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Book News: Hugh Grant’s Novel, the “Kindle Killer,” and More

  • Actor Hugh Grant says he's writing a novel.

    "I have always promised myself: 'When you have made some nice films and earned some money, you are going to finally write your novel'," the 49-year-old star told the Bild am Sonntag.

    Expect much stuttering in the dialogue.

  • Oh, those Apple Tablet rumors just keep trickling in:

    The mystery gadget, unofficially dubbed the iSlate because Apple bought the iSlate.com domain in 2007, is said to be a tablet-form computer. Apple patent applications show a tablet-form device in use. Taiwanese electronic parts manufacturer Innolux claims to be making 10-inch touchscreen displays for it. Whatever it is, it will be unveiled at an Apple press event a month from now.

    But Quick PWN writer Hans, who won't give his full name, says his insidery sources told him Apple's product has a new and specific purpose: It's a Kindle-killer, designed for reading books, magazines and news on the go, not just Web surfing and tweeting...

    I'm guessing it will also play music, work as a phone, and slice vegetables in seconds.

  • In the spirit of the holidays, some libraries are offering amnesty:

    Patrons with overdue books and hefty outstanding fines were recently given a way to clear their records: Donate canned goods or other groceries through the library to local shelters and food pantries.

    Others are coming up with new ways of punishing late returns:

    In Colorado, despite a multimillion-dollar deficit, the Denver Public Library has practically done away with fixed-rate fines. Now librarians there are free to negotiate a fee structure that feels fair to them based on individual cases, or to charge nothing at all.

    For me, the cold-blooded stare of an angry librarian is punishment enough.

  • The new Sherlock Holmes film, starring Robert Downey Jr., made a bundle of money and has even won over some critics.

    But Arthur Conan Doyle fans are seeing scarlet over the many liberties the movie takes, turning the much-loved Great Detective into an action hero.

    Now the Guardian takes a look at the original Conan Doyle stories and finds them a little bit lacking. The flame war is afoot!

  • Do book blurbs actually make a difference? Or are they just lovely decorations for the dust cover?
  • The Globe and Mail says 2009 was the year books didn't die, but rather sprang miraculously back to life in new and interesting forms. Zombie books, people!
  • The Boston Globe lists ten unforgettable books of the decade. I'm ashamed to say I'd forgotten some of them.
  • All this week, Oregon Public Broadcasting's Think Out Loud call-in show is revisiting the year in books with Oregon authors.

    Yesterday's show was a rebroadcast of an interview with Peter Rock, author of My Abandonment.

    Today's show revisited YA author Virginia Euwer Wolff. Later in the week: Sherman Alexie and the Dickman brothers.

  • On Christmas Day, Amazon sold more eBooks than "real" books.

    They leave out the part that most of the sales were for free eBooks, which creates a profit margin of approximately, let's see... carry the four... um, zero.

  • In a new feature, the Daily Beast's William Boot "reviews bestselling novels to see which, if any, are readable." The first entry is U Is for Undertow, Sue Grafton's latest Kinsey Millhone mystery.

    Boot writes that the plot "isn’t much of a mystery....But what's wonderful about the book is the sharp-eyed details Grafton packs into its frame."

    Click here to read the Powells.com interview with Grafton.

  • NPR offers its choices for the top five current affairs books of 2009.
  • Do we really want to revisit the worst celebrity books of the decade? I'll let you decide for yourself.

÷ ÷ ÷

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 Demon's Librarian
    New Trade Paper $14.00

  2. My Abandonment
    Used Trade Paper $7.95
  3. U Is for Undertow (Kinsey Millhone...
    Used Hardcover $3.25

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