Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Well, I suppose the full-length trailer for the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows adaptation looks nice enough. But I'm still SUPER IRRITATED by Warner Bros.' decision to split the story into two parts. It feels like a naked attempt to suck more cash out of the fans--not only will they get double the ticket prices, you just know that they'll eventually repackage the two films as one mega-movie (probably with bonus footage) so hardcore fans will have to buy the stupid thing twice.

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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Ew! But also funny!

Salon has very kindly put together a slideshow round-up of the "10 Most Baffling Twilight Products". They range from G-rated weirdness (like the Edward-shaped body pillow) to other, less SFW options, so click through at your peril!

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Monday, June 28, 2010

eBooks just aren't the same.

Okay, I love these: Penguin Books has recently released a line called "Penguin Ink", which features six modern classics repackaged with new cover art designed by tattoo artists/illustrators. Just look at little Bridget! That slightly evil expression totally doesn't work for the character, but isn't she adorable?

Note: Sadly, I don't think they're planning on redesigning Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, so if you decide you need to buy 'em both your books won't match.


Friday, June 25, 2010

Losing resources left and right

According to this terribly depressing article, the American Association of School Administrators is projecting that 19% of the nation's school districts will have fewer librarians next year, and 10% say they've already cut staff during the 2009-2010 school year.

A 2009 study on "America's Early Childhood Literacy Gap" estimates that 61% of low-income families own no age-appropriate books, forcing their children to depend upon school and public libraries to keep them from falling behind in school. Many of them also lack access to a computer, making the tech stations in libraries a vital resource.

As always, we here at Wordcandy urge everyone to consider what they can do to support reading in their communities, be that through voting, public statements, or even donating to (or shopping at) a library book sale. Every little bit helps!


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Raised by Wolves, by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

The cover of Jennifer Lynn Barnes' novel Raised by Wolves features a promotional quote from Melissa Marr describing the book as “[quite] simply, the most compelling YA werewolf book out there.” One wonders if Ms. Marr has ever read Annette Curtis Klause's shorter, sleeker Blood and Chocolate, but there's no denying that Raised by Wolves is compulsively readable, with the kind of heroine who could (and probably would) kick Edward Cullen's pointy teeth in.

15-year-old Bryn is human, but she's also the adopted ward of the most powerful werewolf in North America. She has lived according to pack law since childhood, but she's never quite accepted the rigid hierarchy of her adopted family. So when she finds a half-sane teenage werewolf locked in her guardian's basement, she can't help but chafe against the pack's ask-no-questions policy—even if it means leaving the people who have protected her for years.

The pace of Raised by Wolves moves swiftly, the supernatural politics are satisfyingly twisted, and the constantly shifting dynamic between the fiercely independent Bryn and her mysterious guardian is fascinating. (Their relationship gives off the kind of half-protective, half-kinky vibe sure to inspire a thousand “Rated-M-for-Mature” fanfics.) Bryn's “official” love interest is less interesting, although I suppose it's possible he'll be redeemed in future installments.

According to Ms. Barnes' website, the sequel to Raised by Wolves will be released next summer. I'm looking forward to it, but in the meanwhile maybe someone will get started on those fanfics...

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AustenBlog has posted a link to the trailer for Aisha, the upcoming Bollywood adaptation of Jane Austen's Emma, and it looks like so much fun, you guys. Seriously, I MUST see this movie. I don't care if I have to fly somewhere to do it, I WILL MAKE IT HAPPEN.

Note: Not to be shallow, but the dude they have (presumably) playing the Indian version of Mr. Knightley is way hotter in motion than he is in still shots.

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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Now that all is quiet on the Harry Potter front...

Diminutive Harry Potter actor Daniel Radcliffe certainly dreams big, doesn't he? He has signed on to star in an upcoming film adaptation of Erich Maria Remarque's All Quiet on the Western Front. Shooting will begin in 2012, after Radcliffe finishes up a stint on Broadway in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.

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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things, by Randy O. Frost and Gail Steketee

I cannot stand TV shows about hoarding. I am fascinated by the subject, but my limited experience with hoarders has convinced me that hoarding is an incredibly persistent condition that is difficult to manage and nearly impossible to “cure”. Watching a team of professional organizers descend on a hoarder's house, toss their possessions, and wave color-coded storage boxes around strikes me as the equivalent of punching a schizophrenic in the face and screaming at them to face reality—both pointless and cruel. So when I heard about Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things, the first comprehensive book about compulsive hoarding, I was practically giddy. Finally, an exploration of one of my pet interests that wouldn't make me cringe...

