Star Wars characters are as iconic for their looks as they are for their personalities, and a new book highlights some of the most gorgeous costume work from the original trilogy.
- What do Steve Jobs, Elizabeth Taylor, James Gandolfini, Gore Vidal, and John Lennon have in common? They’re all featured characters in Dick Cavett’s new essay collection out today, Brief Encounters: Conversations, Magic Moments and Assorted Hijinks. In his latest offering, the 28-year host of one of The Dick Cavett Show—one of 20th-century America’s first media forums for entertainment culture—shares his recollections of the famous figures he encountered throughout his career. Jimmy Fallon wrote the foreword to Brief Encounters, in which Cavett also revisits his Midwestern upbringing and offers his take on modern politics and pop culture—he calls Stephen Colbert’s upcoming late-night debut “one of the great things to happen in this country,” reports USA Today. Fifty-six years after the debut of his talk show, Cavett, 77, remains as quick-witted and bold-minded as ever. “I dislike people who can’t swim, who can’t drive a car, who don’t have a television set and who don’t go online,” he says. “A great world is available to you there. It’s moronic not to be a part of it.” READ FULL STORY
Amy Poehler has some bedroom advice: Don’t fake it.
“I know you are tired/nervous/eager to please/unsure of how to get there,” Poehler writes in her new book, Yes Please. “Just remember to allow yourself real pleasure and not worry about how long it takes.”
Yes Please is Poehler’s first book, an autobiographical memoir of sorts that show’s off the Parks and Recreation actress’ wit — as well as her wisdom. “Good for her! Not for me,” Poehler writes when discussing her decision to forgo an all-natural birth. “That is the motto women should constantly repeat over and over again. Good for her! Not for me.”
READ FULL STORY
You’ve listened to her songs countless times, follow her on social media, and watched her on TV—but how well do you really know the current Queen of Pop? Grand Central Publishing hopes you’re craving even more Beyoncé knowledge. The publisher announced today that J. Randy Taraborrelli will write a definitive biography of the icon, due out in fall 2015. The book will reportedly span Bey’s start as a 7-year-old pageant diva and chronicle her life up to the present. Taraborrelli has written biographies of Michael Jackson, Diana Ross, the Kennedys, and the Hiltons, so don’t expect this one to be a slouch. [USA Today]
Last night, George R.R. Martin unveiled his new Westeros coffee-table compendium, The World of Ice & Fire, in a Manhattan talk. Told from a maester’s perspective, the book fleshes out the litany of historical events, mythological figures, and sociological details that make Martin’s fictional universe so immersive, both in print and on the small screen. The author predictably talked ad nauseam about Westeros’ details, including one fascinating tidbit that relates to another major fantasy universe making headlines. Drogon, one of Martin’s dragons, would stand no chance against Tolkein’s Smaug, the prominent dragon in The Hobbit. At least, that’s what Martin thinks. “As competitive as I am, no, Drogon is a very young dragon,” the author said. “Not to mention Smaug, like, talks, which would give him an intellectual advantage.” [The Guardian]
- Barnes & Noble has reversed this week’s decision to close its Bronx branch, the only major bookstore in the neighborhood. Borough president Ruben Diaz Jr. led the fiery local campaign to keep the shop open, brokering a compromise between B&N and the the property’s landlord. Mr. Diaz told the crowd at a press conference yesterday that “this is more thatn just a bookstore… This is where kids read and broaden their minds and do their homework.” [The New York Times]
- The first-ever Kirkus Prize-winning authors were announced in Austin, Tex. last night. Writers Lily King, Roz Chast, and Kate Samworth took home the brand-new $50,000 prizes in the fiction, nonfiction and young readers categories, respectively. King’s novel Euphoria, the story of three intertwined rival anthropologists, stood out “for its perfect construction, its economy and originality, and its fearlessness.” Chast, a cartoonist for The New Yorker, won for her illustrated memoir Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?, the story of the last few years of her parents’ lives—also up for a National Book Award later this year. Samworth’s Aviary Wonders Inc. is a a strange, funny, dark young adult tale about a world where birds are extinct. [NPR] READ FULL STORY
J.K. Rowling is returning to the wizarding world to focus on one of Harry Potter’s most twisted foes.
- Earlier this month, Aussie author Richard Flanagan won the Man Booker Prize for his novel The Narrow Road to the Deep North, about World War II POWs who are forced to build the Thai-Burma “death railway.” Flanagan’s book may have been compelling written and about an interesting topic—but it was selling poorly. So poorly, in fact, that Flanagan was considering going back to work in the mines.
Well, he’s doing okay now. Last week, Flanagan’s book sales earned the U.S. equivalent of about $220,000, which is more than his combined BookScan sales for the previous 10 years. The $80,000 prize money also helped. Says Flanagan: “In essence, this means I can continue to write.” [L.A. Times]
- Harry Potter fans waiting with bated breath for a romance novel featuring Hermione and Ron should probably exhale. Earlier this week a report by the Daily Mail claimed J.K. Rowling was in a bar Monday celebrating the completion of a romantic novel. Rowling took to Twitter to explain that she’s only halfway through her current book, that that book isn’t a romance, and that “(brace yourselves) sometimes I have a drink even when I haven’t finished a book. Yes, that’s how rock and roll I really am.”
