Thursday, February 12, 2004

This morning's news 

Oh god: Janet Maslin jumps on the lad-lit bandwagon, spending most of her space on Kyle Smith's LOVE MONKEY. Speaking of Smith, am I the only one who thinks he bears a passing resemblance to this man?

Thor Kunkel is one of Germany's hottest young writers. But his newest book is causing such a fuss that his publisher has cancelled its publication. Why? Because it's based on the Nazis' penchant for making porn films and allegedly "downplays" the Holocaust.

The Saga of Irwin Schiff, the man responsible for "Federal Mafia" and classic tax avoidance, is not much liked by the government. But courts are skeptical that the IRS can actually make everyone who bought the book un-buy it. Or something like that.

Ian Rankin criticizes the Scottish Executive's decision to close down the Airborne Initiative after a documentary aired showing its problems.

Immanuel Kant, party animal? That's what three new biographies of the philosopher are saying, trying to break him free of the long-standing mold that he was a great big bore.

Bill Hicks is, to say the least, a cult figure in American comedy. A premature death in 1994 at the age of 32 only cemented this status. Now, as his complete works are being published for the first time, the Independent takes a closer look at the man, his comedy, and his influence.

Rebecca Caldwell delves further into the revamping of Nancy Drew for 21st century girls. Only at the end of the article does she bring up the bottom line: will kids who have video games and other instant gratification tools at their disposal even care about Nancy? Time will tell.

Two big blockbusters get major paper treatment: The Boston Globe digs Joseph Finder's PARANOIA, while Dennis Drabelle of the Washington Post speaks highly of John Grisham's latest bestseller.

USA TODAY reviews a debut mystery novel with a ton of buzz: Harley Jane Kozak's DATING DEAD MEN. I read this book a few days back, and thought it quite enjoyable, but it's a little too lightweight for my own tastes. But for those who got off the Evanovich Express and are clamoring for something light and funny that doesn't descend into Energizer Bunny-like activities (never mind the incessantly annoying love "triangle": please. Morelli and Ranger deserve each other, they can leave Steph alone), Kozak's book is the perfect solution.

Susan Vreeland wrote GIRL IN HYACINTH BLUE around the same time as Tracy Chevalier's similarly themed GIRL WITH A PEARL EARRING. Both became bestsellers. Now Vreeland is back with a book based around the life of Emily Carr, and the Chicago Sun-Times meets her.

Leonie Frieda is the author of a biography of Catherine de Medici, just out now. Her own life broke down in the process as she lost her family and became addicted to drugs. Frieda tells her story and how she managed to conquer her demons.

Make him stop, please. DBC Pierre can't stop gabbing to Lillian Pizzichini about his upcoming projects. His next book, LUDMILA'S BROKEN ENGLISH, is about two Russian schoolboy emigres who get in trouble. His third book, the one he's working on now? It's really exciting him. "I've found a way to make vulgarity acceptable," he says. Dude, just because you change the spelling to "fucken" doesn't make it acceptable. Or amusing. Trust me.

And finally, for those that have been anticipating, salivating, drooling for it--Sept. 21 is your date to mark.

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