Friday, June 29, 2007

Mr. Spock! How COULD you?!

I was at work the other day, minding my own business, when a co-worker mentioned in passing a song about Bilbo Baggins sung by Leonard Nimoy. "How can it be that I haven't heard of this before?" I asked myself. It turns out my ignorance was probably due to a strong sense of self preservation, because now that I have seen it my world is all upside down. And because I can't resist sharing this... thing... with others, here you go.


(You know, I can't help but sway a little while watching this.)

And please note that this isn't our first post about a weird Lord of the Rings song. Tolkien fans are freaky.


Thursday, June 28, 2007

Evildoers beware

Mark your calendars--The Tick Vs: Season Two is due out on DVD on August 7th! Its $34.99 price tag is a little painful, but this gloriously strange mid-nineties cartoon is totally worth it.

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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Hocus pocus... with a little hanky-panky

The release of The Unfortunate Miss Fortunes, Jennifer Crusie's newest collaboration (with authors Eileen Dreyer & Anne Stuart) totally snuck up on me this week. I think between anticipating the iPhone release--yes, I am that nerdy--and speculating about the final Harry Potter book, this one didn't make it onto my radar screen.

I am a big fan of Jenny Crusie. But while I enjoy her collaborations, they tend to make me miss her solo novels even more. And (sadly) it looks like we will have a long wait before we see another one of those.

In the meantime, check out the excerpt for The Unfortunate Miss Fortunes on the book's website, and be on the look-out in August for Ms. Crusie's second collaboration with Bob Mayer, Agnes and the Hitman.

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Slate has posted an essay about the upcoming movie adaptation of Richard Yates's 1961 book Revolutionary Road, described by the essayist as "one of the most depressing novels ever written". Why is it that we will soon be able to enjoy this fun-filled cinematic gem, but nobody will make a freaking Georgette Heyer adaptation?!?

Life, dear readers, is not fair.


Monday, June 25, 2007

The Last Summer (of You and Me)

I have spent years avoiding books like Ann Brashares's novel The Last Summer (of You and Me). Everything about it--the dreary cover art, the tasteful font, even the artistically placed parentheses worked into the title--announce that this book is designed to be a serious-yet-uplifting look at Real Issues, and that's usually the kind of thing I avoid like the plague. But I accept that it's probably time for me to stop judging books by their covers, so I gamely picked up Ms. Brashares's book...

...only to find that my gut reactions to cover art are always spot-on. The Last Summer (of You and Me) is a cloying tearjerker that's long on fortune-cookie-gleaned wisdom and short on plausibility or entertainment value. It's the story of strong, independent Riley, her gentle younger sister Alice, and Paul, Riley's lifelong best friend. Riley, Alice, and Paul have spent most of their summers together on Fire Island, a quiet beachfront community on the East Coast. The powerful bond between the three young adults is tested when one summer introduces a burgeoning attraction, a life-threatening illness, and--gasp!--a terrible secret.

Brashares's book reads like a Reader's Digest version of a sentimental novel, indulging in countless emotionally manipulative clichés. A heart condition? Check. Pointless secrets keeping young lovers apart? Check. A poor little rich boy surrounded by cold, greedy relatives? Check. One suspects that Brashares wrote the entire book while watching a ten-hankie movie marathon of Beaches, Love Story, and My Girl.

To be fair, the youthful protagonists of The Last Summer (of You and Me) might appeal more to younger readers. It's possible that Brashares's teenage fans (the same people who cried buckets of tears over the adorable little moppet with leukemia in Brashares's Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series) may gobble up this angstfest. But for this twenty-eight-year-old book reviewer, The Last Summer (of You and Me) was an eye-roll-inducing waste of time. Trust me, real life brings enough pain and suffering--why pay twenty-five bucks to get it from your beach reading?


Friday, June 22, 2007

Holy cats!

HarperCollins Canada will apparently be offering a new edition of Susan Juby's Alice, I Think, aimed at adult readers. This book (due out in early August) is a perfect fit for the adult market--let's face it, truly painful high school humor is better when high school is safely in life's rear-view mirror. Plus, Ms. Juby has apparently written an additional chapter from an grown-up Alice's perspective! My heart is all a-flutter at the thought.

