Oct 17 2017

Sneaking a peek at The Book of Dust

NPR recently posted an "exclusive first read" excerpt from Philip Pullman's The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage, due out this week. I don't think this book is going to have any problems selling, but if you're still angry over the way the His Dark Materials trilogy ended...

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Oct 16 2017

Misfit City, Issues 1 & 2, by Kiwi Smith and Kurt Lustgarten

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New comic series Misfit City sets out to recapture the oddball charms of 80s kids' adventure movies (specifically, The Goonies), but my favorite thing about this story is the way it depicts living in a real town that's best known as a nostalgia-driven tourist trap...

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Oct 16 2017

Weekly Book Giveaway: Misfit City, Issues 1 & 2, by Kiwi Smith and Kurt Lustgarten

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Our latest Book Giveaway is the first two issues of Misfit City, a new comic series written by Kirsten "Kiwi" Smith and Kurt Lustgarten. The story features a lot of tributes to classic 80s kids' movies (particularly The Goonies), so if you're a fan of the kind of film that, looking back, you cannot believe was ever marketed to children, congratulations: you're in luck...

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Oct 12 2017

So jealous.

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According to the Southwark News, the Dulwich Picture Gallery will be showing the first major UK retrospective of work by Tove Jansson, creator of the Moomin books. While she is regarded as one of the most iconic illustrators of the 20th century, Jansson's non-Moomin-work is rarely shown...

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Oct 12 2017

The Tell-Tale Heart (plus corn)

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Here's the trailer for (yet another) Stephen King movie adaptation, in case you were longing for more. The movie is based on King's novella 1922, and is currently available to stream on Netflix. I haven't read the short story, but...

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Oct 11 2017

A little cheesy, but...

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I checked out the first episode of Deadly Manners, a new 10-episode podcast that features a big-name cast (including LEVAR BURTON!!!) doing a radio-drama take on a vintage-style mystery. The concept is great, although I'm not 100% sold on their execution—there's too much variation in the quality of the voice acting, and...

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Oct 10 2017

I want it.

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And speaking of cool visuals, check out this extraordinary Instagram video of an edition of Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451. If the video is to be believed, Bradbury's text only appears when the reader applies heat to the page. I have absolutely no idea how this book works...

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Oct 10 2017

Wasteful

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The Seattle Repertory Theatre is currently running a theatrical adaptation of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. The local paper recently posted a lukewarm review that killed any desire I had to see the play, but I still wanted to...

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Oct 9 2017

Immortally Yours, by Lynsay Sands

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It's been years since I've read one of Lynsay Sands's vampire romance novels, but they have always stood out in my mind: in her long-running Argeneau series, vampires are not the result of dark magic or whatever, but rather the products of blood-powered nanotechnology first developed in Lost Atlantis. The quality of her individual installments might vary, but Sands gets all the gold stars for coming up with such a delightfully weird premise...

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Oct 9 2017

Weekly Book Giveaway: Immortally Yours, by Lynsay Sands

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Keeping up with our Halloween theme, our current Book Giveaway is Lynsay Sands's latest Argeneau novel Immortally Yours. I'm not sure what installment this is (possibly #18,567), but Sands is a reliably fun writer, so my hopes are high. A full review will follow shortly...

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Oct 5 2017

Cookie decorating not for beginners

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The Kitchn just posted a list of 18 Harry Potter-inspired Halloween recipes. I can resist most of these ideas (they're very heavy on pumpkin and butterscotch flavors, neither of which are my favorite), but I am in love with the Weasley Sweater cookies idea...

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Oct 4 2017

Maybe on TV?

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The trailer is out for the upcoming movie adaptation of Agatha Christie's Crooked House. It has a great cast and the sets look amazing, but if you haven't read the book, be warned: Crooked House is one of Christie's most...

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Oct 4 2017

Promo-worthy

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I rarely use the website Thread Reader, but occasionally it's super useful. I was fascinated by this thread (by nonfiction author Jason Fagone) about Elizebeth Smith Friedman, a Shakespearean scholar-turned-codebreaker who spent decades working on some of the most complicated codes of the 20th century...

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Oct 3 2017

Every bit helps

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There was a recent article on BigThink about the health benefits of reading—specifically, the ways in which it strengthens your brain. Some of the stuff about white matter and enhanced empathy was beyond my ken, but the article confirms my basic belief about the mental boost...

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Oct 3 2017

Nerd scandal

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This is very book-world-specific, as dramatics go, but apparently people are quite worked up over the authors chosen for 2018's World Book Day lineup. According to the Guardian, too many of the featured books (which will be given away to children) are the products of celebrity writers, rather than children's authors...

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Oct 2 2017

Haunted Love, Vol. 1: Tales of Gothic Romance, by assorted authors

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When I ran across a copy of Haunted Love #1 (first published in 1973) at a local antique store, I was hoping for something enjoyably terrible. In my head, I was picturing an illustrated vintage Harlequin novel, but with, like, vampires or whatever. Sadly, the contents were neither as trashy nor as entertaining as I expected, and never came close to living up to the cheeseball promise of that cover...

