Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Neil Gaiman gets animated

Last year, it was an episode of Arthur. This year, it's an episode of The Simpsons. Do they give Emmys to people who guest-star on cartoons, and if so, is Neil Gaiman gunning for one?

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Revisiting Firefly

If you're a big Joss Whedon fan, you should save some wall space for these awesome (and totally affordable) vintage-travel-style posters designed by Adam Levermore-Rich and inspired by Whedon's short-lived sci-fi series Firefly:

Aren't those great? You can find them (as well as several other designs in the same series) at ThinkGeek.

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Monday, November 28, 2011


According to ABC News, Twilight: Breaking Dawn-induced seizures are a Real Thing, so if your significant other is dragging you to see it for the third time this week, you can now fake a plausible medical emergency to get out of watching at least part of it. (I don't know when they get to the birth scene, which is apparently what triggers the seizures, but I'm assuming it's fairly late in the movie. Still, every little bit helps, and this should at least get you out of watching it a fourth time.)

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Politically pointed

Well-known fantasy author Ursula K. Le Guin has written a depressing-but-effective short story called "Ninety-Nine Weeks: A Fairy Tale". You can read it (for free!) at the Book View Cafe.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

At long last, more Cold Comfort

For the first time since its original publication fifty years ago, a reprint of Stella Gibbons's short story collection Christmas at Cold Comfort Farm is going hit bookshelves next week. Cold Comfort Farm is one of my all-time favorite books, but I've only seen this prequel on AbeBooks, where an original edition can run you between $200 and $4000(!!!) dollars. I had no idea a reprint was in the works, so I'm regarding this news as a glorious, totally unanticipated holiday gift from the literary gods, for which I am sincerely grateful.

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The holiday meal of your nightmares

Publishers Weekly has posted a great list of The 10 Weirdest Cookbooks, just in time to remind you that whatever you're stuck eating this Thanksgiving, it could always be worse.

Seriously. Much worse.


Monday, November 21, 2011

Beating a dead, zombi-fied horse?

I haven't looked up the sales numbers for The Death Cure, the third novel in James Dashner’s bestselling Maze Runner trilogy, but I'm assuming they're amazing... seeing as I just opened a press release announcing the fourth book in the, er, trilogy. According to the fine people at Delacorte Press, a prequel to the series called The Kill Order will come out on August 14, 2012.

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Friday, November 18, 2011

Drink like a vampire

If you're both A) a big Twilight fan, and B) of legal drinking age, you might want to celebrate today's big movie release with People magazine's suggestions for Twilight-themed cocktails, including "The Edward" and "New Moon".

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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Need to open a secret passageway, Scooby-Doo-style?

Okay, I want one:

B.Light Design has created a "Secret Passageway Switch" that uses a hard-bound book (without damaging it) to conceal its true function as an electrical switch. Sadly, it's already sold out and it costs $50, but I can dream, right?


Ranma 1/2 gets promoted

Rumiko Takahashi has drawn a poster for the upcoming live-action adaptation of her classic manga Ranma 1/2, and while I'm feeling most of it, what is up with Genma's panda suit?!? I understand not wanting to go nuts with the CGI... but did they really need to go with the rattiest-costume-left-on-the-Halloween-clearance-aisle look instead?


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Wednesday, November 16, 2011


The trailer's out for the other Snow White adaptation, too. I don't think anyone is going to confuse these two movies:

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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Would-be authors take note

There's another writing competition in the works: the Serendipity Literary Agency and the Gotham Writers’ Workshop are hosting their second "Young Adult Novel Discovery Competition". Aspiring YA authors should check out the details here.


A story in stuff

Speaking of NPR, they recently posted an enthusiastic review of Caroline Preston's The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt, a novel told via a scrapbook-style collection of vintage memorabilia. (The reviewer describes it as "[possibly] the first novel to thank 300 eBay sellers in the acknowledgments". See an excerpt here.) I'm way too lazy to put together a scrapbook or collect anything myself, but I always enjoy seeing evidence of other people's obsessions, so I'll be keeping an eye out for Ms. Preston's book.

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Monday, November 14, 2011

A modern classic

Much to my delight, the second book for NPR's Back-Seat Book Club is Norton Juster's The Phantom Tollbooth, one of my all-time favorite books. The Back-Seat Book Club is technically aimed at readers aged 9 to 14, but trust me: The Phantom Tollbooth is simply too awesome to be limited by its "middle reader" label.

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Suppressed emotions and leg waxing

The first full-length trailer is out for The Hunger Games, and it focuses far more on the interpersonal drama than the kid-on-kid violence. Probably a smart move, considering I still have no idea how they can make this movie without giving it anything less than an R-rating.

