Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Professional solidarity aside, it's easy to understand why publicists are looking at ways of bypassing conventional critics. For example, the considerable majority of those who regularly review films in Britain are, like me, white males over the age of 40 who tend to prize originality over repetition and realism above sentimentality. These demographics and values are completely the opposite of cinema's main target audience: 15-24-year-olds seeking, in two senses, a big release on a Friday or Saturday night.
As a result, the cinematic commentariat tends to be far keener than potential ticket-buyers on small-scale, brainy pieces (such as, recently, the quirky drama Son of Rambow or the political documentary Taxi to the Dark Side), while rating many very profitable genres far lower than cinema-goers do: chick flicks, romcoms, horror, children's films and any returning title that is followed by a number higher than 2. That attitude to sequels is typical of the fundamental philosophical difference between serious critics, who flinch at the idea that they know what they will get, and civilian audiences, who are often attracted by familiarity.
Monday, June 23, 2008
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Here they are, the winners of the 2008 Boston Globe Horn Book Awards.
Nonfiction: The Wall, by Peter Sis, published by Foster/Farrar.
Honor Books: Frogs by Nic Bishop (Scholastic) and What to Do about Alice? by Barbara Kerley, illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham (Scholastic)
Fiction: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie, illustrated by Ellen Forney (Little, Brown)
Honor Books: Shooting the Moon by Frances O'Roark Dowell (Atheneum) and Savvy by Ingrid Law (Walden/Dial)
Picture Books: At Night by Jonathan Bean (Farrar)
Honor Books: Fred Stays with Me! by Nancy Coffelt, illustrated by Tricia Tusa (Little, Brown) and A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever by Marla Frazee (Harcourt)
Special Citation, for excellence in graphic storytelling: The Arrival by Shaun Tan (Levine/Scholastic)
Read the press release for complete details.
Monday, June 16, 2008
Then there's Frank Cottrell Boyce's comments about YA publishing, but I think the worthy arguments advanced against them are missing the funnier semi-scandal of one Guardian children's fiction award longlister (Boyce) queering (albeit probably obliviously) the chances of another (Patrick Ness) by saying his really isn't a juvenile book at all!
Sunday, June 15, 2008
the cake . . .
our visit to my friend Jo . . .
and her dog Whipper . . .
and running across the Golden Gate Bridge . . .
and dinner with old college friends Gary and Georgie (and Gary's fiance Matt).
I WON'T be sharing the pictures Richard took of me in the motel pool, and I promise to be on-topic tomorrow.
Thursday, June 05, 2008
Wednesday, June 04, 2008
Plenty of reading is coming along--the last quarter of Middlemarch, Ha Jin's A Free Life, Scott McClelland ratting out his boss, Colin Thubron on Siberia and Richard Grant on the Sierra Madre. And a bunch of mysteries. (This is where the Kindle comes in really handy.) I'm hoping to pick up the new David Sedaris and John Sandford at the airport.