Book review: Gabrielle Lord’s “Conspiracy 365: January”

When you’ve had an international phenomenon like the “Harry Potter” series under your belt, what else can you do to follow it up?

For Scholastic Press, the answer was turning to an “interactive” series like “The 39 Clues”. More than just telling an engrossing adventure story, “The 39 Clues” series gave its readers tasks to do outside of the book. Readers could play online games, as well as cards that readers can collect that lead to clues.

If numbers are anything to go by, it looks like Scholastic made the right decision. Since the first book, “The Maze of Bones” was published in 2008, the series has been a critical and commercial success. It has now spawned 15 more books, and even a movie adaptation produced by Steven Spielberg.

Now Scholastic is betting on a new series in “Conspiracy 365”. Composed of 12 books published over 12 months, “Conspiracy 365” is already a bestseller in Australia, and has been adapted into a 12-part television series there.

But while it has enthralled readers in Australia, will it also be something that Filipino readers will mark their calendars for? Or will the series be something that will barely pique the Pinoy reader’s interest?

Continue reading Book review: Gabrielle Lord’s “Conspiracy 365: January”

Your week in books#37

  • The Hollywood Reporter talks to Daniel Radcliffe, Jack Huston, and Ben Foster about “Kill Your Darlings”, a film about legendary Beat poet Allen Ginsberg. It’s already premiered at Sundance and is apparently being received positively. (Source)
Chris Kluwe
Chris Kluwe
  • In case you guys still don’t know who Chris Kluwe is, he’s the Minnesota Vikings punter who became famous when he stood up for fellow American football player Brendon Ayanbadejo, free speech, and marriage equality with an eloquent letter published in Deadspin and The Huffington Post. He also popularized the term “lustful cockmonster” and was named Salon’s Sexiest Man of 2012. ANYWAY, all of those links are to make sure you guys are all sufficiently intrigued to check out his book “Beautifully Unique Sparkleponies”, which will probably come out June 25. (Source)
  • It’s the 50th anniversary of the publication of Sylvia Plath’s “The Bell Jar”, and the Guardian has a couple of articles about the Plath and the people she left behind. One is about one of Plath’s close friends, Elizabeth Sigmund, while the other is a verbatim interview with Olwyn Hughes, Plath’s sister-in-law and literary executor. Olwyn and Sylvia didn’t like each other very much, and that really comes across when you read the interview with Olwyn. (Source 1)(Source 2)
  • Wired has an incredibly detailed analysis of the contract Bilbo signed in “The Hobbit”. (Source)
  • io9 has a great ongoing series on pulp science fiction during periods of totalitarianism that you guys should definitely check out. (Source)
  • Still with io9, they have a list of SF authors talking about the books they wish they’d written themselves. (Source)
  • In Scotland, they have free pole-dancing classes in the library. The library is definitely OPEN. (Source)
  • Have you read some Frankensteinbeck recently? Check out these illustrated literary puns! (Source)
  • I have honestly not read any stuff by Kieron Gillen, but I do love me some Young Avengers. The Guardian’s got a list of work that he’s done, and Phonogram certainly looks interesting! I’m now excited to pick up Young Avengers this week! (Source)
  • And in a somewhat Avengers-related vein, did you guys know that Sebastian Stan — Bucky from “Captain America: The First Avenger” — is on Broadway right now in a production of William Inge’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play, “Picnic”? He’s apparently shirtless in most of it. And trust me when I say you should check out what he looks like shirtless after the jump. (Source)

Continue reading Your week in books#37

Book review: Jamie McGuire’s “Beautiful Disaster

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This is model Rob Devita.

Those who know me in real life know that I have a particular weakness for “bad” boys with tattoos. If you tell me that a halfway nice looking guy has tattoos, they become immensely more attractive to me.

As such, Travis Maddox from “Beautiful Disaster” should be a guy that’s right up my alley. A tattooed, lean-muscled underground fighter with an aptitude for academics? It’s like Jamie McGuire read my high school diary or something.

But online opinion on “Beautiful Disaster” is divided, to say the least. There’s a fierce, pro-Travis Maddox club that think he’s just the bee’s knees, while there are those who think he’s disturbing and probably abusive.

The schism interested me enough that I picked up a copy of “Beautiful Disaster” just to see which camp I would find myself in.

