Shelf Life Book news, reviews, trends, and talk

Congressman John Lewis on 'March: Book Two' and why now is the time to revisit the Civil Rights Movement

It’s been a year and a half since Congressman John Lewis, together with Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell, released their landmark graphic novel March: Book One. The start of a trilogy about the life of Congressman Lewis—a leader of the Civil Rights Movement who spoke from the same podium as Dr. Martin Luther King on the day in 1963 when the latter delivered his classic ”I Have a Dream” speech—March took the world by surprise. Acclaimed by the comics press and social justice activists alike, it was an engaging and accessible work of nonfiction about one of the most important moments in American history.

This week, Lewis, Aydin, and Powell return with March: Book Two. It is, according to Congressman Lewis, a very different experience—while Book One served as an introduction to his life and how he learned about nonviolent activism and civil disobedience, Book Two‘s purpose is to show readers “the path, the distance that I have traveled to make our country a better place,” says the Congressman. “It is drama. It is real.”

READ FULL STORY

What We're Reading Now: 'The Girl on the Train,' Paula Hawkins

The-Girl-on-the-Train

Remember a while back, when we discussed how once you raise your hand and let people know you like the flung-far-out-into-another-galaxy-of-weirdness books, all people want to do is give you weirder books? It’s almost like they want to see how far they can push you, until your throw a book against the wall, proclaiming you’re done with weirdness forever. The same can be said for what happens when you mention Gone Girl. Suddenly, there’s a whole stack full of the dark corners of the female psyche on your desk. I’ve torn through many in recent months.

As Leah Greenblatt wrote in her review, this is not the story of the calculated-but-twisted, put-together woman we’re used to seeing in popular lit. Rachel is a mess. She’s a recent divorcee who’s lost her job as well as most her resolve to stay sober, making her an exceptionally unreliable narrator. She commutes to and from London each day for no reason and along the way becomes obsessed with a couple whom she sees from the train most mornings (and names “Jason and Jess”). They have the perfect life, she assumes. Also, they live just down the street from her now-ex-husband, his new wife Anna, and their baby.

One day, Rachel gets off the train and head towards “Jess.” She wakes up later battered and hung over, unable to recall much of the previous evening when she discovers Jess—who’s actually called Megan—is missing. Suddenly, she’s involved.

It’s a thriller, so I won’t go much further. But since Gone Girl, this is the first plot I’ve read that moves with such force. It pushes deep into its characters—who, by the way, are near impossible to like (“Sober up, Rachel!” “What are you hiding, Megan?” “What’s even your point, Anna?”)—and the exploration of what makes them tick heightens the suspense of the mystery. Pick it up when you’ve got the time to tear straight through.

What’s the last book that really excited you?

Image Comics' new subscription plan and why comic book retail is so weird

Image Comics has a bold new plan—one that’s actually a very old plan. On Thursday, the publisher announced Image Direct, a new subscription service that will send monthly shipments of its titles directly to customers at the end of every month.

To the average consumer, the idea that a comic book publisher would offer annual subscriptions of its books to send to customers seems quite obvious—don’t they already do that? After all, they’re periodicals that ship on a mostly monthly schedule; it makes sense that they would come in the mail like magazines. However, the truth is they don’t. Not really. Not anymore.

READ FULL STORY

On the Books: Now Idris Elba's making a movie about Edgar Allan Poe

-As if Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s upcoming Mycroft Holmes novel weren’t enough for you, now another celebrity is tackling another famous literary figure. British actor Idris Elba, known for starring in The Wire and Luther and maybe being the next James Bond, is developing the 1978 fantasy thriller Poe Must Die as a movie trilogy through his Green Door Production Co. Mark Olden’s original book features a drunk Edgar Allan Poe fighting demonic forces and teaming with a bare-knuckle fighter named Pierce James Figg to find something called the Throne of Solomon. Yeah, it sounds pretty awesome. The source material for this movie trilogy is only one 300-page book, but hey, Peter Jackson never let that stop him. It’s currently unknown whether Elba (who, again, may or may not be James Bond at some point) will appear in the movies himself. [LA Times]

-David Mitchell’s innovative storytelling, on display in bestsellers like Cloud Atlas and last year’s The Bone Clocks, reached its apex last year with “The Right Sort,” his story composed entirely of 280 consecutive tweets.  Mitchell announced today that itwill be developed into a novella called Slade House, out this October. According to Mitchell’s publisher, Carol Welch, Slade House is “a taut, spine-chilling, intricately woven, reality-warping tale that begins in 1979 and comes to its electrifying conclusion on Oct. 31, 2015.” Characters from other Mitchell stories like The Bone Clocks may show up as well, Welch hinted. [The Guardian]

-Mark Zuckerberg’s book club picks might soon carry as much weight as Oprah’s. More than 13,000 copies of Moises Naim’s The End of Power have been sold since the Facebook CEO selected it as the first read of his new book club. At least 10,000 of those were e-book copies, Perseus Book Group announced, and digital orders came from as far away as Latin America and New Zealand. [Publishers Weekly]

The hunt is on in 'The Mime Order' book trailer -- exclusive

Samantha Shannon’s upcoming The Mime Order, the second in what will be a seven-book series, picks up where its predecessor, 2013’s The Bone Season, left off. Protagonist Paige Mahoney, a “clairvoyant” with the ability to enter people’s minds, is on the run from both the shadowy Scion organization and an alien race called the Rephraim. Paige’s unique abilities make her valuable to the different forces at work in the London of 2057, and her freedom threatens the stability of the powers that be. Because of that, and especially because this is a fantasy novel written in 2015, revolution is brewing.

