"I cannot live without books." -- Thomas Jefferson

Friday, July 31, 2009

Tosh Talks: Herzog

In this episode Book Soup's resident smarty-pants, Tosh Berman, talks about Werner Herzog's Of Walking in Ice and also demonstrates the awesome power of the rubber band to transform an ordinary book & DVD into an outrageous sale.


Conquest of the Useless: Reflections from the Making of Fitzcarraldo
by Werner Herzog

"Reveals [Herzog] to be witty, compassionate, microscopically observant and -- your call -- either maniacally determined or admirably persevering." Los Angeles Times

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Comics

Exciting news: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is being turned into a comic book. We hope that means one of our favorite writers, Seth Grahame-Smith, will make a comeback to the store...and if so, we won't hesitate to sit and have a chat with him about how cool his mash-up is.

Looking forward to this one.


Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
by Seth Grahame-Smith and Jane Austen

"[T]here's something particularly hilarious about introducing the undead into an English novel of manners." New York Post

Thursday, July 30, 2009

What's Your Story? Michael Muhammad Knight

Michael Muhammad Knight took a moment after reading and signing his fantastic book Osama Van Halen to tell me his story of high-school theft and Sherwood Anderson.


Osama Van Halen
by Michael Muhammad Knight

"Knight...goes meta in this very self-involved satirical blitz, throwing characters from previous books into a psycho showdown with the author." Publishers Weekly

Order a signed edition while they last!

Fantastic Mr. Anderson

The trailer for Wes Anderson's stop-motion adaptation of Roald Dahl's Fantastic Mr. Fox has just hit the web.

A movie tie-in edition of the book is already available -- and Rizzoli will release Fantastic Mr. Fox: The Making of the Motion Picture in October.

P a p e r / C u t s

Books coming to the silver screen...

Ron Howard is hoping to combine the success of his Dan Brown adaptations with the robust action of The Bourne series by signing on to direct The Parsifal Mosaic.

Variety reports:

"David Self will adapt the Ludlum novel about a CIA operative who thinks he witnessed the execution of his lover after she was identified as a KGB double agent.

Imagine Entertainment's Brian Grazer will produce."

More Ludlum adaptations appear to be in the works. Which would you like to see make it to the big screen?


The team behind the Resident Evil franchise will be taking on Peter V. Brett's debut fantasy novel The Warded Man.

From The Hollywood Reporter:

"The book is set in an undetermined future where mankind is beset by nightly attacks from demonkind and has been thrown back into a feudal state. Three young people emerge with the potential power to turn the tide, including the title character, a man who has wards (spells) tattooed on his body."

"Tremendously readable...a great adventure novel." Charlaine Harris, New York Times bestselling author of the Sookie Stackhouse series (aka True Blood)


After The Grinch, The Cat in the Hat, and Horton, we all knew who would be next:

"Dr. Seuss' The Lorax will be co-directed by Chris Renaud and Cinco Paul & Ken Daurio, with Paul & Daurio writing the script.

Though published in 1971, The Lorax has a timely 'green' theme. It is narrated by a greedy entrepreneur who, despite warnings from the tree-loving Lorax, strips a forest of its stock of Truffula trees to manufacture clothing. The results are catastrophic as all the animals leave and nothing’s left.

The picture is targeted for a March 2, 2012, release, which falls on the birthday of Theodor Geisel, who died in 1991."

It'll be hard to hear someone other than Bob Holt as the Once-ler.


Read 'em now -- and know the spoilers before everyone else!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Inherent Vice Midnight Release Party

Have you pre-ordered your copy of the new Thomas Pynchon book?

No? Then get on it!

Or better yet -- come on down to Book Soup at 12:01 am on August 4th, when we'll be staying open late to give you a jump on picking up a copy of Inherent Vice -- Pynchon's latest psychedelic satire of "surfers, hustlers, dopers, and rockers".

You'll be the envy of all your well-read friends...

What's Your Story?

You know it as soon as you see it:

A ragged spine jutting out behind a pile of junk at a yard sale; curled yellow pages flapping in the wind edging the book closer and closer to the gutter; Philip K Dick wrongly shelved next to HTML for Dummies; the fat volume of Emerson you liberated from that bar.... Fate has placed the book in front of you, the book is yours before you even read the blurb on the back.

Book Soup is launching the video series, "What's Your Story?" A celebration of the chance pairing of book and reader. If you have a video you'd like to contribute, just let us know next time you come to the store or comment below.



Dream Street by Douglas McCulloh

"[A] classic tale, recast for Southern California." Los Angeles Times

LA Times Blogger on Bulimia Book

Carolyn Kellogg makes mention of Stephanie Covington Armstrong's new book, Not All Black Girls Know How to Eat, in a recent post on the Jacket Copy blog. The memoir is a chronicle of the author's struggle with bulimia.

Kellog wonders:

"[H]as Covington's book...gotten a raw design deal?

Bulimia, an eating disorder, includes a range of dieting behaviors taken to extremes: fasting, exercise, use of diuretics and laxatives and self-induced vomiting.

