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Archive for the 'Book News' Category

Thursday Book News: “Twilight” Goes to College, “Pet Sematary” Rises from the Grave, and More

  • Broody Swooniness 121: The headline reads 'Twilight' Is Now Required College Reading, which sounds a little more extreme than the actual situation. It's not as if the book is being assigned in Lit 101 or Great Modern Writing. And yet...

    Mary Shelley is rolling over in her grave. Bram Stoker is probably clawing the way out of his. Why, you ask? Because Twilight is now being taught with their gothic classics (Frankenstein and Dracula) in a college literature class. And it’s not just any college literature class. It’s an honors fiction course at Ohio State University.

    Well, okay — I can see teaching the book in a remedial course, especially at a community college, where a beleaguered professor might toss it into the syllabus in a desperate attempt to get these kids to look up from their iDevices and pay attention to class for even a single, solid minute. An honors course, though, is pushing it.



Book News Wednesday: The Leak Behind the Wiki, Cheap Sex is Better Sex, and Tolstoy’s Words To Live By

  • Ask Me No Questions and I'll Tell You No Lies: The truth is, we have this it from Google today, and we're not going to lie, it's incendiary. Open Secrets: WikiLeaks, War and American Diplomacy, published by the New York Times, chronicles that publication's role in breaking the Wikileaks' story, and how it came to publish subsequent documents. In fact, it has a lot more than that. You've heard about this thing called "the whole story"? Yeah. But don't tell anyone.

    According to

    Open Secrets: WikiLeaks, War and American Diplomacy will chronicle the story of last year's WikiLeaks saga, in which the anti-secrecy group released U.S. State Department cables and other sensitive documents. The Times was among five publications that reviewed the material with WikiLeaks before their release.

    Executive Editor Bill Keller will write an essay on how the Times got involved with WikiLeaks and why it decided to publish the documents. The e-book will contain essays from Frank Rich and Maureen Dowd. It will also include the full text of the documents that the Times has published on its website, along with 27 additional cables


Tuesday Book News: James Patterson, Stephen King, Guillermo del Toro, and More

  • Cross Your Heart: From Morgan Freeman to Idris Elba (a.k.a. Stringer Belle on The Wire) to... Tyler Perry?? What kind of nightmare casting descent is this?

    Nope, not a wacky rom-com. It's Alex Cross, the hero of the mega-bestselling crime series that made James Patterson a household name (if your household is a bookstore) that appears with a new title on the "New Releases" shelf about, oh, once a month.

    According to Deadline, Tyler Perry — the prolific writer/director of such films as Diary of a Mad Black Woman and Why Did I Get Married?, but perhaps best known for his cross-dressing alter-ego, Medea — will be playing the detective in the latest film reboot.

    You might recall that Morgan Freeman played Cross in two previous films, Kiss the Girls and Along Came a Spider. Even though those were generic, boilerplate serial-killer flicks, Freeman leaves behind some mighty


Monday Book News: Abraham Lincoln Cast in “Vampire Hunter” Film, New Murakami Novel and Salinger Bio, and More

  • Four Score and Seven Bloodsuckers Ago: The lead role in the film version of Seth Grahame-Smith's novel Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter has been cast. It's an actor you probably haven't heard of, unless you've been to Broadway recently enough to see the play Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson.

    The 3D project has been one of the hotter ones in Hollywood....Grahame-Smith's novel re-imagines Lincoln's life as an axe-throwing, skilled killer of bloodsuckers, an obsession that dates back to the death of his mother as the hands of vampires. Lincoln vents his wrath on the vampires and their slave-owning protectors.

    Grahame-Smith wrote the screenplay adaptation. Click here to read his posts on our blog. Don't hold it against him that he only posted two of the five days for his week — clearly, he had plenty to keep him busy.

  • RU X-Cited 4 1Q84? Haruki Murakami's newest novel, titled 1Q84, is coming to the U.S. in October, courtesy of Knopf. Plan accordingly.
  • The Catcher Gets


Friday Book News: “True Grit,” eBooks Everywhere, and More

  • Truer Grit Was Never Wrote: The UK's Telegraph offers a profile of Charles Portis, the author of True Grit, who is getting some special attention now that the Coen brothers-directed film adaptation has been nominated for a flurry of Oscars.

    Portis has the the kind of colorful personality you might expect from the creator of Rooster Cogburn:

    "A reporter from The Times wanted to arm-wrestle, and as I recall, he kept challenging me," Portis once revealed in a rare interview with Roy Reed for the Little Rock Gazette. "So we went at it and there was a pop. His arm broke. Very strange. He went into a kind of swoon."

    Plus: fans of the film may want to check out a PDF of a comic that depicts the story Cogburn relates in court — especially if you couldn't understand a word Jeff Bridges was saying in the scene. (Via)

  • e-Booker Prize: This year's Booker Prize judges received e-reader devices to help them sift through the finalists.

