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Book News: The Clash Of The Comic(-)Cons

Fans dressed as stormtroopers from <em>Star Wars</em> attend this year's Comic-Con event in San Diego.
Frazer Harrison
Getty Images
Fans dressed as stormtroopers from Star Wars attend this year's Comic-Con event in San Diego.

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

  • The nation's biggest comic book convention has issued a cease-and-desist letter to the nation's third-biggest comic book convention over the use of the name "Comic Con," The Associated Press reports. A lawyer for San Diego's Comic-Con wrote to the Salt Lake City Comic Con (whose name doesn't have a hyphen): "Attendees, exhibitors and fans seeing use of 'Comic Con' in connection with your convention will incorrectly assume that your convention is in some way affiliated with [ours]." In a statement quoted by the AP, Salt Lake Comic Con co-founder Dan Farr said, "We're puzzled why Salt Lake Comic Con was apparently singled out amongst the hundreds of Comic Cons around the country and the world." And the story notes that Salt Lake event co-founder Bryan Brandenburg says San Diego Comic-Con tried and failed to trademark "Comic Con" in 1995. [On a related note, check out this report on cosplay from NPR's Petra Mayer from San Diego's Comic-Con.]
  • "One Saturday night, Tsukuru and Haida were up talking late as usual when they turned to the subject of death." — Slate has an excerpt of Haruki Murakami's upcoming book, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage.
  • Alice Bolin writes about Joan Didion, Los Angeles and sensationalism in an essay in The Believer: "It seems that murder stories inspire Didion with a special dread: attempting to lay thematic order over dumb chaos and cruelty starkly and distastefully reveals the cheapness of narrative."
  • Notable Books Coming Out This Week:

  • Yelena Akhtiorskaya's messy, charming debut novel Panic in a Suitcase follows a Ukrainian Jewish immigrant family in their journey from the cramped apartments and grey beaches of Odessa all the way to the cramped apartments and grey beaches of Brighton Beach in Brooklyn, N.Y. The Nasmertovs try to leave Odessa behind but find that they "hadn't ventured bravely into a new land, they'd borrowed a tiny nook at the very rear of someone else's crumbling estate to make a tidy replication of the messy, imperfect original they'd gone through so many hurdles to escape, imprisoning themselves in their own lack of imagination."
  • Sgt. Lester Ferris is stationed on the fictional island of Mancreu, trying to keep a semblance of order while island society disintegrates around him. After meeting a comics-obsessed teenager, he decides to try to turn things around in the guise of Tigerman. For NPR, Jason Sheehan calls Tigerman the "kind of good that makes you wonder why every book isn't this smart and joyous and beautiful and heartbreaking; that makes you a little bit pissed off that you ever gave away bits of your life to reading worse books, and sad that so many trees get wasted on authors with less grace, less surety, less confidence than this man who can throw comic books, video games, post-colonial guilt, the longing ache of the childless, murder, tea drinking and mystical tigers all together in a big hat, shake it vigorously, and draw from the resultant, jumbled mess something so beautiful."
  • Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

    Annalisa Quinn is a contributing writer, reporter, and literary critic for NPR. She created NPR's Book News column and covers literature and culture for NPR.
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