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."
In a resolution overnight, the United Nations Security Council called for an "immediate and unconditional" cease-fire in Gaza.
As USA Today reports, the Security Council called on both Israel and Hamas to "to accept and fully implement the humanitarian cease-fire into the Eid period and beyond."
Despite that call, fighting continued. The AP reports that Israeli jets continued their offensive in Gaza and Hamas militants continued to launch rockets into Israel.
With that, here's what you need to know as the conflict enters its 21st day:
— The death toll has reached more than 1,000 in Gaza; 40 Israeli soldiers have been killed along with three civilians.
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has this graphic, which breaks down casualties as of July 26 (the red represents Palestinian deaths):
— President Obama called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
"The President made clear the strategic imperative of instituting an immediate, unconditional humanitarian ceasefire that ends hostilities now and leads to a permanent cessation of hostilities based on the November 2012 ceasefire agreement," the White House said in a readout of the conversation.
— NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson reports that Israelis are shrugging off international pressure.
She tells us:
"Michael Oren, the former Israeli ambassador to the U.S., criticized the US administration on Israeli Army Radio, saying that it treated Hamas as a legitimate organization.
"Oren says Israel doesn't need international backing. 'It has to be made unequivocally clear that it is in our interest to restore security to Israel's citizens by all possible means. And even if we have to stand alone sometimes, we are a very strong people, there is a national consensus, we can take it.'"
On Morning Edition Soraya reports that recent polls show about 80 percent of Jewish Israelis support the military operation.