Did you know that Leap Day—coming up next Wednesday—also celebrates the birthday of famed American burlesque performer Tempest Storm (yes, this is our lead-in)? Another iconic figure in the news lately is Mario Puzo‘s The Godfather. Paramount, acting on behalf of all disenfranchised movie studio monoliths everywhere, is suing to halt publication of a new installment in the series, as penned by Anthony Puzo, son of Mario. There is a faint argument about misrepresentations about characters and plot-lines, but more likely: Paramount’s simply confusing its mediums again. Silly movie studio, movies aren’t books! In some cases, maybe movies are like books, turning to be just as terribly conceived as their source material. In the run-up to Sunday’s Oscars telecast, Roxane Gay writes in The New York Daily News about how when it comes to The Help, the book manages to out-terrible the film adaptation. Similar things could possibly be said about several of the Harry Potter films as well. Which naturally segues into this: J.K. Rowling is penning a new novel aimed at adults.
In news related to other media, one ambitious art studio in Detroit has converted seven vacant storefronts along the city’s downtown drag into a series of curated art displays. The project is called Woodward Windows. Is word-of-mouth still the #1 reason people purchase books? Andrew Shaffer makes the case with some new data from GoodReads. With AWP and its whirlwind spree of literary circuit parties coming up, this study about lack of sleep and binge-drinking being conducive towards creativity appears well-timed. Also, need your scientific thesis copy-edited? Call Cormac.
We’re barely into the New Year and already writers are engaging in some sparkling discourse. An example: As 2011 closed out, Lev Grossman told us in Time about seven books he was looking forward to reading this year. Without missing a beat, PANK editor/Ayiti scribe Roxane Gay took to the The Rumpus to address the unaddressed—that in his list, Grossman omitted work by writers who weren’t white men. Her argument is poised, clipped, and sharp, but the real chemistry crackles in the comments section of the piece where Grossman responds.
Over at The Millions, Madison Smartt Bell offered a gimlet-eyed glimpse into Old New York one that contrasts sharply with Jen Doll‘s “How To Be a New Yorker” that ran in The Village Voice last November. For Bell, New York is an idyll; for Doll, the same city is a blizzard of stimuli with little poetry to guide its madness.
Speaking of little poetry to guide any madness, we would be remiss if we didn’t tell you about Miles Klee‘s debut novel Ivyland being available for purchase. Klee was one of the four readers who read at our holiday jamboree last December.
The Poetry Foundation’s Janaka Stucky outlines how indie publishers can survive in the age of Amazon.
Oh, yes! All things costumed and chameleoned: Emily Asher-Perrin has some brilliant words to say about David Bowie’s transformations over at TOR.
And sometimes you can judge a book by its cover. ModCloth has handpicked a few indie publishers who are packing a little innovation into every title they issue. Featured publishers include Dancing Girl Press and Birds of Lace.