Saturday, October 18, 2014

The All Soul's Trilogy Boxed Set, Communal Reading, Lemony Snickett, JK Rowling and NPH, plus Aprilynne Pike's YA Paranormal Romance series

There's a lot of bad press going out of Texas these days, but here's a quote from a Texas bookstore that is spot on!

Brazos Bookstore 'Communal' Reading

"For a serious reader, discovering a new independent publisher is like
finding a new friend. You hold the book, study the cover design, inspect
the spine and read the author's bio. Next, you try the first few pages,
nod at a turn of phrase, sigh at a great insight (none of this takes
more than a minute or two), until something clicks, and you're
overwhelmed by the certainty of people you have never met, living in
other parts of the world, who somehow understand you. The word
'independent' almost isn't right, is it? After all, such discoveries
teach us that reading is--as readers know--a communal activity."

--Brazos Bookstore
Houston, Tex., which is profiling several of its favorite indie presses
this month

 Next, the kind folks at Viking have a boxed set of the Discovery of Witches trilogy by Deborah Harkness that comes out just before Halloween, appropriately enough!  They wanted me to post about it since I'd posted so much about the last book in the trilogy. 

The All Souls Trilogy box set is going on sale on October 30! The box set includes hardcover of all three volumes (The Discovery of Witches, Shadow of Night, and The Book of Life) as well as a limited edition of Diana’s Commonplace Book. This is the only opportunity to purchase the overwhelmingly popular Commonplace Book, that until now has only been offered as a giveaway prize. The All Souls Trilogy box set is a wonderful gift for the holidays, to treat avid readers with the rare Commonplace Book and to introduce newcomers to Diana Bishop and Matthew Clairmont.

To celebrate its release, Deborah Harkness is hosting a giveaway of the box set on her Facebook page. US Residents may enter the contest until Halloween. Click here to view the post on the Deborah Harkness Facebook page and view additional details.
 Viking is incredibly excited to be able to offer such a wonderful gift package before the holidays hit!

If you are a fan of poetry, as I am, you've heard of Dylan Thomas, whose poetry reminds me of Yeats in its evocative beauty. Thankfully, they are making a movie about his life, whihc I can hardly wait to see. Sounds like they actually got a Welshman to play the lead role, too, which is marvelous.

A trailer has been released for Set Fire to the Stars
a biopic about Dylan Thomas directed by Andy Goddard. The Guardian
reported that the film "follows John Brinnin (Elijah Wood) as he takes a
week-long trek with the iconic Welsh poet (played by Celyn Jones)
through America in 1950." The movie, which also stars Shirley Henderson,
Steven Mackintosh and Kelly Reilly, releases in the U.K. next month,
though no U.S. date has been set.

 I've been a fan of The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare for the past few years, and I was somewhat disappointed with the film, as many were, but now I discover that they're making a TV series of the books, which I imagine will be much better because they will have more time to tell the tale and fill in the character's back story.
Constantin Film, the production company that controls the rights to Cassandra Clare's the Mortal Instruments book series
and produced the less-than-successful movie adaptation The Mortal
Instruments: City of Bones, is relaunching the series "as a high-end
drama series" for TV, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Ed Decter (Helix, Unforgettable, In Plain Sight, The Client List) will
be showrunner for the Mortal Instruments series, which "is currently in
development, with Constantin planning to begin production next year. No
broadcast partners are yet attached to the series," THR wrote.

"It actually makes sense to do (the novels) as a TV series," Constantin
film and TV head Martin Moszkowicz said. "There was so much from the
book that we had to leave out of the Mortal Instruments film. In the
series we'll be able to go deeper and explore this world in greater
detail and depth."

I loved Harry Potter, the books and the movies, so now I am thrilled that there will be more movies in that wonderful world that Rowling created.

Rowling to Script Fantastic Beasts Trilogy
 J.K. Rowling, "the little-known author of the Harry Potter series," will
write the screenplay for a film version of her spinoff title Fantastic
Beasts and Where to Find Them
which is being adapted by Warner Bros. as a trilogy, with scheduled
releases in 2016, 2018 and 2020, Electric Lit reported.

