Thursday, November 30, 2006

Britney's Book Club

Check it out--proof positive that even celebrities are forced to read depressing, melodramatic Great Works. It's a page from Britney Spears' junior high-era essay on Antigone, up for auction at Christie's:

Wow. You know, I never would have pegged her as a Sophocles fan. (I'm not, that's for damn sure.) Christie's is valuing this little treasure at 500 to 700 US dollars, and I think that's cheap at twice the price.


Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Austen news

Since we're talking about Austen on the main site anyway, we might as well unload all the news at once. Behold: pictures of the upcoming versions of Persuasion and Mansfield Park:


Fanny (looking... blowsy. And busty!)--->

There's going to be a "contemporary, Latino version" of Austen's Sense and Sensibility, called Sense and Senibilidad. It will be set in Los Angeles and directed by Fina Torres.

And, best of all, we've learned that Anthony Stewart Head (GILES!!!) will be playing Sir Walter Elliot in the upcoming Persuasion TV movie. That, my friends, is spot-on casting.

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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

He'll get my $8.75.

Although just last week there were rumors to the contrary*, now we're hearing that Peter Jackson will be directing the film version of The Hobbit, although the film won't be made by New Line. Considering what a great job he did with the worthy-but-boring-as-dirt Lord of the Rings trilogy, I am eager to see what Mr. Jackson can do with a story that's actually halfway entertaining.

*It seems that New Line told Jackson that he was "no longer necessary". While this is probably true, profit-wise (the goodwill generated by Jackson's three earlier films guarantees that people would go to this one), it doesn't cast them in a very generous light. [Source]

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Monday, November 27, 2006

It's not the lack of girl-friendly comics, it's the lack of girl-friendly comic stores.

The New York Times has an article up about DC's upcoming "Minx" imprint, due to be unleashed next May. Minx will be a line of graphic novels (seven titles are planned for release in 2007) aimed at the young adult female demographic. DC is teaming up with the mighty marketing power that is Alloy Marketing + Media, obviously hoping to create an American version of the shojo manga phenomenon. Ah... good luck with that one, guys.


Saturday, November 25, 2006

Nothing says "class" like a little zebra print.

While visiting the Neiman Marcus website, admiring the (still massively, massively overpriced) clearance items, I ran across this "Pemberly Manor" bed linens set, priced at the, um, very reasonable price of $1,629.90. (On sale!!!) Now, I'm all about the Pride and Prejudice tie-ins, but I'm having some trouble picturing Elizabeth and Darcy living with a bedspread that a) featured that much zebra print action, and B) was so jaw-droppingly ugly.

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Friday, November 24, 2006

Like you're going to do something better with that six bucks.

Powell's Bookstore in Portland, Oregon has embarked on their second Schoolbook Challenge. For each $5.95 "book pledge" contribution, good for one paperback book, Powell's will donate TEN books to Portland-area public schools--eleven books in total! This donation is tax-deductible, and it's for a great cause. (The Portland and Beaverton school districts aren't wealthy, but it they are dedicated: in 2003, Portland-area teachers were given the choice of taking a cut in pay or cutting the school year short, and they voted for the pay cut.) This would be a really nice gesture, particularly if you were thinking of buying a book to honor someone's memory this holiday season.


Thursday, November 23, 2006


Behold, the Avalon High sequel:


Happy Thanksgiving!

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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

More preview action

Well, I'm trying to be all adult and mature about this, so I can only say this: the newest Harry Potter trailer looks totally awesome. (That's me being restrained.) The last shot's a little giggle-inducing, but it still looks great. Click here to experience it for yourself!

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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Clear your shelves.

I know that there are loads of charities out there at this time of year that need your support, but not all of them are willing to take your gently used paperbacks off of your hands. If you're looking to unload some books this season (maybe you're preparing your bookshelves for a massive infusion of literary Christmas presents?), check and see if there's a Books for Prisoners-style program in your area. Many prisons no longer have libraries, and that box of Michael Crichton paperbacks moldering underneath your bed might really brighten up some inmate's day (and possibly his future).


Monday, November 20, 2006

I'm pretty sure that Barry wouldn't approve.

