It looks like the wait for The Winds of Winter will stretch into its fifth year: HarperCollins just confirmed to The Guardian that George R.R. Martin's latest Song of Ice and Fire novel is not on its schedule for 2015. It also hinted that people should really stop asking about it. "These are increasingly complex books and require immense amounts of concentration to write," Martin's publisher Jan Johnson said. "Fans really ought to appreciate that the length of these monsters is equivalent to two or three novels by other writers." To sate the desire for more Westeros #content, the publisher does plan to release an illustrated compendium of the three Dunk and Egg prequel novellas, and there are also numerous Winds of Winter preview chapters to fill the void. Something tells us that will not be enough.
With his roles in Twin Peaks and The X-Files, among other projects, David Duchovny established himself as a man who's interested in the weirder side of things. That sensibility comes to full flower in his first novel, Holy Cow: A Modern-Day Dairy Tale. The book tells the story of Elsie, a cow who undergoes an existential awakening that causes her, along with Tom, a turkey, and Shalom, a Jewish pig, to light out from the farm where they lived in search of the great, wide, presumably safe world. It's a wild tale, and you can read the first chapter below.
If you love Bob's Burgers and the punny burgers-of-the-day names, then you probably love Cole Bowden's Tumblr, the Bob's Burger Experiment. Bowden takes the names you see on Bob's chalkboard, creates a recipe, and then crafts an outlandish, gourmet burger from scratch. NPR's the Salt reports that after two years of making the internet drool, Bowden's recipes for such inventive dishes as "I Know Why the Cajun Burger Sings," "The Foot Feta-ish Burger," and "A Good Manchego Is Hard to Find," among others, will see print.
The literary follow-up to The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo trilogy is coming in August, according to the Guardian. The book, That Which Does Not Kill, was reportedly completed in November by David Lagercrantz, after the original author, Stieg Larsson, died in 2004. Although plot details are currently unavailable, this next installment will again feature Lisbeth Salander in the spotlight — because how can it not?
Last week, Shovel Ready, the crime novel about a garbage-man turned hit-man in a near-future dystopian New York, written by Vulture contributing editor Adam Sternbergh, was nominated for an Edgar Award for Best First Novel. Here, we asked Sternbergh to annotate a short excerpt from the sequel, Near Enemy, which was published earlier this month — including thoughts on history's first murder, the dubious appeal of Pepé Le Pew, and just how crazy New York apartment locks used to be.
This used to be a city of locksOriginally, this line, which is now the first line of Chapter 2, was the very first line in the novel. I still like it as a potential opening line — and I have a real fetish for great opening lines — but I eventually decided to start the novel with an extremely short Chapter 1. (It’s eight lines and 54 words long.) I really enjoy when books throw you directly into the action with a punchy opening. The punchiest opening ever, in all likelihood, is the one for Don Winslow’s Savages, which notoriously starts with a first chapter that reads, in its entirety: “Fuck you.” Depending on your temperament, that’s either grating or exhilarating (I lean toward the latter), but it definitely gets your attention..
Every home, at least five, down the door, like a vault.
Fox lockThese are all real kinds of locks. The Fox Lock, also known as a Police Lock (or the Fox Police Lock), was designed by a German immigrant and Staten Island resident, Emiel Fox, at the turn of the 19th century. In the most popular iteration of the Fox Lock, when you turn a key, two horizontal bars bolted to the middle of the door extend out into the door’s frame. (There’s another variation of Fox’s Police Lock that involves a metal bar that’s propped on an angle against the door itself.) The Fox is a serious, badass lock, and a fixture of movies and TV shows about New York in the 1970s — the kinds of shows where New Yorkers would come home, then ritually twist and secure multiple locks as if they lived inside Fort Knox. (At this lock-selling site, the Fox Lock is introduced with the line, “This lock has to be the ultimate prop if you are making a movie about NY City,” which is true.) As a kid growing up far away from New York City, that ritual — the Locking of the Locks — seemed emblematic to me of what life in chaotic, lawless, crime-ridden New York must be like..
Funny name, that last one.
Neither word exactly conjures security.
