Bibliokleptomaniacs Dig God… and Beatniks

Bookworms are an interesting sort. Some (bibliophiles) compulsively hoard literary nuggets until their shelves sag and creak, yet never bother to actually read their collection. Others can barely tear themselves away from the freshly-vacuumed bookstore corner in which they devour the newest Malcolm Gladwell for fear that the trip home will forever interrupt their cozy date. Still others are library hermits, zigging-and-zagging through those musty stacks in search of bookish bliss. There are bookworms with Kindles and bookworms that are constantly juggling the four paperbacks they’re reading (at once). There are bookworms that get turned on by first-editions and bookworms keen on newer, abstract renditions. There are bookworms that follow the Tao of Oprah and bookworms who only listen to Deepak Chopra. But perhaps the most intriguing bookworm of all is the bibliokleptomaniac, or what we like to call the kleptobrainiac. These people are book thieves, the nerdiest outlaws this side of Hogwarts. Fascinated? Appalled? Exposed? Find out what the most shoplifted books of modern times are after the… Read More

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David Byrne and Fatboy Slim Immortalize Imelda Marcos

Talking Heads alum David Byrne and dance beat guru Fatboy Slim are finally releasing “Here Lies Love,” their disco-influenced concept album based on the life of ex-Philippine first lady/shoe-hoarding diva Imelda Marcos and her life-long servant, Estrella Cumpas. If your first reaction is to rub your eyeballs and re-read what you just read, then… Read More

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Lilith Fair 2010 Lineup Announced: Will You Pay To Hear Them Roar?

The lineup has been announced for Lilith Fair 2010 and it ain’t half bad. As you may or may not remember, Sarah McLachlan and her tribe of she-women took the festival circuit by storm during the summers of 1997 to 1999. Back when bare midriffs and dancing computer babies were everywhere you looked, guitar-strumming ladies serenaded their fans near and far. It was good ol’ earthy, crunchy girl-power that featured artists such as Sheryl Crow, Jewel, Fiona Apple, Erykah Badu, Missy Elliott and the Dixie Chicks. The event made music history, empowering women who were trying to succeed in a male-dominated… Read More

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Did Jason Reitman Save Walter Kirn’s Novel?

September 11, 2001: planes were crashing, hearts were breaking, and Walter Kirn’s most recent novel, Up in the Air, was plummeting in sales. It could have had something to do with the fact that the cover featured men in suits whizzing around and plummeting to the ground like rogue jets. (One of them was even on fire.) Nevertheless, the story of Ryan Bingham, a frequent-flyer-mile-hoarding management consultant who specializes in firing corporate workers seemed doomed for anonymity. Then, in 2005, Thank You For Smoking director Jason Reitman pulled through, locking down George Clooney as leading man in the book’s film adaptation.

… Read More

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David Foster Wallace’s “The Pale King” Excerpt Published

In March of 2009, Little, Brown and Company announced plans to publish an unfinished novel titled The Pale King, which David Foster Wallace had been working on sporadically throughout his last ten years. The novel is based on main character Lane Dean careening into transcendence simply by living a life of utter boredom. In an excerpt just published by The New Yorker, Wallace crafts a background for Pale King’s floundering leading man. As a reader, the selection is both comforting and frustrating to devour, much like Lane’s encounters with the voices in his head throughout childhood:

“(…The experience of the voices was analogous to the feeling of turning a pillow over to the cool side.) Sometimes the experience of the voices was ecstatic, sometimes so much so that it was almost too intense for me—as when you first bite into an apple or a confection that tastes so delicious and causes such a flood of oral juices that there is a moment of intense pain in your mouth and glands.”

