Friday, August 31, 2007

Another day, another iffy film adaptation

BBC One is making a feature-length film adaptation of Noel Streatfeild's children's classic Ballet Shoes. This production will star Victoria Wood, Richard Griffiths, Marc Warren, and Emma Watson (Harry Potter's Hermione Granger). I'm not sure how I feel about this: on the one hand, the BBC usually does a nice job; on the other, Miss Watson's acting skills have yet to knock my socks off, and I hope she wasn't given the part just to add a little Rowling-mania glitz to the production.

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Thursday, August 30, 2007

Where does she find them?

Okay, I am now convinced that there is a place where you can have bad covers designed for you on purpose! Because, without fail, Jayne Ann Krentz finds the world's worst covers for her Ghost Hunter series:

See? A cover that aggressively bad can't be an accident.

There is also a YouTube video that goes along with the release of Ms. Krentz's book:

I thought the video was insane, but Julia seemed to have a bigger problem with that Silver Master title.

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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Hot coupon action

In honor of our current Featured BookJennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer's Agnes and the Hitman—we'd like to point out that their shared website is currently featuring a coupon for a $3 rebate off the cover price of Agnes and the Hitman, PLUS a free paperback copy of their earlier novel, 2006's Don't Look Down.

Please note that this coupon is only good through September 4, 2007, so take advantage of it soon!

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Fake Books, Part 87

Awesome or insane? It's your call...

The Curiosity Shoppe is offering these bookshelves (they're made from real books, and there are several titles available) for $40. On one hand, $40 seems like an awful lot of money for a bookshelf that's probably less than 10 inches long. On the other hand, these are kinda neat.

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Monday, August 27, 2007


Hard Case Crime has just released Fright, a "lost novel" by pulp fiction great Cornell Woolrich:

According to the publisher, "[Fright was] lost for more than half a century and never before published under Cornell Woolrich's real name... a breathtaking noir crime novel..."

Poor Mr. Woolrich had his issues, but he could write one hell of a story. Keep an eye out for Hard Case's deliciously pulpy (and, at $6.99, relatively inexpensive) new edition!


Saturday, August 25, 2007

Even more Fake Books

Not only is this paperback-book-printed wallpaper butt-ugly*, it's also a whopping fifty-five euros per yard! Fifty-five euros! You could practically that entire stack of BOOKS for fifty-five euros!!!

*Admittedly, I think most wallpaper is butt-ugly.

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Friday, August 24, 2007

Rowling out and about? is reporting that J.K. Rowling has been spotted hanging out in Edinburgh coffee houses, working on what her neighbor, fellow novelist Ian Rankin, described as "her Edinburgh criminal detective novel". Normally, I'd recommend taking any unconfirmed J.K. Rowling news with a heaping teaspoon of salt, but this sounds like a more reliable source than most.


Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Pinball Theory of Apocalypse

Jonathan Selwood obviously worked very hard on making his debut novel, The Pinball Theory of Apocalypse, equal parts amusing and appalling. Too many of his attempts to be shocking fall flat, but he's hiding promising storytelling chops underneath all that affected quirkiness.

Selwood’s heroine is an artist named Isabel Raven. Isabel spent her early twenties scraping by as a "fine art facsimilist", but her career has taken off now that she's begun painting celebrities as famous works of art: Cher as the Mona Lisa, Tom and Katie as American Gothic, Britney Spears and her son as Raphael’s Madonna and Child. But while Isabel's professional life is on an upswing, everything else has gone to hell: her boyfriend is having an affair with a sixteen-year-old pop star, her apartment has been destroyed by an earthquake, and it's tough to tell whether the increasing weirdness around her is a sign of a looming apocalypse, or just a normal part of living in L.A.

