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Tag: Blogs (1-10 of 13)

Composite sketches of famous literary characters

If Law & Order: Literary Crimes existed — and hey, it doesn’t seem that far off — it might star some of the faces found on The Composites, a blog by Brian Joseph Davis. Using descriptions found in novels, Davis utilized law enforcement composite sketch software to render the faces of literary figures like Judge Holden from Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian, Aomame from Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84, and Edward Rochester (pictured left) from Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë. Some of the mugs, like Keith Talent’s from London Fields by Martin Amis, look appropriately creepy, and the sketch of Humbert Humbert from Lolita is especially interesting, as it’s based on character description that’s inherently unreliable.

Are these accurate depictions of your favorite literary characters? Who else do you want to see get the police sketch treatment?

'The Hierarchy of Book Publishing': the top 100


Knopf publicity EVP Paul Bogaard’s latest exercise in long-form blogging has been making the rounds in the publishing industry this morning. His partly serious, partly tongue-in-cheek list of the top 100 power players in book publishing is both astute and guffaw-worthy: No. 4, “authors who have been to Heaven, met God”; No. 6, “intern assigned to company twitter feed.” Of course, we instantly did a CTRL+F for Entertainment Weekly, and we placed at No. 37 for putting Knopf’s Dragon Tattoo on our cover more than once — right behind Suze Orman and above The Atlantic. That’s not a bad place to be, I suppose, but we expect better in 2013.

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'I Am Better Than Your Kids': Hilarious photos! -- EXCLUSIVE

Have you ever been forced to pretend that a kid’s bad art is a masterpiece? Super-manly blogger and “art” critic Maddox, lord of The Best Page in the Universe, has put together a compendium of children’s scribbles and his hilariously harsh critiques. The grades he gives these budding artists range from the shameful F– to the highest honor, F+ (although he hands A+’s to his own work, naturally). Maddox’s snarky takedowns of crayon drawings have been popular online for many years, but it’s even more hilarious to see them bound in a glossy, visually stimulating, occasionally eye-vomit-inducing coffee table book. I Am Better Than Your Kids is available in stores Nov. 1, but Maddox has shared a few pages and his comments for us to enjoy early. (Also, before anyone takes things too seriously, no children were scarred for life during the making of this book. Many of the featured child artists are now adults who fully realize they used to have no skills). READ FULL STORY

'101 Uses for My Ex-Wife's Wedding Dress': See photos!

These days, blogging well is the sweetest revenge. But Kevin Cotter, box-salesman-turned-author of the blog-to-book 101 Uses for My Ex-Wife’s Wedding Dress (out Oct. 25), doesn’t seem to have revenge on the mind. Sure, he’s photographed himself doing some awful things to his ex-wife’s wedding dress, but he keeps the tone of his book lighthearted, funny, and at times, insightful. Either way, his wife did tell him to do “whatever the f—” he wanted with the dress on the way out the door. Click through for some of Cotter’s ingenious uses — and disuses — for marital tulle. Tell us which ones are your favorites!


Better Book Titles: The blog that tells you what the books are really about

still-not-worse-thanThey say never to judge a book by its cover, but no one said anything about its title. And when the title of the book I’m about to read tells me absolutely nothing, I judge. If only I had discovered Better Book Titles sooner! Dan Wilbur, a comedian and writer, started his Better Book Titles blog to “cut through all the cryptic crap” and tell the readers what the books are really about. Genius, right?

Examples: Still, Not Worse Than Child Touching AKA The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. My personal favorite? Way Easier to Watch Than Read which is, of course, A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess. But you’re now warned. Some titles are NSFW.

I keep thinking this blog could have been useful when I read Wise Blood by Flannery O’Connor. I’d like to suggest Grotesquely Confusing to Wilbur’s repertoire. And as a matter of fact, I can. Wilbur posts a new title every weekday and a reader submission each Friday. So get to rewriting history, people. And maybe with a new title, you’ll inspire someone to NOT read a literary classic.*

What improved book titles would you suggest? Head to the comments with your best ideas.

*Note: Here on Shelf Life we are NOT recommending that you quit reading. Instead, we are insisting you get a good laugh out of these silly, new titles.

Writers' houses: 'Where stories live'

robert-frostEver wondered what your favorite author’s home looked like? Well now it’s just a click away with the website Writers’ Houses. Created earlier this year by A. N. Devers, the website is an effort to collect information about writers’ houses (hence the name) so you can visit the places where the stories were born. And while information on many of these homes is only a Google search away, Devers explains on the site that Writers’ Houses intends to keep all that info in one convenient place. You can search homes by author, city, state, or country. So whether its F. Scott Fitzgerald who tickles your fancy or Robert Frost (or both!), you can use the site to plan your next author-inspired getaway.

