November 4, 2005
With the buzz building for the Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe movie, the books are getting a lot of attention. One of the big questions is which book comes first, The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe or The Magician's Nephew? The National Review answers the question, though it's not an easy one.
In the chronological order of Narnia, The Magician's Nephew comes first. In the order they were written, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe comes first. Author C.S. Lewis commented a few isolated times that he thought The Magician's Nephew should come first. Thirty years after his death his publisher decided to reorder the series based on these comments, though Lewis himself never asked for the series to be reordered.
The National Review article goes on to claim that The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was originally intended to be the only book in the series, and it gives a much better introduction to the entire world of Narnia. The Magician's Nephew functions more as a prequel and assumes some understanding of Narnia.
September 16, 2005
"It's a nice glass of champagne at the end of a life," the 82-year-old Vonnegut said. The book is full of his dark humor and criticism of George W. Bush. With all the attention at his old age, he also talks about death:
He jokes, sort of, that he has "lived too long" and wishes he had been finished off by a fire at his home a few years ago, from which he escaped unharmed. "When Hemingway killed himself he put a period at the end of his life; old age is more like a semicolon," Vonnegut said with a wheezy laugh worthy of a long-term chain smoker.
"My father, like Hemingway, was a gun nut and was very unhappy late in life. But he was proud of not committing suicide. And I'll do the same, so as not to set a bad example for my children."
August 31, 2005
There are tons of books out there chronicling the war in Iraq, but a few especially interesting ones include Kayla Williams' Love My Rifle More Than You: Young and Female in the U.S. Army and John Crawford's The Last True Story I'll Ever Tell: An Accidental Solider's Account of the War in Iraq.
Love My Rifle More Than You gives the perspective of a female soldier who is both loyal to the military and critical of the occupation: "We're here to help you!" she writes. "Oh, and shoot you—if we feel it's necessary."
The Last True Story is the account of a Florida National Guardsman who joined up for the tuition benefits and just before graduation (and a marriage) was shipped off to Iraq.
A few other Iraq memoirs include the upcoming My War: Killing Time in Iraq, I Am My Brother's Keeper: Journal of a Gunny in Iraq and Generation Kill: Devil Dogs, Iceman, Captain America, and the New Face of American War, among others. You can also check out the documentary Gunner Palace (read my review).
August 24, 2005
You've got to read the blurb to the children's book Help! Mom! There Are Liberals Under My Bed to believe it, and even then you won't believe it:
This full-color illustrated book is a fun way for parents to teach young children the valuable lessons of conservatism. Written in simple text, readers can follow along with Tommy and Lou as they open a lemonade stand to earn money for a swing set. But when liberals start demanding that Tommy and Lou pay half their money in taxes, take down their picture of Jesus, and serve broccoli with every glass of lemonade, the young brothers experience the downside to living in Liberaland.
A Small Victory offers a great review (with pictures!), including a reveal of the last line of the book: "And off they went to start squeezing lemons, like the good little conservatives they were."
I... what the- how do you... wow. I just don't know how to respond to that.
(link via bloggedy blog)
August 2, 2005
The Internet is rife with speculation about the end of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and what we might expect from the seventh and final book in the series. We can hardly discuss it without hitting spoiler city, so head to the extended entry for the full disclosure on J.K. Rowling's mysteries.
July 27, 2005
For all the flurry of articles about Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, perhaps the best one is a virtually word-for-word interview transcript with J.K. Rowling and a few fan sites. She goes into great detail and shows a lot more of her personality than you'll see in most interviews.
But for those who have finised the sixth book, the real question is when will the seventh and final book come out? Rowling has said she's started pieces of the final book, but will probably spend most of 2006 writing it.
June 3, 2005
Nick Hornby, author of High Fidelity and About a Boy is back with the joyously sadistic A Long Way Down. The basic premise is four suicide jumpers meet on the top of a building and rather than make the plunge decide to form their own twisted support group. Sounds very Hornby-esque.
June 2, 2005
Last year we heard about the prostitute/blogger who lasted two weeks before her sexcapades in Washington D.C. were outed. Now Jessica Cutler's book is out, The Washingtonienne, which we're supposed to believe is a fictional novel. She insists the storylines and characters are composites, but it's pretty much all based on fact.
"I'd never written a novel before," she said. "So, the first draft, I handed it in, and my editor said, 'This is all wrong.' She said it wasn't like a novel."
"I had to go back and clean everything up," Cutler said, "and use my imagination."
More like her memory. You can even read a thrilling excerpt of when her blog goes public, which pretty much reads like what actually happened.
So that's how easy it is to score a six-figure book deal, huh?
To further complicate the story she's facing a lawsuit for invasion of privacy, which is kind of funny. What do you expect when you pay a coworker $400 to have sex with you and keep it quiet?
May 23, 2005
As if recycling his life for Freaks and Geeks and the collection of essays Kick Me wasn't enough, Feig explores his lack of dating prowess, thanks to apparent dorkiness and religious beliefs.
"Superstud, Sam! Go for superstud!"
May 19, 2005
Morgan Spurlock, the man who ate nothing but McDonald's for 30 days and turned it into the Academy award-winning documentary Super Size Me has turned to print. His new work, Don't Eat This Book: Fast Food and the Supersizing of America, chronicles his fast food diet and takes on America's obsession with unhealthy eating.
In addition to Don't Eat This Book, Spurlock is working on a new reality TV show, 30 Days, and his fiancée, Alex Jamieson is publishing The Great American Detox Diet, a cookbook featuring the vegan detox diet Spurlock used to return to normal after all that McDonald's.
May 17, 2005
It's NASCAR racing from the vantage point of a motorhome racking up 50,000 miles following the top racing circuit. Sunday Money is a well-written (sometimes too well--I noticed Jeff MacGregor kept slipping into page-long paragraphs over-elaborating on a metaphor) account of life in NASCAR, following the 2002 season.
The only downside is that 2002 makes it more than dated. You can't help but wonder why this book didn't come out in 2004 or even 2003.
May 12, 2005
Novelist Anne Rice, famous for her works on the supernatural, including Interview with a Vampire, Exit to Eden and Queen of the Damned, is turning to the life of Jesus Christ. Her next novel, Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt, will cover the early life of Christ from his perspective.
Rice reports it's something she's wanted to do for 10 years and has been working on it for the past five. It's due in November.
"I'm not a priest," Rice writes in a letter accompanying review copies. "I can't be one. I'll never be able to go to the altar of the Lord and say the words of consecration at Mass, 'This is my body. This is my blood.' No, I can't work that magnificent Eucharistic miracle. But in humility, I have attempted something transformative which we writers dare to call a miracle in the imperfect human idiom we possess. It's to bring Him here in the form a story, and that story is Christ The Lord."
Acts of Faith is a hefty 688-page novel from Pulitzer-winning author Philip Caputo that explores the civil war in Sudan. His cast of characters includes Americans, missionaries, Arabs, and locals and makes for an incredibly current work considering the continued mess in Darfur.
Looks like a candidate for my reading list.
One editorial is picturing a utopian vision of Washington politicians sitting down in a book club—perhaps convened by evangelist Billy Graham or Redskins Coach Joe Gibbs—and reading Gilead. The Pulitzer-winning novel has much to say about forgiveness that's surprising biblical and could bring some needed sanity to politics.
But sanity in politics isn't exactly realistic, is it?