Too many of Selwood's characters feel like they've been stolen from a Wes Anderson movie, and his laboriously constructed weirdness is a poor fit for what turns out to be a fairly conventional happy ending (apart from the potential apocalypse). However, The Pinball Theory of Apocalypse does have several things going for it, including a likeable heroine, a highly readable plot, and a several laugh-out-loud moments. (Many of which involve a hideously embarrassing ad campaign for "vaginal rejuvenation" plastic surgery. The resulting jokes aren’t exactly tasteful, but they are pretty funny.) Mr. Selwood's plot and characterization skills still have a long way to go—if he insists on writing about crazy people, he should read Stella Gibbons' Cold Comfort Farm for tips on how to do it properly—but he's clearly an author worth keeping an eye on.


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Props from the Seattle PI...

Dude, we're famous!

Wordcandy had another exciting first--we had our first press mention in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer's "What's Online" section. Hopefully many more will come!


Tuesday, August 21, 2007

A commendable goal

Math Doesn't Suck: How to Survive Middle-School Math Without Losing Your Mind or Breaking a Nail, a math guide written by mathematician and actress Danica McKellar (a.k.a. The Wonder Years' Winnie Cooper) is out in bookstores now.

According to the publisher, "[McKellar's book] gives girls and their parents the tools they need to master the math concepts that confuse middle-schoolers most, including fractions, percentages, pre-algebra, and more. The book features hip, real-world examples, step-by-step instruction, and engaging stories of Danica’s own childhood struggles in math (and stardom). In addition, borrowing from the style of today’s teen magazines, it even includes a Math Horoscope section, Math Personality Quizzes, and Real-Life Testimonials—ultimately revealing why math is easier and cooler than readers think."

I think this book is a great idea, and sincerely hope that the execution is everything the publisher promises. But I have to complain about the outfit McKellar is wearing on the book cover. I'm sorry, but that too-trendy shirt was a mistake. And for once, I'm not being totally shallow—kids judge books by their covers, and if a girl two years from now needs help with math, the last thing anyone wants is for her to turn down a potentially valuable resource like McKellar's book because the cover image is totally passé.


Monday, August 20, 2007


Okay, I totally want this:

According to, the above book, entitled The Ladies Dictionary: Being a General Entertainment for the Fair Sex is a "300-year-old book which appears to be the 17th-century version of Cosmopolitan magazine". It's full of helpful advice--feeling a little overweight? Bathe in claret! Worried about cellulite? Try a little "'Oyl of Foxes, Capons Grease, and Goose Grease' with 'Pine, Rosin, and Turpentine'. Boil with 'Virgins-Wax' and plaster on to the body".

The Ladies Dictionary goes up for auction next month, and is expected to fetch at least £2000.

Friday, August 17, 2007

If only I could knit.

Thanks to the fine people at AustenBlog, I've just discovered Yarn Love, an online store that sells several colors of hand-dyed yarn inspired by literary heroines.

You can buy Scarlet O'Hara yarn (shades of pink), or Elizabeth Bennet yarn (lavender and yellows), or Anne Shirley yarn (pastels). The only that struck me as being particularly apt was the deep-wine-colored Marianne Dashwood yarn, and the only one I'd really want to wear was the beautiful Guinevere yarn, but who am I to judge?

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Thursday, August 16, 2007

A sight to behold

I love these book covers:

They look just like James Bond covers... if James Bond covers had been drawn by the people who draw the cover art for sewing patterns.

There are at least three books in this series--they're written by different authors, but but they're all campy spy spoofs featuring "B.L.I.S.S.", a top-secret crime-fighting organization run largely by women. So far I've only been able to find Lynsay Sands's The Loving Daylights (a gleefully ridiculous story with a hero named Abel Andretti and a villain named Dirk Ensecksi), but I'm definitely going to keep an eye out for the rest.


Wednesday, August 15, 2007

On the hunt

I'm thinking of picking up the first few volumes of Viz's Yakitate!! Japan (story and art by Takashi Hashigushi). A pun-filled cooking comedy about a young man with "otherworldly baking powers"? So right up my alley.

Here's the publisher's description:

England. France. Germany. What common thread binds these three nations together? Answer: each is famous for producing unique, distinctive, delicious bread. But what of the island nation of Japan, home to rice and delicacies of the sea? Is there not a doughy, gastronomic delight they can claim as their own? The answer is no...until now! Kazuma Azuma, a 16-year-old-boy blessed with otherworldly baking powers, has taken it upon himself to create Ja-pan, the national bread of the land of the rising sun!

