While stopping by Target last night to pick up an immersion blender (my new favorite kitchen appliance, by the way), I finally saw the $16 Nora Roberts paperback in the flesh. Unfortunately, Target, usually an excellent resource for discounted new releases, has totally failed me. You guys know those "Bookmarked" discount stickers they put on books, indicating the titles are 25% off? Well, I saw one on the Nora Roberts release, but for some reason it was only 20% off.
Seriously, why does everyone want me to pay through the nose for this sucker? I'm getting increasingly curious... but I have a long way to go before I'm curious enough to shell out $12.80, Target.
Wait—they're making a movie version of Beezus and Ramona?
Apparently, I am (once again) behind the times, because they're already filming.
As long-time readers of the site now, I have a particular love for the Ramona books. For one thing, the first bite of an apple always does taste the best, and for another, Klickitat Street in Portland is only a few blocks away from where my godmother lived, so I got to play there a lot as a kid.
So what I'm saying is: THIS MOVIE BETTER BE GOOD, FOX.
In news that wouldn't raise many eyebrows if we were talking about his American counterparts, fantastically man-pretty Goong actor Joo Ji-hoon has been charged with drug use (of Ecstasy and Ketamine), and the resulting scandal is turning into a big ol' mess for the Korean entertainment world.
Despite his undeniable hotness, I don't really care about Joo Ji-hoon one way or another, but I have been fascinated by the public response to this event. Just how high are the standards for celebrity behavior in Korea, anyway? I've always been a little taken aback by the "no public relationships" thing expected of K-drama actors, but I guess I thought that was a calculated move on the part of the stars' management—an attempt to create an illusion of availability. (Teen girls might shell out big money to attend a fan-meeting if they think their favorite star is free from emotional entanglements, and therefore more likely to fall in love with them.) I didn’t realize drug use—and comparatively mild drug use*, at that—would cause such utter condemnation, but people are coming down on this dude like a load of bricks. It's certainly a different (and interesting) cultural perspective.
*Please don’t send me nasty e-mails about this comment. I am NOT excusing any form of drug use, and Ecstasy and Ketamine are real, scary, potentially life-destroying drugs. But from the public response, you’d think Joo was a hardcore junkie, shooting up his tear ducts or something.
Apartment Therapy has done a post on vertically stacked bookcases, featuring five types ranging in price from $110 to $298.
I don't know: they might look cool, but I'm just not sold on these as a practical book storage solution. They look so... tippy. What happens if your books aren't centered properly? Does it bend paperbacks in the middle? Crack spines before their time? If anybody owns one, shoot me an e-mail and let me know.
AnimeNewsNetwork is reporting that the always awesome Kiyohiko Azuma is creating new strips for the upcoming 10th anniversary edition of his Azumanga Daioh series. There will be sixteen pages of new material featured in each of the three volumes of the reprint.
I was *so* stoked to hear this. Azumanga Daioh is one of my favorite series in any medium, and it's been way too long since we've heard from these characters.
I am reeling, people. According to USA Today's list of best-selling books, sales of Stephenie Meyer's Twilight novels accounted for about 16% of the book purchases they tracked in the first quarter of 2009, or about one in seven books.
As promised, VIZ posted the first chapter of Rumiko Takahashi's new series Rin-ne today on the Rumic World website, and I trotted right over to read it.
I'd give the first chapter an "A" for content*, but the online reading experience left something to be desired. On the plus side, it was in color, the site worked well, and the whole thing was free, which goes a long way with me. ("Free" is my favorite price.) Unfortunately, I think there were a lot of cultural references that went over my head--jokes about money, etc.--and it would have been really nice if Viz included a few explanatory notes.
*Cute intro, with an emotional tone hovering halfway between Ranma and Inuyasha. Plus, you've got to love a story featuring a gigantic ghostly chihuahua.
Speaking of cover art, I was poking around on the computer last night, and I found what might–or might not–be the cover for Eoin Colfer's And Another Thing..., the upcoming continuation of Douglas Adams's Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series.
Like I said, I don't know if this is the real cover, but it looks plausible.
Variety is reporting that Angelina Jolie will be starring in Fox 2000's film adaptation of Patricia Cornwell's Dr. Kay Scarpetta series. There are 16 Scarpetta novels, but this movie won't be an adaptation of a specific book.
The article mentions the movie versions of Robert Ludlum's Jason Bourne books. Apparently, the people at Fox 2000 are hoping that this Cornwell adaptation will turn into another movie franchise loosely inspired by, rather than directly based on, a book series. (Doesn't that sound like a great move? That way they can kill off any genuinely plausible and interesting characters in the first ten minutes of the second film, and devote the rest of the series to snooze-inducing CGI action!)
