Thursday, September 30, 2010

Ooooh, hardcore!

Well, dear readers, here are a couple of movie trailers based on books that wouldn't quite make the Wordcandy A-list. First, I Am Number Four:

It's that dude from that terrible-looking Beastly movie, once again exploring the dramatic potential of pushing back the hood of his jacket while being impressively back-lit. Also, I hear this book was co-written by James Frey. Neither of these facts recommend it to me. Next up, True Grit:

While the "Retribution: This Christmas" tag line made me laugh, the Wikipedia page for this book—a dubious source, I realize—informs me that the 1969 John Wayne film adaptation of this book added a romantic element between its main character (a 14-year-old girl) and an adult Texas Ranger. In this new adaptation, the Ranger character will be played by 39-year-old actor Matt Damon, so I'm sincerely hoping the Coen Bros. take any hint of romance out.


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

At least Harry Potter didn't make the list...

In honor of Banned Books Week, here's the list of last year's top-ten most frequently challenged books (according to the American Library Association):

1. ttyl; ttfn; l8r, g8r (series), by Lauren Myracle
Reasons: drugs, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group

2. And Tango Makes Three, by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson
Reasons: homosexuality

3. The Perks of Being A Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
Reasons: anti-family, drugs, homosexuality, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, suicide, unsuited to age group

4. To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
Reasons: offensive language, racism, unsuited to age group

5. Twilight (series) by Stephenie Meyer
Reasons: religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group

6. Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group

7. My Sister’s Keeper, by Jodi Picoult
Reasons: homosexuality, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexism, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, violence

8. The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things, by Carolyn Mackler
Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group

9. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group

10. The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier
Reasons: nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group

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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Hipster cruelty

I am very fond of bookends, but I'm only mildly tempted by these "Glass Half Bookends" from Urban Outfitters:

They look cool, and they're supposed to double as vases (although putting flowers in 'em might stain your books), but they're $58, and I'm concerned that the above image might encourage some dimwitted UO customer to actually use them as an aquarium. NOTE TO DIMWITTED UO CUSTOMERS: That is a terrible way to keep goldfish.

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Monday, September 27, 2010

The passion of the gnomes

Well, the trailer for Gnomeo and Juliet is out:

On the one hand, there's an A-list cast (well, except for Ozzy Osbourne). On the other, there's Elton John music and that inexplicable (and totally unfunny) fungi/"fun guy" pun. I'm reserving judgment, but right now my hopes are not high.

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Friday, September 24, 2010

Consider that shark officially jumped

It's been a few weeks since I last experienced that "Wait. It's not April 1st, is it?" feeling, but it's back:

Apparently, this Twilight-inspired road safety sign in Portland, Oregon is, like, a real thing. The mind boggles.


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Chatting about the common cold has a fascinating interview up with science journalist Jennifer Ackerman, author of Ah-Choo! The Uncommon Life of Your Common Cold. I had no idea I'd find the subject so interesting, but in addition to providing an easy-to-follow explanation of the science behind colds, Ackerman also points out some previously-unconsidered silver linings: you catch fewer colds as you get older, having a cold allows you time for uninterrupted reading (how Wordcandy-friendly!), and there is some very early, controversial science suggesting that having a cold might actually keep the 'flu at bay.

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Why does Voldemort's hissing always, always make me laugh?

Speak of the new Harry Potter movie and a new trailer appears:


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

So many bad ideas in one place...

Speaking of the book-to-movie transition, the fine people at BuzzSugar have put together a list of 15 Books To Read Before They're Adapted For the Screen. At least at this point, I'm only planning on seeing one of these movies (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows), and it's based on a book I've already read, but who knows? Maybe the film versions of these books will look so awesome I'll change my mind.

Note: I cannot believe they're actually making a Nicholas Sparks adaptation starring Zac Efron. That sounds like a SNL skit, not a real movie.


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Artemis Fowl the movie: MIA

Entertainment Weekly's Popwatch column has posted an article guessing at the next YA book to be adapted for the big screen. Most of the story is pure speculation—will Hollywood ever made a 3-D adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time? Who knows?—but it does provides several updates on various book-to-film projects that seem lost in limbo, including Artemis Fowl, The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, and Sweet Valley High.

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Looking to waste some time?

Have I got the iTunes app for you: several "classic" Choose Your Own Adventure titles have been launched recently as interactive reading experiences for the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad.

Even as a child, I hated CYOA books (they aggravated my OCD, which forced me to constantly backtrack and read every potential outcome), but I suppose this news will warm the hearts of the (inexplicably) vast numbers of people who actually experience '80s nostalgia.

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Friday, September 17, 2010

Get thee to a bookstore

How did this slip by me? I know last month felt like it was all Mockingjay, all the time in the kids' lit world, but seriously: how did I miss this?

Author Norton Juster and illustrator Jules Feiffer, the creative team who produced The Phantom Tollbooth (one of my top-five favorite books EVER), have a new book out*. Behold:


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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Just like in Scooby Doo

As you all know, I have many problems with fake books. One, they're fake books. Two, what are you supposed to keep in them? They're tiny! Three—and this is particularly true in this case—they're frequently crazy expensive. Behold the "Well-Thumbed Book Boxes", currently available through

Yes, they're pretty colors. And yes, I guess you could store SOMETHING inside them (your TV remote?). But for $188, I would insist that my fake books be the kind that, when moved, expose a secret room hidden behind a library bookshelf.


