Jan 12 2015

Shut Out, by Kody Keplinger

Kody Keplinger has received a lot of attention for her complicated, thoughtful, sex-positive YA novels. Admittedly, I've only read one of her books, but so far I'm not seeing where this praise is coming from—her 2011 novel Shut Out is neither particularly thoughtful nor complex, and it's only “sex-positive” in the sense that her sexually-active teen characters aren't constantly beset by the pregnancy/marriage/infidelity crises featured on ABC Family shows...

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Jan 12 2015

Weekly Book Giveaway: Shut Out, by Kody Keplinger

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After last week's over-the-top dramafest, we wanted to offer something cheerier, so our new Book Giveaway is Kody Keplinger's Shut Out. It's loose retelling of the ancient Greek comedy Lysistrata, with a modern high school setting. Parts of it work surprisingly well... and other (much bigger) parts don't...

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Jan 8 2015

Depressing!

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The trailer is out for the BBC's upcoming miniseries adaptation of Hilary Mantel's 2009 Booker Prize-winning novel Wolf Hall, which depicts Thomas Cromwell's rise to power in the court of Henry VIII...

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Jan 8 2015

Book sacrifice

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The crafty people over at A Beautiful Mess just posted a tutorial about how to transform an old book into a clutch. As longtime readers of the site know, I always feel a sense of mourning for the loss of any book (no matter how terrible or tattered), but—as luck would have it—their sample book happens to be the perfect literary victim...

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Jan 7 2015

Anata ni Hana o Sasagemasho, by Tomu Ohmi

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I have a soft spot for Tomu Ohmi's 1970s-Harlequin-novel-meets-Twilight manga Midnight Secretary, so I was happy to hear a rumor that another of Ohmi's works, Anata ni Hana o Sasagemashō, will soon be licensed. Nobody seems to have confirmed this, but I decided to read and review the series anyway, just in case...

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Jan 6 2015

Doom, gloom, cyborgs

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And speaking of dystopian futures with creepy digital mind-control, they're making an American live-action version of Masamune Shirow's classic manga/anime Ghost in the Shell...

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Jan 6 2015

I choose to take this as a celebration of me.

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Beginning on January 21st (my birthday!), the DC Public Library is launching a 10-day-long series of events called "Orwellian America? Government Transparency and Personal Privacy in the Digital Age". The program will kick off with a live-streamed marathon reading of George Orwell's novel 1984, and...

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Jan 5 2015

The Year of Luminous Love and The Year of Chasing Dreams, by Lurlene McDaniel

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Lurlene McDaniel's novels The Year of Luminous Love and The Year of Chasing Dreams boast more melodrama than a Mexican telenovela. These books have everything: natural disasters! Forbidden love! Lingering illnesses! Birth secrets! Personally, I felt like I was trapped in an interminable game of “Pin the tail on the soap opera cliché”, but...

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Jan 5 2015

Weekly Book Giveaway: The Year of Luminous Love and The Year of Chasing Dreams, by Lurlene McDaniel

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This week's Book Giveaway is a twofer: Lurlene McDaniel's The Year of Luminous Love and its companion novel, The Year of Chasing Dreams. These have been collecting dust on the ol' To-Be-Read shelf for quite a while, but I've been hesitant about actually opening them—the cover art and titles read a little ABC Family-meets-Nicholas Sparks to me, and that's not really my kind of thing...

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Dec 30 2014

War and Peace on TV

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The BBC recently posted a bunch of casting news about Andrew Davies's upcoming adaptation of War and Peace. Davies is best known for his widely beloved 1995 adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, but his record of thoughtful literary adaptations is inconsistent, and I have some biiiiig concerns about his take on War and Peace...

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Dec 29 2014

Blandings Castle, by P.G. Wodehouse

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P.G. Wodehouse's short story collection Blandings Castle is divided between six stories set at Blandings, the country estate of the ninth Earl of Elmsworth, one story about Bertie Wooster inamorata Bobbie Wickham, and five stories about the Mulliners of Hollywood. The Mulliner and Wickham stories have a little bite to them, but the Blandings section represents Wodehouse at his most shamelessly soothing...

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Dec 29 2014

Weekly Book Giveaway: Blandings Castle, by P.G. Wodehouse

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Let's ease into 2015, shall we? In the interest of kicking off the new year with a little comfort reading, this week's Book Giveaway is Blandings Castle, a collection of non-Jeeves-and-Wooster short stories by P.G. Wodehouse. A full review will follow shortly, but here's a spoiler: it's Wodehouse at his most Wodehousian...

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Dec 23 2014

Holiday reading for all

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Before we take off for the rest of the week, I've put together a short list of holiday-themed book recommendations for a variety of tastes. (Never say I'm not here for you, dear readers—this list covers the holiday mood from schmaltzy to murderous.) And another tip: if you need to visit a bookstore, don't go until about an hour before closing on Christmas Eve. Apart from a handful of relatively mellow dad-types wandering around—guys who do 100% of their Christmas shopping between...