I'd be upset about yet another bastardization of a popular book series, but I've always found both Angelina Jolie and Patricia Cornwell overrated and a little boring, so I can't bring myself to care.
Ms. Jones's official website says that readers can expect a brand-spanking new Diana Wynne Jones novel in 2009. The story will be called Enchanted Glass. The site describes it as a "stand-alone book... [that] includes giant vegetables, revenge by cauliflower cheese, and fortune-telling using racing tips", and I found a little more about it here (but always take really early plot info with a sizable grain of salt).
I can't wait! Enchanted Glass will be published by HarperCollins in the UK and Greenwillow in the United States. As I can't find a definite release date for it yet, I'm assuming we're talking late in 2009, but whatever: I'll take what I can get.
Note: Hopefully that cover art is a work in progress, because I'm not loving it.
I finally found a copy of the new HP trailer that I was able to embed:
Seriously, guys, this movie looks so exciting. I'm still having trouble picturing how the last book will work on film (I mean, why do they need to split it into two movies when all I can really remember of the story is huge sections about Harry and Hermione sitting around in the woods?), but this one looks straight-up awesome.
For those of you reading Lisa Kleypas's excellent "Hathaways" series, she's posted a sneak peek of the next installment, Tempt Me at Twilight. Still no American cover art*, but I'm interested to see that the book focuses on Poppy rather than Leo. (Maybe his romance will just get shoehorned in somewhere...?) Either way, the excerpt is fun. Kleypas has been setting up the mysterious Harry Rutledge as a character for some time now, so it's nice to finally see him.
*The cover art featured on the right is for the British edition. I wonder why their covers are so much less overtly slinky than ours?
Ooh, news to warm my Underworld-loving heart: Kevin Grevioux (one of the co-creators of the Underworld series as well of one its actors--the fanged dude, featured at right) is working on a new comic book/film combo: according to Cinematical, the project "brings back many beloved classic monsters including Frankenstein's Monster, the Hunchback of Notre Dame, the Invisible Man, Dracula, Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde plus many more, in a re-imagined contemporary setting."
The project is called I, Frankenstein. It will be based on Grevioux's upcoming comic book of the same name, and I, for one, can hardly wait. After all, it can't be worse than Van Helsing, can it?
Variety is reporting that Fox Searchlight has acquired screen rights to Jen Sacks' Nice, an eyebrow-raising romantic comedy about a timid woman who would rather kill her boyfriends than hurt their feelings by breaking up with them.
The movie is being as a potential star vehicle for Reese Witherspoon. I'm not sure how I feel about her in this role--I mean, I certainly think she could play a serial killer, but I have trouble picturing her as as delicate, argument-shirking flower.
Viz Media has sent out a press release announcing that Rumiko Takahashi’s new manga (which they call Rin-ne, rather than Kyōkai no Rinne, I notice) will be released simultaneously in Japan and the U.S. The chapters will be available in English via a new website: The Rumic World.
Rin-ne begins on April 22, and new chapters will be released weekly. Unfortunately, I'm not seeing any mention of how much reading the online chapters might cost. I certainly hope they'll be free, but I don't know for certain.
I went to my local Borders last night, and what to my wondering eyes should appear but this:
After purchasing the book and safely stowing it in the depths of my bag (because I certainly wasn't giving it back), I went ahead and asked the salesperson what was up with putting it out so early. He looked it up for me, and according to his computer, Borders didn't have any copies in stock, and the book came out on April 11th.
I considered pointing out that they had about a dozen copies of this "out of stock" title on their shelves, and the book isn't actually due out for two weeks, but then I decided I didn't actually care. Their crappy organization is their problem, and if it means I get my hands on a new Sisters Grimm book two weeks early, so much the better.
The literary connection is negligible, but I've really been enjoying NPR's "The New Canterbury Tales", a five-part series that takes listeners on an audio tour of the same path Geoffrey Chaucer's pilgrims traveled some 600 years ago.
According to Cinematical, Twilight fans at a Florida convention were willing to pay thirty dollars to get their picture taken with Kimbra Hickey, the apple-clutching hand model featured on the first book in the mega-popular series.
I'm torn: half of me is appalled by this news (Thirty dollars?! Have they no shame?), but the other half is beginning to wonder if the combination of Stephenie Meyer + tween girls with deep pockets really will be the force that saves our economy.
The Japanese manga magazine Shonen Sunday has revealed the title of the latest manga from Rumiko Takahashi: Kyōkai no Rinne. The story (lit. "The Boundary of Rinne") will center on Sakura Mamiya, a girl with the ability to see ghosts.