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Ah, gimmicks

Yet another snippet of Disney Princess news has come my way: a sing-a-long version of Beauty and Beast will be shown in a limited number of theaters on September 29th and October 2nd. Hopefully this will tide fans of the film over until 2012, when the company is apparently planning to re-work the film into 3D.

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Romeo and Juliet + Zombies = Inevitable

NPR has posted a review of Anne Fortier's novel Juliet, a modern, completely re-imagined take on Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. I'm not sure I'll read this—the cover is totally boring, and I am more than a little concerned by Fortier's comments about not wanting to be "weighed down" by doing too much research—but I am sincerely hopeful that this book will inspire a new craze for re-working Shakespeare, allowing poor, much-abused Jane Austen to rest in peace.

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Monday, September 13, 2010

Eat, Pray, Love, shop

Meg sent me this link to a limited-release line of three Eat, Pray, Love-inspired fragrances on Friday, but the maker has already sold out. The sprays are apparently still available in some stores, but if you want one, you'd better get cracking.

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Friday, September 10, 2010

"Best of 2010" already?

The 2010 Hugo Awards for outstanding science fiction or fantasy works were given out this week. The best novel award was a tie this year—China Miéville's The City & The City and Paolo Bacigalupi's The Windup Girl. Congratulations to the winners!

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Thursday, September 09, 2010

Safety first

Check out this owl-shaped bookend from Etsy artist Aprilfoss:

Pretty cute, huh? And, at $26, relatively affordable. Aprilfoss's owls come in a wide variety of colors and fabrics, and each one should be strong enough to hold up a couple of kids' books. They are stuffed with dried beans, so I'm assuming I should be warning you about choking hazards or something—so don't let your kid gnaw through the fabric, okay?

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Witch-hunting for fun and profit

Cinematical is linking Noomi Rapace (who played Lisbeth Salander in the Swedish film adaptation of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo) to an upcoming American project called Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters. Apparently, the movie will take place 15 years after the witch-killing brother and sister's first brush with death, and focus on their new line of work: supernatural bounty hunting. Now this could turn into something like the painfully bad Van Helsing, but with rumored stars like Rapace and Jeremy Renner, as well as director Tommy Wirkola (who made the Norwegians-battling-Nazi zombies film Dead Snow) it should be interesting—or at least fully embrace its campiness.

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Wednesday, September 08, 2010

From one creepy extreme to another

These oddly melancholy images of obese Disney princesses are popping up all over the Internet. (They're drawn by Aly Bellissimo, the artist behind the questionably-SFW Creepy Miranda blog.) I was originally a little disturbed by the idea of re-imagining these iconic characters as dangerously overweight... but then I realized that none of the original princesses (pictured here) had waistlines bigger than their heads. So I guess if we can handle one type of disturbing body type, we can handle another, right?

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Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Down for the count

PublishersWeekly recently posted an interesting article about chain bookstores' ongoing attempts to stay profitable during the economic downturn. Of the three major U.S. book chains (Books-A-Million, Borders, and Barnes and Noble), only B&N posted a sales gain in the most recent quarter—and that was due to strong online sales, which overcame a 2.6% loss in its retail trade stores. According to PW, the three stores are tweaking their floor layouts in various ways, including expanding bargain sections and non-book offerings, in an effort to respond to current demands. Frankly, I'm not sure how much (if any) of this will help... but at least no one is going gently into the good night, you know?

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Now in glorious Technicolor

Cinematical informs me that Lionsgate Films is pondering three directors for their upcoming Hunger Games movie adaptation: Gary Ross (Pleasantville), David Slade (The Twilight Saga: Eclipse), and Sam Mendes (Road to Perdition). They've also taken the original script—which was written by Suzanne Collins herself—and turned it over to a professional scriptwriter for a second draft.

Sounds like things are moving right along, although I suspect my enthusiasm for this project will depend heavily on casting, and only slightly less heavily on whether or not I can avoid seeing it in 3D. I'm sorry, but there are some things I really don't need to see flying out at me....

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Friday, September 03, 2010

Like Gokusen, but even stranger?

AnimeNewsNetwork informs me that a live-action(!) television adaptation of Deka Wanko (the current manga from Gokusen creator Kozueko Morimoto) is in the works.

Now, I haven't read Deka Wanko (like most series that I actually want to read, it's not licensed here in the U.S.), but from what I hear it's about a rookie detective with a dog-like sense of smell who solves cases in frilly Gothic-Lolita outfits using the power of her nose. I look forward to seeing a real, live actor try to tackle this role, as it sounds like a significant departure from the police procedurals we usually see on American TV.

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Thursday, September 02, 2010

Don't do it, guys.

A television adaptation of Neil Gaiman's The Sandman series, created without involvement by the author?

This, dear readers, is a Very Bad Idea.

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Weirdness collides!

If you check out the website for Icelandic musician Bjork, you can see the video for her song "Moomins and the Comet Chase". It's part of the soundtrack for the movie based on Tove Jansson's children's classic Comet in Moominland, and 100% of the funds generated by the track will be donated to Pakistani children's charities, because Bjork is awesome.

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Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Right there with you, NPH

Wow, this movie (based on the YA book Beastly by Alex Flinn, and inspired by the "Beauty and the Beast" fairytale) looks seriously terrible:

I'm actually almost impressed by how bad this looks.

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