Ordinarily, I'd hesitate before starting a twenty-six-volume-long manga series, but Viz is a pretty reputable publisher and so far they've been churning this one out at a rate of seven volumes per year.


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Peter Ferguson brings the pretty.

The cover art is now available for Magic and Other Misdemeanors, the fifth book in Michael Buckley's Sisters Grimm series, and illustrator Peter Ferguson continues to knock our socks off:

This series is, bar none, the most elegant set of kids' books I've ever laid eyes on, and Buckley's smart, goofy series is totally worthy of its packaging. Here's the publisher's description of book five:

In book five of the series, Sabrina and Daphne Grimm are ready to tackle their own case: Who is stealing the magical possessions of the most powerful Everafters in town? With Granny distracted by Mayor Heart's campaign against human residents, the girl detectives are on their own. Puss in Boots (now an exterminator), Cinderella (a radio relationship counselor), Sleeping Beauty (owner of a coffee shop), and their old enemy, Prince Charming, are among the many suspects, and one thing is for certain: The villain's plans mean a grim future for the Grimms—truly!

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Monday, August 13, 2007


Usually we enjoy retold fairytales, but this film adapation of Snow White looks dorky as hell:

And just what did they do to that poor girl's neck?

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Friday, August 10, 2007

Ooh, classy!

I totally encourage everybody to check out the trailer for the upcoming "digitally-enhanced live action" movie adaptation of Beowulf--it had me giggling for hours. Literary purists might be a little taken aback by this effort to turn one of history's greatest epic poems into a Final Fantasy-style cheesefest, but what do they know? C'mon--this thing is rumored to be released in 3-D!

Although... is anybody else taken aback by natural Angelina Jolie looks as a CGI character?

Note: Wordcandy author Neil Gaiman co-wrote the screenplay for this sucker.

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Thursday, August 09, 2007

Grossman interview on SCI FI Wire

Wordcandy writer Austin Grossman, author of Soon I Will Be Invincible, was recently interviewed on SCI FI Wire. Despite the fact that he says things like "The tropes of superhero life were developed for a graphical format... describing a satisfying superhero fight was harder than I'd thought—evoking that complicated and viscerally kinetic action in prose took a lot of care", Mr. Grossman manages to come across as a pretty fun guy. (He claims to have had a friend punch him in the face a few times so he could write his fight scenes with the voice of experience.)

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Austen geeks take note

The people behind the upcoming film adaptation of The Jane Austen Book Club are currently running a contest with an excellent grand prize: a ticket to one of the 2008 JASNA-sponsored tours of England!

According to the sweepstakes homepage, the tour will "...offer access to homes and events not available to the general public, such as the annual meeting of the British Jane Austen Society held on the grounds of the manor house owned by Jane Austen's brother. Private teas, luncheons, and dinners in historic settings are also part of the tour. A British guide specializing in Austen and her era will accompany the group. The itinerary will center on Jane Austen's homes and places she visited, including Steventon, Bath, Chawton, Winchester, and London. Accommodations will be in first class and good tourist class hotels, with full breakfast daily. The group will travel in luxury air-conditioned motor coach."

That sounds worth the effort of filling out the form, doesn't it?

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Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Ah, the beauty of open communication...

Time for another Wordcandy Book Review Double Feature!

The Manny, by Holly Peterson

Thirty-six-year-old Jamie Whitfield is unhappy. She has a fulfilling career and three beautiful children, but she finds herself spending way too much time fantasizing about ditching the Park Avenue lifestyle and divorcing her husband (a WASP-y butthead who uses ethnic slurs and ogles Jamie's friends). In an last-ditch effort to offset her husband’s influence, Jamie hires a "manny" for her children. Her new employee turns out to be charming, supportive, great with her kids... and super-smokin' hot.

