Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
Scholastic • $34.99 • Originally published July 21, 2007
It feels like yesterday that I was waiting in line at a bookstore in New York City—at midnight—about to explode with excitement over the publication of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. (It seems like I can track my childhood in terms of where I was when I bought the Harry Potter books. Like, the time when I had one overnighted to rural Tennessee so I could read it at summer camp. Or the time I made my parents pull over to a Books-a-Million in Hattiesburg, MS, so I could read the latest Harry Potter en route to Florida on a family vacation.)
If you don't know what Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is about, then you probably have no interest in the series at all, because there's no way you could read earlier books and not make it to #7, in which Harry continues on his quest to find the final horcruxes and destroy Lord Voldemort once and for all.
I'm always shocked when I meet people who didn't read Harry Potter when it was coming out (especially people who are now in their '20s or '30s—wasn't everybody you knew reading it?). The Harry Potter series is fantastic. Even if you have never liked fantasy or children's/YA books, I'd encourage any person of any age to start the series. Forget about reading them because they're popular, or because the movie is coming out this week (woo-hoo!). Read them because J.K. Rowling's world building and character development is so detailed and alive that these stories will truly stick with you forever.
Here's a short excerpt from Deathly Hallows:
I had proven, as a very young man, that power was my weakness and my temptation. It is a curious thing, Harry, but perhaps those who are best suited to power are those who have never sought it. Those who, like you, have leadership thrust upon them, and take up the mantle because they must, and find to their own surprise that they wear it well.
Yesterday, a long trailer for the new adaptation of Jane Eyre was released. It promises plenty of Gothic chills and thrills to offset the legendary practicality of its heroine, played by Mia Wasikowska (aka Alice in Wonderland). Love that she is actually plain-looking. The casting all around is terrific: X-Men villain Michael Fassbender looks like the best Mr. Rochester since Timothy Dalton, and Judi Dench plays the housekeeper (and dons a Yorkshire accent).
Director Cary Fukunaga doesn't hold back on the darker aspects of the story, portraying Jane's lonely, abusive upbringing in graphic detail.
What do you think of the trailer? Will you see the movie when it comes out in March?
Including Herman Melville's classic Moby Dick. At least, that's what the forces behind Age of the Dragons are betting on. Director Ryan Little has transformed the 19th-century search for the great white whale into a medieval search for the great white dragon. A plot description:
Set in a medieval realm where Captain Ahab [Danny Glover!] and crew hunt dragons for the vitriol that powers their world, Ishmael, a charismatic harpooner joins their quest. Ahab's adopted daughter Rachel, beautiful and tough, runs the hunting vessel. Ahab's obsession is to seek revenge on a great "White Dragon" that slaughtered his family when he was young and left his body scarred and mauled, drives the crew deeper into the heart of darkness.
Never fear, Dimsy's Top Period Dramas is here! (Well, there. At the link.)
This site is a must-visit for people like me who never remember to watch Masterpiece Theater (or any other program) when it actually airs. Dimsy scours the 'net for links to productions of classic novels, and posts them on her blog. Want to watch the recent adaptation of North & South? (Hint: the answer is yes.) She's got it. Just about every Jane Austen film is also available; there's plenty of Dickens and you can also find two versions of War & Peace. Though there's the occasional broken link due to copyright issues, overall it's a reliable resource—and a great place to visit on a rainy day.
Actress Uma Thurman is in the news for her roles in two upcoming book-to-film adaptations. First up, she plays Medusa in Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, which hits theaters next month (director Chris Columbus says of the "seductive" star, "you'll look into her eyes and forget that she has 75 snakes on her head.").
But the role that's making waves this week is the one Thurman is taking on in the 2011 adaptation of Guy de Maupassant's Bel Ami: an older love interest of up-and-coming journalist Georges Duroy--who will be played by Twilight star Robert Pattinson. Christina Ricci and Kristin Scott Thomas are also on board to play two more women seduced by Duroy during his rise to the top in this adaptation of the 1885 classic, which is a fresh and vivid read even today. Over at iVillage, they're wondering if Uma is too old to play the love interest of 23-year-old RPattz, but I think it's more likely that this role fulfills some teen fantasies of his. How about you?
Readers might be most familiar with de Maupassant for his short story, "The Necklace," which also deals with intrigue in Parisian society.
As a child growing up in the early 1980s, I loved the picture book Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and its goofy—but oddly realistic—illustrations of such meteorological events as the floods of orange juice and storms of hamburgers that engulfed the town of Chewandswallow. (My father, who read the book aloud to my brother and me many hundreds of times, was less fond of it, which may explain why I never saw the sequel, Pickles to Pittsburgh, until I was an adult.) So I was excited to find out that Sony Pictures Animation has done a movie adaptation of this classic book by husband-and-wife team Judi and Ron Barrett, although its distinctive illustrations have been replaced Pixar-style animation. The movie, which will be released in the U.S. on September 18, includes the voices of such talented and funny actors as Lauren Graham, Neil Patrick Harris, and Bruce Campbell.
Those of us who miss Ron Barrett’s illustrations can see more of them in the Barretts’ newest book, The Marshmallow Incident. This book tells the tale of the towns of Left and Right, and how they are brought together by a marshmallow war that looks more like a blizzard than a military campaign. With its detailed drawings of the two towns and their curious establishments (“Lefty’s: We Proudly Serve Leftovers”), The Marshmallow Incident is a delightful story about how the towns of Left and Right learned right from wrong.
After two other successful Wilde adaptations, director Oliver Parker and Barnaby Thompson have teamed up to bring Wilde's only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, to the big screen.
For the non-Wilde fans out there, the book tells the story of a young, beautiful man who sells his soul to stay that way. Ben Barnes, aka Prince Caspian, plays Dorian and heads up a cast that includes Colin Firth (as Henry Wotton, Dorian's mentor in debauchery).
So far, the film is slated for a 09.09.09 release in the UK—no US date has been announced. But we Americans can watch the very. dramatic. trailer. and marvel at Colin Firth's beard.
Thanks to EBC for the trailer link.