November 4, 2005Book Buzz)
With the buzz building for the Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe movie, the books are getting a lot of attention. One of the big questions is which book comes first, The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe or The Magician's Nephew? The National Review answers the question, though it's not an easy one.
In the chronological order of Narnia, The Magician's Nephew comes first. In the order they were written, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe comes first. Author C.S. Lewis commented a few isolated times that he thought The Magician's Nephew should come first. Thirty years after his death his publisher decided to reorder the series based on these comments, though Lewis himself never asked for the series to be reordered.
The National Review article goes on to claim that The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was originally intended to be the only book in the series, and it gives a much better introduction to the entire world of Narnia. The Magician's Nephew functions more as a prequel and assumes some understanding of Narnia.
September 16, 2005Book Buzz)
"It's a nice glass of champagne at the end of a life," the 82-year-old Vonnegut said. The book is full of his dark humor and criticism of George W. Bush. With all the attention at his old age, he also talks about death:
He jokes, sort of, that he has "lived too long" and wishes he had been finished off by a fire at his home a few years ago, from which he escaped unharmed. "When Hemingway killed himself he put a period at the end of his life; old age is more like a semicolon," Vonnegut said with a wheezy laugh worthy of a long-term chain smoker.
"My father, like Hemingway, was a gun nut and was very unhappy late in life. But he was proud of not committing suicide. And I'll do the same, so as not to set a bad example for my children."
September 15, 2005Interviews)
Donald Miller, author of Blue Like Jazz and the most recent Through Painted Deserts (which is actually a rewrite of 2000's Prayer and the Art of Volkswagen Maintenance), talks with CT editor Stan Guthrie. It's actually a really short interview, but it starts to get into questions of absolute truth. It actually ends so abruptly you wonder what happened:
Miller: It wasn't until I understood that the dynamic of our faith is relational rather than logical that I started maturing in my faith.
Guthrie: Can't you bring them together?
Miller: Well, certainly you can.
Guthrie: "Rather than" is pretty stark.
Miller: It is very stark. But it's the language of our culture.
Guthrie: So you're overstating your case.
Miller: I'm overstating my case, because I don't feel like anybody will listen if I don't.
September 13, 2005Interviews)
Filmed in 2003 with an estimated budget of $400,000 nobody expected much from Napoleon Dynamite. But when it came out in 2004 it quickly became a cultural phenomenon. Now you can buy "Vote for Pedro" T-shirts at Wal-Mart and Napoleon and Pedro recently reunited to promote the 150th Utah State Fair.
In the midst of all the pop culture hoopla and tater tots comes a book exploring the spiritual dimension of Napoleon Dynamite from a Christian perspective, Taming the Liger: Unexpected Spiritual Lessons from Napoleon Dynamite written by Jeff Dunn and Adam Palmer. We e-mailed Adam for the inside story, and we hope it makes your wildest dreams come true.
What possessed you to write a book about Napoleon Dynamite?
The devil himself. I'm just like Judas Iscariot.
August 31, 2005Book Buzz)
There are tons of books out there chronicling the war in Iraq, but a few especially interesting ones include Kayla Williams' Love My Rifle More Than You: Young and Female in the U.S. Army and John Crawford's The Last True Story I'll Ever Tell: An Accidental Solider's Account of the War in Iraq.
Love My Rifle More Than You gives the perspective of a female soldier who is both loyal to the military and critical of the occupation: "We're here to help you!" she writes. "Oh, and shoot you—if we feel it's necessary."
The Last True Story is the account of a Florida National Guardsman who joined up for the tuition benefits and just before graduation (and a marriage) was shipped off to Iraq.
A few other Iraq memoirs include the upcoming My War: Killing Time in Iraq, I Am My Brother's Keeper: Journal of a Gunny in Iraq and Generation Kill: Devil Dogs, Iceman, Captain America, and the New Face of American War, among others. You can also check out the documentary Gunner Palace (read my review).