Think of it this way: The website is like a much more sophisticated version of MTV’s Cribs (or the later CMT version) where cameras venture into the homes of stars, giving us a tour of the 10-car garages, ostentatious media rooms, huge bathrooms, and other outrageously expensive home decor in the chosen abode. And while it’s always a bit over the top, there are times when I wish I had a oversized closet just to hold my designer shoes. But I digress. Instead of showing off what us mere mortals could never afford, Writers’ Houses shows how we can escape to the places that gave life to the stories we love. All together now: awww.

What author’s home would you most want to visit? My pick (Charles Dickens) is not on the list yet.

I write like Nabokov! and H.P. Lovecraft! and Stephen King!

The L.A. Times book blog, Jacket Copy, had a fun item yesterday afternoon about a new website called I Write Like. Just pop in a paragraph or two of your own text (no tweets, please), and your copy will be run through a database and compared to that of famous writers.

Sounds like fun, right? It is. I’m thinking it’s not very accurate, though. I have a blunt, conversational writing style that never changes much, whether I’m writing an email, a review, or a blog entry, yet every single example I put in came up with a different comparison. When I inserted a review of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, the site said I wrote like H.P. Lovecraft. A piece lamenting the publication of bad book sequels? Stephen King. And a review of Kitty Kelley’s Oprah biography apparently recalls none other than Vladmir Nabokov.

Go ahead, try it. Who do you write like? (P.S. This blog entry=Nabokov again!)

YA blogs: Where nostalgia and snark collide

baby-sitters-sweet-valleyThere’s something comforting about re-reading and reminiscing about books from your childhood, and that’s precisely what dozens of adult bloggers are currently doing. But they aren’t just fondly recalling Claudia Kishi’s wacky wardrobe or the schemes of Jessica Wakefield – they’re calling the characters (and authors) out for all of their inconsistencies and unrealistic depictions of teen life in a very loving form of snark.

Nikki Boisture started her blog, Are You There Youth? It’s Me, Nikki, in August 2008, after she was sent a link to a blog about the Baby-Sitters Club series and “was smitten with that immediately.” After discovering another blog on Sweet Valley High, she decided it was time to put together her own.


What book do you regret reading?

We’ve all been there: Your dear ol’ aunt tells you about a wonderful book. You pick up it and read it. And as soon as you turn its final page, you immediately begin searching for a magical genie’s lamp that will enable you to wish back the 75,000 words you just consumed.

Yes, we all have reading regrets. (I, for one, will never get back the four hours I wasted reading James Patterson’s Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas. Can you say tedious?) That’s why it’s fun to head over to the blog Good Reads to see this user-generated list of books that readers most regret reading. Though it’s no surprise that the polarizing Twilight tops the list, I’ll admit that I’m quite shocked that more people regret reading J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye than Sophie Kinsella’s Confessions of a Shopaholic.

So your turn, Shelf Lifers: What book gave you pangs of regret? And remember, this is a no-judgment zone! CEO Ben Huh talks! (But doesn't give us cheezburgers)

I-Can-Has-Cheezburger_lTwo years ago, Ben Huh was just a guy in sweatpants trying to manage his new website,, from his couch. Since then, the site—which features funny captioned photos of cats—has grown into a phenomenon, transforming Huh into an Internet CEO with the capability to launch over a dozen more successful sites, like Fail Blog and GraphJam. Just one day after the Oct. 6 release of Graph Out Loud, a GraphJam complication book (Icanhascheezburger compilation books I Can Has Cheezburger and How To Take Over Teh World, are also still on-sale),  Huh sat down to talk to EW about the origins of Icanhascheezburger, its mythology, and why he doesn’t own a cat (le gasp!).

So I imagine something like this started as a bit of a lark for you.

It started off by me buying the website from the two co-founders from Hawaii. The reason I did this wasn’t primarily because I thought this was a great business model and we were going to become a humor empire. It was actually the exact opposite. I didn’t like my job, and I wanted to leave, and this was a great excuse to leave and have my own company.

What were you doing at the time?

I was working at a start-up, working on touch screen software. It was a good company, they were paying me well, but it just didn’t make me happy. So I thought, I have a degree in journalism, this is probably up my alley, I really want to do something in the consumer Internet space. So why don’t I do this? READ FULL STORY

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