The Dark Divine & Magic Under Glass

Hitting bookshelves everywhere today:

The Dark Divine

The Dark Divine by Bree Despain

and

Magic Under Glass

Magic Under Glass by Jaclyn Dolamore

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I can’t even bring myself to synopsize either of these books for you because they end up looking like this: “squee!!! !!! !!!” and absolutely incoherent with excitement. Click on the (gorgeous) covers and that will take you to GoodReads where you can read proper jacket copy like normal people. And then descend into the squealing madness that I’m feeling, which I’m about to exacerbate by consuming a large amount of coffee and sugar.

I was going to wait until the mailman could bring my copy, because the wind outside has been howling for about 3 hours now–and throwing things against the side of the apartment building with dramatic crashing noises–but I think I am going to brave the weather and hunt these down today! (…though still hoping husband feels like driving…)

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Beautiful Creatures, why you should keep two copies of a few books, and some silly questions

Photos will have to wait because I forgot to charge the camera battery before today.

But (*squee!*) I got to meet Margaret Stohl and Kami Garcia, the authors of the new YA fantasy novel Beautiful Creatures.

Their launch party was held in the teeny tiny Diesel Books (support thy independent bookstore! – my shopping list follows) at the Brentwood Country Mart.

First of all, thanks to Jane and Alfonso for giving us a ride to Santa Monica–it’s not that I forgot about the signing, but that I had absolutely given up hope of doing anything other than working ridiculous holiday hours for the next month. Thanks for reminding me to have a life and eat some Popeye’s fried chicken.

Next of all, thanks to Margaret and Kami for writing such a fantastic book!

Third of all, thanks to Kristen @ Bookworming in the 21st Century for the ARC. (Although I do also have a hardcover, and an audiobook version… hrm. I may have to splurge for the eBook too, so I can have it with me at all times without fear of scuffing up the jacket.)

– – –

Beautiful Creatures

Beautiful Creatures is exactly what I aspire to be as a human being: pretty, funny, and smart all in one package. Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl have written a seamless and utterly absorbing tale of a cursed romance: a Mortal boy who falls for a Caster girl in a small Southern town. Meaningful thoughts about love, loyalty, and prejudice unfold from this intricately parsed novel: those who love books will delight in the literary references, those who love love will swoon over the star-crossed couple, and those who love good writing will greedily devour every carefully chosen word.

Better yet, get the print version and the audio, both. The music and sound effects (particularly for the dream sequences) in the audiobook version add yet another dimension to the Gothic atmosphere the authors have built.

Another book for the loaner shelf*.

*You will need two copies of certain books–one to loan out to friends until they get hooked and become convinced that they also need to go out and buy a copy (or two) and one to have handy in the middle of the night so that when you get the hankering to pick up and read a certain passage (or 576 pages), it’s there. Believe me, after the number of times (7) that the Poison Study and Twilight series caused me the distress of not having a copy to read when the book-hunger struck at 1 am (because some “friend” or other borrowed my book) taught me, there are books for which you need to keep a loaner copy. BCis one of them.

**I was asked recently why my reviews are so short. I have a long chain of reasons. 1) I’m very busy. 2) I’m very tired. 3) I’m kind of lazy. 4) I don’t want to give anything away–if you asked me in person, I would probably tell you too much. With blogging I can edit myself and stop before I’ve told you who wins and whether the dog lives or dies. 5) You can find the synopsis anywhere, so why waste time copy-pasting it? (See #3, above.) 6) I’d rather be reading.

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Also at the launch party: Pseudonymous Bosch, suspiciously without any kind of disguise (I wish I’d known–years ago I had him sign my copy of The Name of This Book Is Secret, but my other two volumes are conspicuously missing signatures!)

and, freshly ordered from thebookstorethatshallnotbenamed.com, Katie Alender, author of Bad Girls Don’t Die. (Quick! Add this to your TBR on GoodReads.) Hurry up, mailman! I need this book, stat!

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Is Beautiful Creatures the Next Twilight?

I agree with TeamBella76–it’s not the next Twilight. It’s the first Beautiful Creatures. According to the article, the first of five (*squee!* sorry…), and I hope no Patrick-Rothfuss-like delays result in the next four years. I just pray that unlike most book-to-film adaptations, no one screws it up. (Amen.)

– – –

So, it’s a year until the release of the as-yet-un-named sequel to BC. What to read in the meantime? And where to buy it?

The Poisons of Caux: The Hollow Bettle (Book I)

Candle Man, Book One: The Society of Unrelenting Vigilance

Toby Alone

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Missed Margaret and Kami at their launch party? It’s all good! You have many more chances to meet them. They’ll be at Borders in Northridge, CA at 7 pm on Thursday, Dec. 3. (Ooh! I’m off that night… wonder if they would take kindly to being gently stalked…)

Wow, and this day really started out sucky

Well, not anymore.

