Friday, June 30, 2006

The Devil Wears Prada

Somehow I never got around to reading this book, although I'm not sure why--it seems like the kind of thing that would be right up my alley. Anyway, while the majority of movie-goers will be watching the new Superman this weekend, I will be checking this movie out, and if I'm really motivated I'll pick up the book while I'm at it...

Check out the trailer

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Thursday, June 29, 2006

*cue fangirl-ish squee-ing*


Actually, I'm really nervous about this one. Dollars to donuts, it'll end up being a The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe-style special-effects extravaganza, where they spend the biiiiiig bucks on the computer animation and skimp on stuff like, oh, a decent script.

Still: SEPTEMBER!!!!! [Source]

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More Harlequin/Dark Horse

I stopped by the bookstore last night, and considered picking up these charming new releases:

Happily for my bank balance, I resisted. So far, all of these Dark Horse/Harlequin manga fusions have been pretty bad. The romance novels of the sixties, seventies, and eighties were fairly condensed stories to begin with, and editing them down to a single volume manga turns their (already formulaic) plots into virtual outlines: girl meets boy, boy despises-yet-desires girl, they have The Sex, there's some angst, everything gets resolved, The End.

Still, these are books that proudly advertise that they are printed in either "beautiful deep pink ink" (which, according to the Dark Horse website, denotes "purely romantic material") or "gorgeous deep purple ink" (indicating a "sophisticated romance for readers looking for something a little sexier than the rest"). Color-coded smut levels?!? That's the kind of thing that's tough for a girl like me to resist...

For previews of these books, click here.

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Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Long weekend = lots of reading time!

Whether you are heading off on vacation or just hanging by the pool this four-day weekend, here are a few new book suggestions to check out.

Jennifer Colt - The Mangler of Malibu Canyon
If you haven't gotten a chance to check out Jennifer Colt's books yet, then this is a perfect weekend to grab The Butcher of Beverly Hills and The Mangler of Malibu Canyon and settle down for a great time. I haven't had a chance to read the second book (since someone--JULIA--is hoarding the ARC copy), but I plan to pick it up when I get paid Friday. I'm excited to see what the twins get themselves into this time!

Check out the first chapter...

Janet Evanovich - Twelve Sharp
It's always a good month when we get a new Stephanie Plum novel, and Twelve Sharp is completely worth the price of the hardback edition. It is full of crazy skips, insane outfits, Grandma Mazur in rare form, Lula, and lots and lots of Ranger-y goodness. (Mmm, Ranger....)

Check out the first chapter...

Carrie Vaughn - Kitty Goes to Washington
The next installment of Kitty's adventures is coming out just in time for the holiday weekend. After barely escaping Denver skin-intact, Kitty Norville takes her radio show on the road, and ends up in our nation's capital. This promises to be a fun read. In related news, Ms. Vaughn will be producing at least two more books about Kitty: she's finished Kitty takes a Holiday, and is starting on Kitty and the Silver Bullet. They'll be available in early and late 2007, if all goes according to plan.

Check out the first chapter...

Laurell K. Hamilton - Danse Macabre
And for those of you who are not faint of heart, there is also the the new Anita Blake novel. Since the pain from her last book Micah hasn't really healed (Julia is still really bitter--you should hear her bitch), no one here at Wordcandy bothered to request an ARC (and none of us are remotely willing to pay for it in hardcover). Maybe when it comes out in paperback we'll pick it up, but until then we would love to hear what you guys think of it!

Check out the first few chapters...

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Tuesday, June 27, 2006

At least this one won't have Arnold in it, right?

Brace yourselves, gentle readers: Warner Bros. is re-making Conan the Barbarian. I know! I couldn't believe it either, but it's true: apparently, the world wasn't satisfied with one mindblowingly cheeseball movie version of a mindblowingly cheeseball comic. The world needed to have two.

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Monday, June 26, 2006

J.K. Rowling gives interview, implies much, says nothing.

At left: Harry Potter and the Eyebrows of Doom. Nice wind machine, kids!

So, J. K. Rowling has given another interview full of hints that Harry won't survive the seventh book. To which we can only reply: like hell. Setting aside how intense she is about even the mildest book spoilers, and the fact that Daniel Whatshisface isn't exactly up to the task of portraying a noble death scene, what kind of writer would do that to a generation of children? One who's looking to be burned in effigy, that's who.

