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1. Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 1/13/15: Secrets of the new Avengers trailer REVEALED!

§ After watching the new Avengers trailers several dozen times, going frame by frame, I think I can reveal a shocking twist: The Avengers will be fighting Ultron! Whoa! If you wat a more conventional breakdown, Russ Burlinghame has a breakdown of the dark brooding and forest shuffling.  Also, Hulkbuster.

§ If you have read this site for a month or two, you will already have figured out 4 Things Everyone Gets Wrong About Graphic Novels and the People Who Read Them. Did you know that comics aren’t just for kids? Eye opining, I know. But perhaps you can beat someone who is intractable over the head  with this if necessary.

 

Hip hop Vol3 cover Kibbles n Bits 1/13/15: Secrets of the new Avengers trailer REVEALED!

§ Fantagraphics has revealed the cover to Hip Hop Family Tree Volume 3 by Ed Piskor and it’s time for Run DMC. These books look so nice shelved next to one another.

§ ICv2 has the BookScan–Top 20 Graphic Novels list and now non fiction is added, making Ros Chast’s Can’t We Talk About Something More PLeasant? The #1 book for December, beating even The Walking Dead and Saga.  This also means that many people may have received this funny but bittersweet memoir about aging parents as a holiday gift. Think about that for a while.

§ I know you have all seen Neil Gaiman’s amazing advice on how to become a writer but for the five people who didn’t, it’s a classic.

bowery boys Kibbles n Bits 1/13/15: Secrets of the new Avengers trailer REVEALED!

§ Dark Horse is publishing a hardcover edition of Cory Levine’s Bowery Boys: Our Fathers! with art by Ian Bertram (Detective Comics, Batman Eternal) and Brent McKee (Outlaw Territory). It collects the web series about rapscallion adventure in rough and tumble 19th century New York City. The book is due in August.  The pr described Bertram as “up and coming” and he really is. 

 

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2. Neil Gaiman Shares His Thoughts On How to Become a Writer

Neil Gaiman TruthHow does one become a writer? American Gods novelist Neil Gaiman offered some practical advice to answer this question on his Tumblr. For Gaiman, it’s all about making sure to see a project through from start to finish.

Here’s more from Gaiman’s post: “Write the ideas down. If they are going to be stories, try and tell the stories you would like to read. Finish the things you start to write.”

Do you agree with Gaiman’s thoughts? If not, Gaiman describes an alternative process that involves scaling a mountain, catching a crow, collecting a golden berry, enduring a week of silence, and reciting Dr. Seuss’ Fox in Socks in its entirety with a golden berry under your tongue. Which method would you prefer?

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3. Neil Gaiman Shares His Thoughts On How to Become a Writer

Neil Gaiman TruthHow does one become a writer? American Gods novelist Neil Gaiman offered some practical advice to answer this question on his Tumblr. For Gaiman, it’s all about making sure to see a project through from start to finish.

Here’s more from Gaiman’s post: “Write the ideas down. If they are going to be stories, try and tell the stories you would like to read. Finish the things you start to write.”

Do you agree with Gaiman’s thoughts? If not, Gaiman describes an alternative process that involves scaling a mountain, catching a crow, collecting a golden berry, enduring a week of silence, and reciting Dr. Seuss’ Fox in Socks in its entirety with a golden berry under your tongue. Which method would you prefer?

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4. Literary Community Speaks Out Against the Attacks on ‘Charlie Hebdo’

Je Suis CharlieThe Satanic Verses novelist Salman Rushdie has issued a statement about the attacks on the Paris-based offices of the Charlie Hebdo newspaper. It was originally publicized on the English PEN website, but it has since been taken down. The Wall Street Journal has re-posted it in its entirety; here’s an excerpt:

“I stand with Charlie Hebdo, as we all must, to defend the art of satire, which has always been a force for liberty and against tyranny, dishonesty and stupidity. ‘Respect for religion’ has become a code phrase meaning ‘fear of religion.’ Religions, like all other ideas, deserve criticism, satire, and, yes, our fearless disrespect.”

Rushdie has not been the only member of the literary community to speak out on this issue. Last night, American Gods novelist Neil Gaiman revealed on Facebook that he agrees with the sentiments of Rushdie’s piece. On that same night, The Day The Crayons Quit illustrator Oliver Jeffers and Maus creator Art Spiegelman participated in a vigil in the Union Square area of New York City. (via The Huffington Post)

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5. Neil Gaiman Wants Terry Pratchett to Enjoy the Good Omens Dramatization

Neil GaimanWhat was the reason behind Neil Gaiman’s desire for a Good Omens adaptation?

