Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Start saving those pennies now, fangirls!

Because who DOESN'T want a vaguely constipated-looking Edward Cullen action figure?

Hee hee hee...

Happy Thanksgiving, guys!

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Lazy college-prep high schoolers, set your TIVOs.

PBS has posted their 2009 Masterpiece Classic Season schedule, featuring adaptations of novels by Thomas Hardy (ugh), Jane Austen, Emily Bronte (double ugh), and Charles Dickens (sometimes ugh).

That 2008 Sense and Sensibility adaptation was really good, though!

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Scanlation update

Just posted the latest chapter of Absolute Witch, for those of you who are following it!


Take advantage of six promo tours at once

Books of Wonder, New York City's oldest and largest independent children's bookstore, is hosting an reading/book signing/Q-and-A session event with six big-name YA authors tonight: Tamora Pierce, John Hulme, Michael Wexler, Allegra Goodman, Peter Howe, Holly Black, and Richelle Mead. This event is aimed at readers ages 10 and up, and will be held from 5 to 7 PM. Readers are welcome to bring one book from home to be signed for each book they purchase during the gathering. If you're in the area, be sure to check it out.

(Dude, we need a NY correspondent--I have books that want signing!)

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Friday, November 21, 2008

Want to read L.J. Smith's first Night World book for free?

Then today's your lucky day, because Simon and Schuster are currently offering it as a free download on their site!

Note: L.J. Smith came in second on our list of the Top Ten Books to Read INSTEAD of Twilight, but that ranking isn't due to the Night World novellas, which are entertaining enough, but not really her best work.

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

The full-length Coraline trailer is up...

...and frankly, it's something of a disappointment:

It's not that it looks bad, exactly (although I still want to know why they went with American actors). But I think the original illustrator, longtime Gaiman collaborator Dave McKean, played a major role in making the story genuinely creepy. Behold:

As it is, the movie looks adorable-creepy*, and I think it will lend itself to all kinds of merchandising tie-ins, but that wasn't the look I was hoping for.

*Just like director Henry Selick's earlier works, The Nightmare Before Christmas and James and the Giant Peach.

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Life After Oil, Part II

Remember our post on Luz, the webcomic about a girl living in a post-abundant-petroleum world? Well, if online comics aren't your thing, but you're still interested in literature about living in an era of compelled conservation, we suggest checking out Albert Bates's The Post-Petroleum Survival Guide and Cookbook: Recipes for Changing Times. Like Luz, this looks like a practical, readable guide, rather than the ever-popular post-apocalyptic zombie fest.

I mean, we all like a good zombie fest, but as the end of the oil era becomes more of a reality and less the stuff of bad sci-fi, it's nice to think about some more mundane issues, too.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Literature worth sitting on

I was poking around the web this morning, and I ran across this:

Yes, dear readers, you're looking at a Raymond Chandler deck chair—but if you're not a Chandler fan, don't worry: they have several other authors, too. In fact, the fine people at Objects of Design are selling an entire line of Penguin-bookcover-inspired items, including mugs, pencils, tea towels, and bags. I really like 'em, but I'm still balking a little at those prices.


Thanks again, Canada!

A (totally brilliant, obviously) British Columbia-area computer programmer has created an alternative to lorem ipsum: randomly-generated lines from Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

New stuff from Susan Elizabeth Phillips coming down the pike

Wordcandy staff member Megan was sick yesterday, so in honor of her (hopefully brisk) recovery, we're doing a post about her favorite romance novelist, Susan Elizabeth Phillips.

Ms. Phillips has TWO books coming out in January: a paperback reissue of her long-out-of-print first contemporary romance Glitter Baby, and a hardcover called What I Do For Love. And while I am, at best, a lukewarm Susan Elizabeth Phillips fan (some of her sex scenes are downright creepy), the summary of What I Do For Love appeals to me... although it might be referencing the whole Angelina Jolie/Brad Pitt/Jennifer Aniston thing—the heroine, an actress, gets dumped by her movie star husband, who leaves her for an "international do-gooder". If that's the case, count me out.

