There's been all kinds of conspiracy-theory speculation as to whether or not Sony released this "pirated" red band trailer for their upcoming film adaptation of Steig Larsson’s The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. Either way, I'm more amused by the red band rating: the trailer consists of choppily edited glimpses of everything from sex scenes to snowy landscapes, but nothing lingers long enough to merit the warning, as far as I can tell. See for yourself:
Of course, the red band is supposed to signify that you can only show the trailer before R, NC-17, or un-rated films, but does anyone really think Sony is looking to promote this sucker before Mr. Popper's Penguins? And if the trailer (and its red band warning) are a studio gimmick, that seems vaguely desperate, like sending religious groups advance screening tickets in hopes that they'll stir up publicity by denouncing the movie.
A handwritten and incredibly rare manuscript of Jane Austen's unfinished novel The Watsons is going up for auction this summer. The manuscript (the only one still in private hands) has been valued at £200,000 to £300,000 and will be sold at Sotheby's in London on July 14th. It consists of most but not all of Austen's work-in-progress; the first 12 pages were sold by during World War I to benefit the Red Cross, and additional pages were actually lost by the London University that was entrusted with the manuscript's care.
I've been keeping an eye out for news from BookExpo America, and Publishers Weekly did a nice summary post on the big announcements in YA and children's publishing. There are several titles I'm anticipating, but I think I'm most interested in Maggie Stiefvater's standalone novel The Scorpio Races (although I'm really hoping she ends up with a better cover). It's due out in October. I liked Ms. Stiefvater's first book, Shiver, much better before she turned it into a series, so I'm excited to see what she'll do with a concrete ending date.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Sony is planning a film adaptation of Carolyn Turgeon's Mermaid, which is a "dark" retelling of Hans Christian Andersen's (already too dark for my taste) The Little Mermaid. The movie will be written and directed by Country Strong filmmaker Shana Feste, who seems to really enjoy writing stories about self-destructive women who Love Too Much.
I read and reviewed Ms. Turgeon's first book, and I'm pretty sure Wordcandy has a copy of Mermaid collecting dust on our To-Be-Read shelf. Nobody's been brave enough to open it yet—because if her last book succeeded in making Cinderella seriously depressing, who knows what Turgeon could do with a fairytale that's already a total downer?
Kimberly Marcus's Exposed is a YA novel written entirely in free verse. It's a gimmicky approach, but the poetry format proves to be a perfect fit for this book—it takes a dark, gripping story and boils it down to its essence.
Exposed is told from the perspective of 16-year-old Liz, an aspiring photographer with a great boyfriend, loving parents, and a lifelong best friend, Kate. The girls have a minor spat during their monthly sleepover that leads to them sleeping in separate rooms. Liz is quick to apologize, but Kate seems determined to end the relationship entirely. Liz can't understand such a huge overreaction... until Kate announces that she was raped by Liz's older brother after Liz left her alone downstairs.
Marcus's poetry skills might fall short of, say, Sylvia Plath, but she does a more-than-adequate job of conveying Liz's confusion, misery, and doubt. The verse format also eliminates many of the more irritating elements of "normal" teen literature. I have reviewed so many pages of couture-clad bullies and pointless love triangles that I tend to think of those things as unavoidable aspects of modern YA fiction. It was with surprised delight, therefore, that I read the following:
"Soon, others stroll in: Javier, the Hoopster. Nathan, the Nuisance. Brenda, star of The Brenda Show."
See? In less than twenty words Marcus describes a jock, a class clown, and a snotty school princess, without resorting to boring (and instantly passé) descriptions of shoes, hairstyles, and cell phones. It's the teen literature equivalent of a Christmas miracle.
Exposed is Marcus's first novel, and she clearly embraced the "Write what you know" axiom: she's a clinical social worker who specializes in the treatment of traumatized children and adolescents, and she lives in Massachusetts, where Exposed is set. One wonders if her next book will venture into different territory, or if she'll try to make a career out of writing stories about Serious Teen Issues, à la Chris Crutcher. Either way, I'll be keeping an eye out for her second book, because a debut novel this creative and moving promises great things for the future.