Gaiman wanted the co-author behind this book, Terry Pratchett, to enjoy it before his dementia became more advanced. In the past, Gaiman has written about the anger he personally feels about Pratchett’s illness.

In an interview with RadioTimes, Gaiman explained: “I do feel that time’s running out. I want Terry to be able to enjoy this while he’s still able to enjoy it…Terry still has all of his faculties. He’s fighting Alzheimer’s, but he has a rare kind of Alzheimer’s which means physical objects no longer make sense to him, but he still has memory, and he still has a mind, and he’s still very much the sharpest knife in the drawer.”

(more…)

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6. Review of the Day: Hansel and Gretel by Neil Gaiman

HanselGretel Review of the Day: Hansel and Gretel by Neil GaimanHansel and Gretel
By Neil Gaiman
Illustrated by Lorenzo Mattotti
Candlewick
$16.95
ISBN: 978-1-935179-62-7
Ages 6 and up

When a successful writer of books for adults decides to traipse headlong into the world of children’s literature, the results are too often disastrous. From Donald Barthelme’s self-indulgent Slightly Irregular Fire Engine to the more recent, if disastrous in an entirely different way, Rush Revere series by Rush Limbaugh, adult authors have difficulty respecting the unique perspective of a child reader. Either they ignore the intended audience entirely and appeal to the parents with the pocket change or they dumb everything down and reduce the storytelling to insulting pabulum. This is not to say that all adult authors are unsuccessful. Sylvia Plath penned the remarkable The Bed Book while Ted Hughes brought us The Iron Giant. Louise Erdrich will forever have my gratitude for her Birchbark House series and while I wouldn’t call Michael Chabon’s Summerland a roaring success, it at least had some good ideas. Then we come to Neil Gaiman. Mr. Gaiman is one of those rare adult authors to not only find monetary success in the field of children’s books but literary success as well. His The Graveyard Book won the prestigious Newbery Award, given once a year to the most distinguished written book of children’s literature in America. Like Donald Hall with his Ox-Cart Man, Gaiman has successfully straddled two different literary forms. Unlike Hall, he’s done so repeatedly. His latest effort, Hansel and Gretel takes its inspiration from art celebrating an opera. It is, in an odd way, one of the purest retellings of the text I’ve had the pleasure to read. A story that begs to be spoken aloud, even as it sucks you into its unnerving darkness.

In the beginning there was a woodcarver and his pretty wife and their two children. Times were good and once in a while the family, though never rich, would get a bite of meat. Then the wars came and the famine. Food became so scarce that the wife persuaded her husband to abandon their children in the woods. The first time he tried to do so he failed. The second time he succeeded. And when Hansel and Gretel, the children in question, spotted that gingerbread cottage with its barley sugar windows and hard candy decorations the rest, as they say, was history.

Hansel2 300x97 Review of the Day: Hansel and Gretel by Neil GaimanIt’s a funny kind of children’s book. The bulk of it is text-based, with time taken for Mattotti’s black and white two-paged spreads between the action. For people expecting a standard picture book this can prove to be a bit unnerving. Yet the truth is that the book begs to be read aloud. I can see teachers reading it to their classes and parents reading it to their older children. The art is lovely but it’s practically superfluous in the face of Gaiman’s turn of phrase. Consider sentences like “They slept as deeply and as soundly as if their food had been drugged. And it had.” There’s something deeply satisfying about that “And it had”. It is far more chilling in its matter-of-factness than if Gaiman had ended cold with “It had”. The “And” gives it a falsely comforting lilt that chills precisely because it sounds misleadingly comforting. It pairs very well with the first sentence in the next section: “The old woman was stronger than she looked – a sinewy, gristly strength…” He then peppers the books with little tiny nightmares that might not mean much on a first reading but are imbued with their own small horrors if you pluck them out and look at them alone. The witch’s offers to Gretel to make her one of her own and teach her how to ensnare travelers. Hansel’s refusal to let go of the bone that saved his life, even after the witch has died. And the final sentence of the book has a truly terrible tone to it, though on the surface it appears to be nothing but sunshine and light:

“In the years that followed, Hansel and Gretel each married well, and the people who went to their weddings ate so much fine food that their belts burst and the fat from the meat ran down their chins, while the pale moon looked down kindly on them all.”