    Publishers have been asked to submit their


Thursday Book News: Gunslinger Casting, The Secret No One Cared About, and Tank Girl Goes to School

  • Potential Gunslinger: A while back we discussed, with hesitant amazement, Universal Studio's complicated strategy to release a series of productions based on Stephen King's Dark Tower series.

    Howard plans at this point to direct the initial film as well as the TV component that will create a bridge to the second feature. The plan calls for the original actors to headline the TV version as well. The second film will pick up where the first left off. That would be followed by a TV installment that would be a prequel that introduces Deschain as a young man. The third film brings back the original cast once again return and complete the screen trilogy.

    And now, according to Deadline, they may have found their gun-toting wanderer, embodied in Javier Bardem, a hugely successful Spanish cross-over actor, who in 2000 became the first Spaniard to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor for his work in the film Before Night Falls.

    Bardem has officially been offered the lead role by director Ron Howard and Universal Pictures. While formal negotiations haven't yet begun, there's a high


Free Range Radio and TV for Books

I'm in London this week for the U.K. launch of Caribou Island, and I really enjoy the range of radio and TV formats for books here.  I was on a BBC radio show yesterday called The Verb (BBC Radio 3) with a cellist, a storyteller, and a playwright.  I was asked to write a 1,000-word essay beforehand on Old English meter in contemporary American fiction, using examples from McCarthy, Proulx, and Robinson, and I read this essay aloud, then the host asked me a few questions (about McCarthy's earlier sources, such as Melville and Faulkner, for instance, and about my own writing and Alaska).  But the real fun was in watching the other acts .  We were all in the studio together, and after the cellist performed, retelling fairy tales through music, it was amazing to watch the storyteller, a young woman who sang and recited and was absolutely captivating.  Then another young woman read her 4-minute play meant for radio, and I couldn't believe how good it was (you can hear it, too, by podcast, after the show airs tomorrow).

I also ...

Wednesday Book News: Bad Mother vs. the Tiger Mother, Librarians Send out the Po-Po, and More

  • The Claws Are Out: What began with a(n) innocent baiting excerpt from Amy Chua's Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother in the Wall Street Journal's Review, led to an uproarious response from readers, to which Amy Chua responded with another article, in which she sang a drastically different tune, attempting to soothe the ruffled feathers of parents across the globe. People don't buy books from people they hate.

    The best rule of thumb I can think of is that love, compassion and knowing your child have to come first, whatever culture you're from. It doesn't come through in the excerpt, but my actual book is not a how-to guide; it's a memoir, the story of our family's journey in two cultures, and my own eventual transformation as a mother. Much of the book is about my decision to retreat from the strict "Chinese" approach, after my younger daughter rebelled at 13.

    Ayelet Waldman, infamous author of Bad Mother and smugmarried with Michael Chabon, wrote


Monday Book News: “Eclipse” Gets Razzed, Palin Goes Steampunk, and More

  • Razzberry Berets: The last Twilight movie, Eclipse, made quite a splash showing at this year's RAZZIE Awards, which honors the worst film work of the year.

    The film was nominated in nearly every category, including Worst Picture, Worst Actress, Worst Director, Worst Actor (both Taylor Lautner and Robert Pattinson were nominated), Worst Screenplay, and even Worst Couple or Ensemble (which went to "the entire cast").

    The "winners" will be announced on Saturday, February 26.

    Which side are you on for Worst Actor — Team Edward or Team Jacob?

  • The Times, They are A-Changin': Your days of reading the New York Times online for free might be numbered. According to the Wall Street Journal, the Times is instituting a new subscription model, possibly as soon as next month.

    Online readers would get free access to a certain number of pages on the website each month before they are prompted to sign up for a subscription for additional material

    The subscription is rumored to be in the ballpark of $20 a month for a digital bundle that includes the iPad app,


Wednesday Friday Book News: Remembering Reynolds Price, A Run on Books, and More

  • In Memoriam: Reynolds Price, revered author of 37 volumes encompassing everything from fiction to poetry, died yesterday at the age of 77. Not only a prolific author, he was also a long-time professor at Duke University, a position which, when he started, was to be for three years with no possibility of extension (in an article from the Huffington Post). Such was the quality of this man's intellect and drive, regardless of "no possibility," he was asked to stay. And did, for the next 53 years.

    Matt Schudel, correspondent for the Washington Post, remembers:

    I interviewed Price once and found him to be, quite possibly, the most eloquent person I have ever spoken with, one on one. He had a richly beautiful speaking voice — which can be heard on a series of commentaries he did for NPR in the 1990s — and the sentences rolled out of his mouth in fully formed paragraphs, complete with pauses for punctuation.

    (Evidence of this high praise can be heard on many various episodes of NPR's All Things Considered.)

    Allan Gurgangus, of NPR has fond memories


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