Jun 19 2013

Summer reading programs for grown-ups

Okay, this isn't actually a summer-specific program, but it does sound like a grown-up take on the incentive programs most public libraries offer when school gets out: according to Publishers Weekly, Penguin has launched a new program...

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Jun 18 2013

Dirt Candy, by Amanda Cohen and Ryan Dunlavey

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My brother recently handed me a copy of Dirt Candy, a collection of recipes from Amanda Cohen's NYC vegetarian restaurant of the same name. The book is an unusual blend of cookbook, memoir, and graphic novel, and while I won't be leaping to make one of Cohen's fantastically elaborate recipes any time soon, it does make for an unexpectedly satisfying reading experience...

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Jun 18 2013

Spirit's Princess and Spirit's Chosen, by Esther Friesner

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After writing everything from poetry to TV novelizations to books with titles like Witch Way to the Mall and Fangs for the Mammaries, Esther Friesner has expanded her résumé yet again, embarking on a series of YA books inspired by famous princesses from history and mythology. Previous books in the series have featured Helen of Troy and Nefertiti, but her latest effort focuses on Himiko, a shaman queen of ancient Japan...

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Jun 17 2013

Weekly Book Giveaway: Spirit's Princess and Spirit's Chosen, by Esther Friesner

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We have TWO books for this week's Book Giveaway: Esther Friesner's Spirit's Princess and Spirit's Chosen. This duology—part of Friesner's ongoing "Princesses of Myth" series—was inspired by the stories surrounding Himiko, a shaman queen in 3rd century Japan. Unlike the author's earlier subjects (Nefertiti and Helen of Troy), not much is known about Himiko, so at least Friesner finally got to write about someone...

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Jun 13 2013

A different take on The Great Gatsby

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I'm getting a weird thrill out of reading this "alternate history" of The Great Gatsby, written by Robert Atwan for The Believer magazine. The story is told from the perspective of Tom Buchanan, and Atwan gets his voice exactly right...

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Jun 13 2013

Scholastic seeks party-planners

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According to Publishers Weekly, Scholastic is celebrating the 15th anniversary of the publication of the first Harry Potter book with a contest. To enter, public librarians have been asked to plan an event to be held at their libraries in celebration of the anniversary...

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Jun 12 2013

I treasure these.

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Behold these "honest" re-worked posters for Disney's fairytale movies, found on TheFW.com. The photoshopping could use some work, but the results are glorious. I'd hang both the Beauty and the Beast one and the Little Mermaid one on my wall*...

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Jun 11 2013

Unnecessary drama (of course)

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According to the Guardian, the Brontë Society has shelled out £50,000(!!!) to acquire an unpublished homework essay by Charlotte Brontë. The essay was written for Constantin Heger (Charlotte's French teacher and the object of her apparently one-sided affections), and deals with l'amour filial. It argues—with typical Brontë restraint—that...

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Jun 11 2013

Hours and hours to be wasted

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Flavorwire recently put together a slideshow of pop-culture-inspired video games you can play online for free, and three of their choices were based on books: a "pretty epic multi-part online Flash game" based on H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulu Mythos stories called Arcane, a strategy game called Dune II, and an "interactive fiction" adaptation of...

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Jun 10 2013

Scent of Darkness, by Margot Berwin

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Margot Berwin's novel Scent of Darkness is built around an absolutely delicious premise: Evangeline, a lonely, directionless 18-year-old, is left a bottle of scent by her perfumer grandmother, and a single application of the perfume changes her entire life. Strangers suddenly find her impossibly desirable (even animals start following her around), and she finds herself torn between two men...

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Jun 10 2013

Weekly Book Giveaway: Scent of Darkness, by Margot Berwin

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This week's Book Giveaway pick is Margot Berwin's second novel Scent of Darkness, which looks very... arty and dramatic. (I haven't read it yet, so I'm currently judging this book solely by its cover, which I hear is not the recommended method.) Our review should go up later this afternoon...

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Jun 6 2013

Why am I not wealthy enough to fly to England and see this?

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According to The Guardian, Robert and David Goodale's play Perfect Nonsense—an adaptation of P. G. Wodehouse's 1938 book The Code of the Woosters—will open in England at the Duke of York's Theatre on October 30th. The play will star Stephen Mangan (star of the BBC's Dirk Gently TV series) as Bertie Wooster and Matthew Macfadyen...

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Jun 6 2013

The Superman movie is almost here!

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The final trailer is out for the upcoming Superman movie, and it's really working for me. I've been a lot more interested in Superman stories since reviewing Larry Tye's Superman: The High-Flying History of America's Most Enduring Hero last December...

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Jun 5 2013

Ruined and Unbroken, by Paula Morris

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After reading Paula Morris's novel Dark Souls earlier this spring, I decided to hunt down the two books in her earlier series, Ruined and Unbroken. Dark Souls had some shaky characterization, but Morris's plot was creative, creepy, and rich in historical detail (all things I approve of in a ghost story), so my hopes were high...

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Jun 4 2013

School Spirits, by Rachel Hawkins

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Slightly more than a year after releasing Spell Bound, the (totally disappointing, it must be said) conclusion to her Hex Hall series, Rachel Hawkins has returned to familiar territory in School Spirits, the first book in a Hex Hall spin-off series devoted to a different branch of the monster-hunting Brannick family...

