Jun 3 2014

Attempting to upgrade

NPR recently posted an article about the difficulty schools are having in finding textbooks that qualify as meeting the "Common Core State Standards"—the new educational benchmarks that 44 states and the District of Columbia have adopted...

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Jun 2 2014

Hexed, by Michelle Krys

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The publisher's introduction for Michelle Krys's debut novel Hexed describes the story as “Bring it On meets The Craft”, and they're not lying: this book is uncannily like a late-90s teen movie—snarky, satisfying, and (it must be said) frequently totally ridiculous...

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Jun 2 2014

Weekly Book Giveaway: Hexed, by Michelle Krys

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This week's Book Giveaway title is Michelle Krys's novel Hexed. The publisher describes it as "Bring it On meets The Craft", which (in my eyes, at least) answers the question of what age group YA fiction is actually written for, because those movies are fourteen and eighteen years old, respectively. Clearly "Young Adult" fiction is squarely aimed at 32-year-olds...

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May 29 2014

Lost opportunity

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Novelist and playwright Niall Williams recently compiled a list of the top ten books "that manage to make heroes out of readers" for the Guardian. His famous-bookworm choices aren't terrible (Matilda, Jo March, the Very Hungry Caterpillar, etc.), but...

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May 29 2014

It appears to be working, too.

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According to NPR, LeVar Burton, host of the beloved but defunct PBS show Reading Rainbow, is trying to crowdfund a web-based version of the series. The campaign is going swimmingly...

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May 28 2014

Lost: the family-friendly version

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According to THR, Sony has bought a pitch for a "family adventure project" called Stranded, to star The King of Queens actor Kevin James. The project is apparently loosely based on Johann David Wyss's 1812 adventure classic The Swiss Family Robinson...

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May 27 2014

Sea of Shadows, by Kelley Armstrong

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According to the author's note at the end of her new book Sea of Shadows, Kelley Armstrong has always wanted to write a full-blown epic fantasy, complete with “swords, sorcery, and the ravenous undead.” I'm a big fan of epic fantasy, zombie stories, and Armstrong's writing, so I figured the resulting novel would be a surefire win...

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May 27 2014

Weekly Book Giveaway: Sea of Shadows, by Kelley Armstrong

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This week's Book Giveaway title is Kelley Armstrong's Sea of Shadows, the first installment in her "Age of Legends" series. The title and cover art are a bit of a letdown (read: so generic my eyes glaze over when I look at them), but the story's pretty fun, even if it's not quite as intriguing as Armstrong's recent novel Omens...

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May 23 2014

Father's Day is coming.

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According to NPR, NASA's new (and free!) 300-page e-book Archaeology, Anthropology, and Interstellar Communication is a fascinating exploration of the question of what would happen if...

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May 22 2014

They really anticipate a demand, don't they?

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While visiting Barnes and Noble, I ran across these freshly reprinted Judy Blume novels in the "New Teen Books" section. Setting aside my issues with describing a bunch of books written before I was born as "new", I generally like these reprints, although I'm not sure why Simon and Schuster felt we needed two new editions...

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May 22 2014

Whatever works, I guess.

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Oh... my. Um. So, the website Flocabulary uses "educational Hip-Hop" to engage kids and raise test scores. Check out their song "Believe it or Not", which aims to teach children the difference between fiction and nonfiction...

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May 21 2014

It doesn't look creepy, but...

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If you're a classic sci-fi fan with $1,495,000 lying around, Fahrenheit 451 author Ray Bradbury's house in the Cheviot Hill neighborhood in Los Angeles is for sale...

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May 20 2014

That is some very elegant dirt.

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And in more highbrow movie-adaptation news (although, one could argue that the two stories have an equally melodramatic worldview), the first posters for Justin Kurzel's upcoming movie version of Macbeth have been posted on IndieWire...

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May 20 2014

Really, impressively dumb-looking

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Well, apparently the Flowers in the Attic movie on Lifetime made enough money for them to fast-track a sequel, and lo and behold, the first trailer for Petals on the Wind has arrived...

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May 19 2014

The Annotated Northanger Abbey, by Jane Austen

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Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey is her earliest completed novel—she started writing it in 1798—but one of her last to be published. (It was released posthumously, along with Persuasion, in 1817.) Some critics lump it in with her juvenilia, but it's a remarkably ambitious and entertaining work, even if it isn't quite on par with her later books. Last fall, Anchor Books released a handsome paperback edition of Northanger Abbey featuring annotations by David M. Shapard...

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May 19 2014

Weekly Book Giveaway: The Annotated Northanger Abbey, by Jane Austen

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This week we're giving away a copy of The Annotated Northanger Abbey, written by Jane Austen and edited by David Shapard. According to his official bio, Mr. Shapard has a Ph.D. in European History from the University of California at Berkeley, and specialized in the eighteenth century. I've read his work before; like most annotated editions, his writing tends to...

