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  • Happy birthday Miguel

    Tue, 29 Sep 2009 10:12

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    According to MobyLives:

    It's the birthday of Melville House author Miguel de Cervantes, born in 1547 near Madrid. And his bio is wilder than anything he cooked up for his hero, Don Quixote. Say, like for instance, being captured by Barbary pirates and sold into slavery in Algiers. Or joining the Spanish Armada at age 24 and losing his left arm in the Battle of Lepanto. Or going to jail for tax fraud -- he was a tax collector at the time, and I guess forgot to turn over his collections to the government. It was while in jail that he really started writing. I suppose it was the first moment of respite he got.

    Melville House has published his remarkably funny and surreal Dialogue of the Dogs, in a wonderful new translation by David Kipen. Read it, and know something about a philosophizing dog's life, circa 1500s Spain.

  • Horrid Henry

    Tue, 29 Sep 2009 05:17

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    Impressive new Official Horrid Henry Website has just been launched.

    Of course, we have any and all the Horrid Henry books you could possibly need... The newest title, just in time for Halloween, is Horrid Henry Wakes the Dead.

  • Each Monday, here on Editor's Corner, I'm going to take a look at some of the news that has been dominating the book industry in the preceding week.

    The news, as usual, is mostly gathered thanks to the excellent resources that are the Publishers Weekly website and the GalleyCat blog.

    • Jimmy Carter "has moved houses, signing to do his next book with FSG. (Carter's last book, We Can Have Peace in the Holy Land, was published by Simon & Schuster in January.) John Sterling acquired world rights to the book -- which will be the former president's White House diaries -- and the house is planning to publish in October 2010"
    • Canadian writer, "Russell Brooks has created an innovative way to build a fan base for his action thriller novel, Pandora's Succession. He hired an actor to read serialized excerpts of his novel and even had the recording scored by a professional composer"
    • U.S. District Judge Denny Chin "postponed the fairness hearing scheduled for October 7, a hearing that would have helped decide the fate of the Google Books settlement -- scheduling a "status conference" to reassess the state of the class action suit. 'Under all the circumstances, it makes no sense to conduct a hearing on the fairness and reasonableness of the current settlement agreement, as it does not appear the the current settlement will be the operative one,' the judge wrote"
    • O'Reilly Media and Microsoft "have entered into a joint agreement under which O'Reilly will take over distribution of Microsoft titles as well as co-publish a certain number of titles with Microsoft. O'Reilly will assume distribution in North America beginning November 30 and will gradually take over international distribution as well. As part of the agreement, O'Reilly will also release e-book editions of Microsoft's backlist and frontlist titles in a phased rollout. For Microsoft's frontlist titles, O'Reilly will serve as co-publisher for about 40 books set for release in 2010 with Microsoft producing another 40 titles on its own"
    • Graphic novel publisher Tokyopop is working in conjunction with HarperCollins/William Morrow to release a comics adaptation of bestselling novelist Dennis Lehane's psychological thriller Shutter Island in January 2010 in time for the February release of a new Martin Scorsese film based on the novel

  • 'American Romances' review

    Thu, 24 Sep 2009 10:15

    Nice review from the Seattle Times:

    I had one short sharp shock of recognition reading Rebecca Brown's wide-ranging book of essays, American Romances, but that was because I knew the man she was describing, whose amazing warren of a used bookstore was a well-known fixture in certain circles in Charlottesville, Virginia in the '70s.

    I hadn't thought of him in decades, but he materialized immediately inside my head. I wondered if he would remember me -- for a week or so I was a cub reporter on his soon-to-be-failed newspaper. Probably not. But I remember him, and so does Rebecca Brown. Her description of him gave me a start, it was so exact. The rest of the book never came quite so clearly into focus, perhaps because despite its sometimes dazzling cleverness, it often seemed overextended, hanging by tenuous threads more...

  • The reviews for the new Dan Brown novel, The Lost Symbol, have started to arrive in the papers. And they are much as you'd expect. Essentially: yes people, this is another Dan Brown book and it does what Dan Brown books do! This, from the Boston Globe, is typical:

    Let's begin with the obvious. Dan Brown's new novel, following the epic success of The Da Vinci Code, will be a commercial triumph, a bookselling behemoth that should boost the tottering publishing industry. Nothing will keep the legions of Brown's fans from spending late nights curled up reading the latest doings of his literary hero, Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon.

    Higher book sales and more readers are certainly good things, but what's less so in this latest adventure is Brown's paint-by-numbers plot, his wooden dialogue, his dull prose style, his unintentionally comic narrative grandeur, and his two-dimensional characters. Even Brown's most rabid fans don't need a secret decoder ring to know that his prose is leaden (No editor's alchemy could transform it into gold), and that his characters sound more like mouthpieces for the author's off-the-wall philosophizing about the nature of God than they do real human beings.

    Needless to say, New Hampshire resident Brown takes us on a winding search for mysterious and important truths. Professor Langdon is again our guide, and he moves the book's quest forward by deciphering the meaning behind various secret codes, hidden maps, cryptic paintings, occult symbols, ancient books, concealed entranceways, and numerous inscriptions (more...)

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