Rainn Wilson’s Not-a-Memoir Out Next Fall

Entertainment Weekly announced that Rainn Wilson is coming out with a memoir new book with Dutton next fall. Wilson doesn’t want to call it a memoir because he is the
“guy who is best known for playing a paper salesman with a bad haircut, tweeting fart jokes and starting a quirky spirituality website.” While he may not be Desmond Tutu, I’m sure Wilson has something worthwile to say.  In March, he posted a picture he’d taken of the audition sign-in sheet for The Office. That image alone speaks to the awesome professional—and personal—stories he can share.

I want to give all the actors all the jobs.
I want to give all the actors all the jobs.

A Power Reader Goes to Book Expo America, Part 3

Last month I went to Book Expo America. Here’s my last (and belated) post about the event, where there are writing contests and some final thoughts.

The Contests!

Harlequin is having a contest where they are offering a publishing contract to the winner. And Quirk Books (of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies fame) has a new contest where they are looking for love stories. Unlike Harlequin, however, something tells me that their love stories will have something… Quirk-y about them.

LoveStoryContest_postcard_WEB1 (1)
My vote is on shark meets pirate.

Final Observations: Trending and the Future

Advance reader copies didn’t seem to be as widespread. Instead, the main freebie took the form of an actual book. Some were titles with an upcoming release date. Others were semi-recent titles with corresponding author signings. One standout in that regard was a signing for Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, which was published in 2011. That didn’t stop the line from extending way past the booth. Since books themselves are cheaper than ARCs to manufacture (and many readers would prefer a “real book” rather than a marketing tool), this seems like a positive direction. Readers can still get books before any one else. And authors who have had hits in the previous year (like  with Peregrine‘s signing) can connect with fans and new potential readers.

Another element that seemed to be lacking was the presence of digital reading. Even though e-book sales keep growing, I didn’t see much geared toward e-books. Perhaps that may be because an in-person event equals physical manifestations of content. You wouldn’t go to Coachella and spend much time talking about your Spotify playlist, for example.

Power Reader Day is still a work in progress. Not all genres may benefit from a public day. Romance and YA were booming with events, along with commercial fiction and nonfiction. It may take longer for other genres to take hold.

There is still an element of the controlled chaos that is more chaotic than controlled. The tone of Power Reader day was mixed, with author signings, friendly editors, and publicity directors clashing with empty booths, sterile displays, and stone-faced representatives who didn’t want to speak to people with green badges.

Word on the street is that some publishers are still ambivalent about the public entering a formerly industry-only event. Many publishers, however, got the gist of the Power Reader Day, understanding the power of the consumer and making human connections with their brands.

It is understandable though how publishers want to utilize their precious BEA time by connecting with their regular contacts: teachers, librarians, and booksellers, all who support the book business and help curate tastes for the reading public. And that larger level of understanding is not same as the individual consumer.

Hopefully, next year’s BEA will continue to engage industry members and the public with new books and media. Until then, I’ll be waiting—and reading.

Other BEA 2013 posts: Part 1 | Part 2

Trailer Alert: Saving Mr. Banks

The history of making Mary Poppins into a film was a troubled one. Author P.L. Travers strongly disliked the film when it came out, and she forbade Walt Disney from ever making another Poppins film.

That hasn’t stopped Disney from making Saving Mr. Banks, a film that reimagines the making of Mary Poppins with Tom Hanks as Walt Disney and Emma Thompson as P.L. Travers. The rest of the cast looks equally fabulous, with Colin Farrell, Paul Giamatti, my wife Ruth Wilson, and many more rounding off the cast. Bonus points to Jason Schwartzman and B.J. Novak in some funny scenes as the Sherman brothers.

While it may not be historically accurate, I wouldn’t mind the extra spoonful of sugar added to this movie.

The Most Anticipated Book of the Fall Releases an Excerpt

Confession: I love The Room. In every way an unintentionally so-bad-it’s-good movie can be loved. When I’m down, an instant pick-me-up is to watch its bizarre flower shop scene. And I’ve done the “You’re tearing me apart, Lisa” gesture far too often.

And have made everyone around me instantly uncomfortable.
And have made everyone around me instantly uncomfortable.

Like many Room fans, I’ve been fascinated by filmmaker Tommy Wiseau’s… everything. And now we can all learn more about the film, because Greg Sestero (Mark! “Oh hi, Mark!”) wrote a book about his experience called The Disaster Artist. It’s coming out in October, and A.V. Club posted an exclusive excerpt from the book. It really can only be described as surreal.

PS. If you didn’t already know, Greg Sestero was a guest on “How Did This Get Made”  and spoke about The Room. I’ve only listened to it twice.

