Over the summer, I posted about the ABC series "Castle," about a novelist and a cop who form an unlikely partnership when the author decides to make the cop the model for the heroine of a new series. Well, season two is airing now—and more real-life authors appeared in the very first episode. I still get a kick out of seeing writers on TV, especially when Castle starts referring to plot points in their novels in order to get them to let him know where a "tattooed Russian mobster" is most likely to hang out.
But wait, there's more: "Richard Castle's" first mystery starring detective Nicki Heat went on sale—outside TV land—at the end of last month. And for a based-on-TV book, it's getting some great early reviews. (Perhaps those illustrious literary extras were also contributors?) You can watch a trailer here.
Would you read a book that's inspired by TV? Or if you already have, what's your favorite? As a dedicated viewer of the late, lamented (by me anyway) "Passions" I have to admit to checking out a copy of Hidden Passions back when it came out.
Well, King fans can rejoice because the wait is over; Scribner released the complete cover image today:
According to King’s publisher:
“The jacket concept for Under the Dome originated as an ambitious idea from the mind of Stephen King. The artwork is a combination of photographs, illustration, and a 3-D rendering. This is a departure form the direction of King’s most recent, illustrated covers.”
Thoughts on the cover? No doubt Scribner wanted something spectacular to pair with King’s 1,088-page novel. In May, Abby posted about the plot of Under the Dome: “Featuring more than 100 characters facing a menacing supernatural element in their small Maine town, early reads are comparing Under the Dome to King’s classic epic, The Stand.”
Click here for a listing of BookPage’s Stephen King coverage through the years, and happy reading on Nov. 10 -- when Under the Dome hits bookstores!
In a new video interview with The Guardian, Audrey Niffenegger reveals more tantalizing tidbits about the inspiration behind Her Fearful Symmetry, as well as atmospheric scenery from Highgate Cemetery.
As she told our interviewer, much of the novel was consciously structured along the lines of Victorian classics like The Woman in White—but a good bit was organic as well. It wasn't until she started writing about Elspeth that she realized the character needed to be a ghost. She tells The Guardian, "having killed this character before she even existed, I started trying to think who she might have been and what she was like . . . I really liked her, I thought she was interesting and cool and I wanted to write about her, but I had already killed her, so I thought right, OK, she's a ghost."
Of course, you'd have to check out our interview to see how Niffenegger feels about God and the film version of the Time Traveler's Wife. If you haven't read it yet, what are you waiting for?
And for anyone who's already finished Symmetry–what did you think? I'd love to discuss it with you.
There’s a lot of coverage on the Network, and it can be a bit confusing to figure out what’s what.
There are three channels (Screening, Radio, Reading) + nine series. The series are niche specific. Here’s the breakdown:
The Screening Room has four series: Project Paranormal, Penguin Storytime with Liz Shanks, YA Central and Tarcher Talks (all the other series are pretty self-explanatory; this last one “tackles the challenging and the unusual, the spiritual and the enlightening”).
The Radio Room also has four series: Penguin Classics On Air, The Business Beat, Audio Book Break and A Cup of Poetry.
The Reading Room appears to be its own series and “features a different Penguin Group (USA) book each month, posting a new chapter each week for three weeks, culminating, in the fourth week, with live interactive online author chats.”
There is also a variety of special programming (such as a video recommending The Ten Essential Penguin Classics).
Have any readers ever visited this site? Do you think it's a good idea -- do you like to supplement your reading with multimedia? Which of the features do you like the best?
It’s no secret that I’m a Lauren Conrad fan. Earlier this year, I forced Trisha to come with me to a Nashville signing of her first Y.A. novel, L.A. Candy (check out our adventures here). And I read—and enjoyed—the book. But when news broke yesterday that Temple Hill Entertainment had acquired screen rights to L.A. Candy, even I had mixed feelings.
Let’s think about this: once Lauren Conrad was just an average California high school student. Then she agreed to have her life taped as part of MTV’s reality show, “Laguna Beach.” Then came “The Hills,” chronicling Lauren’s move to L.A. Then Lauren wrote L.A. Candy about her experiences on “The Hills.” And now we have a movie about the book about the TV show about the girl. But it's fiction. Based on reality. The mind reels.
