Monday, January 31, 2011

I'm actually surprised they haven't already made this.

According to the MTV Movies Blog, the long-rumored film adaptation of Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game might finally be happening. Nothing has officially been greenlit, but the project has apparently acquired a producer, director, and writer, so I'd give it a solid 75% chance of survival.

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Encyclopedias for the people

In the ten years of its existence, Wikipedia has posted more than 3.5 million articles in English, but a recent New York Times article pointed out that barely 13 percent of its hundreds of thousands of contributors are women. The executive director of the Wikimedia Foundation has set a goal to raise the share of female contributors to 25 percent by 2015, but in the meanwhile traditionally female-oriented subjects (like friendship bracelets) will probably continue to get short shrift, while traditionally male-oriented subjects (like baseball cards) will feature more useless facts than one can shake a stick at.

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Friday, January 28, 2011

Grim signs

The NY Times has posted another article about the struggles of independent booksellers. The American Booksellers Association just hosted its 6th annual Winter Institute, and the store owners who attended were clearly willing to try just about anything to stay relevant. (Bookstores with wine bars! Cafes! Online presences! Whatever!) The article also mentions the most recent rumors about the Borders chain, which delayed payments to publishers last month and appears to be within a gnat's whisker of closing its doors.

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Thursday, January 27, 2011

The stomach churns

And in far, far more horrifying movie news, when I was looking up Hunger Games director Gary Ross, I found out that his next film (after HG) is apparently going to be a movie adaptation of one of my all-time favorite books, Norton Juster's 1961 novel The Phantom Tollbooth.

In a word: GYAH. The Phantom Tollbooth is just not meant to be a movie*—particularly not some kind of 3-D, CGI-laden extravaganza sure to send me into spasms of rage. Here's hoping this project dies a quick and quiet death.

*Actually, Wikipedia informs me that it already is, but I'm choosing to ignore that.

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Coming soon to (every) theater near you...

According to Cinematical, Lionsgate Films has announced a release date for their upcoming adaptation of Suzanne Collins's The Hunger Games: March 23, 2012. As far as I know, they have a director (Pleasantville's Gary Ross), but no cast has been announced.

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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Trendy and cheap!

Budget-minded readers take note: UrbanOutfitters' sale section is currently boasting loads of heavily-discounted and hipster-friendly reading material, including the recent reprints of the first three Sweet Valley High books for $1.99 each*, Emilie Baltz's Junk Foodie (also $1.99), and April Winchell's Regretsy ($4.99).

*Which is still more than they're worth, but whatever.

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Tuesday, January 25, 2011


I haven't seen many episodes of the CW's Vampire Diaries, but I was surprised by how much the few I have watched reminded me of mid-90s TV. Thankfully, the female stars of Vampire Diaries wear better lip-liner, but on the whole the show seemed pretty tasteful and low-key, particularly in an era of Skins and Jersey Shore.

According to, the CW's new marketing campaign is out to change that.

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Bargain basement goods, still-ridiculous prices

Remember those Anthropologie fake books we were trashing back in September? Well, they were $188, but now they have been marked down to a mere $99.95, which means the price only needs to drop by another eighty bucks or so before we can actually call them a (semi) worthwhile purchase!

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Monday, January 24, 2011

Kiss that diet goodbye

The Hollywood Reporter has announced that Anthony Hopkins is in talks to star in a film adaptation of Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho, Stephen Rebello's 1998 non-fiction book. I'm having some trouble picturing the newly svelte, dapper Hopkins as the rotund director, but here's hoping he'll enjoy the experience of filling out Hitchcock's famous silhouette.

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Because a little Gogol goes a long way

NPR aired a story this morning on the Brooklyn Academy of Music's classical theater season, which includes plays by Ibsen, Gogol, and Shakespeare, and features such big-name draws as Fiona Shaw and Alan Rickman (who played Petunia Dursley and Severus Snape, respectively), Geoffrey Rush (Pirates of the Caribbean's Barbossa), and Derek Jacobi (of I, Claudius and Brother Cadfael fame). The quality of these productions is such that even I, a person who views depressing theater about as enthusiastically as a visit to the dentist, would probably feel obliged to shell out the money for tickets.

...happily, they're all in New York, so I have been spared. Instead, I suggest listening to the article above, which allows you to hear a few spectacular snippets of the actors reading their lines. It's way cheaper, and that's about all the King Lear I can handle this early in the week.

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Friday, January 21, 2011

2011: A Preview

Well, dear readers, it's time* for our annual list of stuff to get excited about in the upcoming year. Here's our list of the ten literary events and releases we're most looking forward to 2011:

1. The film adaptation of Brian Selznick's The Invention of Hugo Cabret

Of course, it's possible this will turn into another Golden Compass, but it has an A-list cast and the early images look promising. The PTB at Warner Bros. and Columbia are aiming for a theatrical release on December 9th.

