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Book News: Testing the iPad, the Final Mrs. Mailer, and More

  • Smartly Trashing the iPad: Sarah Wendell of Smart Bitches, Trashy Books blogs about her experience with the iPad. Ordinarily, these sorts of pieces are written by tech people who have tech all over the brain and are very tech-y. How refreshing to read an account from someone the rest of us can relate to.

    5:45pm: Great. I have to upgrade iTunes and Apple and a bunch of other crap.

    6:00pm: Still updating.

    6:30pm: Still updating.

    6:45pm: Still updating. Dear Lord.


    Sounds like me, except that around the 6:20 mark I'd be on the phone to all my tech-savvier friends and family members.

    Sarah also test-drives the Kindle app and finds it a little bit lacking. (Although, how she can read with white font on a black background, I will never know. Reminds me too much of the early versions of WordPerfect we had at my high school, with the white letters against the bright-blue background.)

  • Dedicated: NPR speaks with MacArthur Fellow and "dedicated short story writer" Deborah Eisenberg about her latest book, The Collected Stories of Deborah Eisenberg.

    This month, Picador is reissuing all 27 of her published stories in what Eisenberg refers to as one "great thick book." Picador Vice President and Publisher Frances Coady championed the anthology through a protracted wait for publication rights. "Publishers and booksellers all too often regard [the short story] as a warm-up exercise for a novel," Coady says. "And Deborah Eisenberg proves just how wrong this view can be. Her prose is exquisite. She is emotionally acute. She has a passionate following and it seems a great injustice to me that her readers have not, until now, been able to find all her work in one volume."

    Collected Stories is available now in hardcover.

  • Hit The Heights: One nice thing about being a filmmaker who writes a novel is, when the movie rights sell, you've already got the screenwriter and director lined up.

    Such is the case for Peter Hedges, whose films include Pieces of April and Dan in Real Life. His recent novel The Heights has been picked up for a film adaptation by Focus Features, with — you guessed it — Hedges signed to write and direct.

    Published last month by Dutton, Hedges' latest book is about a seemingly perfect husband and wife raising their children in an affluent neighborhood of Brooklyn known as the Heights.

    But their lives are turned upside down when a wealthy couple moves in next door.

    Another nice thing is, when you make the audiobook, you can get Oscar-nominated actresses like Amy Ryan (of The Office, The Wire, and Gone Baby Gone) to play some of the women parts.

    In fact, the multi-cast reading of The Heights strikes me as the way every audiobook should be done; few things are more awkward than hearing a male reader crank his voice up a few octaves for the women characters' dialogue.

Book News Round-up:

  • Steve Almond, author of the new book Rock and Roll Will Save Your Life, shares an email exchange with an editor who wanted to pay him in good karma. I tried to pay some bills with that one time and sat in the dark for a month.
  • J. K. Rowling spoke and read at the White House Easter Egg Roll last weekend, where she revealed that she will have another book coming out before too long, and "maybe" it will be about a certain boy wizard who's all growsed up now.
  • The New York Times calls A Ticket to the Circus, the new memoir from Norman Mailer's widow, Norris Church Mailer, "a tell-enough memoir": "It's Ms. Mailer's own plucky and sometimes sentimental autobiography, written in the lemony sweet-tea mode of Southern novelists like Lee Smith."
  • I'll be honest: I'm not linking to this "angels are the new vampires" piece because I'm super-stoked that angels are the hot new trend (again).

    I'm just fascinated by this concept of a "teenage reading cult." Do they wear robes and chant in strange tongues while they read together? Do they sacrifice the collages they've made from teen magazine photos to their dark gods of literacy? Is this really an epidemic, or should everyone try to get their kids inducted into this cult?

  • The first Tom Clancy novel in seven years will hit stores on December 7th (yup, Pearl Harbor Day).

    Titled Dead or Alive, the book "will feature all of Clancy's best-know characters, including Jack Ryan," and the plot involves "Clancy's all-stars taking on the modern threat of terrorism."

÷ ÷ ÷

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 $9.95
  2. Rock and Roll Will Save Your Life: A...
    Used Hardcover $7.95

  3. The Heights Used Hardcover $5.95
  4. Beyond Heaving Bosoms: The Smart...
    Used Trade Paper $8.00
  5. A Ticket to the Circus Used Hardcover $6.95
  6. The Collected Stories of Deborah...
    Used Trade Paper $12.00

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