Announcing her continued creative partnership with the film company in a
press release, Rowling noted: "Although it will be set in the worldwide
community of witches and wizards where I was so happy for seventeen
years, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is neither a prequel nor
a sequel to the Harry Potter series, but an extension of the wizarding
world. The laws and customs of the hidden magical society will be
familiar to anyone who has read the Harry Potter books or seen the
films, but Newt's story will start in New York, seventy years before
Harry's gets underway."

The project is being directed by Harry Potter franchise helmer David
Yates, while Rowling makes her screenwriting debut and will co-produce.

Neil Patrick Harris is one cool dude. Not only has he conqured state and screen, he's wrtten an autobiography that sounds awesome. Plus, he admits to being a bibliophile as a child, which is adorable and makes me want to hug him.

Neil Patrick Harris, Bookseller
 This Sunday, the New York Times Book Review's "By the Book
segment will feature actor Neil Patrick Harris, author of Choose Your
Own Autobiography (Crown Archetype). Our favorite exchange:

What kind of reader were you as a child?
I was a voracious reader as a kid. The first job I ever had was in a
wonderful small bookshop in Ruidoso, N.M., called the Aspen Tree, run by
an extraordinary woman named Jane Deyo. She took me under her wing and
showed me the joy and respect of all things literary. I would take
inventory, restock, organize, make displays, run the register. I was all
of 10 or 11. But I was treated like such an equal, given a healthy
amount of adult responsibility, and I'll never be able to thank Jane
Deyo enough for that. It also ignited a fire in me to read as much as
possible. We used to have contests at the elementary school--who could
read the most books in a week or a month. I'd power through 30, 50
books. I was unstoppable. Just loved the feel and the smell of the
pages. Loved immersing my brain into uncharted territories. Loved
turning that last page and closing the book, a changed man. Still do.

A Series of Unfortunate Events was a groundbreaking YA series that had all sorts of mayhem and magic to it. I have wondered about what Mr Handler was up to since then, and it seems he's been doing good things all over the place. 

Daniel “Lemony Snicket” Handler advised fellow authors to contact their local booksellers and sign books for them to sell and promote, "spreading the word not only about an exciting source of signed books to your readers anywhere in the
country, but about a program anyone can join.... Will Upstream rescue us
all from strife and worry? Of course not. But the hope is that it will
remind both authors and booksellers of their local, less monolithic
resources, and improve general esprit de corps at a disheartening time."

In a separate letter to independent booksellers
Handler wrote: "As you know, many authors lately feel as if they are
engulfed in a rather unpleasant flood--as if the fate of their books is
whirling dreadfully out of control, battered by the waters of some
enormous South American river, the name of which I cannot remember at
the moment. While all this fierce sword fighting rages on around them,
independent bookstores continue to struggle with a similar feeling that
it's some sort of jungle out there.

"As a tonic, allow me to share news of a program, cooked up by assorted
interested parties and named, after some tipsy debate, Upstream. The
idea is to connect authors with their local independent booksellers to
offer signed books as an alternative to, say, larger and more unnerving
corporate machinations.... How does it work? Easily, hopefully.
Especially when aligned with the growing Indies First