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Jun 4 2013

How I Lost You, by Janet Gurtler

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In a world overflowing with books about teenagers killing one another, it's always nice to discover a well-written YA novel about normal teen drama—one that limits itself to figurative (rather than literal) back-stabbing. This real-world premise wasn't the only thing we liked about Janet Gurtler's How I Lost You, but it definitely helped...

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Jun 3 2013

How To Lead a Life of Crime, by Kirsten Miller

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Kirsten Miller's How To Lead a Life of Crime is the junior-division version of Catherine Jinks's novel Evil Genius. Both stories are about unhappy boys with a gift for criminal behavior who are approached by shady older dudes offering them a chance to attend schools for budding supervillains, but Jinks's take on the material is far weirder...

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Jun 3 2013

Weekly Book Giveaway: How To Lead a Life of Crime, by Kirsten Miller

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Our current Weekly Book Giveaway pick is Kirsten Miller's How To Lead a Life of Crime, which we will review later on this afternoon. Like Catherine Jinks's Evil Genius, Miller's book is a story about a school for would-be evildoers. I like the concept, but I'm hoping it turns out to be less legitimately creepy than Evil Genius, the memory of which still disturbs me...

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May 30 2013

At long last: non-ugly reprints!

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I have been wishing for years that someone would reprint the novels of L. M. Montgomery (whose books deserve much better cover art than they have received), so I was legitimately pleased to learn that Sourcebooks...

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May 30 2013

That is some glorious graphic design.

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There's a fully-funded Kickstarter project devoted to producing a collection of mini-cookbooks called "Short Stack Editions". The books are described as "a series of small-format cookbooks about inspiring ingredients, authored by America’s top culinary talents. Each edition is a collectible, single-subject, 50-page booklet packed with recipes that offer ingenious new ways to cook our favorite ingredients...

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May 29 2013

The Infinity Ring #1, 2, & 3: A Mutiny in Time, Divide and Conquer, and The Trap Door, by assorted authors

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In an effort to duplicate the monster success of their 39 Clues series, Scholastic Books has launched The Infinity Ring, another multi-platform series blending reading and an online experience. The Infinity Ring series was outlined by The Maze Runner author James Dashner, and will be seven books long. The first three installments—Dashner's A Mutiny in Time, Carrie Ryan's Divide and Conquer, and Lisa McMann's The Trap Door...

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May 28 2013

The Magicians and Mrs. Quent, by Galen Beckett

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Galen Beckett's 2008 novel The Magicians and Mrs. Quent features a plot cobbled together from the works of Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Charlotte Bronte, and Henry James, bound together by a hefty dose of classic fantasy. The end result falls short of Susanna Clarke's thematically similar Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, but is readable enough in its own right...

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May 28 2013

Weekly Book Giveaway: The Magicians and Mrs. Quent, by Galen Beckett

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We have approximately ten million reviews to get through this week, so we're starting with this one, which we're also offering as our Weekly Book Giveaway Pick: The Magicians and Mrs. Quent, by Galen Beckett. We'll post a full review this afternoon, but my first impression is that it seems like a C-grade version of Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell...

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May 23 2013

This will terrify small children.

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Northlake Public Library near Chicago is hoping to spruce up its interior with this charming (and nine feet tall) objet d'art: a massive Incredible Hulk statue. They're using crowd-sourcing to fund the project, as well as raising money for additional graphic novels and a "creation station"...

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May 23 2013

Cash for fanfiction?

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HOLY CATS: Amazon is launching a licensing and publishing program for fanfiction! According to Publishers Weekly, Amazon has already set up licensing agreements with various popular properties...

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May 22 2013

Hee. (Also, gross.)

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Tréy Sager’s ebook Fires of Siberia is apparently a real—and mind-blowing—thing*: an "old-fashioned bodice ripper romance" inspired by the life of Tea Party leader and Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann. Here's the official plot summary...

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May 21 2013

Starstruck, by Rachel Shukert

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Rachel Shukert's Starstruck steals most of its plot from Jacqueline Susann's Valley of the Dolls, but Shukert's YA novel is a vast improvement on Susann's dour melodrama, transforming a silly and overwrought story into something smart, ambitious, and utterly engrossing...

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May 21 2013

Unexpected best-sellers

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According to THR, Scandinavian production companies Zentropa and Nordisk Film are working together on a film version of Frans G. Bengtsson's 1941 novel The Long Ships. I was surprised there was much of a demand for a cinematic adaptation of 1940s adventure story set in 10th century Sweden (particularly one with such a pulp fiction-y cover)...

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May 20 2013

Weekly Book Giveaway: Starstruck, by Rachel Shukert

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This week's Book Giveaway title is Rachel Shukert's Starstruck, which we'll be reviewing tomorrow. Shukert's book features promotional quotes from Anna Godbersen and Jillian Larkin, both of whom are known for their YA series sent in the 1920s, so I'm assuming Starstruck is set in a similar time period. (Although that's clearly Veronica Lake hair, which is totally 1940s, but maybe the artist was aiming for...

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May 16 2013

Is it three-dimensional, though?

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I have no use for this utterly awesome mobile based on the art work of Belgian children's author and illustrator Tom Schamp, but I want one. (Maybe hanging mobiles above adults' beds will become a hot design trend...?) I also want more of Schamp's books to be translated into English...

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