It is this last behavior that the cover portrays, with two fingers jutting up from the bottom edge. As if there is a hand inside the book, ready to induce vomiting in the reader.

[....]Are those too fingers as immediately recognizable as a vomiting-tool to you as they are to me? In the context of this book, aren't they horribly graphic? "


What are your thoughts? Post them below -- or bring your questions to the author herself when she reads at the store on August 1st.

P a p e r / C u t s

We've all heard the complaint, "The movie wasn't as good as the book," and maybe even uttered it ourselves. But then again, some novels have yielded adaptations that have been heralded as works of art in their own right (One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, the first two Godfather films).

Below is a list of recently acquired works of literature that Hollywood hopes to translate to the big screen:


Acclaimed filmmaker David Cronenberg has his sights set on Don Dellilo's short novel Cosmopolis.

Variety reports:

"Cronenberg will helm and also adapt the 2003 novel for the screen. Story follows a 28-year-old multimillionaire on a 24-hour odyssey across Manhattan. Considered one of America's leading novelists, DeLillo's most acclaimed works include White Noise and Underworld."

"The tale is ingenious and amusing, and there's a chilling logic to its eloquent climax," reveals Kirkus Reviews.


Christopher Buckley's Middle East satire Florence of Arabia has been picked up by Charlize Theron's production company.

"Florence of Arabia is about a State Dept. employee (to be played by Theron) who, after watching her friend marry the prince of a Middle East country and subsequently get executed, fights for equal rights for the women of that country."

"[V]ery witty indeed," declares Entertainment Weekly.


Ben Affleck will star in -- as well as direct -- the adaptation of Chuck Hogan's Prince of Thieves. The cast also includes Rebecca Hall and Mad Men's John Hamm.
"[T]he story follows the relationship between a bank manager, the career criminal (Affleck) who stole more than her heart and the dedicated FBI agent trying to bust the crook and his gang.

Hamm is playing the FBI agent. Hall is the reason the criminal wants to clean up his act but also is the agent's golden ticket to catching the man."
"Chuck Hogan has woven a rich narrative of friendship, young love and mounting suspense," raves Stephen King.


Read 'em now -- before the movie-tie-in edition comes out!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

John O'Brien's "Better"

So, last Thursday, July 16th we had this massively incredible event. Celebrating the release of "Better", a posthumous novel by "Leaving Las Vegas" author John O'Brien, Jerry Stahl (Permanent Midnight, Pain Killers) and Joseph Mattson (Eat Hell, Empty the Sun) read some selections from the book and spoke of O'Brien's influence in their own work.

Take a look:

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Rin Tanaka's MY FREEDAMN 8 -1960's Pop Fashions

Rin Tanaka, who I think works on a high genius level, has produced and photographed the new My Freedamn! 8 And like the first seven volumes, this book is an essential buy for those who are clothes and film stylists, or deal in the murky world of vintage clothing.

Over the years Tanaka tracked down and photographed authentic clothing from the 50's, 60's, and 70's. Mostly from the collection of hardcore collectors. One can go into this fanatical world and see incredible amount of clothing that tells that era's obsessions and of course the craftsman’s skill in making these clothes.

Thomas Bernhard Interview

One of the most outrageous interviews I've ever read.

Bernard is a mad man.
If you've never been a visitor in his morose and beautiful world read "The Loser" or "Gargoyles" or "Frost". All are excellent, bleak, penetrating and touching novels.
Read this piece from More Intelligent Life for more on Bernhard.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Why Publishing Can Not Be Saved (as it is)

Here's a pretty interesting article from Richard Eoin Nash, founder of Soft Skull Press. Certainly poses more questions than answers, but the basic jist is that in order for publishing to continue it needs to become more like a conversation and less like a conveyor belt.

Here's a snippet.
"The question increasingly arises in today’s media: can publishing be saved? No. It cannot and should not. There are plenty of non-profit publishers that exist to create and distribute the un-economic content. For-profit publishing should not be saved — it should figure out new business models, ones that offer services that both readers and writers want and are happy to pay for. We cannot wait for a deus ex machina to descend. (In other words, neither MySpace, nor Twitter, nor price-fixing, nor some new piracy-inducing extension of copyright law will save publishing — we simply need to start doing business better.)"
I would be rather interested in hearing you all think about this as I am looking more and more to engage with our customers on an individual level.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Nick Cave - The Death of Bunny Munro

Its hard to imagine a bigger badass than Nick Cave-----

The Death of Bunny Munro comes out September 1st in the states, September third in the United Kingdom. Word is the novel reads like rauchy meth-addled Death of a Salesman.
As usual- ignore the US cover and cast your eyes on the gorgeous UK edition-----

Quick advanced review from our book buyer Tosh Berman:
Nick Cave’s second novel is a remarkable piece of work. Don’t expect a novel about rock n’ roll, this is a novel about a door-to-door cosmetic salesman and his young son. Heartwarming? No! In fact the main character is really a horrible person going through some ‘issues,’ yet the best narration is from the eyes of his young son, which is quite touching… in a fucked up way. Cave is an extraordinary novelist.