It's difficult to get too choked up over the plight of a mega-rich, attractive woman torn between two guysparticularly one who's so wishy-washy. Jamie's husband is a jerk, sure, but we never see her making any serious effort to change his behavior. Instead, she delivers mild reprimands (i.e., "Phillip, cool it. Do not call Chinese people little idiots.") and secretly drools over the manny, a twenty-nine-year-old part-time computer programmer who's practically perfect in every way.

To do it justice, The Manny is more readable than most novels about the sufferings of glamorous New York thirtysomethings, and Peterson is a capable writer who breathes some new life into the tired Candace Bushnell formula*. We'd prefer it if her next book features a main character that spends less time mooning after the help and more time openly kicking ass, but she's an author worth keeping an eye on.

*Which, frankly, we thought was an impossible feat.

Stray, by Stacy Goldblatt

Natalie Kaplan, the sixteen-year-old heroine of Stacy Goldblatt's novel Stray, strongly resembles a junior version of Peterson's Jamie. Natalie's divorced mother seems determined to distrust her, despite the fact that Natalie is levelheaded and well behaved. Rather than openly disagreeing with her mother, Natalie gives herself an allowance of eight lies per year. She's never yet met her quota... but her policy of avoiding conflict at all costs may not survive Carver Reed, the handsome, free-spirited boy who's just moved into the apartment over the garage.

Like Jamie, Natalie prefers brooding to standing up for herself—but unlike Jamie, Natalie's brooding is portrayed as a character flaw, not a reasonable response to a problem. Stray is all about learning the value of honesty, and Natalie eventually discovers that she's better off openly defying her mother than sulking or sneaking around.

Goldblatt is an engaging writer, but Stray too middle-of-the-road to set the YA publishing world on fire. It isn't bubbly enough to appeal to people looking for Meg Cabot-style ebullience, and it isn't gloomy enough for people interested in hardcore teen drama. Still, Goldblatt's intelligent, likable, plausibly screwed-up heroine is more than sufficient reason to check out this book, and we're sincerely looking forward to reading her future efforts.

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Monday, August 06, 2007

In Memoriam

My godmother Karen died of ovarian cancer in 2003. Karen was an all-around fantastically awesome person who loved to cook and entertain, and her daughter Alison has made a cookbook from her collection of recipes. The cookbook, called Remember the Popovers: Recipes from Karen's Kitchen, is available for sale or download here, and all proceeds from the sales will be donated to cancer research and awareness.

I am so proud of Alison for this wonderful idea, and I encourage anybody who's interested to steal it. Making a book like this is a great way to honor someone's memory while raising money for a good cause.

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Friday, August 03, 2007

*Not* an alphabet book

Roald Dahl fans take note: the paperback edition of Wendy Cooling's D is for Dahl: A Gloriumptious A to Z Guide to the World of Roald Dahl, is due out on August 16th. Dahl was just as weird as anyone who's read one of his books would expect, and Cooling's compliation is an excellent choice for anybody who has ever wondered how he got that way.

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Thursday, August 02, 2007

The Hollywood gods are smiling.

For once, a trend we can encourage: making movie or tv adaptations of books that we haven't read and don't give a damn about.

Example number one:

Gossip Girl

The only reason we're even remotely interested in this soaptastic TV series, based on those cheesy-looking YA books, is that it's going to be narrated by Kristen Bell, star of the late, lamented Veronica Mars. Hopefully she didn't sign on just because she needed to pay the rent....

And example number two:

The Spiderwick Chronicles

We're only on nodding terms with this fantasy series, but the movie adaptation appears to have two things going for it: A) the series it's based on is co-authored by Wordcandy author Holly Black, and B) the film stars that surprisingly non-obnoxious kid from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

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Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Lisa Kleypas rides again!

Beloved Wordcandy author Lisa Kleypas will be releasing a new historical romance, Mine Till Midnight, on October 2nd. If interested, you can read a snippet from this novel here.

Note: We hate to complain about anything related to Ms. Kleypas--well, apart from her website--but that cover is really underwhelming.


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