A 12 foot tall Mr. Darcy statue (as played by the Firth) is working it in Hyde Park, London.


Can we do one of Hugh Jackman in Central Park PLEASE? (Ya know, before we work on getting universal healthcare or some other nonsense.)

Can I Mention Again That It Was My Dream To Adapt ‘Sound and the Fury?’

Oh God, How Can I Love and Hate Someone So Much at the Same Time?

James Franco, hire me for all your screenwriting needs like RIGHT NOW. And then never talk to me again because I think you’re captivatingly gross and wonderfully nauseating.


Awesome Literary Calendar!

Flavorwire has published a calendar that lists an awesome literary events for every day of the year. Today, June 27, Sylvia Beach (creator of bookseller Shakespeare and Company) introduces F. Scott Fitzgerald (WHO?) to James Joyce (WHA-?) at a dinner party.

Cue the crazy ex-patriot party!


Be Still My Heart: Richard Armitage Reads Georgette Heyer


Author Cora Lee has brought to my attention that the dashing Richard Armitage not only narrates audiobooks, but he has narrated three novels from historical romance author Georgette Heyer.

I’ve never quite gotten into audiobooks or have read Georgette Heyer, but if the excerpts are anything to go by, I might get started sooner than I thought.

Sigh No More! Reasons Why Joss Whedon’s “Much Ado” is Amazing!

I hereby bestow on Joss Whedon the ability to adapt any bloody work of Shakespeare he so wishes into film (I believe that’s part of my abilities as an ex- English Major). And here’s why:

1) We Missed You, Whedonverse!

Audiences have been treating Much Ado as some weird departure from regular Joss Whedon material. Most of the man’s work comprises of action-adventure/ scifi-fantasy genre work with slick-talking, butt-kicking protagonists and large-scale production work. And yea, I guess when you put it that way, it does seem like a surprise move to follow the third highest grossing film of all time with a micro-budget, Shakespearean adaptation shot in Whedon’s house with actors whose names don’t rhyme with Bobert Mowney Punior.

BUT, I’d argue that Much Ado is very much in vein with Whedon’s work– in fact, much more so than The Avengers franchise. Five minutes into Much Ado and you get the odd sense that you’ve seen this before. The bound-for-love couple who express their love for each other with insults and denial.  The miscommunications that deeply wound otherwise wonderful relationships. The unique balance of a sharp, fun, and nuanced script with plenty of physical comedy. Like any good ‘auteur,’ Whedon takes his themes, his dramatic structure, his characters, from one of the greatest sources of Western storytelling and incorporates them into his unique creative vision, whether it be that of a teenage girl fighting big baddies or of rogue soldiers on the fringes of the galaxy. Shakespeare seems to be everywhere in contemporary culture, but Whedon truly knows how to use it for meet his own vision as a storyteller.

Also, how much fun was it to see our favorites from the Whedonverse! Who knows why Alexis Denisof and Amy Acker haven’t had roles as exciting as their Angel characters? Those two are just brilliant. Luckily, their versatility and charm are on full effect in Much Ado. Every time a Whedonverse actor appeared on screen, 50% of the audience gave a happy squeal (Andrew! was most audible) and with reason– Whedon’s assembled a great bunch of people over the years to do his bidding. The more, the merrier!

Get it, get it! Wes and Fred 4 Lyfe


Like any normal six-year old, I regularly watched Kenneth Branagh’s 1993 adaptation of Much Ado. My 16 year old sister insisted I be a cultured second grader. This same sister also introduced me to Buffy and Angel and Firefly. (Come to think of it, she’d probably be a better source about the connections between Billy Shakes and Jossy Weed than me). Branagh’s version always existed as a kind of model for the way Much Ado plays out, so much so that even the Tennant/Tate partnership last year took came in second to it (you know, on the list I have on my wall next to my bed of the best Shakespeare adaptations ever.)

Tennant and Tate are chums…

…but Branagh and Thompson get it done

Rather than go for Branagh’s Italian villa setting or the Donmar’s 1980’s shindig, Whedon’s Much Ado is much simpler. The black-and-white movie, filmed completely in Whedon’s palace home, makes for some strikingly nuanced yet affirming visuals, and allows Shakespeare’s word to vibrate unhindered throughout the story. Maybe that’s why audiences seem surprised that they are actually able to understand the story in Whedon’s film. They’re unmediated, direct, and resounding.  (That being said, check out both other adaptations if the interest moves you. I personally like Branagh’s but the trick scenes in the Tennant/Tate production are pretty wonderful).

3) I don’t have a three. I guess…. Shakespeare’s awesome and I’m so glad that artists continue to push the boundaries of his work. Go team!

Andrew and Mal thank you for your time.

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