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October 1, 2006


The New York Post reports that Trans World Entertainment (FYE, Coconuts, Sam Goody) is boycotting the new Scissor Sisters album because of remarks the band made about high prices at one of the conglomerate's stores.

"I have a little F.Y.I for FYE, your CD prices are too high," Shears said in the middle of the band's set at the National Association of Recording Merchandisers convention.

Shears was reacting to the price Trans World was charging for the latest Jack White-fronted Raconteurs CD, which he saw while shopping at FYE.

The comment so enraged Trans World president and CEO Jim Litwak that he pulled "Ta-Dah" from his stores - never mind that the Scissor Sisters' first CD was retailing on FYE's site for $28.99.

The Baltimore Sun delves into the product placement controversy in the young adult book, Cathy's Book: If Found Call (650) 266-8233.

Monetary payment or not, the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood calls it product placement, that commonplace marketing tactic in television and film. And now it's entering a new frontier of young adult literature.

Reuters examines the latest trend in celebrity fiction (citing Kylie Minogue's and Madonna's children's books), and the resentment they have engendered in the publishing community.

Leading children's author Geraldine McCaughrean, whose official sequel to J.M. Barrie's classic "Peter Pan" is released this week, said resentment was not only about money.

"What really gets up writers' noses is when people who have no association with books or talent for writing do it as if it's something that anyone can produce," she told Reuters.

CNN goes inside the indie scene.

As part of this feature, CNN interviews author Kevin Smokler about indie literature.

CNN: What is your definition of "indie lit"?

Smokler: Indie literature is not a category. It's more determined by lack of access or lack of interest by New York publishing houses than it is by a style. I think the term is fractured in a hundred different directions. .. But is there a class of indie literature? No, because there isn't a single kind ... With literature, it's not like there's a pop mainstream and an alternative to that mainstream. Or maybe there is, but solely in the economic sense.

Halifax's Chronicle Herald talks to a local librarian about the ising interest in graphic novels.

"They are not just appealing to children who have been labelled as non-readers but also to children who are advanced readers."

Children who pick up a good graphic novel are getting the same benefit out of it as they would from any other well-written book, says McAllister.

"(The books) still have to have a flow in the writing, they still have to set the mood, they still have to have a plot, they still have to have character development."

The Observer wonders "why older rockers get off on lutes and Latin."

Never do musicians get more pompous than when they decide there has been a dreadful mistake - they are not farting, nose-picking rock stars after all, but proper artists, composers, if you will. This explains how Sting can put out an album of lute music, and McCartney can opine that he expects Ecce Cor Meum to be 'Sung by young people the world over in the same way Handel's Messiah is'.

Singer-songwriter Lily Allen talkes the San Francisco Chronicle's Pop Quiz.

Q: The best way to describe your album is like Bananarama meets Jay- Z. What bands did you listen to growing up?

A: The Specials, Squeeze, T. Rex, Buju Banton, Barrington Levy. I'm like a musical chameleon.

Q: How did you make it all work without sounding like Gwen Stefani?

A: I don't know. I suppose by avoiding Dr. Dre at all costs. Sorry, don't print that or he'll never work with me. I'm relying on the mother -- for album No. 2.

The New York Times offers a "A Guide to the Hold Steady States of America."

Here’s what their America looks like.

BROOKLYN Mr. Finn put it plainly in one early song. “I got bored when I didn’t have a band/So I started a band, man.” In a city full of ambitious transplants, he was happy to play the part of the unassuming local guy. Mr. Finn said he warned the label that the band wouldn’t be touring; there was a modest practice space, but no van. But a local show led to a booking in Baltimore, and before long the Brooklyn bar band was crammed into a borrowed van, off to see the place they sang about.

Author Martin Amis talks to the Observer about familes, fame, and women.

Well, his next book is going to be autobiographical. It will, like one of Bellow's novels, feature real people: himself, his father and his father's best friend, Philip Larkin. 'Yes, he's in my novel, and Monica Jones [Larkin's girlfriend]. A terrible woman. An eyesore, a bore, a hag. I spent one evening with them in 1984. God, I thought she was hideous.'

In Australia's the Age, Tom McCarthy argues in favor of the Tintin books being taken seriously as literature.

Certainly, viewed from a literary perspective, the Tintin books are remarkable for their utterly classical structure. Like Aeschylus or Sophocles, Herge chooses as his central theme the house: the noble, royal, ancestral house, domain of Kings, Pharaohs, Incas or the European bourgeoisie.

"Britain's greatest graphic novelist," Alan Moore, talks to the Independent about his recently published Lost Girls Collected.

Issued in three slipcased hardbacks, Lost Girls shows a "pornotopia" of assorted and strong sexual activity, and yet Gebbie's luscious art, harking back to past masters and mistresses of erotica, has a quality that, in Moore's view, "seems able to imbue even the most potentially grotesque scene with a kind of charm, beauty, warmth and a sensual, human atmosphere. We tried to find something personally arousing in every scene, otherwise that would have been faking it, but we didn't want it just to be a mirror of our sexual tastes. We wanted to create something potentially appealing to people of every gender and sexuality."

Author Marjane Satrapi talks to the Independent about the film adaptation of her graphic memoir, Persepolis.

Simplicity, she insists, is a virtue.

"Like for this film of Persepolis. We don't have $300m. We have $3m. You can spend $300m and produce a crock of shit like Titanic. Truffaut made wonderful films with small budgets. It's the same with graphic novels. You get artists who are basically showing off: 'Just look how I've drawn this arm - you can actually see the veins! Marvel at my virtuosity.' That's not me."

The San Francisco Chronicle reviews Satrapi's new book, Chicken With Plums.

"Chicken With Plums" seems to be a transitional work in Satrapi's career. She clearly wants to explore wider vistas than offered by stories involving her immediate family. But the most affecting moments in her books depict the emotional links between relatives, especially female relatives. At this point, she seems less like a social critic in the tradition of Thackeray than a sly narrator of the clandestine women's subculture that thrives within male-dominated Islamic society: an Iranian Colette.

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this week's CD & DVD releases


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