At right: the American edition of Alice, I Think


Thursday, June 21, 2007

Have we been missing out again?

Operating on a reader recommendation, I've put in a request for the 2005 Tor reprints of Michael de Larrabeitti's Borribles trilogy (originally published between 1978 and 1986). This is yet another fantasy trilogy that I've never heard of, and according to its Wikipedia entry it sounds like another series with just one female main character, but I must say: the Tor reprint covers really speak to me. They're like those animated Christmas specials from the 'seventies... only, y'know, evil-looking.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Seems a little tacky.

Romance author Julia Quinn is offering what she calls "second epilogues" through her website. Each epilogue is about 30 pages long, and is available as an $1.99 HarperCollins e-book. Ms. Quinn has written four of these babies, and I wonder how they're selling. I'm not a big enough Quinn fan to buy one myself (her books are amusing, but I really think the Bridgerton series can die a quiet death now), and it seems wrong to ask your readers to pay an additional two dollars just to get to the last last chapter of a story.

Remember, Ms. Quinn: Kelley Armstrong has been offering e-book novellas on her website for years, and she gives 'em away for free.


Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Wordcandy Book Snippet

Excerpt from:
The Brat, by Lynsay Sands

Why you should buy a copy of your very own:
Sands' books are sweet, funny, and pleasantly free of buttheaded male main characters. I can't tell you how rare that is.

In this scene...
Our hero, Balan is doing his best to make idle chit-chat with our heroine, Murie. Unfortunately, he is really, really bad at idle chit-chat.

"Finally Murie said, 'Emilie says you and Reginald are friends?'


She waited for him to expound on that, but he didn't. Frowning, she asked, 'Have you known him long?'


Again she waited for him to expound, and again he didn't. Murie bit her lip. He wasn't being very helpful. 'Emilie says you have gone to battle for the king?'


'In France?' she prodded.


'Crecy? Calais?' she asked through gritted teeth.


Murie finally turned to him with irritation. 'Do you actually speak, my lord? If so, I would consider it rather kind of you to help out with this conversation, rather than leaving me to carry it on my own.'

'Aye. I speak,' he answered. Then he fell silent."

© Lynsay Sands, 2007

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Monday, June 18, 2007

Gakuen Alice

We were excited to hear that Gakuen Alice, one of the darkest kid mangas on the planet, has finally been licensed. is reporting that Tokyopop will be releasing the first volume of Gakuen Alice in January of 2008. We're really looking forward to seeing this story on the shelves--it's an interesting mix of bubblegum humor and eyebrow-raising creepiness.

Note: This series already seems to be available in Spanish, in case any manga-loving Spanish students out there could use a little help brushing up their language skills.


Friday, June 15, 2007

Father's Day Gift Suggestions, Part II

While all of the titles on our first list of suggested Father's Day Gifts are still awesome, we thought we'd add a few more books to to the pile.

For the dad who likes mysteries, we suggest The Monkey's Raincoat, by Robert Crais:

For the dad who likes science, we suggest Out of Thin Air: Dinosaurs, Birds, and Earth's Ancient Atmosphere, by Peter Ward

And, last but not least, we suggest Jim Lynch's The Highest Tide as a solid, all-purpose dad gift:

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Thursday, June 14, 2007

Uh... right.

There's yet another book being hyped as the next Harry Potter--but this one, at least, is being hyped by the same publisher who "discovered" Rowling's series. Barry Cunningham, a publisher for Chicken House*, says that Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams's upcoming book Tunnels is going to be the Next Big Thing.

Tunnels is said to involve a a boy archaeologist named Will Burrows, a bunch of merciless villains, and "an extraordinary journey to the [center] of the earth", according to Cunningham, who's been busily hyping the unreleased series. The book's authors met at university, went on to careers as an investment banker and artist, and reconnected when Gordon lost his job in corporate finance. He eventually sold his house to self-publish a limited run edition of Tunnels.

