Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The Wallflower anime

Thanks to Wordcandy reader Kayleigh, I am now aware of the existence of the anime version of Tomoko Hayakawa's Wallflower series (Japanese title: Yamato Nadeshiko Shichihenge). This is one of my favorite mangas, and it has a very unusual art style. I was told that the artwork for the anime was terrible, but--based on these screen clips--I've seen (and enjoyed) worse:

I'm going to try to hunt down some of the episodes on YouTube this evening. Bad artwork or not, I'm really excited about seeing this show. [Source]

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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Oh. My.

Well, MY eyes need bleaching. How about yours?

Harry Potter mega-site The Leaky Cauldron has kindly(?) archived several "frankly gorgeous" photos from Daniel Radcliffe's upcoming play Equus. If you're interested in seeing even more of young Mr. Radcliffe, click here.

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Monday, January 29, 2007

Fantasy geeks take note.

On January 27, NPR's "All Things Considered" ran an article on the changing image of dragons. If interested, click here to listen to Rick Kleffel talk about modern dragon PR, using evidence from books like Eragon, Anne McCaffrey's Pern series, and Naomi Novik's Temeraire* secret histories.

*Rumored to be the subject of Peter Jackson's next film trilogy.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Only to be expected

The film adaptation of Annette Curtis Klause's wonderful YA novel Blood and Chocolate is out today, and the reviews are uniformly unenthusiastic. There's a lot of comments along the lines of "it's not the worst movie I've ever seen", while the reviewers who've read the book are describing the film as "a complete and utter bastardization of the novel". There are also a number of jokes about the title, including my favorite: the critic who suggested that they re-name it Hot Topic: The Movie.

On the other hand, it's not like I was expecting a GOOD movie, so I'm still looking forward to it. When it comes to film adaptations of my favorite books, I find that low expectations are the secret to happiness.

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Thursday, January 25, 2007

Austen sequel goodness

Margaret C. Sullivan, editor of AustenBlog, has written a sequel to Northanger Abbey entitled There Must Be Murder. Sullivan's story will be published as a serialized novella, with one chapter appearing per month until December of 2007, and features illustrations by Cassandra Chouinard. The first chapter is entitled "Winter Pleasures", and can be read here.


Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Manhwa for the masses

I'm currently enjoying two very similar manhwa titles: Sun Hee Lee's Neck and Neck (released through TokyoPop), and YunHee Lee's Angel Diary, from Ice Kunion. I think Ice Kunion is doing a slightly superior job of translating, but both of these series are tremendous fun. If you're STILL unfamiliar with Korean comics, either one of these titles--or, of course, our beloved Banhonsa--would be a great way to introduce yourself to the genre.


Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Finally, covers I like!

I know that a lot of my posts tend to be about cover art that I hate. It's not that I don't find covers that I like, it's that when I see covers that are unbelievably bad or embarrassing I feel like they have to be shared. (Eloisa James and Karen Hawkins alone produce enough crap to keep me busy.) But today I'd like to point out Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Jennifer Crusie's newest covers--some of our other authors could learn a lot from them.

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Monday, January 22, 2007

Chin up.

According to my mother, who saw it on the news, today is supposed to be the gloomiest day of the year. The weather tends to be bad, Christmas bills are due, and most people have broken their New Year's resolutions. (It's also the day after my birthday, so I choose to believe that the world is just recovering from the massive celebrations they held in my honor the day before.) Anyway, if you're feeling particularly ghastly today, here are the Wordcandy staff's picks for best comfort reading:

Meg's pick:

Nathan's pick:

And mine (which is, of course, the best):

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Saturday, January 20, 2007

On the other hand, I bet Oprah's Book Club would LOVE it....

Albyn Leah Hall is an author to watch, but nobody would describe her as being remotely Wordcandy-friendly. Her book The Rhythm of the Road is full of familiar images from country music: missing family members, the open road, broken hearts. Unfortunately, like a lot of country music, Hall's novel feels like a string of gloomy images, lacking a compelling connecting story.

