Category Archives: Fun Stuff

Hashtag of the Moment: #bookswithalettermissing

John A. Sellers -- August 2nd, 2011

As we post, Twitter’s more literary corners are having fun with the latest book-themed, procrastination-inducing hashtag, #bookswithalettermissing, which, with the stroke of a delete key, turns Dickens into an ill-conceived ice cream flavor (Liver Twist, courtesy of @NicholasPegg) and C.S. Lewis’s The Silver Chair into a meditation on aging, The Silver Hair (via @lisibo). Writers and publishers are getting in on the action, too. Kate Wilson, @NosyCrow, has offered such gems as The Collected Woks of William Shakespeare and Far from the Adding Crowd (“autobiography of an accountant-turned-smallholder”), and YA author Patrick Ness’s contributions include Homer’s The Ilia (“an epic poem about many pelvic bones”) and Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist as a Young Ma. Other favorites:

@tommydonbavand: Charlie and the Chocolate Factor
@CodeNameTanya: Notes on a Sandal
@angegarrod: Lady Chatterley’s Over
@Kari_Luana: Breaking DanNew Moo
@SteveSparshott: Laughterhouse-Five
@KBreathnach: Civilization and its Disco Tents
@Daracho: Naive Son

Got some of your own you’d like to share? Add ‘em in the comments, or join the fun on Twitter.

2011 Eisners: ‘Wilson,’ ‘Return of the Dapper Men’ Tie for Best Graphic Album!

Calvin Reid -- July 23rd, 2011

Drawn & Quarterly's Peggy Burns accepts Dan Clowes's Eisner for Wilson. Photos by J. Culkin

Although we didn’t get a confirmation, we don’t ever recall there being a tie for the winner of the Best Graphic Album-New award at the annual Will Eisner Comics Industry Awards, held Friday night at the Bayfront Hilton as part of the 2011 Comic-Con International. But that’s what happened.

Daniel Clowes’s Wilson (Drawn & Quarterly) and Jim McCann and Janet Lee’s Return of the Dapper Men (Archaia) ended up in a flat-footed tie for the big book prize that brings the awards event to a close.

Joyce Brabner (l.) and daughter Danielle at the induction of Harvey Pekar into the Eisner Hall of Fame

That was certainly a highlight moment of the comics industry’s big gala awards show, “the Oscars” or “The National Book Awards” of the comics industry depending on your preference for gala media events. But there were other captivating moments throughout the evening (an evening that clocked in at about 3 hours this year). Among them: Paul Levitz, former president and publisher of DC Comics, winning his first Eisner award (Best Comics-Related Book) for 75 years of DC Comics: The Art of Modern Mythmaking (Taschen); two trips to the podium by Fantagraphics publisher Kim Thompson to accept Eisners (Best U.S. edition of International Material and Best Reality-based Work) on behalf of French cartoonist Jacques Tardi; Fabio Moon and twin brother Gabiel Ba citing the comic book reading of their mom when they accepted their Eisner (Best Limited Series) for Daytripper (Vertigo); the pure screaming delight of Raina Telgemeier when she won (Best Publication for Teens) for Smile (Scholastic/Graphix) and the backslapping and boozy grins of Shannon Wheeler (Best Humor Publication) and his publisher Chip Mosher when Wheeler won for I Thought You Would be Funnier (Boom!).

Joyce Brabner and daughter Danielle were on stage for the induction of her late husband, the great autobiographical comics writer Harvey Pekar, into the Will Eisner Hall of Fame. Brabner also used the occasion to remind the audience of her Kickstarter.com campaign to raise funds to build a statue of Pekar in Cleveland and she outlined–in classic Brabner fashion–how she insisted on a statue that would truly represent the spirit of Harvey.

And we have to confess a moment of pride and connection at the induction of the great underground cartoonist and historian of the Texas Republic, Jack Jackson. For a brief moment in 2003-2004 I was the graphic novel editor at Reed Press, a short-lived trade publishing imprint at Reed Elsevier, and had the honor and privilege of somehow convincing Jackson (who was both skeptical and encouraging to me) into letting us reprint his classic work of graphic nonfiction Comanche Moon, the cover of which was used to illustrate Jackson’s induction into the Eisner Hall of Fame. He was a great cartoonist and an equally great and engaging historian and bringing that book back into print for a short while was without a doubt the highlight of my short career as a comics publisher.

Last and certainly not least, we’d like to send a shoutout to our colleague at PW Comics World, Heidi MacDonald, who was nominated for an Eisner (Best Comics-Related Periodical-Journalism) for her pioneering comics news and culture blog, The Beat. She didn’t win (congratulations to Comic Book Resources on their Eisner award) but she’s still a winner! For a complete list of Eisner winners go to the Comic-Con International Website.

The Book Inscription Project Lets You See Others’ Great Personal Inscriptions

Gabe Habash -- June 29th, 2011

People love buying used books because you feel like a part of something, a past that’s put its mark in the book’s pages and binding.

Most of the time, you don’t know exactly who else has read the book, unless you find some sort of inscription, which is where The Book Inscription Project comes in.

The blog collects the best personal inscriptions out there, letting us glimpse the lives of others in sometimes heartfelt, sometimes funny ways.

Take, for example, the inscription in Elliott Smith by Autumn de Wilde: For Tara, Because no one ever gave you a book with an inscription before, because you love photographs, because we are obsessed with Elliott, and because I’m in love with the world through the eyes of a girl. -Seth

Or the inscription in Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. It reads: MACK….IN A TIME OF NON HEROES AND ANTIHEROES, A TRUE HERO, A REAL MAN. I’M SURE YOU’LL LOVE HIM AS I DO. AFTER ALL, HOW CAN WE HELP BUT LOVE GOD?