2. Jennifer Crusie's Liz Danger novellas

We don't know much about these, but they have fun titles, they're solo projects by Crusie, and they all seem to be coming out this summer, which is AWESOME.

3. Michael Buckley's last Sisters Grimm book

This is the most bittersweet item on our list. We're super-stoked about this release, but almost equally sad the series is ending. No release date has been announced yet, but if Buckley follows the example set by the previous eight books, we can expect it sometime this spring.

4. Kelley Armstrong's next young-adult series

The Darkest Powers trilogy was great, so we have equally high hopes for its continuation, kicking off with April 12th's The Gathering.

5. The K-drama adaptation of the classic 80s manga City Hunter

This manga was 100% ridiculous, but in a fun way, and we fully expect the upcoming TV adaptation starring smoking-hot actor Lee Min-ho to be our springtime drama addiction.

6. Flora's Fury, by Ysabeau S. Wilce

We've been waiting for the third book in this superb YA fantasy series for nearly three years, so we were thrilled to hear rumors that Wilce is planning a fall release. (We were considerably less pleased to see a release date of 2015 on her publisher's website, but we're choosing to believe that is a computer error. Please don't rain on our parade, Houghton Mifflin.)

7. The final Harry Potter movie

Admittedly, Potter fatigue has set in at Wordcandy HQ (which is why we haven't seen Part I of this movie yet), but we're looking forward to sending off this series in style. Some kind of viewing party on July 15th is definitely going to be in order.

8. The third Penderwicks novel

We've really enjoyed the first two books in this award-winning, wholesome-but-not-saccharine series, which means the upcoming novel The Penderwicks at Point Mouette is probably going to lead to an all-out fight over which of one us gets to read it first.

9. Rick Riordan's next two books: May 3rd's Throne of Fire and October's Son of Neptune

There would be a staff-wide fight over these books, but let's face it: we'll all end up buying our own copies. That's how impatient we are.

10. The next bunch of Puffin Classics editions

We realize that not everyone gets as excited over new editions of classic books as we do (particularly when the books in question have never gone out of print). But these cool, colorful, and inexpensive reprints make our hearts sing, and we are so grateful to Puffin Books for making these famous stories attractive to a new generation of children.

*It's actually a little past time.

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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Just what the interior designer ordered

The fine people at Bluewater Productions have expanded their booming line of biographical comics to include the affianced pair of Prince William and Kate Middleton. Behold:

And just think: if you buy the special collector's edition, it comes with "pinup posters, special illustrations of the wedding as well as a comparison with Diana and Charles' 1981 wedding". I bet your bedroom is just crying out for a poster that looks like the image above, isn't it?

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What people want to read... when it's free.

TresSugar has provided us with a list of last week's top 10 ten free e-Book downloads, according to Project Gutenberg. I was okay with the fact that I haven't read all ten of these books (particularly since so many of them are international classics), but I'm a little distressed to realize I've never even heard of Elsie Lincoln Benedict and Ralph Paine Benedict's How To Analyze People on Sight: The Five Human Types.

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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Seriously, does her publisher hate her?

As longtime Wordcandy readers know, my affection for the books of romance novelist Eloisa James is lukewarm at best. However, I was mildly tempted by her latest series, which apparently blends Regency romance novels with classic fairy tales—two things I totally love. But that was before I actually saw them:

Those covers do not inspire confidence.


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

What a waste of great cover art.

While poking around my local Target store over the weekend, I ran across the newly-released "motion comic" Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season Eight DVD. I had never heard of the motion comic format, but now I'm better informed: motion comics are cartoon/comic hybrids, and (judging by this one, at least) they are incredibly cheap-looking—i.e., stuff moves, but barely. Check it out:

Seriously, the combination of unrecognizable voice actors, C-grade animation, and terrible artwork (which we've been complaining about since the comic's debut issue) makes us even sadder that the legit Buffy cartoon never made it on-air.

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This is a gift from fate.

Thank you, GoFugYourself ladies, for introducing me to this, which in turn lead me to this. My week has now been made.

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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Show your Judy Blume love!

Random House Audio has kicked off a Judy Blume Journal Contest. Share your favorite Blume-related story or memory online and you'll be entered to win an iPod Touch, iTunes gift card, collection of audiobooks, and a personalized message from Judy Blume herself. Readers will choose their favorites, and the five entries with the most votes by Feb. 18th will become finalists. Judy Blume will pick the grand prize winner, runner up, and the three finalists. Good luck to all who enter!

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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Price-gouging at Hogwarts

The NY Times recently posted an article about what they describe as the "unexpected, turbocharged success of the $265 million Potter playland" (i.e., Universal's Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park in Florida). The article and its accompanying photographs make the park look pretty cool... but I can't help but think about the blogger FoodJunk's recent reviews of two Harry Potter-themed foodstuffs: Pink Coconut Ice and Pumpkin Juice. Neither one of 'em sounded enticing, and their ludicrously high prices left me feeling rather depressed about the park as a whole.

