shaken & stirred

welcome to my martini glass


the revenge of the numbered list

Lots of good links today.

1. Happy birthday to TEV! Whenever I see multiple TEV updates pop up on Feedreader, it's like a little present. I envy, and heart, TEV's prolific posting.

2. Great Globe and Mail interview with Daniel Handler (via the also prolific Maud), that only increases my affection for him. On the way to lunch at the Omni Berkshire Place hotel in midtown Manhattan, Daniel Handler's driver mentioned a reality show about a bounty hunter, which got Handler musing about a version of the show set in the publishing industry. "These bounty hunters, they come and get these people who've escaped from jail," he says, a lopsided grin on his face and a thrill in his voice as he chomps energetically on a Cobb salad. He adopts a grave TV narrator's voice -- "Don DeLillo hasn't earned out his advance" - then mimics an armed-to-the-teeth bounty hunter storming into the author's household, guns blazing. "Get down! Get down on the floor!" he yelps. Concerned restaurant patrons turn and stare.

And once again, I'll plug his novels for adults. The Lemony Snickets are fantastic, but Handler's non-pseudonymous novels are the same marvels of voice but weirder, darker and just as funny. And the article informs that a new one's on the way: The primary obstacle to the publication some time next year of his third novel for adults, Adverbs, is his inability to find enough time in his packed schedule for a final edit.

Related: CNN article/interview mostly focused on the upcoming Unfortunate movie.

3. Various National Book Award nomination links to follow -- GalleyCat has all the links you need about the nominees themselves. The Washington Post confirms that this is: the first time in the 55-year history of the awards that all the finalists for fiction -- including two first-time novelists -- are women. No surprise there, except that it happened. It turns out not, however, to be the first time a government report's been nominated: Government reports have traditionally have been considered bland and unreadable, so the inclusion is unusual, but it is not unprecedented. In 1973, a report by a special commission in New York on a deadly riot at the state prison in Attica two years earlier was nominated but did not win. Ed expresses his opinion of this historical sequel nomination in fine style. The NYT story reveals that not only are all the fiction nominees women, but all five live in New York City. This must mean that the New York City Secret Literary Feminist Cabal has won! The NYPost on the other hand, provides a more businessy look at the noms, saying it's a battle royale between Simon and Schuster and Norton.

But my favorite story, from the Minneapolis Star Tribune (free registration required), explains why the announcement was held in Minnesota -- the first time the noms were not released in New York -- and interviews the extremely charming Pete Hautman, a Minnesotan nominated for his book Godless in the category for youth literature. I've already put the book on hold at the library.

"After I found out 'Godless' was nominated, they made me not say anything for 24 hours, and it nearly killed me. I kept telling our two poodles over and over. They're very literate,'' he said in an interview from the Golden Valley home he shares with author Mary Logue.

"I never thought one of my books would be nominated. It's dangerous to think about things like that. You can make yourself nuts. There is a lot of really good stuff being printed for children and young adults, so getting noticed gets tougher every year. A nomination like this gives you an edge where you are going to be looked at, especially by teachers and librarians who are important for young-adult writers. I hope wonderful things happen. I'll have more book sales, more readers. My skin problems will clear up.''

"Godless'' grew out of Hautman's memories of a summer when he was a teenager in St. Louis Park "taking a hard adolescent look'' at his Roman Catholic faith. He and some friends from various religious backgrounds invented a religion in which the town's 10-legged water tower was a god.

I also reserved Joan Silber's book, but am awaiting the opinions of trusted others before leaping to read all of them. I loved Madeleine is Sleeping though; Sarah Shun-lien Bynum's book and urge you to read it. I hope this brings it even wider attention.

4. The The New York Times fact checks the debate -- and they missed at least one thing, W's assertion that we wouldn't allow the flu vaccine from Chiron into our country. As the San Francisco Chronicle has reported, 6 million doses had already been shipped to warehouses in the U.S. before the U.K. (not U.S.) government supended Chiron's license due to contaminated vaccine lots. Also, as Mr. Rowe pointed out, there was a golden opportunity for Kerry to turn that answer around: "If Canadian flu vaccine's good enough for Americans, why aren't Canadian arthritis medications?"

5. I'm comforted to learn by way of Internal Woman of Mystery Sarah Weinman that the mystery/crime genre is similar to SF/F in the way that matters most. She quotes writer John Rickards on an award dreamed up at Bouchercon: The other product of the night was the formation of ideas for 'the Drunkies', a series of booze-themed awards for crime writers that, believe it or not, I'm actually giving serious thought to trying to launch as the UK scene is bereft of such a thing. I rather like the idea of 'the Debut Drunkie' for any book by an author who's just reached legal drinking age in their country of residence and 'the Ken Bruen Liver Memorial Award for Lifetime Achievement' for someone of years of service to both writing and drinking, preferrably both at the same time.

6. Jonathan Strahan gives wise advice on why you should be subscribing to The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction.

7. Dinosaur That Slept Like a Bird would make a great story title.


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