Rather oddly, there will be two big-name book releases for children coming out next month written by long-dead authors:
Shel Silverstein's Every Thing On It will be released on September 20th. This is the second original book to be published since Silverstein's death twelve years ago, and will feature more than 130 never-before-seen poems and drawings.
The Bippolo Seed and Other Lost Stories is a collection of seven rarely-seen stories by Dr. Seuss. The stories (which were originally published in magazines between 1950 and 1951) were collected by Seuss scholar Charles D. Cohen. The book will come out on September 27th.
If you're really, really patient, MTV will be airing the first video footage from the upcoming Hunger Games movie adaptation during this Sunday's VMAs. For the rest of us, I'd recommend waiting until Monday morning, where we should all be able to watch the footage without sitting through what feels like a million hours of commercials and industry back-patting.
Last weekend, while hunting for a particular book for my brother's birthday, I ventured into a Borders store. I usually avoid stores that are closing (they make me feel like a vulture), but I'd already struck out at both my local independent bookseller and the nearest chain bookstore, so Borders was my last resort. They failed me, too, when it came to the book I was searching for, but they still have TONS of books on their shelves, most marked 40 to 60% off. I managed to restrain myself to picking up the Penguin Classics Deluxe edition of Austen's Persuasion, but I might go back later and buy some of the books I've been coveting for a while, like the tattoo-art-style edition of Bridget Jones's Diary.
Anyway, if my Borders is indicative of the chain as a whole, now might be a good time for budget-minded shoppers to get jump-started on their holiday gift buying. The shopping experience is totally depressing, but the books are cheap and plentiful.
The Wall Street Journal has posted an article about the marketing hoopla surrounding never-before-published author Erin Morgenstern's upcoming novel The Night Circus. Once again, everyone involved is really, really, really hoping this book will be the "next Harry Potter".
I seriously doubt Ms. Morgenstern's novel will achieve anything close to the near-universal popularity of J.K. Rowling's series, but it has a gorgeous cover and it's getting a boatload of press, which might be enough to offset the fact that it's a standalone, not a series, and will be shelved in the general fiction section, rather than with the YA or children's books. The combination of great press and an eye-catching cover certainly generated plenty of sales for Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell (another title surrounded by "next Harry Potter" hype), but I've always suspected that way more people bought that book than actually finished it.
The fine people at AbeBooks have put together a list entitled "Courting to Dueling: Antiquated Etiquette Guides". The books are worth checking out for the covers alone, but some of the titles are pretty amazing, too. My favorite is Let's Make Mary: Being a Gentleman's Guide to Scientific Seduction in Eight Easy Steps, but Hold 'Em, Girls!: The Intelligent Woman's Guide to Men and Football runs a close second.
The new cover art has been released for the upcoming collectors' edition of Suzanne Collins's The Hunger Games. The new edition will cost $30, goes on sale in November, and features (inexplicably) a reworked version of the mockingjay pin on the original cover.
For a disturbing moment, I feared the book was covered in black velvet. But now I'm pretty sure that's just a printed-on discoloration... right?
If you're a fan of Vampire Academy author Richelle Mead, you can get a jump-start on tomorrow's release of the first novel in her new spin-off series Bloodlines. EntertainmentWeekly.com is offering both the book trailer* and a sneak peek at the novel's first four chapters.
In celebration of this weekend's D23 Expo, the Disney fan event, Disney is planning to donate $500,000 and eight million books—ranging from titles for beginning readers to teen series—to First Book, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing new books to children in need. Last year, First Book distributed a total of 7.5 million books, and Disney's generous donation will allow them to double that number this year.
If you're a Marvel Comics fan with a steady hand and an affinity for baking, it might be worth spending $36 for this Marvel Cakelet Pan from Williams Sonoma. My cake-decorating skills, sadly, are limited to pouring melted chocolate over everything and hoping for the best, but I know there are other comic book readers out there with more creativity.
And who knows what movie tickets might cost by the time they're finished?
HitFix reported last week that Warner Bros. has nearly finalized a deal that would have David Yates (the director of the last four Harry Potter movies) and Steve Kloves (the screenwriter for all but one of them) re-team up to create a multi-movie version of Stephen King's The Stand.
While this is the kind of movie I might ordinarily see, I'm not sure I can face the prospect of waiting multiple years and shelling out 20 or 30+ dollars to finish it.
According to Vulture, Jesse Eisenberg is set to star in director Richard Ayoade’s adaptation of Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s novella The Double, which they describe as "Fight Club for bureaucrats". That actually makes it sound kind of awesome, but a word of warning: Wikipedia says that D.S. Mirsky (a fellow Russian, mind you, who I'm assume was inured to the gloom of Russian literature) described it as "painful, almost intolerable reading".
Okay, the odds that I'll see the upcoming Oz: The Great and Powerful movie just went way up. According to his Twitter feed, Bruce Campbell is going to be in it. I don't know about you guys, but I'd like to see him as a Munchkin.
My parents have recently embarked on a Michael Connelly binge, so this news should make them happy: Variety is reporting that ABC is developing a TV series based on the movie adaptation of Connelly's novel The Lincoln Lawyer.
Frankly, I had no idea that movie had done well enough to merit further development, but apparently it ended up making $75 million worldwide. I'm assuming they'll downgrade the movie's stars for TV (although, do Matthew McConaughey and Ryan Phillipe really have anything better to do?), but Mom and Dad will probably tune in anyway.
While I'm pretty sure there's a copy of David Nicholls's One Day mouldering on the Wordcandy to-be-read bookshelf, none of us have ever picked it up. (Despite the relatively cheery cover, something about it has always whispered This book is secretly totally depressing.) So I really enjoyed this Guardian article about the trailer for the movie adaptation, which claims to sum the whole thing up, complete with cutting comments about Anne Hathaway's accent.