In other news, Rowling has stated that two "main characters" won't survive the last book. Eh. Her idea of a main character has (so far) been pretty different from mine, so I continue to claim dibs on Hagrid in our ongoing Harry Potter Death Pool. [Source]

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Sunday, June 25, 2006

Wordcandy Weekly Book Snippet

Excerpt from:
Seven Up, by Janet Evanovich

Why you should buy a copy of your very own:

Nobody does inspired lunacy like Janet Evanovich. Her Stephanie Plum series can be a little uneven (and I usually forget the plot about four seconds after finishing the book), but her books are always guaranteed to have at least two scenes that make me laugh 'til I choke.

In this scene...
Stephanie is introducing herself.

"For the better part of my childhood, my professional aspirations were simple--I wanted to be an intergalactic princess. I didn't care much about ruling hordes of space people. Mostly I wanted to wear the cape and the sexy boots and carry a cool weapon.

As it happens, the princess thing didn't work out for me, so I went to college and when I graduated I went to work as a lingerie buyer for a chain store. Then that didn't work out, so I blackmailed my bail bondsman cousin into giving me a job as a bounty hunter. Funny how fate steps in. I never did get the cape or the sexy boots, but I do finally have a sort of cool weapon. Well, okay, it's a little .38 and I keep in my cookie jar, but it's still a weapon, right?"

(c)Janet Evanovich, 2001

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Saturday, June 24, 2006

Seeing Ear Theatre

We here at Wordcandy were extremely stoked to discover the Sci-fi Channel's Seeing Ear Theatre, an online archive of radio-play versions of stories by authors like Neil Gaiman, Lewis Carroll, and H.G. Wells. Sure, some of them are abridged (we spit upon abridged!), some of them are read by people like John Ritter, and some of them are versions that were "inspired" by the original... but it's still an awesome idea. Streaming the stories is free, so be sure to check out the site!

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Friday, June 23, 2006

Harper Lee!

Sandra Bullock has been cast to play Harper Lee in an upcoming biopic.

Well, as bizarre Hollywood casting goes, it could have been much worse.

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Thursday, June 22, 2006

Save the Date...

We still do not have a date or title for the final installment of the Harry Potter series (although rumor has it that the book will be released in 2007), but we can now mark the release date for the movie version of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: July 13, 2007.

Since we have had some great new pictures of Emma Watson, I thought I would celebrate this news with the post of an older one, from when the trio were more innocent, and had much better fashion sense.

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Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Buck up, little Emma!

Why does that Hermione actress always look so angry (not to mention boozy) in pictures?

I guess Warner Bros (they make the Harry Potter movies, right?) must not make their actors sign one of those iron-clad "Our young talent is as pure as the driven snow"-style image contracts, huh? [Source]

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Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Mail Call!

I don't know about you, but I love getting packages in the mail. There's something about finding out that there's a box in the mail for you... if you are like me and love "real mail" then you should check out Swap-bot.

So what is Swap-bot? Swap-bot is an internet-based swap. A group of people arrange to trade items through the mail. Items are usually hand-assembled, cheap (but rich with craftsmanship and care), and can include mix CDs, postcards, crafts, or, of course, books! There are lots of great swaps going on, so it is worth investigating the site on your own, but I thought I would get us started with a few book-related swaps.

The manga swap in particular caught my eye. They will be sending out one English-language manga in an almost-new condition. All genres welcome (if interested sign up by July 5th). There is also a Used Book swap, Vintage Magazine swap and a Beach Bum Essentials box swap. All look like they could be a lot of fun. We are planning a swap for Wordcandy books, so if you guys have any ideas we would love to hear them.

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Long weekend

Sorry, everyone. We seem to have taken an impromptu vacation this weekend. It was Father's Day, and there was the Word Cup game, and I was visiting from Ohio... but now we're going to jump back into our regular posting routine.


Friday, June 16, 2006

The world of books to be lovingly explored by CBS... their thoughtful new reality show, Tuesday Night Book Club. According to their website, this is a story about a group of "everyday, all-American women", who get together every week for some wholesome literary discussion. Take a gander at the cast:

Hell, that's what *I'd* wear to a book club meeting. After all, what literary discussion isn't improved by some serious cleavage? (Where else are you gonna keep your notes?) And I'm sure that the title of the second episode (only they call them "chapters"--isn't that clever?), "How long have you been having an... affair?" is actually a Madame Bovary reference, not, say, a cheeseball attempt to hook some of the Desperate Housewives viewers during the summer hiatus. Clear your schedules, bibliophiles, there's some high-minded entertainment coming your way!


