Tom Spanbauer is a critically acclaimed author and the founder of Dangerous Writing. His novels include I Loved You More, Faraway Places, The Man Who Fell in Love with the Moon, In the City of Shy Hunters, and Now Is the Hour. Tom lives, writes, and teaches in Portland, Oregon.
Broody Swooniness 121: The headline reads 'Twilight' Is Now Required College Reading, which sounds a little more extreme than the actual situation. It's not as if the book is being assigned in Lit 101 or Great Modern Writing. And yet...
Mary Shelley is rolling over in her grave. Bram Stoker is probably clawing the way out of his. Why, you ask? Because Twilight is now being taught with their gothic classics (Frankenstein and Dracula) in a college literature class. And it’s not just any college literature class. It’s an honors fiction course at Ohio State University.
Well, okay — I can see teaching the book in a remedial course, especially at a community college, where a beleaguered professor might toss it into the syllabus in a desperate attempt to get these kids to look up from their iDevices and pay attention to class for even a single, solid minute. An honors course, though, is pushing it.
Cross Your Heart: From Morgan Freeman to Idris Elba (a.k.a. Stringer Belle on The Wire) to... Tyler Perry?? What kind of nightmare casting descent is this?
Nope, not a wacky rom-com. It's Alex Cross, the hero of the mega-bestselling crime series that made James Patterson a household name (if your household is a bookstore) that appears with a new title on the "New Releases" shelf about, oh, once a month.
You might recall that Morgan Freeman played Cross in two previous films, Kiss the Girls and Along Came a Spider. Even though those were generic, boilerplate serial-killer flicks, Freeman leaves behind some mighty
The 3D project has been one of the hotter ones in Hollywood....Grahame-Smith's novel re-imagines Lincoln's life as an axe-throwing, skilled killer of bloodsuckers, an obsession that dates back to the death of his mother as the hands of vampires. Lincoln vents his wrath on the vampires and their slave-owning protectors.
Grahame-Smith wrote the screenplay adaptation. Click here to read his posts on our blog. Don't hold it against him that he only posted two of the five days for his week — clearly, he had plenty to keep him busy.
Truer Grit Was Never Wrote: The UK's Telegraph offers a profile of Charles Portis, the author of True Grit, who is getting some special attention now that the Coen brothers-directed film adaptation has been nominated for a flurry of Oscars.
Portis has the the kind of colorful personality you might expect from the creator of Rooster Cogburn:
"A reporter from The Times wanted to arm-wrestle, and as I recall, he kept challenging me," Portis once revealed in a rare interview with Roy Reed for the Little Rock Gazette. "So we went at it and there was a pop. His arm broke. Very strange. He went into a kind of swoon."
Plus: fans of the film may want to check out a PDF of a comic that depicts the story Cogburn relates in court — especially if you couldn't understand a word Jeff Bridges was saying in the scene. (Via)
Razzberry Berets: The last Twilight movie, Eclipse, made quite a splash showing at this year's RAZZIE Awards, which honors the worst film work of the year.
The film was nominated in nearly every category, including Worst Picture, Worst Actress, Worst Director, Worst Actor (both Taylor Lautner and Robert Pattinson were nominated), Worst Screenplay, and even Worst Couple or Ensemble (which went to "the entire cast").
The "winners" will be announced on Saturday, February 26.
Which side are you on for Worst Actor — Team Edward or Team Jacob?
The Times, They are A-Changin': Your days of reading the New York Times online for free might be numbered. According to the Wall Street Journal, the Times is instituting a new subscription model, possibly as soon as next month.
Online readers would get free access to a certain number of pages on the website each month before they are prompted to sign up for a subscription for additional material
The subscription is rumored to be in the ballpark of $20 a month for a digital bundle that includes the iPad app,
Save the Date: Hard to believe it's been more than six years since the publication of Blankets, Craig Thompson's extraordinary graphic novel. Luckily for his eager fans, Thompson has just announced the publication date of his next book, titled Habib. Relax, you have plenty of time to save your nickles — it's not due until September 20th of this year.
Which also gives you lots of time to lift some weights and get in shape, since it's a BIG book. From Craig's blog:
The book will be $29.95 — 672 b&w pages — clothbound hardcover with stamped gold foil...
Click on the link to see the cover, along with a gallery of rejected cover images. And click here to read the Powells.com interview between Craig Thompson and Alison Bechdel.
E-Time:Time magazine has a rundown on all the e-readers you can imagine owning (and many you never, ever would). The conclusion as to the best e-reader is a somewhat surprising one:
I have a lifelong friend — let's call her "Mom" — who used to sneer
The publisher is being coy, claiming it was written by someone who "has been in the room with Barack Obama," which means we can rule out Kim Jong Il, but just about everybody else is still fair game. In any case, trust me, it's far too earnest for Christopher Buckley.
[...] O's dramatization of a presidential race may shock an eighth grade student council member somewhere in Kansas City, but most of us will wish that the author had pursued his themes with a little more satiric bite. Nonetheless, he describes the typical campaign with documentary accuracy, and he's particularly good at the dynamic between old and new journalism.
It's Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which means most of you are staying home and not playing on the internet or hanging out with friends, but reading and watching the words of the late reverend while pondering his message of hope and love for all races.
But, in case some of you are trolling online — perhaps to Google "I have a dream" or check Wikipedia to follow up on the conspiracy theories about King's assassination or search YouTube for the video of that U2 song about him (no, no, the other one!) — this is pretty much the only book-related bit of news I've got for you.
The Woman Who Finished the Series about the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo: Stieg Larsson's partner, Eva Gabrielsson, has announced her plans to finish writing the fourth book in the Millennium trilogy — which, since it's no longer a trilogy, will apparently need to be called a quadrilogy.
According to early details culled from Gabrielsson's memoir of her life with Larsson, Millennium, Stieg and Me, which is set for publication in France and Scandinavia next week, Larsson had written 200 pages of a fourth novel in his internationally successful Millennium series before he died. Gabrielsson wants to complete it because, she says, "Stieg and I often wrote together".
The only details she'd give about the plot are that fan-favorite Lisbeth Salander "little by little frees herself from her ghosts and her enemies." I hope she means that literally — The Girl Who Busted Her Own Ghosts would be a cool title. (Via Publishers Weekly.)
Wallopin' Web-snappers: First, we got a glimpse of Rooney Mara as the titular inked lady in the upcoming The Girl
Twice as Good: Allen Shawn's memoir Twin, about the impact of his twin sister being sent to a treatment center for autism at the age of 8, is getting a lot of buzz. The New York Times critic Michiko Kakutani calls it "an unsparing but deeply compassionate inquiry into his family's life."
It's a book that combines the sympathetic insight of Oliver Sacks's writings with Joan Didion's autobiographical candor and Mary Karr's sense of familial dynamics — a book that leaves the reader with a haunting sense of how relationships between brothers and sisters, and parents and children, can irrevocably bend the arc of an individual's life, how childhood dynamics can shape one's apprehension of the world.
Shawn was also interviewed on a recent Fresh Air with Terry Gross, in which he discussed some of the more candid elements of his book, including the affair his father (famous New Yorker editor William Shawn) conducted for many years with Lillian Ross.
Lost and Found: Do all writers stick a manuscript in a
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