Still no release date beyond "sometime in 2007", but the fifth book in Suzanne Collins' super-awesome Underland Chronicles is going to be called Gregor and the Code of Claw, which is... kinda dorky, frankly, but I'm still excited about the book.
P.S. I decided to buy the The Tick vs. Season One DVD. Netflix would take too long.
We're back! Megan still has a boatload of stuff to unpack, her cat's mental health may be fragile for the foreseeable future, and I came home with a wicked case of laryngitis. Still, I arrived at home to find my review copy of The Ladies of Grace Adieu, so all is right with the world. (Er... more or less.)
And this morning I discovered that the cartoon version of Ben Edlund's The Tick is freshly out on DVD! HURRAY! I loved this series. There were villains like the evil Breadmaster and his sidekick, Buttery Pat, El Seed, and The Evil Midnight Bomber What Bombs at Midnight. There were sidekicks like Speak the Capybara. There were episodes about superhero exchange programs gone terribly, terribly wrong. It was awesome, and I must add it to my Netflix queue immediately.
British author Geraldine McCaughrean has written the first authorized sequel to J. M. Barrie's Peter Pan. It's called Peter Pan in Scarlet, and it's due out on October 5th.
McCaughrean was chosen in 2004 by the Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital (who own the copyright to Peter Pan), after they held a worldwide contest to find the perfect author to continue Barrie's story. McCaughrean has written over a hundred novels for children and adults, and will split the profits from the novel 50/50 with the hospital. [Source]
Sony has apparently acquired the rights to make a film version of Isaac Adamson's Tokyo Suckerpunch, starring Tobey Maguire. Judging by the outline of the script floating around, it sounds like the movie won't have more than a nodding acquaintance with the book, plot-wise, but that's okay. We're (...sigh) used to it, right?
Excerpt from: The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 3/4 , by Sue Townsend
Why you should buy a copy of your very own: Adrian Mole's neurotic, self-obsessed diary entries are painfully funny. (Emphasis on the "painfully".) I particularly like the "Poor Mr. Lucas!" line. In this scene... Despite the fact that he still has a spot on his chin, it's an above-average Wednesday in Adrian's life. This is about a cheerful as he gets.
"Wednesday, January 14
Joined the library. Got Care of the Skin, Origin of the Species, and a book by a woman my mother is always going on about. It is called Pride and Prejudice, by a woman called Jane Austen. I could tell the librarian was impressed. Perhaps she is an intellectual like me. She didn't look at my spot, so perhaps it is getting smaller. About time!
Mr. Lucas was in the kitchen drinking coffee with my mother. The room was full of smoke. They were laughing, but when I went in, they stopped.
Mrs. Lucas was next door cleaning the drains. She looked as if she was in a bad mood. I think Mr. and Mrs. Lucas have got an unhappy marriage. Poor Mr. Lucas!
None of the teachers at school have noticed that I am an intellectual. They will be sorry when I am famous. There is a new girl in our class. She sits next to me in Geography. She is all right. Her name is Pandora, but she likes being called "Box". Don't ask me why. I might fall in love with her. It's time I fall in love, after all I am 13 3/4 years old."
You know what I want? I want a copy of Colette's Gigi that isn't stuck in a collection alongside The Cat, or Julie de Carneilhan and Chance Acquaintances, 'cause let's face it: those stories are depressing as hell. Why hasn't anyone published Gigi by itself since the seventies? Wouldn't it make a lovely Dover Thrift edition? Colette died in 1954, so the copyright should have lapsed by now, right?
This question has bothered me enough to e-mail Dover and ask if they have any plans in that direction. We'll see what they say.
Note: However, in Dover's defense, I see that this week they're releasing a copy of What Katy Did, which is a nice choice. I hate the cover art, but that's a post for another day. (Maybe tomorrow, if I let myself get worked up enough about it.)
Just a reminder, Clarke fans: you can read one of the short stories found in The Ladies of Grace Adieuhere. It's called The Duke of Wellington Misplaces His Horse, and it originally appeared on Neil Gaiman's website.