Stuff is the result of nearly two decades of hoarding research done by Dr. Gail Steketee and Dr. Randy Frost. The book consists of a series of case studies of various types of hoarders, including people terrified of wasting anything, “animal hoarders”, and children reacting to trauma by refusing to throw things away. The authors are refreshingly honest about the limitations of their research, but their succinct, well-written book does a superb job of establishing that A) hoarding is a real medical condition, B) we still don't know much about what causes it or how to treat it, and C) while there is a difference between being a garden-variety pack rat and a full-blown hoarder, an increasing number of people seem to be struggling to contain and control their material possessions.

I did some organizing work for a cleaning company when I was in college, and once—and only once!—attempted to help a pair of hoarders. The clients in question (married, middle-aged professionals with no children) had requested help with their kitchen, which they described as “cluttered”. I worked for hours, stacking hundreds of plates, sorting through at least five complete sets of silverware, and arranging countless decorative items. The floorspace was limited to a couple of “goat paths” between the sink, stove, and exit. Nothing was allowed to be thrown away, but by the end of the day I had cleared a couple of square feet on one countertop—enough space to, say, prepare a meal. When I returned a week later, I discovered that the clients had been so upset by the “emptiness” of the kitchen that they had rushed out to the Goodwill and bought nearly a dozen odds and ends to fill the space. I was too frustrated to visit the house again.

The grosser sections in Frost and Steketee's book (see: the revolting true story of Langley and Homer Collyer) were a painful reminder of the afternoon I wasted on that stupid kitchen, but many of the case studies in Stuff were simultaneously less horrific and more insidious. Lots of us know someone—and some of us are that someone—whose home has become a container for things rather than people. If that's you, Frost and Steketee end the book with some helpful resources for hoarders (and their families). The rest of us can just sit back and enjoy the experience of reading about a particular brand of crazy that has, thankfully, passed us by.

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Maybe if it's good enough, I'll begin to consider forgiving them for that movie.

Well, this is just all kinds of awesome. Hyperion has posted the book cover, release date, and plot summary for the first book in Rick Riordan's "Heroes of Olympus" series. Behold The Lost Hero, coming out on October 12th:

"After saving Olympus from the evil Titan lord, Kronos, Percy and friends have rebuilt their beloved Camp Half-Blood, where the next generation of demigods must now prepare for a chilling prophecy of their own:

Seven half-bloods shall answer the call,
To storm or fire the world must fall.
An oath to keep with a final breath,
And foes bear arms to the Doors of Death.

Now, in a brand-new series from blockbuster best-selling author Rick Riordan, fans return to the world of Camp Half-Blood. Here, a new group of heroes will inherit a quest. But to survive the journey, they'll need the help of some familiar demigods."

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Monday, June 21, 2010

Waste of a perfectly good YA series...

Gyah. The dread Miley Cyrus has apparently signed on to star in the upcoming movie adaptation of Lisa McMann's Wake. I'm torn on this one: I liked the book, but I'm not convinced it will translate well to film, and I'm really unexcited by this casting news.

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Friday, June 18, 2010

Gimmicky and overpriced

I am voting "no" on the romance-novel inspired gloss made by Three Custom Color Specialists. I like romance novels and I like lipgloss, but A) I've never read anything by author Brenda Novak, B) describing the color as a "hot pink shade complete with silver-white and opalescent shimmer" makes it sound like something I would have put on a Barbie doll in 1992, and C) I'm not paying no stinkin' $21.50 for lip gloss unless it does something magical, like in those fairytales where the heroine ends up with gold coins falling out of her mouth whenever she speaks.

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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Yeah... I think not.

Yearning for an "artistic" sci-fi film about human clones being raised as organ donors, enjoying a few totally depressing romantic liaisons, and then dying early deaths? You're in luck! The trailer for Never Let Me Go, based on Kazuo Ishiguro's novel of the same name, is now up.

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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

We approve.

As longtime readers of the site know, I love reading about frugality. Sadly, Wordcandy hardly ever receives books on this subject, which means I have to either wait patiently for library copies or actually buy the books myself. This is particularly irritating when the cheapskate how-to guide in question is only, say, 190 pages and published as a $30 hardcover.

Anyway, this is why I was so pleased to read's interview with Jeff Yeager, whose recent book The Cheapskate Next Door is a solid 256 pages and costs $12.99*. I like to see people practicing what they preach, you know?

