Friday, August 04, 2006

A Book That Won't Die, and V For Vendetta

The little paperback that could
"Seattle Post Intelligencer book critic John Marshall presents a rather cool story of a book that's been out in paperback in years still selling very well at one of the city's independents. So why is Robert Wilson's A SMALL DEATH IN LISBON still doing great business at Seattle's legendary Elliot Bay shop?Chalk it up to a t-shirt.Marshall explains that Leah Brock, a veteran bookseller at Elliott Bay, happened to wear a T-shirt from Gilley's (of URBAN COWBOY FAME) to work last summer, which caused customer Paul Goode to strike up a conversation. It turned out that Brock is from Conroe, outside Houston, Goode from Kingsville, 250 miles away. Lone Star matters were soon dispatched and talk turned to books. Brock had been reading through mysteries set in World War II, and that immediately made Goode, an avid reader of mysteries with historical settings, think of A SMALL DEATH IN LISBON.And she loved it too. Then came the shelf-taker. Then came more sales. Then the newsletter Shelf Awareness caught on, and as Craig Burke, Berkley director of publicity, reports, sales increased 44 percent in April over March and have continued an upward trend since. Wilson's pretty pleased about the results, too: "I've been delighted by this story, not only because it relies on coincidences, which are NOT allowed in crime novels, but which happen all the time in everyday life, but also because this is what every writer craves: word of mouth."
That was taken from famed "Galleycat" blog, mainly because I once interviewed John Marshall for the Mercer Island Reporter, and because its heartening to read of a book that has made it on word of mouth, from one of Seattles last indie bookstores, heaven bless them.
I also wanted to post about a movie that my husband, the comic book and graphic novel fan, insisted that we both view, called "V for Vendetta." I don't know that I was expecting a movie based on a graphic novel based on a futuristic Guy Fawkes ("Remember remember the 5th of November, the gunpowder, treason and plot..") to be quite so violent, bloody and obvious in its rant on fascism, but it certainly delivered in the big bang dept. I kept thinking that I'd heard that deep, luscious voice before, when I first heard "V" in the movie, and the end credits enlightened me that it was the marvelous Hugo Weaving, who was the cruel agent in the Matrix movies. At any rate, Natalie Portman was the chicken-hearted female lead, who, through torture and letters from a former prisoner of the state, found the means to be free of fear. Rather like the Shawshank Redemption, but since its Portman, and they cut off all her hair, poor dear, I gather we're supposed to be impressed. In all honesty, I was glad that we rented the movie on DVD, because there is no way I'd have paid movie theater prices to see such cliches brought to life. But the DVD is worth it for Hugo Weavings voice alone.
I read the wonderful "If Chins Could Kill: Confessions of a B Movie Actor" by the hilarious Bruce Campbell last weekend, and was fascinated by all his behind the scenes musings. The one thing I didn't like about the book was the way the humor sometimes went a bit over the line into snarky bitterness. But for the most part, it was a very entertaining read, with some memorable anecdotes and interesting insights on Campbells long career and friendship with famed director Sam Rami. If you ever wondered what real acting is like, what Hollywood is like behind all the supposed glamor, this is your book.
I have to note that my TBR stack is now 21 books high, and teetering, so I need to get back to reading.


gumbee said...

Hmmm... I see the word "TBR" in your post. I bet you've heard of Bookcrossing before. I'm on there, and my username is celtchic.

I will probably rent "V for Vendetta" this weekend if we have time.

Oh, gotta love Bruce Campbell in "Army of Darkness".

DeAnn G. Rossetti said...

Hi Stacey, thanks for stopping by!
I have heard of Bookcrossing, if its the one in which you leave books in public places for other people to find and use, and this site tracks the book for you. I tried doing that once, but didn't really track the book.
Yes, my "To Be Read" stack is growing to monstrous proportions!
I hope that you like V for Vendetta, it was a bit too violent for me, but there was a great performance by the great Stephen Fry in the film that I forgot to mention that also makes the film worth seeing. And yeah, my husband met Bruce and had him sign a copy of Army of Darkness, and Bruce put a bubble above Ash's head that said "Groovy" which was cute. Honestly, I think Campbell is a decent actor and a fairly decent writer. Thanks again for reading my blog!