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Book News Monday: Harvey Pekar Dies, Oprah Bio Coming to TV, and More

  • In Memoriam: Harvey Pekar, author of the longtime autobiographical comic book American Splendor, was found dead today at his home in Cleveland Heights. Cause of death has not been determined. He was 70.

    Pekar never drew himself but depended on collaborations with artists, most notably his friend R. Crumb, who helped illustrate the first issue of the ironically titled "American Splendor," published in 1976. It was made into an acclaimed 2003 film starring Paul Giamatti. The most recent "American Splendor" was released in 2008.

    The Washington Post has a slideshow of Pekar and his work.

    New York Magazine has a classic clip from one of Pekar's many Letterman appearances.

  • Darkness Falls Across the Theater: This Deadline piece was inspired by a lecture at this year's Thrillerfest from Sleepers author Lorenzo Carcaterra, in which he "chose the 10 best thriller films made from books, the 10 worst, and the 10 he most wants to see get made."

    "The Bourne Identity film is much better than the book, and when Tony Gilroy was asked to write, he told them he didn’t care for the book," Carcaterra said. "He finally said the only part that interested him was an assassin who didn't know who he was, wanted to find out, but didn't want to kill. Of course, to find out, he has to kill. It was a troubled shoot, a lot of reshoots, but that core idea and the script started what has become the best thriller book series. I put all three into the same category because they're all so good."

    It's hard to quibble with Carcaterra's picks for books that should be filmed (yup, Jack Reacher's in there), even though anyone who has sat through lousy adaptations of books by top-notch writers like Michael Connelly (Blood Work) and James Lee Burke (Heaven's Prisoners) will hope the filmmakers proceed with caution.

  • Just View It: In this video, Captain Freedom author (and former guest blogger) G. Xavier Robillard takes the Nike Challenge:

Book News Round-up:

  • Publishers Weekly has just debuted a blog called PWxyz, which it calls "a place to find late-breaking news on the book business."
  • The Washington Post's Answer Sheet blog provides a detailed history of why To Kill a Mockingbird has become one of the 100 most frequently challenged books.
  • Kitty Kelley's Oprah bio is being adapted as a TV movie or miniseries. Now, the question is: who should portray the Big O herself?
  • Salon's Laura Miller explains why back-of-the-book blurbs should always be read with one eyebrow cocked and a fist planted skeptically on one's hip.
  • Ken Follett's massive novel The Pillars of the Earth has been adapted into a TV series airing on the Starz network (I think it will also be available on Netflix, as most Starz shows are), premiering Friday, July 23rd. The cast includes Ian McShane, Rufus Sewell, and Donald Sutherland.
  • Sexy Beast wonders if the SyFy network's new series Haven — based on Stephen King's novel The Colorado Kid — could be the next Twin Peaks. (Judging by its Metacritic score of 53, I somehow doubt it. But stranger things have happened... like the second season of Twin Peaks.)
  • Finally — Sarah Palin for kids!
  • In the Wall Street Journal, a millionaire is "fascinated, captivated" by Twilight. Money can't buy abs like Jacob's.

÷ ÷ ÷

Chris Bolton co-created the all-ages webcomic Smash, which will soon be published by Candlewick Press, and created the comedy series Wage Slaves. His short story "The Red Room" was published in Portland Noir from Akashic Books.


Books mentioned in this post

  1. Portland Noir (Akashic Noir)
    Used Trade Paper $8.50

  2. The Colorado Kid (Hard Case Crime)
    Used Trade Paper $4.00

  3. American Splendor: The Life & Times... Used Trade Paper $10.50
  4. The Bourne Identity
    Used Mass Market $3.50
  5. Sleepers
    Used Mass Market $1.00
  6. 61 Hours: A Jack Reacher Novel
    Used Hardcover $7.95

  7. The Pillars of the Earth (Oprah's...
    Used Trade Paper $5.50
  8. Oprah: A Biography
    Used Hardcover $3.48
  9. Captain Freedom: A Superhero's Quest...
    Used Trade Paper $3.50
  10. To Kill a Mockingbird
    Used Trade Paper $6.00
  11. Twilight (Twilight Saga)
    Used Mass Market $3.50



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