10 Bookish Costume Ideas for Halloween

Halloween is just around the corner! If you’re looking for a costume idea, we’ve collected our top 10 literature-inspired outfits here by level of difficulty, so you can look bookishly awesome no matter how much time you have on your hands.

1. Ishmael, from Moby Dick

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You’re just one name tag away from “Call me Ishmael.”

2. Fifty Shades of Grey

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Witty and racy. Head to your local hardware store for some free color sheets and you’re done!  Read the rest of this entry »


And the Nobel Goes To…

PATRICK MODIANO : "ECRIRE, C'EST COMME CONDUIRE DANS LE BROUILLARD".

The Nobel Committee has announced its pick for the 2014 Nobel Prize for Literature, and the winner is Patrick Modiano. Not familiar with the French novelist? You’re not alone; Modiano’s celebrity is far more modest than that of fellow candidate Haruki Murakami, as well as last year’s winner, Alice Munro. Yet he is referred to by the Swedish Academy as “the Marcel Proust of our time.”

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Sanitizing “The Giver”

Brenton-Thwaites-the-giver-lg

On August 11, 2014, thousands of teens and their parents eagerly purchased tickets for the long-awaited film adaptation of Lois Lowry’s 1994 Newbery Award-winning novel The Giver.  My teenaged son read it in junior high and loved it. I loved it too. Like Madelyn L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time, Lowry’s The Giver has a subterranean angst that readers can feel bubbling under their fingertips as pages are turned, a sense that no matter how calm this world is on the outside, something is irreparably wrong.

Everyone complains when a beloved novel is turned into a film. This may be especially true of science fiction works, as  entirely new worlds depend on an individual’s imagination formed from an author’s words. When one person, a director, substitutes his own vision for that of countless personal interpretations, tempers flare. While most moviegoers understand the necessity of divergences from the original text, other alterations are harder to accept.

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The New Harry Potter Story from J.K. Rowling

Hear more about the latest update on The Boy Who Lived, published on Rowling’s Pottermore website yesterday.

harry potter grown up

HP superfans will be delighted to hear that author JK Rowling, despite insisting that she won’t return to write another addition to her popular series, has released a short update on the adult lives of her beloved characters. The 1,500 word story appears in the form of a gossip column on Rowling’s Pottermore website, written from the perspective of her tabloid journalist character Rita Skeeter.

In it Skeeter reports from the grounds of the current Quidditch World Cup in Patagonia. As usual, nobody is safe from the sharp-quilled busybody, as Skeeter kicks up dirt on Dumbledore’s Army members Harry and Ginny, Ron and Hermione, Neville Longbottom, Luna Lovegood, and more. Among the most scandalous “discoveries” Skeeter shares with her Daily Prophet readers are the Longbottoms’ penchant for a tad too much firewhisky and Teddy Lupin and Victoire Weasley’s steamy snog sessions (“The good news is both of them seem to have invented a method of breathing through their ears”).

If you, too, are nostalgic for a time when we could all look forward to another Harry Potter adventure, read Rowling’s latest tidbit, “Dumbledore’s Army Reunites at Quidditch World Cup Final” here, and let us know what you think!

 


10 Books You Won’t Believe Were Published

…and the reviewers who actually read them.

1. People Who Don’t Know They’re Dead: How They Attach Themselves to Unsuspecting Bystanders and What to Do About It

peopleAuthor Gary Leon Hill tells of his family’s work luring dead spirits from the bodies of very alive people they’ve held hostage.

There are actually quite a few Goodreads reviews of this one, and it seems to generate love-hate (but mostly hate) reactions:

Anita Dalton rated it 1 of 5 stars
Unusual beliefs make the world more interesting. But there are times when bad, bad writing combine with bad, dangerous information, and I am left with nothing but snark. If Penn Jillette read this book, he would s#@* blood.

Alternatively,

Heather rated it 5 of 5 stars
Anyone with an open mind should explore the pages of this non-fiction journey. It’ll make you think about things that you wouldn’t naturally consider. I loaned this to a co-worker and haven’t seen it since!

Maybe the spirits took it?

2. How to Avoid Huge Ships

huge shipsThe kicker with this one is that it’s labeled as the “Second Edition.” It’s hard to imagine what the first edition might have left out. Unsurprisingly, Poets & Writers hailed it as the “worst book ever” back in 2011, despite its $131 price tag and huge underground following. They also rounded up some of its snarkiest Amazon reviews, which are well worth a read:

Reads like a whodunnit!, December 21, 2010
ByCitizenfitz (The salt grainery) – See all my reviews
I bought How to Avoid Huge Ships as a companion to Captain Trimmer’s other excellent books: How to Avoid a Train, and How to Avoid the Empire State Building. These books are fast paced, well written and the hard won knowledge found in them is as inspirational as it is informational. After reading them I haven’t been hit by anything bigger than a diesel bus. Thanks, captain!
TOO Informative., December 25, 2010
ByDan (Ontario Canada) – See all my reviews
Read this book before going on vacation and I couldn’t find my cruise liner in the port. Vacation ruined.

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Happy Bloomsday! How Will You Celebrate?

Love it or hate it, Bloomsday is the annual day of celebration for James Joyce’s polarizing novel Ulysses. It takes place on June 16th each year, to mark the first day of the protagonist Leopold Bloom’s journey across Dublin.

To mark the occasion some Joyce fans follow the tradition of reading the novel in Edwardian garb—though Marilyn Monroe did it back in 1955 in decidedly modern attire… her bathing suit.

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Nowadays, though, celebrations can consist of two weeks of lectures, film screenings and readings surrounding the novel that the majority of people (at least all the sane ones) find impossible to read. And while to these readers, including yours truly, suffering through lectures on Ulysses is a punishment only slightly worse than actually reading a chapter of Ulysses (and very marginally better than suffering the fate of Prince Oberyn vs The Mountain), in Vanity Fair’s opinion, Bloomsday has become a “travesty” for another reason: Read the rest of this entry »


Could This Be the Worst Book Cover of All Time?

screw

Well, no. That title probably goes to this…

darcy

Or this…

onio

Or this

computer

However, it is possibly the worst cover of a classic novel ever published.

(Wait, are you saying Henry James’ 1891 novel The Turn of the Screw isn’t actually about screws?!)

No. It’s not about screws.

We’ll let you be the judge: here are quite possibly the worst covers for classics ever.

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