NPR aired a news story yesterday about an honorary doctorate of public service from Morgan State University posthumously awarded to Henrietta Lacks, an African-American woman whose cancer cells have been used to create an "immortal cell line" for medical research. Lacks died of cervical cancer in 1951 at the age of 31. She never knew that her cells had been taken (nor did she give permission for their use), but her unwitting "donation" has lead to breakthroughs in treating diseases like polio, AIDS, and cancer. Ms. Lacks's story was told in Rebecca Skloot's best-selling 2010 nonfiction book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, which is being developed as a film produced by Oprah Winfrey and HBO.
If you're interested in Tighter, the Turn of the Screw modernization by Adele Griffin currently featured on the Wordcandy main site, Ms. Griffin has written an iClue mini-mystery featuring two of the book's minor characters. Solving the mystery gives you a password that you can use to enter a drawing for a grand prize of an iPod Touch.
Wow... it sounds like the New York Public Library's 100th Birthday Celebration was epic. Here's hoping everyone lucky enough to attend had a wonderful time, and that the library survives for another century!
One more Wordcandy-friendly promo, and then we're done. The CW has debuted the official trailer for The Secret Circle, their upcoming adaptation of L.J. Smith's series about teen witches. (Smith also wrote the The Vampire Diaries, if that information has any bearing on your decision whether or not to check out The Secret Circle. The few episodes of Vampire Diaries I've seen were fun, although I was taken aback by how exactly they mimicked the set-up of, like, every horror-influenced teen movie and TV show that aired between 1994 and 1998.) Anyway, this trailer looks pretty cheesetastic, but from what I remember that's a fair representation of its source material.
Oh, and in a related note, I'd like to take this opportunity to give Ms. Smith full props for her FAQ response about fanfic. When asked if she is okay with people writing fanfiction based on her books, she replied:
Of course. I’d be a hypocrite and an idiot to try to stop it. I don’t mind what you do with my characters as long as you don’t rub my nose in it. I might even run a contest for the most interesting (G-rated) fanfic ever written in all the years since my various series first came out. The same with art—which I’m glad to see, always.
Way to go, lady. It's always nice to see authors take fanfiction as the incredible compliment it actually is.
NPR posted an article last Monday about TV personality and best-selling author Chelsea Handler, who was recently given her own publishing inprint within Grand Central Publishing. Handler might seem like an unlikely literary success, but the numbers are undeniable: at one point in 2010, she had three books on the best-seller list, all at the same time.
Anyone else seeing Anne of Green Gables with a bow?
Well, Entertainment Weekly has released their May 20th cover image featuring Jennifer Lawrence as Hunger Games heroine Katniss Everdeen. And she looks fine, I suppose, although something about that collar says "Japanese school uniform" to me, which I would have skipped in light of the frequent comparisons between Collins's work and the Japanese series Battle Royale.
Fairy tales are clearly hot right now, at least if you're a network TV producer. NBC's Grimm looks straight-up terrible (although I enjoyed the creepiness of the mailman guy). The acting in ABC's Once Upon a Time is a slight improvement, but the CGI—well, the less said about that, the better.
Anyway, both of these look like shows I'll be nagging Megan to watch in the fall: groan-inducing, but possibly in a fun way.
According to Jezebel, Barnes and Noble has decided to censor the latest issue of Dossier magazine, lest readers mistake the cover image—featuring the nude torso of androgynous male model Andrej Pejic—for that of a half-naked woman. Behold:
Borders trying the "everything but the kitchen sink" approach?
Publishers Weekly has done another post on the rumors surrounding the current state of the troubled Borders chain. According to their most recent information, some of the bookstores may be sold (possibly to Barnes and Noble), they'll be offering a $79.99 Kobo e-reader within the next few months, and there are plans to expand the chain's non-book items, including spa, gift, and stationery goods.