Kind of makes us want to write in everything we have now. What shall we write in our copy of Smokin’ Seventeen?

Great Fake Film-to-Book Covers

Gabe Habash -- June 28th, 2011

The website Cover Browser is a rabbit hole for book lovers, nostalgia lovers, or even Americana lovers. With over 450,000 covers on the site, it’s easy to get caught in an infinite loop of arcane books, comics, and magazines.

To get you started, we’ll give you one of our personal favorites. User Spacesick has created 13 fake, wonderfully retro-looking book covers for imaginary film-to-book adaptations in a series called “I Can Read Movies.”

Our favorite is the Highlander cover, which manages to be both understated and badass.

This is a Book Bound in Human Skin

Gabe Habash -- June 23rd, 2011

Clicking around AbeBooks can lead you to some wonderful discoveries–first editions and rare books that you’d have a hard time finding anywhere else. But AbeBooks is good for something else: weird books.

Some examples: Electricity in Gynecology, Movie Stars in Bathtubs, and Smocks.

Of course, if that’s not your taste, you could invest in this. It’s a book bound in human skin.

Dust jacket not included.

The $9,000 book is from the estate of Joseph Sadony, a P.T. Barnum acrobat and friend of Gandhi who apparently championed man’s capability of snatching the world’s intuitive knowledge right out of the air. Born in 1877, Sadony could’ve either been a genius who predicted all the forms of wireless technology that we know today, or a crazy person. On the one hand, he aided the Air Force with aerodynamic research and corresponded with Einstein. On the other hand, he owned a human skin book.

No word yet on exactly what “very good” condition entails. Or if that Spanish title translates to English as “Necronomicon.”

Read Faster with Spreeder

Gabe Habash -- June 22nd, 2011

Having a tough time slogging through your bedside copy of the Pentagon Papers? Well, Spreeder is here to help you read all about our Indochina activities at a much faster rate.

It works like this: just copy+paste your text into the box on the website, and Spreeder will automatically convert the text into a file that flashes the words, one at a time, on the screen. The speed is variable (the default is 300 wpm), and the goal is to keep raising your rate in order to “silence subvocalization.”

According to Spreeder, most of us read at about 200 wpm, because that’s as fast as we can read a passage out loud. We have our inner-voice (in a literal sense, not in a Jiminy Cricket sense) constantly saying the words to us while we read them. By throwing words at you faster than your voice can speak them, the act of reading simply becomes a visual experience, and the human eye is very adept at processing information quickly.

So, really, there’s no excuse left for you not to read all that the National Archives has to offer. It’s what all responsible, informed Americans do.

The PW Morning Report: Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Craig Morgan Teicher -- June 21st, 2011

Today’s links!

Ellsworth Remembered: The NYT obit for the first publisher of the New York Review of Books.

B&N Profit: ZDNet wonders whether the Nook will alter the profit equation when Barnes & Noble reports its earnings today.

Make Borders Stores like Apple Stores: That’s one idea a private equity firm has for the bookseller. From AnnArbor.com.

Whitcoulls Absorbs Borders New Zealand: All Borders in New Zealand will become Whitcoulls stores. From the National Business Review.

European E-Growth: The Bookseller reports good digital growth in Europe despite the threat of encroaching US E-book companies.

Haiku for Keanu: Salon rounds up some hilarious haiku supposedly written by, but also sort of written against, Keanu Reeves (who, it turns out, is a budding author in several genres).

Literature-Map Scientifically Lets You Find Your Next Book

Gabe Habash -- June 20th, 2011

Having a tough time picking your next summer read? Head over to Gnod’s Literature-Map to get some help.

Here’s how it works: type in an author’s name and watch a constellation of similar authors explode around the name, distance relative to similarity. An example: entering current “It Author” Jennifer Egan yields matches for Helen Zahavi, Téa Obreht, Elizabeth McCracken, and Tana French.

It’s tempting to enter every author that comes to mind. Searching for Robert Coover’s map turns up three authors that are practically on top of one another: Donald Barthelme, Steve Millhauser, and George Saunders, which leads us to conclude that, because we’ve never seen all four in the same place at the same time, Coover, Barthelme, Millhauser, and Saunders are, in fact, the same person.

Using its self-adaptive system, Gnod also has a suggestion search, which lets you type in three authors you enjoy and get a recommendation from that. There are also searches for movies and music!

Test Your Literature IQ…How Well Do You Really Know Books?

Gabe Habash -- June 14th, 2011

Let’s say it’s a slow afternoon at work. Let’s say you like books. You can’t read at work, because that’d be too obvious. So what do you do?

There aren’t enough literary timewasters online (you can only paste so many text chunks into I Write Like before you get angry at seeing you write just like Dan Brown), but there is Sporcle.

Sporcle is a massive quiz website. How massive? 6,000 quizzes (and almost 200,000 user-created quizzes). Luckily for bookworms out there, there’s a category for “Literature.” 

Here are some of our favorite quizzes at PW to get you started:

*Can you name these books from their famous opening lines?

*And how about from their last page lines?

*How many of the Modern Library 100 can you name?

*Can you name the works of literature from their less exciting versions?

*And something just for the book lover who also happens to love cats.

Just don’t blame us if your work productivity plummets.