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Book News, Sept. 27th

Holy blog posts, Batman! I opened up WordPress to write today’s book news and saw that, as of my last post (found here), I’ve written 1,000 blog posts on this blog! ONE. THOUSAND. And this week coming up is my sixth anniversary of LND! I can’t believe I’ve kept this up for six years – or for 1,000 posts. It’s incredible to think about. So here’s to 1,000 more! Enjoy the book news:

  • We’ve got Jane Austen news in spades this weekend. First up, never underestimate the power of Austen fans. Earlier this month, hundreds of Janeites descended upon Bath to celebrate the annual Jane Austen Festival. At the festival, 550 Janeites dressed in their finest Regency clothes and set a new Guinness World Record for the largest gathering of people dressed in that type of costume. This event reclaimed the record from one set in 2009 in the U.S. – because of course the record should belong to England. It is Jane’s home, after all.
  • Meanwhile, a new kind of Austen adaptation is headed our way. After many changes in writers and directors, it looks like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies will finally become a movie. (Yay?). Lily James will portray Liz Bennet, while Doctor Who alum Matt Smith will take on the role of Mr. Collins. And in other casting news, Game of Thrones father and daughter Charles Dance and Lena Headey will also join the cast, though there’s no word yet on who they will be portraying. The movie will follow (more or less) Austen’s plot, with the add twist of a zombie invasion in the English countryside.
  • And in even more adaptation news, Hilary Mantel’s Tudor epic Wolf Hall is hitting another milestone. The Royal Shakespeare Company developed an interpretation of Mantel’s novels (the aforementioned Wolf Hall and it’s sequel, Bring Up the Bodies) for the stage. Now RSC is bringing the play to Broadway. Parts 1 and 2 will begin previews in March 2015 and open to the public in April 2015. Both of Mantel’s books won the Man Booker Prize, making Mantel the rare author who has won the Man Booker twice, and for two linked books. A television miniseries of the first book is also being produced by BBC and Masterpiece.
  • Since we’re on an adaptation role here … earlier this month, Book Riot had a post that explored movie adaptations of literary works, specifically those that “got it right” – movie versions that were as good, if not better, than the book version. While Book Riot’s list includes one of my favorite book-to-screen translations (Atonement, in case you were wondering), I do wonder at their inclusion of High Fidelity. I take issue with the “Americanization” of Nick Hornby’s original story. And the lack of Lord of the Rings seems glaring, because I personally though Peter Jackson and co. did a very admirable job adapting what is fairly tricky material. What say you, bookworms? What are your favorite adaptations?

As always, happy reading.

Some Girls Do

Some Girls DoThe Internet is abuzz thanks to the steamy, revealing blog, Scenes of a Sexual Nature. The posts leave nothing to the imagination, detailing all sorts of delicious – and sexual – secrets. The author behind the blog, NiceGirl, is a bit of an enigma, but manages to catch the eye of Mark Bell, an up-and-coming London publisher. Little does Mark know that NiceGirl is really Claire Kennedy and her blog? More fiction than fact. When Mark offers Claire a book deal – and possibility of so much more, she panics, thinking that he’ll realize she’s a fraud with much less experience than her online persona. So Claire solicits the help of Luca, friend, artist, and commitment-phobe, to teach her how to live up to her alter ego. Strings-free sex with a friend? What could possibly go wrong?

Some Girls Do, the latest from Irish romance author Clodagh Murphy, draws on the world on blogging and imagines what might happen when Internet friends and real-life friends collide. I’ve read all of Murphy’s books, so I already knew I wanted to try this one, but I was also intrigued by the premise. I am, after all, a blogger myself, though not one who hides behind a fictional name or writes salacious things (unless, of course, my book reviews are somehow salacious in which case, that was totally unintended). In our 21st-century, Internet-obsessed world, so many people go online to try to be someone other than who they really are. Some Girls Do explores what might happen if our online self was suddenly dragged into the real world and forced to interact with (or as) our offline self. 

