...but, hey, we love The Yellow Submarine, so we felt a need to do this shout-out. Heinz Edelmann, the art director for the incredibly distinctive 1968 Beatles film The Yellow Submarine, died last week in Germany. He also apparently designed the cover for the German edition of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings (See? Literary connection!), as well as several other books. Mr. Edelmann was 75.
Charlize Theron has acquired the screen rights to Christopher Buckley's satirical novel Florence of Arabia, which is apparently about "a State Dept. employee (to be played by Theron) who, after watching her friend marry the prince of a Middle East country and subsequently get executed, fights for equal rights for the women of that country".
Apart from the friend's execution bit, that sounds exactly like a Harlequin romance novel I read once.
True Blood geeks better start digging through their couch cushions, because HBO has bottles of Tru-Blood available for pre-order, and they cost a whopping $4 apiece. Also, this is a "uniquely carbonated, slightly tart, lightly sweet blood orange drink", rather than the blood substitute drunk by the show's vampire cast, but whatever: it looks cool!
Although I do wonder what "uniquely carbonated" means...
Dial Emmy for Murder might not have the genre-hopping appeal of, say, a Janet Evanovich novel, but it's a perfectly respectable mystery with an amusing hook and an appealing heroine.
This is the second book in a series, the first being 2008's Death in Daytime. Both books were written by real soap opera star Eileen Davidson, and feature fictional soap opera star Alexis Peterson. As Dial Emmy for Murder opens, Alexis's turn as a presenter at the Daytime Emmy Awards goes horribly wrong when one of her co-workers is found hanging from the stage rafters. This time around Alexis isn't suspected of committing the murder, but she's no less determined to get to the bottom of it.
While 95% of Dial Emmy for Murder works as a standalone mystery, readers would be well-advised to pick up the first book in this series as well. The love triangle in particular suffers; Alexis's old boyfriend barely shows up in this book, so it's difficult to buy him as a romantic rival to her other suitor, the handsome Detective Franks. Several other characters are also short-charged in the development department, including Alexis's daughter Sarah (a walking, talking “adorable moppet” cliché) and her hairstylist best friend.
Sadly, the biggest problem with Ms. Davidson's book is that, for a book about a soap opera star, it's nowhere near trashy enough. With the exception of the occasional grisly murder, Alexis's life and job seem incredibly humdrum. The series might improve if the author either abandoned reality altogether—the lives of soap opera stars are like a permanent, booze-soaked orgy!—or if she portrayed a bit more of the work-a-day life of her star. (We're supposed to believe Alexis never goes to the gym? Really?) Dial Emmy for Murder is plenty of fun as-is, but it could use a little Hollywood glamor—or at least a peek at the blood, sweat, and tears it takes to fake Hollywood glamor.
The latest J.Crew catalog recently showed up in my mailbox, and it has a literary theme! The shoot was called "East of Eden", and the models were photographed reading (er... "reading") vintage books, as well as doing an assortment of other glamorously intellectual-looking tasks, including writing in journals, using typewriters (including a pink one for the ladies!), and eating cereal while staring pensively into the distance. The pictures were good for the occasional snicker, but the snicker turned into a full-on giggle fit when I noticed a little advertisement on page 102: "Shop our vintage book collection at the Men's Shop in Soho (484 Broadway, NYC)."
Yes, dear readers, you can now accessorize with J.Crew-approved literature! It's the perfect shopping short cut for all those people out there who want to look well-read, and don't mind paying J.Crew prices for vintage books they could probably pick up at the Goodwill for 25 cents apiece.
The Wordcandy staff is happy to announce that we are embarking on another contest (our most extensive to date!) and we're posting it here on the blog a full day early, giving our blog readers a 24-hour head start on the competition. From now until Friday, August 14th, we'll be running our Summer Beach Reading Giveaway, and the rules are simple: over the next two weeks we will be posting reviews both here and on the main site of the nine recently-released books featured above, and all you have to do to win one of 'em is send us an e-mail at info[at]wordcandy[dot]net with the subject "Beach" telling us which title you'd like to receive. You can trust our judgment and wait for the reviews, or (if this is the kind of thing that might slip your mind until, say, August 15th) base your selection on anything from the publishers' book summaries to the prettiest cover art and shoot us an e-mail straight away. Either way, best of luck!