Some versions of the story turn the mother into a stepmother, for what kind of parent would sacrifice her own children for the sake of her own skin? Here Gaiman is upfront about the mother. She was pretty once but became bitter and sharp-tongued in time. It’s her plying words that convince the woodcutter to go along with the abandonment plan. As the book later explains, subsequent version of this tale turned her into a stepmother, but here we’ve the original parent with her original sin. Gaiman also solves some problems in the plot that had always bothered me about the story. For example, why does Hansel drop white stones that are easy to follow the first time he and Gretel are abandoned in the woods but breadcrumbs the second? The answer is in the planning. Hansel has foreknowledge of his mother’s wicked scheme the first time around and has time to find the stones. The second time the trip into the woods catches him unawares and so the only thing he has on hand to use for a path are the breadcrumbs of the food he’s given for lunch.

Hansel3 300x208 Review of the Day: Hansel and Gretel by Neil GaimanOriginally the illustrations in this book were created by Lorenzo Mattotti for the Metropolitan Opera’s staging of the opera of the same name. These pieces of art (which the publication page says are in “a rich black ink, on a smooth woodfree paper from Japan”) proved to be the inspiration for Gaiman’s take. This is no surprise. Mattotti knows all too well how to conjure up the impression of light or night with the merest swoops of his paintbrush. His children are no better than silhouettes. Does it even matter if they have any features? Here the trees are the true works of art. There’s something hiding in the gloom here and from the vantage taken, the thing lurking in the woods, spying upon the kids, is ourselves. We are the eyes making these two children so very nervous. We espy their mother pacing in front of their home just before the famine starts. We peer through the trees at the kids crossing past a small gap in the trunks. On a first glance the shadows are universal but then you notice when Mattotti chooses to imbue a character with features. The children are left abandoned in the woods and all you can see of the woodcutter is an axe and an eye. I think it the only eyeball in the entire book. It’s grotesque.

Of course, for a children’s librarian the best part might well be the backmatter. Recently I read a version of “The Pied Piper of Hamelin” that suggested that the Grimm tale was a metaphor for a plague that had wiped out all of Hamelin’s children, save a few. A similar theory surrounds “Hansel and Gretel”, suggesting that the story’s origins lie in the Great Famine of 1315. Further information is given about the tale, ending at last with the current iteration and (oh joy!) a short Bibliography. You might not be as ready to nerd out over this classic fairy tale, but for those of you with a yen, boy are you in luck!

Hansel5 500x347 Review of the Day: Hansel and Gretel by Neil Gaiman

What is the role of a fairy tale these days? With our theaters and books filled to brimming with reimagined tellings, one wonders what fairy tales mean to most people. Are they cultural touchstones that allow us to speak a universal language? Do they still reflect our deepest set fears and worries? Or are they simply good yarns worth discovering? However you chose to view them, the story of “Hansel and Gretel” deserves to be plucked up, shaken out like an old coat, and presented for the 21st century young once in a while. Neil Gaiman’s a busy man. He has a lot to do. He could have phoned this one in. Instead, he took the time and energy to make give the story its due. It’s not about what we fear happening to us. It’s about what we fear doing to ourselves by doing terrible things to others. The fat from the meat is running down our chins. Best to be prepared when something comes along to wipe it up.

On shelves now.

Source: Publisher copy sent for review.

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7. PEN American Center Posts Letter Advocating For Free Speech to Sony Pictures CEO

PENThe hackers behind The Interview incident have elicited both anger and fear throughout the country. The PEN American Center has sent a letter addressed to the CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment, Michael Lynton, to protest against this act of censorship. The organization has posted the full piece on its website.

Besides various PEN executives and trustees, several high profile writers have also signed this note. Some of the participants include PEN president emeritus Salman Rushdie, novelist Neil Gaiman, children’s books illustrator Jules Feiffer, poet John Ashbery, and playwright Tony Kushner. Here’s an excerpt:

“PEN is appalled at the intrusive, criminal and profoundly menacing reprisals and threats that Sony Pictures has endured as a result of producing and planning to distribute The Interview. PEN has long stood with writers and creators who have suffered assaults aimed to suppress the dissemination of their ideas. We believe firmly that violence is never justified as a reaction to speech, no matter how offensive that speech may be to some.”

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8. The World’s Greatest Storytellers: INFOGRAPHIC

World's Greatest Storytellers

Who would you name as the world’s greatest storyteller? The team at Raconteur.net interviewed 500 authors, journalists, editors, students, media experts, and marketing professionals to try to uncover the answer to this question; the data was collected into an infographic.

