Dec 22 2016

Shopping for Slackers: 2.0

Last year we posted a list called "Shopping for Slackers", aimed squarely at people who do most of their holiday shopping Christmas Eve. We actually stand by most of last year's picks, with a handful of updates, so we thought we would both link to the old list and post a couple of new ideas...

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Dec 20 2016

My birthday's coming up.

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I was flipping through the artwork featured on the Creative Action Network's website, and in addition to many gorgeous images inspired by our national parks, their stable of artists have also produced some really great literary images. I'm particularly impressed by this Don Quixote print, but...

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Dec 19 2016

Holiday Housekeeping

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A quick note to our readers: posting will be sporadic over the next two weeks. New material will appear... but when and how often is a mystery (even to us). So if you don't get a chance to stop by, please accept our best wishes for...

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Dec 15 2016

The Twelve Days of Dash & Lily, by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

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Rachel Cohn and David Levithan's The Twelve Days of Dash & Lily is the sequel to 2010's Dash and Lily's Book of Dares. Once again, the authors flip between the two title characters' points of view, as Dash and Lily drift around New York at the holidays. A year into their relationship, the once-devoted couple is struggling on several fronts, but don't worry—in Cohn and Levithan's books, there are few problems that can't be fixed with an impossibly twee grand gesture...

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Dec 15 2016

Holiday Book Giveaway: The Twelve Days of Dash and Lily, by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn

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Today's Holiday Book Giveaway is David Levithan and Rachel Cohn's The Twelve Days of Dash and Lily, the sequel to 2010's Dash and Lily's Book of Dares, which we reviewed here. It's also the first book we've read all week that isn't about murder or mayhem...

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Dec 14 2016

Holiday Book Giveaway: Santa, Baby, by Jennifer Crusie and others

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Today's Holiday Book Giveaway pick is the 2006 romantic short story collection Santa, Baby, which we originally reviewed here. The highlight of this collection was undoubtedly Jennifer Crusie's novella Hot Toy, which I see has recently been...

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Dec 13 2016

Envious Casca, by Georgette Heyer

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If you find Georgette Heyer's best-known romance novels, to borrow a phrase from Jane Austen, rather too light and bright and sparkling, her mysteries are considerably nastier. Heyer had a gift for creating caustic, almost misanthropic characters, and nowhere is this displayed to better effect than in the pages of Envious Casca, her 1941 locked-room whodunit...

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Dec 13 2016

Holiday Book Giveaway: Envious Casca/The Christmas Party, by Georgette Heyer

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Today's Book Giveaway is Georgette Heyer's Envious Casca, possibly my favorite country-house mystery of all time. Please note: Sourcebooks has recently reprinted this novel as A Christmas Party. I sympathize with any publisher's desire to get their hands on some of that sweet Christmas-book money (who doesn't want to read about murdering relatives during the holidays?), but...

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Dec 12 2016

Choose Your Own Misery: The Holidays, by Mike MacDonald and Jilly Gagnon

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Written by Onion alums Mike MacDonald and Jilly Gagnon, Choose Your Own Misery: The Holidays is an R-rated choose-your-own-adventure story that takes you through countless holiday misadventures, ranging from moderately gloomy to gross as hell. The set-up is simple: your family is out of town, and your relationship is too new for a shared Christmas, so...

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Dec 12 2016

Weekly Book Giveaway: Choose Your Own Misery: The Holidays, by Mike MacDonald and Jilly Gagnon

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Last week was devoted to our suggestions for stuff that we want for Christmas; this week we're thinking about others (occasionally, in between cookie breaks). Brace yourselves for five days of holiday-themed book giveaways, dear readers, beginning with Mike MacDonald and Jilly Gagnon's Choose Your Own Misery: The Holidays. A review will follow shortly...

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Dec 9 2016

Holiday Gift Pick #8

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Gift Idea #8: Girls Next Door mugs

Okay, this one is both a little hard to explain and aimed squarely at the most hardcore nerds among us (me included; I already requested one of these for Christmas). French artist Rebecca Morse's webcomic Girls Next Door started life...

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Dec 9 2016

Holiday Gift Pick #7

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Gift Idea #7: Pop Chart Lab's 100 Essential Novels Scratch-off Chart

I'm not a gambler, so I've never been able to experience the mysterious delights of scratch-off tickets. This gorgeous poster...

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Dec 9 2016

Holiday Gift Pick #6

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Gift Idea #6: See America: A Celebration of Our National Parks & Treasured Sites

2016 is the centennial anniversary of the National Parks Service, In celebration, the artists at the Creative Action Network partnered with the National Parks Conservation Association to create this book...

