May 1 2013

RIP, E. L. Konigsburg.

We've been meaning to write about children's author E. L. Konigsburg's death for a week now, but we're disorganized. Sorry, Ms. Konigsburg, no disrespect was meant—we will always love you and your glorious 1968 novel From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, which opens with a paragraph that spoke to the very souls of thousands of nerdy, finicky children...

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Apr 30 2013

Strands of Bronze and Gold, by Jane Nickerson

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In case you were wondering, we didn't actually plan on reviewing two books about twisted relationships between hyper-controlling men and vulnerable young girls this week. This pairing was pure serendipity—creepy serendipity, if that's not a contradiction in terms.

Set in the antebellum South, Jane Nickerson's Strands of Bronze and Gold...

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Apr 30 2013

How To Create the Perfect Wife: Britain's Most Ineligible Bachelor and His Enlightened Quest to Train the Ideal Mate, by Wendy Moore

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Most of the critical coverage of Wendy Moore's How To Create the Perfect Wife: Britain's Most Ineligible Bachelor and his Enlightened Quest to Train the Ideal Mate, a stranger-than-fiction account of the life of the 18th century radical Thomas Day, has focused on the biggest scandal of Day's life: his attempt to transform a 12-year-old orphan into his ideal of the perfect woman. This is totally understandable—that element of the story is pretty juicy...

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Apr 29 2013

It's a more successful combination than you'd think.

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All too frequently, the Internet is a cruel and judgmental place that provides an anonymous forum for humans to display their creepiest selves. Thankfully, the Internet is also an unending source of marvelously weird and specific gifts, like these pictures of Disney Princesses re-imagined as sloths...

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Apr 29 2013

Weekly Book Giveaway: Strands of Bronze and Gold, by Jane Nickerson

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This week's Book Giveaway title is Jane Nickerson's Bluebeard retelling Strands of Bronze and Gold. We're planning to review Ms. Nickerson's book tomorrow, along with Wendy Moore's historical nonfiction title How To Create the Perfect Wife. Sadly, the two stories have more in common than you'd think...

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Apr 26 2013

Everyone I know is getting this for Christmas

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Earlier this month news came out that—at long, long last—Allie Brosch's Hyperbole and a Half book is finally on the way! I am ridiculously excited. Hyperbole and a Half is an Internet treasure, and I was genuinely sorry to hear about Brosch's struggles with depression...

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Apr 25 2013

Never again, Marvel. I do not forget.

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Marvel's 2011 Thor movie is, bar none, my least favorite superhero movie ever. To be fair, I liked Chris Helmsworth's enjoyably dim portrayal of the title character, Tom Hiddleston's campy take on Loki, and Kat Dennings's sunny performance as Natalie Portman's assistant. Unfortunately, literally every other character sucked...

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Apr 25 2013

Too Lifetime?

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Judy Blume's 1981 novel Tiger Eyes has been made into a movie. The film, directed by Blume's son Lawrence and co-written by the author, is due out June 7th. I've never been a huge Blume fan—most of her best-known books were written before I was born, so the buzz was long over by the time I was old enough to read them, they're too angst-ridden for my taste, and any shock value they might have had was pretty much nil in my house...

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Apr 24 2013

Revolution, by Jennifer Donnelly

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I avoid books about the French Revolution (angry mob stories freak me out), reading about time travel (the laws of causality!), or plots that hinge on the deaths of children (...this one is self-explanatory, right?). All three are featured in Jennifer Donnelly's YA novel Revolution, so the fact that I not only finished her book, but even found it reasonably entertaining, is a testament to...

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Apr 23 2013

Visual confusion

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Awkward! Beth Reekles's The Kissing Booth and Claire LaZebnik's The Trouble With Flirting feature strikingly similar cover art: the models are posed differently, but it's clearly the same photoshoot. This is why using stock photos can be dangerous, dear readers. These books aren't connected; they're not even from the same publisher...

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Apr 22 2013

There's a sucker born every minute

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Even for Restoration Hardware, which I think of as a veritable temple of ridiculousness, these "Grand Tomes" journals are pretty silly. Inspired by 18th century antique books, these replicas are hand-crafted, which in this case actually means hand-damaged...

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Apr 22 2013

Weekly Book Giveaway: Revolution, by Jennifer Donnelly

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Our new Weekly Book Giveaway title is Jennifer Donnelly's Revolution, which we're planning to review tomorrow. If you're panting to learn more about the plot in the meanwhile, here's the official description...

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Apr 19 2013

Bad Taste in Boys and Bad Hair Day, by Carrie Harris

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If someone set out to re-write Scooby Doo as a book series aimed at teenage girls, the result would probably look a lot like Carrie Harris's Kate Grable novels: Bad Taste in Boys and Bad Hair Day. Like Scooby Doo, Harris's stories are cheerful, ridiculous, and teaming with monsters—none of which, of course, turn out to be genuinely supernatural...

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Apr 18 2013

Made for TV?

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Be still my heart: BBC America is apparently planning a miniseries adaptation of Susanna Clarke's 2004 novel Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, set to air in 2014. Of course, if they really want to do justice to the book...

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Apr 18 2013

Proofread, people.

