Mar 21 2013

This is real thing, apparently.

April Fools' Day is so close, but we're not actually there yet. So I'm assuming this isn't a joke: someone actually wrote a children's book called Mr. Penny and the Dragon of Domeville, and it's about a "singular" little penny who battles a dragon that represents a bloated federal government...

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Mar 21 2013

Book cover art for your phone

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If you own an iPhone 4 and you're looking for a new case, Nordstrom currently has three "Out of Print" cases inspired by classic book covers on sale: Animal Farm, The Outsiders, and On the Road...

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Mar 20 2013

Nostalgia ahoy

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I was mega-excited when I saw this Slate article about a brief, wordless Calvin and Hobbes cartoon created by professional animator Adam Brown. Unfortunately, the final product was a bit of a letdown...

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Mar 19 2013

Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline

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Ernest Cline's debut novel Ready Player One borrows its premise from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, its plot from TRON, and its conclusion from The Wizard of Oz, but that's actually okay: people are buying this novel to wallow in all the geek-oriented nostalgia, not marvel at the author's originality...

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Mar 19 2013

Aim high

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According to THR, Constantin Films is planning another film version of Alexandre Dumas's The Count of Monte Cristo. David Goyer will direct, Jeremy Bolt (of the Resident Evil franchise) will produce, and they're apparently planning to take a "graphic novel approach" to the story. I figured that meant something vaguely cartoonish...

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Mar 18 2013

The phrase "training guide" does sound a little ominous, though.

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In a move that has generated a lot of online commentary, Chicago Public Schools (the nation’s third largest school district) announced last week that they would be restricting students' access to Persepolis, Marjane Satrapi’s 2003 graphic novel about growing up in Iran. We're obviously no fans of book-banning...

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Mar 18 2013

Weekly Book Giveaway: Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline

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This week's book giveaway pick is Ernest Cline's Ready Player One, which we're planning to review tomorrow. I haven't finished it yet, but thus far it appears to be a modern-day reworking of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, only with video games instead of candy...

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Mar 15 2013

Does the world really need a writing guide inspired by a Twilight fanfic?

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E.L. James seemingly intends to milk that cash cow dry: according to Vanity Fair, a "how-to-guide" called Fifty Shades of Grey: Inner Goddess (A Journal) is due out in May, and will...

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Mar 14 2013

Dumber than a box of rocks

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Entertainment bigwigs in Japan have apparently decided the world needs ANOTHER Itazura Na Kiss adaptation, despite the varying success of the three versions that already exist...

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Mar 14 2013

Much ado about nothing... that I particularly care about, anyway.

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The teaser trailer is out for Joss Whedon's adaptation of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing, and it looks... artistic. Black-and-white, y'know, and heavy on the strong, dramatic words flashing across the screen in equally strong, dramatic font...

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Mar 13 2013

Seraphina, by Rachel Hartman

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Rachel Hartman's debut novel Seraphina won the 2013 Morris Award for YA literature, but the major thing defining the book as “young adult” is its teenage heroine—everything else about it is straightforward high fantasy, suitable for readers of any age...

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Mar 12 2013

Try before you buy

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If you're interested in Paula Morris's novel Dark Souls, our current weekly book giveaway offering, and you'd like to see a sample of her other work, she mentions a short story called Premises on her website...

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Mar 12 2013

Revisionist history

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There has been a lot of absolutely horrifying news coverage of the fallout from Louisiana's new law offering private-school vouchers to poor and middle-class students. Thanks to Gov. Bobby Jindal's voucher program...

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Mar 11 2013

Weekly Book Giveaway: Dark Souls, by Paula Morris

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Ghost story fans take note: this week's book giveaway title is Paula Morris's Dark Souls, which we reviewed here. Win a copy and you too can be horrified by the town of York's violence-filled history...

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Mar 11 2013

Dark Souls, by Paula Morris

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Paula Morris's novel Dark Souls isn't the best YA paranormal romance I have ever read, but it boasts likeable characters, an intriguing premise, and literally dozens of ghosts, running the gamut from benign to horrifying. Fans of the genre are in for a creepy, history-infused treat...

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Mar 8 2013

The high-end equivalent of a stuffed-animal backpack

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While reading the always-entertaining Tom and Lorenzo site, I ran across this collection of Charlotte Olympia shoes, which were apparently inspired by fairy tales...