Wow: turns out there's a musical version of Nick Hornby's book High Fidelity, coming soon to Broadway. (Clearly, one mediocre movie adaptation wasn't enough; this was a story that was crying out for a big song-and-dance number.) I know nothing about musical theater, but I'm told that this production involves people connected (I'm not sure how, exactly) to "Rent", and its pre-Broadway run in Boston has been getting good reviews. The show opens in New York on December 7, and you can click here for pictures, information, and tickets.

(Above: High Fidelity star Will Chase [Source])

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Sunday, November 19, 2006

Wordcandy loves Mr. Blake

If you're in the market for a little Wordcandy-approved, kid-friendly, TOTALLY FREE artwork, download this "Rights of the Reader" poster, illustrated by longtime Roald Dahl collaborator Quentin Blake.

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Saturday, November 18, 2006

Holy cow.

I had a party the night I graduated from college, and, in lieu of party favors, I celebrated my academic liberation by fobbing off all of my least favorite college textbooks onto various guests. If memory serves me, I think I sent Meg's mom (poor woman) home with a copy of Jerry Oppenheimer's unbelievably trashy Martha Stewart biography, Just Desserts. I'd bought it for an American Studies course that required me to write a paper on a popular icon, and, after reading it, I decided that there was no way that Oppenheimer could possible sink any lower...

Until I saw this:

Wow. describes this book as "deliberately lobotomized", but I expect that's actually being kind. Jerry Oppenheimer + Paris Hilton? Yeah: that might be one of the signs of the Apocalypse.


Friday, November 17, 2006

Preview of a preview

Well... it isn't the full trailer, but it's almost ten seconds' worth of Harry Potter goodness that you don't need to buy tickets to Happy Feet to experience. Click here to enjoy!

Note: I'm sorry, but that poster is hilarious.

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Thursday, November 16, 2006


Wordcandy-approved author M.T. Anderson won the National Book Prize for Young People's Literature yesterday, for his book The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume One: The Pox Party. (Charming title, Mr. Anderson.) While this isn't the book we would have chosen, it's always heartening to see the authors we like receiving the recognition they deserve. Congratulations!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

A bit more...

Actually, it turns out there's some Harry Potter merchandise I wouldn't mind owning! Who knew? I really like some of the t-shirts available through the Warners Bro. online store. This one's my favorite (I'm thinking of asking for it for Christmas, but it would be nice if it came in women's sizes...):

But some of the other ones are cute, too, and they are available in women's sizes:

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Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Harry Potter odds and ends

Warner Bros. has released this set of five Hogwarts-themed Christmas ornaments, retailing for a mere (HAH!) $55. (For those of you doing the math, that's approximately two-thirds of a Goong Box Set.) In addition to being fairly ugly, these 4-inch-high collectibles look like they'd be too heavy for all but the stoutest trees, but I imagine there's a fair number of Potter-geeks out there that are currently whipping out their wallets...

...and, while they've got their credit cards out, they might want to purchase tickets for the upcoming movie Happy Feet, opening Friday, the first film to feature the trailer for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, due out in July, 2007.

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Monday, November 13, 2006

James Tiptree, Jr. has an interview up with Julie Phillips, available here. Ms. Phillips is the author of a new biography of sci-fi writer James Tiptree, Jr., who was in real life a woman named Alice B. Sheldon.

Sheldon/Tiptree's identity was a secret for a decade, although she maintained an extensive correspondence with fans and other sci-fi writers, and her eventual exposure was embarrassing for a number of sci-fi luminaries who had long assumed that she was male. Ms. Sheldon was a truly strange, gifted person--like many strange, gifted people, she didn't end well--and her life story seems like it would make a fascinating subject.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Food geeks take note:

If you're going to be anywhere near the Beaverton location of Powell's Books (the world's best bookstores) on November 29th, you can pick up a signed edition of The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook (from the people at Cook's Illustrated/America's Test Kitchen, the world's best cooking magazine/show). If you're not familiar with ATK or Cook's, then I suggest you drop everything and immediately try their recipe for brownies, available here.


Friday, November 10, 2006

Oh, the humanity.

Nobody could be more excited than I was about Lisa Kleypas's upcoming contemporary romance novel, Sugar Daddy. Sure, I was a little taken aback by the title, but still: Lisa Kleypas. She's, like, super-awesome! She's absolutely the best historical romance novelist currently producing work, and I was delighted to hear that she was planning to expand her literary horizons.