It’s great news for Lauren, though. Not only will she “be involved in shaping the direction of the script” and given the title of Executive Producer on the film, but Temple Hill is executive producing the movie. Maybe you've heard of their current film projects, the "Twilight" sequels "New Moon" and "Eclipse"?
I guess the only remaining question is: who will play Lauren Conrad in a movie version of her literary life?
It’s not every day that The New York Times features a story about book technology on the front page. This morning, however, there was an interesting piece about reader-driven social network technologies that highlighted a YA novel featured in the October issue of BookPage.
The Amanda Project, which today is our featured children’s review on bookpage.com, is a new mystery series by Stella Lennon which HarperCollins is calling “the first collaborative, interactive fiction series for girls aged 13 and up.”
A quick plot summary (thanks to Emily Booth Masters, our reviewer): In the first book in the series, Invisible I, new-girl-at-school Amanda disappears. Her classmates “begin to discover that very little of what they believed they knew about Amanda is actually true, and they start to wonder if they ever really knew her at all. United in their desire to find Amanda, the girls decide to stick together and embark on what they eventually term ‘The Amanda Project.’”
“As the series continues, some of the reader comments may be incorporated into minor characters or subplots... Susan Katz, publisher of HarperCollins Children’s Books, predicted that ‘there is going to be a popular kind of literature where the author is seen as the leader of a large group and will pick and choose from these suggestions’ by readers.”
Sounds kind of fun. I know when I read Nancy Drew novels, I would have loved to weigh in on a mystery. It’s like a choose-your-own-adventure book… where your choice may actually have an impact on another reader’s experience, if the author chooses to take your suggestion. Any readers plan on participating in The Amanda Project?
Here’s a YouTube trailer of the book:
Today, British newspaper The Guardian reported the top 10 books that people have tried to ban across the United States throughout 2008. Philip Pullman, of the fantasy trilogy His Dark Materials (The Golden Compass, et al), came in at #2. (To see the rest of the list, click here.
From the article:
“Pullman’s fantasy trilogy, His Dark Materials, has leapt to the top of the target list of would-be censors in the new rankings issued this week by the American Library Association. It tracks cases where individuals or groups have attempted to have books stripped from bookshelves in schools and libraries across the US.”
When The Guardian contacted him to comment on the ranking, Pullman responded that he’s “very glad to be back in the top 10 banned books.”
The article briefly mentioned Pullman’s upcoming adult novel (which is likely to inspire controversy): The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ. The New York Times ArtsBeat Blog wrote that this novel will be “a fictionalized account of the life of Jesus that will differ from the version presented in the New Testament.”
In a statement on his website dated Sept. 14, Pullman writes:
“I've always been fascinated by the two parts of the name of Jesus Christ, and by the difference between them. Another thing that's interested me for a long time is the way in which the Christian church began to formulate its beliefs and establish a canon of scripture.”
The novel will be published by Scottish publishing house Canongate. Publication date is around Easter. So far, no American release has been announced.
Any Pullman fans want to weigh in on the new book? Are you surprised that Pullman ranked so high on the banned books list?
The 2009 selections for Great Group Reads are out:
Appassionata by Eva Hoffman
The Unit by Ninni Holmqvist
The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Brontë by Syrie James
The House on Fortune Street by Margot Livesey
Perfection: A Memoir of Betrayal and Renewal by Julie Metz
While I’m Falling by Laura Moriarty
Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson
Cost by Roxana Robinson
Burnt Shadows by Kamila Shamsie
Several of the books have been featured in BookPage. About The Secret Diaries, reviewer Carla Jean Whitley writes:
“James adapts Brontë’s voice, telling Brontë’s story as though it came straight from the great writer. Living with an alcoholic, drug-addicted brother and a deeply eccentric father, Brontë—and her sisters—still managed to write some of the most famous novels of their time. With The Secret Diaries, James offers a satisfying—if partly imagined—history of the real-life experiences that inspired Brontë’s classic novels.”