The manga will launch in the 21st issue of the magazine, which will ship on April 22.
The AP Wire is reporting that Delacorte Press will be publishing a posthumous collection of short stories by Kurt Vonnegut. The book, entitled Look at the Birdie, contains 14 stories by the author and will come out this November.
Amy Dickinson is the author of “Ask Amy”, an advice column that began in the Chicago Tribune in 2003 and now appears in more than 150 newspapers nationwide. In her bestselling memoir The Mighty Queens of Freeville, Dickinson sets aside other people’s problems and writes about some of her own, introducing readers to her tiny hometown of Freeville, New York, where her extended family has lived for more than 200 years.
When her soon-to-be ex-husband left her shortly after their daughter’s birth, Dickinson went home to Freeville, where she was welcomed back with open arms by her overwhelmingly female family. Dickinson spent the next fifteen-plus years learning from their many fine examples, raising her daughter while juggling work and family. The Mighty Queens of Freeville is the story of those years, an account of major life events and quirkier, more personal ones—everything from Dickinson’s divorce to buying a house to her attempt to teach a religious education class for second graders. (She tried—and failed—to convince her students to stop eating the peanuts representing the infant Jesus in their nativity dioramas.)
The Mighty Queens of Freeville is alternately laugh-out-loud funny and quietly reflective. There is enough genuine sadness to remind readers that this is a book about real people, but not, thankfully, so much that the story ever becomes a struggle to read. Pick up a copy for a Mother’s Day gift, or for a friend, or for anybody who still hasn’t gotten over the cancellation of Gilmore Girls. Trust us, you won't go wrong.
Jill Mansell’s An Offer You Can’t Refuse opens up with a plot device straight out of a cheesy fanfic: teenage lovers Lola and Doug are separated by Doug’s wealthy, manipulative mother, who bribes Lola into breaking things off with her son. (Lola needs the money to pay off her beloved stepfather’s gambling debts.) Happily, by chapter three Mansell has left the melodrama behind, and this effervescent romantic comedy is off and running.
Fast-forward ten years, and Lola is the manager of a London bookstore. She has a great Notting Hill flat and a loving (platonic) friendship with her playboy next-door neighbor. She’s never forgotten Doug, although she hasn’t exactly been pining for him, either... but when a twist of fate brings them back into each other’s lives, Lola decides she’s not about to let her long-lost love go a second time.
An Offer You Can’t Refuse is straight-up fun. Mansell’s novel features plenty of humor, but I spent most of the book laughing with her characters rather than at them. Candid, goofy Lola makes her share of pratfalls, but (unlike many romance heroines) she never acts like a complete idiot. This makes a nice change from the countless Bridget Jones-inspired romantic comedies that have come out during the past decade, and left me eager to check out more of Ms. Mansell’s work.
MSN Money is reporting that someone, at least, is doing well in this economy, and it's all thanks to you: sales of Twilight-themed merchandise helped Hot Topic's same-store sales grow 7.1% in March, compared with the same period last year.
Your heroine still sucks (and not in a fun, vampire-ish way), but we here at Wordcandy sincerely appreciate you doing your bit for the economy.
According to Cinematical, there are two very different movies based on Napoleon's time in exile on St. Helena coming down the pike: Napoleon and Betsy, a historical romance starring Harry Potter's Emma Watson, and the just-announced adaptation of Staton Rabin's children's book Betsy and the Emperor. Both movies are loosely inspired by the true story of Napoleon's (platonic) friendship with a teenage girl he met during his imprisonment.
Thankfully, only one of them is a romance, and seeing as Napoleon was in his forties when they shipped him off to St. Helena, and this kid was apparently 14, I know which movie I'll be skipping.
In his bio on the back flap of The Lab, first-time Australian author Jack Heath mentions his love of Milla Jovovich films. Trust me, this little tidbit was unnecessary—anybody’s who has ever seen a Resident Evil movie (or even the dread Ultraviolet) is guaranteed to make the connection.
The Lab is set in a nameless dystopian city, where a vigilante group called the Deck is the only thing standing between the ChaoSonic Corporation and complete control. Agent Six of Hearts is the Deck’s secret weapon: a sixteen-year-old operative with a nearly supernatural ability to fight and strategize. Six of Hearts would take on anyone to protect the Deck’s interests, but he’s hiding a secret of his own. He was born in one of ChaoSonic’s labs, and his amazing abilities are the result of extensive genetic modification. If Six’s past is uncovered, his life is over. His handlers won’t protect him, and ChaoSonic would love to get reacquainted with their lost creation.
