Big Book Trailer!

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Category: Sweet Nonsense

Kurt Cyrus‘s fabulous Big Rig Bugs was published this past spring. It’s a near-perfect model of how to do a lot with a little: In seventy-six words, it tells the story of a bunch of bugs clearing away some litter from a construction site. And, because that’s not near enough, it also a slew of great parallels between how some construction devices mimic what bugs do in the natural world. Kurt is a poet and an artist, and he excels in both realms here—this book is a crackerjack read-aloud that should please the youngest fans of big rigs or bugs.

But that’s not what this post is about. No, this post is merely to present this nifty book trailer Kurt made for the picture book, just as a side project while he finishes up … [more]

bookpadMy complaint is a simple one.

Look at the picture there on the right.

See the stack of books to the right? See the stack of books on the iPad? Which one reminds you of the stories still to be read, the books you want to reread; which one literally occupies a space in your conscience (as well as on your bookshelf)?

But in my experience, when I look at my iPad, I don’t see books. I see an iPad. On the device is Middlemarch, a Jonathan Ames novel, a Charlie Huston mystery, a couple of P.G. Wodehouse books, and a half-dozen nonfiction books I thought I wanted to read once upon a time.

This could just be a sad side effect of the way I consume books: … [more]

Bulwer-Lytton-200x274

It’s award season and the results are finally in!

No, no, not those awards, which remind us that the people who create children’s books are artists as well as craftspeople.

No, I’m talking about the Bulwer-Lytton Awards for worst opening sentence. It is Edward George Bulwer-Lytton whose 1830 masterpiece Paul Clifford begins:

It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents—except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness.

In his honor, each year hundreds of writers compete to write similarly overwrought and overextended sentences, and they are always a riot. Mere … [more]

marginaliaThere are two sorts of people in the world: Those who write in and mark up books; and those who view those of us who do write in books as sacrilegious pigs.

Okay, okay—maybe there are a few other sorts of people. (I’ve never been a fan of that whole “There are two kinds of people” routine, except where it is inarguable: women/men; living/dead; rational people/fans of Glenn Beck.)

Myself, I’ve gone from treating every book as a sancrosanct object (as a boy) to routinely scribbling in books (as an adult). Some I so love that I want to puzzle out how they work, and I buy multiple copies and mark them up (Moore, Munro, Cheever, Konigsburg, others). Some books I find so maddening that I have to immediately vent my hooting disdain (among them … [more]

(Was going to post this after seeing this movie in preview, but then decided that would be a bit of a spoiler. Lots of people probably wanted to see this movie as much as I had; no reason to kill their joy early. So I drafted it and set it aside til now, when it appears that Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief will be lucky to gross a hundred million dollars. Effectively, this film franchise is already over.)

Percy-Jackson_jpg_595x325_crop_upscale_q85

The wretchedness of some bad movies is forgivable.

You know the ones I mean: There is an artistic vision of some kind behind the mess, a storyteller who got terribly lost. And even though the end result is painful to behold, it still feels like it came from someone who cared. About the … [more]

24 Jack Bauer 003Last night I had the place to myself and fired up the first two episodes in the latest season of Fox’s long-running, melodramatic, completely unrealistic counter-terrorism show 24. And I loved it.

I resisted the adventures of Jack Bauer for a while, despite the claims of friends and family that I’d eventually come to not only enjoy the show, but also yell at the screen in joy, anger, or pure, raw emotion. A friend said, “Trust me, if you watch it, you’ll find yourself screaming out Jack’s name.” He was completely correct.

24 is not art. Let’s get that straight right away. In my DVD collection, the seasons I own are hidden away behind things of more merit. And to be honest, it hasn’t been great since Day 5. But what can I say? I … [more]

25babe(Crow and Companion shopping during the holidays in high-tech Spend Bucks store packed with people.)

From next aisle over, Voice #1: Yo! What’s the name of that talking pig in that movie!

Voice #2: What movie? What pig? What are you talking about?

Voice #1: You know, that movie with the pig that talks—what’s it called? Babe. What was the name of the talking pig in that movie, Babe?… [more]

HotReadsbigOver the holidays, the Crows took some time away from the fire of agenting to read things other than manuscripts and contracts. (I know, I know—who knew there was anything else? But it turns out the world of print is far bigger than just our little grimy corner of the bookstore. Will the wonders never cease!?) Some of us lost ourselves in the fat new Stephen King novel; others laughed their asses off over a Bill Bryson book (a helluva way to lose weight); still others turned for inspiration to that magazine of national record In Style to see just what it is we should be reading.

What books can the stars not put down?… [more]

HotReadsbigOver the holidays, the Crows took some time away from the fire of agenting to read things other than manuscripts and contracts. (I know, I know—who knew there was anything else? But it turns out the world of print is far bigger than just our little grimy corner of the bookstore. Will the wonders never cease!?) Some of us lost ourselves in the fat new Stephen King novel; others laughed their asses off over a Bill Bryson book (a helluva way to lose weight); still others turned for inspiration to that magazine of national record In Style to see just what it is we should be reading.

What books can the stars not put down?… [more]

freedom128No, I’m not talking about the indentured servitude contract Chris Richman and I agreed to when we booked passage here from the Old Country. We’re still in thrall to our master and doing dishes to earn our room and board. Rather, I’m talking about a little piece of shareware called Freedom. It forcibly stops users from accessing the internet. (That little clock to the right is its desktop icon.)

FreedomscreenIf you’re anything like me, then you find it hard to stop yourself from checking things throughout the day. Your four email accounts, your Twitter feed, internet messenger windows, that time-suck called Facebook, Goodreads, this blog, and a bazillion other inveigling things worm their way into your serene office and distract you from the Work That Must Be Done. Some of you have self control and … [more]