Susanna Clarke's new book, The Ladies of Grace Adieu, is due out on October 17th. Apparently, it will be a collection of short stories set in the world of her first book, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, but featuring various historical figures (with appearances from some of her own characters). I love the cover art, I love the idea, I'm mega-excited about the book... but I have a few concerns. First, of the eight stories in the book, seven have already been published, but the book is still twenty-four dollars! For the sake of hardcore Clarke fans, I hope that the one original story is pretty damn impressive. Second, are we going to need to re-read Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell to understand this book? If that's the case, better start reading now, gentle readers. You've only got a few months.
We try to keep the blog as on-topic as possible... or, at least, we figure as long as it has something to do with books then we can write about it. However, today I am going to get on my political soap box to talk about something that has nothing to do with books, but does have something to do with the internet.
So the deal is this: Congress is pushing a law that would abandon the main principle the internet was based on: a concept called "Network Neutrality". Network Neutrality is what prevents companies like AT&T, Verizon and Comcast from deciding which Web sites should be put in front of you, determined by which sites pay them the most. The best explanation I have found for how this all works was on Wordcandy's favorite place to get up-to-date news: The Daily Show:
Little sites like ours would be puttering along on that second level, and might never reach your computer. In support of Net Neutrality, Wordcandy is in the process of joining the SavetheInternet.com Coalition. We encourage everyone to check out the site, read up on the issue, and, if you are interested, become involved. This is an issue that could visibly affect the average user on the internet.
That's it: I am now going to jump off my soap box, and pack it away (along with the rest of my apartment). Just two more weeks 'til I leave Ohio and move to DC!
Seriously, I might really want to start thinking about packing soon.
From Little Otik, his adaptation of a traditional Czech fairy tale:
Well. If those don't inspire you to run right out to your local video store (assuming that your local video store is the kind of place that carries unbelievably pretentious Czech animation from the seventies), then I don't know what will.
A few days ago I was complaining about Meg Cabot's decision to include postcards advertising Clinique inside her new book How To Be Popular. I thought it was a pretty crass move, considering that A) it's not like she needs the money, and B) it's supposed to be a book about embracing yourself, not the allure of overpriced cosmetics.
But it turns out that things could be much, much worse. Apparently, both the Limited Too and Roxy clothing lines have commissioned entire series of books. Check out the description of the sixth book in the "Roxy Girl" series, Luna Bay: Heart Breakers, published by Harper Collins:
"Now that Valentine's Day is just around the corner, Luna is feeling the blues. She's been longing to be with her boyfriend, David, who lives all the way across the country in Florida and who she hasn't seen in months. Sure, she and David e-mail, but that's not enough. She wants to see him.
Despite her loneliness, Luna gets a reprieve when a tall, blond dreamboat washes up on her shore. His name is Sean, and like Luna he's a natural-born board rider from a family of die-hard surfers. Their chemistry is undeniable, and Luna can't remember when she's had so much fun with a guy. But when David shows up as a Valentine's Day surprise, Luna finds herself caught in the middle of a love triangle! Soon David and Sean engage in an all-out tug-of-war with her heartstrings -- leaving Luna to wonder whose heart will get broken in the end.
It's all about a passion for the sport ... and life."
Ah, yes. The passion for sport, life... and sweet, affordably priced hoodies.
P.S. Whoever designed that cover art should be barred on pain of death from ever touching a Mac again.
The Leaky Cauldron is reporting that the film version of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince will open on November 21, 2008, continuing the trend of one movie in the summer, the next in the fall of the following year. (The movie version of book five, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, will open on July 13, 2007.)
In totally unrelated news, I'm currently enjoying a Korean soap opera called Sweet 18, which appears to have borrowed 85% of its plot from the Georgette Heyer novel Friday's Child. Fellow Heyer devotees should take note.