The ones that made it into the top six include five British writers and one American horror master: William Shakespeare, J.K. Rowling, Roald Dahl, Charles Dickens, Neil Gaiman, and Stephen King. Follow this link to view the full infographic.

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9. Neil Gaiman Reads A Christmas Carol

35405593_gvv24v-3.inline verticalLast year, author Neil Gaiman celebrated the holiday season by reading A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens to an audience at The New York Public Library. Follow this link to listen to the reading. (via Open Culture)

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10. Neil Gaiman Does Jabberwocky


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11. Reviews: A Murder of Cartoonists

While we were enjoying Comic Arts Brooklyn this year, my partner Marguerite Van Cook and I took a break from the excitement of promoting our new Fantagraphics Book The Late Child and Other Animals to go across the street to a little coffee bar and have a snack. The young counterperson noted the influx of odd personages hauling portfolios and piles of comics and asked, “is that a convention?”
I replied, “Well, a convention is more like one of those huge things with wrestlers, porn stars and superhero comics, all mixed together with a lot of cosplayers. This is more of a gathering of especially individualistic birds in the alt/lit comics scene. I guess you could call it a ‘murder’ of cartoonists.”
She laughed and asked about the origin of that phrase, which usually describes a flock of crows. But not to further elaborate that conversation, what follows is a review sampling of comics, many of them with poetical aspects, that I got at CAB and other recent releases. Note that I don’t actually try to kill my subjects, but rather to remark on their positive aspects, wherever possible.

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Jungle Book by Harvey Kurtzman (Kitchen Sink/Dark Horse, $24.99)

Kurtzman 1000x863  Reviews: A Murder of Cartoonists

A rare solo effort by the auteuristic creator of E.C.’s two excellent war comics titles Two-Fisted Tales and Frontline Combat, working in the satiric mode he initiated for Mad. Now, I do very much like Kurtzman’s solo work; see Fantagraphics’ recent collection of most of his solo E.C. stories, Corpse on the Imjin (which also contains a smattering of his odd, briefer collaborations, like those with Alex Toth and Joe Kubert). His own drawings have a powerful thrust and direct emotionality that can be lost or greatly altered when filtered through the sensibilities of the artists charged to re-illustrate his layouts. In Jungle Book, which was originally released by Ballantine Books in 1959 as a dingy, downscale paperback, Kurtzman’s targets include a jazz/noir mashup, a TV western and most impressively, in “The Organization Man in the Grey Flannel Executive Suite”, a cutting sendup of the fierce sexism that polluted the offices of his former employer, ex-Marvel Comics owner Martin Goodman. This brilliant strip is nonetheless disparaged as “weak” by famed misogynist and Kurtzman discovery R. Crumb, in the afterthought conversation between the underground artist and Peter Poplaski that cabooses this otherwise beautifully-produced hardcover reprint volume.

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Andre the Giant: Life and Legend by Box Brown (First Second, $7.99)

Box Andre 1000x745  Reviews: A Murder of Cartoonists

Brown’s biography of wrestling star Andre Roussimoff joins a small group of comics masterpieces that deal with this most theatrical of sports, from Jaime Hernandez’s Whoa Nellie from 2000 to a series of tongue-in-cheek horror collaborations by Mike Mignola and Richard Corben in more recent years, including their 2011 graphic novella House of the Living Dead. Brown’s is a remarkably consistent effort with effective graphic sequences such as the one pictured above and I also admire his restrained handling of the heavily staged fight scenes, as well as his unusual architectural establishing shots. Brown’s stark, spare and precise cartooning create a unique mood, as they contextualize Andre’s success with a tragic acknowledgement of the unrelenting sense of otherness and diminished opportunities for social interaction that he experiences due to his exceedingly unusual scale; as well as his size’s harsh repercussions on his health.

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Fear My Dear: A Billy Dogma Experience by Dean Haspiel (Z2 Comics, $19.95)

Dino 1000x495  Reviews: A Murder of Cartoonists

The pair of poetic graphic stories in Fear, My Dear reflect Dino’s unfettered physicality and passionate persona. Since winning an Emmy award for his TV collaboration with Jonathan Ames, Bored to Death and The Alcoholic, their graphic novel from Vertigo, Haspiel has if anything become bolder and more exuberant. For this nicely produced hardcover from Josh Frankel’s new Z squared imprint, the artist uses a four-panels-per-page grid format and a monochromatic color scheme (red in the first piece, yellow and orange in the second, both with an elegant use of white for emphasis) to further define the relationship between his creator-owned characters Billy Dogma and Jane Legit. Their romance haunts post-apocalyptic urban rubble and breaks through to a star-crossed dreamscape, only to end up where they knew they must: together.