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Pride and Prejudice goes R-rated

And speaking of Jane Austen-related pain, check this out:

The above is what its publisher describes as a "deliciously naughty updating" of Austen's Pride and Prejudice, making it "the story you love, with the heat turned up to high". Unfortunately, a disgruntled reader review sounds less appealing:
"[The book is] literally Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice word-for-word with several sex scenes and sporadic, unnecessary sentences added mostly in bold. I kid you not. You will pay $7.00 for a few extra unamazing sex scenes and/or sexual dialogue embedded in the original Pride and Prejudice."
Sadly, the second quote has the ring of truth to it, so I won't be buying this sucker. But I confess, I am totally curious: are the sex scenes scattered throughout the book? How does that work? Do Elizabeth and Darcy, say, have sex during her stay at Netherfield, and then resume their previous relationship? I'm really hoping someone (read: Megan) will flip through this at the bookstore and find out for me.

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Monday, January 10, 2011


TVLine is reporting that ABC is planning an eight-hour-long television miniseries adaptation of Gregory Maguire's massive hit Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West. And as the TV version will apparently be based on the book (rather than the equally popular musical adaptation), viewers won't have to sit through a(nother) badly Auto-Tuned version of Defying Gravity.


Sense and sensibility and OH, MY EYES

Ugh, another one?


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Thursday, January 06, 2011

Camelot: now with even more potboiler action!

Arthurian legend fans take note: Starz will be airing a new drama called Camelot, debuting April 1st. This new adaptation will be heavy on the sex, sword-fighting, and magic, and (thankfully) it's not a musical. It will feature Joseph Fiennes as Merlin, Jamie Campbell Bower as Arthur, Eva Green as Morgan and Tamsin Egerton as Guinevere. Click here for a lengthy preview.

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Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Either they're missing something, or I am.

My, my. Publisher New South, Inc. is releasing a new edition of Mark Twain's Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn that will remove the bucketload of racial slurs in Huckleberry Finn.

New South claims the novel "can be enjoyed deeply and authentically without those continual encounters with the hundreds of now-indefensible racial slurs", but in the very same press release they describe those same slurs as "pejorative racial labels that Twain employed in his effort to write realistically about social attitudes of the 1840s".

Uh, don't those statements seem contradictory? I can certainly understand and respect people's discomfort with Huckleberry Finn (and I'm no Twain fan myself, actually), but you can't just wipe something out and pretend it didn't happen—particularly not something so central to both the novel and its place in the annals of American literature.

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Tuesday, January 04, 2011

The Green Lantern flexes for the big screen

I have my doubts about this Green Lantern trailer:

It looks seriously hokey, and I've never really been into the whole golden-child appeal of either Blake Lively or Ryan Reynolds. However, my standards for movie-viewing go way down in the summer ("There's air-conditioning, right? Oh, and does anybody I like die in it? No? Okay, I'm in."), so I'll probably end up seeing it.

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Monday, January 03, 2011

Three Black Swans, by Caroline B. Cooney

Note: We failed to post a couple of contest entries, so the last three book reviews will go up between now and Wednesday. Better late than never, right?

Contest Book #19

First cousins Missy and Claire, the heroines of Caroline B. Cooney's latest novel Three Black Swans, are so close they can finish each other's sentences. They also look uncannily similar, so when Missy is assigned a school project on scientific hoaxes, she and Claire successfully trick her classmates into thinking they are long-lost identical twins. A video of the girls' dramatic "reunion" is posted online, but what began as a joke raises some very disturbing questions—particularly when a third teen contacts them, claiming to be their triplet.

If Three Black Swans had been written by any other author, my suspicions about where the plot was heading might have gone in a very different direction. (Human clones? Space aliens? A science experiment gone wrong?) But Cooney has made a career out of writing angst-filled suspense novels about long-buried family secrets, and it was immediately obvious that this was yet another entry in a long list of smart, teen-friendly dramas about dishonest parents and courageous children. I found certain plot elements—like the speed with which the video reaches the third girl, or Missy's parents' efforts to conceal the circumstances of her birth—far-fetched, but Cooney's many fans are sure to enjoy her latest effort.

[Review based on a publisher-provided copy.]

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Finally, a chance for all that Jane Austen fanfic to pay off...

The fine people at The Republic of Pemberley are hosting a writing contest focused on Jane Austen-inspired short stories. If you are an unpublished author of legal age, your Austen-esque story could be included in the upcoming anthology Jane Austen Made Me Do It, tentatively scheduled to be published by Ballantine next fall. Manuscripts must be submitted between January 1, 2011 and February 13, 2011, and the grand prize is both publication in the anthology and payment of $500. Click here for the complete rules, and good luck!

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