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Mar 7 2013

Vintage style

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WHYYY?!? I'm two years late, but I was so excited to discover these gorgeous, vintage-style reprints of Mary Stewart's romantic suspense novels, and now it turns out they're English*. Meanwhile, we here in America are still stuck with these versions, which...

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Mar 7 2013

Two Pinocchios? Why would you want even one?

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Last week, NPR posted a helpful round-up of the many current and recent film projects inspired by fairy-tales, ranging from Red Riding Hood to the nine(!) Oz movies currently in the works...

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Mar 6 2013

The Flappers: Ingenue and Diva, by Jillian Larkin

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I wasn't overly impressed by Vixen, the first book in Jillian Larkin's Flappers series. It wasn't terrible, but it was the kind of book I read and immediately forgot, so I attributed most of its success to a one two-punch of trendy subject matter and gorgeous cover art. Happily, Larkin's trilogy improved steadily over the course of its run, and by the end of the series I was genuinely sorry to say goodbye to the characters...

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Mar 5 2013

A treasure trove for Kipling fans

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The Guardian informs me that more than 50 previously unpublished Rudyard Kipling poems will be released for the first time this month. The poems were apparently discovered by American scholar Thomas Pinney. Some were stashed...

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Mar 5 2013

Author about town

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If you're eagerly awaiting news of E. L. James's next literary "triumph", here you go: according to the New York Post, movement is slow on the Fifty Shades movie, her next book "won't be nearly so raunchy"...

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Mar 4 2013

Weekly Book Giveaway: Ingenue and Diva, by Jillian Larkin

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We're giving away two books this week: Ingenue and Diva, the second and third books in Jillian Larkin's Flappers series. Our review will go up on Wednesday, but if you're all agog to learn more about the series you can read our thoughts on the first book in the series, 2010's Vixen, here.

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Mar 4 2013

Freaks, by Kieran Larwood

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Kieran Larwood's debut novel Freaks was the 2011 winner of the annual Children's Fiction Competition co-sponsored by the London Times and Chicken House Publishing. I've been following this contest since it started in 2008, and while all of the books they've chosen have been solid, Larwood's novel is my new favorite...

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Mar 1 2013

The evil trio

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I'm thinking of requesting a review copy of Michael Moss's Salt Sugar Fat, which was recently the subject of an in-depth NPR story. I'm always interested in books about food or money, and this one's about both...

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Feb 28 2013

About time

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After sales of the Nook e-reader took a 26% dive in the latest quarter, Barnes and Noble announced recently that they're planning to "right size" (read: "shrink") their entire Nook-pushing machine...

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Feb 28 2013

Attack of the Highfield Mole!

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Well, the CGI industry should be pleased with this news: after spending several years languishing in development, Relativity Media is finally moving forward on a movie adaptation of Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams's Tunnels series. (We reviewed the first few books in the series...

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Feb 27 2013

The Cookbook Collector, by Allegra Goodman

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Allegra Goodman's novel The Cookbook Collector has been widely compared to Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility. Sadly, I have always found Sense and Sensibility much easier to admire than actually enjoy, so I opened The Cookbook Collector with trepidation...

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Feb 26 2013

If you're interested...

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A bit of happy news for the science geeks among us: the US government announced last week that far more taxpayer-funded research papers will soon be freely offered to the public. This is an expansion of an older policy, which had previously only applied to biomedical science...

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Feb 26 2013

Shade-throwing in the Middle Ages

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I was listening to NPR this morning, and they posted a fascinating story about Pope Celestine V, one of the few popes who stepped down, rather than dying in office—and perhaps the only one, other than Benedict XVI, to do so voluntarily. Celestine, originally known as Pietro del Morrone, had been a hair-shirt-and-iron-girdle-wearing hermit in the Italian mountains...

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Feb 25 2013

Meridian, Wildcat Fireflies, and Speed of Light, by Amber Kizer

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Amber Kizer makes no secret of the fact that she started writing fiction because she needed a job that she could handle while managing a difficult health condition, not because she had an epic novel burning inside of her. Happily, Kizer turns out to possess a real talent for trotting out entertaining, briskly-paced YA literature, no matter how prosaic her inspiration...

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