Thursday, June 15, 2006

(Real) Father's Day gifts for men who like books!

For the dad who likes building stuff:

For the dad who likes sci-fi:

For the dad who likes non-fiction:

For the dad who's looking to preserve his boyish figure:

For the dad who's really pretty awesome, but is the kind of guy who can't help watching--and laughing--whenever they play Monty Python and the Holy Grail on TV (i.e., my dad):

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Father's Day gifts for men who like books!

We kid, we kid... please, don't actually give this monstrosity to anybody. It's cheap (and looks it), it's 100% polyester, and it's 1000% fugly.


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Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Mmm, manga.

And mmm, cup o' noodle. Some visionary decided to combine these two, and ended up creating the upcoming manga Project X: Cup Noodle. Here's the official description:

"In a time when the Japanese food industry was struggling economically, a man named Momofuku Andou sought to turn the tide. Seeking a new type of food for a new era, he ordered the development of a "Cup Noodle"--a revolutionary idea for a convenient instant noodle. Overcoming public skepticism as well as doubts even from those within their own company, Andou and his staff of young developers constantly challenged convention to create this new product. Behind the now proverbial cup o' noodle, which has sold over 8.2 billion worldwide, lies a dramatic story of the struggles of the men behind its success." [Source]

Okay--at first, I admit that I thought this was a joke. But, y'know, if somebody translated it into English, I might actually read it...


Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Faerie Wars Chronicles - NEW BOOK!

It looks like we finally have a date for the third book in the Faerie Wars Chronicles. Ruler of the Realm will be released October 3rd! For those of you who can't wait until then, you can tide yourself over with the activities on the author's website. You can download Holly Blue's spy kit, learn to fold origami butterflies or even help Pyrgus cross the courtyard in the cobblestone game.

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Monday, June 12, 2006

And speaking of Stella Gibbons...

...check out this new cover art for Cold Comfort Farm. I'm not sure what I think of it:

Naturally, any new cover art means that the book will once again be re-released, and that's always awesome. But I'm still ambivalent about this particular style.

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Sunday, June 11, 2006

Wordcandy weekly book snippet

Excerpt from:
Cold Comfort Farm, by Stella Gibbons

Why you should buy a copy of your very own:
Well, it's one of my favorite books...what, don't you trust me? Fine, then. It's the story of a young woman named Flora Poste, who fights a brave battle to force her wackjob relatives to behave like normal human beings, rather than extras from a D.H. Lawrence novel.

In this scene...
Our heroine, Flora, and her cousin Reuben, are discussing Aunt Ada Doom. Aunt Ada Doom is the weirdest of the bunch, so there's a fair amount to discuss.

"'She-she's mad.'

Fat and dark, the word lay between them in the indifferent air. Time, which had been behaving normally lately, suddenly began to spin upon a bright point in endless space. It never rains but it pours.

'Oh,' said Flora, thoughtfully.

So that was it. Aunt Ada Doom was mad. You would expect, by all the laws of probability, to find a mad grandmother at Cold Comfort, and for once the laws of probability had not done you down and a mad grandmother there was.

Flora observed, tapping her shoe with her walking stick, that it was very awkward.

'Aye,' said Rueben, ''Tes terrible. And her madness takes the form of wantin' to know everything as goes on. She has to see all the books twice a week: the milk book an' the chicken book an' the pig book and corn book. If we keeps the books back, she has an attack. 'Tes terrible. She's the head of the family, ye see. We mun keep her alive at all costs. She never comes down but twice a year-on the first of May and on the last day of the harvest festival. If anybody eats too much, she has an attack. 'Tes terrible.'

'It is indeed,' agreed Flora. It struck her that Aunt Ada Doom's madness had taken the most convenient form possible. If everybody who went mad could arrange in what way it was to take them, she felt pretty sure they would all choose to be mad like Ada Doom."