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Oct 2 2017

Weekly Book Giveaway: Haunted Love Vol. 1

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In honor of Halloween, our first Book Giveaway in October is Haunted Love Vol.1: Tales of Gothic Romance, first published in 1973. You can't judge this book by its cover, guys: sadly, it falls short on both the gothic and romantic fronts. A full review will follow shortly...

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Sep 28 2017

I'm more adventurous when things are free.

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The Guardian just posted a fairly positive review of Ever, Jane, a Jane-Austen-inspired online role-playing game created by Judy L Tyrer, formerly of Linden Labs (the studio behind the online world Second Life). I'm not a fan of online role-playing, but I might give Ever, Jane a shot...

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Sep 28 2017

Win some; lose some

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I have trouble taking magazines like GQ seriously, but once in a while they surprise me, as they did with their utterly gripping recent longform article "The Untold Story of Kim Jong-nam’s Assassination", by Doug Bock Clark. The article is gruesome but fascinating, and well worth both your time and the embarrassment of...

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Sep 27 2017

Ouch.

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Whoa: an elementary school librarian named Liz Phipps Soeiro just published an open letter to Melania Trump, responding to Trump's gift of ten Dr. Seuss books. The tone of the letter is civil, and many (though not all) of the author's criticisms are valid, but... but... I just can't get behind responding to a gift with a condescending explanation of where the gift-giver went wrong...

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Sep 26 2017

Mad props

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Last week, NASA dedicated the new Katherine G. Johnson Computational Research Facility with a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by Katherine Johnson herself, one of the key figures in Margot Lee Shetterly's bestselling nonfiction book Hidden Figures. In 2015, Johnson was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom

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Sep 26 2017

That doesn't sound promising.

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According to NPR, Indian Country Today—a 30-year-old-weekly newspaper that focused on the work of indigenous journalists—is "on hiatus". Over the last six years, the paper has been transformed into a multi-platform digital media network, which Oneida Nation Enterprises CEO Ray Halbritter says reached more than a million readers each month...

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Sep 25 2017

The Grand Sophy, by Georgette Heyer

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It's tough for most Georgette Heyer fans to choose their favorite of her novels*, but I think it's telling that The Grand Sophy is her first book to get a big-budget movie adaptation. (Allegedly, although I'm not getting my hopes up.) The Grand Sophy is a lively, witty, unabashedly good time, and perfectly encapsulates Heyer's appeal...

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Sep 25 2017

Weekly Book Giveaway: The Grand Sophy, by Georgette Heyer

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This week's Book Giveaway pick is Georgette Heyer's The Grand Sophy. (I'm hoping that discussing it will magically encourage the universe to give me an update on the proposed Grand Sophy movie, which seems to have faded from our collective consciousness.) A full review will follow shortly...

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Sep 21 2017

If anyone sews any button eyes, I'm out.

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According to io9, The Simpsons are working on a parody of Neil Gaiman's Coraline, and the author himself will appear on the show. (This is actually his second appearance. He voiced himself back in an episode in season 23. This time, if the article is to be believed, he'll be voicing the family cat.) The...

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Sep 21 2017

Happy Birthday, Stephen King

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I am informed that today is Stephen King's birthday. He can celebrate with this news: his novel IT has been holding the #1 slot in the "Fiction and Literature" category of Apple’s iBooks store for a couple of weeks now, presumably due to the success of the recent movie adaptation...

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Sep 20 2017

It works for Game of Thrones locations!

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According to the BBC, the upcoming Hellboy reboot was allowed to film inside the 900-year-old Wells Cathedral, but only after church officials checked out the comic book and verified that it was a traditional good-versus-evil story. Nobody has mentioned how much the filmmakers paid for the church's use, but...

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Sep 19 2017

Back and forth

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There's an interesting article on Jezebel about a New York Times review of Vanessa Grigoriadis’s new book, Blurred Lines: Rethinking Sex, Power and Consent on Campus. From the Times' perspective, the book was fundamentally flawed—full of critical reporting errors. But as other reviewers and the author pointed out, the Times critic had to go back...

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Sep 19 2017

As long as the John Wick movies keep making money...

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The trailer is out for Red Sparrow, the movie adaptation of Jason Matthews's 2013 novel of the same name. The film will star Jennifer Lawrence, and while it frankly looks a little cheesy (and a lot like someone decided to take advantage of the popularity of Marvel's Black Widow character), I am...

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Sep 18 2017

Half Baked Harvest, by Tieghan Gerard

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I have a daily ritual: every morning, when it's still too early for me face the news, I skim glossy cookbooks while I groggily eat my breakfast. Sure, my actual breakfast is totally boring (black tea and an English muffin), but I find looking at pictures of beautiful food to be extremely soothing. That is why I am so fond of the popular website Half Baked Harvest, and why I decided to review author Tieghan Gerard's new cookbook...

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