Hall's book shifts between teenager Jo's perspective and the story of her parents, Bobby and Rosalie. In the earlier storyline, Bobby, a sweet, sad Irish truck driver, and Rosalie, an American Jewish girl indulging her wild side in 1980s England, drift into a relationship. Jo's story picks up in her teens. Rosalie disappeared immediately after giving birth, leaving Bobby to raise their daughter. Their peaceful, country music-filled existence begins to fall apart when Bobby picks up a hitchhiker from Texas, aspiring country singer Cosima Stewart. Over the next few years, Jo and her father have periodic run-ins with Cosima, and each time their life seems to disintegrate a little bit more.

The Rhythm of the Road shows flashes of real talent. Hall has an elegant, lyrical style and a great ear for dialogue. I loved this description of a ridiculously pretentious Goth musician:

Even offstage he spoke in lyrics rather than whole sentences, lyrics so inscrutable that Rosalie was sure they were incredibly clever.

"You can't enter the same river once," he said to her once, and she thought about it for a very long time.

Unfortunately, amusingly sharp moments like these are lost amongst the breathless descriptions of Jo's soap opera-worthy troubles. Hall seems to have a boundless imagination for unfortunate events. Not content to saddle Jo with a missing mother and a depressed father, The Rhythm of the Road piles on drug and alcohol abuse, disturbing sexual relationships, and Fatal Attraction-style obsession.

Hall is tough on her characters, and seems more enthusiastic about describing their suffering than she is about their eventual redemption. It's possible, of course, to write a great book featuring profoundly messed-up characters and a depressing ending, but it's a tall order for a beginning novelist, and The Rhythm of the Road falls short of the task.

Friday, January 19, 2007

The Magic Pudding

The hardworking people at Dover Thrift have just released a handsome illustrated edition of Norman Lindsay's 1918 novel The Magic Pudding: Being the Adventures of Bunyip Bluegum and His Friends Bill Barnacle and Sam Sawno. This unique children's classic features a walking, talking pudding that enjoys being eaten and never runs out, its three owners (a koala, a sailor, and a penguin), and their various adventures across Australia. In an effort to give you a sense of The Magic Pudding's oddball charm, we have included one of the many songs featured in the story:

The Puddin'-Owners' Evensong

Let feeble feeders stoop
To plates of oyster soup.
Let pap engage
The gums of age
And appetites that droop;
We much prefer to chew
A steak-and-kidney stew.

We scorn digestive pills;
Give us the food that fills;
Who bravely stuff
Themselves with Duff,
May laugh at Doctors' bills.
For medicine, partake
Of kidney, stewed with steak.

Let yokels coarse appease
Their appetites with cheese.
Let women dream
Of cakes and cream,
We scorn fal-lals like these;
Our sterner sex extols
The joy of boiled jam rolls.

Then plight our faith anew
Three puddin'-owners true,
Who boldly claim
In Friendship's name
The noble Irish stoo,
Hurrah, Hurrah, Hurroo!"

Okay, so it's a weird book--but it's an interesting weird book, and one that only costs $7.95. Now, if Dover would only reprint some Amanda McKittrick Ros....

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Thursday, January 18, 2007

Classier and classier...

Zenescope Entertainment is offering another twist on the popular revamped fairytale genre: an R-rated comic book version! Doesn't their "Grimm Fairy Tales" series look delightful?

Dude, that's fully what *I* would wear to my grandmother's house.


Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Shojo exhibit hits DC

The international touring exhibit "Girl Power! Girls' Comics from Japan" is coming to Washington D.C. on January 30th. Curated by Dr. Masami Toku, Associate Professor of Art and Art History at California State University Chico, "Girl Power" features 23 shojo artists and more than 200 works from World War II to the present. As our only DC-area staff member, Megan will naturally be forced to attend and report back on this event. And possibly bring us a few souvenirs.... [Source]


Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Um. Okay.

If you're an adventurous Tolkien fan, click here to enjoy a video of Gollum/Smeagol singing a Barry White song. If you're anyone else... well, click at your own peril. (And you might want to plan on having a short lie-down afterwards.)


Monday, January 15, 2007

Must-see PBS TV.

PBS's upcoming TV adaptation of Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre is scheduled to air on January 21st and 28th. I have yet to enjoy a televised version of a Bronte novel, but this one looks pretty impressive:

This will star newbie actress Ruth Wilson (an ex-model, with exaggerated features well suited to the Jane character) and Toby Stephens, best known for his role in the 2002 Bond movie Die Another Day. For more information, here's the Official Site.

