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Roshi Fernandez on Maya Angelou at NPR:
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I had entered the second year of the six years when I didn't speak of the-thing-that-happened-to-me-when-I-was-11, and I was looking for explanations of that thing. And I was looking for ways to introduce the subject to my parents, so they would say, "Oooh, I understand," in an unemotional, chatty way, and we could get thatthing out into the open.
In Maya Angelou, I found some answers. Reading I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings explained more to me than the Harold Robbins and Jackie Collins novels that we passed around the classroom ever did. Maya Angelou told me quite clearly — your body is yours.
In one of MTV‘s most ambitious moves on the scripted side since Susanne Daniels became president, the network has given a script-to-series commitment to Shannara, a drama series based on Terry Brooks’ popular fantasy books. The project, from Sonar Entertainment and Farah Films, has Iron Man helmer Jon Favreau on board to direct and will be written by Smallville creators Al Gough and Miles Millar. The trio will executive produce with Brooks and Dan Farah (The Crow remake).
(via SF Signal)Add a Comment
"There was a line in Pride and Prejudice that just stopped me dead, and I couldn't get past it on one of my re-readings," she says. "It's that period leading up to the Netherfield ball when it's just been raining for days and days, and there's no way the Bennet girls are going to venture out into the muddy roads ... but they need these decorations for their dancing shoes. And the line is 'the very shoe roses for Netherfield were got by proxy,' and I just thought, who's proxy?"
I've been wanting to read Longbourn for a while now, and this NPR piece only made me more eager to do so... however, WHY ON EARTH would they title it "Don't Call It Fanfic: Writers Rework Their Favorite Stories"? IT IS TOTALLY FANFIC. Fanfic is fanfic is fanfic, traditionally published or not.Add a Comment
At the Guardian:
I am so glad that first-rate children's literature was there for my own children. I would not have wanted them – at 11, 12 or 13 – to confront the complexity and banality of evil. It's quite right that they wanted to read about worlds where evil was uniformly evil and good people were constantly good. In contrast, adulthood means learning that SS officers or drone pilots do go home and kiss their wives, without a thought of belonging to the "dark side".
Wow. If this essayist truly thinks—as opposed to deliberately writing clickbait, which is certainly possible—that children's and YA fiction depicts the world in black-and-white, then he can't be particularly well-versed in either category.Add a Comment
Well, I totally missed this kerfuffle!
From the Guardian:
It was all started by Richard Cooper (@RichardHCooper), a University of Kent graduate who was considering taking a creative writing course there. But he was troubled by a statement on their site.
"We love great literature," it said. "We are excited by writing that changes the reader, and ultimately – even if it is in a very small way – the world. We love writing that is full of ideas, but that is also playful, funny and affecting. You won't write mass-market thrillers or children's fiction on our programmes. You'll be encouraged to look deep inside yourself for your own truth and your own experiences, and also outside yourself at the contemporary world around you. Then you'll work out how to turn what you find into writing that has depth, risk and originality but is always compelling and readable."
*headdesk* *headdesk* *headdesk*Add a Comment
From the Independent:
Researcher John Dawson said the works bore "the unmistakable stylistic traits and construction typical of Wodehouse".
"The verses are being collected for a potential book project, and it is our hope that they can be shared with the public within the next couple of years," he said.
A COUPLE OF YEARS??
*dies*Add a Comment
From the Index on Censorship:
Last Tuesday (26 Nov) representatives from the country’s Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice — the Haya’a — raided several bookshops selling the novel H W J N by Ibraheem Abbas and Yasser Bahjatt’s, demanding it’d be taken off the shelves. H W J N is a “fantasy, sci-fi and romance” novel about a genie who falls in love with a human, and is a best-seller in Saudi Arabia.
Our source, who wishes to remain anonymous, says the book is charged with “blasphemy and devil-worshiping”. They add that the ban appears to stem from a Facebook post accusing the novel of “referencing jinn [genies] and leading teenage girls to experiment with Ouija boards”.
Jinn and Ouija boards? Well, heck. Now *I* want to read it.Add a Comment
If the books of Ray Bradbury had an affair with the books of Diana Wynne Jones, the resulting lovechild would very probably look something like The Ocean at the End of the Lane.
After that, I don't know if there's a whole lot to say.
So here's the slightly-less short version:
There is terror and there is trust, there is betrayal and there is sacrifice, mistakes are made and stands are taken. It's quiet and strange, and it very definitely won't be for everyone—some readers won't like the strangeness, and others will find the plot extremely slight—but it worked for me. The whole story could have been told in, like, five pages, sure... but it's less about the plot and more about the undercurrents of emotion.
It also felt, to me, like a celebration of women, because—apart from the narrator's mother—the book is filled with larger-than-life female personalities: his sister, Ursula Monkton, and the Hempstocks. And speaking of the Hempstocks... they are a child, a mother, and a grandmother; they are three, but they are also (maybe?) one. They made me think of the Fates, of course, but they also made me think of Madeleine L'Engle's Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who, and Mrs. Which.
