May 15 2012

The Sons of Liberty, by Joseph and Alexander Lagos

Alexander and Joseph Lagos's graphic novel series The Sons of Liberty has a lot going for it: unusual protagonists, wonderfully vivid artwork, and an action-packed historical setting. It's the story of two runaway slave children, Brody and Graham, who escape from an abusive plantation only to find themselves in even greater danger—they're captured by William Franklin (Benjamin Franklin's illegitimate son), who uses them as unwilling lab rats in an bizarre science experiment...

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May 15 2012

Awkward...

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Ouch: Jennifer Crusie's short story collection Crazy People: The Crazy For You Stories is allegedly (although one never knows with Crusie) hitting stores soon, and her graphic designer had chosen a perfectly lovely, Roy Lichtenstein-esque stock art image for the cover...

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May 14 2012

Tiffany's Table Manners for Teenagers, by Walter Hoving

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Clearly courting the doting-grandparent market, Random House recently released a 50th Anniversary edition of Walter Hoving's Tiffany's Table Manners for Teenagers. Hoving, a former chairman of Tiffany's of New York, offers readers advice on a variety of fine-dining conundrums: how to eat asparagus; the proper way to tilt a soup bowl; what to do with an olive pit...

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May 14 2012

Cross My Heart, by Sasha Gould

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Sasha Gould's historical mystery/romance Cross My Heart isn't perfect, but YA novels as ambitious as this one are rare*, so I want to give credit where credit is due: apart from some minor missteps, Cross My Heart is atmospheric and compulsively readable.

Cross My Heart opens in Venice, 1585, as sixteen-year-old Laura della Scala glumly counts down the days until she will be forced to become a nun....

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May 11 2012

Lords and Ladies, by Elizabeth Mansfield

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As I read Lords and Ladies, a recently-released omnibus edition of three of Elizabeth Mansfield's Regency-era romance novels, one thought remained paramount throughout: I have got to learn more about copyright law. Because while I found the first two stories featured in the collection silly and far-fetched, the third was a shameless rip-off of Georgette Heyer's A Civil Contract*, minus all of the plot elements that made A Civil Contract so intriguing.

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May 10 2012

Worlds collide

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According to io9, BOOM! Studios has asked Mouse Guard creator David Petersen to create cover art for several Muppets-meet-classic-kid-stories mashup comics...

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May 9 2012

The Colbert thing was no fluke.

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The NPR program Fresh Air with Terry Gross devoted yesterday to remembering Maurice Sendak, who did several interviews with the show over the course of 20-odd years. They aired sections from the various conversations, and Sendak proved himself to be a fascinating and frequently very funny subject.

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May 8 2012

A sadder place

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As everyone who has checked the Internet in the past few hours should already know, Maurice Sendak died today at the age of 83. Sendak apparently had no immediate family (his longtime partner died in 2007), so our condolences go out to the world at large.

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May 8 2012

What's next?

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Given the massive success of The Avengers, NextMovie has put together a speculative list of Marvel projects that might be turned into movies, ranging in likelihood from "Start Buying Your Tickets" to "Never Going to Happen"...

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May 7 2012

Paper copies

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Ah, $35 cookbooks. Will you save the publishing industry all by yourselves?

Last week, Smitten Kitchen creator Deb Perelman unveiled the cover art for her upcoming cookbook...

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May 7 2012

Book club pick

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This month's pick for NPR's Backseat Book Club is the Newbery Honor-winning Heart of a Samurai, by Margi Preus. It's another book I haven't read, and probably should—it's based on the true story of Nakahama Manjirō, one of the first Japanese people to visit the United States.

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May 4 2012

Choose your own adventure

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The people at Salon recently posted an enthusiastic review of an interactive adaptation of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. I'm rarely impressed by "enhanced" literary editions, but this sounds less like a faithful re-telling of Shelley's novel...

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May 3 2012

Postcard Poets

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I love this idea: 2 or 4 curated poems mailed to you via real postcards over the course of a month, costing either $5 or $9. You get to choose which type of poetry you receive—comic, romantic, existentialist, or dreamlike. Wouldn't that be an awesome gift for a school classroom?

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May 3 2012

Safety second

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As the daughter of a geotechnical engineer, I've been raised to think about earthquake safety, and I don't think the various structures featured on this slideshow of buildings made from books would pass muster... but they're still incredibly cool.