Continue reading Book review: Jamie McGuire’s “Beautiful Disaster

Your week in books#36

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  • It’s Kenkoy‘s birthday today! (Source)
  • The shortlist for the Man Asian literary prize has been announced, and it features two authors who’ve already clashed during the Man Booker. (Source)
  • The New York Times has a fascinating piece on the book boys of Mumbai. (Source)
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Sylvia Plath
  • The Independent has an article on the Sylvia Plath “curse”. Fascinating stuff, especially when it comes to the Hughes side of the equation. (Source)
  • Friends of mine know I love me some fries from McDonalds as much as I love my books. In the UK, they’ve put those two things together. Why do I live here again? (Source)
  • Will everything we own end up in the cloud? The Independent talks about a generation that has dumped paper books for Kindles, among other things. (Source)
  • The Guardian seems to think that The Independent is right, as it reports that the sale of printed books in the UK has sunk to a nine-year low. (Source)
  • Saladin Ahmed, author of “Throne of the Crescent Moon“, writes about world-building in fantasy fiction over at National Public Radio. (Source)
  •  Thoughts that went through my head while reading Flavorpill’s 30 Most Anticipated Books fo 2013: “Oooh, new Maurice Sendak! NEW NABOKOV WAT?!? OMG FINALLY NEW MARISHA PESSL (possibly)!” (Source)
  • Take a look at these examples of literary graffiti from all over the world. (Source)

Book review: Stefan Bachmann’s “The Peculiar”

Stefan Bachmann is the latest addition to the crop of teen authors that have sprung up over the course of the last decade or so.

With his debut novel “The Peculiar” — which he began writing when he was 16 — the 19-year-old joins the ranks of Christopher Paolini, Flavia Bujor, and Ned Vizzini as authors who’ve debuted in the publishing scene even before they were in their twenties.

But while buzz always surrounds these adolescent authors, the longevity of their careers is less certain. While Bujor’s “The Prophecy of the Stones was an international hit translated into 30 languages, people mostly attribute its success to the fact that Bujor wrote it when she was 12. Paolini became a New York Times bestselling author at the age of 19, but the books that followed his debut novel “Eragon” have been consistently panned by critics.

Bachmann himself has been getting a lot of buzz. Popular news site The Huffington Post named him as one of its “18 Under 18” for 2012, while Publishers Weekly named him as one of the “Flying Starts” of 2012. But will “The Peculiar” prove itself worthy of the hype surrounding its teenage author? Or will he meet the same fate as Bujor and Paolini?

Continue reading Book review: Stefan Bachmann’s “The Peculiar”

Your week in books#35

  • The best way to describe the above video is through the words of Tumblr user and The Shoebox Project co-author, Rave:

“Okay I’ve been sitting on this knowledge for months and months, because ever since realizing none of my other friends had seen “North and South,” I have regarded Richard Armitage as my personal property/cross to bear. (KEEP HIM SECRET! KEEP HIM SAFE!!!) However, the time has come for you to know this: there is an audiobook of Richard Armitage reading classic regency romance “Venetia,” by Georgette Heyer, and it’s mercy status.

Like, is this the best Heyer in the world? Nah! Is the hero kind of unfortunately rapey in that way Georgette’s heroes sometimes veer toward where of course the heroine secretly likes it? Sure, a little! Is this audiobook Richard Armitage rumbling tenderly in your ear at every possible vibration, for five hours? You bet your sweet dixie cup ass it is!!! Cross your legs on the bus and blush through your daily commute, because this is HAPPENING to you. (BONUS: Richard Armitage also plays such characters as a sexy debutante and a tearful upper-crust matron. IT IS AMAZING!)”

Continue reading Your week in books#35

Welcome 2013!

-2Photo by Paolo Nacpil

Happy New Year everyone!

2012 was a great year for me. Thanks to National Book Store, I was able to interview authors like Lauren Oliver, Alyson Noel, Jennifer Hillier, Alex Gilvarry, Gregg Olsen, and Merwin Ignacio and Ian Sta. Maria.

From interviewing Samantha Sotto last year, this year I got to talk to Kate Evangelista, another Filipino who’s making her own path in the international publishing scene.

And on the book reading front, I’ve managed to finish my 2012 Goodreads Reading Challenge! I set a 50 book goal for myself at the beginning of the year, and I managed to finish 53!

So what do I plan to do this new year?

Continue reading Welcome 2013!