Feb 28 2013

About time

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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Feb 25 2013

Weekly Book Giveaway: The Cookbook Collector, by Allegra Goodman

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We won't be reviewing the book in question until Wednesday (we're pretty disorganized this week, even by our standards), but our current Weekly Book Giveaway pick is Allegra Goodman's 2010 novel The Cookbook Collector. Here's hoping it finds a good home amongst you...

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Feb 22 2013

A fitting tribute

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I had planned (and still intend to post, but on Monday) a review of the three books in Amber Kizer's Meridian series, but then Megan pointed out that today's Google Doodle is honoring my beloved Edward Gorey, and it was too magnificent to go unmentioned...

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Feb 21 2013

Filling a void

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Thank goodness: someone has finally responded to the worldwide demand* for a book combining wacky cat photos with Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice...

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Feb 21 2013

Solving a mystery

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In a bit of interesting (if gross) news, poet Pablo Neruda's body is going to be exhumed and tested for evidence of poisoning, according to Time. Neruda's family has always maintained that he died at age 69 of advanced prostate cancer, but a judge in Chile has ordered the autopsy in response...

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Feb 20 2013

Anachronisms ahoy!

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Slashfilm is warning us to brace ourselves for Dodge and Twist, a movie retelling of Charles Dickens’s novel Oliver Twist that will combine "the context of a period film with modern action thrills". They're comparing it to Guy Ritchie's recent Sherlock Holmes films...

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Feb 19 2013

G-rated swooning

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The website Avidly recently put together a lovely list of G-Rated Moments of Swoon featured in literature. I've never read a few of their picks (including the Trixie Belden series, although their description was enticing enough that I now intend to do so as soon as possible), but I absolutely agree with the others...

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Feb 19 2013

Weekly Book Giveaway: Please Ignore Vera Dietz, by A. S. King

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Our current Weekly Book Giveaway pick is A.S. King's Please Ignore Vera Dietz, which we reviewed here. We don't want to sound like we're damning with faint praise (the book is really good), but here are our thoughts in a nutshell: King's book is more fun than any story about a budding teenage alcoholic mourning her best friend ought to be...

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Feb 15 2013

Please Ignore Vera Dietz, by A.S. King

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It is no coincidence that the promotional blurb on the cover of A.S. King's darkly funny novel Please Ignore Vera Dietz was written by Crank author Ellen Hopkins—King's story doesn't actually revel in its grim subject matter the way Hopkins's books do, but it's aiming squarely for the same audience...

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Feb 14 2013

I disapprove.

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Man, one piece of good news giveth a Valentine's Day warm and fuzzy feeling; one piece of bad news taketh it away...

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Feb 14 2013

Sendak lives on

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Okay, this is pretty great: the Huffington Post informs me that New York City is planning to name a new public school (PS 118 in Park Slope Brooklyn) after famed children's author Maurice Sendak...

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Feb 13 2013

Refreshing Harry Potter

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According to USA Today, Scholastic recently unveiled the first of seven new cover designs of J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series. The new covers will appear on paperback reprints of the series coming out this fall. They feature artwork by author/illustrator Kazu Kibuishi (of Amulet fame), and will mark the 15th anniversary of the U.S. publication of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone...

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Feb 12 2013

My condolences

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Remember when I wrote that Jennifer Crusie was republishing a novella she'd written long ago, later described as "embarrassingly bad", and said she never wanted to lay eyes on again? I was trying to be understanding about the reprint, because I know Crusie has had a really rough year and could use the money, but it turns out that wasn't an accurate assessment of the situation...

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Feb 12 2013

Signs of life from L.J. Smith

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I was looking up information on the CW's upcoming spin-off series The Originals, which will kick off with a "back-door pilot" episode of The Vampire Diaries airing on April 25th. I wanted to see if L.J. Smith (the original author of The Vampire Diaries) was going to be involved, so I made one of my infrequent visits to her delightfully hokey website...

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Feb 11 2013

Weekly Book Giveaway: I Was Jane Austen's Best Friend, by Cora Harrison

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This week's book giveaway title is Cora Harrison's I Was Jane Austen's Best Friend, which we reviewed here. (The book isn't actually a fictional tell-all about Jane's dirty secrets, despite the way the title makes it sound...

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Feb 11 2013

I Was Jane Austen's Best Friend, by Cora Harrison

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According to the promotional sheet included with the review copy we received, Cora Harrison's YA novel I Was Jane Austen's Best Friend was written for “anyone who has imagined what it might have been like to be the best friend, cousin, and confidante of the one and only Jane Austen.” That is, um, a very specific fantasy, but I'm sure those readers are out there. Somewhere...

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Feb 9 2013

Passion and Rapture, by Lauren Kate

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I reviewed Lauren Kate's novel Fallen in 2010, its sequel in 2011, and then waited nearly two full years to bother reading books three and four, despite the fact that they've been sitting on our To Be Read shelf for ages. That says a lot about my feelings about this series—the premise was too promising to set aside entirely, but...

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Feb 7 2013

For the hardest of hardcore geeks only

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If you are really, really rich, and really, really geeky, you should check out this $9,900 "Orcrist" sword inspired by The Lord of the Rings. It's a limited-edition item, will only be made to order, and requires a wait time of up to 6 months...

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Feb 7 2013

Shopping (for myself)

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I've decided to request one of these gender-swapped fairy tale prints from artist Yudi Chen for Valentine's Day. Pretty adorable, huh? I'm leaning towards the "Tarzana and John" one...

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Feb 6 2013

DO NOT WANT.

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I'm sorry, but I'm voting "no" on this one: according to Deadline, Guillermo del Toro is planning to produce a movie adaptation of Frances Hodgson Burnett's novel The Secret Garden, and it's rumored that his version will be set in the American South at the turn of the 20th Century...

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Feb 5 2013

Still a loss, but it could have been worse.

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The AP Wire has posted a surprisingly positive story about the recent military activity in Timbuktu. After the French and Malian troops chased out the Islamist militants that had taken over the fabled city, there was concern that the collection of 30,000 ancient manuscripts stored in the city's Ahmed Baba Institute had been destroyed...

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Feb 5 2013

Floors, by Patrick Carman

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When it comes to Patrick Carman, I usually end up damning with faint praise: his books are, y'know, fine. His 2011 novel Floors maintains his record of being totally inoffensive—I've read better, and I've read worse...

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Feb 4 2013

Weekly Book Giveaway: Floors, by Patrick Carman

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This week's book giveaway title is Floors, the latest offering from prolific children's author Patrick Carman. Unlike some of his other recent releases, this is just a book (there are no video tie-ins or whatever), but we really prefer that, so here's hoping the story is entertaining enough to stand on its own two feet. Our review will go up tomorrow morning...

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Feb 4 2013

There are big names behind the Vampire Academy movie

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The upcoming movie adaptation of Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy has some serious YA street cred: according to Deadline, Daniel Waters, writer of the iconic black comedy Heathers, has written the script for the first movie, and his brother, Mean Girls director Mark Waters...

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Feb 1 2013

Waste of time

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Ugh. NYMag recently posted a ridiculous article about Jane Austen's novels, asserting (shocker!) that she's, like, still way popular, particularly with the ladies! Thanks for the info, guys! The whole thing is really poorly researched (it describes The Lizzie Bennet Diaries as "a web series in which Mr. Darcy has Twitter", which, while technically true...

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