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May 1 2012

Southern Gothic

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The trailer is out for the upcoming movie Lawless, based Matt Bondurant's novel The Wettest County in the World. The movie looks pretty good (if a touch pretentious), but I winced after hearing several of those Southern accents. Did they really have to hire so many English and Australian actors?

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Apr 30 2012

Casting coup

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PublishersWeekly informs me that Hachette Audio has landed Tom Hanks to narrate the audio edition of Stephen Colbert’s children’s book I Am a Pole (And So Can You!). Actually, he'll be co-narrating, as Colbert will apparently make his presence felt by periodically interrupting Hanks's performance...

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Apr 30 2012

Classy!

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Here's another one of those "...for serious?" moments: according to AceShowbiz, Kevin Federline's aunt has written an erotic novel inspired by her relative's short-lived marriage to Britney Spears. The book, entitled Pop Baby Krissy Doucet, is the first title in a projected series...

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Apr 27 2012

Just a reminder...

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Don't forget, guys, next Saturday (May 5, 2012) is Free Comic Book Day.

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Apr 26 2012

Showroom condition

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NPR has a fascinating article up about the 1,300-year-old St. Cuthbert Gospel, which the British Library recently purchased for about 14 million dollars. The Gospel is Europe's oldest intact book, and, if the pictures are to believed, it is in astonishingly good shape.

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Apr 25 2012

A fine line

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Flavorwire has put together a slideshow of the 25 Most Beautiful Public Libraries in the World, and while it's true all of their choices are amazing, I'm not sure where the line is drawn between "Most Beautiful" and "Most Difficult to Clean". The Stuttgart City Library alone would require a Sorcerer's Apprentice-style army of brooms.

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Apr 24 2012

Worlds collide

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According to AustenBlog, fantasy author Naomi Novik is going to write a short story about Elizabeth Bennet as a dragon captain. The story will be set in the same world as Novik's Temeraire novels, a series of alternative-universe stories set during the Napoleonic Wars, but spiced up with dragons providing aerial support to the Royal Navy and the Army...

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Apr 23 2012

I'm envious

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Wow: Buzzfeed got to take a bunch of photographs of DC Comics' New York headquarters, and it's like a nerd Utopia. (Nerdtopia?) And I totally want one of those word balloon signs with my name on it.

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Apr 23 2012

Stranger than fiction

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There's casting news trickling out about the upcoming movie adaption of Sheila Weller's nonfiction book Girls Like Us, which we reviewed (quite enthusiastically) several years ago...

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Apr 20 2012

Major cost savings

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Did I ever write about this charming item from Anthropologie? The quirky little bookshelf every kitchen needs? The one costing $1,400.00, because the buyers at Anthropologie are straight-up insane?

I can't remember, and you'd think that would be the kind of thing that would stand out in my memory. Anyway...

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Apr 19 2012

Book cover fail

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I could never, ever eat something that looks like this. I'm sorry, authors, but there's just no way. Aren't we, like, genetically programmed to want to protect things with big eyes?

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Apr 18 2012

Juicy!

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The New York Times posted a fascinating article last week about the legal battle raging over the Archie comic book empire. I had no idea the behind-the-scenes drama at that comic was so heated, but...

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Apr 17 2012

Uncommon TV

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Huh: Crunchyroll informs me that a selection of Rumiko Takahashi's Rumic Theater short stories are going to be adapted into a pair of Japanese live-action drama anthologies. The Rumic Theater stories have been described as "domestic stories with a unique twist"...

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Apr 17 2012

The Calling, by Kelley Armstrong

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The Calling is the second book in Kelley Armstrong's Darkness Rising trilogy, which is in turn loosely connected to her bestselling (and ridiculously enjoyable) Darkest Powers trilogy. The Calling opens moments after the events of the earlier book: shape-shifting teenager Maya Delaney and a handful of her classmates have been bundled into a rescue helicopter after their remote Vancouver Island town is threatened by a forest fire...

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Apr 16 2012

Whoa.

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Two thoughts went through my brain upon seeing this:

  1. Holy cats, there's going to be a A Wrinkle in Time graphic novel? About time!

and...

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Apr 16 2012

Bellfield Hall, by Anna Dean

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After reading a glowing review on AustenBlog, my hopes for Anna Dean's 2008 novel Bellfield Hall were high. Sadly, I was underwhelmed. There was nothing hideously wrong with the book, but Dean's various elements never gelled into a compelling whole...

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