It’s easy to compare Shannon to J.K. Rowling (seven-book series set in fantasy London) or Suzanne Collins (super-powered young girl versus futuristic Orwellian forces), but a more apt description might be China Mieville. In books like The City and the City and Perdido Street Station, Mieville constructed fantasy steampunk cities chock full of exotic fantasy creatures with their own alien politics and customs. The gathering of “mime-lords and mime-queens of the city’s gangs” promised in The Mime Order would be right at home in Mieville’s New Crobuzon.

The Mime Order is out Jan. 27.

On the Books: Netflix for books expands

-Amid ongoing debate about the value of e-readers versus physical books, publishing giant Macmillan has announced a partnership with Scribd and Oyster, two e-reader startups that basically amount to the book equivalent of Netflix or Spotify. For $9 or $10 a month, these services offer hundreds of thousands of books, a number that has only increased now with access to Macmillan, one of the so-called “Big Five” of publishers. As Davey Alba notes at Wired, the publishing industry doesn’t have a reliable source of income like concerts or movie tickets to offset losses by streaming, but services like this will give publishers more access to valuable reader data. [Wired]

-Some Mississippi lawmakers believe that one solution to “all the things going wrong in the world” is to name an official state book. They, naturally, chose the Bible. State representative Tom Miles told the Associated Press that no one would be required to read it and he’s not trying to force religion on anyone, but “the Bible provides a good role model on how to treat people.” It will take a few weeks to see whether the bill, proposed last week, will be successful, but at least one other similar proposal was defeated in Louisiana last April after causing controversy. [Alabama.com]

-Coming up for parole: a man of two names, two cities and two professions (poet and killer). After killing multiple people in Boston, Norman A. Porter Jr. escaped to Chicago, where he rechristened himself J.J. Jameson (after Spider-Man’s newspaper boss) and began writing poetry. He was arrested in 2005, and has already been denied parole once, in 2010. [LA Times]

Man who paid $1.8 million for Ray Bradbury's house is demolishing it

The modest Los Angeles home that Ray Bradbury lived in for more than 50 years before his death in 2012—which sold for an astonishing $1.765 million last spring—is now being torn down.

The Los Angeles Times reports that John King Tarpinian, a fan of the sci-fi writer, visited the Cheviot Hills house this weekend after friends heard rumors it was being destroyed by none other than the buyer, UCLA professor and architect Thom Mayne. According to a post credited to Tarpinian on File770.com, the house still contained some of the original touches—decor and furniture—that gave Bradbury’s longtime home its character.

Tarpinian’s post contains some photos of the home mid-demolition. He wrote, “In only one day half of the house was gone.”

Meet Matt Fraction and Kelly Sue DeConnick, the first couple of comics

“You are talking to adults dressed in onesies,” the wife announces midconversation. “Big, giant, adult onesies,” confirms the husband.

This comic-book power couple, Kelly Sue DeConnick and Matt Fraction, are camped out in zip-up pj’s among piles of books in the Portland, Ore., home their two children have just vacated for school. This sounds like a surprisingly prosaic (if cozy) morning for people whose minds are constantly flitting off to distant galaxies or warping through the time-space continuum and giving Death a daughter or gender-bending a classical hero. Stuff like that. READ FULL STORY

DC reveals 'Convergence' #1 cover and synopses for first four issues -- exclusive

Remember Convergence? DC’s giant blockbuster of a comic book story set to begin this Spring? Spring is coming, friends, and as it creeps nearer, so does more details about Convergence.

If you don’t already know the gist of what Convergence actually is, take a deep breath and we’ll walk you through it: Starting this April, all of DC’s comic books will go on hiatus for two months. They will be replaced by 40 two-issue miniseries, with 10 issues being released every week. These miniseries all focus on different aspects of the titular Convergence and feature versions of heroes from all of DC history—this includes their pre-Flashpoint incarnations. The main thrust of the narrative will be chronicled in a nine-issue Convergence miniseries, which would be the headliner if this were a weird sort of summer music festival I guess.

Up until now, what actually was going to happen in that main Convergence miniseries remained a mystery. Today, courtesy of DC Entertainment, Entertainment Weekly is able to share with you the official solicit synopses for Convergence #1-4, as well as an exclusive first look at the first issue’s foldout cover art by Ivan Reis and Joe Prado.

Take a look below!

READ FULL STORY

On the Books: Another Gone Girl?

- If the souped-up Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer didn’t do enough to sate your desire for movie sequels, Gillian Flynn recently discussed the possibility of a Gone Girl sequel with a New York Daily News reporter at the BAFTA LA Annual Awards Season Tea Party. “Never say never,” she said. “There could be a sequel at some point. If everyone’s game to get the gang back together, it could be really fun a few years from now.” Flynn also denied any responsibility for the inclusion of Ben Affleck’s, er, “manhood” in the film. “I didn’t know exactly how they would film it. I think the screenplay says they get in the shower so I cannot take credit for that. He was a total method actor and in playing a man who got in the shower, he played a man who got in the shower.” In other Gone Girl news, the Blu-Ray edition will come with a 36-page Amazing Amy children’s book. [New York Daily News] READ FULL STORY

Latest Videos in Books

Advertisement

From Our Partners

TV Recaps

Powered by WordPress.com VIP