Aug 29 2013

Hand-Drying in America, by Ben Katchor

For one brief, glorious moment, I thought Ben Katchor's Hand-Drying in America was actually a nonfiction graphic novel about the development of electric hand dryers, like an American version of this. Little known fact: I am obsessed with hand dryers, and have long dreamt of having one installed in my bathroom, so I was ridiculously excited at the idea. Sadly...

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Aug 29 2013

JAWS... for plankton

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I love everything about this "Moby" t-shirt by artist Terry Fan. I like the Jaws shout-out, I like the idea of a rage-filled whale, and I even like the price ($22, which isn't bad for that level of awesome)...

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Aug 28 2013

Possession, by Kat Richardson

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Possession, the eighth installment in Kat Richardson's Greywalker series, continues the author's hot streak of coming up with deliciously creepy stories inspired by horrific episodes in Seattle's past. I have read and enjoyed every one of these books, and Possession is no exception—but Richardson's limitations as a writer are definitely becoming more apparent...

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Aug 27 2013

Salt Sugar Fat, by Michael Moss

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Journalist Michael Moss has made a career out of terrible food: his 2009 reporting about the safety of ground beef earned him a Pulitzer Prize, and he has recently published a book about the activities of processed food companies, aptly titled Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us...

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Aug 27 2013

Maybe he wrote something from Phoebe's point of view...

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According to the New York Times, J.D. Salinger's estate may release up to five more books written by the late author, including additional stories about the families of his most famous creations, Holden Caulfield and the Glass family (featured in Franny and Zooey and Nine Stories)...

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Aug 26 2013

Dragon's Keep, by Janet Lee Carey

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Janet Lee Carey's 2008 novel Dragon's Keep is a fantasy novel aimed at mature middle schoolers—kids hungry for “realistic” historical fantasy (read: everyone has fleas, and there is frequent discussion of urine) but way too young for, say, Game of Thrones. Carey's heroine is Princess Rosalind Pendragon, the subject of an ancient prophecy that suggests that she—the 21st queen of Wilde Island—will be the one to restore her family's fortunes and end a war...

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Aug 26 2013

Weekly Book Giveaway: Dragon's Keep, by Janet Lee Carey

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Our Book Giveaway pick of the week is Janet Lee Carey's 2008 historical fantasy novel Dragon's Keep, which we're planning on reviewing later this afternoon. I don't care for the cover art, but I was amused to note that the interior hardcover has been textured to look vaguely like snakeskin. I always approve of people trying to get the little details right...

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Aug 22 2013

A happy ending

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A crime against literature has been solved: the bronze Lorax statue stolen from Dr. Seuss's house in March of 2012 has been found. Last week, a 22-year-old man walked into a police station in Montana and offered information about several crimes...

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Aug 22 2013

Needle-felted awesomeness

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If you have any small children (or classic literature nerds) in your life, Urban Outfitters is currently offering all three titles in the "Cozy Classics" series for $4.99 apiece. The books feature a single but aptly-chosen word per page and amazing needle-felted illustrations inspired by...

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Aug 21 2013

A vast improvement

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Oooh, things are looking up: according to Deadline, Marion Cotilliard has signed on to play Lady MacBeth alongside Michael Fassbender in an upcoming film adaptation of the play. Much to my disgust, this role was originally going to go to Natalie Portman, whom I still haven't forgiven for Thor. Or V for Vendetta. Or Star Wars...

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Aug 19 2013

Of Beast and Beauty, by Stacey Jay

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Of Beast and Beauty, Stacey Jay's horror/fantasy/sci-fi retelling of the Beauty and the Beast myth, takes its fair share of missteps. The story's mythology is murky, the ending felt rushed, and several of Jay's attempts at poetic descriptive passages sound like something written by an overwrought seventh grader, but I must give credit where credit is due: this is a huge, huge improvement over her previous two books...

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Aug 19 2013

Weekly Book Giveaway: Of Beast and Beauty, by Stacey Jay

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We weren't impressed by her earlier two books, but we're giving Stacey Jay another chance: her novel Of Beast and Beauty is our current Book Giveaway pick. Our hopes are not high, frankly, but if you're curious about the story at least the price would be right...

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Aug 15 2013

The mind boggles.

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Deadline is reporting that 13-year-old Mad Men actress Kiernan Shipka has signed on for the lead role in Lifetime's upcoming Flowers in the Attic adaptation. I guess this answers my question as to whether or not people think this movie is going to be a Crazy Big Deal...

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Aug 13 2013

Touched and Dead River, by Cyn Balog

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Cyn Balog's standalone novels Dead River and Touched are the kind of stories that allow YA readers to dip their toes into the horror genre. They're disturbing enough to send the odd shiver up one's spine, but still guaranteed to come with a safely happy ending, making them an ideal choice for kids who aren't quite ready for, say, Stephen King...

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Aug 13 2013

Drama!

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I recently caught the preview for the upcoming movie Seventh Son. The trailer claimed the film was based on an "acclaimed series", but that's where things got confusing: there is a fantasy novel called Seventh Son (written by Orson Scott Card), but this movie is based on Joseph Delaney's book The Spook's Apprentice (U.K. title)/The Last Apprentice: Revenge of the Witch (American version). In addition to...