I am by no means convinced that this series will live up to its hype. While Cunningham hit a home run with Rowling's series, he is also responsible for the career of the massively over-hyped writer Cornelia Funke. Still, I plan to request a review copy of this book as soon it becomes available (it's due out in July, at least in England), and I'm really looking forward to reading it.

*Note: Chicken House is responsible for a remarkably ugly edition of the first book in Suzanne Collins' Underland Chronicles, but I'm trying to keep an open mind.


Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Cute! is selling an adorable tote bag containing the first two Nancy Drew titles--The Secret of the Old Clock and The Hidden Staircase, for a mere $13.99. The bag itself features the original cover art for The Secret of the Old Clock, and is totally retro-fabulous. This would be a great summertime gift for any little girls you know.

Please note: It would also make a great gift for me. That bag is awesome.

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007


And this is why I can't stand the Korean manhwa publisher ICE Kunion: not only have they been blithely promising us the second volume of Goong for MONTHS, now they're screwing us over on volumes of Angel Diary, too. I love Angel Diary--it's funny, bizarre, and romantic--and it's infuriating to find that volume six, which was supposed to be out two months ago, will ship in "one to three months"* Look, ICE Kunion: if you can't publish something on time, DON'T BUY THE RIGHTS. It screws over everybody--the readers, who can't enjoy the series, the author, who's left in limbo while their work is withheld from the public, and other publishing groups, who might actually RELEASE the freaking book.


*Something tells me that I shouldn't expect volume seven on its promised release date of June 26, either.


Monday, June 11, 2007

See the bear dance...

Interested parties can now download the high-definition trailer for the upcoming The Golden Compass movie. While all the human actors look great--I can't believe how slinky Nicole Kidman looks--the trailer is still a little dorky. I'm sorry, tech geeks, but CGI continues to look totally fake, and I can't stand the trailer intro, which loudly reminds us that this movie is from the same people who brought the Lord of the Rings series to the big screen. Also, why are there so few shots of the daemons? Was the crappy CGI not ready in time for the trailer release?

None of this, of course, means that I won't be there to see this movie on opening night.

Above left: Dakota Blue Richards, as Lyra

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Friday, June 08, 2007

Another one bites the dust

The film review site Pajiba is reporting that one of the big literary successes of 2006, Marisha Pessl's debut novel Specialty Topics in Calamity Physics*, is going to be turned into a movie.

*This book has been languishing in my "To Be Read" pile for over a year now. My mother assures me that it's Wordcandy-friendly, but something about it smells Oprah's Book Club-esque, so I've been putting it off.


Thursday, June 07, 2007

New romance recommendation

While going through the slim pickings in a small English-language bookstore in Italy, I unenthusiastically selected Single White Vampire, a cheesy-looking book by a writer I'd never heard of before, Lynsay Sands. I'm not a big fan of vampire romance novels, but I wasn't seeing anything else and it was only two euros, so I shrugged my shoulders, took it up to the counter...

...and was happily surprised. By the end of the trip, we'd all read Single White Vampire. I'm not saying that the book was great--it wasn't--but it was cute and funny and reasonably well-written, and that's nothing to sneeze at. I'm not going to rush out there and buy Ms. Sands' entire back catalog, but I'll definitely add her to my "When there's a gift certificate burning a hole in my pocket and I have nothing else I want to buy" list. She's a solid pick for any romance fans out there looking for some enjoyably silly beach reading.

Above left: The Brat, Ms. Sands' latest novel. Not exactly the world's most elegant-looking book, but an undeniably eye-catching combination of title and cover art.


Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Cover art saves

We don't know anything about this book, and (if it's anything like the lion's share of Austen continuations/retellings) it will probably blow like a fog horn, but at least it has a snappy cover.

Sometimes, that's all you can ask for.

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Tuesday, June 05, 2007

We are BACK...

...and to celebrate our return to the vitally important world of pop-fiction-related blogging, I think somebody needs to send me an e-mail assuring me that this article is actually the world's latest April Fools' Day joke.

A Harry Potter theme park?!? Can't they leave ANYTHING to the readers' imaginations? I have no hope for Warner Brothers, but can't J.K. Rowling make them stop milking this cash cow at some point?

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