Heath wrote this novel in high school, but it passes my “abnormally young writer” test: I’m pretty sure it would have been published even if he'd been 45. The author handles his setting beautifully (his grotesque description of genetically modified chickens is worth the cover price by itself), and the book's many action sequences are fast-paced and consistently entertaining. Unfortunately, The Lab features too little character development and no romantic plot line. I understand that young Mr. Heath might have been uncomfortable creating a love interest, and I’m not saying he needed to turn his action/sci-fi story into Wuthering Heights, but there weren’t even any romantic prospects in the book*. The paper-thin characters and lack of romance weren’t enough to turn me off this novel completely, but they definitely reinforced my sense that I was reading an unusually well-written video game novelization.
*There aren’t that many characters to begin with, and Six is related—sort of—to nearly all of the age-appropriate ones.
Several news outlets have written posts in honor (uh... kinda) of the recent DVD release of George Lucas's movie Howard the Duck. I've never seen this film, but I read the Slate article "Wauaugh!" with interest. Did y'all realize this movie was based on a comic book? I didn't. And while I'm not up for buying the collected Howard the Duck comics*, the original story actually sounds kind of fun.
*Because they cost $99 (on sale, a mere $69.99). Seriously, are they nuts?
Normally, I hate it when people destroy books (even really bad books), but I have to admit this hand-folded Cone Book Sculpture looks kind of cool. Hard to dust and, at $49, kind of pricey, but cool. What do you guys think? Maybe if you *knew* it was a book by an author you disliked...?
According to THR.com, Fox Pictures has acquired the film rights to Alan Weisman's The World Without Us. They plan to transform the bestselling nonfiction title into "a fictional feature [film] buttressed by the book's science". Apparently, they're going to stick in a plot line about how, exactly, humanity kicks the bucket.
Seems like a weird choice for a movie (and seriously, don't we have enough depressing stuff to watch already?), but whatever sells, I suppose.
The AP Wire is reporting that readers can expect two more novels from the late Michael Crichton, who died of cancer last year at age 66.
HarperCollins will release Pirate Latitudes, an adventure story set in 17th-century Jamaica, this fall, and a currently untitled techno-thriller will come out in 2010. Crichton wrote about a third of it, and yet to be determined co-author will finish the book.
Okay, one last piece of Heyer coverage and we're done (...for awhile). I went to the bookstore last night, and what to my wondering eyes did appear but TWO new Heyer releases—one from Sourcebooks, and one from Harlequin. Now, ordinarily I’d be 100% behind anybody releasing any of Heyer’s books, but I’m still recovering from Harlequin's last bunch of Heyer releases, which came out a couple of years ago. They looked like this:
I was pretty excited to see these books (despite their hokey cover art), as they allowed me to read some of the Heyer titles I hadn’t been able to find in used bookstores. Unfortunately, they were *terribly* made. My copies lost pages, the bindings split, and—in one memorable case—the entire cover actually fell off the book. My vintage paperbacks, on the other hand, are still holding together despite countless re-reads, so I was really taken aback by this lack of quality.
Anyway, Harlequin’s new Heyer releases look like this:
Better cover art (although historically inaccurate—this is not a Regency-era novel), and they’re the same size and price as the Sourcebooks reprints, but a closer inspection raised some concerns. Everything about them seemed slightly lower in quality: they were markedly lighter than the Sourcebooks versions, and their pages looked thin. I’m not in a position to judge their longevity, so I’d be curious to hear from anyone who has bought one of these—how are they holding up?
Have they failed to notice that we are collectively broke?
Brace yourselves, fantasy fans, because the fine people at Tor Books have decided to split the late Robert Jordan's final work into three pieces.
The three releases combined make up A Memory of Light, the conclusion to Jordan’s bestselling fantasy series The Wheel of Time. A Memory of Light was partially written by Jordan before his death, and is being completed by Brandon Sanderson (with the blessing of Jordan's wife/editor Harriet McDougal). The three "volumes" will be released over a two-year period, with the first going on sale on November 3, 2009.
Unfortunately, while they are referring to A Memory of Light as a single "book", and the three combined sections seem to tell as single story, I'm not getting the impression that will be reflected in the prices of the individual volumes. I don't see an Amazon page up for the standard release of the first volume yet, but they haveposted a price for the audiobook edition: a wallet-gouging $40.84, marked down from $59.99.
Now, I'm not a Jordan fan, so I can't claim to care about this personally, but my heart goes out to his readers. I'm hoping I'm wrong and the books are given an appropriately low cover price (say, ten to fourteen dollars, tops), because it seems remarkably unfair to ask readers who have already made a significant emotional and financial investment in Mr. Jordan's work to pay hardcover prices three times over in order to finish the last book in his series.