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Friday Book News: Staff Top Fives, Haitian Relief, and More

  • Top o' the Year to Ya: We've just released our Staff Top Fives of 2009. Take a peek at which books got the Powell's staff all a-twitter last year.
  • Earthquake Relief: With nearly three million people affected by the earthquake that hit Haiti, we've added a link to our homepage to provide donations through Mercy Corps. Currently this message is posted on their homepage:

    Beginning at 11:00 am Pacific, the next $250,000 in gifts made online to our Haiti Earthquake Fund will be matched, dollar for dollar, by a generous donor.

    With a catastrophe this devastating, every little bit helps. Click here to donate.

    Book Beast offers a reading selection to better understand the situation in Haiti, including Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder and Brother, I'm Dying by Edwidge Danticat.

  • They Got Game: The authors of the controversial and much-buzzed-about (this week) Game Change insist they don't need to name their sources.

    The new book...about the historic 2008 presidential campaign, has inspired screaming headlines, intramural finger-pointing and a senatorial apology to President Obama and his family.

    But the book by veteran political reporters John Heilemann of New York magazine and Mark Halperin of Time magazine has stirred questions within the news profession, as well. Most notably, the question of how much trust readers should place in a 448-page book that contains not a single footnote or on-the-record interview.

    The two authors say they were merely following a robust non-tradition, especially in political books.

    Also following in that tradition, they're hoping Redford and Hoffman will play them in the sure-to-be Oscar-winning movie version.

  • Snow Falling On Portland: A theatrical version of the David Guterson mega-bestseller Snow Falling on Cedars (adapted for the stage by Kevin McKeon) opened this week at Portland Center Stage's Gerding Theater at the Armory.

    Adapted for the stage by Seattle's Book-it Repertory Theatre...Northwestern author David Guterson's haunting story takes place in 1954, on a Puget Sound island so isolated that no one who lives there can afford to make enemies. The island's white and Japanese-American communities have lived in quiet but uneasy peace, even through the dark days of WWII internment camps and widespread anti-Japanese war hysteria. But when Kabuo Miyamoto is charged with murder and it turns out that his wife's spurned white lover Ishmael holds the information that could set him free, the island's secret prejudices, jealousies and ancient grievances threaten to boil over into an act of injustice from which there can be no return.

    The play runs through February 7th, 2010. Click here to get tickets.

Book News Round-up:

  • Apple's lawyers are asking Gawker Media to immediately cease its Apple Tablet Scavenger Hunt, which offers $10,000 for bona fide pictures, $20,000 for video of a Tablet in action, all the way up to $100,000 to "let us play with one for an hour."

    I should have put "asking" in quotation marks, since that's how lawyers "ask" for things.

  • President Barack Obama will pen the Newsweek cover story for the January 25th issue, about the tragic earthquake in Haiti.
  • has announced the winners of its first annual "Be a Famous Writer" contest. The two Grand Prize winners and eight other finalists will receive gift certificates from
  • Joyce Carol Oates is writing a memoir. It will be five volumes long, each a thousand pages, released six months from now in two-week increments, and will contain 800,000 brand-new short stories and three novels she plans to write the weekend before publication.
  • The journalistic education of Gabriel García Márquez.
  • The Death of the Slush Pile: "Even in the Web era, getting in the door is tougher than ever."
  • Today's Very Short List turned me on to Letterheady, a "simple yet enthralling new Web site devoted to the stationery of the famous (and infamous)." Yeah, good luck prying your eyes away from this one...

÷ ÷ ÷

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 $10.50
  2. Snow Falling on Cedars
    Used Trade Paper $3.50
  3. Mountains beyond Mountains: The...
    Used Trade Paper $6.95
  4. Brother, I'm Dying (Vintage...
    Used Trade Paper $8.00
  5. Game Change: Obama and the Clintons,...
    Used Hardcover $2.50

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