Apr 24 2013

Revolution, by Jennifer Donnelly

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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Apr 3 2013

Trackers and Trackers: Shantorian, by Patrick Carman

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Patrick Carman's Trackers series is simultaneously one step forward and several steps back: it features even more digital bells and whistles than his Skeleton Creek quartet, but it's markedly less readable than his recent novel Floors or his earlier Land of Elyon series...

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Apr 2 2013

Another show I will be skipping

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I can't see any way for this to avoid being absolutely horrible, but maybe that's what makes for must-see TV: according to The Hollywood Reporter, FX is developing an "event series" based on Kim MacQuarrie's book The Last Days of the Incas, which focuses on...

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Apr 2 2013

Austen-inspired arts and crafts

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The design-and-print-your-own-fabric website Spoonflower is asking readers to submit and vote on fabric patterns "inspired by the idea of what life would be like in a Jane Austen novel". Some of them are pretty creepy-looking (and several have nothing to do with Austen), but I liked at least ten of them enough to vote for them...

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Apr 1 2013

Weekly Book Giveaway: Trackers and Trackers: Shantorian, by Patrick Carman

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We're giving away two books this week: Patrick Carman's Trackers and Trackers: Shantorian. Like his Skeleton Creek series, they appear to be full of unnecessary bells and whistles, but who knows? Maybe all the digital tie-ins and stuff will be magical. I'll have more for you on Wednesday, when I post the review...

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Apr 1 2013

Brain-wrinkling

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I've been staring in appalled fascination at the website Scarfolk, which seems to the project of graphic designer Richard Littler. The blog is devoted to the ephemera of an imaginary—and impossible—town...

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Mar 29 2013

Historical mash-up

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The most recent Hark! A Vagrant strip blends the life of Anne of Cleves (well, at least the part of her life that involved Henry the VIII) with Anne of Green Gables. Thomas Cromwell fills in for Matthew; Henry himself is Marilla...

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Mar 28 2013

A three-million-dollar book deal seems like the least the world can do

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Pakistani education activist, youngest-ever Nobel Peace Prize nominee, shooting victim, and fifteen-year-old girl Malala Yousafzai has closed a book deal, according to The Guardian. The nonfiction title I Am Malala will be published by Little, Brown and Company this fall, and describe Yousafzai's life to date...

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Mar 28 2013

Room 237, in depth

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I had no idea people had devoted so much energy to analyzing Stanley Kubrick's film adaptation of Stephen King's The Shining, but apparently there's enough interest in picking apart the deeper significance of every shifted prop, altered costume, and misplaced window to justify making a whole documentary about it...

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