Here it is. Read it and...well, don't weep. Just read it. Or else!
It's official: Amazon, in addition to hawking its attractive Kindle device, is now selling e-books for reading on Apple's Touches and iPhones. You can download the application Kindle for free, and the software allows you access to the 240,000 ebooks for sale at amazon.
The New York Times reports that "Amazon said that it sees its Kindle reader and devices like the iPhone as complementary, and that people will use their mobile phones to read books only for short periods, such as while waiting in grocery store lines." So in other words, they think people will buy a Kindle (not cheap at $359) when they already have a Touch? I don't know about that. Too many people have told me: Why should I buy another device when I don't have to? I guess we'll see how it works out.
On the other hand, it's hard to imagine reading anything longer than a magazine or newspaper article on a Touch.
The winners of Barnes and Nobles' Discover Great New Writers Awards were novelist Gin Phillips for The Well and the Mine (about a miner's family in Depression-era Alabama) and memoirist David Sheff for Beautiful Boy (the story of his son Nick's drug addiction). The writers get a $10,000 cash award and a busy year of marketing and merchandising at the stores.
Second prize (and $5,000) went to Benjamin Taylor and The Book of Getting Even and Eric Weiner and The Geography of Bliss.
The American Booksellers Association has announced its Indies Choice Book Awards finalists. The awards - the new version of the Book Sense Book of the Year honors - are voted on by booksellers and bookstore employees. Winners will be announced in late April.
Here are the contenders.
Best Indie Buzz Book (Fiction) Best Conversation Starter (Nonfiction) Best Author Discovery (Debut) Best Indie Young Adult Buzz Book (Fiction) Best New Picture Book Most Engaging Author Picture Book Hall of Fame
City of Thieves by David Benioff (Viking)
The Given Day by Dennis Lehane (Morrow)
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows (Dial)
Netherland by Joseph O'Neill (Pantheon)
People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks (Viking)
Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri (Knopf)
American Buffalo by Steven Rinella (Spiegel & Grau)
The Forever War by Dexter Filkins (Knopf)
Hurry Down Sunshine by Michael Greenberg (Other Press)
A Voyage Long and Strange by Tony Horwitz (Holt)
What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami (Knopf)
The Wordy Shipmates by Sarah Vowell (Riverhead)
Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith (Grand Central)
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson (Knopf)
Mudbound by Hillary Jordan (Algonquin)
The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski (Ecco)
The Story of Forgetting by Stefan Merrill Block (Random House)
White Tiger by Aravind Adiga (Free Press)
Graceling by Kristin Cashore (HMH)
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (HarperCollins)
Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (Scholastic)
Little Brother by Cory Doctorow (Tor)
My Most Excellent Year by Steve Kluger (Dial)
Savvy by Ingrid Law (Dial)
Bats at the Library by Brian Lies (Houghton Mifflin)
Louise, the Adventures of a Chicken by Kate DiCamillo & Harry Bliss (HarperCollins)
Monkey and Me by Emily Gravett (Simon & Schuster)
The Pout Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen & Dan Hanna (FSG)
Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes by Mem Fox & Helen Oxenbury (Harcourt)
Wave by Suzi Lee (Chronicle)
Terry Tempest Williams
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst & Ray Cruz (Atheneum)
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin, Jr. and John Archambault & Lois Ehlert (Simon & Schuster)
Corduroy by Don Freeman (Viking)
Curious George by H.A. Rey (Houghton Mifflin)
Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems (Hyperion)
Goodnight Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann (Putnam)
The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper (Grosset & Dunlap/Philomel)
Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans (Viking)
Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey (Viking)
Napping House by Audrey Wood (Harcourt)
Stellaluna by Janelle Cannon (Harcourt)
The Story of Ferdinand the Bull by Munro Leaf & Robert Lawson (Viking)
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak (HarperCollins)
Best Indie Buzz Book (Fiction)
Best Conversation Starter (Nonfiction)
Best Author Discovery (Debut)
Best Indie Young Adult Buzz Book (Fiction)
Best New Picture Book
Most Engaging Author
Picture Book Hall of Fame
All the Colors of Darkness. Peter Robinson. Morrow. 368 pages. $25.99.
Any fans worried that the prolific Robinson will run out of ideas for his smart, absorbing detective series can relax: his latest novel about Yorkshire detectives Alan Banks and Annie Cabbot is every bit as captivating as its predecessors.
On the surface, the case confronting the former lovers seems easily solved. The body of a set and costume designer for a local theater is discovered swinging from the limb of a tree. The death appears to be a suicide, and a search quickly reveals that the victim's older, wealthier lover has been bludgeoned to death in his home. The verdict seems to be murder-suicide, and the brass would prefer that quick resolution to a drawn-out investigation. But Banks and Annie have doubts, especially once Banks receives a mysterious visitor urging -- or is it warning? -- him to back off.