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How to Pool and Other Comics by Andrea Tsurumi (self-published, not priced)

Andrea 1000x747  Reviews: A Murder of Cartoonists

Marguerite and I used to bask our way through the East Village dog days at the Pit Street Pool, and more recently as guests of the Miami Book Fair, we whiled away every spare moment by the steamy roof pool at our hotel. So, I can totally relate to the lead piece in Tsurumi’s new minicomic, wherein the artist collects a variety of witty graphic vignettes about group soakings in fluoridated waters, among other delicately drawn ironies and anthropomorphisms.

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Inkbrick #1 by Rothman, Sullivan, Kearney, Tunis, et al (Inkbrick, not priced)

Alexander 1000x794  Reviews: A Murder of Cartoonists

This pocket-sized anthology of comics that incorporate, or are adapted from, poetry is made up of remarkable short stories done in a variety of mediums that range from full color to black & white. Immediate standouts for me are Paul K. Tunis’s watery montages for “Avenge Me, Eavesdropper,” Gary Sullivan’s oblique ink rendering of horrific Asian mythologies, “Black Magic”; Simone Kearney’s whimsically etched “Mobilization”; and editor Alexander Rothman’s “Keeping Time” (pictured above), a piece apparently finished in colored pencils that inventively expresses non-visual sensory impressions such as sound, smell and touch.

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The Graveyard Book, Volumes 1 and 2 by Neil Gaiman, P. Craig Russell et al (Harper Collins, $19.99 each)

Gaiman Nowlan 1000x740  Reviews: A Murder of Cartoonists

Although The Graveyard Book continues Neil Gaiman’s anti-collaborative self-hype at the expense of his artist partners, I do appreciate P. Craig Russell’s adaptations of Gaiman’s stories into comics form. Russell’s elegant cartooning and storytelling are paced far better than if Gaiman had scripted; it worked beautifully for Murder Mysteries, Coraline and The Dream Hunters. Now, for Gaiman’s morbidly charming tale of a live boy shielded from a cabal of serial killers by the shades of the deceased occupants of a cemetery and raised by them to young adulthood, Russell acts artistically in a way similar to Kurtzman’s E.C. methodology: he adapts the text and does layouts; the finishing artists serve as illustrators. This makes for a surprisingly smooth and consistent read. I particularly admire the polished renderings of Kevin Nowlan (seen above), Scott Hampton, Jill Thompson and the Russell-miming Galen Showman; and although a somewhat discordant note is sounded by the grotesqueries of Tony Harris, the whole is unified by colorist Lovern Kindzierski and illuminator Rick Parker, who hand-lettered the text, for me a visual treat in these days of page-deadening digital fonts.

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Lazarus #1-9 by Greg Rucka, Michael Lark and Santi Arcas (Image Comics, $2.99 each)

Rucka Lark 1000x769  Reviews: A Murder of Cartoonists

I drew one of Greg Rucka’s first comics stories (“Guts” in DC/Vertigo’s Flinch #8, 2000), but it seems to me that the writer doesn’t take as much advantage as he might of the properties that are unique to comics—almost everything he does might work just as well if not better as TV shows. In his 2012 collaboration with Matthew Southworth, Stumptown, it is Southworth’s expressive drawing that provides most of the interest and its most effective use of the medium is that the artist rendered Vol 2, #4 with a Toth-esque sideways, widescreen layout. For Lazarus, a story of a female assassin in a dystopian, nearly medieval America run by a select group of powerful families that is absorbing enough and has had some striking moments, but still often has a feeling of deja vu about it, a lot of the heavy lifting is provided by artist Michael Lark’s cinematic near-photorealism, accomplished in collaboration with Santi Arcas’ hi-tech color graphics.

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Thought Bubble #4 by Kot & Sampson, Lim & Rios, Starkings & Sale et al (Image Comics, $3.99)

Ales Alison 1 1000x753  Reviews: A Murder of Cartoonists

This color tabloid is a showcase for the participants in the UK’s Leeds Comic Art Festival. My favorite piece is a sort of gentle advisory poem that in its course expresses a goal that many sensitive artists hold dear: that of “making things that help other people feel less alone.” It is the work of the writer of Image’s fascinating rotating-artist series Zero, Ales Kot, expressively drawn with upended, widescreen and oblique imagery by Alison Sampson, who just won a British Comic Award for emerging talent; and nicely colored by Jason Wordie. Also notable: a beautiful page by Hwei Lin and Emma Rios; and an Elephantmen strip written by Richard Starkings and elegantly rendered in ink washes by Tim Sale.