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May 15 2014

RIP, Mary Stewart

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According to the Guardian, romantic suspense author Mary Stewart has died at age 97. Seeing as my favorite Stewart novel (the glorious Nine Coaches Waiting) was published in 1958, I admit I'd always assumed Ms. Stewart had died years ago...

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May 15 2014

Drive-through lit

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Chipotle Mexican Grill has announced their "Cultivating Thought" project, a line of disposable cups and bags featuring middlebrow short stories and brief essays, presumably meant to be enjoyed during the time it takes Chipotle customers to stuff their faces...

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May 14 2014

Rebel Belle, by Rachel Hawkins

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Bestselling YA author Rachel Hawkins has a new iron in the fire. Her latest book Rebel Belle is the first installment in a projected trilogy, and thus far I'm pretty excited about it. It's action-packed, wryly funny, and romantic, and as long as it ends on a less irritating note than her Hex Hall series did, Ms. Hawkins should have an enormous hit on her hands...

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May 13 2014

Literary domiciles

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The fine people at Flavorwire recently compiled a list of the 25 Greatest Houses in Literature. While their choices are solid, I'm afraid they left some critical picks out:

1. The boxcar in The Boxcar Children. Please note they don't say "nicest" structures; they said "most memorable". And God knows people remember the boxcar...

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May 13 2014

SO. COOL.

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The humanitarian group WaterisLife and ad agency DDB have teamed up to promote and distribute a product called The Drinkable Book. Based on the research of Teri Dankovich, The Drinkable Book features...

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May 12 2014

Book decor

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Despite my well-documented aversion to fake books, I quite like this book-shaped "Hanabunko" vase from Spoon & Tamago. It's $37, and currently on back-order until July, but...

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May 12 2014

Weekly Book Giveaway: Rebel Belle, by Rachel Hawkins

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Our current Book Giveaway pick is Rebel Belle, the latest book from YA paranormal romance author Rachel Hawkins. In addition to writing solid action sequences, Ms. Hawkins has a gift for creating dialogue that manages to feel deliciously snappy, rather than annoyingly contrived (ahem, Sarah Rees Brennan), so I'm really looking forward to reading her book...

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May 8 2014

Up and coming TV

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Loads of book-related TV news has come out this week, including the fact that NBC has green-lit a new adaptation of DC Comics' Hellblazer (to be called Constantine, like the 2005 Keanu Reeves movie), more info about the CW's upcoming take on the comic iZombie, and...

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May 8 2014

Like a Mr. Rogers sweater... but EVIL

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If you're a big Stephen King fan, start saving your pennies now: Mondo Tees has announced a product line based on the iconic (and hideous) carpeting featured in Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining...

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May 7 2014

The Blue Castle, by Lucy Maud Montgomery

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Originally published in 1926, L.M. Montgomery's The Blue Castle is one of the most unabashedly sweet books I have ever read—an old-fashioned, utterly straightforward romance. It's the story of 29-year-old Valancy Stirling, a downtrodden spinster who has spent her life trying (and failing) to please her judgmental relatives. When she discovers she has a heart ailment that will almost certainly kill her within a year, Valancy decides to enjoy whatever time she has left...

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May 6 2014

Yet more Princess Diaries

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According to the Wall Street Journal, Meg Cabot is returning to the world of her Princess Diaries books. She's planning on releasing two vaguely connected spin-offs: an adult novel featuring her previous heroine (Princess Mia Thermopolis, heir to the fictional kingdom of Genovia) and a middle-grade novel centering around Olivia Grace...

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May 6 2014

Ben McKenzie's real estate-based TV streak continues

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I'm super excited about FOX's upcoming Gotham, which recently released its "Official Extended Trailer". I like both Ben McKenzie and Donal Logue, and seeing all the baby versions of Batman's various villains is fun. It's amazing, though: as soon as wee Batman introduces himself...

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May 5 2014

Daughters of the Sea: Hannah, by Kathryn Lasky

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Kathryn Lasky's Daughters of the Sea: Hannah is a stitched-together Frankenstein's monster of a story—an Upstairs, Downstairs domestic drama featuring a mermaid, an evil debutante, and a potentially demonic cat. I realize that sounds insane, but to the author's credit, it slides down more smoothly than you'd think...

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May 5 2014

Weekly Book Giveaway: Daughters of the Sea: Hannah, by Kathryn Lasky

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It seems I had more books on my to-be-read shelf about mermaids than I thought, including Kathryn Lasky's Daughters of the Sea: Hannah, which we're currently offering as our Weekly Book Giveaway title. It's the first installment of a three book series, so those of you who aren't totally over the whole mermaid-angst thing might want to check it out...

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