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Dec 22 2014

Waterfall, by Lauren Kate

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After reading Stacey Jay's latest novel, I decided it was time to give Lauren Kate another shot. I've complained about Kate's writing before, but Jay's book left me feeling hopeful. Contrary to some previously-held fears, YA writers can improve over time... but, alas, Kate does not seem to be one of them. Actually, I'm worried her books may be getting worse...

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Dec 22 2014

Weekly Book Giveaway: Waterfall, by Lauren Kate

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This week we're giving away a copy of Lauren Kate's Waterfall, the sequel to last year's Teardrop, which we complained about at length here. A full review will follow later today, but (SPOILER) we didn't like Waterfall, either, so we strongly encourage our readers to enter this drawing and pick up this book for the only worthwhile price: free...

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Dec 16 2014

Shenanigans

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Also on NPR: a thrilling account of a literary-award beatdown! (Not really.) Anyway, Australia's top book prize, the Prime Minister's Literary Award, was given out last week, and there were a pair of winners in the fiction category...

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Dec 16 2014

Rowling on TV

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According to NPR, the BBC is planning to adapt two more of J.K. Rowling's novels for television: The Cuckoo's Calling and The Silkworm. Rowling wrote both books under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith, and...

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Dec 15 2014

Princess of Thorns, by Stacey Jay

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Stacey Jay's first two novels had plot holes the size of the Grand Canyon, and my hopes for her future efforts were not high. Her third book—a sci-fi retelling of Beauty and the Beast—was much more successful, and her latest effort...

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Dec 15 2014

Weekly Book Giveaway: Princess of Thorns, by Stacey Jay

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This week's Book Giveaway is Princess of Thorns, the latest book from popular YA author Stacey Jay. I've complained about every single one of Jay's novels, but her last book was a massive improvement...

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Dec 12 2014

Cheeseball to the 1,000,000th power

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The trailer is out for Insurgent, the second film adaptation of Veronica Roth's Divergent series. Once again, I am stunned at how hokey literally millions of dollars' worth of CGI can look...

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Dec 11 2014

The better to admire you on the subway with, my dear.

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Hmm. It seems the U.K.'s Kobo e-reader service keeps track of both what books people buy, and what books they actually finish. I'm obviously not surprised to learn that people are much better about finishing romance novels than they are high-profile tearjerkers about cancer patients or missing kids, but I am a little taken aback to realize that so many people make...

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Dec 10 2014

Bad Machinery: The Case of the Simple Soul, by John Allison

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First up: I know this cover was decided on long before I complained about the overly cutesy packaging featured on the previous two volumes in this series, but I'm taking credit for this eye-popping image anyway. Thanks, Oni Press! And don't worry: that little arsonist is adorable. I'm sure the kids will still want to read alllll about her...

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Dec 9 2014

Thus far: meh.

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The French trailer is out for the upcoming film version of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's famous novella The Little Prince, and it appears to be 90% Pixar; 10% Dave McKean...

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Dec 9 2014

And speaking of Takahashi...

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...there's going to be an anime version of Rin-ne! Not that I really had any doubt (almost all of Takahashi's work has been animated, and most of it has been wildly successful), but I hadn't heard any details until recently...

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Dec 8 2014

Ranma ½, by Rumiko Takahashi

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I have spent the past few days wondering how to describe Rumiko Takahashi's Ranma ½ without making it sound like a 36-volume-long fever dream, and I've finally decided it's an impossible task. Just... bear with me, okay?

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Dec 8 2014

Weekly Book Giveaway: Ranma 1/2: The 2-in-1 Edition, by Rumiko Takahashi

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This week's Book Giveaway is Viz Media's 2-in-1 edition of the first two volumes of Rumiko Takahashi's classic manga Ranma 1/2. We recently featured this series as part of our 2014 Holiday Gift Guide, and trust me: winning a free copy would make an even better holiday gift for yourself...

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Dec 4 2014

Editing a sacred cow

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There's an interesting article in The New York Times about a decision by the Swedish national broadcaster to edit out two scenes in a newly-restored DVD version of the 1969 TV series Pippi Longstocking...

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Dec 4 2014

Bad sex

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The Literary Review has announced the winner of its 22nd annual "Bad Sex in Fiction" award: The Age of Magic, by Nigerian author Ben Okri. I have not read this novel (and I'm not gonna), but...

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Dec 3 2014

So... many... links... (The 2014 Holiday Gift Guide)

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Behold, our 2014 Holiday Gift Guide! Prices range from $118 to $7.95, and links are provided below

1. Marquee Lights - Ampersand...

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Dec 2 2014

Lost and found

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According to NPR, the long-lost Neal Cassady letter that inspired Jack Kerouac's stream-of-consciousness novel On the Road has been found, and will be auctioned off next month...

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