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Friday, January 12, 2007

Holy cow--is she smiling?

Unable to get Sarah Michelle Gellar to stop looking like a wet week, Joss Whedon has turned to comic books to continue his story. Behold: Buffy the Vampire Slayer's season eight, coming soon to a comic shop near you:

I'm torn--I still haven't forgiven Whedon for essentially abandoning Buffy for its last two seasons, and I got seriously tired of watching Buffy, Xander, and Willow turn into unrecognizable caricatures of themselves... but I still might check this out. I'm weak. For a sneak peek, click here.


Thursday, January 11, 2007

Another step backward.

First we have the new and, ah, "improved" Meg Cabot website, now we have a revised cover for the first book in Herbie Brennan's Faerie Wars series. I am not sure what our authors are thinking this year.

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Wednesday, January 10, 2007

New website

So, it looks like Meg Cabot has launched a new website layout...

I am pretty sure I liked the site much better before this latest redesign. It had this fun, bubblegum pink look and feel to it. The new site, on the other hand, gives off a very "marketing focus group" vibe that really doesn't work for me.

Still, this site is still a million times better then Lisa Kleypas's site. Wow, is it bad:

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Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Wordcandy Book Snippet

Excerpt from:

Helen Huddleson, by Amanda McKittrick Ros

Why you should buy a copy of your very own:

This was an author who was confident that her books would be admired for the next thousand years, and when the book critics dared to disagree, she described them as "auctioneering agents of Satan". As far as I'm concerned, she should be universally celebrated.

In this scene...

Reformed rake Lord Raspberry is berating Madam Pear, who has kidnapped his wife and tried to put her to work in a brothel. It's really best to read this stuff out loud.

"Madam. How dare you? I say--how dare you? You have dragged my poor innocent dove--my wife--my angel into your seething saloon of sin and shame, to rob her of all the charm and grace and place her in the singed list of the loose to be in Co. with your train of degraded elegance. Give my little rural ruby set in the folds of innocence she wears, whose mind is as pure as the balm of heaven, within whose breasts sin hath never concealed itself. I say--give her me with a robe of rags, a mind of modesty, a heart of horror for all things unclean and hands untainted by the gruesome grasp of vice, rather than a princess--a duchess--a countess--a mimicking madonna decked with diamonds the purest, rubies the rarest, pearls of matchless lustre (produced by mechanical and mischievous means) and the defiled non-trappings some of our ugly-faced have-you-believe cream of aristocracy don to impersonate heaven's purest virgin of Babylonian blood and bearing, thereby aiming to achieve what is disgusting in the all-vacillating team of kindred humanity. I say, Madam, give me my wife rather than all these sistered aforesaid mentioned!

--Amanda McKittrick Ros

Readers, I love this woman.

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Monday, January 08, 2007

No cover art yet...

We don't have any cover art yet for the seventh Harry Potter book, but if you're a budding designer (or you just like to draw), then The Leaky Cauldron has a fun contest for you. In honor of the long-awaited title announcement, they're running a "Design a Deathly Hallows book cover" contest. All entries will be placed in their galleries, and the winners' works will be posted on Leaky's main page. Good luck!

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Friday, January 05, 2007

Lyra! Mrs. Coulter! Lord James Bond!

New Line has released a load of Golden Compass stills, and they look lovely:

You can view the rest here and here.

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Thursday, January 04, 2007

My cat would love it.

I'm usually a big fan of West Elm's designs, but I'm not sure about this bookcase:

It looks cool, but wouldn't stuff get knocked off? Still, it's only $149, and that's nothing to sneeze at, bookshelf-price-wise.

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Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Fanfiction DOES pay--if you're really good at it.

These Three Remain, the final volume of Pamela Aidan's Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman series is newly available this week.

This trilogy began as a Pride and Prejudice fanfic on the Republic of Pemberly website. It was eventually picked up by Simon and Schuster, and provides a strong argument for the validity of fanfiction. Ms. Aidan is a decent writer with a wonderful imagination, and Austen fans are sure to enjoy her interpretation of Mr. Darcy's private thoughts.


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