Monday, February 09, 2009


Yesterday was another day mostly spent resting, and feeling a bit like a phone or iPod that's been a bit too drained, and now has to be charged for a while before it actually starts charging. Lots of email, some interviews (I am running the risk of getting interviewed out. I think that I'll stop doing interviews after Dublin, for a while. Or a long time), a phone call about WorldCon programming, stuff like that. No real work. Too much by-our-lady Twittering.

Today I've done three interviews (2 Brazil, 1 France) and am starting to feel human again.

The Graveyard Book has just been nominated for two Audie Awards (the ones they give for Audio Books), one for best Children's Book Age 8-12, one for Best Thriller/Suspense.  Which is nice, and made me think of this interesting (well, to me anyway) article on where you should shelve your copies of The Graveyard Book at

Public libraries across the country are reporting that all of their copies are checked out, and, at some, requests for holds are numbering in the hundreds.

Although there’s a consensus among kids, librarians can’t seem to agree on one essential issue: Where does the book belong—in the children’s area or in the teen section?

The New York Public Library, Chicago Public Library, and Boston Public Library keep the book in their juvenile areas. But the Seattle Public Library, Phoenix Public Library, Houston Public Library, and Los Angeles Public Library catalog the novel in their YA sections.

[...]Despite the fact that major reviewers—including SLJ—recommend the book for kids in grades five to eight, libraries adhere to their own particular policies when it comes to handling children’s books that address delicate issues, such as death, or are potentially scary, says Cass Mabbott, manager of the Children’s Center at the Seattle Public Library.
For the record, I don't mind where it's shelved, as long as no readers, of whatever age. who want to read the book are prevented from getting to it or finding it, and, like the commenters at SLJ and like Roger at the Horn Book, I really don't think this is another Scrotumgate. In the UK it's on adult shelves and child shelves in different editions in libraries and shops. It just got an adult and a child Audie nomination. It's fine.


Coraline did significantly better than expected. As E! Explains,

• Yes, Coraline opened at No. 3, but to its proud parents at Focus Features, it'll always be the top-debuting, wide-releasing, stop-motion film, if you go by per-screen average and not overall gross, in movie history. So there.
• For the stop-motion faithful, it will be noted Chicken Run made more in its debut weekend than Coraline, but boasted a slightly lower per-screen average, and it will be further noted Tim Burton's Corpse Bride boasted a far bigger per-screen average, but didn't go wide until its second weekend.

Not eligible for the iW BOT due to its wide release, but perhaps the specialty division story of the weekend, was Focus Features’ “Coraline.” On 2,298 screens, the stop-motion 3D “Coraline” grossed a fantastic $16,334,613, essentially doubling industry expectations and outgrossing fellow family-film opener “Pink Panther 2.” The film, which was very well received by critics, had the third highest opening for a stop-motion feature (behind “The Corpse Bride” and “Chicken Run,” though “Coraline"s smaller screen count actually gave it a higher PTA than both those films), and is Focus Features’ second highest wide opening after “Burn After Reading.”

Nearly 60% of “Coraline”‘s box office came from RealD’s 3D screens. “We’re proud of the great opening weekend that Focus had with Coraline,” said Michael Lewis, chairman and CEO of RealD.  “With 3D screens outperforming 2D screens about 3:1, it’s clear once again that audiences appreciate seeing fantastic worlds brought to life in ways only possible in RealD 3D.”

The tracking numbers had led people to think it would be in 5th or 6th place with about half of what it made. So it has done marvellously well, and I was filled with an unholy joy when it beat Pink Panther 2, a film that has no need to exist, and I do not mind it being beaten by HJNTIY because I am very fond of the people at Flower Films.

(The Other Mr Toast. Just to make people smile. Except Koumpounophobes.)

A few people have written in to ask about the changes between the book and the film. I'm not going to go too deeply in for risk of spoilers, will just say that Henry changed something that happens at the end, and some people mind, and some don't.

For those of you who've seen it, two different takes on the novel-to-film changes, one from Joshua Starr at, the other from Gary Westfahl at Do not click on the links if you haven't seen the film or read the book or if you wish to avoid spoilers. (Interestingly, I was fascinated by the mini-review at the bottom of this review, by a 7 year old, where he got the point, even if the speech Gary missed was not there.)

For those who want to know how much input I had into the end of the film, the answer is, some, but not a lot. The end of the film was sort of fluid -- it changed a great deal between the first version I read, the versions on storyboards, and the final film. They started filming the beginning without having locked down the end. (They weren't even sure of the Other Mother's final form.)

How do I feel about it?

Pretty good. I think what Henry and his team did was brilliant, and they took something that wasn't a film, and they made it into a film that worked, and is already being talked about as an Oscar contender. (Here's Henry talking about it at the Onion AV Club:,23298/2/). I didn't make this film, they did, and I'm proud of them.

For my part, I still like to find people who I trust, whose work interests and excites me, and let them get on with it. Henry turned Coraline into a film by changing some things. Most of the things he changed I love, although I am glad I did them my way in the novel. For those of you who like something that sticks, with utter fidelity, to the plot of the book, I should point you at the upcoming Stephin Merritt musical version of Coraline, with book by David Greenspan.

Then again, in their version, Coraline will be played by Tony-nominated Jayne Houdyshell, who does not look 9, and David Greenspan will play the Other Mother (but not the Mother)and honestly, it sounds strange and marvellous and I cannot wait. (I've heard songs, but they have Stephin doing all the voices and accompanying himself on, I think, a toy piano.)

And I am fine with that. The book is the book. I like watching people play, and make good art.

And finally,  go and read this link: 
There's rough times in Australia right now, and this will tell you about it, and what you can do.

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