For years, A Song of Ice and Fire fans have argued over the true nature of Coldhands, a mysterious, vaguely undead character who assists Bran Stark in his journey north of the Wall. Is he, as many argue, actually Bran's long-vanished uncle Benjen in disguise? Now, thanks to one intrepid Redditor, we have our answer. User _honeybird visited Texas A&M's Cushing Library to read the original manuscript of A Dance With Dragons, which was full of numerous handwritten notes between George R.R. Martin and his editor, Anne Groell. Scribbled in the margins at Coldhands' first appearance, Groell asks, "Is this Benjen? I think it's Benjen ... [smiley face]." Martin's response, circled in red: "NO." If only all ASOIAF fan debates were so easily solved; now we just need Groell to ask a question about Jojen Paste, and the world of message boards can live in harmony forevermore.
When you read enough of Thomas Pynchon's novels (actually, make that any of his fiction), you begin to understand why the author has gone out of his way to stay out of the public eye since the 1960s. Pynchon's view of the world is strange — people are shady, corporations are never up to any good, and we're all going to go through this life and never find the answers to some of our bigger questions. Whether it’s the massive Gravity's Rainbow, a book considered a life accomplishment to some upon completion; or Inherent Vice's paranoid, psychedelic take on hard-boiled detective fiction (immortalized onscreen in Paul Thomas Anderson's adaptation, a Pynchon first), there's always something ominous on the horizon in the author's books.
The book business in 2015 is pretty much a crapshoot, but it’s hard to believe that even the canniest insider could’ve predicted the sales success that indie publisher Melville House has had with The Senate Intelligence Committee Report on Torture.
Thirty years ago this fall, The Cosby Show debuted on NBC, and its star was catapulted into the comedic stratosphere. The timing is prime, then, for the release of a sprawling biography. Written by former Newsweek editor Mark Whitaker, Cosby: His Life and Times documents the man’s rise from the Philadelphia projects, while also detailing the creation of his family sitcom and the murder of his son Ennis in 1997.
The book is notable, however, for its complete avoidance of sexual abuse allegations that have dogged Cosby for more than a decade. In a statement to Buzzfeed's Kate Aurthur, Whitaker says, "I didn’t want to print allegations that I couldn’t confirm independently." Regardless, their absence is glaring. Consider the following timeline an appendix to the book.
If gunmen hadn’t attacked the offices of Charlie Hebdo today, killing 12 people (including the provocative magazine’s editor-in-chief), the conflict over Islam’s place in Europe would still have been Paris’s topic one. There were yesterday’s rallies in Germany to talk about, some in sympathy with France’s anti-immigrant National Front, but also the publication of the sixth novel by notorious anti-Muslim provocateur Michel Houellebecq, out today. A caricature of Houellebecq graces Charlie Hebdo’s new cover, after all.
Twitter has a relatively short and specific official code of conduct (called, officially, The Twitter Rules) that forbids obvious transgressions, like spamming and posting threats. But if you spend enough time on Twitter, you soon learn that there’s a larger and stickier web of constantly evolving Twitter ethics. For example: In some corners of Twitter, it’s considered a great offense (for reasons that elude me) to retweet someone if you don’t also follow them. Elsewhere, some people assume that if you follow someone, it’s only polite for them to follow you back. Many people on Twitter (more justifiably) get angry at so-called manual retweets, i.e., retweets preceded by RT that “rob” the original tweeter of his or her hard-earned and well-deserved retweets. Everyone agrees it’s bad form to steal someone’s joke and tweet it as your own. And depending on whom you ask, it’s also an offense to retweet someone’s link without acknowledging the person who directed you there with a hat tip (h/t), or to repost a funny photo with your own punch line attached. Yet all of these rules (and more!) are broken all the time, and usually, I’d surmise, by people who aren’t flouting the rules so much as acting in ignorance of the fact that these rules even exist.