It's the story of events that happened during the narrator's childhood—he channels the rawness of the emotions of his seven-year-old self; he describes certain adult events in a way that conveys his lack of understanding about the details of what's going on, but also makes it clear that, in his gut, he understands the wrongness of what is going on—and, across the board, his understanding and descriptions of his experiences comes across as childlike, but never twee. And note that I said childLIKE, not childISH. There's a difference.
Anyway, I liked it. A lot. But I totally understand why some of my patrons have brought it back saying, "WHAAAAAAAAAAA?"
Book source: Borrowed from my library.Add a Comment
Portland, Maine, 1892.
When a young woman is found—half-naked, run through with a pitchfork, missing her right hand, and extremely dead—surrounded by ritualistic implements and a line of seemingly incomprehensible chalk letters on the wall, Deputy Marshal Archie Lean, poetry aficionado, family man, and reluctant nicotine addict, gets stuck with the case.
Other than being 100% certain that this is not a case of Prostitute Gets Accidentally Killed By An Overenthusiastic John—an explanation the Mayor would be only too happy to accept—he's kind of at a loss.
Enter Perceval Grey. He's dapper and cultured, highly educated, a former Pinkerton, and known for being an extremely "modern, scientific" detective... all of which some people find difficult to reconcile with his Abenaki ancestry. (Because, you know: some people are racist jackasses.)
After a bit of awkwardness, the two men join forces—rounding out their team with an older doctor and his historian niece—and hit the murderer's trail together. The Temperance Union, the Church, and a long-lost book... all of these things factor in, but again and again, everything points back to one thing: witchcraft.
As I've been trying to re-familiarize myself with Adult Land, this was an easy pick: with a premise like that, how could I not, right?
Here's what worked for me:
The setting: Great atmosphere, lots of visual detail about the places and even about traveling between the places. I'll look at Portland differently after reading this, for sure.
The historical tidbits: Lots and lots of anecdotes about the Salem Witch Trials, about Maine history, and the politics of the day. They are often relayed in a way that is More Infodump than Deftly Woven In, but at the very least, they're always interesting. I did wish that the Acknowledgements—which did include a list of sources the author referenced—had been more specific about what he pulled from history and what was fictionalized, but I almost always want more of that.
The humor: Pretty early on—after the headbutting—Archie and Grey slide into the sort of relationship where each mocks the other pretty regularly, and they're both comfortable with it.
Here's what didn't:
Perceval Grey: He's basically Sherlock Holmes, in terms of psychology—he's more focused on logic and fact than on personal relationships or emotion—and deductive techniques, even down to his knowledge of different mixes of tobacco. Yes, OF COURSE there are lots of characters who are basically Sherlock Holmes (House, Monk, Shawn Spencer, Oscar Wilde in those Gyles Brandreth books, Artemis Fowl (to a degree...)), but this was SO OVERT that it made me crabby that there was no nod to Doyle anywhere—I mean, unless I missed one.
The Girl Historian: At first, I loved her. I loved that she was a single mother, that she had good instincts and that she was fully capable of going off on solo investigatory missions. I loved that, in time, she was regarded as a full member of the team, rather than as someone to be coddled.
HERE'S WHERE SHE/THEY/IT LOST ME: [SPOILER] SHE GETS KIDNAPPED BY THE VILLAIN, RESCUED BY GREY, AND THEN, EVEN THOUGH HE COULDN'T BE BOTHERED TO, LIKE, TELL HER THAT HER DAUGHTER (WHO WAS ALSO KIDNAPPED) WAS ALIVE AND WELL, ONCE SHE IS FREED FROM HER BONDS, SHE IS OVERCOME AND PLANTS A BIG SMOOCH ON HIM. [END SPOILER]
Basically, she morphed from Independent Woman into Classic Damsel in Distress, and it really cheesed me off. Was it as offensive as Gwyneth Paltrow's role in Se7en*? No. But it was still annoying.
THE EYEBROWS, OH GOD, THE EYEBROWS. Even when I turn to adult fiction, I can't escape them. "Grey cocked an eyebrow." "Lean cocked an eyebrow." "...his right eyebrow arched upward, like the hammer of a rifle being drawn back..." "Grey looked at him with one eyebrow pointing up to heaven." "...Grey standing nearby, peering at him with an arched eyebrow." "Lean raised an eyebrow." "Grey arched an eyebrow." "Grey raised a sharp eyebrow." "Lean arched an eyebrow in puzzlement..." "...a thin smile and a slight arch of one eyebrow."
Meh. I might still give the second one a try, though.
*In which her character was LITERALLY only there to get killed off and provide a reason for Brad Pitt to embody Wrath?
Book source: Borrowed from my library.Add a Comment
Bennett Madison's novella The Island After is currently free for download at B&N.