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Nightworld #s 1-4 by Adam McGovern, Paolo Leandri & Dominic Regan (Image Comics $3.99 each)

Paulo Adam 1000x730  Reviews: A Murder of Cartoonists

A tale of questing, embattled superhero-ish spirits, Nightworld manages to not only convey an approximation of the look of a Jack Kirby comic book, but it also comes closer than anything else I have seen to capturing something of the spirit of that master’s fierce and restless creativity. Artist Leandri hits a spot somewhere between majoring in Kirby, minoring in Steranko and echoing the early work of Barry Smith, back in the day when he was emulating Jack. Leandri’s spreads can look remarkably as if they were actually drawn by Kirby and his character designs and action passages likewise (see example above), without ever feeling as appropriated, or as forced, as those by some other artists who attempt to adhere as closely to the same model. These comics are colored by Regan with an oddly chosen palette that, again, is reminiscent of Kirby’s psychedelic experiments with Dr. Martin’s dyes. Moreover and significantly, writer McGovern’s poetic voice uniquely grasps a sort of post-traumatized and humane melancholy of narrative, the most tragic scenes of which are appropriately followed and leavened in a Shakespearean mode by bursts of frenetic humor, that can be seen in Kirby’s best writing.

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12. Neil Gaiman Recites ‘Jabberwocky’ From Memory

Once again, Neil Gaiman agreed to perform a reading of a beloved children’s story for a Worldbuilders fundraising venture. The choices included Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak, ‘Jabberwocky’ by Lewis Carroll, Fox in Socks by Dr. Seuss, and Goodnight Moon written by Margaret Wise Brown and illustrated by Clement Hurd.

‘Jabberwocky’ received the most votes and the organization has raised more than $639,000.00. The video embedded above features Gaiman in the woods delivering a dramatic recitation of Carroll’s famous nonsense poem from memory—what do you think?

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13. Wil Wheaton Narrates the Information Doesn’t Want to Be Free Audiobook

Info CoverWriter Cory Doctorow has taken it upon himself to produce the audiobook edition of his book, Information Doesn’t Want to Be Free: Laws for the Internet Age.

According to Doctorow’s blog post, actor Wil Wheaton served as the narrator for this project. It also features “a mixdown by the wonderful John Taylor Williams, and bed-music from Amanda Palmer and Dresden Dolls.”

McSweeney’s released the hardcover version back in November 2014. Both Palmer and her husband Neil Gaiman wrote forewords for this project. (via Neil Gaiman’s Tumblr page)

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14. Indie Bookstores Compete to Win a Visit With Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman OceanA group of independent bookstores are competing against one another to win a visit with Neil Gaiman. The shop that sells the most copies of The Ocean at the End of the Lane by the end of this year will come out on top.

According to Gaiman’s Tumblr page, the actual event will take place in February 2015. The participating stores include: 57th Street Books, The Book Cellar, The Book Stall at Chestnut Court, Anderson’s Bookshop, Bethany Beach Books, Chapter One Book Store, Eagle Eye Book Shop, Green Apple Books, Kepler’s Books, Village House of Books, Main Street Books, Watermark Books & Café, Maria’s Bookshop, Moravian Book Shop, Mostly Books, Octavia Books, Tubby & Coo’s Mid-City Book Shop, Old Firehouse Books, Over the Moon Bookstore & Artisan Gallery, Rediscovered Books, St. John’s Booksellers, and the Strand Book Store.

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15. Favourite Teen/YA Reads of 2014 by Savita Kalhan


In January this year I decided to challenge myself to reading 55 books. I did it through Goodreads to track what I’ve read and when I’ve read it. Some of the books I’ve read have been for ‘work’, some for research and others for sheer pleasure.

My to-be-read pile is always huge and there never seems to be enough time for reading, so doing it this way keeps me on track – the message: you’re x number of books behind is enough to spur me on to make more reading time. Apparently, I’m ‘on track’, with a few weeks to go before December 31stby which time I’ll hopefully have made it to the magic 55 books read mark. Looking back over my list of books read, I thought I’d share some of my favourite teen/YA reads of the year.
 