According the Times, the Edgar Allan Poe House in Baltimore has lost two years' worth of city funding and may now have to close—as a museum, anyway. (It's a designated landmark, so it can't be torn down.) If this is something you'd like to help avert, Baltimore artist Gaia has designed this very cool limited-edition raven print, which is being sold to benefit the house.
NPR's "All Tech Considered" blog has an article up featuring a handful of parenting tips about girls and social media from Rachel Simmons, author of the best-selling nonfiction title Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls. I'm not sure what makes the tips gender-specific (they seem 100% applicable for boys, too), but they're all solid suggestions.
Fans of Mervyn Peake’s Gormenghast series have long known that the author outlined a fourth and final volume called Titus Awakes before his death in 1968, but it seemed destined to remain one of literature's many lost opportunities. However, in January of 2010, Peake’s granddaughter found four composition books in her family's attic. The books contained a complete version of Titus Awakes written by Peake's widow, Maeve Gilmore, who had apparently finished the book according to her husband's outline. The novel is now available from Penguin, just in time for Peake's 100th birthday. Behold:
That "found in an attic" story sounds too cinematic to be true, frankly, but I've always felt that way about the Gormenghast books. The entire series is like an Edward Gorey drawing made novel-length flesh.
Much to my delight, there is a new biography of Georgette Heyer coming out this October. According to The Bookseller, Jennifer Kloester's book Georgette Heyer: Biography of a Bestseller includes plenty of juicy details about Ms. Heyer's accusation in 1950 that Barbara Cartland had plagiarized her characters... and made them much stupider. (Heyer felt Cartland couldn't even copy a decent book.) Heyer apparently said: "I think I could have borne it better had Miss Cartland not been so common-minded, so salacious and so illiterate", and added she would "rather by far that a common thief broke in and stole all the silver".
Man, I wish I could have met Georgette Heyer. That woman knew how to turn a phrase. Particularly a mean phrase.
The Times recently published a list of their online edition's most looked-up words of 2011, and BuzzFeed has the top 20, along with their definitions. Feel free to test your vocab prowess! (For what it's worth, I only knew eleven of 'em, and at least two of those were shaky.)
Let me start by giving credit where credit is due: the Wordcandy to-be-read bookshelf is overflowing with YA gothic romances, but Ty Roth’s novel So Shelly stands out. Inspired by the notorious love lives of the Romantic writers and their various paramours, Roth has taken the "rich kids behaving badly" formula and infused it with some scandalous 200-year-old literary gossip.
Set in modern-day Ohio, So Shelly is told from the perspective of John Keats, a lonely high school junior whose only friend—Michelle "Shelly" Shelley—has recently drowned in an apparent boating accident. Accompanied by Shelly’s lifelong friend Gordon Byron, Keats steals Shelly’s ashes from her memorial service. The boys are determined to lay her body to rest on a small island in Lake Erie, and as they make their escape they analyze their shared past, romantic and otherwise.
Despite its title, So Shelly is really about Byron. George Gordon, Lord Byron, is one of the most notorious figures in the history of English literature, and Roth faithfully includes many of the eyebrow-raising elements of his life story, including his childhood sexual abuse at the hands of his governess, his incestuous affairs with his half-sister and cousins, and his obsession with Greek freedom fighters. Shelly’s life is much more freely adapted—Roth combines elements of Mary Shelley and Percy Bysshe Shelley’s biographies into one character, and [SPOILER] adds some deeply unnecessary drama to their already drama-filled lives in the form of an incestuous rape storyline. Keats gets the shortest shrift, and appears as a nebbishy kid whose family members have a bad habit of dying young.
Byron could be the poster boy for the list of literary geniuses whose work has to be admired despite the horrific behavior exhibited in their personal lives, and Percy Bysshe Shelley and John Keats were no charmers, either. Plus, all three writers have lost much of their name recognition, although we sincerely hope most high school students have heard of Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein. This left us scratching our heads over who, exactly, Roth’s novel was written for—because if you’re unfamiliar with (or unimpressed by) Byron’s literary output, So Shelly is just a novel about a womanizing jackass.
If I was Mark Zuckerberg, I'd keep a copy of this upcoming biographical comic under my pillow, and whenever I started feeling too big for my britches I'd take it out and stare at it. I bet two minutes of looking at a portrait like that would be enough to deflate anyone's ego.
When publisher Little, Brown & Company e-mailed booksellers a list of their upcoming books last week, there was a November 14th release that excited quite a bit of curiosity: Untitled, by Anonymous. Tantalizingly, the publisher described the book as "the inside story of life with one of the most controversial figures of our time" and promised a huge media roll-out, but that was all the detail they offered. After a few days of speculation, the Times is now reporting that the co-author of Untitled is Catherine Hooper, the fiancée of Andrew Madoff, son of jailed Wall Street financier Bernard Madoff.
If, as now seems likely, this ends up being a tell-all memoir about life with the Madoff family, it shouldn't be confused with this... the other upcoming tell-all memoir about the Madoffs, this one written by Stephanie Madoff-Mack, the widow of Bernard's son Mark.
(And I know this is a minor point, but what do they mean by calling Madoff "controversial"? Where's the controversy? Don't we all basically agree he's a skeezebucket?)
I finally saw the trailer for the live-action J-drama version of the manga Ouran High School Host Club. Behold:
While I enjoy the silliness of the Ouran manga, and thought it worked really well as an anime, this is not one of those stories that translates naturally into the live-action format. I'll probably check out at least one episode of this drama... eventually.