Anyway, Ms. Phillip's website is offering a sneak peek of Glitter Baby, and an audio file of the author reading aloud from the beginning of What I Did For Love. Enjoy, Meggie!

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We've got movie news coming out of our ears.

Media blog Buzzsugar has posted a ton of literary film-adaptation news in the past few days:

*Children's book illustrator Gris Grimly will be directing a movie adaptation of Pinocchio, based on a book version he illustrated in 2002. Guillermo Del Toro will serve as executive producer, and the Jim Henson Co. is creating the stop-motion animation.

*Apparently, Walden Media hopes to greenlight Voyage of the Dawn Treader, (the third Chronicles of Narnia movie) "soon". I'm kind of surprised to hear it isn't a done deal already. Didn't the first two movies make decent money?

*Aaaaand there's a new trailer out for the upcoming adaptation of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons's mid-eighties classic comic book series Watchmen.
There's a bunch of posts on there about Twilight and Quantum of Solace, too, but I figure they don't need any more promotion, so I'm skipping 'em.

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Monday, November 17, 2008

Pricey! But also cool!

The new book-and-DVD set The New York Times: The Complete Front Pages might cost a whopping $60, but it looks totally awesome:

More than 300 of the Times front pages have been reproduced in this book, and the rest (over 50,000 pages) are available on the 3 accompanying DVDs. Ten foldouts display twenty key front pages at full size, and summaries highlight the most significant events of each era, while placing the front pages in a greater historical context.

Note: NPR's All Things Considered interviewed Bill Keller, the Times' executive editor, about the book on Friday.

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New Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince trailer up...

...and while my favorite HP trailer of all time remains the one for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (with the school choir clutching toads and singing "Something Wicked This Way Comes"), this one is really working for me:

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Friday, November 14, 2008

Blue Bloods: the animated primer

If you're interested in reading our current Featured Book, Melissa de la Cruz's Blue Bloods 3: Revelations, but you're too broke to shell out for the first two installments in the series, she's put together a helpful (and fairly well-made, for an online book commercial) mini-movie summing up the background story:

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Why, Kelley Armstrong? WHY?!?

I was so turned off by the cover art for Kelley Armstrong’s Personal Demon that I didn’t even feel like requesting a review copy, much less actually purchasing one. This is no reflection on Ms. Armstrong’s considerable writing skills, but an expression of my unwillingness to be seen reading anything that looked so much like an X-rated version of those R.L. Stine Goosebumps books that were popular when I was in elementary school:

See what I mean? The neon font (which is even brighter in real life)! The vaguely sexual pose involving a young woman feeling up a gargoyle! Why have Kelley Armstrong’s Women of the Otherworld covers gotten steadily worse over the course of her career? Shouldn’t the opposite be true? She’s a big-name author now!

Anyway, I stuck to my guns for over a year, but eventually my mother bought a paperback copy, and I folded like a cheap suit. It was there and it was free, so I read it, my stance on butt-ugly cover art be damned. And you know what I discovered? Not only is the cover hideous, but it has absolutely nothing to do with the book. Nobody fondles a gargoyle in this story, and I’m pretty sure the heroine, half-demon tabloid reporter Hope Adams, never wears a strapless leather corset. Instead, Personal Demon is another entertaining installment in Armstrong’s horror/romance/suspense series, with a complex, well-structured plot that owes a considerable debt to The Godfather. (It focuses on a conflict between the “Cabal”—Armstrong’s supernatural mafia—and a Miami gang of otherworldly young thugs.)

I’m not sure who makes cover art decisions, but I hope whoever made this one has found a different line of work. Because when Laurell K. Hamilton’s most recent release (Blood Noir) has a cover that is both more interesting and less kinky than that of a Kelley Armstrong book, something is seriously amiss with the publishing world.

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Angels and Demons trailer is up...

Do we have any fans of overwrought fake religious revelations in the house? 'Cause the teaser trailer for the new Dan Brown movie is up:


Want to win a Twilight prize pack?

Trent from PinkistheNewBlog is giving away a Twilight-themed prize pack. To enter, submit a photo of "you, your family and/or your friends doing your best vampire impersonation" by November 24th. One winner, selected at random, will receive the following prizes:

The Twilight Illustrated Movie Companion book

The Twilight paperback book

A Full Size One-Sheet poster of Edward and Bella

A copy of the Official Twilight Movie Soundtrack
Good luck!

