Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Chip Kidd's Obsession with Batman

Chip Kidd: I’m obsessed with Batman from Design Indaba on Vimeo.

The History of the Dystopian Novel

Ink Tank gives a brief overview, here.

From the piece...

Dystopia has been a recurrent theme of popular and literary fiction since way back in the eighteenth century. Evolving not simply as a response to fictional utopian concerns, but also as a response to the prevalent or ominous ideals and politics of the writer’s time, the dystopian novel tends to use its make-believe guise as a front to critique the ideologies under which they’ve been forged.

When it seeks to explore political and social shortcomings, then, these books don’t tend to be shy about their revolutionary aims. Nasty visions of totalitarian regimes and post-apocalyptic disaster scenarios litter the genre’s history, and it’s got strong links to other literary scenes, too, like travel writing, satire and, not least, science fiction. 

Friday, October 11, 2013

The Invisible Woman

The World's Oldest Jewish Prayer Book?

It has 50 pages of Jewish blessings and has been dated back to 840 C.E.

From a piece in the Daily Mail...

'This Hebrew prayer book helps fill the gap between the Dead Sea Scrolls and other discoveries of Jewish texts from the ninth and 10th centuries.'

The complete parchment is in its original binding and contains Hebrew script so archaic that its founders claim it 'incorporates Babylonian vowel pointing' - is similar to Old or Middle English when compared to the current English language.

100 Greatest Comic Book Villains of All-Time

The list, care of What Culture.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Writing About Sex

Writing about sex can be uniquely powerful — and perilous. A group of novelists, memoirists and poets tell the New York Times about working blue: what novels first inspired them, what nouns they strive to avoid and who they think writes sex best.

From the piece...

RACHEL KUSHNER: I don’t think of sex as any more difficult to write about than any other human behavior. Writers fail or soar at anything. Everyone thinks about sex, engages in it. It’s the secret we all share. Just acknowledging its constant presence in people’s thoughts is a good direction for a novelist. Of the books I like, it could be argued that sex is infused into every cadence, even if never explicitly. And “not explicit” doesn’t mean that the prudish kiss leads to the prissy dissolve, but that characters are motored by desire.

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Things NOT To Do in a Bookstore

The list, care of Publisher's Weekly.

From said list...

If you’re in a massive hurry, please don’t take that out on us. We all do the best we can to speed you along, but sometimes staffers are busy with other customers. Calling ahead is hugely helpful. If we have time we can get your book – usually it’s a present for a party that starts NOW – wrapped and ready to be picked up fairly effortlessly. A tiny bit of planning can make shopping fun and easy.

Please don’t feel sheepish about reading a book to your kids. We love that. And we’re not listening, too much. Nothing makes me happier than hearing a lively story read aloud and a small child laughing and interacting with her parents and the book.

Lucha Libro

Could you write a story in five minutes? In front of a live audience? While wearing a wrestling mask?

Monday, October 07, 2013

When Faulkner Went to Hollywood

A cache of screenplays by novelist William Faulkner is being offered by Bonham's - Los Angeles.

From a piece in Booktryst...

In July of 1936 Faulkner, his wife Estelle, and daughter Jill traveled from Mississippi to California for another swipe at the lucrative work of screenwriting, this time for Twentieth Century-Fox Studios. He was assigned to adapt The Last Slaver, based on a novel set on board a slave ship in 1845. The film would be released in 1937 as Slave Ship, starring Warner Baxter, Wallace Beery and Mickey Rooney; Faulkner received story credit for the film.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

The Rise of Flash Fiction

The Irish Times discusses it.

From the piece...

But what is a flash and why is the form gaining in popularity? It’s hard to define exactly what a flash is, as no one definition is accepted, never mind a name: they are variously called short-short stories, micro fiction, pocket-size, postcard, palm-size and smoke-long stories. 

In my world a flash has about 500 words and is part poem, part story. Plot is not as crucial as atmosphere and significant detail, and, for me, language is paramount. Though short on words, the flash story is long on depth and should sting like good poetry. Punchy, succinct and surprising, the best flash will shift the reader’s heart but also keep it beating hard.

Just like poetry, every word in a flash must deserve its place. Flash stories revel in musical prose. There is no room for frills and furbelows but there is for hints, implication and mystery. They accommodate the surreal and quirky well.

Think You Know Banned Books?

Take the quiz and find out.