Then, sadly, I saw the cover art. WHHHHHHYYYY???? The colors! The little cowboy hats! WHAT WERE THEY THINKING? Combined with that mildly squicky title, that cover art is deadly. (Although, to be fair, I do like the Art Deco-y font....) Ms. Kleypas had a chance here to expand her audience to include all of those women who are too weak-kneed to actually enter the romance section, but that pink and yellow monstrosity may well have blown it.

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Thursday, November 09, 2006

Wordcandy Weekly Book Snippet

Excerpt from:
Hot Toy, by Jennifer Crusie, found in the collection Santa, Baby

Why you should buy a copy of your very own:
Because Jennifer Crusie's Christmas novella (if not the other two entries in the collection) is the most fun you'll have this season for $7.99. Crusie has a gift for screwball-comedy patter that you have to see to believe.

In this scene...
Trudy is really not enjoying her Christmas Eve. She's been sent out on a wild goose chase for this year's most hard-to-get toy (it's been out of stock since Thanksgiving), her sister is at home guzzling the gin, and she's just discovered that she accidentally picked up the wrong kind of wrapping paper.

"'Oh, hell.'

'What?' Courtney said.

'I got birthday paper', Trudy said. 'I need Christmas paper, and this is birthday--'

'Trudy', Courtney wailed.

'Maybe you can fake it', Reese said, with badly concealed exasperation. 'If it's just a bunch of animals, it could be anything.'

Trudy held up the paper. It said Happy Birthday over and over and over. 'No animals. Just 'Happy Birthday' in red.'

'Well, then you're screwed', Reese said, sounding bored with the whole thing.

'No, she's not.' Nolan held out his hand. 'Give it here.'

'You're going to fix this?' Trudy said. 'How are you going to fix this?'

Nolan wiggled his fingers. 'Gimme.'

She handed the paper over and watched while he took out his pen again and wrote Jesus under every Happy Birthday."

©Jennifer Crusie, 2006

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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Wordcandy wishes her the best.

Ernestine Gilbreth Carey died Saturday. Ms. Carey was the co-author, along with her younger brother, Frank Gilbreth, of the wonderful memoir Cheaper By the Dozen. She was 98, and is survived by two of her siblings, two children, six grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren. You can read an obituary here. It's really nice to hear that an author who entertained so many readers lived such a rich, fulfilling life--she deserved it.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Borders Books draws a (totally bizarre) line in the sand.

I've only been half-aware of the flap surrounding Aury Wallington's new YA novel Pop, but I thought I'd pass along my tiny store of knowledge so that you too, gentle readers, can be In The Know (or, at least, as confused as I am).

From what I understand, Borders Books has refused to carry this book on their store shelves, although they will order it for you. Pop apparently features a lot of Judy Blume-style frankness about losing one's virginity, and while I find books like these painful to read, I don't see what makes Wallington's book so reprehensible. Sure, the cover art and title are a little... eyebrow-raising, but they look like they'd sell, and there's nothing about the publisher's synopsis (below) or the first chapter (available here) that raise major red flags for me. See for yourself:

"Marit has decided: It's time to lose it. Being a virgin is getting in the way of holding on to a boyfriend. So who better to get it over with than her best guy friend, Jamie? They've known each other forever. It's pressure-free.

But doing the deed changes everything. Jamie falls for Marit! Not only does he ruin her chances with the guy she had in her sights, now she's in danger of losing her friends too. If only there was a way to un-do it!

Aury Wallington, a writer for Sex and the City and Veronica Mars, paints an entertaining and thoughtful portrait of the mess we make when we divorce sex from love."

Sure, Wallington's book is about sex, but there are lots of books about teenagers having sex (books that Borders stocks), and it certainly doesn't sound like this one is promoting crazed teenage promiscuity or whatever. This whole thing seems so weird that I'm left wondering if it's a publicity stunt--hey, turning Borders into a censorship-happy Big Bad isn't a bad publicity strategy.

Maybe I'll request a review copy... and then make Megan read it, because I'm mature like that. If she promises that it won't be too embarrassing, then I'll give it a shot.


Monday, November 06, 2006

Jane Austen movie news, now 100% clearer.

