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Authors, readers, critics, media — and booksellers.


Book News for Friday, May 15, 2009

  • "Hell-Raising Hooey": The critics are evenly divided on the new blockbuster adaptation of Dan Brown's bestseller Angels & Demons.

    The Ron Howard-directed, Tom Hanks-starring, kid-tested, mother-approved flick currently has a MetaCritic score of 50 — which is as "split down the middle" as split down the middle ever gets.

    Some critics who listened to their angels:

    "This kind of film requires us to be very forgiving, and if we are, it promises to entertain. Angels & Demons succeeds." — Roger Ebert

    "Plucking the same violent, occult strings as Da Vinci while avoiding its leadenness, Angels keeps the action coming for the best part of 139 minutes." — The Hollywood Reporter

    "The movie can be enjoyed for the hell-raising hooey it is." — Rolling Stone

    Some critics who listened to their demons:

    "This movie, without being particularly good, is nonetheless far less hysterical than Da Vinci." — The New York Times

    "In its last 20 minutes, Angels does attain the status of good bad movie, with a transcendently absurd climax that's great fun to rehash later over burgers." — Slate

    "At half the length, and with half of Hanks' sneering pretension, this would make a pretty terrific action film." — The Onion AV Club

    Something tells me Star Trek is going to boldly go kick this movie's opening weekend in the ass. Everyone agrees, however, that Tom Hanks's hair is much better than in The Da Vinci Code. So, it's got that going for it.

    On a related note, NPR has a piece about the sinister appeal of the Illuminati.

  • A Re-Moveable Feast: Christopher Hitchens writes about Hemingway's unfinished book A Moveable Feast, a restored edition of which is being published this summer.

    A Moveable Feast serves the purpose of a double nostalgia: our own as we contemplate a Left Bank that has since become a banal tourist enclave in a Paris where the tough and plebeian districts are gone, to be replaced by seething Muslim banlieues all around the periphery; and Hemingway's at the end of his distraught days, as he saw again the "City of Light" with his remaining life still ahead of him rather than so far behind.

    The restored edition — which is due in July — offers "the original manuscript as the author intended it to be published at the time of his death," along with "unfinished Paris sketches on writing and experiences," and a foreword by Hemingway's sole surviving son.

  • I Like This: If you haven't visited Powell's Facebook page, now is a good time.

    Jump in on some lively discussions about bacon, infidelity (it's amazing what kind of chain reaction can be set off by a simple book review about a hunky movie star), and what book our fans are currently reading.

    (Even A Reliable Wife author Robert Goolrick gets in on the action!)

    While anyone can visit the Facebook page, you have to be signed in to actually read the comments. But they're worth it!

Book News Round-up:

÷ ÷ ÷

Brockman is the head writer for the daily Book News posts on the Powells.com blog. In his free time he's hard at work on his fictional memoir, which changes titles daily.

The views and commentary posted by Brockman are entirely his own, and are not representative of the whole of Powell's Books, its employees, or any sane human being.

Books mentioned in this post

  1. Angels & Demons - Movie Tie-In Used Trade Paper $4.50
  2. A Reliable Wife
    Used Hardcover $6.50
  3. A Moveable Feast: The Restored Edition Used Hardcover $13.00

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