Julie Hale calls Out Stealing Horses “forthright, simple and tinged with melancholy… a poignant, beautifully realized narrative.”
And about Cost, reviewer Arlene McKanic writes:
“The most used word in Roxana Robinson's brilliant and devastating novel Cost is ‘unbearable’ and its variants. The word sums up perfectly the emotions, choices and horrible ironies that buffet a patrician, buttoned-up family whose youngest son is a heroin addict.”
NRGM started in October 2007 and will include events in WNBA chapter cities: Boston, Dallas, Detroit, Los Angeles, Nashville, New York, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, D.C.
According to a statement from the WNBA, the mission of NRGM is to “foster the values reading groups encourage: camaraderie, enjoyment of shared reading, and appreciation of literature and reading as conduits for transmitting culture and advancing civic engagement.”
Any readers plan on participating? Or have suggestions for a great book club read?
Lately I’ve been reading a lot about the Espresso Book Machine (EBM) – the print-on-demand machine that, essentially, spits out books in 4 minutes flat. (Says the EBM website: “Espresso: something made to order, one at a time, at point of sale, quickly.”) Owned by On Demand Books, the EBM was one of Time magazine’s “Inventions of the Year” in 2007, and today there are a handful of EBMs in bookstores, universities, libraries and newsstands around the world.
According to the EBM website, books from the machine are identical to factory-made books:
“Put simply, the EBM is an automated book-making machine. The operator selects a title to print, and within a few minutes a book emerges, with a full-color cover, trimmed to an exact size, and indistinguishable from the publisher’s version. As we say, ‘Hot off the press!’”
On Sept. 17, Google gave EBM customers access to 2 million books no longer protected by copyright from its digital library (a.k.a. “public domain” books). On Demand Books may gain access to even more titles from Google, depending on the outcome of the Google books settlement.
And if you're wondering if a vending machine book costs less than the real deal (OK, OK, I should put my snark in check; the machines are really nifty-looking, supposedly they cut down on CO2 emissions, plus it would be great to gain access to out-of-print books)... The Associated Press reported recently that EBM books will have a “recommended sales price of $8 per copy, although the final decision will be left to each retailer.” Google and On Demand Books both get $1 from each book sale. (The EBM also tracks payments to authors, publishers, etc.)
Looks like a few bookstores are hoping the EBM will contribute to sales. A week ago, the bookstore at the University of Missouri-Columbia got a machine.
From Mizzou’s student paper:
“Bookstore spokeswoman Michelle Froese said she sees a great deal of potential in the machine, which cost University Bookstore $75,000. Froese said it would allow the bookstore to reproduce course materials, such as out of print books and course packets at a lower price for students.”
And today, the folks at Harvard Book Store unveiled their own EBM. E.L. Doctorow was a special guest at the event.
What do Book Case readers think about the machine? Has anyone seen the EBM live? (For a video, click here.) Does a “book ATM” represent the future of publishing? Would you buy a made-to-order book?
By now, many of you know that we lost a great lover of language (and an expert on its quirks) on Sunday. William Safire wrote the “On Language” column in The New York Times Magazine from 1979 until earlier this month. Safire was also a speechwriter for President Nixon.
From 1973 until 2005, Safire wrote “his twice-weekly ‘Essay’ for the Op-Ed page of The Times, a forceful conservative voice in the liberal chorus.” In 1978, he won the Pulitzer Prize for commentary.
Throughout his career, Safire gave many wonderful tips for writers and readers.
From “How to Read a Column” in 2005: “Ingest no column (or opinionated reporting labeled ‘analysis’) without asking: Cui bono? And whenever you see the word ‘respected’ in front of a name, narrow your eyes. You have never read ‘According to the disrespected (whomever).’”
And of course, there were Safire’s “rules for writers”: The passive voice should never be used; Don't overuse exclamation marks!!; Take the bull by the hand and avoid mixing metaphors; Last but not least, avoid cliches like the plague…
Many of us will greatly miss Safire's astute and often hilarious Sunday language columns. Most recently, he wrote about the phrase "bending the curve" (as in Obama's remarks: “it’s important for us to bend the cost curve").
Any readers remember a favorite “On Language” column?