*Note: Still too expensive for me to actually buy, but we're getting closer. Try <$5, guys.

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Something to (maybe) look forward to

Whoa: I've been wading through the descriptions of the "favorite fall teen reads" from a panel of big-name YA editors at the BookExpo of America. Their picks include:
Infinite Days, by debut author Rebecca Maizel (more vampire stuff, galley copies to be given out at screenings of Eclipse—that's probably all you need to know, right?)

Matched, by debut author Ally Condie (sci-fi about girl who rejects her futuristic arranged marriage in favor of a dude with "dangerous secrets")

Plain Kate, by Erin Bow (fantasy about a girl accused of witchcraft; most promising-sounding of the bunch)

The DUFF, by Kody Keplinger ("DUFF", for those of you who don't know, stands for "Designated Ugly Fat Friend". Looks depressing.)

Firelight, by Sophie Jordan (apparently similar to The Last Unicorn, but, like, set in high school)
Sounds... interesting?


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Deliciousness ahoy

I knew Publishers Weekly reviewed cookbooks, but I didn't realize they featured recipes, too—particularly not recipes with names like "Kate's Impossibly Fudgy Brownies with Chili and Sea Salt" (from Melissa Clark's upcoming cookbook In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite). These suckers are moving to the top of my to-do list: there are several World Cup matches I'm planning on watching in the immediate future, and nothing improves my enjoyment of watching super-fit dudes sprinting around in shorts like a recipe involving two full sticks (plus two extra tablespoons!) of butter.


A happy combination

If you're interested in Janet Evanovich's upcoming graphic novel Troublemaker (a continuation of her Alex Barnaby series), you should check out the—mildly NSFW!—Etsy Shop of Joëlle Jones, the illustrator for the book. I'm pretty stoked: unlike many author/artist combos (ahem, Marvel), this woman's stuff looks like it will be a great fit for Evanovich's writing style.

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Monday, June 14, 2010

Looking forward to it

Eoin Colfer has apparently written his first independent novel for adults. (We're discounting And Another Thing..., his Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy sequel.) Colfer's upcoming book Plugged is set in New Jersey and described as "a classic noir novel". It's due out in 2011.


Just like The Firm, but rated G, and set twenty years later...

Okay, I'd heard of this novel, but with a title like Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer I seriously thought it was a joke. But it turns out that A) it's a real book (international best-seller John Grisham's first attempt at writing for young readers), B) it's out in bookstores now, and C) Grisham's publisher is sufficiently excited about it do a one-million-copy first printing.

Still, one has to wonder how well this sucker is going to sell. A book with a title and cover like that one seems unlikely to have a lot of crossover appeal with adult readers, and how many of today's kids have heard of John Grisham?


Friday, June 11, 2010

Okay, I admit it.

Much as I hate these monster/classic book hybrids, this cover did make me laugh.

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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Let down your standards

I was really irritated when I first heard about Disney's decision to tweak their upcoming movie version of Rapunzel in order to attract more boy viewers. There's already a serious lack of girl-friendly entertainment out there, so Disney's decision felt like a betrayal of their core audience. But now that I've seen the trailer for the movie (which was retitled Tangled, because that's, like, way manly), I'm feeling much better. Tangled looks like a parody of the classic Disney "princess" movies of the past twenty years—the kind of film the minor studios make in an attempt to steal some of Disney's thunder. It's possible the movie will turn out to be better than this smirky and romance-free trailer makes it look... but for now, I'm perfectly content to let the boys have this one.

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Pride and Prejudice and footnotes

Okay, it's not the annotated Pride and Prejudice of my dreams, but DK Publishing's "Illustrated Classics" edition is still pretty great. Each book contains the original, unabridged text, and features background information, timelines, definitions, and colorful images of places, items, and information mentioned in the book. These suckers aren't perfect (better binding would have been nice, and I caught several typos), but they would make a great edition for any high school/college students out there. Plus, Powell's is selling 'em for $6.98, which, while it isn't exactly giving them away, is close enough.

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Tuesday, June 08, 2010

A fine birthday tradition

Author Kat Richardson decided to celebrate her May 22nd birthday by giving her fans a present: a previously unpublished Harper Blaine short story, available here. Here's hoping Ms. Richardson had a wonderful birthday, and that this short story will be long enough to tide me over until the August publication of Labyrinth, the next full-length novel in the Harper Blaine series!

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Nothing says "summer" like overblown Czech prose

I just don't know about your list of the top 60 books to read this summer, Los Angeles Times. I mean, I'm with you on the Daniel Pinkwater and Meg Cabot and China Miéville releases, but a bunch of Milan Kundera essays on art? That just sounds painful.