Of course, Rowling is already working on a screen adaptation of the Potter spin-off Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and there are no guarantees her next novel will even be Potter-related. Looks like it’ll be a while before Rowling fits into this billion-dollar affair. [USA Today]
- All too often, the cycle in which washed-up celebrities cash in with pulpy memoirs and as guests on reality TV series repeats itself. But hip-hop legend Darryl McDaniels, a founder of Run-D.M.C., is doing something way, way cooler. McDaniels has loved comics since he read them as a kid in Queens, and now he has launched Darryl Makes Comics to put his own spin on the genre.
DMC No. 1 hits shelves on Oct. 29 and follows an alternate New York reality where DMC never became a rapper. Instead, the comic’s description explains, DMC wears a tracksuit and Adidas sneakers to defend “the city’s marginalized citizens against super villain and super hero alike,” allying himself with a reporter and a band of graffiti artists. The comics will blend “traditional comic book storytelling with the pressures and anxieties of 1980’s NYC.” This week has been a great one for comic lovers. [Mediabistro]
- Getting ahold of books in the Bronx will soon get tougher. At the end of the year, the only Barnes & Noble in the borough will close after 15 years in business. This Barnes & Noble was the last major full-service bookstore the area had, and many traveled by bus and train to peruse its books; now only specialty booksellers will remain in the Bronx. [The New York Times]
In August, fans of Kiera Cass’ best-selling Selection trilogy got some pretty awesome news: the trilogy will be a trilogy no more. Two new full-length books are on the way, starting with The Heir due out May 5. (The fifth book doesn’t have a title or release date yet.) Now, EW has an exclusive first look at the cover (above), and below, you can watch a behind-the-scenes look at how it was made.
Here’s the official description for The Heir: “Twenty years ago, America Singer entered the Selection and won Prince Maxon’s heart. Now the time has come for Princess Eadlyn to hold a Selection of her own. Eadlyn doesn’t expect her Selection to be anything like her parents’ fairy-tale love story. But as the competition begins, she may discover that finding her own happily ever after isn’t as impossible as she always thought.”
- Renowned graphic novelist Dave Gibbons became the United Kingdom’s first comics laureate this week. Gibbons—the co-creator of and artist behind the acclaimed Watchmen series—received the title from Comics Literacy Awareness, a U.K. nonprofit that seeks to use comic books to promote child literacy and reading. Gibbons will begin his two-year ambassadorship in February. “He will be championing the role of comics in getting children to read as well as visiting schools and attending training events for staff and education conferences,” according to The Guardian.
Gibbons’ influence on the genre has been well-articulated by Lev Grossman in Time, who called him “one of the major comic book artists of the 21st century, or the 20th, or really any other century you care to name.” Gibbons has also worked on esteemed titles like Green Lantern, Batman, and 2000AD.
- While Gibbons champions the power of comics for young people, writer and anthropologist Dana Walrath says they have the potential to benefit another generation, too. Earlier this month, writer and anthropologist Dana Walrath illuminated how comics can play an important role for the elderly in a TEDx Talk called “Comics, Medicine, and Memory.” After her mother fell victim to dementia, Walrath discovered that graphic novels were the optimal storytelling medium to entertain and engage her. She contends that most of the memories Alzheimer’s are able to retain are visual—similarly to very young children—and that the “visual-verbal combination [of comic books] makes up for some of the memory loss and lets content stay sophisticated.” Walrath penned a graphic memoir last year, Aliceheimer’s, chronicling her experiences with her ailing mother Alice. [GalleyCat]
- Speaking of the accessibility of comics for everyone: Offering a free Humble Bundle of Star Wars digital comic books, Dark Horse is.
Last week, the comics publisher democratized a collection of Star Wars graphic novels with the release of a massive digital package at a pay-what-you-want price. Dark Horse says, “fans of the epic sci-fi franchise can pay what they want for up to $190 worth of digital comics, all while supporting a great cause.” Buyers (or freebie-grabbers) can choose whether they want their contributions to support Dark Horse or the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. Download it now, you should—the offer began last week and continues until Oct. 29.
- For more comics reading, consider picking up the bestseller The Best American Comics 2014, a comprehensive compilation of the latest and greatest in graphic novel publishing. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s annual collection spotlights comics from print and digital mediums, fiction and nonfiction, in and outside of the mainstream. This year, comics scholar (yes, that’s a thing) Scott McCloud guest-edited the anthology with Bill Kartalopoulos. McCloud is the author of the classic 1994 comics primer Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art.
Simon & Schuster has signed a new multiyear contract with Amazon that gives the publisher nearly full autonomy over ebook pricing. Both dealmakers appear to be pleased with the agreement, going into effect Jan. 1, 2015. S&S chief executive Carolyn Reidy said in a letter obtained by The New York Times that the deal “is economically advantageous for both Simon & Schuster and its authors and maintains the author’s share of income generated from eBook sales.” The publisher will gain control over determining the prices of its authors’ ebooks, “with some limited exceptions,” according to the letter. Amazon, for example, can still offer some discount deals.
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