Stephen Soderbergh does his homework. The director just released his diary of all the media he consumed in 2014 (it's an annual tradition), and the totals are astounding: More than 100 different films, 30-some-odd books, and dozens of TV shows. And he did all that while working on The Knick and Magic Mike XXL! Surely you, with your comparatively minuscule workload, could afford to mimic Soderbergh's watching habits and thus gain a small measure of his encyclopedic film knowledge. If you're so inclined, here's how to do it:
Normally the path from advice columnist to award-winning author runs in only one direction, but leave it to Haruki Murakami to do something different. The Japanese novelist is launching an online advice column where, according to his spokesman, he will "receive questions of any kind," in any language. (Within reason.) The column will appear on a new website called Mr. Murakami's Place (Murakami-san no tokoro), and the author's spokesman said Murakami was open to answering questions about himself as well. It's all a way for the publicity-shy writer to engage with his fans, so once this is up, look for Murakami to raise his engagement even further by producing relatable web content, like "31 Things Unemployed Cat-Loving Japanese Men Know to Be True," "84 Times the Shifting Nature of Reality Gave Us Life," and "What I Talk About When I Talk About Running."
If you're one of those people whose New Year's resolution is to read more books, then Mark Zuckerberg might have the fillip you need to reach your goal. The social-media titan — who has more than 30 million followers on Facebook — is beginning a book club in the form of a community page. Titled "A Year of Books," the group will read new material every two weeks and discuss it in comment threads. "My challenge for 2015 is to read a new book every other week — with an emphasis on learning about different cultures, beliefs, histories and technologies," Zuckerberg wrote on his timeline. "Books allow you to fully explore a topic and immerse yourself in a deeper way than most media today. I'm looking forward to shifting more of my media diet towards reading books." The first book is Moisés Naím's The End of Power, about the world's trend toward giving individual people more power, as opposed to larger entities. At time of publication, more than 120,000 users had liked the page — that's either a lot of accountabilibuddies or empty promises!
The last words that Reese Witherspoon utters in Wild come directly from Cheryl Strayed’s memoir (no spoilers, but trust us: You may tear up when you hear them) and will certainly send many people rushing out of the theater to buy a copy of the book. Wild — both iterations — is about many things (nature, infidelity, forgiveness, grief, heroin, finding properly fitting hiking boots), but among them, it is a love letter to words: the words Strayed’s mother said to her before she died, the words in the books Strayed carried with her on her 1,000-mile trek across the Pacific Crest Trail, and the words she finally allowed herself to believe in order to move on with her life and find peace. Strayed’s words are powerful, strong tools, both spoken and on the page, and her ability to say exactly the right thing at the right time may be most apparent in her pre-Wild writing, before the country knew her name. In fact, it was before anyone did: She only went by Sugar.
It makes total sense that J.K Rowling would choose to release more Harry Potter tales over the Christmas season, considering her original stories are by far the most festive of this era's popular young-adult fantasy series. (You don’t see Katniss popping on a Santa hat, do you?) The wizarding world is not only obsessed with the festive merriment of the holidays — possibly to make up for the fact that poor, orphaned Harry had so many disappointing Christmases before arriving at Hogwarts — but that time of year is also often the setting for major plot events. It's Christmas Day when Harry sees his parents in the Mirror of Erised in the Sorcerer’s Stone, when Hermione successfully brews Polyjuice Potion in Chamber of Secrets, when Harry overhears Professor Snape and Draco Malfoy’s chat about Voldemort outside Professor Slughorn’s holiday party in Half-Blood Prince, and when everyone suddenly discovered teenage angst at the Yule Ball in Goblet of Fire.
Macmillan CEO John Sargent’s hard stand against book discounting in 2010 was the first salvo in the war of Amazon versus Big Publishing (and led eventually to the Department of Justice’s lawsuit against the latter). Today he announced a multi-year truce of sorts, becoming the latest to make a deal with the etailer to regain at least some control over the price of the company’s books. (Simon & Schuster made a deal in October, and Hachette, whose books Amazon had been deliberately underselling, came to terms last month.)
Unexpectedly but unmistakably, 2014 was a pivotal year for comics. For starters, the industry had its best sales month in 17 years. What's more, sales rose for both digital and physical purchases. The unending boom of licensed comics properties reached an insane critical mass: Warner Bros. and Disney unveiled slates of DC and Marvel superhero movies running all the way to 2020, Guardians of the Galaxy and Captain America: The Winter Soldier demolished the box office, five comics-adaptation TV shows were on the air in primetime (with many more to come), and it seems like we can't go more than a few days without some kind of superhero casting announcement.