and MI13, a new comic that shows the prime minister helping stave off an attack of evil, green-skinned aliens.

    The space invaders, known as the Skrulls, have even managed to penetrate the British Cabinet, impersonating at least three Cabinet ministers, but Brown manages to coordinate the ultimately successful efforts to fight them off.

    Marvel attempted to do something similar with the Bush White House, but when they got the comic back from the CIA, every panel had been redacted except the one with all the impossibly proportioned superhero women in tiny costumes. Evidently the Decider decided they were kinda hot.

  • Stand In the Place Where You Read: Speaking of Marvel, the tremendous success of their comic adaptation of Stephen King's Dark Tower series has inspired the House of Ideas to plunge into King's other work.

    Marvel Publishing joins forces this fall with horrormeister Stephen King to transform The Stand into a series of comics through a licensing agreement with the Doubleday Broadway Publishing Group.

    [...] "There's nothing more interesting — and more fun — than seeing an old work take on new life in a new medium," King said in a statement. "I've enjoyed working with Marvel on the Gunslinger series and am excited about this collaboration regarding The Stand, which will bring Stu Redman, Frannie Goldsmith, Lloyd Henreid and Randall Flagg to a new audience."

    If I may be so bold, perhaps the next venture should be a comic book adaptation of King's unfinished serialized story "The Plant."

    I still want to know if it ends with "Mean Green Mother from Outer Space." Or a Skrull invasion.

÷ ÷ ÷

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. A Paper Life Used Trade Paper $3.50
  2. Half a Life
    Used Trade Paper $4.50

  3. Stand Complete & Uncut Edition
    Used Hardcover $13.50
  4. The Gunslinger Born: Stephen King's...
    Used Hardcover $11.95
  5. The Stand
    Used Mass Market $4.50

2 Responses to "Book News for Wednesday, June 4, 2008"

    Adrienne June 4th, 2008 at 2:04 pm

    Coincidentally, I am reading "Half a Life" by V S Naipaul right now
    and I am not that impressed. It's OK though rather boring. On the other hand, I believe there are many awesome author's around now.
    Mo Yan's "Life & Death Are Wearing Me Out" and Steve Toltz's "Fraction of the Whole are brilliant. I absolutely loved "History of Love" by Nicole Krauss and "Special Topics in Calamity Physics" by Marisha Pessl. Richard Powers, James Tate, Walter Mosley, J California Cooper. "Driftless Area" by Tom Drury. These are only a fraction of the whole!

    Edmund Stilton June 4th, 2008 at 2:06 pm

    Brockman tips his hand-- he's a Skrull in disguise!!

Post a comment:

Get Your Gravatar

  1. Please note:
  2. All comments require moderation by Powells.com staff.
  3. Comments submitted on weekends might take until Monday to appear.
PowellsBooks.Blog uses Gravatar to allow you to personalize the icon that appears beside your name when you post. If you don't have one already, get your Gravatar today!
  • back to top
Follow us on...

Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.