Sunday, January 29, 2006

Sadly, now my birthday is over...

...but on the up side, I made out like the proverbial bandit! Thanks, everybody!

Julia's Birthday Reading List:


The Sisters Grimm series, by Michael Buckley. I was a little taken aback to find that these had, like, the EXACT same plot as my current favorite comic book series, Bill Willingham's Fables, and I was REALLY taken aback at the TOTALLY INFURIATING cliffhanger at the end of the second book, but otherwise these stories were a damn good time.

Down the Rabbit Hole, by Peter Abrahams. Haven't read this yet, but my mother (who immediately borrowed it) assures me that it's very good.

The Dashwood Sisters' Secrets of Love, by Rosie Rushton. A teen re-telling of Austen's Sense and Sensibility. Cute idea, and nicely done, but it's not my favorite Austen novel and the writing wasn't quite Wordcandy-worthy.

Harlequin Violet Response, by Penny Jordan. This one was from my mother, God love her. Totally awesome (and printed in "HOT VIOLET INK!", as advertised on the back cover) but since it wasn't a Neels story there were no Dutch doctors. Alas.

The Gormenghast Trilogy, by Mervyn Peake. Possibly the weirdest book I've ever asked for, but what's not to like about a story called Titus Groan?

Freaks: Alive, on the Inside!, by Annette Curtis Klause. As always, beautifully written and hugely entertaining. I learned more than I really cared to about the abuse of circus freaks at the end of the nineteenth century, though.

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Friday, January 27, 2006

Don't Look Down

Okay, so I have to admit it- I was skeptical when I heard that Jenny Crusie's next book was going to be co-authored with Bob Mayer. I had never heard of him, and after doing some research I decided that his books didn't really seem like my kind of Wordcandy. But after checking out their joint website I am happy to discover that I was so wrong... I can't wait until this book comes out!

And how did this unlikely partnership come about?

"One evening in Maui, Jenny Crusie was watching the sun set over the Pacific when Bob Mayer sat down beside her and said, "What do you write?" Jenny said, "Well, basically, in my books, people have sex and get married." Bob said, "In my books, people have sex and die."

Naturally they decided to collaborate.

Nine months later, Don't Look Down was done."

I know I have mentioned this book before (okay, maybe a few times) but after I discovered their website I knew I had to pass it along. Make sure you click on the book spine to read the hilarious first chapter and definitely check out their joint blog. If the book is anything like the website then we are in for a great ride!

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Friday, January 13, 2006

It just doesn't sound very hygienic.

You know what I learned today? Apparently the Pre-Raphaelite painter Dante Gabriel Rossetti had a pet wombat named Top that he let sleep in the middle of his dining room table during dinner parties. (Even though wombats have no bladder control! Doesn't that sound like something Paris Hilton would do?) Anyway, Top's little naps were said to have inspired the Dormouse character in Lewis Carroll's Alice In Wonderland.

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Monday, January 09, 2006

So, my birthday's coming up....

I love vintage Harlequin romance novels. I love how magnificently cheeseball they can be, with their lurid covers and hopelessly outdated sexual politics, and I admire how instantly entertaining they frequently are, with their parade of tried-and-true literary devices. I am particularly fond of vintage Harlequin romance novels written by Betty Neels, who wrote about fifty million virtually identical stories about prim, sensible English nurses in their late twenties who fall in love with barrel-chested Dutch doctors. Sample titles include Nurse in Holland (not to be confused Neels's Nurse Harriet Goes to Holland, obviously), Surgeon From Holland, and Sister Peters in Amsterdam.

I also love shojo manga, for much the same reasons. (Just replace Dutch doctors with icy-hearted, high-achieving high school boys.) And yesterday, on an innocent visit to the local comic book shop, I discover that my two loves have been COMBINED!


That's right- in a stroke of pure marketing genius, somebody decided to combine vintage Harlequin romances with Darkhorse Comics-produced manga. I have no idea who that person might be, but we here at Wordcandy applaud their vision!

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Wordcandy loves poetry, even when it's Completely. Messed. Up.


It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
By the name of Annabel Lee;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
Than to love and be loved by me.

I was a child and she was a child,
In this kingdom by the sea;
But we loved with a love that was more than love-
I and my Annabel Lee;
With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven
Coveted her and me.
And this was the reason that, long ago,
In this kingdom by the sea,
A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling
My beautiful Annabel Lee;
So that her highborn kinsman came
And bore her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulcher
In this kingdom by the sea.
The angels, not half so happy in heaven,
Went envying her and me
Yes! that was the reason
(as all men know, In this kingdom by the sea)
That the wind came out of the cloud by night,
Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.

But our love it was stronger by far than the love
Of those who were older than we
Of many far wiser than we
And neither the angels in heaven above,
Nor the demons down under the sea,
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee.
For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise but I feel the bright eyes
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling, my darling, my life and my bride,
In the sepulcher there by the sea,
In her tomb by the sounding sea.

-Edgar Allen Poe

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Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Melodramatic covers.... yuck!

I am in the process of hunting down all the wordcandy titles for our "upcoming books" section. While there are many I am excited about (like Jennifer Crusie's new collaboration, due out April 4th! WOOT!), there are a few that I am going to be really embarrassed to purchase, thanks to their cover art. Why do publishers keep insisting on putting these types of images on romance novels? Who likes carrying around a book with love curtains, a himbo, and some swirly gold font on the cover- and then, to add insult to injury, they put the himbo in a billowy white shirt? Plus, neither of these guys are doing it for me at all....


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