paper trail

May 12, 2010 @ 9:00:00 am

A writing studio designed by Andrew Berman

A room of one's own: Andrew Berman creates the ideal private library and writing studio, but with all that foliage in view, who could get any work done?

Would Jane Austen wear Prada? "Most readers and writers would admit clothing is pretty important in literature as well as in film and drama. There’s a lot of dressing-up going on in the arts," writes Helen Barnes-Bulley. In the 1930s, Nancy Drew had some sexy secrets, including "dainty lingerie," but implored a partner-in-crime to tone down her feminine wiles: "We are going to use strategy, but not charm, so put that frilly frock away." 

"Use your blog to connect. Use it as you. Don’t 'network' or 'promote.' Just talk,” writes Neil Gaiman, winner of the Twitter prize at the Author Blog Awards. Gaiman's American Gods was chosen as the book for One Book, One Twitter, a plan to get "a zillion people all reading and talking about a single book," which started last week. If all this tweeting has got you a-twitter, you need to see "who's got pull in the Publishing Twitterverse."

In an interview at The Comics Reporter, Ben Schwartz, the editor of The Best American Comics Criticism, says "a lot of smart people are thinking about comics in a lot of different ways”; and his volume proves it. It features Schwartz's review of the first volume of the Complete Little Orphan Annie, a book that lets us "reappraise [Harold] Gray, one of the most controversial cartoonists of his generation—and, via his career, American conservatism." (Conservative comics connoisseurs may want to peruse Bluewater publishing's forthcoming issue on Baroness Margaret Thatcher.) The growth of comic book culture continues; the old-fashioned comic-book shop, "a vestige of Norman Rockwell America . . . [is] building actual physical communities, not virtual ones," while comic geeks are also plotting for world domination via the iPad. Meanwhile, there was gloomy news in Manga land, as VIZ media has laid off staff in San Francisco and closed its New York office.

Tonight at the Strand, book designer Chip Kidd discusses Art in Time: Unknown Comic Book Adventures, 1940-1980, with comics critic and Picturebox publisher Dan Nadel.