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

America's Test Kitchen books on the cheap


Fans of the fine people at America's Test Kitchen/Cook's Magazine take note: you can get several of their cookbook titles for remarkably low prices at Titles including The America's Test Kitchen's Family Cookbook, The Cook's Country Cookbook, and the just-released The America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book are all $22.84, marked down from $34.95. Combine that with whatever online coupons you can scrounge up (ALWAYS check for online coupons, dear readers!) and Overstock's extremely low shipping fees, and you too can enjoy slaving over some insanely finicky America's Test Kitchen recipes during the upcoming holiday season!

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Twilight goes to the mall!

If you just can't get enough of those Twilight books, various cast members from the upcoming movie adaptation are currently on a mall tour.

After all, nothing says "dark, brooding romance" like a Britney Spears-style mall tour, does it?

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Why don't we ever get to see animated versions of, like, Paradise Lost?

According to AnimeNewsNetwork, anime director Osamu Dezaki is planning to debut his anime Genji Monogatari Sen-nen-ki Genji ("The Tale of Genji: A Millennium-Old Journal") on Japanese television in January.

Originally, this adaptation planned to focus on Waki Yamato's historical shōjo manga Asakiyumemishi - The Tale of Genji (another a retelling of Murasaki Shikibu's The Tale of Genji), but Dezaki apparently decided to go straight to the source. His anime will celebrate the thousand-year anniversary of this classic Japanese novel.

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Conan remake to compete with Red Sonja?

Remember our earlier posts about the prospect of a Red Sonja remake? Well, it turns out the consistently-awful director Brett Ratner is thinking of updating another cheeseball-adventure-series-turned-craptastic-eighties-fantasy-film: Conan the Barbarian!


Monday, November 10, 2008

We Interrupt this Broadcast, by Joe Garner

Effectively combining history, commentary, and audio recordings of actual news broadcasts, Joe Garner’s recently re-released We Interrupt This Broadcast is a far cry above the typical coffee-table history book.

This is the third edition of Garner’s book, and it features several new entries, including September 11th, the Virginia Tech Massacre, and Hurricane Katrina. Each segment consists of a few pages of useful background information (covered on the audio CDs by veteran journalist Bill Kurtis), and a collection of black-and-white photographs. The book covers a variety of major 20th and 21st century events, ranging from the death of Elvis to the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to the Challenger explosion.

While most of the selected events are historically significant, it’s equally interesting to consider what We Interrupt This Broadcast leaves out. The book focuses on the breaking-news broadcasts that dropped the jaws of mainstream America, not necessarily the events with the longest lasting cultural impact. The firing of General MacArthur, the Columbine shootings, the death of John F. Kennedy Jr. and the O.J. Simpson trial are covered—but Woodstock, the McCarthy trials, and the 1963 Birmingham church bombing are not. How were these events (particularly those surrounding the civil rights movement) covered on television and radio? What was on TV on the morning the Little Rock Nine entered Little Rock Central High for the first time, for example, or the day Malcolm X was shot? Garner could—and totally should!—write a fascinating companion book about the events broadcast news failed to consider breaking-news worthy.

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One last pumpkin and we're done, promise...

But how could we pass up a Jane Austen pumpkin?

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Friday, November 07, 2008

Chris Onstad blogs for Powell's

The recently-featured-on-Wordcandy comic strip author Chris Onstad (or, uh, Ray Smuckles) has produced a blog post for Powell's Books... and, as always, it is totally awesome.

Note: Today's Achewood is particularly good, too.

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Gaiman fans take note...

There are still tickets available for this Vertigo/Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (CBLDF) event, apparently:

Veteran voice actor Tom Wayland and others, will read from some of the most politically charged excerpts of THE SANDMAN written by New York Times best-selling author Neil Gaiman, in honor of the 20th Anniversary of THE SANDMAN.