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Dec 8 2016

Holiday Gift Pick #5

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Gift Idea #5: Uncle Goose Alphabet Blocks

Okay, this suggestion IS for little kids. Uncle Goose produces absolutely gorgeous, 100% made-in-America wooden blocks. Their classic ABC blocks are lovely, but they make a wide variety of...

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Dec 8 2016

Holiday Gift Pick #4

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Gift Idea #4: Jason Porath's Rejected Princesses: Tales of History's Boldest Heroines, Hellions, and Heretics

Porath is a former professional animator, and his website Rejected Princesses is a fascinating, informative, and frequently genuinely moving read. This book tie-in features...

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Dec 7 2016

Holiday Gift Pick #3

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Gift Idea #3: Mini Lumio Book Lamp

At $125, this is the most expensive item on this year's list, but it's just so cool. Here's the item description...

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Dec 6 2016

Holiday Gift Pick #2

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Gift Idea #2: ThinkGeek's Harry Potter-themed 1000-piece puzzle

There are actually two versions of this puzzle. We prefer the vintage-travel-style "Ride the Hogwarts Express" one; but the Marauders' Map one is okay too. Both retail for $15.99...

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Dec 6 2016

Holiday Gift Pick #1

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It is time once again, dear readers, for our annual Holiday Gift Guide! We're going to spend the week showcasing some of our favorite book-themed gift ideas, which vary widely in style and price point...

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Dec 5 2016

Stars of Fortune, by Nora Roberts

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I really only had one problem with Nora Roberts's Stars of Fortune, but it's a big one: Roberts simply isn't very good at writing fantasy. She keeps trying, but the genre does not play to her strengths...

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Dec 5 2016

Weekly Book Giveaway: Stars of Fortune, by Nora Roberts

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This week's Book Giveaway title is Nora Roberts's Stars of Fortune, the first book in her Guardians trilogy. If past experience is anything to go by, I'll probably have a LOT of complaints, but who knows? Sometimes Roberts decides to knock it out of the park. Plus, the final book in the series comes out tomorrow, so at least I won't need to wait if I decide to finish it...

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Dec 1 2016

Apropos, but...

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Well, Entertainment Weekly has the first images from the upcoming miniseries adaptation of Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, and they look creepy as hell. That is, of course, an accurate...

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Dec 1 2016

Unexpected bedfellows

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Sports Illustrated's The Cauldron has posted an essay by Erin Finnegan about the intersection between sports stories and romance novels. I'm not sure I buy all of the author's arguments (I think the combination of wealth, fitness, and celebrity has a lot to do with the appeal of sports-star romance heroes), but...

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Nov 30 2016

Getting creative

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Quartz recently published a fascinating article about Mei Fong, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter whose book, One Child: The Story of China’s Most Radical Experiment, has been unable to find a Chinese-language publisher...

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Nov 29 2016

Great question

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Yesterday, Literary Hub set out to solve one of the great mysteries of our time: "Who is the genius behind Merriam-Webster's social media?" The short answer is: a lot of people, but...

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Nov 29 2016

Lovely!

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According to NPR, there is a long-unpublished H.G. Wells story that will finally be seeing the light of day. In its new issue, The Strand is publishing "The Haunted Ceiling", described as a short story...

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Nov 28 2016

Pride and Prejudice: Third Norton Critical Edition, by Jane Austen and edited by Donald J. Gray

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When reviewing an annotated Jane Austen novel, I always want to emphasize that I am focusing solely on the quality of the critical content featured in this particular edition. (I don't have anything left to say about Pride and Prejudice other than it's amazing, and...

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Nov 28 2016

Weekly Book Giveaway: Pride and Prejudice, Third Norton Critical Edition, by Jane Austen and edited by Donald Gray

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As everyone who loves me knows, there is nothing I find more relaxing than hate-reading critical essays about Jane Austen. I picked up this particular book right after the election, and I'm offering it up this week as part of our Weekly Book Giveaway. Here's hoping it works its soothing magic for you, too...

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Nov 22 2016

Wow.

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Somebody bought a Tintin illustration for 1.55 million euros, apparently. Seems reasonable! The image (from the popular Tintin adventure Explorers on the Moon) fetched the highest amount ever for a single cartoon drawing, well above...

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Nov 21 2016

Ambitious

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[Note: due to the shortened holiday week, we won't be doing a Book Giveaway today. See you next Monday, bargain hunters!]

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Paramount TV and Universal Cable Productions are teaming up to adapt Robert Heinlein's 1961 sci-fi classic Stranger in a Strange Land as...

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Nov 17 2016

Crafty (maybe)

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And the first full trailer is out for the Ghost in the Shell movie! I have Notes. First, the accusations of cultural appropriation in this sucker appear to be richly deserved. Second, why on Earth did they choose Rupert Sanders as the director? Or was...

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