August 24, 2005Book Buzz)
You've got to read the blurb to the children's book Help! Mom! There Are Liberals Under My Bed to believe it, and even then you won't believe it:
This full-color illustrated book is a fun way for parents to teach young children the valuable lessons of conservatism. Written in simple text, readers can follow along with Tommy and Lou as they open a lemonade stand to earn money for a swing set. But when liberals start demanding that Tommy and Lou pay half their money in taxes, take down their picture of Jesus, and serve broccoli with every glass of lemonade, the young brothers experience the downside to living in Liberaland.
A Small Victory offers a great review (with pictures!), including a reveal of the last line of the book: "And off they went to start squeezing lemons, like the good little conservatives they were."
I... what the- how do you... wow. I just don't know how to respond to that.
(link via bloggedy blog)
August 16, 2005Industry)
August 4, 2005)
Do used book sales help or hurt the publishing industry? It sounds like they help.
August 2, 2005Book Buzz)
The Internet is rife with speculation about the end of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and what we might expect from the seventh and final book in the series. We can hardly discuss it without hitting spoiler city, so head to the extended entry for the full disclosure on J.K. Rowling's mysteries.
July 27, 2005Book Buzz)
For all the flurry of articles about Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, perhaps the best one is a virtually word-for-word interview transcript with J.K. Rowling and a few fan sites. She goes into great detail and shows a lot more of her personality than you'll see in most interviews.
But for those who have finised the sixth book, the real question is when will the seventh and final book come out? Rowling has said she's started pieces of the final book, but will probably spend most of 2006 writing it.
July 14, 2005Industry)
Amazon.com turns 10 years old and the New York Times takes a look at the Internet giant and their bold, risky-happy founder, Jeff Bezos. Best detail in the story is that billionaire Bezos has a salary of only $81,000. He's got to be one of the cheapest CEOs in the country.
July 13, 2005Industry)
The Adfreak blog talks about a failed book proposal (yawn), but the interesting part is the idea of a book collecting book proposals. Not every book needs to be written, but sometimes the proposals themselves are interesting. Fun idea.
July 7, 2005Extracurricular)
The New Yorker asks why children love Roald Dahl, the author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and James and the Giant Peach, and why adults generally don't like the curious children's writer. It's a long piece, but includes lots of lovely details about Dahl, including bits about his writing hut:
The adults who looked into the hut were less impressed. The walls, lined with Styrofoam, were stained sepia from all the cigarettes Dahl smoked; there was a grotty wing chair; and wires for a jury-rigged heating system dangled from the ceiling. “You’d expect it to be grander,” one woman said. But the kids saw more possibilities in a musty old hut of one’s own. They liked the fact that Dahl, unsatisfied with desks, had designed a baize-covered writing board, to balance on his lap just so. And they loved that he kept, on a side table, a jar containing gristly bits of his own spine, which had been removed during an operation on his lower back. Next to the jar was a waxy-looking knob that turned out to be Dahl’s hip bone, along with a titanium replacement.Extracurricular)
“It makes a good letter opener,” one little boy said of the prosthetic hip.
“Has it got blood on it?” another asked hopefully.
Several young visitors asked for permission to hold the ball of chocolate-bar wrappers that Dahl had made as a young man; he scrunched a new one into the ball each day, after eating his habitual lunchtime treat. (Now hard and surprisingly heavy, the wad resembles a small cannonball.) Still, what seemed to excite the children the most was the paperback collection of Dahl’s own work. “Look!” several of them cried. “There are the books!”
Children's author and former teacher Jon Scieszka, author of Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales, has been concerned about the reading habits of boys. So he started Guys Read, a web site recommending books for guys, with everything from picture books to novels. Scieszka recently talked with USA Today about Guys Read, what boys like to read and the differences between boys and girls.
July 6, 2005Industry)
Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos talks about the giant online retailer on their 10-year anniversary. Nothing groundbreaking here, except more about lowering prices and looking at long-term growth.
For an inside look at Amazon.com, check out Amazonia: Five Years at the Epicenter of the Dot-Com Juggernaut or Amazon.com: Get Big Fast.