Reviews and Articles in General Publications
§ Slate Oct. 15
Timothy Noah's Chatterbox column applies the Sorting Hat from J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter books to the current presidential candidates, assigning each to one of the four houses of Hogwarts. Pat Buchanan is a Gryffindor; Elizabeth Dole is a Slytherin...
§ USA Today Oct. 14
Michael Jacobs reviews Jane Jensen's Millennium Rising (Del Rey), which actually begins in the year 2005. ''But the most important surprise is that Jane Jensen's debut novel isn't just some apocalyptic schlock meant to cash in on the Y2K panic.''
§ Washington Post Oct. 14
Mike Musgrove reviews Peter Straub's Mr. X (Random House), and isn't much impressed. ''The scariest thing about this book is what a confusing mess it is.''
(Fri 15 Oct 1999)
§ Ban Harry?
Attempts to ban J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter books from schools are growing more frequent and attracting more media attention. Here's a CNN article about it; here's a BookWire article. Parents are concerned their children will be harmed by exposure to books involving witchcraft; one is quoted by CNN: ''The books have a serious tone of death, hate, lack of respect and sheer evil''.
In Wednesday's New York Times (13 Oct.), Scholastic publisher Arthur A. Levine explains why he paid so much for rights to the Harry Potter books.
I think that the biggest lesson from the success of Harry Potter is that you
need to try not to follow a trend. It's almost a cliche. You have to follow
your heart. In Harry Potter, the wand chooses the wizard; and when the
wand chooses you, you take it. You don't try to find which other books
are selling, which ones are hot right now.
§ Los Angeles Times October 8
Kevin Thomas' review of Abel Ferrara's New Rose Hotel, based on William Gibson's short story and starring Christopher Walken and Willem Dafoe, is much kinder than the review noted last week in Village Voice.
Elliptical and stylized to the max, "New Rose Hotel" becomes primarily a chamber drama--the chambers being luxe hotel rooms in various cities around the world. It's as emotion-charged as any Ferrera film ever, yet whatever violence ensues happens offscreen. Plot counts for little--but allows for a bold experiment in structure and repetition. "New Rose Hotel" is a bravura mood piece, a fatalistic fable about a central character with the delusions of grandeur of an Orson Welles hero.
Entertainment Weekly October 8
Meanwhile, William Gibson is profiled in an article by Noah Robischon [not online]. It says Gibson is writing the screenplay for a movie version of Neuromancer to be directed by Chris Cunningham; he's writing another X-Files episode; and the article describes his forthcoming book All Tomorrow's Parties (Putnam's). Gibson previous books are, ET-style, given letter grades ranging from A to B-.
§ New York Times Book Review October 10
Jerry A. Coyne reviews Anne Simon's The Real Science Behind The X-File (Simon & Schuster) -- not to be confused with Jeanne Cavelos' earlier book The Science of the X-Files, which the present reviewer actually prefers as
''a more thorough and accurate account of 'X-Files' science.''
Also: a short review by Mark Athitakis of Lewis Shiner's new novel Say Goodbye (St. Martin's) -- ''a fine novel about rock 'n' roll''; a review of Sylvia Yount's Maxfield Parrish: 1870-1966 (Abrams/Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts); and an essay by Pico Iyer about the reality of British boarding-schools currently popularized in the Harry Potter books.
§ San Francisco Chronicle Oct. 10
Gerald Haslam reviews Carol Emshwiller's Leaping Man Hill (Mercury House), a sequel to her Ledoyt. '' 'Leaping Man Hill' is a satisfying novel, with complexities not susceptible to easy summary, as well as those quirky characters and some playful language.''
§ Salon Oct. 9
An interview with Kurt Vonnegut, and a review of the film Breakfast of Champion.
Bestseller Watch, 11 October
After one week on the LAT and SFC lists, Jonathan Lethem's Motherless Brooklyn (Doubleday), drops off.
Otherwise, very little change. Harry Potter and Stephen King's Hearts in Atlantis hold on, though the J.K. Rowling books dropped out of the top spots on Amazon's Hot 100 list last week after Oprah Winfrey promoted some diet books on her show.
Kurt Vonnegut's Bagombo Snuff Box remains #1 on the LAT list and dropped 1 to 24th at NYT.
Links to the Bestseller lists:
Amazon UK |
(Wed 13 Oct 1999)