Feb 2 2015

Weekly Book Giveaway: A Vintage Affair, by Isabel Wolff

I was poking around the depths of our To-Be-Read pile, and I unearthed an embarrassingly dusty copy of Isabel Wolff's A Vintage Affair, which I'm offering up as our Weekly Book Giveaway pick. If you (like me) never got around to reading this book when everyone else was, now's your chance...

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Jan 29 2015

Christmas and my birthday, rolled into one

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OH MY GOD: We asked for this in 2012, and Nancy Pearl, like a book-nerd fairy godmother, has totally delivered! Yes, dear readers: for the first time in my lifetime, my beloved Greensleeves will actually be available in print.

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Jan 29 2015

Take two

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It looks like Marvel would like everyone to forget the 2005 and 2007 Fantastic Four movies (even though they made a fair bit of money). Now the studio wants all their movies to match, and, since the original F4 films stand out like sore, tacky thumbs, they're attempting a far more dignified re-do...

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Jan 28 2015

What A Lady Requires, by Ashlyn MacNamara

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Ashlyn McNamara's What The Lady Requires is the kind of fun-yet-forgettable historical romance that neither challenges one's intelligence nor insults it. I won't remember it a month from now, but it slid down perfectly pleasantly...

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Jan 27 2015

Cute and plausible

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There's a great tutorial over at A Beautiful Mess about how to build your own quotation mark bookends. I cannot with organizing books by color—I don't care if it looks cool, what if different books in a series end up far apart?—but those bookends are awesome...

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Jan 27 2015

Added to my to-be-read pile

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Last week, the Guardian published an article about the release of The Debs of Bletchley Park, a new collection of stories by Michael Smith. The book focuses on the largely female group of World War II code-breakers who worked at the UK's Government Code and Cypher School, which was run out of Buckinghamshire's Bletchley Park mansion...

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Jan 26 2015

All Fall Down, by Ally Carter

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It pains me to say this, but All Fall Down is one of Ally Carter's weaker efforts. I have no doubt things will improve as the series progresses, but so far things are only fair-to-middling on... well, almost every front.

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Jan 26 2015

Weekly Book Giveaway: All Fall Down, by Ally Carter

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This week we're giving away a copy of All Fall Down, the first book in Ally Carter's Embassy Row series. Carter has yet to write anything that full-on knocks my socks off, but she's one of the most consistently entertaining YA authors we follow, so I'm sincerely looking forward to reading this sucker...

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Jan 22 2015

Ugly but true

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If you enjoyed the 2012 cinematic hot mess Snow White and the Huntsman, there's been some fascinating—and probably accurate—speculation about the future of the series posted at LaineyGossip...

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Jan 21 2015

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo

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My birthday was this week, and my mother gave me a copy of Marie Kondo's The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. No, this was not a pointed hint—I have done some work as a professional organizer, and I am a huge, huge nerd, so my mom thought I would legitimately enjoy reading it...

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Jan 20 2015

Annihilation, by Jeff VanderMeer

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Jeff VanderMeer's Annihilation is simultaneously clever and pretentious, engaging and irritating as hell. I am by no means certain I actually liked it, but I'm definitely going to read the sequels...

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Jan 20 2015

Weekly Book Giveaway: Annihilation, by Jeff Vandermeer

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This week's Book Giveaway is Jeff Vandermeer's Annihilation, the first book in his Southern Reach Trilogy. I'm not sure that I buy other reviewers' comparisons between this book and the works of H.P. Lovecraft, but I will give Annihilation this: that cover is awesome...

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Jan 15 2015

Musical fans take note.

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According to FilmDivider, producer Marc Platt has confirmed that a film adaptation of Wicked is trotting along towards a 2016 release. The adaptation will be of the Broadway musical based on Gregory Maguire’s 1995 novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, rather than the book itself...

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Jan 15 2015

About time.

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According to People, the Harry Potter Alliance (a HP fan organization dedicated to social justice issues) has successfully pressured Warner Bros. into guaranteeing that by the end of 2015, all chocolate sold at their "Wizarding World of Harry Potter" theme park will be certified 100% Fair Trade...

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Jan 14 2015

Autumn Falls, by Bella Thorne (and Elise Allen)

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I can't believe I'm writing this, but I'm giving Disney Channel actress Bella Thorne's debut novel Autumn Falls a glowing “Nowhere near as terrible as I thought it would be”. I'm not saying it's actually good, mind you, but I've read way worse...

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Jan 13 2015

It is a mystery.

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Okay, I had no idea a Gone With The Wind musical even existed, but I am sincerely impressed by the cheese factor of this South Korean version. K-pop idol Seohyun plays Scarlett O'Hara, and while she makes a lovely stand-in for Vivien Leigh, I really don't understand...

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Jan 13 2015

SO. EXCITED.

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Hark! A Vagrant author Kate Beaton recently announced that she has written her first book for children, and clearly she knows her audience: the book will be called The Princess and the Pony. I have no idea if said pony is THIS pony, but...

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Jan 12 2015

Shut Out, by Kody Keplinger

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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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