Friday, July 10, 2009

David Lynch Signature Cup Coffee

Before signing copies of Dark Night of the Soul Mr Lynch was kind enough to talk to us about his yummy coffee.

David Lynch is full of beans, and it's all about the beans...

In the News and On the Web

Today is Marcel Proust's Birthday - he would be 138.

Playboy will be serializing an extract from Nabakov's final, unpublished novel "The Original of Laura" before it's publication in November.

Max Fisher at the Atlantic wants publishers to Give Struggling Authors a Chance
something Two Dollar Radio, a great little press you've never heard of, is already doing. Check out "Somethings that Meant the World to Me" - please - buy the book from Two Dollar Radio instead of Amazon. Jeff Bezos doesn't need more of your money.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


Just to piggy-back off Tosh's latest post....

There's nothing quite like actual drinking to accompany books about drinking. For the past week, Book Soup has been hosting Happy Hour from 4-7pm, Monday-Friday. Why so happy? How about 25% off all regularly priced books. Not enough for you? How about an endlessly flowing bottle of a yummy Chilean Carmenere.

Cheap books, free booze. Be happy.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


At Book Soup we put together a great collection of literature regarding the demon alcohol. You will find this section by your nose - you can smell the red wine. But for those who have trouble breathing or smelling, it is in the fiction section. Also it has been put together by real drinkers here at Book Soup. So do enjoy! Here are the books:

On the Web --- Chabon and Wallace

Great Great Article by Michael Chabon re. the difficulty of raising his children to be explorers in the digital age.

A wonderful article by David Foster Wallace's editor at Little Brown
posted by the folks at Infinite Summer. If you haven't heard of Infinite Summer, it's a support group/website sponsored by The Morning News to help you, dear and nervous reader, get through Infinite Jest. They just started on June 21st so you have more than enough time to catch up.

If you need even more of a DFW fix listen to the BookWorm podcasts at KCRW with the ineffable Michael Silverblatt. Or read the old and amazing interview in Context. "Fiction’s about what it is to be a fucking human being." Good good stuff.
And while your on the Dalkey Archive site poke through their other author interviews.
Curtis White, Vollmann, William Burroughs, Julio Cortazar, Robert Creeley, Jose Donoso, Carlos Fuentes, William H. Gass, John Hawkes, Danilo Kis --- my god, I've lost weeks reading these interviews. They're not to be missed.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Aki Kaurismäki- now on Criterion!

If you've visited our blog or store recently, you've perhaps noticed how very excited all of us here at Book Soup are to be carrying Criterion Collection DVDs. I personally was thrilled to be able to strong arm Tosh (our buyer) into ordering a particular title for our stock- Aki Kaurismäki's Proletariat Trilogy. The terms were that I had to write a blog, effusing my love for said director. Done and done.

Now I'm going to disclose something, so you don't feel like you're being tricked; I may or may not have a cultural bias for my fandom. When Aki Kaurismäki came up in conversation with a fellow Finnish person ages ago, he leaned in conspiratorially to ask if I really liked Kaurismäki's movies or if I, perhaps like many other Finns, felt compelled to like him as dictated by a communal sense of national pride. Of course I said that yes, I really did and I stand by that affirmation.

At this point, if you're even still reading, you may be wondering who in the fuck is Aki Kaurismäki? Well friend, Aki Kaurismäki sort of is the Finnish film director. If you have to ask where Finland is, you have problems with which only a good, hard look at a map can help you. Back to the point- why should you care about Aki Kaurismäki? He's not for everyone, fair enough. But if you like either of his self-proclaimed favorites, French New Wave affiliated directors Jean-Pierre Melville and Robert Bresson, or Kaurismäki's friend and American contemporary, Jim Jarmusch, then Kaurismäki may be for you. Let me put this into a poor attempt at cinematic analysis: the pathos of Bresson combined with the cool noir of Melville as filtered through the laconically dry humor of Jarmusch. Or visually:





and that will get you


Or something like that. Incidentally, Fassbinder fanatics tend to like him to, at least as far as Wikipedia is concerned.

Still not convinced? Like the man for his politics. He boycotted the Oscars twice in protest of the Bush administration's war mongering, once not showing up to the ceremony when his movie, Man Without a Past, was up for Best Foreign Film and another time refusing Lights in the Dusk from even being considered for the award. Kaurismäki also declined to attend a film festival in New York out of solidarity for an Iranian film director friend, Abbas Kiorastami, who was refused a visa.

Enough of my drivel, let his work do the talking. I'm posting a link to the beginning of Ariel, included in the delightful Proletariat Series boxed set from Criterion's Eclipse series. We're probably the only store in Los Angeles that carries it. Come in to Book Soup and buy it. You and I will be just about the only people in Los Angeles who will own it. And care.

P.S. It might be worth mentioning- this is a comedy.