Soulless (The Parasol Protectorate #1)

“Goodreads member Alethea calls Carriger’s debut novel, Soulless, a “stake-and-crumpets Victorian steampunk series” that’s “part Charlotte Brontë, part P.G. Wodehouse, a dollop of Joss Whedon and just a dash of your favorite bodice-ripping author.”

~From the November GoodReads newsletter

Just for another 6 hours, until I have to go to work again, this day is pretty cool.

Of course, I will be spending those 6 hours working at home in the middle of the night… oh well.

Go visit Gail.

A Blank Book after My Own Heart

I got an email update from Vroman’s Bookstore (my favorite local indie bookshop) re: the new Indiebound journal line they’re carrying:

Indiebound Journals

Indiebound Journals

Love. Eat. Sleep. Read.

They’re not in the online shop yet, but if you’re in the Pasadena area be sure to stop by and check out their store–I could spend hours in there. Days in the children’s department alone. And thousands of dollars (if I had them, which I don’t, but I do bring the credit card with the lowest balance whenever I shop there).

I know for a fact Maria V. Snyder was almost late to her own book signing at my store because she was mesmerized by the seemingly endless treasures at Vroman’s!

– – –

Ahem.

In other news, I succumbed to temptation and now own 2 of the 3 books (Atwood + Moore) I lusted after in the previous post, plus a paperback copy of Paper Towns (whosoever does John Green‘s book design over at Speak/Penguin Teen deserves to be showered with flowers and cookies, and possibly some lolcats-style baby kittens–they are just so beautifully designed, I can’t help but want them!) and Rapture of the Deep: Being an Account of the Further Adventures of Jacky Faber, Soldier, Sailor, Mermaid, Spy (Bloody Jack, Book 7) by L. A. Meyer.

The John Green gallery of awesome book covers:

Whoever you are, anonymous designer whose name does not appear on the cover or the back of the title page, thank you.

Also of interest: John Green’s blog post: Book Covers and the Death of Publishing. I don’t quite agree with him 100% (and I’ve revised this next sentence since yesterday since I don’t think I adequately expressed what I wanted to say).

I do agree that book covers should be targeted to the ideal reader (i.e. if you like this cover, you will like this book) and not the broadest possible buying audience (i.e. if you like this cover, you will buy this book whether you like what it is about or not), but I think that taste is so subjective when it comes to either side of the cover that it’s difficult to gauge. There are more important things to get right. Take for example the cover of Bill Cosby’s last book, which through the unfortunate omission of a comma, changed the meaning of its title completely. (And kids, if you don’t get the joke, it’s ok. You’ll get it when you’re older.) The publishers seem to have fixed it on the paperback version.

But–I do think books with African-Americans portrayed on the cover will still sell–in fact, they would stand out on the shelf since so few, unless you’re in the Social Studies or African-American Lit section, have such covers. Due to the constraints of WordPress.com (I really should have made a whole separate post of this) I can’t put the gallery in this same post, but I’ll do a new page for it today.

Now that I think about it, quite a few of the books I like with African-Americans in the cover art are either required reading for schools (like Kindred or Their Eyes Were Watching God), but a few of them, while they have what I consider to be good cover art in general, don’t portray the main, African-American character on the cover. (Again, a separate gallery to build. Will link as soon as I finish it.)

And while Green’s outlook on the brick-and-mortar bookstore becoming obsolete in the next decade is gloomy, I’ll have to respond with the Monty Python line “I’m not dead yet / I feel happy”. Sure, we’re not in the best place right now. But new readers are born every day. And some of them have parents with jobs. So I’m hopeful, that in 10 years’ time there will still be a physical bookstore and a physical book. Whether I’m running the store or just shopping there remains to be seen.

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Digressing…

My husband wants this book, but I hesitate to buy it–reviews on The GR are medium-low.

As for Ishiguro, only time and paychecks will tell. (Speaking of paychecks, that means you all who won my 09/09/09 contest and have not received your books yet can expect them in the mail soon–they go out tomorrow! Yay for payday!!)

Jane v. “Jane”, or, Darcy v. Rochester – A Conundrum

So an odd, book-related little problem has been keeping me awake. Usually it is just the act of reading which keeps me from sleeping, but this time it’s just thinking about books, specifically Pride & Prejudice and Jane Eyre.

Jane Eyre Illustrated

My friend Jane says that most people like one or the other but not both. I said that I like both books (Jane Austen v. Charlotte Bronte), both heroines (Lizzie v. Jane), but I prefer one romantic interest over the other (Rochester wins!). My friend says I am a freak, that normal people would love one and hate the other.

