June's Books to Film

Green Lantern is based on the grahic novel series by DC Comics. In a universe as vast as it is mysterious, a small but powerful force call the Green Lantern Corps has been dependent upon as protectors of peace and intergalactic order. When a new enemy called Parallax threatens to destroy the balance of power, the fate lies in the hands of Green Lantern's newest recruit, the first human ever selected to wear the ring that grants them superpower.

In Submarine, 15 year-old Oliver Tate has two big ambitions: to save his parents' marriage via carefully plotted intervention and to lose his virginity before his next birthday. Worried that his mom is having an affair, Oliver forges suggestive love letters from his Mom to his Dad. Meanwhile, Oliver attempts to woo his classmate, Jordana, a self-professed, bossy, pyromaniac who supervises his journal writing --- especially the bits about her. I look forward to this delightful adaptation from Joe Dunthorne's humorous and imaginative novel (2008).

Based on the The X-Men comics created by Stan Lee, the current box-office smash X-Men, First Class is set up as a prequel. Before mutants had revealed themselves to the world, and before Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr took the names Professor X and Magneto, they were two young men, closest of friends, working together to prevent nuclear Armageddon.

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Documentary Alert: Winnebago Man

Ever wonder what becomes of some of the stars of the viral videos that get viewed a million times on YouTube? Do these stars have happy or sad endings? What about a video that went viral on VHS before the internet was around? Winnebago Man tells one such story. It’s been called madly entertaining and one of the funniest documentaries ever made. (Click the item link to view a trailer of the film right on the AADL website!)

Jack Rebney, aka the angriest man in the world, became famous after profanity laden outtakes of a Winnebago sales spot of his were videotaped, and copies of the VHS tape spread like wildfire. This of course eventually led to an internet phenomenon.

20 Years later a filmmaker named Ben Steinbauer decided to track down Rebney to see what became of all that anger. He found him living a life of solitude on top of a mountain. Ben finds that he’s not such a crude guy after all. Well, maybe just a bit. This smart documentary is funny and heartwarming. It’s a hilarious look at humanity and what people can do for each other, even when they don’t know they’re doing it. And it's really, really funny.

Jon Scieszka: Tall Tales and Mostly True Stories

If you're looking for a fun, family-oriented BOCD, consider Knucklehead: Tall Tales & Mostly True Stories about Growing Up Scieszka, read by the author, Jon Scieszka. Not only are listeners treated to the story of how one of Scieszka's five brothers once tried to sell Jon his own shirt -- they also hear how Jon once made a list of all the bad words he knew -- for his teacher, who was a nun. This two-hour-long BOCD will keep you laughing, chuckling, and wanting to hear more. From the BOCD cover: "Here, at last, is the memoir that might answer some of the questions of how the heck does someone think up a story of a little man made of very smelly cheese."

Tales of the City

An incredibly colorful cast of characters and a funny, witty, irreverent style has made the Tales of the City series a modern classic. First published in serial form in the San Francisco Chronicle in 1972, Armistead Maupin’s outrageous stories of love and lust in the City by the Bay have been charming readers for more than 30 years.

In Mary Ann in Autumn, the eighth book of the series, Mary Ann Singleton returns to San Francisco, the site of all her youthful indiscretions. She moves in with her old friend Michael and his husband, and begins to confront the consequences of her past. Fans of the series will be happy to see most of the old favorites from 28 Barbary Lane, like Mrs. Madrigal and Mouse. Added to the mix are Shawna, a sex blogger, and her boyfriend Otto, a professional clown. Maupin is back to his sassy best with this novel. I just hope we don’t have to wait another decade for the next one.

(My) Fabulous Fiction Firsts #247

For someone who is eternally looking for the next Chick Lit. read, I have no idea how Jill Mansell gets by me. Mind you, not once, but 3 times. But I will be making up for lost time.

Charming and cheery, Staying at Daisy's (originally published in the UK, 2002) was just the thing to ward off the lingering winter chill and the incessant sleet and snow.

In this "screwball romantic comedy" set at a posh hotel in picturesque Bristol, Daisy MacLean handily juggles the hospitality business, misbehaving guests, an odd assortment of staff and the embarrassing excuse for an owner who happens to her father; but is leery and tentative with rich, successful (and very hot) former rugby player Dev Tyzack who might just be pursuing her romantically.

Daisy's personal history, small town secrets, serendipity and surprises enrich the plot, add to the humor, and heighten the suspense, making it a "clever, absorbing, and very enjoyable read".