Buffalo Soldier by Tanya Landman
 
 

The Hob and the Deerman by Pat Walsh

 
 
 
The Case of the Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud

Wish Me Dead by Helen Grant

Between Two Seas by Marie-Louise Jensen
The Unicorn Hunter by Che Golden

 
Apache by Tanya Landman

 
 
Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
 
The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

 
 
 
I’ll stop there or else it’ll end up being a very long list! It also makes me wish I had read more of my to-be-read pile.

I hope you’ll share some of your favourite teen/YA reads of the year in the comments – the more book recommendations I get the bigger my smile! Merry Christmas!
 
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0 Comments on Favourite Teen/YA Reads of 2014 by Savita Kalhan as of 12/4/2014 7:15:00 PM
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16. NaNoWriMo Tip #20: Learn From 5 Established Authors

the guardianNaNoWriMo participants have less than 24 hours to complete their project. For our final tip, we’re sharing some of our favorite lessons from five established authors who contributed to The Guardian’sTen Rules For Writing Fiction” piece.

01. “Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.” — Elmore Leonard

02. “Have regrets. They are fuel. On the page they flare into desire.” — Geoff Dyer

03. “Do back exercises. Pain is distracting.” — Margaret Atwood

04. “Remember you love writing. It wouldn’t be worth it if you didn’t. If the love fades, do what you need to and get it back.” — A.L. Kennedy

05. “Finish what you’re writing. Whatever you have to do to finish it, finish it.” — Neil Gaiman

This is our twentieth NaNoWriMo Tip of the Day. To help GalleyCat readers take on the challenge of writing a draft for a 50,000-word novel in 30 days, we will be offering advice throughout the entire month.

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17. Neil Gaiman Announces Air Dates For ‘Good Omens’ Radio Adaptation

I have borrowed Aziraphale's flaming sword to let you know that Good Omens starts on Dec 22nd on BBC Radio 4. Look! pic.twitter.com/ST81u6tnBv

— Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) November 27, 2014

BBC Radio 4′s Good Omens dramatization will air from December 22nd to 27th.

Neil Gaiman, who co-wrote the book with Terry Pratchett, made an announcement on Twitter. The cast includes Colin Morgan, Charlotte Ritchie, Mark Heap, Peter Serafinowicz, Paterson Joseph, and Louise Brealey.

Here’s more from RadioTimes.com: “Good Omens follows the attempts of an angel and a demon (Heap and Serafinowicz) to save the world from the antichrist, but all is not as it seems thanks to a bureaucratic mix-up. Soon, the fate of humanity is left to a gang of young children, a trainee witchfinder (Morgan) and a collection of garbled flashcards.”

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18. Neil Gaiman Reads a Poorly Written ‘Neil Gaiman’ Style Story

What does a poorly written Neil Gaiman short story sound like? The Wits radio station hosted the “Bad Gaiman Challenge” to try to answer that question. Hundreds of submissions came in.

The video embedded above features Gaiman reading the “worst of the worst” pieces—what do you think? Follow this link to view photos. Click here to watch a video clip from the event.

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19. Neil Gaiman On the Value of Scary Stories

Newbery Medal winner Neil Gaiman sat with TOON Books publisher Françoise Mouly and Pulitzer Prize winner Art Spiegelman to discuss his new graphic novel, Hansel and Gretel. The video embedded above features the entire conversation.

Gaiman confesses that the “Hansel and Gretel” fairy tale really frightens him, but he does believe that children must be exposed to dark stories. Gaiman thinks that “if you are protected from dark things then you have no protection of, knowledge of, or understanding of dark things when they show up. I think it is really important to show dark things to kids—and in the showing, to also show that dark things can be beaten, that you have power.”

(more…)

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20. ‘HarperCollins Presents’ Podcast Series Launched

harpercollins1HarperCollins Publishers has launched a new global podcast network called “HarperCollins Presents.”

Here’s more from the press release: “Each week the HarperCollins Presents podcast series will feature an exchange of ideas from leading authors and creatives – from home-grown heroes to global stars. It will take listeners behind the scenes, explaining the mysteries of the creative process and inspiring fans to think differently.”

The podcasts can be downloaded from iTunes, SoundCloud, and Stitcher. Currently, fans can listen to episodes featuring Coraline author Neil Gaiman, Divergent author Veronica Roth, and Rooms author Lauren Oliver. The executives behind this series plans to create new content with filmmaker David Cronenberg, the Kay Scarpetta series author Patricia Cornwell, and the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series author Alexander McCall Smith.

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21. 24 Hours of Halloween: Hansel and Gretel by Mattotti and Gaiman—with events!

