Neil Gaiman’s Secret Room

April 4, 2010
Neil Gaiman first gained our notice with his complex and literate 75-issue comic series The Sandman, and has since broadened his scope to write award-winning and bestselling novels (American Gods and Anansi Boys), screenplays (Beowulf). And he hasn’t stopped writing comics, all the while. His books Stardust and Coraline were both adapted for the screen and his most recent novel The Graveyard Book was awarded the Newbury Medal and the Hugo Award for Best Novel.
It would be natural to assume that someone whose work is filled with references ranging from literary to mythological would have a fairly extensive library but even so, the actual scope of his personal library is wonderfully shocking!  In the basement of his house of secrets he keeps a room that’s wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling with books, and the occasional scattering of awards, gargoyles and felines.

Twilight Saga Fans, Rejoice !!

March 30, 2010

Stephanie Meyer will release her first new book in almost two years. Entitled The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner, the novella will sell for $13.99 in hardcover, with a free e-book available for online readers from June 7th thru July 5th at this site.   Not a book for collectors, at 1.5 million in the first printing, but a charitable endeavor instead. Every book purchased will see $1 going to the American Red Cross directly for Haitian Relief. We knew we liked Stephanie Meyer!

Book Town

January 12, 2009

4th-estate-video1Leave it to the folks at the 4th Estate to come up with one of the coolest videos  in the book world.  It was filmed over a three-week period by the  wildly talented team of filmmakers at Apt Studios and Asylum Films  to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Fourth Estate Publishers. Wild and Amazing!!!  Happy Anniversary 4th Estate and thanks for the great film.

How to be a Book Reviewer

December 3, 2008
Who are they kidding?

Who are they kidding?

I used to dream of being a book reviewer.  In my fantasy life, I’d hang out in a hammock with sun leaking through palms, my book always in hand. There would be no lack of great reading due to the piles of books I’d be asked to review for every good literary publication on the market. Once a book was read, I’d handily whip off a few enlightened paragraphs that inevitably, once published, would cause no small amount of grinning or weeping at the author’s house. And, hey, this is my fantasy, so the checks were always princely and always on time. 

So, who are these people who wound up with my dream job? Especially when every review they write is literally glowing and full of accolades about the author’s style, panache and wit. No matter that the book stinks! Heap praise on the writer and his candid style. Why is it that almost every book review written about a book is a good review? Especially when I can attest that most books are not really all that great. Good, maybe. But great? Rarely. Who are these people?  And what are they doing with my job??

Want to be a book reviewer? Just pull out your dictionary to find alternate words designed to dress up mediocre writing efforts. Then, recommend these so-so books to the public, gleefully and wholeheartedly as  “the greatest book I’ve read all year” or “surely one of the best books of the decade” or, even worse, “I stayed up all night reading it”. After all, what does the public know about good books?

Joe Queenan wrote a great article about the absurdly optimistic reviewer here. I think he hits the nail on the head – or, uh, the reviewer on the nose – well, you know what I mean. Joe’s own memoir, “Closing Time”, is due out in April. Wonder who’s doing that review…

Pessimistically yours, Karen