For fans of British Katie Fforde; Madeleine Wickham; and Isabel Wolff who enjoy lighthearted, contemporary women's fiction.

Guys Read

Need help finding books for male reluctant readers? Try the Guys Read website! The brainchild of beloved children's writer Jon Scieszka, author of The Stinky Cheese Man And Other Fairly Stupid Tales and the Time Warp Trio series, the website includes a list of books proven to catch the interest of boys. Also part of this innovative literacy program are a series of anthologies edited by Scieszka himself, including Guys Write For Guys Read and Guys Read: Funny Business.

Do you like young adult literature?

image by ND or not ND, Flickr.comimage by ND or not ND, Flickr.com
If you do, you should check out YALSA's new blog, The Hub. Videos, fun websites, book reviews and YA news await you! Right now, you can:

Learn about social networks for writers.
Find new webcomics.
Watch a funny interview with Daniel Radcliffe, a fan-made Hunger Games video, and a hilarious book trailer for Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters.

More amazing things will be coming to The Hub soon, so make sure you add it to your feed, y'all. You know you want to...

Author Birthdays: Miller, Toomer, Sedaris

December 26th marks the birthday of authors Henry Miller, Jean Toomer, and David Sedaris.

Henry Miller was an American writer whose book Tropic of Cancer was tried as "obscene" in the U.S. Supreme Court; the book was found to be a work of literature, and was then published.

Almost all of Miller's works are at least semi-autobiographical. Among such "fictional" novels are the three books of the series The Rosy Crucifixion: Sexus, Plexus, and Nexus. The first discusses his divorce and remarriage, the second describes his second marriage and struggle to find himself, and the third focuses on his problems with his second wife and her lover.

Jean Toomer was an American writer and figure of the Harlem Renaissance, and grandson of the first African-American governor of a U.S. state. His novel Cane, a short story cycle, describes the origins of African-Americans in the United States; the most well-known of the stories within the novel is called "Harvest Song".

While he is most well known for Cane, Toomer also wrote many essays on race relations, as well as literary criticisms of other authors--many of these are collected in one volume.

David Sedaris is an American writer and humorist, and brother to actress and fellow author Amy Sedaris, with whom he has written plays under the name "The Talent Family".

Sedaris mostly writes short, autobiographical stories, almost always funny. My personal favorite is Me Talk Pretty One Day, which discusses very important and serious subjects like menu options and mistaken identity. His latest, however, called Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modest Bestiary, is animal-related, and looks to be pretty hilarious itself.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #232

Now for a change of pace...

Liar, Liar* * introduces P.I. Cat DeLuca and her Pants on Fire Detective Agency, known around the Windy City for its stellar reputation in catching cheaters, guaranteeing her clients evidence that would bring large divorce settlements.

Life takes a strange turn when a rogue reporter for the Chicago Tribune masquerades as a client with a liar-liar husband - one Chance Savino, a steamy guy with a pocketful of smuggled diamonds. When the FBI insists that Savino is killed in the same explosion that sends Cat to the hospital, Cat isn’t buying it. And when she finds her client dead on the floor with a knife in her chest and Savino rummaging through the apartment, she not only has to convince her family and the FBI she is not crazy, she has to get herself off the murderer's "Must Kill" list.

Debut author K.J. Larsen is in truth, Julianne, Kristen and Kari Larsen, three sisters who are hard at work on the next Cat adventure.

Liar has been picked as one of Library Journal Best Books 2010 Genre Fiction. Hey, Stephanie Plum, you have been warned. Cat is moving in.

* * = Starred reviews

Machine of Death: A Collection of Stories About People Who Know How They Will Die

The title of this book says it all, really. In this darkly humorous collection of short stories, a machine can take a blood sample and produce a slip of paper that will tell you in one to a few words how you will meet your demise. And all for $19.95! Your result, however, can be most vague. Results such as DROWNING, CANCER, OLD AGE may not be as clear-cut as they seem. For example, your death prediction may be “BURIED ALIVE”. But what if being buried alive does not necessarily mean buried alive in dirt? What if you were buried alive in a building that collapsed? Knowing the “prediction” usually only results in more questions. I really love the quote on the cover of the book by author Cory Doctorow. “Existentialism was never so fun. Makes me wish I could die, too!”

If the premise alone of Machine of Death does not entice you, following are just some of the titles of the stories in this collection:
ALMOND
PIANO
HIV INFECTION FROM MACHINE OF DEATH NEEDLE
IMPROPERLY PREPARED BLOWFISH
COCAINE AND PAINKILLERS

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