Robinson weaves in touches from Othello -- destructive jealousy, the persuasive power of suggestion -- with an unsettling look into the world of post 9/11 espionage and counterterrorism. But, as always, Robinson's keen grasp of character supplies the novel with depth and tension. Annie and Banks, those workaholics, exist in an uneasy truce state, though Annie can't resist a jab or two about Banks' young girlfriend, and Robinson's delicate and realistic deconstruction of the ebb and flow of their partnership guarantees you'll be eagerly awaiting their next adventure.
"The Brass Verdict by Michael Connelly. I'm enjoying his new character, Mickey Haller, as I live with my own recurring character, Ty Hauck, who similarly treads back and forth across the moral line between his nature and the law. There are very few straight paths for these characters, but ultimately they do arrive at the destination they set out for: the truth.''
ANDREW GROSS, author of Don't Look Twice
Gross appears 7 p.m. Friday at Murder on the Beach in Delray Beach, and 7 p.m. Saturday at Books & Books in Coral Gables.
So I saw Watchmen tonight, but the movie itself is not what I'm here to talk about. I'm here to talk about stupid parents.
I'm here to talk about what happened just before the screening, when the promoters were throwing out T shirts to the crowd and handing out posters, you know, doing the sort of things promoters do. One of the things tossed into the crowd was - and I am not making this up - was larger-than-usual matchbook kind of little folder with the legend "We're society's only protection" and a condom inside. (Mine was blue. For Dr. Manhattan? Not sure.)
The best part of this exercise was that a handful of the things landed in the row in front of us, where some clueless adults had brought 2 very small girls - 6? 7? - who immediately scooped them up and demanded to know what they were from their (should I say it again?) moronic parents.
Now I suppose one could say: Why were they throwing out condoms at a movie screening? I say: It's the freakin' WATCHMEN, people! It's for ADULTS. Sure, there are comic book type heroes in it - antiheroes, really - but South Park is a cartoon, and I bet you don't let your kid watch that. (If you do, you deserve whatever trouble the kid gets into in first grade for quoting Cartman.)
Watchmen is not your typical R rated movie. Remember The Joker's pencil trick in The Dark Knight? That's like Uncle Joe pulling a coin out of your ear compared to some of the stuff the sociopathic Rorschach gets up to. And he's one of the good guys.
Here are a few of the things your kids will see in Watchmen: Attempted rape. Murder. Full frontal from a large blue nuclear guy who likes to float around naked. Dogs with smashed in heads. Sawed off limbs. Explicit sex. Threesomes! ("Mommy, why are there two Dr. Manhattans in bed with Silk Spectre?" "It's just so that he can give her, um, a better massage.") Axes into foreheads repeatedly. Death and destruction and torture, oh my!
So here is a handy guideline on whether your kid is too young for this incredibly violent, graphic movie: If he/she arrives at the theater clutching a plush teddy bear and leaves with a Jonas Brothers poster, he/she is way too young to be there. And you should know that without me telling you, and if you don't, I really have to wonder what you're teaching your kids. (And yeah. It's my business if they're up walking around throughout the movie and distracting me when I'm wondering how they're going to handle the rivers of blood and watching people take hatchets to the head. It definitely is.)
I tell you, sometimes I think that Doomsday clock is still ticking down, only the threat to us isn't nuclear war. It's annihilation by idiocy.
So you rolled your eyes at the Dr. Manhattan lunch boxes for sale to commemmorate the new Watchmen film. Here's an even more cynical cash-in: photographer Clay Enos is enlisting his Organic Coffee Cartel to create a limited edition coffee tie-in to the movie: Veidt Enterprise's Nite Owl Dark Roast.
Somewhere Alan Moore just developed the facial tic to dwarf all facial tics. And look, even Nite Owl himself (Patrick Wilson) is appalled, too.
Now before you tear out your hair and scream, "What's next, a Tales from the Black Freighter collectible raft?!" know that Enos says the majority of proceeds will be donated to charity.
That fact will probably not soothe the famously cranky Moore - who, with artist Dave Gibbons, created Watchmen - has been scowling about the fact Zack Snyder dared to make a movie out of his comic for months now.
The Pale King, it is called, and it's set in the mid 1980s at an IRS tax return processing center in central Illinois, according to Little, Brown. The characters are entry-level processors and their attempts to stave off the soulless tedium of their jobs/works/lives.
A LB press release reports that "The partial novel runs several hundred thousand words and will include notes, outlines, and other material to help readers understand this great unfinished work." Hmmmm. I think I can contain my excitement.
Wallace, author of the impenetrable Infinite Jest and other novels, stories and some truly great nonfiction, died in September 2008.
My father was a teacher, so maybe that's why I'm a sucker for the inspirational education genre of movies. Still, most of them - admit it! - are not terribly good. They're always predictable. ALWAYS. The teachers are too heroic, the kids too troubled but brilliant. You could write the script yourself, if only you weren't so lazy.
That's why I was so intrigued by the shockingly realistic French film The Class, which won the Palme d'Or at Cannes and was nominated for best foreign language film at the Oscars (losing to the Japanese film Departures). After I watched it, I was as exhausted as if I'd been teaching these kids myself.
Read my review here, and don't miss this movie.