I will own myself straight-up amazed if there's enough money in cutesy pens and overpriced soy candles to support a chain as large as Borders, but any little bit helps, I suppose...
If you're going to be in Southern California in early June, you might want to add the various promotional events for the Go Fug Yourself ladies' upcoming YA book Spoiled to your day planner. In addition to whatever kind of undoubtedly-awesome interactions the writers have planned, there will also be free bottles of O.P.I. nail polish!
Did David Kelley's oft-altered Wonder Woman reboot fail to make the cut at NBC? Variety thinks so. Too bad, because I hear the writers had toned down all the Ally McBeal-style fluttering and upped the butt-kicking/name-taking/Truth-lassoing side of Diana Prince's personality, which I was kind of looking forward to watching.
The seventh volume of Flight is another solid installment in Villard Books' series of lavishly illustrated graphic novel anthologies. These sixteen short stories—edited by contributor and art director Kazu Kibuishi—feature a variety of genres and artistic styles, but one thing remains consistent: the authors' commitment to creating the most sumptuous, richly imagined visual worlds possible.
Flight is expensive, it includes a disproportionate number of male contributors, and some of its stories work better than others. The artwork in Kostas Kiriakakis's Premium Cargo is exquisite, but the story is schmaltzy rather than genuinely affecting, and Bannister and Grimaldi's Career Day is too much of a one-note joke to merit 12 pages. Still, the joys of this series far outweigh its disappointments. Katie and Steven Shanahan's goofy Fairy Market, Kean Soo's sweet-natured Jellaby: Guardian Angel, and Cory Godbey's mythology-inspired Onere and Piccola are all outstanding, boasting memorable storytelling and dazzling imagery. In fact, I would have preferred it if Villard Books had actually charged a little more for Flight* and released the series in hardcover. Imagine what an awesome coffee table book it would make: delightful to flip through, but sufficiently entertaining to actually read.
I suspect this is one of those trends that are 99% fabrication, but the Washington Post assures me that publishers are bracing for a "flurry" of Navy SEAL-themed romance novels inspired by the death of Osama Bin Laden. The idea of getting all hot and bothered by the killing of another human being (even if said human is, y'know, Osama Bin Laden) strikes me as more than a little creepy, but apparently I'm supposed to see the SEALS who carried out this mission as "superheroes without the spandex".
Whoa: somebody from the site Branded in the 80s dug up a copy of DC Comics' Super Heroes Super Healthy Cookbook, a mini cookbook that appeared in the July 1981 issue of Woman's Day. Doesn't the mere sight of those Vegetable Robots make you want to have a party and serve 'em to all your friends?
I'm told that the first production of the Pride and Prejudice musical in Washington State is currently running at a high school about an hour away from my house. I'm not sure I'll have a chance to see it (the final show is on May 15th, and musicals, no matter how delightful their source material, really aren't my thing), but if you're in the Seattle/Edmonds area tickets are only $5.
Clearly, Jason Momoa isn't worried about typecasting.
The first full-length trailer for the 2011 remake of Conan the Barbarian came out yesterday, and I'm almost impressed by how silly it looks. I've watched this sucker twice, and I still see absolutely no evidence of any kind of plot.
The Barnes and Noble Review has posted an article about the recent re-release of Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray. Wilde's novella was originally published in a heavily-edited form in a magazine called Lippincott's, and then further revised when it appeared in book form. This annotated, illustrated, and painfully expensive ($35! For a novella!) new edition is the first version in over one hundred and twenty years to feature Wilde's original text.
Publishers Weekly has an article up about the authors and illustrators involved in May 12th's National Doodle Day. Daniel Pinkwater, Neil Gaiman, Eric Carle, Mo Willems, and Jon Scizezka are among the authors contributing to the event, which raises money and awareness for families and individuals affected by Neurofibromatosis, a genetic disorder that affects one in every 2,500 births. The doodles will be auctioned off on eBay, so start saving your pennies now!