(c)Stella Gibbons, 1932

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Saturday, June 10, 2006

Fables spin-off

Here's the cover art and official description of the upcoming Fables spin-off Jack of Fables, due out in June:

"Last seen hitchhiking from Hollywood after releasing a trilogy of films (about himself) that made him an international superstar, the series follows Jack's immediate adventures as a wayward Fable in the heartland of America. His extreme road stories and encounters with other notorious, renegade Fables are just a few of the situations in store for this fan-favorite character of the multiple Eisner Award-winning FABLES series. Willingham remarked, "The only way to stop Jack from stinking up the regular FABLES series was to offer him his own spin-off book, so really we had no choice.""

You can download a sneak peek here, and I don't know if you can see it properly, but Jack's shirt reads: "Ensemble books are for losers". Hey, it's just one more reason to adopt Bill Willingham and his artists as your personal comic book saviors, people.


Friday, June 09, 2006

Painfully funny books... not always make for equally funny TV, but my hopes are high for the new Canadian television show Alice, I Think, based on the series of YA novels by Canadian Susan Juby. The fine people at CTV have sent me a press kit and a tape containing the first three episodes, so keep an eye out for my review on the main site. Meanwhile, let's take a gander at the main actress, shall we?

Hmm. The outfit checks out, but she's smiling, so this must be a publicity photo. Smiling would be very out-of-character for Alice.

Aaaand then let's take a look at one of her family friends:

Now that picture has the true Juby touch--half The Red Green Show, half Ab Fab. Why (WHY?!?) is this not on American TV?

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Thursday, June 08, 2006

What--like you wouldn't take advice from Janice Dickinson?

Okay, I realize that Janice Dickinson most likely did not write this book with her own two hands, but I still feel a need to go out and buy it. I am not sure if it's the great cover, the title (Check, Please! Dating, Mating, and Extricating), or the fact that Ms. Dickinson is just so over-the-top, but I really want to read this book! It seems like a great lazy Friday night: me in my pajamas, girly punk music on my iPod, a bucket-sized cosmo and this book....

C'mon--doesn't anyone else feel this way?

Note: As you may have noticed, the title on the cover we pulled from Barnes & Noble reads Check, Please! How to Pick Up Boys... & Dump Them When You're Done. I like this title much better, Ms. Dickinson.

Note 2: This is Julia. I'm posting this entry for Meg (since Blogger hates her and her Mac), but I want everyone to know that I have no trouble resisting this book. Or bucket-sized cosmos. This is alllllll Meg, people.

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Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Odds and ends

Item one: I finally received my copy of Hope Mirrlees's Lud-in-the-Mist (which means I can finish this week's update!) and check out what's written on the back cover: "As sturdy as a painting by Brueghel, as delicate the breath of a hummingbird's wing, Lud-in-the-Mist is a delight, an enchanting discovery for lovers of fantasy".

Um. Okay. I... hope I'll like it? I'm afraid that the whole Brueghel painting/breath of a hummingbird's wing thing isn't giving me a very clear picture of what to expect. (Other than a boatload of pretentiousness.)

Item two: The Sisters Grimm website finally got around to posting their "Grimm Game". You answer a bunch of questions, and the computer writes a fairytale for you based on your answers. Mine featured an evil villain that I unknowingly named after my little brother: Colin, King of the Goobers. (Sorry about that, Colin.) It's a lot of fun, particularly if you were into MadLibs as a child.

Item three: And in other, totally unrelated news, my neighbors' garage band is DRIVING ME SPARE. Learn to SING, people. Or PLAY YOUR INSTRUMENTS. Or, for the love of Pete, just PLAY MORE QUIETLY.

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Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Please, save your precious $8.75

So, my little brother went to see X-Men 3 last night, and called me around ten o'clock to complain about how much the movie blew. (Not that I was particularly sympathetic--dude, I TOLD you it was gonna suck.) As we discussed in our Mansfield Park essay, the only way to make a decent film adaptation of a book is approach the story with respect for your source material. The first two X-Men movies were far from cannon-friendly, but the filmmakers made their movies in a way that proved that they understood the point of the X-Men comics. Replacing their thoughtful, respectful, creative approach to the story with a puerile, "When all else fails, just blow some shit up," approach isn't gonna win you any respect from critics or comic book fans. Enjoy that 67% drop off in ticket sales, Fox!