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Friday, November 11, 2011

Snow White goes goth

It pains me to admit that I will probably see this:

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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Drive a superhero

Starting at the end of the month, Australian comic book fans will be able to adorn their cars with a range of classic DC superhero images. The plates are not cheap (starting at $195 AUD), and decorating your vehicle with a famous symbol of excessive speed like The Flash seems like a bad idea... but I notice they're promoting a plate with an image of the Looney Tunes Road Runner, too, so maybe I just don't understand the Australian bureaucratic mind.

[Via BuzzFeed]


So gross


Apparently, this is a real thing.

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Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Ridiculously adorable... but also just ridiculous

I spend a lot of time thinking about punctuation, so I covet these Kate Spade Air Quote Mittens with a fiery passion.

Sadly, I would need these gloves to be at least 75% off before I would even consider buying them. $65 for a pair of mittens is straight-up crazy.


Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Abridged beyond belief

These "Baby Lit" books are cute, right? And the Jane Austen one at least got a good review on AustenBlog.

But how could anyone make Romeo and Juliet into a baby board book (even if it's just a "counting primer")?


Romance Writing 101

Aspiring romance novelists take note: Harlequin is kicking off their second "So You Think You Can Write" contest this week. (Actually, I suspect this event would benefit more than just budding romance novelists. Harlequin is also offering a ton of "interactive assignments" that sound like they would help any would-be writer, regardless of genre.)

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Monday, November 07, 2011

Miss Havisham: surprisingly young and hot

I just discovered that Helena Bonham-Carter and Gillian Anderson will be playing the role of Miss Havisham in two separate adaptations of Great Expectations due out next year. I'm sure they'll both be great, but what is up with this casting? These actresses seem awfully young for the role*, and they're both gorgeous (although Bohnam-Carter isn't afraid to hide her light under a very quirky bushel). Does this mean that both adaptations will be trying to up the sex appeal?

*While I don't think Dickens actually defined the character's age, Miss Havisham is usually depicted as being elderly. However, considering Dickens's views on women, he might consider mid-40s as practically doddering....

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That's some very, very tiny font.

I'm totally delighted by the images from PosterText, a company that designs posters featuring the contents of various classic novels*, artistically arranged to depict an important scene or element from the book. Check out their take on War of the Worlds (above). Wouldn't that look great on, say, a dorm room wall? Way better than an Ikea copy of Klimt's The Kiss.

*Or at least large portions of them, like the first 20 chapters of Wuthering Heights.

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Friday, November 04, 2011

Taking liberties

Very few of the recent film adaptations of Dr. Seuss's books have been successful, but I'm wondering if the people behind the upcoming movie The Lorax even read their source material. This is an environmental parable, right? So what's with the romance storyline and the "That's a woman?" jokes and the 3-D?

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Thursday, November 03, 2011

One or the other

According to a Belgian judge, Tintin in the Congo isn't a racist book, just a "reflection of [author Hergé's] time", and therefore cannot be banned on racial grounds.

Of course, it was a racist time, but apparently the book can't be both.


A classic British mystery

Man, I don't understand the English. Apparently, two of England's biggest newspapers (the left-wing Guardian and the right-wing Daily Mail) are all up in arms over Pippa Middleton's plans to publish a book on event planning. Now, I don't really follow the coverage of Britain's royal family, but... isn't this woman an event planner? So why is the idea of her writing a book about event planning—not a tell-all about, say, the Queen's secret predilection for Ugg boots and Starbucks Frappuccinos—so horrifying? I get the claims of nepotism and all, but I totally fail to see what sacred law of Good Taste this woman's book is breaking.


Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Blood feud? I'd like to think so.

Heh. According to THR, Anne Rice is not a fan of Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series. Ms. Rice recently wrote:
"[My characters] feel sorry for vampires that sparkle in the sun... They would never hurt immortals who choose to spend eternity going to high school over and over again in a small town--anymore than they would hurt the physically disabled or the mentally challenged. My vampires possess gravitas. They can afford to be merciful."
Pot? Meet kettle. Anyone who willingly sold the rights to the 1994 film adaptation of Interview With the Vampire has no room to be talking about gravitas.

Also, I'm pretty sure Ms. Meyer can dry any tears she might be shedding over Ms. Rice's comments with her massive pile of money. Y'know... in case you were worried about her delicate feelings.

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Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Practicing what she preaches

Nora Roberts has a new book out, and while I am (once again) suppressing my irritation over the $16 price tag, I was interested to learn that the story was directly inspired by the historic inn Roberts and her husband recently bought and renovated. I still have my doubts about the book*, but the inn sounds adorable—the decor was inspired by famous literary couples, so you can choose your room based on your novel of choice: Pride and Prejudice, The Thin Man, Jane Eyre, The Princess Bride...

*$16 for a paperback is NEVER OKAY.

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Additional Crazy

Several years ago, Jennifer Crusie wrote a collection of interconnected short stories for her MFA. The characters in the collection eventually formed the basis for Crusie's full-length novel Crazy For You, and while one of the short stories used to be available on her website (and was awesome), it was eventually taken down. Happily, the entire collection is now going to be released as an ebook, due out before the end of the year.

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