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Monday, June 07, 2010


At long last, the cover art is out for Jennifer Crusie's first solo novel in years, a Turn of the Screw-inspired book called Maybe This Time. Behold:

I'm not a huge fan of that font, but I like overall look--I think it does a good job of saying both "ghost story" and "romantic comedy", which isn't the most obvious combo.

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There's a fine line between "sweet" and "totally hokey"

Well, the trailer is out for the movie adaptation of my beloved Flipped, and I'm really not feeling it. The book was wholesome, sure, but this looks like a non-ironic version of Pleasantville with a smidgen of Nicholas Sparks thrown in. No thank you.

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Friday, June 04, 2010

I'm not gonna lie; I will probably watch this.

I have this 14-year-old family friend who only seems to enjoy books featuring preternaturally good-looking people dying horrible deaths. She's a big fan of the "Pretty Little Liars" series by Sara Shepard, which seems like a cheeseball hybrid of I Know What You Did Last Summer and every Mean Girls-inspired YA book published in the past five years. I'd heard that this series was originally intended to be a TV show, but Alloy Entertainment repackaged it as a book series... but now they're apparently back to the TV idea, because the new television adaptation kicks off this Tuesday. Admittedly, it looks totally ridiculous, but I find my tolerance for ridiculousness goes way up in the summertime.

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Thursday, June 03, 2010

Kids + books = recipe for success?

Laura Miller wrote an essay for Salon about two recent studies that link the mere presence of books in a child's home with the number of years of education the child will complete. The first study (published in the journal Research in Social Stratification and Mobility) looked at samples from 27 nations, and found that "growing up in a household with 500 or more books is 'as great an advantage as having university-educated rather than unschooled parents, and twice the advantage of having a professional rather than an unskilled father.' Children with as few as 25 books in the family household completed on average two more years of schooling than children raised in homes without any books."

The second study will be published later this year in the journal Reading Psychology, and found that giving "low-income children 12 books (of their own choosing) on the first day of summer vacation 'may be as effective as summer school' in preventing 'summer slide' -- the degree to which lower-income students slip behind their more affluent peers academically every year."

I suspect the presence of books says a LOT about the value a household places on education (which might have something to do with the number of years a child spends in school, too), but find both of these studies fascinating nonetheless. Read on, my doves! It's good for you!

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Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Odd pairing

I'm not sure why a Portland independent bookstore is celebrating Dairy Month, but celebrating it they are... so if you're in the market for a book about milk, cheese, cows, or goats be sure to check out Powell's Featured Titles List for June, highlighting dairy-friendly books ranging from Buttercup the Clumsy Cow to Cheesemonger: A Life on the Wedge.

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Tuesday, June 01, 2010


I didn't hear much about DC Comics' CMX manga line while it was up and running, but now that DC has decided to shut it down it's all over the place. The Beat posted a helpful summary of the many, many complaints about DC's behavior, but if you're looking for the Cliffs Notes version, here goes:
A. People are mad because they feel DC failed to promote the line adequately
B. They worry this is (yet another!) sign that major comic imprints don't care about girl readers, and...
C. They're mourning the loss of CMX's many tween-appropriate titles, as this is a market that's really under-served here in the U.S.
The only CMX title I cared about was Venus Capriccio, so I'm not, like, crazily emotionally invested in this debate, but I'm always sorry to see a manga imprint die.

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Best of luck, but...

The fine people at Dramabeans have been kind enough to keep us updated on the status of the upcoming K-drama adaptation of the Japanese manga Itazura na Kiss, so we were interested to learn that Hwang In-roi has apparently signed on as director. Hwang previously helmed Goong and Return of Iljimae, both of which were appealingly acted and perfectly gorgeous to look at, so this is good news for fans of the series...

...but I'm still not sure I'll be able to stomach this sucker. I mean, I'm curious, but in a rubber-necking, car-crash kind of way. Itazura na Kiss is just so bad. The heroine is supposed to be loyal and plucky and adorably dim, but she just seems pathetically stupid, and the hero is an arrogant butthead. Hwang has made some super-fun stuff, but I don't see how anyone could be up for the challenge of making this story—which features a sexual dynamic straight out of a C-grade Harlequin series romance from 1962—palatable for a wider audience than the most hardcore shojo fans.

Of course, I had almost the exact same complaint—practically word-for-word—about Twilight, so what do I know?

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