Basically, it’s so good it hurts. More on DFW and the fresh material after the… Read More

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Video of the Day: Will Arnett, David Cross and Spike Jonze Star in New Brit Sitcom

Arrested Development fans will surely rejoice at the first glimpse of The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret, a show written exclusively for Channel 4 UK by comedian David Cross. The show, which aired its pilot for British eyes only on November 27th, stars AD alums Will Arnett and Cross as well as wild thing Spike Jonze. From what we gather, the show is based on Todd Margaret (Cross), a class-A wiener who, by yelling obscenities about banana stands in Kazakhstan, fumbles his way from measly temp at a U.S. office to class-A wiener with a company credit card across the pond. All he has to do is hawk several thousand Thunder Muscle Energy Drinks before his psychotic, potty-mouthed boss (Arnett) shows up to collect in a week’s time. The brilliant show also features Amber Tamblyn, Cross’ real-life girlfriend, as his girlfriend in the U.S. who he drops with no hesitation. The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret hasn’t been picked up for a full season quite yet (Come ON!) but, once it does, let’s make sure that we import this gem- stat. Are you listening, American TV execs?! Check out a hilarious clipafter the… Read More

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Goodnight Keith Moon & Other Twisted Kids Book Parodies

Remember the kid’s book Goodnight Moon? So many of us have fond memories of being lulled to sleep by this comforting classic.

“In the great green room
there was a telephone
and a red balloon
and a picture of–
the cow jumping over the Moon” -Goodnight Moon

Well, brace yourself, because comedians Margaret Wise Brown and Clement Hurd have parodied the old favorite and the result is warped. “Goodnight Keith Moon” gives us new found gems to fall asleep to (and have awful, cold-sweat inducing nightmares about, of course).

“In the great green room
there was a telephone
and a dead Keith Moon
and a picture of–
Townsend jumping over the moon” -Goodnight Keith Moon

See the whole thing, and other equally twisted children’s book parodies after the… Read More

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RIP Wally Hunt: The Pop-Up Industry Loses Its Pop

Waldo “Wally” Hunt, the man responsible for the modern renaissance of the pop-up book industry, passed away earlier this month at the age of 88. After selling his West Coast-based advertising agency in the early ’60s, Hunt ended up in New York City. Disillusioned with his company’s fate, Hunt looked for a new passion. He found it on Fifth Avenue when he caught a glimpse of a Czechoslovakian children’s pop-up book in a toy store window. From that moment on, Hunt essentially became the pop-up business.

He started Graphics International and, using his business savvy, produced a series of pop-up ads as part of a magazine campaign for Wrigley’s gum. After a few advertising-related ventures, Hunt sold Graphics International, moved back west, and opened Intervisual Books, a publishing firm that would dominate the market for decades, counting Disney among its clients. A dedicated collector of pop-up art, Hunt owned more than 4,000 antique and contemporary works. Check out 10 of our favorite pop-up books after the… Read More

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Meet the 15 Documentaries on Oscar Shortlist

A documentary begs to be made. It could be the glimpse of a newspaper headline, a much-whispered-about injustice or simply catching a stranger’s eye that causes inspiration to hit a director like a volt of electricity, putting into action a complicated series of grinding gears meant to attain a celluloid end. Hour upon hour is spent distilling this gut inkling onto screen, combing through fact, fiction and, finally, footage. There are months, maybe years of filming and editing. What results is a visual incarnation of journalistic work that’s meant to inform and inspire. There’s no guarantee that a documentary will be well received beyond its niche audience, but when it is, there’s a certain magic that unites. Who knows what makes the stars align for often-underdog docs. It could be anything from storyline to controversy to something as simple as curiosity. There are always the big boys, a la Michael Moore or Ken Burns, but docs as a genre have that gritty DIY feel; it’s a guerilla medium for those with something to say. After sifting through 89 films, The Academy has chosen 15 documentaries for the Best Documentary Feature Oscar short list. And this year, Michael Moore has to sit at the kids… Read More

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Oxford Word of The Year: Unfriend

While the 2009 Time magazine “Person of the Year” has been narrowed down to either Twitter or the economy (neither are people, you see), the New Oxford American Dictionary Word of the Year has been decided. The winner? “Unfriend.”

Unfriend: v. To remove someone as a ‘friend’ on a social networking site such as Facebook.

“It has both currency and potential longevity,” notes Christine Lindberg, Senior Lexicographer for Oxford’s US dictionary program. “In the online social networking context, its meaning is understood, so its adoption as a modern verb form makes this an interesting choice for Word of the Year…Unfriend has real… Read More

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