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Aug 12 2013

More in my financial wheelhouse

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If, like me, you were totally in love with the Kate Spade "Book of the Month" clutches, but neither willing nor able to spend $325 on an adorable but mostly useless accessory, today is your lucky day: Out of Print has released their own line of literary-themed canvas pouches...

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Aug 12 2013

Weekly Book Giveaway: Dead River and Touched, by Cyn Balog

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This week we have two books for our Weekly Book Giveaway: Dead River and Touched, both by Cyn Balog. I'm pretty sure the books are standalones (I obviously haven't read them yet), and Balog's past work has indicated a real talent for character-driven YA paranormal romances, so my hopes are high. My review should go up sometime tomorrow...

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Aug 8 2013

Literary shade-throwing

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Flavorwire has assembled a list of Jane Austen's "Most Famous Trolls, Critics, and Doubters", including but not limited to Charlotte Brontë, Alfred, Lord Tennyson, and Virginia Woolf. Without exception, all of the names mentioned remind me of one of my favorite quotes from Cold Comfort Farm...

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Aug 8 2013

I think not.

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To my utter disgust, the reviews have been coming out for the second Percy Jackson movie, and they actually seem mildly positive. Not, y'know, good, but full of lines like this one...

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Aug 7 2013

Obsidian, Onyx, and Opal, by Jennifer Armentrout

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After writing about the upcoming film adaptation of Jennifer Armentrout's sexy-aliens-in-peril Lux series, I requested the first three installments—Obsidian, Onyx, and Opal—from my local library. The books' mega-cheesy cover art was off-putting, but I was hoping the story would deliver some enjoyably soapy Roswell-style goodness...

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Aug 6 2013

Not sure if it's going to be a period piece, though.

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In much-less-distressing movie news, a few weeks ago IndieWire announced that director Whit Stillman has begun casting for his next movie, an adaptation of Jane Austen's little-known novella Lady Susan. I'm not a big fan of most of Austen's juvenilia, but...

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Aug 6 2013

I cannot believe this is a thing.

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I am seriously skeeved out by the idea of a Flowers in the Attic movie. I mean, I understand what they're hoping for: "It was shocking... titillating... the Fifty Shades of its day!" But is this really the kind of thing people feel nostalgic about? Want to actually watch? I remember the books being available at supermarket checkout stands...

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Aug 5 2013

The Scorpio Races, by Maggie Stiefvater

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I loved Shiver, the first book in Maggie Stiefvater's Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy, but I was seriously underwhelmed by its sequel, Linger. Middle books can be tricky, but Stiefvater's approach was ridiculous...

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Aug 5 2013

Weekly Book Giveaway: The Scorpio Races, by Maggie Stiefvater

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This week's Book Giveaway pick is Maggie Stiefvater's award-winning novel The Scorpio Races, which I'll be reviewing this afternoon. I haven't finished the book yet, but thus far I'm really liking it—as monster stories go, you could do a lot worse than murderous sea-dwelling horses...

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Aug 1 2013

Literary decor on a budget

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I was stoked to see that H&M is now offering online shopping for American customers, as it finally allows me to investigate the one H&M department I haven't been able to visit in person: their home line. (Plus, my European cousins can now stop lording their online shopping access over my head.) Most of the stuff looks pretty uninspired, but they do offer a few book-inspired products...

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Jul 30 2013

Have they nothing else to do with their time?

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Wooow. I was ridiculously excited by the recent news that England's ten-pound banknote is going to feature Jane Austen's face*, but apparently some people were less delighted: according to Jezebel, Caroline Criado-Perez, the woman who lead the campaign to feature Austen's image, has received a "deluge" of rape and death threats from Twitter users...

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Jul 29 2013

Fever Crumb, by Philip Reeve

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In Philip Reeve's colorful, violent steampunk novel Fever Crumb, post-apocalyptic engineers work alongside archaeologists to study ancient technologies like “electronic keypads”. Fever Crumb, a fourteen-year-old foundling raised by the all-male Order of Engineers, has just received her first work assignment. The Engineers have trained Fever to value logic and reason above all, but they haven't prepared her for London—a loosely-controlled city full of superstitious people...

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Jul 29 2013

Weekly Book Giveaway: Fever Crumb, by Philip Reeve

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This week's book givewaway pick is Philip Reeve's Fever Crumb, which I intend to review later today. Meanwhile, I offer this description from Publishers Weekly:

Fever Crumb, a 14-year-old orphan, is the only girl ever accepted into the Order of Engineers and has been raised in seclusion by obsessively logical scientists in an enormous head, part of an unfinished statue of London's deposed ruler, the hated mutant “Scriven,” Auric Godshawk...

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Jul 25 2013

Still ridiculous, but whatever.

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According to NPR, Chuck Palahniuk has announced that he is working on a sequel to his 1996 novel Fight Club. The book is described as a "dark and messy" graphic novel, and the plot summary involves one alter ego kidnapping the other's kid...

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Jul 24 2013

Timeless and Timekeeper, by Alexandra Monir

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Here's my problem with time-travel stories: even for great writers, it's tough to come up with a workable plot when you're starting from a fundamentally problematic central concept. I've read a few successful time-travel books, but most of them offered a pleasingly vague “It's magic!” explanation...

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