Excerpt from: M.T. Anderson's Thrilling Tales: Whales on Stilts!, by M.T. Anderson Why you should buy a copy of your very own: It's a goofy send-up of countless children's adventure series, but it works even if you're unfamiliar with the stories he's spoofing. C'mon--who wouldn't enjoy a book about an invasion of mind-controlled whales on stilts with laser eyeballs? (Plus, this book features the funniest pun I've read in years.) In this scene... The author is reminiscing about his past adventures with invading sea life. The story is full of chatty, irrelevant asides like this one, so this sample should give you some idea as to whether or not you'd like the book.
"If you have ever been present at a vicious attack by elevated sea animals, you'll know exactly what the people of Pelt felt like. I, for example, was unlucky enough to be working as a housepainter in Minneapolis that terrifying summer of the Manatee Offensive. That was awful. The sky was black with them.
Of course, the manatees weren't on stilts but wore small helipacks. The sound of those little helicopter blades chuddering in the summer air was overwhelming. It takes a lot to lift a manatee. You couldn't hear anything but the sound of them flying in their swarms while people honked their horns or ran for cover, weeping like babies.
I had a friend who had also lived through a starfish attack, and during the manatee assault he pretty near fell apart. I had to keep shaking him. We were hiding in the frozen-food aisle of the Third Avenue Halt'n'Buy. The manatees were buzzing around the parking lot just outside. My friend was getting hysterical. I finally slapped him. He blinked a few times and thanked me. He shook my hand. Then he stood and began, quite methodically, to jump up and down on boxes of Mrs. Paul's Fish Sticks.
In case we offended you by leaving your favorite book-to-movie adaptation off of our list of the Ten Best Book-to-Screen Adaptations, please rest assured that it caused considerable squabbling amongst the staff, too. We almost replaced The Maltese Falcon with The Thin Man, and we almost replaced Clueless with the A&E version of Pride and Prejudice. However, the bitterest argument was reserved for the recent Charlie and the Chocolate Factory movie, which Nathan and I thought was brilliant. Unfortunately, someone--MEGAN--flatly vetoed it on the grounds that she's still having nightmares about squirrels.
Bond girl Eva Green has been cast as Serafina Pekula and Nicole Kidman has been cast as Ms. Coulter in the upcoming Golden Compass movie adaptation; Helena Bonham Carter has been cast as Bellatrix Lestrange in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. (Seriously, even setting aside her E.M. Forster roles, that woman has been in a lot of Wordcandy-basedmovies.)
<---Apparently, this is the Wordcandy pin-up girl. Who knew?
See? It can be done! I've never read this adaptation, and I don't even like the fairy tale it's based on, but I still covet this book. It's weird and gorgeous--the kind of book that your aunt sends you when you're five and you're secretly kind of scared of, but you hang onto until you're twenty-seven so you can give it to your own kid because it was just so awesome. (Not that this has ever happened to me. But thanks for that copy of Jumanji, Aunt Joanne!)
I'm currently halfway through Jonathan Stroud's Bartimaeus Trilogy, and I'm really enjoying it. The books are total Wordcandy, and Stroud is a talented writer with a gift for making up some truly unpleasant personalities.
However, there's a reason that I'm only reading these books now, rather than when the first one came out in 2003: the covers are wicked ugly, so I waited until I found copies on sale. Not just a little ugly--we're talking hardcore hideous. The samples on the left don't do them justice. On top of the basic artwork (which wasn't much fun to look at to begin with) they're opalescent.
Now, my son thinks these books look awesome. (In his defense, he's seven.) I don't think Stroud is aiming at the elementary crowd with these novels, however. The main male character is about as far from Harry Potter as you can get, the bad guys are almost Dickensian, and the main female character is essentially a terrorist.
Look, this series is a prime example of why we keep harping on cover art. I'm sure Mr. Stroud's sales are respectable, but if the books were even slightly more attractive, I think they'd attract a much bigger audience. People like me would be buying them in hardback, even though they cost the earth. But it would be worth it, just to avoid looking at that glimmering minotaur dude whenever I picked up my book.