 I just finished two more books in Aprilynne Pike's Fairy series, which began with "Wings" and went on to "Spells" and "Illusions," and ends with "Destined" which I have on hold at the library but have yet to read. Blurbs:
"I can't just storm in and proclaim my intentions. I can't 'steal' you away. I just have to wait and hope that, someday, you'll ask," Tamani said.
"And if I don't?" Laurel said, her voice barely above a whisper.
"Then I guess I'll be waiting forever."
Although Laurel has come to accept her true identity as a faerie, she refuses to turn her back on her human life—and especially her boyfriend, David—to return to the faerie world.
But when she is summoned to Avalon, Laurel's feelings for the charismatic faerie sentry Tamani are undeniable. She is forced to make a choice—a choice that could break her heart.
"I don't do patrols, I don't go hunting, I just stick close to you. You live your life, I'll keep you safe," Tamani said, sweeping a lock of hair from her face. "Or die trying."
Laurel hasn't seen Tamani since she begged him to let her go last year. Though her heart still aches, Laurel is confident that David was the right choice.
But just as life returns to normal, Laurel realizes that a hidden enemy lies in wait. Once again, Laurel must turn to Tamani to protect and guide her, for the danger that now threatens Avalon is one that no faerie thought would ever be possible.
This is a review from a school librarian that says it better: "In Spells (2010), the sequel to Wings (2009, both HarperTeen), faerie Laurel chose her human boyfriend David over Tamani, her faerie guardian, who then disappeared. Now Laurel's thrown when Tamani unexpectedly shows up at the start of her senior year, posing as a Scottish exchange student. Klea, the mysterious female troll hunter who saved Laurel from her evil troll nemesis in the previous book, turns up in town, too. She asks Laurel to look after a shy Japanese exchange student who isn't "exactly…human." Suspecting that Yuki's a faerie, Laurel is wary of both Klea and Yuki's motives since Yuki doesn't respond to Laurel's efforts at friendship and might even hate her. When Tamani befriends Yuki to gather information, Laurel can't help feeling jealous. There have been signs of trolls in the vicinity, but no actual sightings until they attack Laurel and her friends and then disappear through an invisible barrier. After David and Tamani come to blows over her, Laurel breaks off with both of them—but can't deny her attraction for Tamani. Everything comes to a climax at the winter dance, when they discover what Yuki really is and what she's capable of. Readers are left hanging just as the action gets exciting, guaranteeing another book in this romantic paranormal series.—Sharon Rawlins, New Jersey State Library, Trenton" 
 So basically after three books worth of Laurel not being able to make up her mind about which guy to love, she will have flirted and made out with both David and Tam and left the reader still in limbo until the fourth book. Personally, after all the blathering about how beautiful and seductive Laurel is, how she's so much prettier than any of the human girls she goes to school with, I was beginning to get a whiff of the horrible stench of Bella the Boring from the horrible Twilight series, so I was going to beg off halfway through Illusions. However, the redoubtable Tam and his fascinating POV kept me going, and then the mystery of who, exactly is Yuki was also a page-turner. Turns out she's a bad seed, in more than one way, and that her guardian is also a bad fairy out for revenge against Avalon. Though the immaturity of the characters and their flighty and stupid dithering over boys can be a bit nauseating and annoying, I found the clean prose and the zippy plots to be refreshing and easy reading. Any good reader can finish one of these books in about 4-6 hours, so you can read the whole series in a day and night. I was glad that I read the books, but also glad that I didn't purchase them, as this wasn't a keeper of a YA series, in the sense that I'd want to keep them on my shelves for a re-read at some point in the future.Still, I'd give the first three books a B+ overall, and recommend them to those who liked Carrie Jones Pixie series.
The Illusion of Separateness by Simon Van Booy was something of an impulse buy, and I was surprised when it turned out to be a real page-turner that I could not put down. The stories seem so disjointed at first, but they all come together at the end, and the prose is very dreamy and mesmeric. Here's the blurb:The characters in Simon Van Booy's The Illusion of Separateness discover at their darkest moments of fear and isolation that they are not alone, that they were never alone, that every human being is a link in a chain we cannot see. This gripping novel—inspired by true events—tells the interwoven stories of a deformed German infantryman; a lonely British film director; a young, blind museum curator; two Jewish American newlyweds separated by war; and a caretaker at a retirement home for actors in Santa Monica. They move through the same world but fail to perceive their connections until, through seemingly random acts of selflessness, a veil is lifted to reveal the vital parts they have played in one another's lives, and the illusion of their separateness.
 This novel deserves an A, but it's not for everyone because the prose is so whisper-soft and strange. I would recommend it to fans of The Terrible Lightness of Being.

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