Claire is a woman after my own heart. She works in a bookstore, finds her creative outlet in writing, and thinks a quiet evening at home with a good meal, wine and some television is the perfect evening. But Claire also harbors a wish for so much more and when Mark walks into her life with the promise of everything she ever wanted, she decides to take drastic action. Murphy doesn’t shy away from the awkward or uncomfortable. Claire’s proposition to Luca is cringe-worthy and funny at the same time, as Claire has clearly never done that sort of thing before. Likewise, the realism continues once she and Luca do begin their “lessons.” Claire doesn’t automatically become a knowledgeable sexpot right away; it takes her time to grow her confidence and lose some of her inhibitions.

Though it was clear to see where the story was headed early on, I still liked watching polar opposites Claire and Luca learn about each other. And while I don’t think Some Girls Do develops Luca’s character as well as Claire’s, I did like watching him finally open up to someone and realize the benefits of having someone care for you. (Besides, who doesn’t like a reformed rogue, no matter what century he lives in?)

Fans of contemporary romances will enjoy Clodagh Murphy’s Some Girls Do, which is equal parts sweet and sassy. It’s got Internet secrets, friends-into-lovers, and a brooding starving artist. (And, as an added bonus, the excerpts from Claire’s blog are seriously hot). Give it a try – no one on the Internet has to know. It’ll just be between us.

[Photo Credit: Goodreads]

 

Book News, Sept. 20th

Bookworms! I write to you from lovely Ireland, where I have been for about a month now. It was quiet around here for awhile, but now the university town is overrun with students (much to my dismay, as irrational as I know that is) and the term (aka semester) starts next week. In the meantime, I’ve been collecting book news to share with you. Check it out – and send some warm weather my way? Please?

  • When the National Book Foundation holds it’s annual awards dinner in November, Ursula Le Guin will be present to accept the NBF’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. This honor is given to an author “who has enriched [American] literary heritage over a life of service or a corpus of work.” Le Guin has written several highly acclaimed books and series that often bridge the gap between science-fiction, fantasy and realism. I’m personally quite fond of her Earthsea series (whatever you do, DON’T watch the abomination of the TV mini-series adaptation).
  • Earlier this month, the shortlist of contenders for the Man Booker Prize were announced and, for the first time ever, Americans were on the list. In years past, the Man Booker was given to an author from the UK, Ireland and Commonwealth countries; the committee opened up the award this year to authors from any country, as long as his/her book was published in English in the UK. Brits took three of the six spots on the short list, with two Americans (Joshua Ferris and Karen Joy Fowler) on the list as well. The Man Booker winner will be announced in October.
  • Margaret Atwood is writing a new book, but you probably won’t get to read it. It won’t be published until 2114. As part of The Future Library project, Atwood is penning a novel that will eventually be published and printed in 2114. The project also includes planting 1,000 trees in Norway which will eventually supply the paper for the project’s books. I suppose this idea is interesting in theory, kind of like a time capsule, but I don’t really know why the trees are necessary. At the very least, why not plant 1,000 trees because climate change is a real thing and we need more trees and less carbon-emissions? Just a thought.
  • As mentioned before in Book News, 2014 is the 50th anniversary of Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. As part of the ongoing celebration, the UK newspaper The Guardian has printed a previously unreleased chapter from Dahl’s novel. “The Vanilla Fudge Room” was edited out of the book in an early draft, and features an enormous mountain of fudge. (Mmmm, fudge.) You can read the whole “lost” chapter on The Guardian’s website.
  • Can’t find that e-book you’re looking for? That’s probably because Amazon’s e-book collection, better known as the Kindle Store, is growing rapidly. It’s estimated that the Kindle Store gets a new e-book every five minutes (or about 12 in an hour). If you do the math – and thankfully, someone else already did it for me – that works out to about one million (!) new e-books a year! That’s a lot of books. Imagine if those were print books as well? You’d definitely need another bookshelf (or a hundred).
  • And now for some quick links: Leo Tolstoy got a Google doodle for his birthday; Entertainment Weekly had one of the first looks at the new Mockingjay Part 1 posters featuring the rebel army (oh, and the first full trailer for the upcoming film !!!); and according to a meme going around Facebook asking people to list the top ten books that have stayed with them (which, yes, I participated in), Harry Potter is the most popular choice. I wish I could say I was original and didn’t include it on my list, but I did. (It’s a REALLY GOOD book.)

As always, happy reading.