I haven't read it, but I'm looking forward to doing so!Add a Comment
I feel like turning that book into a movie would be like turning, I dunno, the computer game Myst into a movie. Half of the fun of Griffin and Sabine is the active reader involvement.
Or, anyway, that's how I remember feeling when I read it one zillion years ago.
Anyway, the relevant article is here:
Los Angeles based independent production house, Renegade Films, announced today that they have acquired the rights to the epistolary novels, Griffin & Sabine: An Extraordinary Correspondence. The 1991, best-selling series, written and illustrated by Nick Bantock, will be adapted into a feature film that travels through the three novels: Griffin & Sabine, Sabine’s Notebook and The Golden Mean. It is the first time the Griffin & Sabine trilogy has been optioned for film.
Bantock is in favor of the project, and judging from this old interview, it sounds like he'd have had to be super-confident in Renegade to let the rights out of his hands.
So we'll see.Add a Comment
From the Scranton Times-Tribune:
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At a school board meeting in October, Gary Butler spoke on behalf of a sophomore at Riverside Junior Senior High School, challenging the inclusion of "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time" by Mark Haddon on summer reading lists. He requested the book be removed because of instances of profanity within the text.
"We're going to keep the book," Superintendent Paul Brennan said in a meeting with English teachers and principals Friday afternoon. "We had safeguards in place where the child did not have to pick that book."
From their Tumblr:
Do you own a print copy of a University Press of Kentucky title and wish you had the ebook too? Send us a digital photo of you holding the book to receive the electronic edition for free!
Free advertising, loyalty promotion, making with the happy... NICE JOB, UPK! I'll be curious to see if other publishers follow your lead.Add a Comment
At the Atlantic:
Ender’s Game (along with everything Ayn Rand ever wrote) assures: You are special.
Flower in the Attic commiserates: You are trapped.
While King offers salvation: You are powerful.
We all know literature empowers youth—Stephen King, as is his way, turns the metaphor literal.
The comments section gets a little hairy (YA is stupid, etc., etc.), but the essay itself made me want to dig out a copy of IT.Add a Comment
It's going to be terrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrible.
EVEN THE TRAILER SEEMED ENDLESS.
Also, is Heather Graham always that bad, or is my hatred of the character coloring my perception?
I'm totally going to watch it, obvs.Add a Comment
Last week, several of Watauga County’s commissioners even stepped into the fray. Commissioner David Blust, called for a book rating system and argued that the book offered no life lessons. “It’s filth…. Honestly, what normal family is like this book? The Manson family, maybe, Ted Bundy? I think this is just so wrong,” he told the local Watauga Democrat.
Another, Chairman Nathan Miller, said the book’s inclusion in the curriculum was such an “egregious violation” that he recommended the district dispense with its usual book review policy. And Commissioner Perry Yates called the book “despicable.”
THE MANSONS? TED BUNDY? SERIOUSLY?
ALSO. WHAT'S THE POINT OF HAVING A CHALLENGE POLICY IF DUDES JUST WANT TO THROW IT UNDER THE BUS WHENEVER THEY, PERSONALLY, DON'T LIKE THE BOOK? BAH.
Anyway. So, you know: the conversation has apparently gotten a tad heated.
From Allende's letter (which is reprinted in its entirety at SLJ:
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As you know, it takes just one parent who disapproves of a book to pressure the school and eventually the Board of Education. In this case one person has circulated fragments of the novel—taken out of context—among parents who probably have not read the book. The fragments refer mostly to sexual content. The plan is to gather support to ban the book completely, even as optional reading. Since today TV series, movies, videogames and comics exploit sex and violence, including torture and rape, as forms of entertainment, I don’t think that young adults will be particularly offended by the strong scenes from The House of the Spirits, which are always part of the historical and political content of the novel.
ON THE MAKING OF THE PRINCESS BRIDE.
From the CBC:
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More than 25 years later, Cary Elwes still has the fondest memories of starring in The Princess Bride.
The actor has a deal with Touchstone, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, for a memoir about the beloved fairy tale. The book is called As You Wish: Tales from the Princess Bride.
Touchstone announced Friday that it has scheduled publication for the fall of 2014.
From the NYT:
To his admiring peers,Mr. Leonard did not merely validate the popular crime thriller; he stripped the form of its worn-out affectations, reinventing it for a new generation and elevating it to a higher literary shelf.
Reviewing “Riding the Rap” for The New York Times Book Review in 1995, Martin Amis cited Mr. Leonard’s “gifts — of ear and eye, of timing and phrasing — that even the most indolent and snobbish masters of the mainstream must vigorously covet.” As the American chapter of PEN noted, when honoring Mr. Leonard with its Lifetime Achievement award in 2009, his books “are not only classics of the crime genre, but some of the best writing of the last half-century.”
In his honor, I shall make a display of his books and order Justified (and Out of Sight and Get Shorty and Jackie Brown) for the library.
ELIZABETH PETERS AND ELMORE LEONARD IN THE SAME YEAR. I hate you, 2013.Add a Comment