To enter: Send us an e-mail with the title you would like to receive. One winner per title will be chosen at random. If you win, we will contact you to request a shipping address. As always, we will not sell, trade, or distribute your contact information in any way. All entries must be received by 5:00 PM (Pacific) on Friday, August 14th. Please note: The book you receive may be either a published edition or an advance reader copy.
The rules (such as they are): One entry per e-mail address, and no more than three entries per real, live person, please.
AustenBlog has just posted a review of a book called Prawn and Prejudice, and they seem to really like it... although I'd read it based on the title alone. I might be bored by the whole zombies/sea monsters/unicorns + Austen thing (note: okay, no unicorns yet, but you know it's only a matter of time), but prawns are something new and more impressively original. A tip of my hat to the author!
Want to see the Alice in Wonderland teaser trailer a day early?
I'm not sure it's worth signing up for Facebook just to see a teaser trailer one day before the rest of us, but hardcore Alice fanatics with Facebook pages might want to check this out: MTV is reporting that Disney is running a Facebook promotion for Tim Burton's upcoming movie adaptation. According to their article,
"A trio of fan pages have been created, one each for Anne Hathaway's White Queen, Helena Bonham Carter's Red Queen and Johnny Depp's Mad Hatter. The fan page with the most followers at 4pm (Pacific) on July 23 gets first crack at the debut teaser trailer for the movie."
Even more Wordcandy-on-the-cheap goodness! I just got a VIZ press release informing me that the first 32 episode of Rumiko Takahashi's Inuyasha are now available on Hulu, which means they are FREE. Thanks, VIZ! Thanks, Hulu! And (most of all) thanks, Takahashi-san!
The Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief trailer is out, and....
...it is exactly what you'd expect from a Chris Columbus joint. Why, Hollywood? Why? Seriously, he is *such* a bad director. This series could have been so much fun (and let's not lie, I'm still gonna see it), but instead we have several shots of the Empire State building, some hokey CGI, and the main actor making a bunch of Very! Dramatic! Nostril Flare! faces.
After her second (maybe third?) significant health issue in the past year or so, Nodame Cantabile creator Tomoko Ninomiya has announced that she will resume producing chapters of the manga later this month. Ninomiya has been recovering from acute appendicitis, and we wish her a full and speedy recovery... followed, hopefully, by a very long spell of good health.
DC Comics writer G. Willow Wilson chatted with Seattle-area NPR affiliate KUOW last March, but (luckily for me) they re-aired the interview yesterday, and I have now added Wilson's comic book series Air to my mental "To Be Investigated" list. I'm not sure anything is going to sell me on the idea of a "magical" in-flight experience*, but she's certainly a fun interview.
*As I am six feet tall and have mild OCD, I find airplanes cramped, physically uncomfortable, and disturbingly unhygienic. Even if something magical did happen, I'd probably be too busy wiping down my armrest (singular) with sanitizing wipes to notice.
This, dear readers, is a scrapbook-style book that serves as a companion to Frank Beddor's Looking Glass Wars series. The plot (such as it is) is a summary of Beddor's first novel as told by a "Historian Emeritus" via admittedly pretty artwork, pictures, maps, and letters. There's also a card game included at the end of the book.
I first ran across Beddor's series in England, several years ago. It was initially released there as an unassuming paperback with great cover art, and I (a lifelong Alice fan) happily picked it up, but found the storyline forgettable and Beddor's re-imagined "Alyss" unsympathetic. I was very surprised, then, when I encountered a far more imposing hardback version of the novel here in the States a year or two later, and even more taken aback when I discovered the publisher had planned sequels, a graphic novel adaptation, even a soundtrack... and now this. Seriously, this series is just not that good. When will the tie-ins end?
Note: I am kinda wondering about the random drop of liquid bouncing off of Edward in the panel above, though. What's it supposed to be--blood? (Drool? Sweat? Liquid sparkle?) Or just a weirdly-drawn motion line?