Hosted by the CBLDF and Vertigo, the dramatic reading will be will be held it the Helen Mills Theater in New York City on Saturday, November 8 at 7:30 pm. Tickets are available for a $50 donation to the CBLDF. Only 100 tickets are available to this special reading event.

THE SANDMAN is a series that is often hailed as one of the finest achievements in graphic storytelling and which Norman Mailer famously praised as, "a comic strip for intellectuals." This very special evening will bring two of the series most beloved stories to life with a multimedia presentation that marries comics and live theater.

About the stories being performed:

Three Septembers & A January, originally published in THE SANDMAN #31 / Trade #6

The story of Joshua Abraham Norton the first, last and only Emperor of the United States of America that incorporates an explanation for his strange career centering on a challenge between Morpheus and Despair.

The Golden Boy, originally published in THE SANDMAN #51-56 / Trade #8

A revival of a 1970s DC character named Prez, it’s the story of the US’s first teenage president that considers how we view our leaders—while they’re in office . . . and once they’re gone.
Hey, if you're flush with cash and low on plans for tomorrow, it sounds awesome.

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Thursday, November 06, 2008

Speaking of Black Jack, you can read a complete chapter online!

And for those of you who DON'T win the MangaBlog giveaway, but just can't get enough of creepy medical drama/horror stories about rogue doctors, The Beat (Publishers Weekly's comic news blog) has posted a complete Black Jack story online for your reading, uh, pleasure.


Black Jack giveaway!

MangaBlog is giving away three sets of the first two volumes of the legendary Osamu Tezuka’s (Astro Boy, Kimba, the White Lion) manga Black Jack--a twisted-but-awesome series about an outlaw surgeon--and one set of the first three volumes (although volume 3 won’t be published until January, so the winner will have to wait until then).

Note: This contest is only open to those over 18.

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Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Edward Cullen in squash form.

The MTV Movies Blog asked their readers to send in pictures of their best Twilight-inspired Halloween gear. Most of the costumes were underwhelming (let's face it: red eye-makeup aside, dressing up as a bunch of whiny teenagers isn't all that hard), but check out these pumpkin carvings:

I don't know--I think the anime one was slightly better, but these are pretty cool.

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Michael Crichton: October 23, 1942 – November 4, 2008

Holy moly: Jurassic Park author Michael Crichton died yesterday after a private battle with cancer. He was 66.

Our sympathy goes out to his family.


Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Recommended reading for anybody stuck in line to vote!

First of all, I'd like to thank whoever decided to make my county mail-in-only, because I do not enjoy waiting in lines.

Sadly, however, in plenty of places in this country, people are stuck in very, very long lines, waiting patiently to do their civic duty. If that's about to be you, and you're wondering what to bring with you, here's a few suggestions:

A) A BIG bottle of water, hand sanitizer, and (if the lines are really long in your area) your leftover Halloween candy to bribe the people around you to hold your spot in case you need to go to the bathroom.

B) Something to read, of course. I know I usually knock the Twilight series, but if that's the kind of thing that floats your boat, now is the day to drag it out. This is no time to be worried about looking cool--take whatever trashy, entertaining literature you've got to distract you from both your aching feet and the fact that you're probably looking at a naked attempt at voter disfranchisement....

C) ...unless, of course, you WANT to know more about naked attempts at voter disfranchisement. In that case, take Andrew Gumbel's excellent Steal This Vote.
We're taking the rest of the day off, and intend to spend it obsessively watching the polls. Tomorrow will be election-news-free, we promise!


Monday, November 03, 2008

Lois Duncan tries, once again, to make a decent movie.

Despite some very, very bad film adaptations of her books in the past (including 1997's I Know What You Did Last Summer), author Lois Duncan has sold the movie rights to yet another story, the 1971 novel Hotel For Dogs:

It looks very, uh, wholesome?

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MTV's must-read vamp list

MTV has posted a short essay comparing modern interpretations of the vampire myth in books and movies--everything from Buffy to Twilight. They don't say anything earth-shattering, but the article does suggest a couple of vampire titles I'm unfamiliar with. (Should I look up Mary Lambert's Dark Path Chronicles?) Sadly, they don't include my favorite, the deliciously atmospheric Companions of the Night, but it's a pretty solid list.


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