Last night I saw the new Alice in Wonderland film by Tim Burton, in 3D.
Despite a weak ending, the film was incredibly entertaining. Burton's world was weird and wonderful, and seemed true to the spirit of Carroll's work. It helps that the story isn't a retelling, but a sequel of sorts that follows Alice's return to Wonderland 10 years later.
The effects were amazing, especially the Cheshire cat, and strong performances by Burton regulars Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter, as well as newcomer Mia Wasikowska as Alice (aside: I coveted every one of her costumes, including the spangly-skirted suit of armor), carry the day.
Have you seen Alice yet? What's your favorite literary adaptation?
Related in BookPage: Review of Melanie Benjamin's Alice I Have Been; review of Helen Oxenbury's illustrated Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.
Faithful Place by Tana French
Viking, July 13, 2010
"Howyis," I said, in the doorway.
A ripple of mugs going down, heads turning. My ma's snappy black eyes and five bright-blue pairs exactly like mine, all staring at me.
"Hide the heroin," Shay said. He was leaning against the window with his hands in his pockets; he'd watched me coming down the road. "It's the pigs." . . .
"Francis," Ma said. She eased back into the sofa, folded her arms where her waist would have been and eyed me up and down. "Could you not be bothered putting on a decent shirt, even?"
I said, "Howya, Ma."
"Mammy, not Ma. The state of you. The neighbors'll think I raised a homeless."
Somewhere along the way I'd swapped the army parka for a brown leather jacket, but apart from that I still have much the same fashion sense I left home with. If I'd worn a suit, she would have given me hassle for having notions of myself. With my ma you don't expect to win.
Stieg Larsson fans have something to look forward to until the release of The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest on May 25. I knew that there had been Swedish film adaptations of the Millennium Trilogy, and that a Hollywood version is in the works. What I didn’t know—until last night, when a trailer screened at the Belcourt movie theater in Nashville—is that the Swedish version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is coming to the United States. Directed by Niels Arden Oplev, the movie has already grossed $100 million abroad. It’s also 153 minutes long and features brutally violent scenes.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the adaptation is worth a watch:
The film adaptation of the first book, "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo," is, like its source material, at once formula thriller, scathing social commentary and dark history lesson. But it's also a more eloquent work; smartly condensing the novel's sprawl, the feature forgoes prosaic detail for cinematic vigor. The result is a character-driven mystery of considerable emotional power, often harrowing and always compelling.
I first heard about Helen Grant's debut, The Vanishing of Katherina Linden, in a British look ahead at anticipated debuts of 2010. Intrigued by the description of the novel, which is told in the voice of an 11 year old in a small German town who is the last one to see her missing classmate alive, I searched for a U.S. release date. No dice.
Until today, when I heard that Delacorte would be publishing the book in August. I love the deliciously creepy cover, which is a good fit for a book that sounds like a blend of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and the Brothers Grimm. According to the Guardian, "The excellent writing, and the eschewing of anything remotely winsome or mawkish, make this an eerily subtle literary page-turner." Sleeper hit? We'll find out.
A month ago we reported on Libba Bray’s $2 million deal to write a jazz-age trilogy for Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. Now, it looks like the huge YA contract of the month is going to a newcomer: HarperTeen has paid seven figures to Josephine Angelini for a trilogy billed as "a Percy Jackson for teenage girls.”
From Publisher’s Weekly:
In Starcrossed, which brings Greek tragedy to high school, a shy Nantucket teenager named Helen Hamilton attempts to kill the most attractive boy on the island, Lucas Delos, in front of her entire class. The incident proves more than a bit inconvenient for Helen, who's already concerned that she's going insane—whenever she's sees Lucas (or any of his family members) the image of three crying women appear to her.
Last week—on the publication date of House Rules—Simon & Schuster released the official iPhone app for Jodi Picoult. With the app, you can keep up with Picoult’s news and Twitter feed; write on a fan wall; receive tour updates; and even read “exclusive recipes from Jodi and music that she's written.”
Picoult’s not the only author with an iPhone app; in December, Random House launched a line of apps for authors, including Steve Berry, Sophie Kinsella and Karen Marie Moning.
Do any Book Case readers use author apps? What feature do you find most fun/useful? Or is reading the author’s book enough?
It’s always fun to stumble across a literary landmark, and over a weekend trip to Memphis, I was excited to see a plaque paying tribute to John Grisham and The Firm. In the book, Mitchell McDeere takes a job with a Memphis-based tax firm.
Are there any literary landmarks in your city?
Speaking of Grisham, there’s been a bit of news lately surrounding the king of legal thrillers. On May 25, Penguin will publish his first foray into children’s books: Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer. Theodore Boone is a 13-year-old amateur attorney “who knows more about the law than most lawyers do”—and gets wrapped up in a high-profile murder trial. James Patterson’s had success as a teen author; can Grisham do the same?
Related in BookPage: Read about Grisham’s latest release, short story collection Ford County.
Last week's mail brought a copy of the latest from Ann Brashares. Best known for her work on the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series (read our interview with her on the books here), she's now making her second foray into adult fiction after The Last Summer (of You and Me), your basic first-novel narrative of love and friendship.
My Name Is Memory sounds a bit more exciting. Like the Traveling Pants stories, it has a magical angle. The book follows a pair of star-crossed lovers—Daniel and Sophia—through several incarnations as they find, and then lose, each other again. The twist? Daniel can remember his past lives.
Brashares says on her blog, "This new book is kind of a departure for me. Not a total departure--it's mainly about love. But it takes place on a broad canvas of time." Though the novel won't hit stores until June, it's already been optioned by New Regency, who saw the book as a blend of Twilight and The Time-Traveler's Wife. Sounds like a bestseller, but judge for yourself—there's an excerpt on Brashares' site. We'll be digging into this one soon and will keep you posted!
Still, it was nice to see the Los Angeles Times run an article this morning recognizing crossover hits like The Hunger Games trilogy or Markus Zusak's The Book Thief. And any readers who don’t buy the YA trend can’t argue with these numbers: In the first half of 2009, adult hardcover sales were down 17.8%; children's/young adult hardcovers were up 30.7%.
YA authors are able to take themselves less seriously. They're able to have a little more fun, and they're less confined by this idea of themselves as Very Important Artists. That paradoxically leads them to create far better work than people who are trying to win awards.
There’s a lot of fresh content available on BookPage.com this week. Below, we offer a teaser: first lines from new reviews and features you won’t want to miss. Click the book titles to read more. (Don’t get mad at us if you start bursting your budget at the bookstore!)