Okay, I was a little confused by all this--maybe it was too much awesomeness for my simple brain to comprehend--but I think I'm clear now. There is an upcoming feature film about Jane Austen's life called Becoming Jane, and it stars Anne Hathaway. (My mind isn't totally made up about this one, but my gut is leaning towards "looks pretty stinky".) There are also three made-for-TV adaptations coming out in 2007: a version of Northanger Abbey, adapted by Andrew Davies, a version of Persuasion, developed by Clerkenwell Films, and a version of Mansfield Park, adapted by Maggie Wadey. These have been commissioned by Great Britain's ITV Network. [Source]

Above: Best. Cover. EVER. Except for maybe this one.

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Saturday, November 04, 2006

We have a cover...

While we only have a vague idea of when the final book in the 'Gregor' series will be released (we're hearing May 2007-ish), we now have the cover art! I am so excited for this book, and I have no idea how I am going to manage to be patient for that long...


Friday, November 03, 2006


Yes, my little manhwa-obsessed darlings, the English-language DVD version of the hugely popular Palace (a.ka. Goong, a.ka. Princess Hours) TV miniseries is coming out on November 21, and now you can pre-order it here at! The price tag is pretty steep (although YesAsia is offering it at a generous 38% discount), but let's face it: you just can't put a price on that much hotness. Goong was flat-out awesome, and would make an excellent Christmas gift. Just tell yourself that you owe it to your inner teenage girl....


Thursday, November 02, 2006

Upcoming Harcourt titles

The good people at Harcourt Books were kind enough to send us their Spring-Summer 2007 Catalog, and I'm happy to see that there are several books coming out that I am really excited about, including:

1. Iris, Messenger, by Sarah Deming

"Dreamer Iris Greenwold doesn't care much for the real world. It's generally pretty disappointing: divorced parents, unsympathetic peers, and a middle school that is hell. But then, on her twelfth birthday, Iris mysteriously receives a copy of Bulfinch's Mythology and discovers that the entire pantheon of gods are living in the greater Philadelphia area. Poseidon's running a clam shack, Aphrodite's doing makeovers, Apollo's playing tenor sax...."

2. The Felix Brooke trilogy, by Joan Aiken

"Felix Brooke, the orphaned son of an English soldier and an aristocratic Spanish mother, has been raised in the strict, loveless household of his grandfather in Villaverde, Spain. When Felix gains possession of a letter that contains a clue to the whereabouts of his father's family, he gladly runs away form home to pursue the trail. His journey from Spain to far-off England begins the adventure of a lifetime."

3. Jasper Dash and the Flame Pits of Delaware, by M.T. Anderson

"It is a land of wonders. It is a land of mystery. It is a land that time forgot (or chose specifically not to remember). Cut off from the civilized world for untold years by prohibitive interstate tolls at the New Jersey border, this land is called: Delaware."

Iris, Messenger is Deming's first book, and the synopsis looks cute, although I'm not too enthused about the cover art. You'd have be nuts not to enjoy M.T. Anderson's "thrilling tales". And, of course, I'm mega-excited about the Joan Aiken trilogy--not only am I looking forward to reading the books, but I was worried that a lot of her stuff would fall out of print after her death, so it's great to see this series being re-released.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Jennifer Crusie believes in Santa.

Jennifer Crusie's novella Hot Toy, the first story in St. Martin's new collection Santa, Baby, is absolutely adorable. I couldn't believe how much Crusie packed into a mere 111 pages--her book was the only Christmas story that I've ever read that featured an Alfred Hitchcock reference (the hot toy of the title, which all of the characters are obsessed with, is the Major MacGuffin, The Tough One Two action figure), Chinese double agents, and gin-soaked gumdrops. Hot Toy was funny, sweet (well, as sweet as Crusie ever gets), and the perfect way to while away a pre-holiday hour or two.

Unfortunately, I found the other two novellas in the collection to be nearly unreadable. To be fair, starting with the Crusie story meant that my standards were set quite high, and I might have enjoyed the other two novellas more if they'd been released independently (or, at least, if I'd read them before I read Crusie's contribution). As it is, one can only hope that St. Martins will eventually re-package Crusie's story and sell it individually. Hot Toy is cute enough to become a holiday classic, but first it needs to shake off the dead weight.


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