(P.S. There was, however, a little dissention at Wordcandy HQ over the sucktastic-ness of this movie. Meg's point of view is that any movie that features Hugh Jackman getting his clothes blasted off is a Very Good Movie. But I'm sure that she'll come back to her senses after she splashes some cold water on her face.)

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Monday, June 05, 2006

Books for baseball tickets!

Yep, you read the title right: The Los Angeles Times' "Reading By 9" program is hosting a book drive at Dodger Stadium tonight. Fans who donate one new or slightly used book for elementary students (K-3rd grade) will receive one free voucher for a ticket to a future Dodgers home game. All of the books will be donated to public schools in Southern California. Also, Scholastic will also be donating one additional book to school libraries for each book donated by Dodger fans. This is a great program that gets books to libraries that all-too-frequently don't have much of a budget. So if you live in L.A., and you're heading to the game tonight, you should definitely remember to bring a book!

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Saturday, June 03, 2006

Forget The Omen... money says that the scariest film released this summer will be The Bridesmaid, a Claude Chabrol adaptation of a Ruth Rendell novella. (For any brave, foolish readers that might be interested, the trailer is available here.) Like pretty much everything else Rendell has ever written, I'm confident that this story will scare the bejeezus out of me.

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Friday, June 02, 2006

Last-minute graduation gifts

Graduation season is here, and it's time to be shopping for presents. (Past time, really.) Ease your graduating friends and family into the Real World with these awesome, Wordcandy-approved gift ideas.

For the graduate who's about to enter the brave new world of Life Away From The Parents:

This is a damn handy book, and it would go really well with some equally handy gift cards--maybe some gift certificates for gasoline, the grocery store, and a phone card home (for when the graduate in question is in need of more immediate help)?

For the graduate who's facing the brave new world of a Grown-Up Job:

When my friends and I graduated from college a few years back, I gave everybody a kit containing some confidence-boosting essentials for job interviews (or first days on the job). The kit included a mirror, a touch-up kit and this book, placed inside an attractive-yet-professional-looking bag.

For pretty much any graduate:

If you're pressed for time, here are a few pre-made kits. They have great ones for just about any occasion. The Now What? kit looks like a great option for college grads who are completely lost, and there's the Freshman Survival Kit for all those soon-to-be college students, but the best two kits are all about cleaning. The Keep It Clean kit and the Dirty Laundry kit are our absolute favorites. Give your favorite graduate one of these much-needed care packages--along with some Wordcandy-approved paperbacks to read while they wait for the dryer--and they're sure to think of you fondly whenever they tidy up their new digs*.

*Read: every other month... or so.

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Thursday, June 01, 2006

Wordcandy weekly book snippet

Excerpt from:
Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes , by Chris Crutcher

Why you should buy a copy of your very own:

Chris Crutcher is a family therapist, and his books are always about hardcore teen suffering--usually featuring some sort of hideous abuse. They're also sweet, smart, and (periodically) wildly funny. It's a weird combo, but he makes it work.

In this scene...
Our hero, Eric "Moby" Calhoune, is describing the less-than-svelte figure he cuts in his swimming gear.

"If my belly button were a knothole it would certainly be more congruous with my keg-like body. I have chiseled away at my father's genetic code since I realized I was better equipped to roll to school than walk, but the bare-bones me is still more Raymond Burr than Arnold Schwarzenegger. All of which wouldn't matter, but for the amount of time that my belly button is exposed, which approaches four hours a day. I'm a swimmer. I probably don't have to tell you the Speedo people don't employ William Conrad as a fashion designer, and I therefore do not step onto the starting blocks looking like a Sports Illustrated fashion plate.

Looks alone would be enough to keep most guys with my particular body design as far away from water as the Wicked Witch of the West, but swimming is a thinking man's sport and Ms. Lemry is a thinking man's coach. Besides, it keeps me far from the clutches of Coach Stone, who has been trying to get me to come out for wrestling since I was a frosh because he fancies me unbeatable as a heavyweight, which I very well might be. But the idea of a permanent gash across the bridge of my nose and mat burns on every pointed appendage does not appeal to me no matter how many trophies I might walk away with. I'm not a great swimmer, but I'm good--a lot better that you'd think looking at me--and I like the challenge of the clock, as well as the people involved. I also like the wake I create for the guy in the next lane."

(c)Chris Crutcher, 1993

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