Casual readers and self-proclaimed Wild Things are probably not aware of Maurice Sendak’s deep love for the opera. Over at Artsy, Wallace Ludel explores the vivid, imaginative sets Sendak designed for about a dozen operas and ballets, as well as the author’s fascination with the stage. “In 1981, Sendak published Outside Over There, one of the only books he would publish during this period in which he was so dedicated to set design. It’s a dark story about a little girl named Ida whose infant sister is stolen by ladder-wielding goblins. Ida eventually distracts the goblins by playing her horn and saves her sister.”
“The Books of Magic makes The Lord of the Rings, The Avengers, Harry Potter, and even Twilight all look like entries in the same broad genre of tween-superhero fantasy, in which someone insignificant gets mighty powers, fights the forces of evil, and ultimately triumphs. …The pop culture landscape starts to look like an endless row of Tim Hunters, the same successful formula applied again and again.” From The Atlantic, a look at how Neil Gaiman‘s The Books of Magic prefigured the runaway success of Harry Potter and the modern YA fantasy-adventure craze.
We are now over a week into Amazon’s boycott of the indie press e-books distributed under the Independent Publishers Group. IPG is taking a stand against Amazon’s hardline negotiations during the retail giant’s annual contract review, and 5000 titles are no longer available through the Kindle store. Last week Jim Hanas, author of the digitally and independently published Why They Cried, spoke out against Amazon to champion other e-readers and e-book retailers. The renegotiations are taking place across the industry, though, as Melville House’s Dennis Johnson puts it, “major industry figures at the big houses in New York — facing similar cutthroat demands from Amazon for their own annual contracts — remain silent… This isn’t over yet.”
Hate your job? At least you’ve never been Stanley Kubrick’s secretary: “Instead of having [‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’] typed on only the few sheets seen by viewers, the director asked his secretary Margaret Warrington to type it on each one of the 500-odd sheets in the stack. What’s more, he also had Warrington type up an equivalent number of manuscript pages in four languages—French, German, Italian, Spanish—for foreign releases of [The Shining].”