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Friday, August 15, 2008

Book Notes, Summer style

Posted by Alison Hallett on Fri, Aug 15, 2008 at 2:39 PM

This is the summer fun edition of book news. No heavy lifting today.

John Green's great YA coming-of-age novel An Abundance of Katherines came out in paperback yesterday. This is noteworthy for two reasons: 1. John Green is a smart, funny, quirky writer and if you haven't read Katherines--and enjoy reliving your own teen angst, which OMG I do--it's worth checking out. (Also recommended, though less effusively: his Looking for Alaska.) 2. The book is selling for only $3.99. Green explains his rationale for the low price on his blog--it has a lot to do with building some buzz for the October release of his next book. And it's working! more affordable paperbacks, please.

• Speaking of marginalized genre fiction, Michael Chabon's The Yiddish Policemen's Union won the Hugo for best science fiction novel last weekend, prompting an interesting conversation over at io9: Analee Newitz first posted expressing disappointment that Chabon won the award ("Certainly it's a brilliant novel, and is undoubtedly a work of SF-ish alternate history, but it felt a little wrong to me that the award went to somebody who writes mainstream literary fiction that merely borrows a few tropes from SF."), then later, in a really admirable display of internet maturity, reconsidered her opinion after numerous commentors pointed out that not only does the book do more than borrow a few tropes (it changes a single historical variable and proceeds to develop an alternate history from that point, planting it square in the realm of sci-fi), but insisting that Chabon isn't "sci-fi enough" for the award only serves to reinforce the ghettoization of genre fiction. Phew.

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• Just in time for the Friday installment of Fine Lines, Mercury freelancer Kiala Kazebee sent me an email full of her very own lol blumes: "Is joo there ceiling cat? It is can be me, Mahgahrit." "ZOMG! Teh Tiggger Eyez." "Oh hai. I's Sally J Freedman. I's busy starring as mahself." "Oh noes! Deenie's cut off all her hair and put it in mah bukket." Image courtesy of her husband Dane.

• According to the Times, 900,000 copies of Alan Moore's Watchmen have been printed since the trailer for the upcoming film was released in July. Compare that to the 100,000 copies sold last year.

• Today is Julia Child's birthday! What an excellent excuse to pick up a copy of her charming autobiography, My Life in France.

• "Theirs was a New York love, a checkered taxi ride burning rubber, and like the city their passion was open 24/7..." San Jose State announced the winner of their annual bad writing contest, which awards $250 for the "worst opening sentence to an imaginary novel." (via)

• And tonight in town, Tape Op editor Larry Crane reads at the downtown Powell's, 7:30 pm. Read Ezra's interview with Crane here.

Happy summer reading.

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