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According to the Guardian, the Central Bank of Ireland recently issued a silver €10 coin commemorating James Joyce's Ulysses. Unfortunately, in addition to a portrait of the author's face and a short quotation from the book's third chapter, the coin also features an extra word, making the selection a misquote...

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Apr 17 2013

The Kissing Booth, by Beth Reekles

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The background story for Beth Reekles's debut novel The Kissing Booth is impressive. (The novel itself, on the other hand... um, we'll get to that in a minute.) Reekles, who is seventeen, started writing her story two years ago, and eventually self-published it on Wattpad, where it became the site's most-viewed teen fiction title. Random House picked up the British rights last fall, releasing The Kissing Booth as an e-book, and now...

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Apr 16 2013

Poetry in the wild

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Just in time for National Poetry Month, the New York Times has created Times Haiku, a website devoted to "serendipitous poetry" featured on the paper's front page. The paper uses an algorithm that automatically scans text for naturally-occurring haiku. Human editors pick the best options, which are posted daily...

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Apr 16 2013

Reworking Romeo and Juliet. Again.

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Hmm. A new take on Romeo and Juliet, "Adapted for Screen" by Julian Fellowes, and starring Hailee Steinfeld and Douglas Booth (whom I will always think of as "Unexpectedly Hot Pip" from the Great Expectations adaptation with Scully from The X-Files)? What, exactly, does that "adapted for" credit mean? What did he change? I'm concerned, dear readers...

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Apr 15 2013

You Have Seven Messages, by Stewart Lewis

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Stewart Lewis's YA novel You Have Seven Messages is a mash-up of mystery, romance, and coming-of-age plot elements. The end result is an ambitious—but ultimately pretty silly—teen-friendly soap opera...

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Apr 15 2013

Weekly Book Giveaway: You Have Seven Messages, by Stewart Lewis

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After reading Beth Reekles's The Kissing Booth last Friday (which I'll be writing about as soon as I can figure out a way to transform my immediate reaction into a halfway coherent review*), I was in the mood for something a little more... solid, let's say. So this week's Book Giveaway pick is Stewart Lewis's You Have Seven Messages, which I will be reviewing this afternoon...

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Apr 11 2013

The many hats of Dr. Seuss

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Sadly, this touring exhibit of the many fabulous hats owned by Theodor "Dr. Seuss" Geisel isn't coming anywhere near where I live, but it might be worth taking a vacation to see. According to this article in Collectors Weekly, Dr. Seuss started collecting hats in the 1930s...

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Apr 11 2013

Minimalism at its best

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I'm not sure if this book cover mock-up of a new edition of George Orwell's 1984 from the Austrian graphic design group Adronauts is a real thing, or just an art project/contest submission. Either way, I love it...

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Apr 10 2013

Jane Austen's nastiest one-liners

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Adelle Waldman on Slate ranked Jane Austen's books from best to worst, and listed the ten "most devastating one-liners" featured in her novels. Unsurprisingly, I totally disagreed with her best-to-worst order (Emma at number one, and Persuasion dead last? Please...

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Apr 9 2013

Widescreen worthy

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Architectural Digest recently posted an article and slideshow about the lavish constructed for Baz Luhrmann's upcoming adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby. I have my doubts about this movie—I'm pretty sure it's going to be insane, although possibly in a good way...

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Apr 9 2013

Evil Pygmalion

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There have been several articles released recently about Wendy Moore’s new nonfiction title How to Create the Perfect Wife: Britain’s Most Ineligible Bachelor and His Enlightened Quest to Train the Ideal Mate, which sounds absolutely mind-blowing...

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Apr 8 2013

Plain Kate, by Erin Bow

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When it comes to YA literature, the current trend towards dystopian stories boasting loads of hardcore violence is so widespread it's actually gotten boring—no matter how creative the backstory, it's hard to be shocked by yet another novel centered around some far-fetched excuse for futuristic kids to kill one another. This is why I found myself approving of Erin Bow's novel Plain Kate—sure, it was dark and sad and creepy...

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Apr 8 2013

Weekly Book Giveaway: Plain Kate, by Erin Bow

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This week's book giveaway pick is Erin Bow's debut novel Plain Kate, which I'm planning to read and review this afternoon, despite the fact that stories about witch burnings—even thwarted ones, which I'm assuming is the case here—totally give creep me out. I'm doing this for you, dear readers...

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Apr 5 2013

Heart of Glass, by Sasha Gould

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YA author Sasha Gould recently released Heart of Glass, the sequel to last year's well-received historical novel Cross My Heart. I found this installment less interesting than Gould's first, but it was still well-written and solidly researched (and blessed with much less Vegas-y cover art)...

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Apr 4 2013

Up and coming

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According to Publishers Weekly, Delacorte Press recently announced it has purchased the rights to 17-year-old Beth Reekles's debut novel The Kissing Booth, which has apparently been selling like hotcakes on the self-publishing site Wattpad...

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Apr 4 2013

Just in case you were wondering

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Speaking of random-but-impressively-thorough online efforts, someone at the real estate website Movoto came up with a detailed analysis of the resale value of Hogwarts, based on its presumed location, comparable (if non-magical) properties, and square footage...

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