I'm a big fan of the home decor site Apartment Therapy, but sometimes I'm amazed at how impractical they can be. Take, for example, this area, which they glowingly describe as a "bright book corner":
Um, what? Who would read there? The description mentions curling up with a book, but would anybody actually "curl up" on a metal chair? Plus, I don't see a reading lamp, and the only natural light source looks fairly high up on the wall. I'm not saying the space isn't cute, but "Highly decorated bookshelf space, anchored by chair too uncomfortable to actually sit upon" might be a more apt description.
There's been a fair number of movie casting announcements over the past few days. Natalie Portman has been cast as Jane Foster, the love interest in Kenneth Branagh's upcoming adaptation of Marvel's Thor (adding weight to my belief that this will be the most pretentious superhero movie ever), Ryan Reynolds is set to star in the Green Lantern, and Cameron Diaz might (or might not) be playing the female lead in Seth Rogen's Green Hornet.
In the grand tradition of alternate-universe fanfiction, writer Antony Johnston and artist Wilson Tortosa have created a shonen manga take on the popular X-Men character Wolverine. Their new series Wolverine: Prodigal Son is a reworking of Wolverine’s origin story: what if the young superhero-in-training had grown up in a martial arts school in Canada?
In Johnston and Tortosa’s world, Logan is a grumpy teenager with a mysterious past. He’s by far the best fighter at the Quiet Earth School in the Canadian wilderness, an isolated institution devoted to the study of martial arts. Bored and irritable, Logan is torn between a desire to see the outside world and fear over his upcoming graduation, but when his mentor takes him on a trip to New York City, Logan encounters a series of new challenges... including one that will change Quiet Earth forever.
Tortosa’s straightforward, energetic artwork is ideally suited to Prodigal Son’s violence-driven storyline, and the story’s original characters are well-defined and likable, if somewhat generic. Johnston rounds out his cast with Logan’s Quiet Earth mentor Mr. Elliot, Elliot’s daughter Tamara, and a memorable assortment of villains (including my favorite: a mute, telepathic supervixen with a dramatically billowing coat and a wicked facial scar). However, if you buy this book hoping to see a fresh take on more of the traditional X-Men cast, you’re going to be disappointed—I didn’t recognize a single additional character*. Wolverine: Prodigal Son is plenty entertaining, but it’s aimed squarely at hardcore Wolverine junkies and fans of OEL manga, not X-Men purists.
*Admittedly, I’m no expert, and a minor character might well slip past me.
Speaking of free stuff (always our favorite price!), VIZ Media is offering a free iTunes download of the first episode of the anime Honey and Clover (based on the super-popular shojo manga of the same name by Chica Umino), now through August 31st.
We recently noticed that Evil Genius author Catherine Jinks has been posting a free e-book on her site for adults. The story is called The Deck, and the site describes it as "[The] comic tribulations of housewife, mother and part-time funeral-parlour receptionist Roanna Hagelburgh". Now, we haven't read The Deck yet, but we're pretty sure you should take that "for adults" thing seriously—even Jinks's YA stuff can be incredibly creepy*, so we expect the sky's the limit when it comes to her grown-fiction.
*Julia's been reading The Reformed Vampire Support Group in fits and starts, but she has to keep putting it down to let her stomach settle.
AnimeNewsNetwork has some info on the upcoming third season of the animated version of Nodame Cantabile, which is scheduled to air next January*. The animation and character design for this series has been first-rate (plus it's wonderful to actually hear the music), so I'm really excited about it.
*Which means I'm choosing to view it as a personal birthday gift from the Nodame author to me. Thanks, Ninomiya-san!
Whoa--has anyone been following this Alice Hoffman thing? She was apparently upset by an unfavorable review Boston Globe critic Roberta Silman wrote about her latest book, so she went on a Twitter rampage, calling Silman a "moron" and an "idiot", and concluding by publishing the critic's phone number and e-mail address, and inviting her fans to write to Silman and "tell her off".
Charming, no? And making me very, very thankful that all of the authors we've written about in a less-than-glowing light (and there have been quite a few) have been absolutely gracious. Thanks, guys!
Powell's Books is having a limited-time sale on DK Publishing's excellent line of nonfiction books for young readers, including Annabel Karmel's Cook It Together, an entertaining and informative cookbook focused on ten kid-friendly ingredients: tomatoes, corn, rice, potatoes, bananas, strawberries, apples, honey, chocolate, and yogurt.