Tag Archives: vladimir nabokov

Book review: Anne Rice’s “Beauty’s Kingdom”

To be clear, 50 Shades is a very, very different animal from any of Anne Rice’s Beauty books.

I’ve talked about how I used to be a big Anne Rice fan before, and that fan worship certainly extended beyond her vampires and witchcraft books. It was a little difficult for me to work through The Feast of All Saints, but I did have a great time reading ViolinBelinda, and her BDSM books – Exit to Eden, The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty, Beauty’s Punishment, and Beauty’s Release.

These non-supernatural books all have the sensuality that made Rice’s The Vampire Chronicles famous, and more often than not are much more explicit than any of Lestat and his cohorts. After all, Belinda is a riff on Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita, while Exit to Eden, The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty, Beauty’s Punishment, and Beauty’s Release all became a hit with the BDSM community at the time – something you can’t say about 50 Shades.

But that was literal decades ago, and Anne Rice has had a roller-coaster of a career since then. If Prince Lestatis anything to go by, it looks like she may be getting her vampires back in line. But can the same be said for her erotica? The last book in her Sleeping Beauty series came out in 1985, Belinda came out in 1986, and bookstore shelves have so much more erotica now than they did back then. Does Rice still have what it takes to compete in a much more crowded field?

Continue reading Book review: Anne Rice’s “Beauty’s Kingdom”

Book review: Alissa Nutting’s “Tampa”

Alissa Nutting’s debut novel “Tampa” certainly isn’t lacking when it comes to publicity.

As soon as her book came out on bookstore shelves last July, public opinion was immediately split. While The Daily Beast branded it a “modern ‘Lolita’” and the New York Times gave it a favorable review, The Telegraph called it “fatiguing” and some bookstores in the United States and Australia have refused to stock the book because of its controversial sex scenes.

Here in the country, “Tampa” quietly appeared on bookstore shelves, with copies on display at the recently concluded Manila International Book Fair. While the buzz is yet to arrive here on Philippine shores, I took a look at Alissa Nutting’s debut to see if it really lives up to the hype.

Continue reading Book review: Alissa Nutting’s “Tampa”

Your week in books#36

albumnikenkoy2004

  • 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)
v3-5505482
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)

Ronreads interview: Alex Gilvarry

It’s been literal months since I interviewed Filipino-American author Alex Gilvarry, but work has been se hectic and stressful and drama-filled that finding the time to just sit down and update the blog has been difficult to find. More often than not, I’d rather flop down on my bed and try not to sob uncontrollably.

But now I have a weekend where I can do actual weekend activities, so before I leave my humble abode to check out National Book Store’s Warehouse Sale, check out the transcript of my interview with the author of “From the Memoirs of A Non-Enemy Combatant”.

Continue reading Ronreads interview: Alex Gilvarry

Your week in books#22

  • Here’s the trailer for “The Raven”, where John Cusack plays Edgar Allan Poe as some kind of detective. It’s…different.
  • Did you hear that God — yes, God — wrote a memoir? He clears up that Adam and Steve thing. (Source)
  • Amazon is launching a science fiction and horror imprint, and some of the authors they have in their stable seem impressive! So far they have Neal Stephenson, Lee Goldberg, and William Rabkin. (Source)
  • The New York Times has a nice article about the New York Comic Con, which is happening Friday, New York time. (Source)
  • This week also saw the announcement of the finalists of the American National Book Awards. (Source)
  • Rebecca Skloot, author of the New York Times bestseller “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks”, is coming out with a new book on the bond between people and animals. My copy of “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” is still around here somewhere, unread. (Source)
  • Flavorwire has some great baby pictures of authors who went on to become famous. Check out the Vladimir Nabokov one! (Source)
  • Finally, check out some pictures from the loosely based on Greek mythology movie, “Immortals”, under the cut! There’s some crazy stuff going on! (Source)

Continue reading Your week in books#22

Your week in books#21

I'm way too fat for this shirt but I want one.
  • Check out the set of literature inspired tees being sold over at Out of Print Clothing! I especially liked the “Lolita”, “A Clockwork Orange”, and “The Master and Margerita” ones! (Source)
  • Potter fans looking to get themselves ebook copies of all the seven books will probably have to wait for a little while longer as the people behind it reveal that problems at Pottermore have delayed the initial October release. (Source)
  • Swedish poet Tomas Tranströmer has won the 2011 Nobel Prize for Literature — and he’s playing the piano during the event as well. (Source 1, Source 2)
  • The Guardian has an interview with Maurice Sendak that basically reveals the children’s book author has a way with insults. Here’s a sampling:

“Ebooks: ‘I hate them. It’s like making believe there’s another kind of sex. There isn’t another kind of sex. There isn’t another kind of book! A book is a book is a book.’

Of Salman Rushdie, who once gave him a terrible review in the New York Times, he says: ‘That flaccid fuckhead. He was detestable. I called up the Ayatollah, nobody knows that.’

Gwyneth Paltrow: ‘I can’t stand her.’   

  • Just in case you haven’t had enough of the vampire novels aimed for young adults (YA), Holly Black has announced that she is coming out with a vampire novel titled “The Coldest Girl in Coldtown”. (Source)
He's a librarian with tattoos. MY HEART.
  • Finally, is any one of you interested in perusing a calendar featuring librarians in various states of undress? I don’t know about you guys, but I am down for this. Sexual orientation is mostly indeterminate, so score another point for me! (Source 1, Source 2)

Your week in books #3

I’ve had a busy week, so apologies for not being able to put up your weekly installment of “Your Week in Books” yesterday. Here it is now!

Vladmir Nabokov hunting butterflies in Switzerland
  • Aside from being the author of “Lolita“, Vladimir Nabokov was also an avid collector of butterflies. It appears that way back in 1945, he had come up with a hypothesis that a specific species of butterflies migrated from Asia to the New World, which professional lepidopterists dismissed. Turns out he was right, after all. (Source)
  • The University of East Anglia (UEA) has been given 50 letters written by J.D. Salinger to his friend Donald Hartog. The UEA website doesn’t say what exactly are in those letters, but Mediabistro says it reveals that Salinger liked Burger King and Tim Henman. Okay. (Source)
  • Haruki Murakami’s new novel, “1Q84”, will come out in October. Paul Bogaards is Knopf’s publicity director. (Source)
  • For those interested in how books get made, check out how the University of Iowa Libraries bound together a 10,000 page poetry book written by David Morice. (Source)

I’m also hoping to finish “I Am Number Four” later today and have a review up by the evening, so watch out for that one!