Monday, September 28, 2009

Introducing: The Wandering Rocks

Tonight I've launched a new blog called The Wandering Rocks.

The Wandering Rocks is an mp3 mix gallery that will exhibit semi-regularly with music and will feature artwork by Emily Young. Take a look here.

Monday, September 21, 2009

2009 Brooklyn Book Festival

Two Sundays ago, the Brooklyn Book Festival took over the Court Street area for a whole day's worth of readings, vendors, and other festivities. This was the third year for the festival, and it's come quite a long way since its first. Borough Hall was packed! It's great to see something like this get such an amazing reception--perhaps next year they'll stretch the festival out to the whole weekend instead of just Sunday.

This year, the Book Fair teamed up with New York Comic-Con for a special comics-themed zone of Borough Hall. I think this is a step in the right direction, but it might need some tweaking if they plan to do something again next year. Some of my favorite publishers had booths, featuring new releases and signings, etc, but unfortunately most of the comics booths were made up of awkward self-published writers and artists who I found were all too easy to ignore.

For the other vendors, most of the usual suspects were there, with the exception of the mysteriously missing McSweeney's. McSweeney's and I have a complicated relationship, as I used to be quite a big fan of their publications but feel like they've been sliding for the past three or so years. They seemed to have steered away from printing contemporary literature and are focusing their efforts more on kids books and t-shirts. Maybe they'll have a booth at the Brooklyn T-Shirt festival instead...

Here's what I picked up at the festival:

Nog and The Drop Edge of Yonder by Rudolf Wolitzer (published by Three Dollar Radio)
Black Jack, Volume 7 by Osamu Tezuka (published by Vertical, Inc.)
The Halfway House by Guillermo Rosales (published by New Directions)

Oh! A Mystery of Mono No Aware by Todd Shimoda (published by Chin Music Press)

Do You Know What it Means to Miss New Orleans? (published by Chin Music Press)

I'm really looking forward to getting to these, but right now I'm in the middle of Wolf Hall from the Booker Shortlist and I don't see myself finishing it any time soon...

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

2009 Man Booker Prize shortlist announced

Well, the shorlist was announced this morning. It's close to what I imagined, and includes a classic Booker-esque uspet with the inclusion of Adam Foulds's The Quickening Maze. I'm reading it now and while I wouldn't say it's a bad book, it's miles below the likes of Brooklyn and How to Paint a Dead Man. The 2009 Man Booker Prize shortlist is as follows:

Hilary Mantel, Wolf Hall
Sarah Waters, The Little Stranger
Simon Mawer, The Glass Room
Adam Foulds, The Quickening Maze
J.M. Coetzee, Summertime
A.S. Byatt, The Children's Book

I expect the judges will steer away from the Coetzee and the Byatt. At this point, although I have not read either of them, I'd throw my money on either The Glass Room or Wolf Hall. The winner is announced in early October and I'll update us all again then. Happy reading!

Monday, September 7, 2009

2009 Man Booker Prize, shortlist prediction

At some point tomorrow, the shortlist for the 2009 Man Booker Prize will be announced. Aside from spe
nding about two weeks with Pynchon's Inherent Vice, I've been slowly plugging away at the longlist since the day it was announced. I ordered a few books from sellers in the UK before the prices jumped too dramatically--Wolf Hall, The Glass Room, The Quickening Maze, and How to Paint A Dead Man.

Just for fun, here's my prediction for the shortlist... I'm basing it on what I've actually read and promising reviews of other titles I haven't made it to yet.

How To Paint a Dead Man
Wolf Hall
The Glass Room
The Wilderness
The Children's Book

I just finished How To Paint a Dead Man and was completely floored by it. It's one of those books that I know I would not have discovered if it weren't for the Booker list and I'm very grateful for its placement there. Whatever happens to the book as far as the prize is concerned, I hope people keep it in mind--its a devastatingly beautiful book about art and death and in one thread even manages to utilize the 2nd person narrative with the most jaw-dropping precision.

I'll update tomorrow with the verdict. Happy Labor Day!