Interview with Neil Gaiman

In this interview, Neil Gaiman discusses book publicity, his new book Chu's First Day of School and the American Gods television show. Enjoy!

The interview happened because the sifu at my kung fu school happens to be friends with a director of book trailers. He sent me a Twitter message that Neal Stephenson was going to be filming one at the school and if I happened to be there at the same time I might be able to meet him. I showed up, Neal Stephenson novel in hand to be signed, only to discover Sifu had gotten the writer wrong. "It'd be really funny if you got him to sign that," said the director when he saw my well-worn copy of The Diamond Age.

I've met Neil Gaiman before, briefly and even more briefly interviewed him, but he's one of my favorite writers so I rushed out to a local bookstore, picked up a copy of a book I hadn't read yet for him to sign (The Ocean at the End of the Lane) and rushed back.

Trailer for "Your Fate Hurtles Down at You"

Electric Literature just put together this animated trailer for the short story "Your Fate Hurtles Down at You" by Wet Asphalt favorite Jim Shephard. It's... pretty damn awesome.

Full disclosure: Electric Literature pays us money to put ads on the site (but not to post things like this). Irregardless of that, I honestly believe that they are a pretty great literary magazine that appears to be doing everything right--and offering their magazine for a reasonable price in a myriad of formats including DRM-free ebooks. But most importantly they publish really good writers like Jim Shephard and pay him real money for the privilege. So go buy their first issue already.

John Oliver's Literature Rodeo

Apparently, they could spring for John Oliver but not for a decent sound editor. Still, a good example of how to make book ads entertaining.

Puppet Show Book Trailer

This book trailer is pretty amazing:

Still, neither that trailer nor the novel's website give me any solid description of what the book is about. Which, after that trailer, is what I really want to know.

Via GalleyCat

Reading the World

In honor of Reading the World 2007, an effort to promote literature in translation, many lit blogs are suggesting and discussing translated books. May I suggest the novels of Jin Yong?

Criticism in Our Digital Age

Rachel Cooke asks recently in an op-ed piece in The Guardian if we "amateur word spewers" would really do without Nick Hornby who Cooke feels has set the Gold Standard for criticism to which no lit blog can aspire.

I feel confident in answering that yes, I would be quite content to live in a world without Nick Hornby and his brand of insipid, uninspired prose.

John Hodgmania

John Hodgman, in between being the "PC" in those Apple ads and his work on The Daily Show, is promoting the paperback of his book The Areas of My Expertise, which book I would probably praise, had I read it. To this end, Hodgman has put this video up on Amazon, which is damn funny, and created this magazine ad, which is a parody of this obscure George Plimpton ad for Itellivision from the 80's. The original ad, the fact of the parody and the parody itself are all three quite funny. A little less funny, but more poignant, is this address that Hodgman gave to a literary reading just after 9/11, published on McSweeney's in honor of the fifth anniversary last week.

Bonus: Also from McSweeney's, somewhat surreal new Mac ad ideas. (Remember, John Hodgman is the "PC Guy.")