To me this means that a lot of readers are missing out on the Charlotte/Jane/Rochester experience. This also presented me with a realization that I am not quite as well-versed on either as I would wish, since I couldn’t come up with a decent argument at the time to convince Jane to watch the most recent adaptation of Jane Eyre with which I have become somewhat (ok, verily, and to excess) obsessed.

But I also think that a lot of people who say they dislike Jane Eyre have either seen terrible film adaptations of it, or read the book and did not understand the themes (as I do think it is a more difficult read than P&P), which lands the popularity prize right in the Jane/Lizzie/Darcy court. (*grumble grumble*)

I have decided to educate myself on the differences between the two and try to convince Jane to watch the 2006 Masterpiece Theatre Jane Eyre. I would also like to convince her that there need not be a void between the P&P and JE camps! That it is entirely reasonable to love and enjoy both (or hate both, I don’t know) and that the majority of readers need not fall on either side of the void. Maybe I can convince you, too!

  • I have ordered the Norton Critical editions.
  • I have Netflixed all available film versions of both stories, that I do not already own.
  • I have started an Excel spreadsheet to track my data.
  • I will be holding a contest! You know, just for fun, and to pick your brains for ideas on how to convince people that JE is just as good as P&P. (stay tuned for details.)

I may be a little delirious at this point, having slept poorly two nights in a row.

Maybe I should sleep on this.

Sleeping on the Job

Actually, I have a pair of overnights this week where we stock the shelves while the store’s closed and make the store all nice and pretty! So yeah, I’m kind of pooped and not in the mood for reading (eyestrain being what it is). But that doesn’t mean you can’t have a little cover eyecandy.

What I just finished reading:

Rampant by Diana Peterfreund

Rampant by Diana Peterfreund

5

Yep, this is the killer unicorn book! Peterfreund pulls it off with Buffy-like strength and agility (and fashion sense, and weapons/tactical skills). Review forthcoming.

I also just unpacked

Ash by Malinda Lo

Ash by Malinda Lo

and

Devils Kiss by Sarwat Chadda

Devil's Kiss by Sarwat Chadda

so look for those in your local bookstores tomorrow, along with the eagerly (rabidly, incontinently) awaited:

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

I haven’t seen our Mockingjay pins come in yet, but I hope they’re here somewhere… I need one!!! Found them, and bought a whole bunch. The perks of working slaving away in the bookstore.

Edit: I forgot, this isn’t until October 5th. Mark your calendars!

Fire by Kristin Cashore

Fire by Kristin Cashore

Ok, a little nap before I go to work for all you book-loving fiends (local ones, anyway).

(Speaking of fire, there is a California wildfire wreaking havoc just north of where I live. Fingers crossed that it doesn’t come down here! It’s less than 15 miles away now, and 0% contained. My uncle’s house is just 1 mile from the current edge of the fire zone) Fire deleted. Phew.

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OoH! One more thing. Watch this space: ninamalkin.com — author Nina Malkin is having a contest on 9/1 for some signed books. Spread the word!!!

Read or Die! Booklovers + Boobs

Read or Die Vol. 1

Read or Die Vol. 1

Now here’s a manga/anime for the book lover: Read or Die, which follows seriously geeky and perpetually book-distracted Yomiko Readman, supernatural secret agent and part-time substitute teacher, Codename: Agent Paper. Her super-power involves being able to defend and attack with a suitcase full of special “combat-grade” paper; the agency she works for is a special task force of the British Museum. Booklovers will relate to Yomiko’s other special abilities–to be completely distracted by any pile of printed paper (or “Oooh! Look at those books” syndrome) and still avoid being run over by a car while reading and walking down the street at the same time. If you watch the show, her bedroom pretty much looks like my apartment on any given day (piles of books everywhere).

Written by Hideyuki Kurata, the anime and manga feature your requisite bouncing bosoms (I mean, really, you can’t leave that out and be authentic), far-out world-takeover plots and some rather silly situations (in the first OVA* episode Yomiko ends up battling a giant flying insect in the middle of a street, politely imploring the bad guy to “Please give me back my book!”).

I haven’t read the manga or watched the 26-episode series, but they’re definitely on my TBR/TBW lists. Two books (one real, one not quite) figure centrally in the OVA:

Immortal Beloved

Immortal Beloved

and
Saiyuki, or Journey to the West

Saiyuki, or Journey to the West

neither of which I ever plan on reading, but I may Netflix Immortal Beloved, the Beethoven biopic. (Oh hey, look at that–it’s available on Instant Play!)

What are your favorite “booklover” books, movies, and tv-shows?

*Original Video Animation–think of it as direct-to-video, as opposed to having been televised first.