HG.Front .cvr .GB  24 Hours of Halloween: Hansel and Gretel by Mattotti and Gaiman—with events!

This extraordinary book—surely one of the most beautiful picture books of the year— has a complicated history. It began with Mattotti’s phenomenal illustrations, originally commissioned for the Metropolitan Opera’s 2007 production of Engelbert Humperdink’s opera Hansel and Gretel. Later French publisher Gallimand commissioned Jean-Claude Mourlevat to write text to go with it. And now Neil Gaiman has done an all new adaptation of the story. I was lucky enough to hear Gaiman read this at Carnegie Hall earlier in the year and it’s a stunning version of the tale…but it’s Mattotti’s claustrophobic, world building art that makes this one of the books of the year. In his world. the unlucky children are mere black blobs with a thin armor of white space protecting them from a tangled web of darkness.

This book is the center of several events this weekend. Neil Gaiman is speaking at the NYPL this evening, and it’s being live streamed.

And Mattotti himself appears tomorrow morning at McNAlly Jackson Books in Soho. He will have books re-signed by Gaiman on hand but Gaiman will not be appearing…however, if you are very lucky maybe the great Mattotti will doodle something in your copy of this masterpiece.

WHEN:
November 1, 2014 at 11:30AM

WHERE:
McNally Jackson Books
52 Prince Street
(between Lafayette & Mulberry)
New York City, NY 10012

WHAT:
Come hear Lorenzo talk about his art and share more about the making of Hansel & Gretel.  After the event, copies of Hansel & Gretel, presigned by Neil Gaiman, can be signed and personalized by Lorenzo.

HG.g.GB frontend 1 24 Hours of Halloween: Hansel and Gretel by Mattotti and Gaiman—with events!

HG.g.GB pp.10 11 24 Hours of Halloween: Hansel and Gretel by Mattotti and Gaiman—with events!

 

HG.g.GB pp.14 15 24 Hours of Halloween: Hansel and Gretel by Mattotti and Gaiman—with events!

0 Comments on 24 Hours of Halloween: Hansel and Gretel by Mattotti and Gaiman—with events! as of 1/1/1900
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22. Neil Gaiman Shares 4 Tips For Reading Stories to Kids

Neil Gaiman & Lorenzo MattottiOver the weekend, writer Neil Gaiman and artist Lorenzo Mattotti appeared together at the New York City independent bookstore McNally Jackson to promote Hansel & Gretel. At the event, Gaiman read an excerpt from the story in front of an audience that included a plethora of both adults and kids.

Gaiman is no stranger to presenting stories to children being both a father and a Newbery Medal winner. During the Q&A session, he offered some guidance for reading stories to young people.

Below, we’ve collected some of his advice. Do you have any further recommendations to add?

(more…)

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23. Neil Gaiman Praises The First Amendment

Author Neil Gaiman has shot a video praising the first amendment. In the video embedded above, Gaiman talks about how he came to realize the value of free speech after he came to the United States. The NCAC honored Gaiman at a gala event earlier this month along with Robie H. Harris and the Trumbull High Thespian Society.

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24. Amanda Palmer Stars in Book Trailer

Rock star Amanda Palmer unveiled a book trailer for The Art of Asking. She became inspired to write her new nonfiction book after she gave a TED talk in 2013. In the video embedded above, Palmer plays piano and shares her ideas on asking—do you have any regrets about not asking for something?

At the night of the book launch, she celebrated the publication with an event at Porter Square Books. Click here to listen to her lead the crowd in singing the “Happy Birthday” song to her husband Neil Gaiman. Do you predict that Gaiman and Palmer may collaborate on a writing project one day together?

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25. Neil Gaiman & Ursula Le Guin at the National Book Awards

ursula_leguinAuthor Neil Gaiman presented the 2014 Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters to Ursula Le K. Le Guin at the National Book Awards this evening.

Before tonight, the two had only met once in an elevator at a sci-fi writer’s conference more than two decades ago in the Midwest. They were on an elevator together and she asked him, ”Are there any room parties tonight that you know of?”  and he replied, “I don’t know.”

While Gaiman had never met LeGuin in person, her work played a huge role in influencing his writing. As a young writer, Gaiman couldn’t figure out how to copy her style as he did with other writers because her work was so “clean.” So he cheated and read her essays on writing to help inform his own writing when he was a young writer.

“She raised my consciousness,” he said explaining that she opened his eyes to women’s issues. “She made me a better writer and much more importantly, she made me a better person who wrote.” (more…)

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